Archive for the ‘Main Dishes’ Category

Three Days in Mexico with Altos Tequila

From Jalisco to Mexico City, find out all about my amazing trip with Altos Tequila. Distillery tour, historic markets, ATV tour of the agave fields, an incredible hands-on cooking lesson and, of course, tequila tasting.

This post is being sponsored by The Daily Meal and Altos Tequila featuring a distillery tour, copious tequila tastings and an opportunity of a lifetime. All opinions of these ABSOLUTELY AMAZING products are mine.

When I received the word that I was to partake in a whirlwind adventure involving foreign travel, distillery tours, cooking classes in Mexico and tequila tastings I pretty much-starting packing immediately – even before I informed Mr. Fantabulous. Looking at the itinerary, it was a jam-packed three-day jaunt starting from Jalisco and ending in Mexico City. What stuck out for me were 3 things: Olmeca Altos distillery tour and tasting, Mexican cooking experience, and cocktail class, and “pack an outfit that you don’t mind getting dirty or leaving behind”. That last part I was so stoked about. Anytime I can get my hands dirty and get in the thick of things, I’m game!

Day One – Arrival at Olmeca Distillery

Hitting the airport at dark o’thirty in the morning, I welcomed the 5 hour flight for some snooze time. Arriving at the airport I met some fellow writers and hit the ground running. Instead of heading to our hacienda we kicked off this trip with a tour of the Destilería Colonial de Jalisco in Los Altos with Maestro Tequilero Jesús Hernandez. Pulling up to this beautiful place we were immediately met with libations and snacks. As I stood there and gazed upon the beautiful stone building, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the beauty of this place. From the fields of Blue Agave plants to the red soil, it truly was captivating.

Altos Tequila For a smooth, sophisticated tequila, go with Altos Tequila!

Three Meat Stuffed Italian Banana Peppers

Fall is here in the ‘Burgh which means we have an abundance of banana peppers! Today I’m taking the classic stuffed banana pepper and putting an Italian spin on the meat filling and using my Spicy Banana Pepper sauce as well! Perfect for dinner now and dinner later (freezer-friendly!)

Oh Fall how I love you. The cooler weather, hoodies, farmer’s markets with Fall fruits and vegetables and comfort food. For me I’m all about “stocking up” for the winter food-wise. I’ll make huge batches of soups  or chili for both dinner and the freezer. Pans of lasagna or stuffed shells make great freezer meals and then stuffed “stuff”. Growing up this time of year, early October was our “busy” season in the house. Mom was a canning madwoman between apple sauce, apple chutney, 87 million stuffed cabbages and pretty much everything else she could stuff. She’d regular stuffed green peppers (which I HATED – still do actually) for the family and my one brother she’d make stuffed banana peppers.

First, I cannot stand green peppers. They taste complete different from red/orange/yellow peppers.. they are more bitter. And of course Mom never grew the ‘fancy’ peppers. LOL And for the banana peppers my brother would get those from a neighbor and only he would eat them. I never had them as I was a wuss and thought they were hot. Yeah I know, idiot. LOL

Italian Meat Stuffed Banana Peppers

It wasn’t until years later did I try one at a restaurant and was like “Whoa!  These are awesome!”. Now it did take me a few tries to get the heat level right as I will tell you this, the first time I made them they were so hot that I actually had a blister form in the roof of my mouth!

That is not these. *smile*
These have just a hint of heat with amazing Italian flavors!

Sheet Pan Applewood Bacon Top Pork Tenderloin with Herbed Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

Get your deliciousness on with this one pan meal! Sheet Pan Applewood Bacon Top Pork Tenderloin, Herbed Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts is the perfect meal when you want simple, delicious and it all done on one pan!

Question, who, after a long and busy day, wants to stand over a stove cooking dinner tonight while using multiple pots and pans and then, once you’re done eating, washing all of those dirty dishes?  Anyone? Yeah, I thought not.. no one wants to do that. Well okay, I kind of like washing dishes by hand as it’s therapeutic and that’s the one time I’m in the kitchen and not bothered. Most hate washing dishes.

If you’re in that group that hates it then you are going to love this recipe! You have one dirty pan to wash and that’s questionable if you use heavy duty foil!. In that case, you really have no pans to wash. AND if you wanted you wouldn’t even have to use plates; just eat off of the pan. AND you could skip using forks and just eat it caveman-style. But unless you go all barbaric and rip the pork tenderloin with your hands, you’ll need one sharp knife to cut the pork. So literally one knife (and about 42 napkins) and you’re ready to eat!

Sheet Pan Applewood Bacon Top Pork Tenderloin, Herbed Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

When I think about sheet pan cooking I think of my Mom. She was the queen of sheet pan cooking. If it could be made on a sheet pan she was doing it. It was easy, little to no clean-up and she could make full meals. Now, to be honest, Mom would have multiple sheet pans in the oven at once as one was typically all meat and the other pan were veggies. And yes, she still would put stuff on the stovetop to which every meal was like a mini Thanksgiving but she cooked for a small army.

Do you have a favorite sheet pan recipe?

Sheet Pan Smoked Kielbasa with Herbed Potatoes and Green Beans

Get your deliciousness on with this one pan meal! Sheet Pan Smoked Kielbasa, potatoes and green beans make up a delicious dinner in no time plus it’s perfect for weekly meal prep…or when you only want to wash one dish!

So with my really being limited to what I can and cannot do in the kitchen, I have to rely on Mr. Fantabulous to do most of the cooking. And since I’m 1-armed if you will he’s also the one that has to do the dishes. Sure we have a brand new dishwasher but we rarely use it. I know, we’re weird. Since he’s bearing the brunt of all of the house work, yard work and construction stuff I try to keep dinner easy as possible while delicious.

When we were at the store he spied fresh green beans. Now this man loves these things. I mean he’ll eat them raw. Now I like many vegetables raw, green beans are not one of them. Growing up he would have loved being in my parents garden with me as one of my jobs was to pick the beans. And having 41 acres, we grew A LOT of beans. Now when I make green beans I tend to go to one of my all time favorite Green Beans recipe – Grown Up Green Beans. It takes all of the elements of that Thanksgiving green bean casserole but makes it all fancy schmancy. And no canned soup. Yes, it’s ok in a pinch but please, make homemade!

Sheet Pan Smoked Kielbasa, potatoes and green beans

Anyway, there was no way I could ask Mr. Fantabulous to make that as, while it’s not hard or complicated, he’s still not a huge fan of cooking. Eating yes; cooking no. lol While we were shopping I picked up some potatoes and kielbasa just because those are quick and easy meals. And that’s when it hit me – Sheet Pan dinner.

Sheet pan dinners are super easy and delicious!

Mom’s Classic Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

No summer cookout is complete without a tray of stuffed cabbages! Tender cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, seasoned ground meats and a rich tomato sauce make this the perfect summer comfort food. Plus these freeze beautifully!’

This dish, God this dish brings back so many childhood memories that I literally sat here for 30 minutes in a daze just remembering some of them. Like there was the time we were harvesting cabbages from our garden and we each got to pick a single plant that we were in charge of to take care of. Whoever grew the biggest cabbage won. The prize was Mom would cook our favorite dessert to go with her famous stuffed cabbages. That summer I ended up winning. This cabbage was so huge that I couldn’t lift it. I know I have a picture of me trying to hold it on my lap. I’ll dig it out to share the pic once my arm is better.

Then there are the countless memories where our kitchen was soooooooooooooo hot (we didn’t have AC growing up and we only had window fans) and Mom had 3 large canning pots on the stove with boiling water making hundreds of stuffed cabbages. I can still remember that hot cabbage smell and hot/wet air in the kitchen. Dad would use the tongs to pull out the leaves, put them in the colander and my Mom, sister and I would each trim the stems.

When Mom made stuffed cabbages it was never just a pan for dinner or just enough for a single meal. Oh no, not in my house. You made enough for dinner, leftovers, enough for company to take some home and enough for the freezer. Mom’s kitchen and cooking style are you cook in bulk and never, ever waste anything.

Summer means cookouts, gatherings and stuffed cabbages!

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