January 5, 2013

Carne Asada Tacos

It's sometimes hard for me to find new recipes that I think my whole family will like. I'm more of a chicken and fish person, but my family really likes beef. Except for my dad, no one else likes fish very much unless it is salmon. I love veggies and will try them in many different ways, but everyone else is more picky about them. Again, except for my dad. We also can't use any nuts or seeds, which isn't quite a problem when I'm thinking about dinner. It's more of a problem with dessert.

That being said, I saw a recipe for carne asada over at Tessa's blog Handle the Heat. Find it here. I didn't think I would like it because I try to stay away from eating a lot of beef. But I like tacos and my family likes tacos and beef, so I gave it a try. I did things a little differently than Tessa did, but that was partly because I couldn't find some ingredients at the store and partly because I had a late class the night I made this so I was feeling a little rushed by my family. It turned out good though! The only big complaint I had was that the meat was too pink and not cooked enough, and that is an easy fix for next time. Next time I might get more meat to use so we can have more on our tacos.

While cutting the meat it was a little hard not to eat it!

Our meat was still pink after we cooked it, but people were so hungry it didn't seem like they cared too much.

Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the whole taco. I was so hungry I forgot. Next time though!

 Carne Asada Tacos
Serves 5

1 teaspoon ancho or chipotle chili powder (I used ancho. Feel free to use more if you like spicier foods.)
salt to taste
1 pound beef skirt steak or flank steak (Our grocery store didn't have skirt steak, so I used flank steak.)
4 slices large sweet or yellow onion
2/3 cup salsa
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mixture of pepperjack and colby)
corn tortillas, warmed up
optional toppings: lettuce, tomato, avocado, sour cream, cilantro, green onion

  1.  Preheat broiler. Sprinkle chili powder and salt to taste over steak. Rub it in to make sure it covers the steak evenly. Arrange steak and onion slices on a broiler pan. Spoon 1/3 cup salsa over steak and onion slices. Broil steak 4-5 minutes per side or until meat is pink in center and onion slices are tender. (This is just a guide line time, it took me a lot longer to get the meat to the right amount of doneness.)
  2. Transfer steak to carving board and cut crosswise into thin strips. If you are using flank steak, cut into thin strips and then dice it. Chop up onions and add to bowl. Mix well.
  3. Fill warmed tortillas with steak mixture and other toppings.

January 4, 2013

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup.

Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches has always been one of my favorite meals on cold days. It really reminds me of my childhood. Campbell's brand used to be my favorite, but then I discovered new brands and Campbell's soup is a thing of the past for me.

As a matter of fact, canned tomato soup might just be a thing of the past for me as well. Two Peas and Their Pod is just one of the few blogs I follow, and I recently discovered that they had a recipe for tomato soup. Look at their recipe here. I am always looking for new recipes, and as tomato soup has been a favorite of mine since childhood, I needed to try it. I also really wanted to use my new immersion blender I got for Christmas. Thanks mom!

I was a little wary to try making this. I love tomato soup, but I'm not a huge fan of tomatoes. I thought it might be too chunky for me. The day I went shopping for my tomatoes, there wasn't a good selection of Romas. I'm excited to try this again when I can get fresh tomatoes at the farmer's market! I'm glad I tried this recipe, and it's one I plan on hanging on to. You should definitely try it and tell me what you think.

I ended up loving it! It wasn't too chunky for me, although my younger brothers did complain about the chunkiness. The fresh basil was a lovely addition to the soup. I also learned what not to do with my immersion blender, as well as the best ways to use it. Next time I make this soup or another soup I will be more prepared to use the immersion blender.

Tomato Basil Soup
Serves 4-6

2 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste, for seasoning tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Dash of red pepper flakes
1 cup freshly chopped basil
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth (you can use chicken broth)
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes.

2. In a large stockpot, heat the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, fresh basil, and vegetable broth. Stir in the oven roasted tomatoes. Cook for about 30 minutes over medium-low heat.

3. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the stockpot, or transfer soup to a food processor or blender to blend. The soup should be smooth, with a few tomato chunks. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve warm.

Note-be careful when transferring the soup to a blender or food processor. You may want to wait until it is at room temperature to blend.

Best served with grilled cheese sandwiches!

Once again, thanks to Two Peas and Their Pod for the amazing recipe!