Margarita Cupcakes

Margarita Cupcake

How is the home organizing coming along?  Need a tiny break?

Margarita Cupcakes

Today we are doing something a little different.  I am taking a break from the wave of new year organizing and making a little mess in the kitchen – just a little.  A few weeks ago I was asked to bring something sweet to a little get together with friends and I immediately knew that I wanted to bring cupcakes, but I wanted them to be special.  Literally within days of that invitation, I was asked by Wayfair if I wanted to be a part of a fun campaign they were doing called #Cocktail2Cupcake .  I said yes and decided to merge my most favorite drink, the margarita with a plain cupcake recipe that I already had.

I love a good margarita and my husband makes the best ones.  I rarely order them in restaurants because I know that they usually make them using sour mix and a bunch of artificial stuff.  My husband has me spoiled with the real deal – a simple recipe that uses real ingredients.

I took a basic cupcake recipe that I had and I added some lime tequila and grand mariner, which are ingredients in the margaritas that he makes me.

Margarita Cupcakes

Here is the recipe that I used and it yielded 24 cupcakes.

 

INGREDIENTS

3 cups of cake flour

1 tablespoon of baking powder

2 1/4 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of room temperature unsalted butter

4 eggs at room temperature

1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons of tequila

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 cup of buttermilk

 

INSTRUCTIONS 

1- Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees F.  Prepare the muffin pans with the liners.

2- In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

3- Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar and the room temp butter for a few minutes.  Then add the eggs one at a time.  Incorporate the vanilla, lime juice and the tequila.  Be warned that at this point the mixture will appear to be too loose.

4- With the mixer on low, start incorporating your dry ingredients into the wet, alternating with the buttermilk.  Do not over mix.  You just want it to be incorporated.  (I mention this because once you add the flour, you can really mess up the outcome of any cupcake by over mixing.)

5- Divide the batter between the lined muffin/cupcake pans and only fill until they are 3/4 full.  Bake the cupcakes about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Do not over bake, I start checking mine after 19 minutes.)

6- Allow to cool on a wire rack.

 

The frosting – 

2 boxes of confectioners sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 1/2 teaspoons of lime juice

2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier

1 teaspoon of tequila

pinch of salt

1- Blend the sugar and butter until smooth.  Add the lime juice, Grand Marnier, tequila, and salt.

2- Pipe the frosting using a star tip onto the cooled cupcakes.

Margarita Cupcakes

Enjoy!  I know that my friends loved them and not only were these delicious but they were beautiful.  I added a thin wedge of lime that I tossed in some sugar before placing on the cupcake.

Have an awesome weekend friends.  I’m ready for a real margarita!

 

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

You know how sometimes you see a recipe on TV and just by hearing the ingredients, you think “That has to be good!”  That’s exactly what happened to me when I heard chef Chef Joe Realmuto, of Nick and Toni’s restaurant give out the recipe for his penne alla vodka.  Of course, the recipe he shared had to be scaled-down considerably from what he makes in the actual restaurant.  The first time that I make any recipe, I follow the instructions to a tee.  Then after tasting, I look for ways to modify the recipe to either make it better or better for me.  Some recipes need very little tweaking, such as this one – it really is my favorite penne alla vodka.

I did make a few adjustments like using gluten free pasta, less spice than it calls for, half the amount of heavy cream, I added fresh basil instead of fresh oregano, and I added chicken to make it more of a complete meal.  This recipe has a few decadent touches (the cream and pancetta) but both in small amounts.  The secret to this pasta is how long the sauce cooks in the oven before it is added to the pasta.  It is an easy pasta to make but granted, the oven cook time makes it more time consuming – I do promise it is worth it.

 

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

Not all a good gluten free pasta was created equal, and Barilla pasta tastes like regular pasta.  If you haven’t tried gluten free pasta before, here is some info on Barilla Gluten Free Pasta:

    • Delicious taste and texture – tastes like regular pasta
    • Made with corn and rice
    • Certified Gluten Free
    • Produced on dedicated gluten free production lines
    • Non-GMO ingredients

Here are the ingredients that I used for this pasta.  I added chicken to make it a full meal, although this can stand on it’s own, even without the chicken, because it is so flavorful and hearty.  Best of all, it is homemade and full of fresh ingredients.

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (or even less if you don’t want it too spicy)

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1 Cup of Vodka

2 (28-ounce) cans peeled San Marzano tomatoes, drained

12 ounces of penne pasta

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons of fresh basil (plus a little more for serving)

1/2 cup of heavy cream (or 3/4 cup, if desired)

1/4 cup parmesan cheese (plus a little more for serving)

1 chicken breast, shredded (I use store-bought rotisserie chicken, you can use 2 chicken breasts as well)

1/4 cup of cooked pancetta (optional)

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

Set the oven at 375 degrees F.  Find a sauté pan that has a lid that can later go in the oven.  Heat the olive oil inside the pan and add the onions and the garlic until translucent.  Then add the dried oregano and the pepper flakes.  Continue to cook for 2 minutes.

Add the vodka to the pan and allow to cook down by half for a few minutes.

Note: Whenever you add alcohol to a pan, be very careful and do it away from the burner.

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

Put on an apron and a face shield (kidding about that last part, kinda).  Drain the 2 28oz cans of San Marzano tomatoes and reserve the liquid for another recipe.  Then add the whole tomatoes to the pan, crushing them in your hand one by one.  I have seen Martha Stewart use kitchen shears to break up whole tomatoes, but it’s not as fun.  Add 2 teaspoons of salt and a pinch of pepper.

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

Cover the pan and place inside the oven for an hour and a half.  Carefully remove the pan from the oven (don’t forget that the handle is hot) and allow to cool while you are cooking the penne pasta.  The sauce will already look delicious.  I use an immersion blender to blend this sauce but a blender or a food processor is recommended.  Return the sauce to the pan once pureed.

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

Cook your pasta following the package instructions until it is al dente.

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

Then add 1/2 cup of cream to the sauce.  They recommend a full cup, but I cut back and it was still fine.  It is totally up to you how much you add as long as it’s a cup or less, so that you don’t dilute all the flavor that you have built up.  Taste for seasonings and if needed, add another pinch of salt and pepper.  Simmer for another 5 minutes.  Your sauce is ready!

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

 

Add the pasta to your pan and 1/4 cup of parmesan and stir.

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

Add the chicken and a few pieces of the pancetta (optional) and simmer for another couple of minutes.

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

Voila!  It is just as delicious as it looks.  There is not a lot of pancetta in this dish, not a lot of cream, not a lot of cheese, but you can totally get away with it because the sauce is so flavorful after cooking in the oven.  There is always a way to cut back the most decadent dishes without completely substituting the ingredients – roasting and allowing flavors to develop make it so that this recipe needs very little else to taste amazing.

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

I think it deserves a close-up.

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

Add a little extra parm if you want…and who doesn’t want?

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

For more Barilla Gluten Free recipe ideas, check out their Pinterest account that shares new recipes all the time!

Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken

Enjoy!

One more thing!  I purchased this pasta at my local BJ’s Wholesale Club.  Visit BJ’s Wholesale Clubs on December 22nd and 23rd to see an in-store Barilla Gluten Free pasta demo at select clubs.

 

 

For more awesome ideas and pasta dishes, check out the delicious options below! Don’t they look amazing?



Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SamsClubMag #CollectiveBias

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This month’s issue of Sam’s Club Healthy Living Magazine talks about being mindful when we eat and encourages us to look for ways that we can cut back on calories, while not sacrificing flavor.  I wanted to contribute one of my favorite recipes to this challenge – Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.  The original recipe calls for heavy cream and butter and well…it’s delicious but not low fat.  I made some simple modifications and I was surprised to see (or taste) that my favorite soup was still amazing, even with a few swap-outs.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Squash Soup

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 large onion, diced

2 pounds of butternut squash

1 apple, cut into chunks

1 (15 ounce) can of pumpkin puree

4 cups of low sodium vegetable or chicken stock

2 teaspoons of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1 cup of low fat milk

 

The first step in this recipe is to roast your butternut squash.  

Note : A good shortcut that will allow you to skip this step altogether is to purchase pre-cut butternut squash – it will not be as flavorful but still delicious and a time-saver.   

Set your oven to 400 degrees.  Carefully cut the squash in half and brush some olive oil on the cut side facing up.  Cook the squash in the oven for 20 minutes.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

 

In the meantime, add the coconut oil to a pot and sauté your onions.  I allow them to cook slowly so that they become somewhat caramelized.

Note: There is no need to cut the onions perfectly, as everything will be pureed at the end.  Allowing your onions to cook slowly and caramelize will add sweetness to your soup; we are not adding sugar like most squash soup recipes.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Remove the butternut squash from the oven and allow to cool.  Slice the skin off and cut into chunks.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Your squash may be cooked all the way through or you may notice that in some areas it is not.  That’s ok because it will continue to cook inside the pot.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

 

Add the pumpkin puree, the diced apple, diced butternut squash, stock, salt, and pepper to the pot with the onions.

Notes:  The pumpkin puree will give this soup a lot of flavor and body.  Make sure that you are not using pumpkin pie filling which is completely different.

Also,  the apple is optional.  If you like a sweeter soup, add it.  Otherwise, you can skip that ingredient.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Cover the pot and simmer over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly.  Next, I get out one of my favorite kitchen tools – the immersion blender.  If you don’t have one, you can use a traditional blender.  I love how I can puree soups right inside the pot.   Once pureed, add the milk and heat the soup through once more.  Make sure the salt level is ok and if not, you can add.  This varies depending on how salty the stock was that we initially added.

Your delicious soup is done.  Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

One more thing, for a touch of decadence (and since we already cut so many calories) you can add a small dollop of creme fraiche to the soup.  #OverTheTop

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients for this post were found at Sam’s Club (mostly the baking aisle).  For more tips on healthy eating, check out Sam’s Club Healthy Living Magazine!

Sam's Club

I’d love to hear about your favorite soup recipe!

 

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Food and Storage Needs With Rubbermaid®

I am so excited to finally be able to share with you this new product that I have been using and loving, called Rubbermaid® fasten + go.  It is new and will be available at Target starting 12/27.  So far I only have one but I am marking my calendar so that I can buy a few more when they are finally available.  So what is it exactly?  Well there are 3 kits available – an entree kit, a soup kit and a sandwich kit. 

I have seen lunch kits before in the stores, but this one is different!  The Rubbermaid® fasten + go kits features:  

  • A removable carry strap that allows for easy transportation 
  • Smaller containers can be removed for customizable meals
  • Containers can be nested for compact storing
  • Lids snap to the base to allow for secure transportation
  • BPA-free, Microwave and Dishwasher Safe

Food and Storage Needs With Rubbermaid®

So far I have only tried the sandwich kit, which consists of the following:

    • Base perfect for square or rectangular bread
    • 1 side container – 1 cup capacity
    • 2 snack containers – ½  cup capacity each
    • Outer lid
    • Removable strap

 

Food and Storage Needs With Rubbermaid®

This is how the kit is packaged at the store, and it is really easy to open and close.

Food and Storage Needs With Rubbermaid®

Sandwiches

First, I wanted to try it out for it’s intended purpose – sandwiches.  My husband often comes home to have lunch or he takes lunch with him.  Here is a simple and delicious sandwich with turkey, havarti cheese and avocado.

Note:  Avocado tends to oxidize pretty quickly, so I brush a little olive oil on the slices of avocado and that seems to keep the color.  I still haven’t found a method that will completely stop them from loosing their green color, but the olive oil seems to work even better than the lemon juice.

Food and Storage Needs With Rubbermaid®

It ended up being a pretty thick sandwich.

Food and Storage Needs With Rubbermaid®

But it still fit nicely inside the container.

Food and Storage Needs With Rubbermaid®

Healthy Eating

If you are looking to start (or continue) eating healthy, the little containers are a great way to portion your sides or snacks.  Below, I placed a hard-boiled egg inside one small container, almonds in another and celery and hummus in the medium container.

Food and Storage Needs With Rubbermaid®

For my boys I would serve a similar lunch, minus the avocado.  I added a small portion of miniature cookies and some veggies with ranch dip.

Food and Storage Needs With Rubbermaid®

Sewing Kit

Of course the organizer in me took over and I started finding other uses for the fasten + go kit.  Here I set up a little sewing kit.  This is great for those of us that can’t sew very well, but need to hem some pants or add a button here and there.

Food and Storage Needs With Rubbermaid®

Jewelry Kit

A jewelry kit!  I recently went on a cruise and all my necklaces were tangled with the earrings by the time that I unpacked.  When I place them inside the kit, they each have a separate compartment and I love that!

Food and Storage Needs With Rubbermaid®

For now, I will use mine for lunches but as soon as they are released in January I will buy a few extras for organizing items around the house.  The kits are available in 3 colors – smoke grey, seafoam green (mine) and marsala red.  I think I will buy the grey ones for storage and another seafoam green for our lunches.

Food and Storage Needs With Rubbermaid®

Do you make lunches for yourself or your family?  Do you have a tip for keeping avocados green?  Help a girl out.

 

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®, Rubbermaid® fasten + go, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #FastenNGo http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

 

 

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BBQ Corn Cakes

Corn Cake Cover

If you follow my Instagram account then you know that I love to cook!  I am not a professional cook, I am a busy mom and wife who loves to sit down with my boys during dinner and hear the stories about their day.  You know what I would love to make for dinner?  Fresh pasta.  Yup, in a perfect world I would be rolling up my sleeves mid-day and start making and cutting perfect noodles.  Then I would dry the noodles and work on my sauce.  It would take hours, but hey, it’s a perfect world!

Well there is nothing wrong with homemade noodles, but who has time during the weeknights for that?  There are days that I have very little time for cooking.  Two days a week for me are extra busy because after school and homework, my son has sports.  Those days I need to crank out a good meal fairly quick without sacrificing flavor.  That meal has to be flavorful, easy and fast.  Oh, and kid approved!  Tall order, right?

With that in mind, last week I went shopping at Walmart and I added these two items to my cart.  Well, I added a ton of items but these are the two stars of today’s post: Steamfresh® Flavor Full Barbecue Sweet Corn and  Farm Rich® Smokehouse Pulled Beef Brisket.  I decided that I would make BBQ Corn Cakes and that I would use as an inspiration “Venezuelan cachapas”.  I am not from Venezuela and this is not at all a traditional recipe, but it was the inspiration behind this idea.  I hoped it would work and you will see below if it did.

Spoiler: It did.

BBQ Corn Cakes

Ingredients for the corn cake:

2 Cups of the Birds Eye Steamfresh® Flavor Full Barbecue Sweet Corn (I used the whole bag)

1/3 Cup Masa Harina (a finely ground flour found in the International section of most markets.  You can probably sub it for finely ground cornmeal.)

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/4 Teaspoon of Pepper

Canola Oil for sautéing the corn cakes

Ingredients for the filling:

Mozzarella cheese (desired amount)

Farm Rich® Smokehouse Beef Brisket (desired amount)

Note: The amount of brisket in the picture was not even a quarter of what was inside the box, so the next day we used the leftovers for brisket sandwiches.

 

BBQ Corn Cakes

I added all the ingredients for the corn cake to a blender (a food processor would work great).  I didn’t have to add any other liquid because the corn had it’s natural juices in the bag but if it is too dry for the blender to “get going”, you can add a tablespoon of milk.  The consistency is meant to be like a thick pancake batter (see picture).

BBQ Corn Cakes

I was able to get 6 patties out of the mix.  I heated a non-stick griddle pan but you can use a sauté pan and add a little bit of the oil.  I cooked each side for about 5 minutes on medium, and was careful not to burn the corn cakes.

I then added some mozzarella cheese and allowed it to melt for a minute.  I followed with the brisket and allowed it to heat through. You may want to put a lid on the pan until you see the cheese has fully melted.

BBQ Corn Cakes

I folded the corn cakes like mini tacos and served them after these pictures.  My family loves it when I make them wait to eat delicious food because I am taking pictures.  Smirk.  It’s ok, I gained back my popularity once they tried them.

There was a little cooking involved, but once that 15 minute process was done, I was left with a full meal.  Sometimes you need shortcuts that don’t taste like shortcuts!  These cakes were not just flavorful, but very filling.  This night it was just me and my two boys but if my husband were joining us, I would be sure to double the recipe.  I sent him a picture of the food and he sent me back an angry emoji face.  Hehe.  Sorry babe.

BBQ Corn Cakes

Also, below is a special limited time offer for you, if you want to try this quick and easy dinner during the week or weekend.  These cakes also make a great appetizer for friends!

For a limited time, earn $0.75 on Birds Eye Vegetables and unlock $1.00 off one Farm Rich® Smokehouse product with Ibotta while supplies last.  If you haven’t used Ibotta, you have to download the app available on iOs and Android. Before you shop, be sure to unlock the rebates for both Birds Eye Vegetables and Farm Rich® Smokehouse. Then, shop! Buy the products that you’ve unlocked at major retailers. Finally, verify your purchase by scanning your barcodes and submitting a photo of your receipt!

Corn Cakes Cover

 

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®, Birds Eye®, and Farm Rich® but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #FullnRichFlavor  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

 

 

 

Easy Berry Trifle

Easy Berry Trifle Cover

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®, Sara Lee®, and Breyers® but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #EasySimpleSweet http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Hello friends!  Summer is almost coming to a close and while the kids have been home from school, all the meals and desserts that I have prepared have one thing in common – they are all easy peasy.  The summer is not a time where you will find me cooking coq au vin (did I even spell that right?  Even my spelling ability takes a dip in the summer).

Kids and adults alike have a sweet tooth and I can’t think of an easier dessert than a bowl of ice cream.  Scoop and serve – voila (why do I keep inserting french words that I am not sure how to spell?).   Of course the trifle in the above picture isn’t quite as easy as serving ice cream but with only a few steps you can make this fancy dessert for friends or even just for your kids.

I love how easy and versatile trifles are.   If you are serving for friends or a nice dinner you can certainly place it in a trifle bowl, but you can make these in simple clear glass cups as well to serve them individually.  The vessel doesn’t affect the taste and anything garnished with fresh fruit looks beautiful anyway!

 

Easy Berry Trifle

 

Here are the ingredients that I used for the trifle.  There are a few steps and shortcuts that I took (the ready-made Sara Lee® pound cake) but you can take even more short cuts if you want.  For example, if you don’t want to cook down berries to make the berry sauce, you can just use jarred preserves.  If you don’t want to whip the cream, use ready-made whipped topping.  This recipe is already easy but you can simplify it even more with a few tweaks.

Ingredients:

1 Butter Pound Cake

16 oz package of Strawberries

12 oz Raspberries

6 oz Blueberries

1 juiced Lemon

2 cups of Heavy Cream for the filling PLUS 1 Cup of heavy cream for the topping

8 oz Mascarpone Cheese (room temperature)

1 1/4 cup of Sugar plus 2 tablespoons

1 teaspoon of cornstarch

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

 

Easy Berry Trifle

 

The first step is slicing the pound cake and then wash the berries.  Remove the tops of the strawberries and slice them.

Easy Berry Trifle

 

For the berry sauce:

Place almost all the strawberries (reserve a couple for the topping) and the raspberries (reserve a few for the topping) in a pot over low heat.  Add the juice of one lemon, the cornstarch and the two tablespoons of sugar allow the berries to start breaking down for a few minutes.  Set aside and allow to cool and thicken.

Easy Berry Trifle

For the whipped filling:

In a mixer whip 2 cups of heavy cream with 1 cup of sugar and the vanilla extract to soft peaks.  Then fold in the mascarpone cheese.   Set mixture aside in a separate bowl because you will need the mixer again.

Mix the remaining one cup of heavy cream with a 1/4 cup of sugar until you get soft peaks.  Set this aside for the topping.

Easy Berry Trifle

Now you are ready to assemble your trifle!  You have the pound cake, the strawberries and the whipped filling with the mascarpone and the plain whipped topping.

Easy Berry Trifle

 

Place a small layer of whipped topping on the bottom of a trifle dish or clear vessel, then top with a layer of the pound cake.  Follow with a layer of the berry sauce and top with whipped filling.  Again pound cake, berry sauce, whipped filling.  As you build the trifle look at the outside of the bowl to make sure that all the layers are somewhat showing.  That’s what makes a trifle so pretty after all.  You can also start to sprinkle in some of the fresh blueberries within the layers, always reserving some for the final topping.

Easy Berry Trifle

 

The final topping will be the plain (not the one with the mascarpone) whipped topping with the fresh berries.  And there she is!

Easy Berry Trifle

 

So easy, so elegant!

Easy Berry Trifle

 

Of course you can serve the trifle on it’s own or with a side of Breyers® ice cream.  Or you can save a few slices of the pound cake and add a few scoops.  That way you have options for your guests, especially picky little ones.

Easy Berry Trifle

 

But when it comes to ice cream, I am a purist.  Breyers® ice cream has a lot of variety and they are made with fresh cream, sugar and milk but my go-to is always the Natural Vanilla.  You know that I live right on the edge of life and food choices.

Easy Berry Trifle

 

If I am feeling especially daring, I add some fudge.  It’s as crazy as I get when it comes to ice cream.  Of course my kids love different toppings – they take after their dad.

Easy Berry Trifle

 

So whether it’s the trifle, the ice cream or both – keep it sweet and simple!

Easy Berry Trifle

By the way, I purchased both the Breyers ice cream and the Sara Lee pound cake at Publix and you can take advantage of $3.00 off any ONE (1) Sara Lee® Frozen Dessert 9.6-30 oz. and Breyers® Ice Cream 48 oz. (combined purchase required) now through 8/28/15 at your local Publix while supplies last.

What are your favorite ice cream flavors and toppings?  Have a great week everyone!

 

 

My Favorite Pesto Recipe

My Favorite Pesto Recipe

 

If you love crusty fresh bread and garlicky goodness then you probably love pesto.  When the basil goes on sale at my local grocery store, I know that I will be breaking out the food processor…and then the breath mints!

I have tried a few pesto recipes but this one is my absolute favorite, because it is delicious and easy.  Here are the ingredients that you need or as The Pioneer Woman would say “The Cast of Characters”.

My Favorite Pesto Recipe

 

Easy Pesto Recipe

2 Cups of Basil Leaves (Usually two full bunches from the grocery store).

1/4 Cup of Pine Nuts

1/2 Cup of Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

2 Cloves of Garlic

1 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (almost a full cup for the pesto mixture and leave some to top off the pesto).

Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients, except the olive oil in the food processor.  Pulse and chop the ingredients.   Gradually add the olive oil and pulse some more until smooth.

 

My Favorite Pesto Recipe

 

It should be bright green and ready to eat.  It will taste better if you wait and let the flavors marry, but who has that kind of discipline? Not I.

My Favorite Pesto Recipe

 

This yields more than we can consume in an evening and I usually store the rest in small canning jars – I keep one in the fridge and freeze the rest.  Remember that extra olive oil?  In order to keep the bright green color of the pesto, I always top it off with a bit of olive oil before putting away.  If the basil leaves oxide a bit. the pesto will still be good, but not as appetizing.  The extra olive oil keeps it tasting and looking delicious!

My Favorite Pesto Recipe

That was easy, wasn’t it?  Just break out the baguette and clean the plate.

 

This posts contains some Amazon affiliate links.  Buying through the links does not affect your price of the item.  As always, thank you for your support of Graceful Order! 

Delicious Roasted Salsa

Delicious Roasted Salsa

 

Today I shared the picture below on my Instagram stating that I was about to make salsa.  Some wanted to know details about the recipe and others had questions about freezing it.  So here is one of my favorite salsa recipes – I hope you love it!

Delicious Roasted Salsa

 

 

Ingredients:

20 tomatoes (Roma tomatoes)

7 jalapeños

2 onions

7 garlic cloves

1 large bunch of cilantro

1-2 tablespoons of salt (depending on the size of tomatoes)

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375.

Cut up the tomatoes and onions into large chunks and spread onto a baking sheet pan.  Remove the caps off the jalapeños, then cut the jalapeños lengthwise, and remove the stem and some of the seeds (read tip below).  Add the 7 whole cloves of garlic.  Toss everything onto 2 sheet pans.

Heat tip: In order to keep the heat off your hands, you may want to wear gloves when cutting up the jalapeños.  For really hot salsa, do not remove the seeds of the jalapeños.  For medium-hot salsa remove the seeds from half of the jalapeños.  For medium salsa, remove all the seeds from the jalapeños.  For mild salsa, hold the jalapeños under running water and remove the seeds and inside membrane of the jalapeño.   

Delicious Roasted Salsa

 

Place the trays in the oven and roast for about an hour.  Check the trays after 45 minutes so that the roasted tomato mixture does not burn.  You should see a bit of char on the edges of the onions or tomatoes, but nothing should look like it’s burning.

Remove the trays from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  When you can handle the contents, place them in a bowl and take them over to your food processor.  I suggest you do the following in 2 or 3 batches to avoid over filling the processor.

Place a good amount of the roasted tomato, onion, jalapeno and garlic mix into the processor, I then add a small bunch of cilantro and a bit of the salt.  Process until desired consistency and then add to a large bowl or container.  Continue to do this in batches until you have used all the roasted mixture and the cilantro bunch (and the salt to taste).

Delicious Roasted Salsa

 

Now we are ready to place your yummy salsa into jars.  This makes about 4-5 large jars depending on the size of the tomatoes you use and the jars, of course.  I like to use a canning funnel for this because it makes pouring easier.  The salsa will still be somewhat hot at this point.

Delicious Roasted Salsa

 

After placing in the refrigerator for a few hours, you are ready to break out the nachos!

Delicious Roasted Salsa

 

Freezing tip:  When I make 5 jars of this salsa, I like to freeze a jar or two because I know that we won’t go through so much salsa.  The problem is that salsa once frozen can get a little watery.  If this does happen, you can always chop up some Roma tomatoes and add them to your defrosted salsa, which should fix the consistency.

For more great ideas for Mexican night, check out the links below!