Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash

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One of my favorite things about Spring is that asparagus is in season.  I love asparagus.  I love roasted asparagus and grilled asparagus and Tony’s pickled asparagus.  I love Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus dipped in a Saffron Aioli.

I came across this recipe from Smitten Kitchen (I know…I know…it’s an obsession…but, damn, she’s GOOD) last year and just knew it was going to be delicious.  I mean, come on…asparagus, potatoes, onion, pancetta, all topped with a fried egg??!?!?  The first time I made it Tony said it was (and I’m quoting here) the best thing he had ever effing eaten.  I didn’t change one thing. Tony fried the eggs and we topped with a little crumbled goat cheese and finely chopped chives.  Spring has sprung!

Oh boy…this just in…the new Bon Appétit came today (and you all know how happy that makes me) and there are nine asparagus recipes! Asparagus salad with gruyere and herbs…potato salad with asparagus and olives…smoked salmon and asparagus toasts…asparagus and ricotta flatbread!  Oh my my.  Can’t hardly wait!

Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash

INGREDIENTS

1/4 pound pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1 small yellow onion, chopped small
1/2 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch segments
Salt and pepper to taste

Serving ideas: Fried eggs, dabs of goat cheese and slivers of green onions

DIRECTIONS

Heat a 12-inch cast iron frying pan over medium heat. Fry the pancetta, turning it frequently so that it browns and crisps on all sides; this takes about 10 minutes. Remove it with a slotted spoon and drain it on paper towels. Leave the heat on and the renderings in the pan. (With a well-seasoned cast iron, this should be all the fat you need to cook the remainder of the hash. If you’re not using a cast iron, you might need to add a tablespoon or so of oil.)

Add the potatoes and don’t move them for a couple minutes. Use this time to season them well with salt and pepper. Once they’ve gotten a little brown underneath, begin flipping and turning them, then letting them cook again for a few minutes. The idea is not to fight them off the frying pan, once they’ve gotten a little color, it’s easier to flip them and you’ve gotten closer to your goal of getting them evenly browned.

When the potatoes are about three-fourths as crisped and brown as you’d like them — this takes about 15 minutes — add the onion. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the asparagus, cover the pan and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until crisply cooked. (Skinny asparagus will take just 5 minutes; thicker asparagus will take longer.) Remove the lid, return the pancetta to the pan for another minute, to reheat.

Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Fry yourself a couple eggs in another pan. Gently place an egg on top of each serving of hash.  Sprinkle with a little goat cheese and chopped chives or thinly sliced green onions.  Serve immediately.

Potato and Chorizo Tortilla

chorizo fritatta

This dish came to be one night when I just didn’t feel like going to the grocery store and decided to make something from ingredients that we already had.  There was a package of Trader Joe’s Soy-Chorizo (tastes like regular pork chorizo, but it’s made from soy…personally, I like it better than regular chorizo) that had been in the fridge for a while.  There was a little leftover arugula, some eggs, a lot of cheese and a couple potatoes.

I remembered that my friend Jessica had posted a picture on Facebook of a Spanish tortilla she had made.  (A Spanish Tortilla, btw, has nothing in common with the Mexican tortilla except its shape and its name.  Basically, it’s an open-faced potato and egg omelet.)  I tried to find Jessica’s post, but couldn’t, so turned to Google.  I found a recipe from Food Network’s Tyler Florence that looked good and easy.  His version calls for Spanish chorizo, which is more like a hard salami, but all I had was that soyrizo, so that’s what I used.

It turned out to be a really wonderful, light and easy dinner that I’ll definitely make again.

Potato and Chorizo Tortilla

(adapted from Tyler Florence)

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 ounces (about half a 12-oz package) Soy-Chorizo (sometimes called Soyrizo)

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/2 medium onion, chopped

4 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 cup arugula (or baby greens) for garnish

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup Cotija cheese (or feta cheese), crumbled, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil into a non-stick, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the potato and onion and fry until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat and cover the skillet; cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Remove the cover, raise the heat, and cook until the potatoes are brown and crispy, about another 5 minutes.

Remove the chorizo from the casing and crumble into potato-onion mixture and stir a couple minutes, just until heated through.  Note:  if you are going to use regular (not soy) chorizo; it will have to cook longer;  so cook it from the beginning with the potatoes and onions.

Meanwhile, break the eggs into a large bowl, add the milk, season with salt and pepper, and whisk until frothy.  Pour the egg mixture into the pan, shaking the pan to distribute the eggs evenly.  Put the pan into the oven and cook until puffy and set, about 12 to 15 minutes.  Turn out onto a cutting board and let it cool a little.  In a bowl, toss the arugula with the remaining oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.  Place the greens on top of the tortilla.  Crumble the Cotija cheese over top.  Cut into wedges and serve.

Greek Chicken with Potatoes and CHUNKY Greek Salad

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I had to work late the other night, so Tony offered to make dinner.  Yes, you read that right.  Tony offered to make dinner.And, really, it’s not the first time.  (I know.  He’s a keeper.)  He said he was dying for a Greek Salad (there’s not much Tony loves more than a chunky Greek salad!).  We tossed around a few “protein” ideas and I remembered a baked Greek chicken and potatoes recipe that I used to make all the time but we hadn’t had in a while.  I told him it’s really easy…you basically just put chicken breasts, olive oil, lemon juice, potatoes and oregano in a baking dish and put it in the oven.  I gave him a grocery list and left for work.

Around 5:30, I get a text from him that says, “What time should I have dinner ready?”  (Uh…yes…I know.)

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I arrived home around 6:45pm to the wonderful aroma of chicken, lemon and oregano, a fire in the fireplace AND a glass of Pinot Noir waiting for me.  (Yes, I know.)

We ate in front of the fireplace, Tony talking all the while about his culinary prowess.  “You know the secret to a good Greek salad?  It has to be chunky…big pieces of vegetables.  This chicken is really good and its so easy.”

And, yes, it was all delicious.  I’m considering changing my schedule to work late more often!

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Greek Chicken and Potatoes

(adapted from Bon Appétit, April 1992)

INGREDIENTS

1 3 1/2-pound chicken, quartered (OR, we use 4 chicken breasts halves)
4 russet potatoes, peeled, quartered, lengthwise (I actually had never peeled them, but Tony did, and, I have to admit, they were much better)
4 large garlic cloves, halved
3/4 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange chicken, potatoes and garlic in large roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Pour broth over. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice and oregano to combine. Pour evenly over chicken and potatoes.

Bake until chicken is cooked through and golden brown and potatoes are tender, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

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CHUNKY Greek Salad

(salad by Tony Bruser; vinaigrette from some recipe Cheryl found somewhere)

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into big CHUNKS

2 green bell peppers, seeded and cut into big CHUNKS

4 large tomatoes, cut into big CHUNKS (or use cherry tomatoes, halved)

1 large red onion, cut into (yep you got it) big CHUNKS

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup Greek olives, Kalamata olives, or any other brine-cured black olives

DIRECTIONS

Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic powder, and oregano in small bowl to blend. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, cheese, and olives in very large bowl. Add vinaigrette to salad and toss to coat.

Everybody’s Favorite White Chili

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It’s been really cold in San Diego lately. Seriously. I mean, not cold by like Green Bay, Wisconsin standards, but really cold by San Diego standards. It was 39 degrees when I got up this morning! Perfect weather to make Everybody’s Favorite White Chili. This recipe is from the very first issue of Bon Appétit that I ever received (remember that gift subscription for my birthday from my friend Linda?)…March 1991. It was called Timothy’s White Chili because it was from a restaurant called Timothy’s in Louisville, KY (which apparently has since closed).

It has chicken instead of beef and white beans instead of the usual red kidney beans. I garnish it with jack cheese, sour cream and cilantro. It’s a little spicy, really hearty and delicious. I’ve simplified it over the years, using a store-bought roasted chicken and canned beans. It’s a family favorite. In fact, I submitted the recipe for the cookbook that was put together at our kids’ elementary school back in 1999. I renamed it Everybody’s Favorite White Chili for that cookbook and the name stuck. Because it is.

It would be great to serve at a Superbowl Party. Or on a cold San Diego evening.

Everybody’s Favorite White Chili

INGREDIENTS

3 16-ounce cans Great Northern white beans, drained

2-3 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 4-ounce cans chopped mild green chilies

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 cups canned chicken broth

Approximately 3 cups shredded jack cheese

Cilantro

Sour Cream

Instructions

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, then chilies, cumin, oregano, cloves, and cayenne pepper and sauté 2 minutes.

Add beans and broth and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Add chicken and 1 cup cheese to chili and stir until cheese melts. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle chili into bowls. Serve with remaining cheese, sour cream, salsa and cilantro.

Betty’s Chicken Pot Pie

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Chicken Pot Pie.  Seriously one of my favorite comfort foods. And it has to be this recipe, from the Betty Crocker A New Cookbook for a New You Cookbook.  Believe me.  I’ve experimented with others and always come back to Betty.  (I mean, come on, just look at that photo of the “new” Betty…she must know a thing or two about chicken pot pie!)  Of course, I’ve adapted it a little and simplified it a bit (by using a store-bought-ready-to-roll-out pie crust and already cooked chicken), but it’s still Betty’s and it’s still the best.

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I’ve had this cookbook for a really long time.  Maybe even a wedding present (that would be 1984)??  Whenever it was, it has been used a lot.  Apparently somebody left the book on a still hot burner of an electric stove once. Lol. And the front cover has fallen off.  The back cover is just about to fall off.  It’s really great for basics.  I make her Hollandaise, Beef Stroganoff, Chili (she calls ground beef “hamburger”), Macaroni and Cheese (with Velveeta…oy!) and Meat Loaf.  There are great charts (turkey roasting timetable) and tips (egg sizes).  There’s a section at the back all about newfangled “microwave cooking”.  Hilarious.  “This cool, convenient new way of cooking simplifies life.  It saves time.  It doesn’t heat the kitchen…There’s nothing magical about microwaves.  They are simply electromagnetic waves of energy, similar to radio and television waves.”  Anyway, you get my point…I’ve had this cookbook for a very long time!

Okay.  The recipe.  You’ll want to make this.  And then you’ll want to make it again and again.

Betty’s Chicken Pot Pie

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup butter (Betty says you can use margarine or chicken fat too)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1-3/4 cups chicken or turkey broth (one 14-oz. can)

2/3 cup milk

2 cups cut-up cooked chicken or turkey

1 10-ounce package frozen peas and carrots

Refrigerated all-ready pie crusts (come in packages of two)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425°.

Heat butter in saucepan over low heat until melted.  Blend in flour, onion, salt & pepper.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.  Stir in broth and milk.  Return to heat; heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir one minute.  Stir in chicken and frozen vegetables; set aside.

Fit one of the pie crusts into a 9-inch pie plate.  Trim any overhanging dough to fit edge of plate.  Pour chicken filling into pastry.  Place second pie crust over filling.  Roll edges under and crimp or flute top crust and bottom crust edges together to seal. Cut slits in center of top crust to allow steam to escape.  Cook uncovered until crust is brown, 30 to 35 minutes.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Thanksgiving (and many more delicious meals, including a Dungeness Crab Feast) in Sonoma

Vikki’s gorgeous table…for 29!

This was the fourth year we’ve spent Thanksgiving weekend with our son Kyle’s fiancée Calla’s family in Sonoma.  We drive up from San Diego, stopping to pick up our daughter Ally (coming in from New Orleans) at LAX.  Kyle and Calla (and this year their roommate Jesse, and pooch, June) drive down from Portland, OR.  It’s the perfect halfway point.

The Sonoma Valley is beautiful in the Fall…the leaves in the vineyards have turned gold and orange and red.  Calla’s dad Bill and his girlfriend Vikki have a gorgeous home in the hills above Sonoma, with panoramic views of the valley below and all the way to Oakland and the Bay.

The view from Vikki’s deck

There’s always a LOT of great food and wine and beer and tequila and a lot of laughs shared with LOTS of family (Vikki’s three kids, Calla’s three brothers and significant others) and a whole gaggle of friends.  This year there were 29 of us at the Thanksgiving table!  Bill brined and roasted a 24-pound turkey that was one of the best I’ve ever had.  We feasted on mashed potatoes and yams and roasted green beans and Brussels sprouts and gravy and vegan gravy and quinoa and salad and stuffing and wine and champagne and bread pudding and pumpkin roll and apple pie and apple tart until we could barely move.

Uh huh. My plate.

Bill and Vikki are absolutely the definition of the hostess(es) with the mostess(es).  Not only is there THE Thanksgiving dinner, but hiking and wine tasting and more hiking and visits to breweries and so much more good food.

Lagunitas Brewing Co., Petaluma

Hiking at Sugarloaf National Park

Bill outdid himself this year with a Crab Feast…fresh Dungeness Crab, Roasted Corn-on-the-Cob (a la Tyler Florence) and Broccoli Slaw (I made the Smitten Kitchen recipe).  I’d never had roasted corn-on-the-cob, but I will definitely be doing it…so easy and so good.  Roasting just makes all veggies taste better! And Smitten Kitchen’s Broccoli Slaw is one of my all-time favorites.

Lots o’ Crab!

Crab, Oven-Roasted Corn, Broccoli Slaw

Thank you once again Bill and Vikki, et al.  We are grateful that Kyle and Calla found each other and for the “melding” of our families.  We are so excited and looking forward to the wedding and to many, many years of good times and awesome events with the Bruser-Leff-Mapel clan!

Alright…the recipes.

Bill Mapel’s Dungeness Crab

INGREDIENTS

A whole lot of Dungeness crabs

Butter

DIRECTIONS

1.  Drive to Santa Rosa to Santa Rosa Seafood to get fresh Dungeness crabs for $4 a pound

2.  Bring the crabs back to the house and steam them

3.  Melt the butter and serve in cool little fondue pot/butter warmer things

4.  Make sure to have a big ol’ discard bowl and little crab forks and plenty of napkins!

5.  Serve accompanied by Oven-Roasted Corn-on-the-Cob and Broccoli Slaw

Tyler Florence’s No Shucking Oven-Roasted Corn

INGREDIENTS

Fresh corn on the cob, unhusked
Butter
Salt

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place corn directly on the roasting rack and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the husks and use them as a handle while eating.   Roll in butter and sprinkle with a little salt.

Broccoli Slaw

Smitten Kitchen’s Broccoli Slaw

(Okay, funny story…on Election Night, Tony and I made burgers and this slaw for dinner.  As we were sitting down to eat, he says, “I love this broccoli slaw” and I say, “what did you say?” and he repeats himself.  And then it hits me!  “It’s not Broccoli Slaw”, I say.  “It’s BARACK-oli Slaw!!!”  And then I laughed myself silly.  Get it?  BARACK-oli!!  And, yes, I told the story again during the Crab Feast and, yes, cracked myself up again.)

INGREDIENTS

2 heads of broccoli
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Buttermilk Dressing
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (or, you could just use a little extra red onion to simplify it)

DIRECTIONS

Trim broccoli and cut it into large chunks. From here, you can either feed it through your food processor’s slicing blade, use a mandoline to cut it into thin slices, or simply hand chop it into smaller pieces

Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds, cranberries and red onion in a large bowl. Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients in a smaller one, with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the broccoli and toss it well. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.

The Perfect BLT (with very little mess)

Update – I wrote this post a month or so ago.  Today is the day before Thanksgiving.  You’ve been doing a lot of cooking  (Pumpkin Roll and Cranberry-Pecan Bread Pudding)   and/or still have a lot of cooking to do AND/OR packing and getting on the road…over the river and through the woods…er…on the I-5 to Sonoma, stopping at LAX to pick up your daughter on the busiest travel day of the year…BUT it’s all worth it because we are going to be with BOTH kids for Thanksgiving!

 Anyway, where was I?  Oh, so you’re cooking and baking and don’t even really want to think about dinner tonight.  Well, here is an easy, super easy, and tasty solution.  The Perfect BLT (with very little mess)!  Read on.  And Happy Thanksgiving! 

So ever since I posted the recipe for Grilled Avocado and said that they would be delicious on a BLT, I’ve been craving a BLT.  Problem is I really dislike cooking bacon.  It’s such a mess.  It makes such a disgusting mess of your stovetop.  I’ve tried the already cooked bacons, they are okay to use crumbled in a salad, but just not good starring in a sandwich.  Then I remembered seeing something in Bon Appétit about cooking bacon in the oven. Bingo!

Found this great article.  First line is, ” There’s a reason the “B” comes first…without bacon, you’d just have salad on toast.” OMG.  Then, “Ditch that skillet! To make crunchy, BLT-ready bacon, roast it in the oven instead. This restaurant trick allows you to cook more than a few strips at a time, results in more evenly cooked bacon, and is light on the mess. Here’s how to do it: Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and set a rack in the pan to allow hot air to circulate for even cooking. (For more than 1/2 lb. of bacon, use 2 sheet pans.) Arrange strips on the rack and roast, rotating pan once halfway through cooking, until browned and crispy, 15 minutes.”

Holy Moly!  It works.  Awesome, perfect, evenly-cooked bacon with very little mess.

Now, just assemble the other ingredients for your perfect BLT.

Thick sliced Country White, sourdough or egg bread, toasted

Heirloom tomato, sliced thick

Arugula

Grilled Avocado

Mayo

Penne with Creamy Sausage Sauce

Okay, so this dish has been made probably more often than any other in the Bruser recipe lineup.  Saucy Pasta…formerly known as Kyle’s Favorite Pasta.  It’s actually called Penne with Creamy Sausage Sauce, but really it should be called Everyone’s Favorite Pasta.  When the kids were in high school, any time any of their friends would come for dinner, they’d ask me to make Saucy Pasta.  And I’m not even sure why we started calling it Saucy Pasta…maybe one of the kids thought I said saucy instead of sausage?  Whatever you call it…its one of our favorites.  A little spicy (or saucy?) from the hot Italian sausage and a lot creamy from the thickened whipped cream and Parmesan.

The recipe is from the Bonnie Stern CKFM Cookbook.   What? You’ve never heard of the Bonnie Stern CKFM Cookbook?  That’s because it’s at least 25 years old and Bonnie Stern is (or was?) quite the celebrity food person in Toronto, Canada. I’m pretty sure my sister-in-law Cheryl (from Vancouver) bought me the book.  In fact, I think probably back when Tony & I were first married and  visiting Vancouver, we were having dinner at Cheryl’s, she made it and I was like, “this is the best thing ever…what is it?” and then she sent me a copy (autographed, no less) of the cookbook.

So there you go.  The history of Saucy Pasta/Kyle’s Favorite Pasta/Penne with Creamy Sausage Sauce.  It’s definitely a keeper.

Penne with Creamy Sausage Sauce

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb. hot Italian sausages

1 cup whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 lb. penne

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add the sausage, breaking it into pieces and crumbling it with a wooden spoon while it cooks.  Add the garlic.  Cook sausage until all traces of pink disappear.

Add the whipping cream and nutmeg and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 10 minutes or until the cream reduces and the sauce thickens somewhat.

Meanwhile, cook the penne according to package directions.  Drain the pasta, but do not rinse.

Toss the drained pasta back into the sauce.  Stir in the cheese and basil and toss until the cheese is melted and warmed though.

Chipotle Chicken Tostadas

The food truck scene in San Diego has taken off in the last few years. No, these are NOT the “roach coaches” of yesteryear. Food trucks offer handmade cuisine using local produce and unique flavors that are easily accessible, affordable and most importantly, delicious. And two of the very best food trucks park themselves two office buildings away from where I work two days a week. Green Truck and MIHO consistently rate in the “best of the best”. How stoked am I?

About a year ago, my friend Jessica met me for lunch at MIHO. We both ordered the Chipotle Chicken Tostada and it was awesomely delicious. I mean, we talked about it for weeks. So shortly after that, Jessica announces that she is pregnant (yay!) and a few months later, I’m hosting a baby shower for her. I’m thinking I’d sure love to surprise her and make those MIHO tostadas for the shower. So I walked over to the truck, introduced myself to Chef Sarah, explained what I wanted to do and she said, “sure, email me to remind me…just give me a few days”. And you know what? She actually emailed me back…with the recipe and the comment, “here is the recipe for the chicken tostada (it is kind of a rough on since I didn’t really work off a recipe when I made it)”.

I made them for the shower. Jessica was SO excited and SO appreciative and EVERYone loved them. Now, you’re thinking, “that’s not very cool of Cheryl to share MIHO’s recipe.” Well, a few months after the shower, I saw that they had actually publicized the recipe, for all to see, on their e-newsletter. So I think its cool. Besides, I’ve adapted it some. Just be prepared…you’ll want to start these the day before. The chicken takes 4 hours to cook…but so totally worth it!

MIHO Chipotle Chicken Tostada

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (2 lbs chicken thighs makes enough chicken for about 6-8 tostadas…I’ve actually cooked up to 3 lbs of chicken with the amount of ingredients below)

1 chopped yellow onion

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoons paprika

1/4 cup cumin

1 tablespoon cayenne

salt

black pepper

2 28-oz canned crushed tomatoes

1/2 can chipotles in adobo sauce

Tostada shells

Refried black beans

Cotija cheese

Red cabbage

Avocado (if you’re feeling especially creative, try grilling your avo!)

Pickled red onion

Radish

Salsa

Sour cream or salsa crema

Cilantro

Lime wedges

DIRECTIONS

Make dry rub by combining paprika, cumin, cayenne and salt & pepper. Coat chicken thighs with rub.

Heat a few tablespoons vegetable oil in a large frying pan and sear thighs (just a few minutes on each side, to really get the rub adhered to the meat, you’ll probably need to do this in a couple of batches). Okay, to be honest, I’ve skipped the whole searing step and just smothered the chicken with the rub, let it sit in the fridge for a half hour or so, then added the chicken, raw chopped onion, garlic & chipotles to the roasing pan.

Place thighs in large Dutch oven or roasting pan.

Sauté onions and garlic in the same pan you used to sear the thighs. Add sautéed onions and garlic to chicken.

Pour tomatoes and chipotles over the chicken, onions and garlic (the liquid from this should almost cover the chicken).

Cover tightly with lid or foil and place in oven at 250° for about 4 hours. You want the cover to be tight so that the liquid doesn’t evaporate.

While still warm, remove chicken from sauce and shred it.

Don’t throw away the sauce! I always freeze it and then use it again for another batch of chicken! Leftover chicken freezes really well too.

To serve:

Top tostada shell with refried beans, crumbled Cotija cheese, shredded red cabbage, avocado slices, pickled red onion, thinly sliced radish, a dollop of salsa and a dollop of sour cream, a few springs of cilantro and then squeeze some fresh lime juice over.

You’re gonna thank me for this one. (Okay, really, you should thank Sarah and Kevin and Juan…and Jessica for having a baby!)

Nacho Mac

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Okay, the official name given by Bon Appétit (March, 2007) is Nacho Macaroni and Cheese. We call it Nacho Mac, but you have to say it like “Not CHO Mac”, as in, “my mac…not YO mac”. Get it? LOL. Alright, it’s a silly little Bruser family thing. But this is definitely one of the Bruser family’s favorite dishes. It goes without saying that any time one or both of the kids are home, I’ll make it.

It’s really easy and one of the best macaroni & cheese’s I’ve ever had. I mean, come on…tortilla chips and salsa verde baked into macaroni & cheese? Make it. And then you’ll walk around saying “Not CHO Mac”, too.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups elbow macaroni

1/2 cup bottled thick and chunky salsa verde

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

3 cups (packed) coarsley grated sharp cheddar cheese (12 ounces), divided

4 teaspoons flour

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup tortilla chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425°F. Cook macaroni in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, blend salsa and cilantro in food processor or blender. Toss 2 cups cheese and flour in medium bowl to coat.

Bring milk, cream, and cloves to simmer in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cheese mixture. Whisk until sauce is smooth, about 1 minute. Mix in macaroni; season with pepper.

Spread half of macaroni mixture in a casserole/baking dish. Drop half of salsa mixture over in dollops. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Top with remaining macaroni mixture and salsa mixture. Sprinkle chips over. Top with 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until heated through, about 10 minutes.