Shredded Beef Tacos

In the last few weeks we’ve had dinner over at a friends house a couple of times. Specifically the person who was my best friend in middle school. We’ve known each other for somewhere around 20 years. A really long time when you’re 32. Crockpot cooking seems like it might be a staple since her husband does freelance video work, and she’s currently a producer at a local TV station and will soon to be a 911 operator in training! The last dinner was shredded chipotle pork tacos, but she fried the corn tortillas and sprinkled them with the powdered parmesan like a local taco stand does.

It. is. amazing.

David typically doesn’t eat pork out of personal preference, so I got a nice looking chuck roast on sale last week. Now it’s insanely easy, but I did manage to mess it up, but I’ll explain that after the fact in the form of a “Do as I say, not as I do” type warning. Also my friend used the Dr. Pepper method for her pork. Being a total lush as of late, I used beer. Okay and we don’t drink soda typically. David got an amazing coffee stout that I divided in half for the 2 roasts I got (one went into the freezer to be used next week).

Gingham Apron // Shredded Beef Tacos

Shredded Beef Tacos

1 Beef chuck roast, about 2-3 pounds
1 Bottle of beer, a good dark stout is best
3 Chipotle peppers and adobo from container

Corn tortillas
Oil
Powdered parmesan cheese
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped romaine lettuce
Black olives
Refried Beans
Sour cream

Place the roast into the crockpot.

Use toothpicks to secure the 3 chipotle peppers to the roast

Pour beer over the chipotle adorned roast.

Cook on high for 6+ hours, or until the roast shreds easily.

After the meat is shredded use a frying pan to heat enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan. Place a tortilla in the pan and place a few tablespoons of shredded meat on one half of the tortilla, quickly fold the taco in half before it start to crisp up. Let the taco get golden and crunchy on both sides before moving it to a tray with a towel to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle with parmesan, and keep making delicious tacos! Add cheese, lettuce, refried beans, black olives, sour cream, or more chipotles if you’re deranged (or David).

I can have 3 folded tacos in my medium frying pan with no issues at one time, because doing one at a time would be painfully long.

As I promised … a warning … Do NOT use the whole can of chipotles. That’s like 8-10 chipotles too many, and it makes the sauce almost unusable. The girls in no way appreciated the spice level of the sauce, so the taco meat was a little drier than it should have been. David managed to make my fuck up tolerable by adding some tomato sauce. That guy is always saving my ass in the kitchen. ๐Ÿ˜›

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Homemade Skyline Chili Recipe

I lived just outside of Cincinnati when I was little. My first real concert was at Riverfront Stadium. Yes, it was New Kids on the Block. I was like 9 or 10. Which frankly scares the crap out of me since Nola is the exact same age, but I digress. I distinctly remember Ollie’s Trolley from visiting my dad at work downtown, but honestly I don’t remember Skyline. Horrible to admit, I know. Somehow in the past few years David has come to like the only variety available to us here in Nevada… cans. Specifically 8 cans for $60. That’s $7.50 a can! O_O

By the time you’ve fed 4 people that devour Skyline Chili you’ve used 2 cans. That’s $15 and you’ve not even gotten the spaghetti, onions, or shredded cheese. I have most of the ingredients on hand at all times already. There is one big change I’ve made to the recipe I found, and that is the type of meat I use. Ground turkey has become more of a staple around here and so that’s what I used. I don’t think it made that much of a difference in taste, and visually you can’t tell either. It still gets consumed at break neck speeds here.

Skyline

Skyline Chili from Tornado Ali @ Food.com – Slight changes by me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

1.25 lbs ground turkey (Jennie-O packs are 1.25 pounds)
2 cups chopped onion
4 cups beef broth
15 ounces tomato sauce
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp cocoa
2 tsps instant minced garlic
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (I omit this, kids and all)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 bay leaf

1 package spaghetti noodles

Toppings
Onion, finely chopped
Cheddar cheese, finely shredded

Chop 2 cups of onions. I usually use an entire onion and call it good.

In a large pan, I use my enamel dutch oven, cook turkey meat. Brown if at all possible, and do *not* drain. Add onion an cook a few minutes longer.

While turkey is cooking measure all dry ingredients into a bowl. I use Better Than Bullion for the beef broth, and add the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to that.

Add all remaining ingredients to cooked meat and tender onions. Let simmer until sauce has reduced quite a bit. It can take 60 to 90 minutes. I do use 3/4 of a pound LESS meat than what the original recipe states, so the liquid has to cook down more, but it turned out quite good. David really likes how the sauce cooks down and there is more flavor.

Once the chili is nearly done simmering down, get your spaghetti cooked.

Top spaghetti with a scoop of chili, then top the chili with the finely chopped onions, then top the onions with finely shredded cheese. This my friends is what is called a “4-way”. Sophia prefers the “3-way” since she does not like raw onions (she somehow fails to realize there are onions IN the meat… don’t tell her). I know you can get beans with it, but frankly that just seems sacrilegious.

Try not to become too addicted.

I know that for some spaghetti and chili might seem weird. Okay, chili with cocoa powder might be really weird too, but it’s awesome. It’s not always a dish that is loved instantly. It’s taken Sophia two years to get to the point where she enjoys eating, and is still kind of ambivalent if I try to pretend I don’t want to make Skyline for dinner. Nola … well, she’ll go into near hysterics at the notion of making something else. At least it’s something everyone will eat without complaint I suppose. ๐Ÿ˜›

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Menu Board

Pinterest strikes again. I saw Stephanie pin a menu board, and the description made me think “meh”, but at one point I finally clicked on it. The shopping list description was not really accurate at all from what I can tell, which was why I was not really interested. I have list making OCD. I don’t need help in that department. At all. I will stalk the stores a few days prior to grocery shopping to ensure I have the right prices, and then I make a spreadsheet.

I do have one problem though. Sticking to a menu plan. I manage to stick to it for a few days, and if I can get a week of actually following my menu plan I’d be shocked. Part of my problem is that I have my menu on my computer in a – prepare to be shocked – spreadsheet. David doesn’t creep around on here to find my menu plan. I’m glad he doesn’t because I don’t need him rolling his eyes at my always open SimCity Social window. ๐Ÿ˜›

Holy organization batman!

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Tuna Casserole

Roux scares me.

I’ve not had the proverbial testicular fortitude to try to make it until this tuna casserole. I do not claim that it’s anything similar to what someone who makes cajun dishes would make, but it did made a thickened sauce that I needed for the casserole. I’m actually going to be using the same method tonight for dinner to make another type of casserole. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mmmm I want more now that I'm looking at the pictures.

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Upside Down Potato and Onion Tart

Whew! Finally getting around to posting after the network issues and then David deciding to upgrade our computers to OS X Lion. Then there was the adventure to Lake Tahoe with the girls which landed me with what I think qualifies as the worst sunburn of my life. Despite the fact that my laptop causes me severe pain I’m editing photos and posting anyhow! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now for the real reason for this post…

Cheesy potatoes and onion? YES PLEASE! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Thrift and SouthWest Chicken

Money is tight. Story of just about anyone’s life right about now, right? We’re a bit deeper into the “tight” than ever before. David makes less money at his new job, and his new job is also about 50 miles away – one way. Despite the fact that he drives the Prius and maintains a 48 MPG average it still takes a chunk out. Insurance for the family is also taking more from his paycheck than before as he works for a small company with only about 60 people on site.

Oh and if all that wasn’t enough David is going to be going back to school in the fall taking a nearly full course load. I have someone lined up if I ever find a job that pays well enough to validate working. Bringing home $400-$500 a month does NOT qualify thus eliminating most of the jobs around here. Bouncing the girls between a baby sitter, school (for the eldest), and whichever parent isn’t working and is at home is not worth $500 to us.

So all this means that being thrifty is a top priority. Of course I also want to maintain healthy eating habits while being able to have meals simple enough to make that I’m not tempted to say “screw it, I’m getting Papa Murphy’s tonight!”. Enter the fabulous crock pot!

My friend Stephanie is a stay at home mom to three kids, and has a husband (who I’ve known since I was 15) in the Coast Guard and gone fairly often. She’s the person who talked me into begging David for a grain mill and got me into cloth diapering. So to say the least she’s pretty good at being thrifty yet still healthy. I pick her brain for ideas with regularity. A few days ago she gave me a super simple crock pot meal idea … SouthWest Chicken.

Crock pot goodness!

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Pulled Pork Sandwich

I’ve been slacking.ย  I thought we’d be heading off on a family vacation, but David decided to postpone it to get things like taxes and home repairs done.ย  We’ve cheated a bit, okay more than most I’m sure, but we’re slowly improving.ย  Today I was feeling adventurous and had a pork shoulder that I got on Tuesday at Whole Foods.ย  I found a good base for homemade BBQ sauce and a simple recipe for sandwich rolls.ย  ๐Ÿ˜€

Perfect out the gate, and I even fudged the recipe a bit!

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Egg Salad Sandwich

For lunch today my two year old asked for “pea-ut butter jelly time” (think of the dancing banana here, yes that’s where she got it) I was going to have some too because my homemade strawberry jam is rather fabulous if I do say so myself (and so have a few others, so I know I’m not tooting my own horn here), but then I realized my dietary restrictions today include no seeds.ย  Strawberries have seeds.ย  Blast!ย  So after I got my kids settled I looked into the fridge and remembered that I had wanted an egg salad sandwich at Whole Foods the other day, but they were out.ย  Conveniently enough I had eggs, and my homemade mayo.

Incredible edible egg!

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Mushroom Soup

David’s dad used to make hamburger patties smothered in cream of mushroom soup. ย I on the other hand have only done it with marmite gravy. ย Tonight I decided to make mushroom soup to go with it. ย I thought it was delicious, though I always manage to feel guilty after eating creamy soups. ย After potato leek soup I swear I need to diet for a month, and this is the same way. ย ๐Ÿ˜›

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