Green Monster Tacos

I told you the lime and cilantro trend would continue, and here’s another easy and scrumptious recipe—this time with chicken!

2 chicken breasts
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

six corn tortillas
2 Tbsp bacon grease, halved
1/3 yellow onion, finely diced
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
salsa verde of your choice, to taste (y’all know which one I use!)
handful cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime

1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Place chicken in a roasting tin or oven-safe pan, and rub both sides with olive oil.  Sprinkle cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper over it.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until cooked throughout (the internal temperature should be 160°, with no pinkness).

2. For tacos: In a large skillet, melt 1 Tbsp of bacon grease over medium heat.  Fry each tortilla briefly, 1-2 minutes, until it begins to soften and then brown.  Set each tortilla aside on paper towels, while still soft and malleable, to drain.  Repeat with each tortilla.  If using a large skillet, you should be able to fry two at once.  After doing the first few, your bacon grease will probably be burned and dark.  Pour it out, wipe out the skillet, and start afresh with the other half of the grease.

For tostadas: Melt half the bacon grease over medium heat.  Fry each tortilla just until crisp and lightly browned, then set aside on paper towels to drain.  If using a large skillet, you should be able to fry two at once.  After doing the first few, your bacon grease will probably be burned and dark.  Pour it out, wipe out the skillet, and start afresh with the other half of the grease.

3. Once your chicken is done, it’s time to assemble the tacos!  Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool for about ten minutes.  Then shred the chicken with your hands.  It’s pretty easy to pull the meat apart into nice, bite-sized pieces.

4. Place the tortillas on serving plates and top with shredded chicken, chopped onion, grated cheese, salsa, and cilantro.  Top with some salsa verde and serve immediately.

Other recommended optional garnishes includes sour cream and raw jalapeño slices!



Stella’s Chicken Salad

There are a million chicken salad recipes, but here’s mine! I think the tiny bit of Dijon mustard and splash of balsamic vinegar really make it extra tasty. I also love slivered almonds.

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken*
2 Tbsp olive oil, separated
1 cup celery, finely diced (one regular sized celery rib)
2 Tbsp minced white onion
1/4 cup crushed pecans
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup kefir
1/4 cup full fat mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 black pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 375°. Place the chicken in an oven-safe dish and drizzle with half the olive oil. Lightly salt and pepper. Bake for about twenty minutes, turning once or twice, or until chicken is fully cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients. In a large bowl, toss celery, onion, pecans, and almonds. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine kefir, mayonnaise, mustard, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice. Whip with a whisk until well combined, then add sugar. Keep whisking until it becomes silky smooth, then add dill, salt, and pepper. Stir thoroughly and taste; add more salt and/or pepper as desired.

3. Chop the cooked, cooled chicken into chunks of desired size (or shred, if preferred) and mix with the vegetables and nuts in the large bowl. Then pour the dressing over the salad, tossing gently until the ingredients are well mixed.

4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and cool in refrigerator for at least two hours, or even overnight. To serve, re-stir with a large wooden spoon and eat as a main course, sandwich filling, or green leaf salad topping.

*I used white meat here, but you can use either white or dark; the latter will give your salad a slightly richer flavor and fattier texture.  I wanted a light, crisp, cool salad for summer, so I went with white meat—it’s supposed to hit 106° today!

Brunch at the Goodnight Diner in Wimberley, Texas

Sriracha and yogurt fried chicken with waffles. This was absolutely amazing. The crispy batter wasn’t exactly spicy, but it had a fantastic flavor and was expertly fried.

Biscuits and gravy with a fried egg (so volcanic). This was also great.

Chili and eggs (with homefries). The menu said, “You’ll love it!” so I felt compelled to try it! Turned out, it was so large and rich that it ended up being three breakfasts–for only $7.00! I do love it.

Goodnight Diner
15401 RR 12
Wimberley, TX 78686

Greek-Style Turkey Meatballs and Potatoes

We didn’t host a Greek Easter lunch this year, and I really felt like my week was missing some mint, yogurt, and roasted meats, so I whipped up this recipe last night based on the items we had on hand: potatoes, zucchini, tons of homegrown mint, and discount ground turkey (I cleaned out the Wheatsville meat case and put about ten pounds in the freezer!).

Adapted from Vefa Alexiadou’s beef meatballs and potatoes from Kozani, this recipe has quite a few steps, but is pretty easy, and packs a lot of flavor thanks to the fresh mint, pan-fried potatoes, dried herbs, beef stock, and onions.

1 cup olive oil
3 large potatoes, sliced
1 lb ground turkey
3 tsp paprika, halved
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 yellow onion, grated
1/2 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp each)
flour, for coating
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup beef stock
2 zucchini, sliced
1 cup grated parmesan

1. In a large skillet, warm half the olive oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook until golden and a little crispy, about seven minutes, turning over occasionally. As the potatoes begin to cook, you can prep the other ingredients, including measuring herbs, chopping vegetables, and greasing a large roasting pan with a light layer of olive oil.

2. Next, in a medium mixing bowl, combine turkey, half the paprika, thyme, mint, eggs, grated onion, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. After washing your hands and removing any jewelry, knead the ingredients with your fingers until well mixed. You should be able to form meatballs easily in your palms. Make about nine or ten meatballs.

3. Once the potatoes are golden, remove them from the pan using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add the sliced onions to the pan and cook for a further five minutes or so, until they become translucent and fragrant.

4. Meanwhile, roll each meatball lightly in flour (I find it easiest to use a shallow dredging dish), and place them in the skillet with the onions. Drizzle a little more olive oil if necessary. Reduce heat to simmer, add beef broth, cover, and cook for a further 20 minutes.

5. Now preheat your oven to 400°. Meanwhile, line your roasting pan with the potatoes and (still raw) zucchini slices. After the meatballs and veggies have simmered for 20 minutes, carefully remove the meatballs from the skillet and place them on top of the potatoes in the roasting dish. Top with the onions and pan juices, then sprinkle the remaining paprika and chili powder over the whole mixture.

6. Pop in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until meatballs are done and nicely browned (I check one with a knife just to make sure). You want just-done zucchini, as well. Twenty minutes should be the maximum time needed.

7. Remove from oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then serve with a large spoon, scooping up the meatballs carefully and generously doling out the potatoes, zucchini, onions, and pan juices. Top with the grated parmesan and any sauce you are using (here, I used freshly prepared Vefa’s Tzatziki, but plain sour cream would also be great).

Serves 4.