Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Homestyle Taco Meat

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The key to a really great taco is the meat. Simmered low and slow with a lot of bold flavors can take a taco to the next level. Don’t stop there, pick your choice of a vessel to serve your tacos, also important. Finally, finish by using your favorite ingredients full of bright colors and textures to fill your tacos. Eye candy is the best phrase I’d use to describe these tacos.

This is my recipe for Homestyle Taco Meat.

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Oregano

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I’m using two fresh herbs for my tacos. Oregano from my Hanging Herb Garden and fresh cilantro.

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Stuffing (2)

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Olive Oil

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Arugula

Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice With Black Beans

If you want my recipe for Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice With Black Beans, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

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You can choose between using plum tomatoes or grape tomatoes for your Pico de Gallo.

Pico de gallo

If you’d like my recipe for Pico de Gallo, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

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If you’d like my recipe for Chunky-Style Guacamole, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

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How about these Tex-Mex-Style Baguette Pizzas? Buy a jar of your favorite taco sauce to smear over grilled baguettes, top with shredded cheese. Place them under the broiler until the cheese becomes lightly golden brown and bubbly. Top with my Homestyle Taco Meat and fresh Pico de Gallo.

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Red Onion

Diced Red Onion (2)

Cilantro

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yields: 4 servings (12 tacos)
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven, chef’s knife, 3 large mixing bowls

Note: A variety of fresh salsas and Pico de gallo are now available in the refrigerated section of the produce department in most grocery stores. Take advantage of these products to use as ingredients for taco meat, even guacamole.

Ingredients For Taco Meat:
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 pounds of ground pork (substitute ground chicken, lean ground sirloin, or turkey)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced (substitute jalapeno)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 tablespoons of taco seasoning
1 lime, juiced
4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups of beef stock, unsalted
3/4 cup of store-bought fresh salsa (cantina-style)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup of sliced green onions, reserve green tops for garnish, thinly slice the tops on the bias

Ingredients For Taco Seasoning:
1 1/2 tablespoons of chili powder
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano

Note: Recipe yields approx. 1/4 cup of taco seasoning.
Note: 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning per pound of ground meat.

Directions For Taco Seasoning:
Add all the ingredients for the taco seasoning into a medium-size mixing bowl. Mix to combine.

Tip: Store taco seasoning, in an airtight container, in a dry cool place.

Options For Tacos:
2 boxes of crunchy taco shells (substitute soft corn tortillas)
2 (8-ounce) packages of Mexican blend shredded cheese
limes
Arugula
Avocados
Red onion, finely diced
Cilantro for garnish
Green onion tops for garnish

Directions For Taco Meat:
Set the pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and the diced onions. Stir and cook until the onions begin to soften and become translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ground pork, 4 tablespoons of the taco seasoning, diced green onions (the white parts), minced Fresno chili, minced garlic, dried oregano, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper into the pan.

Using a wooden spoon break up the meat. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is no longer pink, 10 to 12 minutes. Add tomato paste and fresh Pico de gallo, stir to combine. Next, add the Worcestershire sauce, fresh lime juice, and beef stock. Bring everything up to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, simmer, stirring occasionally, uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes.

At this point, all the liquid and seasonings have absorbed into the meat giving you a deep beefy flavor. Turn the heat off and add in the sliced green onion tops and cilantro leaves, mix to combine.  Transfer to a large serving bowl. It’s Taco Night!

To serve. I prefer the crunchy taco shells but really it’s totally up to you! This is my HomestyleTacos Meat.

Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice With Black Beans

Chunky-Style Guacamole

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Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

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During the colder months here in Florida, I love making one-pot meals like soups and stews. Chili is definitely one of our favorites. I’ve played around with some recipes and found I like this one the best. It’s easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of prep. The best part is… everything’s done in the slow cooker! This is my Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili.

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Crock Pot

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Cilantro

Limes

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Avocado

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: soaking beans overnight
Total  Time:  6 hrs 45 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 7-quart Crockpot, chef’s knife, large mixing bowl, 1 (2-cup) measuring cup

Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 pound of dried Great Northern beans, soaked and rinsed
2 ribs of celery, diced and cut into half-moons, include chopped leafy tops
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 (4-ounce) cans of  Hatch green chilies, chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 quart of chicken stock, unsalted
1 cup of whole milk
1/4 cup Masa
1 (15-ounce) package of frozen corn
2 limes, 1 juiced, 1 cut into wedges for serving
1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese, freshly grated, 1/2 cup reserved for serving
2 avocados, sliced for garnish
Cilantro for garnish
corn tortilla chips for serving

Directions:
The night before, pour 1 pound of dried Great Northern beans into a large mixing bowl. Cover the beans, by 3 inches, with water, cover, and place on the counter. The next day, drain and rinse the beans to remove any excess starch.

Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the cumin, coriander, oregano, paprika, red pepper flakes, white pepper, and Kosher salt. Sprinkle the spices over the chicken. Add the beans, celery, garlic, canned chilies, onions, and diced bell pepper.

Pour in the chicken broth, put the lid on and cook on low until the beans are cooked through, about 6 hrs.

Mix the milk with the Masa in a small bowl then add to the slow cooker. Add the frozen corn, straight from the freezer, and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken to a board and shred using two forks. Return to the slow cooker, then add the lime juice, sprinkle in the Monterey Jack cheese and stir to melt.

To serve: Ladle the chili into a porcelain serving bowl, garnish with extra cheese, cilantro, avocado slices, and a lime wedge. Place a few tortilla chips in or on the side for garnish. This is my Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili. Serve hot.

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California-Style ABLT (Avocado, Bacon, Lettuce, And Tomato)

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A BLT is a staple in American cuisine. Needing only a few simple ingredients means using only ingredients of the highest quality. This California-Style ABLT (Avocado, Bacon, Lettuce, And Tomato) is a whole different level of deliciousness. Thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, thick-sliced heirloom tomatoes, and leafy greens make the ultimate BLT sandwich. Avocado puts the “A” in BLT giving a much-loved traditional sandwich a California-style makeover.

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons (3)

Tuscan Soup (36)

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Toppings

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 2 servings
Equipment: 1 rimmed baking sheet pan with a rack, 12-inch sauté pan, small mixing bowl

Ingredients:
8 slices of thick-cut applewood bacon
2 heirloom tomatoes, 1/2-inch thick slices
Romaine lettuce, substitute leafy greens
1 sliced avocado
1 (7-ounce) store-bought container of fresh basil pesto
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup of good mayonnaise
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted
4 slices of Ciabatta Bread, buttered and toasted

Pesto Mayonnaise:
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1 heaping tablespoon of fresh store-bought basil pesto

Directions For Pesto Mayonnaise:
In a small mixing bowl add 1/2 cup of mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon of fresh basil pesto, stir to combine.

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees F.
Place the rack in the lower third of the oven. Use a foiled covered baking sheet with a rack. This makes for crispier bacon because it cooks the bacon from all sides. The bacon should take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes. Check the bacon progress after 12 minutes. Once fully cooked, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel.

In a sauté pan over medium heat melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Cooking two slices of bread at a time, rub one side of each slice of bread in the butter and flip it over and rub the other side. Once both sides are coated in butter, cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until light golden brown. Repeat this process for the next two slices.

Spread a light coating of pesto mayo on all four slices. Place the lettuce down first, then the bacon, then tomato, with a very light sprinkling of Kosher salt, and then the avocado with another sprinkling of Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Set the tops on each sandwich and they’re ready to serve This is my secret to making a great California-Style ABLT (Avocado, Bacon, Lettuce, And Tomato).

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