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Category: Recipes

  1. Thursday, August 11

    Cora’s Mexican Ground Beef Tacos

    I have to confess something. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to Mexican food. I blame living 20-40 miles from the Mexican border for eight of the last 15 years, with the other seven years still being in California. One of my biggest fears of moving away from the San Diego area is that I won’t be able to access my favorite Mexican ingredients for cooking at home. No, really, it’s a true FEAR.

    Cora's Mexican Ground Beef Tacos | from @janemaynard

    Now that you know I’m a snob, I have another confession to make. Ground beef tacos are not my favorite and I refer to them as “gringo tacos” in my head (especially when crispy taco shells are involved). This isn’t to say Mexican cuisine does not include seasoned ground beef for tacos, it’s just not my first pick and ground beef is never on the menu at any of my favorite Mexican restaurants. That all said, I will still eat and even cook ground beef tacos occasionally, it’s just never my first choice.

    While we were visiting family the last few weeks, however, my sister-in-law Cora (who is a wonderful cook as well as a crazy talented photographer) made the best ground beef tacos I’ve ever had. Her Mexican friend Zu taught her how to make this delectable taco meat, and Cora has now passed that wisdom on to you and me.

    Cora's Mexican Ground Beef Tacos | from @janemaynardPlease note: The amount of meat you see in the picture above is the recipe below doubled.

    First off, you will not need taco seasoning packets ever again. Stop buying them.

    Secondly, after you make this taco meat, you will want to eat 10 tacos. You’ve been warned. (After Nate’s umpteenth taco he declared, “Why are these SO GOOD?!”)

    Cora's Mexican Ground Beef Tacos | from @janemaynard

    Thank you, Cora, for bringing ground beef tacos back into my life in the most delicious way.

    Cora's Mexican Ground Beef Tacos
     
    My sister-in-law Cora gave me this recipe. Her Mexican friend taught her how to make this meat and it is scrumptious!
    Author:
    Serves: 8
    Ingredients
    • 1½ pounds ground beef
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder (Cora prefers chipotle chili powder)
    • 1 teaspoon paprika (Cora uses smoked paprika)
    • 1 teaspoon oregano
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1½ - 2 tsp seasoned salt (to taste)
    • 1 handful chopped fresh cilantro
    • ½ onion, diced
    • 1 pint quartered grape tomatoes
    Instructions
    1. Brown beef over medium heat in a large, preferably deep, skillet. Use a potato masher to really break down the meat as it cooks. (The potato masher is the secret trick to this recipe!)
    2. When the beef is about halfway browned, drain off excess fat, then add the diced onion and seasonings. Continue browning, then add the chopped cilantro and tomatoes.
    3. Reduce heat to low and cook until tomatoes and onions melt into the beef mixture, at least 20 minutes. You can add a bit of water as it cooks if needed.
    4. Awesome served with fresh homemade salsa (like this one), pico de gallo and Cholula hot sauce...but you can eat it however you want!

     

     


  2. Friday, July 29

    Cora’s Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe + The BEST Way to Eat Banana Bread (How have I never done this?!)

    Right now I’m in New Jersey visiting my family. Despite the fact that my sister-in-law Cora had a baby just six weeks ago, she has still been caught cooking us delicious food. Yesterday she made four loaves of banana bread, which (unsurprisingly) are already gone! Cora has been kind enough to share her sour cream banana bread recipe with us today. Everyone say thank you, Cora! {Thank you, Cora!}

    Cora's Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe from @janemaynard

    Cora’s recipe is wonderful and tastes like butter. The day it is baked, the top is wonderfully crispy, while the bread itself is soft and moist. And as happy as I am to now have Cora’s great recipe, I’m even more happy about the fact that Cora and my brother Christian shared the greatest tip ever for eating banana bread.

    The Best Way to Eat Banana Bread | Cora's Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe from @janemaynard

    You know how when you make banana bread or brownies or whatever that has a crispy top and it goes soft over night? WELL…Cora and Christian always toast their slices of banana bread and then slather the slices with butter. The top gets crispy again, the edges are awesome, and the bread stays soft and delicious. And then, of course, melted butter. It’s basically the greatest and I may never eat banana bread any other way again. These toasty slices of heaven might be even better than fresh-from-the-oven banana bread. Crazy talk, I know, but true.

    The Best Way to Eat Banana Bread | Cora's Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe from @janemaynard

    Enjoy! BonANA Appétit!

    Cora's Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    From my wonderful sister-in-law Cora, who is an excellent cook!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Baking
    Serves: 2 loaves
    Ingredients
    • ⅔ cup butter
    • 1⅓ cup sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract (either are delicious!)
    • 1½ cup mashed bananas
    • 2¾ cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ c sour cream
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
    2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
    3. Add vanilla or coconut extract then add eggs, beating well after each egg.
    4. Add mashed bananas and mix well.
    5. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
    6. Beating on low, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients until just combined. Add ¼ cup of the sour cream, beat on low until just combined. Repeat with ⅓ of the dry ingredients, then the rest of the sour cream, then finishing with the last ⅓ of the dry ingredients, making sure to mix until just combined with each addition.
    7. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans and bake for 40-45 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

     


  3. Thursday, June 30

    Summer Grilling: Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad

    {Cue music} Summertiiiiime and the grilling is eeeasyyyy. That’s right, forget the kitchen, it’s time to start cooking all of the foods on the grill. I’ll admit, I use my outdoor grill all year, but it’s especially lovely to cook outside in the summer, and pretty much a necessity when the weather gets hot.

    Recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard The Salmon Council approached me to develop another recipe with them, this time focusing on the grill. Of course I said yes because grilling salmon is my most favorite way to prepare it. The result was this delicious grilled brown sugar bourbon salmon pecan salad that our whole family loved. (Well, everyone except Owen, but he is a 4-year-old who cannot be trusted when it comes to food.)

    Recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard - Preparing the ingredientsRecipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard - Marinating the SalmonRecipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard - Grilling the SalmonRecipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard - Hot off the Grill

    As part of the recipe challenge, the Salmon Council sent me a box of Grill Mates goodies from McCormick. They sent many wonderful Grill Mates products, but the Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade Mix caught my eye. I decided marinated grilled salmon would taste wonderful over a mixed green salad and perfect for summer. Then I started thinking more about the spicy marinade mix and had a feeling it would be good on candied pecans. I was right! These candied brown sugar bourbon pecans are awesome on salad…or even alone as a snack! The nuts are bursting with flavor with just a hint of sweet. So good.

    Recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard - Roasted Pecansbrown-sugar-bourbon-salmon-and-pecan-salad-this-week-for-dinner-prep-nuts-web

    I am so glad I had the chance to work with the Salmon Council and McCormick on this project because this recipe now exists. Enjoy!

    Recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard

    Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon and Pecan Salad
     
    Author:
    Serves: 4-6
    Ingredients
    • 1½ pounds salmon filet, skin on
    • 2 packages McCormick Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade Mix
    • ¼ cup oil
    • 3 tablespoons water, divided
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
    • 1 cup pecan pieces
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon butter
    • Mixed Greens (approximately 5-6 ounce package should be good)
    • Sliced tomatoes
    • Ricotta Salata
    Instructions
    1. In a 9x13 baking dish, whisk together 1 package of the McCormick Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade mix, ¼ cup oil, 2 tablespoons of the water and the vinegar.
    2. Place salmon filet in the dish, skin side down, then flip over so skin side is facing up. Cover dish with foil and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
    3. While salmon is marinating, preheat oven to 350º F and prepare the brown sugar bourbon pecans by placing the pecan pieces in a small bowl and tossing with HALF of the other Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade packet. (You will have one half packet leftover...save it for another day!)
    4. In a small bowl mix together 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of the water and 1 teaspoon butter. Microwave for 20 seconds.
    5. Pour brown sugar mixture over the spiced nuts and stir until evenly coated. Spread nuts on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, stir, then bake for 5 minutes more. Remove from oven, stir, and let cool. Be sure to stir and break up the nuts as they cool so they don't stick to each other or the foil.
    6. When the salmon has been marinating for about 45 minutes, preheat the grill to medium heat, around 500º F.
    7. When salmon has marinated for 1 hour, remove from fridge and, using the foil that covered the dish, place the salmon skin side down on the foil, folding up the edges of the foil to catch any liquid that cooks off while on the grill. Spoon marinade from the dish onto the salmon and spread evenly.
    8. Place foil with salmon on center of the grill, close the lid and cook for 10-15 minutes, until salmon is fairly easy to flake apart. Remove from grill.
    9. Toss mixed greens with seasoned nuts, sliced tomatoes and ricotta salata. Plate mixed greens and top with grilled salmon. Serve with your favorite salad dressing.

    Thank you to the Salmon Council for sponsoring today’s post!


  4. Monday, June 6

    How to Make an Italian Soda Bar

    Last Friday Nate and I hosted our second annual lip sync/deaf man’s karaoke party (which was hysterical, by the way). Anyway, for the first annual lip sync party I created an Italian soda bar. It was delicious and fun, so I decided to make it a lip sync tradition and did it again this past weekend. Today I’m sharing some quick tips for how to make an Italian soda bar so you can do it, too! It’s perfect for summertime parties, but my kids love making their soda any old time. 😉

    How to Make an Italian Soda Bar - The Supplies | From @janemaynard

    How to Make an Italian Soda Bar from @janemaynard

    What you need for an Italian soda bar:

    • Club soda or sparkling mineral water. Seltzer water works, too, but the club soda/sparkling mineral water has a little more flavor that compliments the Italian syrup nicely.
    • Italian flavored syrup, like Torani. I went to Cost Plus World Market to buy my syrup, but you can also find it on Amazon. I provided six flavors for people to choose from. FYI: Vanilla goes nicely with every flavor, so that’s a good one to have.
    • Half & Half or Cream: Both half & half and cream work, and it gives your Italian soda a certain je ne sais quoi (or however you’d say that in Italian).
    • Cups & Straws: The people need something to mix their drink in and with! I buy clear plastic 16-ounce cups with lids. For some reason the lids really impress people. The straws work for stirring and drinking.
    • Ice: Be sure to have a big bowl of ice at the ready for your guests!
    • Vodka (optional): If you want to spike your soda, vodka is a good neutral-flavored option.

    How to Make an Italian Soda Bar from @janemaynard | Mixing the drinks!

    How to Make an Italian Soda:

    • Fill glass halfway with ice.
    • Add about 6 pumps of syrup for a 16-ounce cup. Feel free to mix and match flavors!
    • Add club soda, leaving about an inch at the top of the cup. If using vodka, add 1-2 ounces of vodka to the cup before adding the club soda.
    • Add a splash of half & half or cream (about 1 tablespoon).
    • Stir gently with a straw.
    • Enjoy!

    How to Make an Italian Soda Bar from @janemaynard

    That’s it! Creating an Italian soda bar is seriously super easy and it looks impressive at a party. {You’re welcome.} Plus, the syrups last pretty much forever, so that’s nice, too! Enjoy!


  5. Wednesday, May 4

    Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies + FairHer, Celebrating the Women of Fair Trade (+ a Giveaway!)

    Mother’s Day is just around the corner, which means two things for me. First, I am planning on not cooking this Sunday, or even parenting much at all (that’s how I like my Mother’s Day, nice and lazy). Second, I’m teaming up with Fair Trade USA once again to celebrate the amazing women farmers of fair trade! I think this might be my 4th Fair Trade Mother’s Day recipe and giveaway…I’ve lost track! Anyway, since it’s not Mother’s Day quite yet, I am still in the kitchen and today I’ve cooked up a batch of double chocolate coconut cookies that I am certain you will love.

    Recipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHerRecipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer

    But before we get to the recipe we need to meet a farmer. And do a giveaway, which includes tons of awesome fair trade goodies. Let’s go!

    This year Fair Trade is focusing on the women of fair trade through their #FairHer campaign. Like ONE, another non-profit organization I work with frequently, Fair Trade recognizes how important it is to help women in order to tackle poverty. In fact, you can’t tackle poverty without focusing on women. And the work Fair Trade does empowers women in many ways, especially given that women produce more than 50% of the world’s food (ummmm…btw…they only own 2% of the land).

    Fair Trade USA #FairHer - Fair Trade is Good for Women

    To make this all a little more real, I’d like you to meet one of those women farmers, Virginia Jimenez, a sugar cane farmer & member of the CORA Cooperative, a Fair Trade Certified organic sugar producer in Paraguay. Gimenez has been involved with sugar cane all her life, as both her father and late husband were sugar cane producers. Her late husband, Mario Miranda, joined CORA in 2010 and died a year later. Gimenez, a mother of four, has taken over as the CORA-affiliated producer.

    Virginia Jimenez, Fair Trade Farmer with CORA in Paraguay | Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies | This Week for Dinner

    Here are a few of Virginia’s thoughts: “For us, the access to machinery that CORA provides is key for our annual production [note: according to CORA, they are able to lend the use of machinery at low or no cost by using some of the Fair Trade premium fund]. I also like the ideals behind CORA. Their strict rules are good for our society. For example, the controls regarding the use of child labor is very good. The safety workshops have also been great help. And the idea of producing organic sugar cane without chemicals is very important. My husband believed strongly in this. If we were able to increase our earnings, whether from sales or from the premium fund, I would like to see our health services improved. We do not have medical attention here on a daily basis. If a poisonous snake bites someone, we have to go really far.”

    So, keep an eye out for that fair trade symbol on the food you buy. It’s helping wonderful women like Virginia. A sincere thank you to Virginia for sharing her story and thoughts with us!

    FairHer Giveaway, a collection of awesome Fair Trade Certified Goodies from @janemaynard

    I mentioned a giveaway, didn’t I? Fair Trade USA sent me a package of goodies to provide inspiration for today’s recipe, and one of you lucky people will receive the same package! It just might be their best one yet. Click here to read about all of the products included!

    Here’s how to enter the giveaway! (Comments must be posted by Midnight PT 5/11/16):

    I think it’s time to get cooking with all these yummy fair trade ingredients!

    Recipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer | Sliced coconut and Guittard baking wafersRecipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer | Guittard baking wafers and Lake Champlain Cocoa

    Today’s cookies may not be fancy but they are pretty much perfect. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, these chocolate cookies are filled with dark chocolate and coconut, one of my favorite flavor combinations. And there are so many ingredients in these cookies that can go fair trade, from the sugar to the vanilla to the chocolate! For this batch I used Guittard’s organic semisweet chocolate baking wafers, which are my favorite chocolate chips to use in any cookie recipe. I also used Lake Champlain’s organic unsweetened cocoa, another fabulous chocolate source that I can’t get enough of.

    Recipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer | Cookie DougRecipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer | Cookies on the Tray

    Enjoy! And Happy Mother’s Day!

    Recipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer

    Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Serves: 3 dozen
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 1½ cup brown sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • Generous ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
    • 1¼ teaspoon baking soda
    • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 1 cup unsweetened coconut (I love wide sliced)
    • 1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips (I love Guittard's baking wafers)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
    2. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix together the butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for approximately 5 minutes. (Yes, 5 MINUTES...you want it to mix for a long time.)
    3. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on medium speed for another 2-3 minutes.
    4. Place a sifter over the bowl and add the salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour and cocoa powder to the sifter, then sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix on low until just mixed.
    5. Add coconut and chocolate chips and mix with a large spoon until evenly distributed.
    6. Place dough in 2-tablespoon dough balls on a cookie sheet, leaving a few inches between each cookie.
    7. Bake for about 12-14 minutes. The cookies shouldn't look wet beneath the surface (if that makes sense).
    8. When you take them out of the oven, drop the pan flat onto the counter or stovetop to force the cookies to settle.
    9. Let cool a few minutes before eating. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Dough balls can also be frozen and cookies cooked from a frozen state, you just may need to add 1 or 2 minutes to the cook time.

     


  6. Friday, April 22

    Super Easy Chicken for Tacos That Tastes Awesome

    Hi friends. Today’s recipe isn’t really a recipe at all. I would say it’s more of a kitchen tip and one that I am loving. Today I’m going to tell you how to make super easy chicken for tacos that tastes so good. And when I say easy, I mean easy.

    Easy Chicken for Tacos that Tastes Great! from @janemaynard

    My cousin Jamie gave me this idea and I will be forever grateful to her. We were cooking up tacos one night and had chopped up a bunch of grilled chicken thighs. Jamie grabbed some leftover taco seasoning and tossed it in the bowl. GENIUS. The chicken turned out awesome and now I make it this for tacos all the time.

    Easy Chicken for Tacos that Tastes Great! | Penzeys Taco Seasoning | from @janemaynard

    You can use any taco seasoning, but my favorite is from Penzeys. Not only does this seasoning taste great, but it comes in a jar, so you can use as much or as little as you want. It’s so much better than a packet.

    Easy Chicken for Tacos that Tastes Great! from @janemaynard

    Also, I always grill my chicken and while this is super tasty with chicken breasts, chicken thighs are definitely my favorite. Just grill up the meat, cut into bitesized pieces, then toss with taco seasoning.

    This seasoned chicken is also great on salad or in a wrap. Basically it’s the best. You’re welcome.


  7. Wednesday, March 30

    PB&P Sandwiches (aka Pear Brie and Prosciutto Grilled Cheese) + A Tasty Giveaway!

    Forget PB&J. Or PB&H. Today I give you PB&P! And it has nothing to do with peanut butter. But it is a sandwich. And it has everything to do with savory pear sauce, brie and prosciutto. That’s right, pear brie prosciutto grilled cheese sandwiches…PB&P! And this sandwich is scrumptious.

    PB&P Sandwiches, aka Pear Brie Prosciutto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from @janemaynard

    It’s springtime, so fruit is in the air. (Along with love, but that’s another blog post for another blog, really.) Libby’s hired me to develop a recipe using one of their canned fruits to celebrate the spring season. I immediately thought of canned pears (one of my favorite foods growing up!) and wanted to try out a fun savory twist. Enter the PB&P.

    PB&P Sandwiches, aka Pear Brie Prosciutto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from @janemaynard

    I love brie in a melted state. And I love the combination of salty prosciutto with sweet fruit. And I love bread. So, basically, today’s sandwich is the love of my life. The sandwich itself is quite simple – bread, sliced brie and prosciutto with a smattering of savory pear sauce. The layers of flavor are delicious, and the texture is perfect. Oh, and by the way, the savory pear sauce is so good and beyond easy to make. And, even though this is a great sandwich for springtime, by using canned pears it not only simplifies the recipe, but you can make this any time of year!

    PB&P Sandwiches, aka Pear Brie Prosciutto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from @janemaynardPB&P Sandwiches, aka Pear Brie Prosciutto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from @janemaynard

    Before we get to the recipe, Libby’s has a giveaway for you today! One lucky winner will receive this super cute Crate & Barrel Six Bottle Spice Box along with an assortment of Libby’s Fruit, so you can get creative in the kitchen, too! Simply leave a comment on this post to enter! Comments must be posted by midnight PT on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 and prize must be shipped within the U.S.

    Savory Pear Sauce for PB&P Sandwiches, aka Pear Brie Prosciutto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from @janemaynard - Libby's Spring Giveaway

    Good luck to all on the giveaway…and now for the recipes! Enjoy!

    PB&P Sandwiches (aka Pear Brie Prosciutto Grilled Cheese)
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Serves: 1
    Ingredients
    • 2 slices good quality bread
    • 1 thin slice prosciutto
    • About 4 thin slices brie
    • 1-2 tablespoons savory pear sauce (see recipe below)
    • Butter
    Instructions
    1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat about 5 minutes.
    2. While pan is heating up, spread pear sauce on 1 slice of bread.
    3. On the second slice of bread, place the brie slices evenly to cover then top with prosciutto.
    4. Put the sandwich together, then butter the top.
    5. Place sandwich butter side down in the pan, then butter the other side (that is now facing up).
    6. Cook sandwich over medium heat until both sides are golden brown.

     
    Savory Pear Sauce
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Serves: 1 cup
    Ingredients
    • 1 15-ounce can Libby's pear halves, drained but reserving 2 tablespoons of the juice
    • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced onions (about ⅛ of a small onion)
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • ⅛ teaspoon salt
    • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
    • Couple shakes of ground pepper
    Instructions
    1. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
    2. Add 2 tablespoons of the pear juice to the pan, then the drained pears. Break the pears up with a spatula a bit. Add salt, ginger and pepper and stir well.
    3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to about medium-low, making sure to maintain a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and smashing up the pears each time you stir. The final consistency should be saucy with lumps.

    This post was sponsored by Libby’s – I received compensation in exchange for work performed. Price per serving for the PB&P sandwich is approximately $2.00.


  8. Thursday, March 24

    Homemade Baked Samosas

    Today I’m sharing a recipe for flaky, baked homemade samosas that don’t really taste that much like real fried samosas and are a lot of work but are also super delicious. How’s that for selling a recipe?

    Homemade Baked Samosas using puff pastry from @janemaynard

    My friend Traci wanted to make homemade samosas and found two recipes for baked samosas, one from The Kitchn that uses egg roll wrappers and another on Food 52 that uses puff pastry. We got together one Friday morning and tried making the puff pastry version. It took hours. I don’t know, maybe our chatting made us slow, but I don’t think so. In the end it’s a recipe with several steps, one of which involves rolling out each samosa individually and stuffing them. It can get time consuming, especially if you are making a lot of samosas. Traci and I did have a lot of fun cooking the samosas, but it was indeed a labor of love.

    Homemade Baked Samosas using puff pastry from @janemaynard

    The good news is the samosas were really delicious. The texture was nothing at all like a fried samosa you would get at an Indian restaurant, but I suppose in the end that shouldn’t have come as a surprise. I mean, it’s puff pastry. And they weren’t fried. So, yeah, they’re gonna be different. But they are still really good and the filling is divine.

    Knowing that puff pastry samosas are best served fresh, Traci and I froze a bunch of the unbaked samosas for cooking later. When I baked a frozen batch they came out perfectly. So, if you do in fact decide to tackle this recipe, triple or quadruple it and then freeze a whole bunch of the samosas before baking. Although, if you just make one batch, then it won’t be as time consuming because you want be rolling out and stuffing as many. I’ll let you decide your own strategy!

    Homemade Baked Samosas using puff pastry from @janemaynard

    But the freezing-ahead aspect of this recipe is why I’m really excited about sharing it with you. Seriously, having homemade, yummy samosas just waiting in the freezer for you on a busy weeknight is pretty awesome.

    Homemade Baked Samosas using puff pastry from @janemaynard

    One more thing, the green cilantro sauce you see in the pictures. I threw that sauce together on the fly and it was almost good…but I added too much onion. As I was getting this post ready, I decided not to share what I did with you and looked up some actual Indian cilantro sauce recipes. This one on Fine Cooking looks like what I was trying to accomplish, so that’s what I will make next time.

    Homemade Baked Samosas
     
    Prep time
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    From Food 52, although I have rewritten the directions based on our experience with the recipe.
    Author:
    Serves: 20-25
    Ingredients
    • ½ pound potatoes, cut into large chunks
    • 2 large carrots, cut into chunks similar in size to the potatoes
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • half of a small yellow onion, chopped
    • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • ¾ cup frozen peas
    • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    • ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
    • ½ teaspoon garam masala
    • 1 serrano pepper, minced
    • salt (the original recipe calls for a pinch, but it definitely needs more than that...I think we did ½ teaspoon - measure ¼ teaspoon at a time to taste)
    • Two 15x10-inch frozen puff pastry sheets (the puff pastry at my store was smaller than that, more like 9x9 inches, so I needed two packages...be sure to check the size!), place in refrigerator to defrost a few hours before using
    • Flour
    • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
    Instructions
    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and carrots and cook for 10 minutes, until tender.
    2. Drain water and mash potatoes and carrots together with a potato masher. Leave mixture slightly chunky.
    3. While potatoes and carrots are cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, and cumin. Cook for about 5 minutes, until onions are tender and translucent.
    4. Add onion mixture, peas, cilantro, mint, garam masala, serrano pepper and salt to the potato/carrot mixture. Mix well. As I mentioned in the ingredients list, add salt ¼ teaspoon at a time and taste the mixture to get the right amount.
    5. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    6. On a lightly floured surface, unfold one of the sheets of cold puff pastry and cut it into 3x3-inch squares.
    7. Roll each square out with a rolling pin quite thin (this is where my directions diverge from the original recipe more significantly). Place a scoop of the mixture onto the center of the square, about 2 tablespoons. You do not want to overfill or the filling will escape when baking, so it might not seem like enough filling, but it is. Brush two sides of the square with water just along the edge. Fold the dough over the filling diagonally to form a triangle, folding the unbrushed edges onto the wet edges. Once the dough is folded over, gently squish the filling sideways to fill the samosa evenly. Using a fork, press down all along the two joined edges to seal both sides, then flip the samosa over and crimp the edges with a fork again.
    8. Place triangles on prepared baking sheet, leaving a bit of space between the samosas. Brush the tops with egg wash. At this point you can bake the samosas or place them in the freezer.
    9. If freezing: Place baking sheet with samosas in the freezer. If freezing you can fit more samosas on the tray than if you were baking them. Fully freeze, then transfer samosas to an airtight container or ziptop freezer bag. When ready to eat, follow baking directions below, adding 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.
    10. If baking: Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown.
    11. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
    12. Serve warm!

     


  9. Wednesday, February 24

    Southwestern Salmon Orzo Salad

    February is American Heart Month. To raise awareness, the Salmon Council reached out to see if I would create a salmon recipe, which I was most happy to do! So, today we have Southwestern Salmon Orzo Salad, and it is quite tasty, if I do say so myself.

    Southwestern Salmon Orzo Salad by @janemaynardSouthwestern Salmon Orzo Salad by @janemaynard

    Currently, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for every 1 in 4 deaths. While that sounds dire, the good news is that a healthy diet and lifestyle can significantly help fight heart disease. When I interviewed Lisa Oz last December, one of my biggest takeaways from our conversation was how her heart surgeon father was an early adopter of using diet to help his patients’ health, an approach that then influenced Dr. Oz (Lisa’s husband). It can be quite miraculous what nutritious eating can do for our bodies.

    Southwestern Salmon Orzo Salad by @janemaynardSouthwestern Salmon Orzo Salad by @janemaynardSouthwestern Salmon Orzo Salad by @janemaynard

    Today’s post is specifically focused on heart-friendly salmon. Salmon is filled with omega-3 fatty acids, and it is recommended that we eat food high in omega-3s at least twice a week. But in addition to those omega-3s, salmon is also rich in protein and Vitamin D, a highly nutritious combination that can help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack by up to one-third.

    Southwestern Salmon Orzo Salad by @janemaynardSouthwestern Salmon Orzo Salad by @janemaynard

    The Salmon Council challenged me to incorporate DeLallo’s organic whole grain orzo into my recipe. I immediately thought of an orzo salad that my mother-in-law makes that has a Greek flavor to it. I decided to change things up and give the salad a southwestern flare, using a cilantro dressing and adding some heat to the salmon. I have to admit that I’m not normally a huge fan of whole grain pastas strictly for taste reasons, but this whole grain orzo was awesome – just as delicious as regular orzo but with a nice nutritional boost. And the salad overall is sooooo good. The spicy sweet salmon pairs beautifully with the fresh-tasting cilantro dressing and the crunchy veggies. And, if you want to add just a bit of cheese, queso fresca or cotija Mexican cheeses are PERFECT in this salad. If you’re trying to cut back on cheese, though, the salad is just as good without it!

    Southwestern Salmon Orzo Salad by @janemaynard

    A note about the salmon – as much as I loved it in the orzo salad, it was also really delicious all by itself. The preparation is super simple, making it a great meal on its own. 

    Southwestern Salmon Orzo Salad by @janemaynard

    Southwestern Salmon Orzo Salad
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 8 ounces uncooked whole grain DeLallo orzo
    • 2 tablespoons salt
    • 1 to 1-1/2 pound salmon filet, skin on
    • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
    • ½ cup black beans, drained and rinsed
    • ½ cup canned corn
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon cumin
    • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 2 cloves minced fresh garlic
    • 8 ounces salsa verde
    • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
    • ¼ cup sour cream
    • ¼ cup water
    • About 3 ounces queso fresca or cotija cheese, crumbled (optional)
    Instructions
    1. Add 2 tablespoons salt to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil.
    2. Add orzo. Return to boil then cook for 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
    3. Preheat outdoor grill to medium heat, so internal temperature of grill reaches 500º F.
    4. While the pasta is cooking, rinse and dry the salmon filet. Brush both sides of the salmon filet with olive oil.
    5. Place skin down on a large piece of foil, folding up the sides, leaving a couple inches between the edge of the salmon and the edge of the foil all around the filet.
    6. Mix together the brown sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, cumin, cayenne pepper and garlic. Spread evenly on the top of the salmon filet. Place salmon on the foil on the grill and cook with the lid closed for 10-15 minutes, until salmon is fairly easy to flake apart. You may see some white stuff as well. Remove from grill.
    7. Remove salmon from the skin in very large pieces. Set aside.
    8. In a large bowl mix together the cooked orzo, bell pepper, black beans, corn.
    9. Add salsa verde, chopped cilantro, sour cream and water to a blender and blend well.
    10. Add ½ cup of the green sauce you just made to the orzo mixture and stir well. Add salmon pieces and stir carefully.
    11. Serve with extra green sauce and top with queso fresca/cotija cheese if using.
    12. Serve immediately or chilled.

    To learn more about salmon, visit the Hooked on Salmon Facebook page and get salmon recipe inspiration on Hooked on Salmon’s Pinterest board. To find out more about DeLallo’s products, click here to visit the DeLallo website!

    This post is sponsored by the Salmon Council. DeLallo provided me with the orzo I used in this recipe.


  10. Thursday, February 18

    Curry in a Hurry!

    My dear friend Michelle had the opportunity to live in Hyderabad, India for a year and is, therefore, well versed in Indian cuisine. One day when we were hanging out, she was ranting and raving about curry powder. Her complaint is that Americans think that curry powder makes curry, when in fact curry powder totally isn’t Indian. Sure enough, if you look up curry powder on Wikipedia you’ll see this: “Curry powder and the contemporary English use of the word “curry” are Western inventions and do not reflect any specific South Asian food.” Michelle explained that “curry” basically means a saucy dish with tons of spices, and there are lots of different kinds of curries in India, and that none of them have curry powder.

    Curry in a Hurry recipe from @janemaynard

    Basically, curry powder isn’t Indian. The end.

    Curry in a Hurry recipe from @janemaynard

    Michelle was feeling bad, however, once she realized that there is a recipe she has from an Indian cookbook that actually does use curry powder. It’s called Curry in a Hurry and it’s her favorite non-Indian Indian food recipe. I’ve had this recipe sitting in my “to-try” pile for years and we finally made it last week! It was very good, even if it is fake curry. 😉 Nate commented that it actually tastes more like a North African dish, which is kind of true. Whatever it is, it’s delicious. All of my kids liked it, too, especially my 8-year-old Anna. (Here’s a link to the cookbook the recipe came from originally – Michelle likes this book a lot!)

    Curry in a Hurry recipe from @janemaynard

    As for which curry powder to use for this recipe, just use whatever you find at the store. I used McCormick’s curry powder. Michelle said that since she first shared the recipe with me, she has discovered Penzey’s curry powders and she likes them better than the standard grocery store versions. The Sweet Curry Powder is milder and Michelle says her kids really like that one, but her favorite is the Maharajah Curry Powder, which has really good flavor.

    Curry in a Hurry recipe from @janemaynard

    Thank you, Michelle, for giving us a way to use curry powder that doesn’t make you want to yell at us. 😉

    Curry in a Hurry
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Originally from "Indian Home Cooking" by Suvir Saran (I modified the measurements slightly on a few things and wrote the directions in my own words.)
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1½ tablespoons oil
    • ½ of a small onion, chopped
    • 5 teaspoons curry powder
    • ½ teaspoon garam masala
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 dried red chilies (I just used 1 so it wouldn't be too spicy for my kids)
    • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
    • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (original recipe was 2 chicken breasts, but I added more)
    • 3-5 cups fresh spinach
    Instructions
    1. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent.
    2. Add curry powder, garam masala, garlic and red chilies. Stir for one minute.
    3. Add coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato paste and simmer until thickens, stirring regularly.
    4. Add chicken; simmer until chicken is fully cooked. (Alternatively, you can add already cooked chicken if you have it, just cook until heated through.)
    5. Add spinach, stir and cook until spinach as wilted.
    6. Serve over rice.