Shredded Chicken Tacos with Homemade Taco Seasoning
We’ve been making an effort to move away from packaged processed foods and have been making some of our favorite prepared pantry items at home.  This Shredded Chicken Taco recipe is a result of that effort.  We used to purchase taco seasoning packets for quick and easy weeknight meals but started making our own mix earlier this year and I can’t imagine ever going back to store bought packets.  
 
Here are my top 7* reasons for making Homemade Taco Seasoning (in no particular order):
(1) Making it at home allows you to know exactly what is in your food and means you aren’t ingesting anything you can’t pronounce.  Well, unless you add an extra syllable to the word paprika, calling it “pap-a-rika”, as some people are wont to do.  In that case, you’re still ingesting an ingredient  that you can’t pronounce.  Sorry, but it’s true.
(2) When you make the mix yourself, you control the quality of ingredients, which can have a big impact on flavor.
(3)  Speaking of flavor, making it at home means you can adjust the ingredients and/or amounts to suit your taste. 
(4)  Making the mix is way cheaper than buying a packet over time.  
(5)  It takes less than a minute to pull the taco seasoning together.
(6)  You can make it in bulk and keep it in a cool dark place, like a kitchen cabinet or the pantry.  Then, just measure out what you need when you need it. 
(7)  The entire meal of Shredded Chicken Tacos with Homemade Taco Seasoning is so incredibly easy to make and can be pulled together in well under 30 minutes, making it a perfect weeknight meal!
 
*  Have you noticed that most “Top… ” lists are usually in increments of 5?  Why is that?  I decided to be bold today and go against the grain.  So, rather than a Top 5 or Top 10 list, I gave you a Top 7 list.  I’m such a rebel!
 
 
Anyway, here is the super easy recipe…
Shredded Chicken Tacos with Homemade Taco Seasoning
Serves 4
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons chili powder
  2. 1 tablespoon cumin
  3. 2 teaspoons salt
  4. 1 teaspoon paprika
  5. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  7. 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  8. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  9. 4 skinless boneless cooked chicken breast halves, shredded
  10. 3/4 cup water
  11. Tortillas or crispy taco shells
  12. Toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, cheese, salsa, sour cream and/or guacamole
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, cumin, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder oregano and black pepper to make the taco seasoning. Set aside.
  2. Place the shredded chicken in large skillet over medium heat. Add the water and prepared seasoning, then toss to coat. Allow the chicken to come to a boil then drop the heat to low. Let the chicken simmer for 5-8 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
  3. Serve the chicken on tortillas or crispy taco shells and top with your favorite toppings.
The Lovebugs Blog http://www.thelovebugsblog.com/
 
Shredded Chicken Tacos with Homemade Taco Seasoning
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 skinless boneless cooked chicken breast halves,  shredded
3/4 cup water
Tortillas or crispy taco shells
Toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, cheese, salsa, sour cream and/or guacamole
 
 
Instructions:
1.  In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, cumin, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder oregano and black pepper to make the taco seasoning.  Set aside.
2.  Place the shredded chicken in large skillet over medium heat.  Add the water and prepared seasoning, then toss to coat.  Allow the chicken to come to a boil then drop the heat to low.  Let the chicken simmer for 5-8 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
3.  Serve the chicken on tortillas or crispy taco shells and top with your favorite toppings.
 
Enjoy!
Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

Three Layer Lasagna

Lasagna is one of the most requested meals in our house.  In fact, I’ve made it so much that I’m pretty confident that I could make it blindfolded with one arm tied behind my back.  Actually,  I always grate my own cheese and box graters and blindfolds are probably a really bad idea.  Well at least for me, given that I regularly grate my knuckles when I have full vision.  

Note: I do not recommend grating your knuckles or attempting to grate anything blindfolded.  Grating your knuckles is not fun, especially when you aren’t sure when you last got a tetanus shot.  And I imagine that trying to grate something blindfolded will result in grating your knuckles.  And you don’t want to do that (see line two of this paragraph).

Anyway, lasagna is on heavy rotation in our menu planning, we often serve it for dinner guests and it is a regular birthday dinner request.  It’s really the perfect meal for almost any occasion and it freezes really well too.  But, most importantly it is the type of food that feeds the soul.  I suppose that’s why they call it a comfort food.  🙂  

So, next time you are in the mood for something hearty and filling, give this three layer lasagna a try!  You won’t be sorry once you taste layer upon layer of pasta, meat sauce and cheese melding together.  SOOO GOOD!

Lasagna

Three Layer Lasagna
Serves 8
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
55 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 9 lasagna noodles
  2. 1 lb. ground beef - I use 90% lean ground beef
  3. 2 jars marinara sauce - I use Classico Tomato and Basil
  4. 15 oz ricotta cheese
  5. 16 oz mozzarella cheese, grated and separated (I use Precious whole milk)
  6. 1/2 grated parmesan cheese
  7. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set the baking dish aside.
  2. Cook noodles according to package instructions then drain them. Do not rinse.
  3. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat. Then, add the two jars of marinara sauce, stirring to combine. Let the meat and sauce simmer over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, parmesan and eggs in a medium bowl.
  5. To assemble, spread about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Lay three lasagna noodles, side by side, over the meat mixture. Carefully spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the noodles then spread 1/3 of the remaining meat mixture over top. Repeat with two more layers of noodles, cheese and meat. Top the last layer of meat with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.
  6. Cover the lasagna with foil and place the baking dish into a large sheet pan to catch any drippings. Place the lasagna in the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook another 10-15 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and cheese is starting to brown slightly. Remove the lasagna from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
The Lovebugs Blog http://www.thelovebugsblog.com/

Enjoy!

Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

Chicken & Vegetable Thai Green Curry
We’ve had Chicken and Vegetable Thai Green Curry in our menu rotation for a while now and it is a family favorite.  I used to make it with a jar of store-bought curry paste, which was quick, convenient and tasty.  But, I got curious one day so I started looking up recipes for Thai Green Curry and was shocked at how simple it was to make green curry at home.  
 
So, I spent an afternoon applying my new education to create a Thai Green Curry Paste recipe that I could use in one of our favorite meals and the result was fantastic!  This Thai Green Curry paste is packed full of bright and delicious flavors and literally comes together at a push of a button!  It couldn’t be easier to make and it freezes really well.  Combine it with my Chicken and Vegetable Thai Green Curry recipe and you’ve got a delicious and healthy meal that is perfect for busy weeknights!  
 
It didn’t make sense to share just the Thai Green Curry Paste recipe and not the Chicken & Vegetable Thai Green Curry recipe, or vice versa, since one really has no meaning without the other.  So, I’m sharing both.  Enjoy!
Chicken & Vegetable Thai Green Curry
Write a review
Print
Cook Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 - 14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
  2. 1/3 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  3. 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  4. 1/2 - 3/4 cup Thai Green Curry Paste (recipe below)
  5. 1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
  6. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  7. 1 red bell pepper, seeded and de-veined then chopped into bite sized pieces
  8. 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and de-veined then chopped into bite sized pieces
  9. 1 head of broccoli, stem removed and florets cut into bite sized pieces
  10. 1 zucchini, sliced
  11. 2 carrots, sliced
  12. 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, mix together the coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, Thai green curry paste, basil and brown sugar over medium high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Then, drop the heat to low and simmer over low heat for 10 - 15 minutes to develop the flavors.
  2. Stir in the vegetables and chicken, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid and continue simmering over low heat another 5-7 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables begin to soften.
  4. Serve with brown or white rice.
The Lovebugs Blog http://www.thelovebugsblog.com/
Thai Green Curry Paste
Yields 1
Write a review
Print
Total Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons lemongrass or lemongrass paste
  2. 1/2 of a jalapeno, seeded and sliced*
  3. 1 shallot, sliced
  4. 4 garlic cloves
  5. 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  6. 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  7. 1/2 cup fresh basil
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  9. 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  10. 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  11. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  12. 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  13. 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  14. 3 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
  15. Juice of 1/2 a lime
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and run to combine into a thick paste.
  2. Green curry paste will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Notes
  1. For a spicier curry, either include the seeds or use the whole jalapeno or both.
The Lovebugs Blog http://www.thelovebugsblog.com/

Enjoy!

Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

Moist & Tender Chicken Kababs

Growing up, chicken kababs were a staple in our house and one of my favorite meals.  I finally got my moms recipe the last time she was in town and can’t stop making them!  I guess I am making up for lost time?  Plus, now that the weather is warming up here in Arizona, I’m sure these delicious babies will be in heavy rotation! 

The chicken kababs are tender, moist, full of citrus flavor and incredibly easy to make.  They are a great make ahead or weeknight meal because they need to marinade overnight and they cook really quickly.  Plus, they pair well with almost any vegetable side dish.  My parents would serve them for family dinners as well as for company and they were always a hit!  Delicious, quick and versatile – the perfect combination for any meal!

Chicken Kababs
Serves 4
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/8 teaspoon ground saffron or 3-4 threads of saffron, crushed
  2. Juice of 1 lemon
  3. Juice of 1 lime
  4. 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  5. 1/4 cup olive oil
  6. 1 tablespoon salt
  7. 1 onion, chopped
  8. 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
Instructions
  1. Place saffron, lemon juice, lime juice, yogurt, olive oil and salt into a large ziplock bag, seal the bag and mix the ingredients together by squeezing and rotating the bag.
  2. Add in the onion and chicken, squeeze out the air and seal the bag again. Squeeze and rotate the bag again to separate and coat the chicken well.
  3. Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate overnight or up to two days.
  4. Thread the chicken on skewers and grill over medium high flame, turning the skewers occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through (about 15-20 minutes). Discard the marinade.
  5. Serve hot over rice and/or with vegetables.
The Lovebugs Blog http://www.thelovebugsblog.com/
Enjoy!
Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

Green Chile Pork

One of our favorite Mexican restaurants ever is Barrio Queen in Scottsdale.  The food is fantastic and they are known for their fantastic tacos, guacamole and their large array of Mexican spirits.  But, our favorite thing to order comes off of the appetizer menu, the Barrio Papas with the Pork Green Chile.  They are truly fantastic and we get it every time we are there (my mouth is literally watering just thinking of them).

 
Last weekend, we decided to make our own version of these fantastic fries while watching the Super Bowl.  I admit, they don’t look like much, but I promise you they are scrumptious!   We make our own baked fries, but you could easily make them with frozen fries, if you prefer.  They come together with minimal effort and they are pretty hearty so they could be served as an appetizer or a meal. 
 
Green Chile Pork Fries 2
 
Green Chile Pork Fries
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  2. 2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed of the fat and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  3. 2 bottles Mexican Coke
  4. Zest of 1 orange (rather than zesting, I use a vegetable peeler to remove large chunks of the zest)
  5. Juice of 2 limes
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  7. 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
  8. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  9. 1 1/2 cups chile verde, we use a bottle but you can make your own
  10. 4 potatoes
  11. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  12. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  13. 1 cup oaxaca cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add the pork and brown on all sides.
  3. Once the meat is browned on all sides, pour the Mexican Coke over the meat and add the orange zest, lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and garlic powder.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Allow the meat to simmer until cooked through and tender, about 35 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Cut the potato into wedges or slices to make your fries. Rinse the cut potatoes in cold water, then pat them dry.
  7. Place the potatoes on a large sheet pan, then drizzle them with the remaining olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Toss the fries to coat, then arrange them in a single layer on the sheet pan.
  8. Bake the fries in the preheated oven until cooked through, about 20 - 25 minutes.
  9. Place the chile verde in a medium saucepan and warm over low heat.
  10. Drain the pork from the cooking liquid and add it to the chile verde to combine.
  11. Remove the fries from the oven and sprinkle them with the remaining salt, paprika and chili powder, tossing them to coat.
  12. Place the fries in a basket or bowl and top with the warm green chile pork.
  13. Sprinkle with oaxaca cheese and serve hot.
The Lovebugs Blog http://www.thelovebugsblog.com/

Enjoy!

Read More →
Replies: 1 / Share: