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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

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

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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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

My Hanging Herb Garden And Summertime Flowers

Pico de Gallo

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Homemade Tamale Pie

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My HomemadeTamale Pie is a combination of cheesy ground pork-topped cornbread and it’s to die for. I add a few secret ingredients to the store-bought cornbread mix that sends this dish over the top.

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Sour Cream And Ricotta Cheese

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Stuffing (2)

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) cast-iron skillet, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, large mixing bowl, aluminum foil, chef’s knife

Ingredients:
2 1/2 pounds of ground pork (substitute ground beef)
1 (15-ounce) box of Krusteaz honey cornbread
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces) of sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup (2 ounces) of whole milk ricotta cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup cream-style corn
3/4 cup enchilada sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onions, small dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
7 tablespoons of RO*TEL, drained
1/4 cup beef stock, unsalted
2 cups of shredded cheese, Mexican blend and/or Colby Jack
1/2 cup of green onions, (white and green parts) thinly sliced, on the bias, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
First, wipe down the cast iron skillet with a paper towel that’s been lightly greased with vegetable oil. Follow the directions of the back of the corn bread box. To a large bowl, add the egg, milk, and vegetable oil. To those ingredients, add in 3 tablespoons of drained RO*TEL, (tomatoes with green chilies), cream corn, ricotta cheese, and sour cream mix to combine. Next, add in the dry ingredients from the box. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mix until just combined. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the cast-iron skillet. Bake for 20 minutes.

While the cornbread is in the oven baking, start the filling for the tamale pie.

In a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat add olive oil with diced onions. Stirring frequently, cook the onions for about 3 to 4 or until soft and translucent. Add minced garlic, stir, cook for 1 minute more.

Next, add in the ground pork, cumin, chili powder, Kosher salt, dried oregano, and black pepper. Stirring frequently, cook the ground pork, onions, and spices for 10 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink, about 6 minutes. To the meat mixture, add the remaining 4 tablespoons of the drained RO*TEL and beef stock, stir to combine. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for another 15 minutes or until all the liquid evaporates. Drain fat, transfer meat mixture to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Take the cornbread (in the skillet) out of the oven. Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the cornbread. Add 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce. Spread evenly over the top. Letting the sauce seep down into the cornbread. Generously top with shredded cheese.

Spray the dull side of the foil with cooking spray. This will ensure the cheese won’t stick. Tightly cover the skillet. Bake for 20 minutes.

Switch oven to broil, remove the foil, broil for 5 minutes until cheese is golden brown. Remove the skillet from the oven and let rest for about 15 minutes to set. Garnish with green onions.

Guacamole, Chunky-Style

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Homemade Chili

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There are times when I crave a bowl of my Homemade Chili. Chili that’s smokey, spicy, and with real depth of flavor. In this recipe, I bring out all the stops. To add texture and sweetness, I like adding shoe peg corn. Shoepeg corn is small sweet white corn kernels, and I believe, is an ingredient that’s underutilized. I’m also a believer in adding a moderate amount of black beans to chili.

Everyone who loves chili knows, the longer it simmers the thicker and better it gets. The making of chili takes a lot of love. If you can dedicate 30 minutes of prep time and a little over an hour of cooking time, I promise you will really love this chili.

Ancho chilies are dried smoked Poblano peppers. They’re a mild pepper with a smokey flavor that’s perfect for chili.

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Limes

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Piquillo Peppers (2)

Piquillo Peppers (1)

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Shoepeg Corn

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Ground Sirloin

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The next day I like to do something a little different. You know how chili’s always better the second day well, that’s when I grab a warm corn tortilla and make a taco. A little Homemade Chili, Pico de Gallo, Chunky-Style Guacamole, and Queso Fresco. YUMMY!

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven with a lid, 10-cup food processor, 3-quart saucepan, 2 small mixing bowls

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds of lean ground sirloin
6 ancho chiles, reconstituted and puréed (yields 1/2 cup of ancho purée)
3 tablespoons of Mexican chocolate (optional)
1 (7-ounce) jar of Piquillo peppers, puréed
3 tablespoons of chili powder
3 packed tablespoons of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of ground cumin
2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
2 tablespoons of smokey paprika
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 chipotle peppers, packed in adobo, seeded and minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 diced red bell peppers
1 diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup of sliced green onions ( reserving the green tops for garnish)
1 large onion, diced
2 (28-ounce) cans of whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 (10.5-ounce) can of beef consommé
2 cups of beef stock, unsalted
1 (15-ounce) can of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) package of frozen shoepeg corn, thawed

Toppings:
cilantro
shredded cheddar cheese
lime wedges
guacamole
diced red onion
sliced tops of green onions
tortilla chips

Directions:
Start by reconstituting the dried ancho chilies. Fill a 3-quart saucepan with 2 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the peppers to the hot water and allow them to soften/reconstitute for 30 minutes.
As shown above, while the dried ancho chilies are reconstituted on the stove, you want to move on to the prep work for the chili.

In the meantime dice the green onions (reserving the green tops for garnish), a Spanish onion, red and green bell peppers, mince the garlic, and seed and mince a jalapeno pepper. Alongside those ingredients, I’ve seeded and chopped a couple of Chipotle peppers. Another ingredient is, I’ve puréed Piquillo peppers and puréed using a food processor then transfer the Piquillo puré to a bowl. I’ve drained and rinsed the black and kidney beans. Thawed the shoepeg white corn.

Next, remove the stems and seeds before adding them to the food processor. Add 1/2 cup (if needed add a 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency) of the cooking liquid to the processor. Pulse until peppers are puréed. After the ancho chilies have been processed, transfer to a bowl, and set aside. then you want to get all your liquids together for the chili, beef broth, beef consomme, and the San Marzano whole tomatoes.

Next, is to get together all the spices for the chili. First, and this is totally optional, is the chocolate. I’m using what’s known as Mexican chocolate. It’s used as a spice and gives a real depth of flavor to the chili. Then there are the standard chili spices, chili powder, ground cumin, sweet and smokey paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, light brown sugar, Kosher salt,  and black pepper. I like to arrange all the spices on a large plate as seen above.

Using a heavy Dutch oven pot over medium heat, start with vegetable oil in the bottom of the pot. To bloom all the spices, add them right in with the vegetable oil. Stirring and mixing all the spices, including the brown sugar. Once the spices release their aroma, add the lean ground sirloin to the pot. Once the meat is combined with the spices, add the Chipotle pepper purée, again, stir to combine. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, the meat for another 10 minutes, or until the meat is brown and cooked through.

Next, add all the diced veggies along with the minced garlic and jalapeno. To that, the tomato paste. Continue stirring all of these ingredients together, making sure the meat and veggies are well combined.

Now for the liquids. Start with the canned whole tomatoes. Once they’re in the pot, using a wooden spoon, start breaking them up. Add the beef consommé and beef broth, again, giving everything a big stir to combine. Still, on medium heat, allow everything to come up to a bubble. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally, simmer for 50 minutes. Once the chili has been simmering for 50 minutes, add the black beans, kidney beans, and shoepeg corn, simmer for another 10 minutes.

Finally, the usual suspects, shredded cheddar, diced red onions, cilantro, lime wedges, and of course some Chunky-Style Guacamole! There you have it my Homemade Chili.

Mexican-Style Corn On The Cob

Chunky-Style Guacamole

Pico De Gallo

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