Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Skills I Probably Shouldn't Learn

Last week, Sarge and I went out for lunch at a local Mexican place.  There are a lot of Mexican restaurants in the area, but we had not been to this one yet.  One of the things the Sarge got on his lunch special was a crispy taco.  He really liked it...I mean REALLY liked it, so I thought that I might try at making them.  

So today I have shredded beef cooking away in the crock-pot for tacos tonight, and figured I would pull out my electric skillet and try my hand at making them.  

While I was at it, I thought it would be the perfect time to try and make some fried mushrooms from a recipe that I had been wanting to try for a while.  

So I started with the tortillas do those little buggers puff up!!!  The first one was not too good, but the second looked better.  Then I dropped a couple of mushrooms in the batter and plopped them in the oil.  It was already hot after all... :)  They turned out pretty good!  

Hmmm...what else do I have that I can fry.  Ahh, how about some pickles!  Yep, those taste pretty good too, and so did the mozzarella stick that I battered and fried.  

I did one more flour tortilla to make sure that I knew what I was doing...and hey, we have some corn tortillas, maybe those will work too...

Needless to say, I am hoping someone gets home quick so I don't have to eat all this myself!!! 

Great way to spend a cold and rainy day... :)

Oh, and here is the recipe for the Shredded Beef Tacos.  My house smells divine!   It is from the Crockin' Girls Website (

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Tacos

1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Pounds Beef
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 Cup Beef Stock
1-2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 Chipotle Pepper in adobe sauce
1/2 Large Sweet Onion, diced
3-4 Cloves Garlic, minced
Flour Tortillas
Favorite Taco Toppings

Step One - Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
Step Two - Meanwhile, combine the chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika in a small bowl.
Step Three - Rub the spice mix into the beef, covering each side evenly.
Step Four - Once the oil is hot (it will shimmer a bit in the skillet), place the beef in the skillet and sear on each side.

Step Five - Remove the beef from the skillet and place in the bottom of a slow cooker.
Step Six - Leave the pan on the heat, and add in the beef stock to deglaze, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Step Seven - Add the tomato paste and minced chipotle and whisk into the pan sauce.
Step Eight - Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.

Step Nine - Add the diced onion and minced garlic on top of the seared beef in the slow cooker.
Step Ten - Pour the pan sauce down over the onions, garlic, and beef.
Step Eleven - Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Step Twelve - Remove the beef from the slow cooker and shred with two forks. Use a slotted spoon to remove the onions from the slow cooker, and mix into the shredded beef.

Step Thirteen - Serve the beef in the flour tortillas, topped with your favorite taco toppings.
Some topping ideas include: guacamole or avocado fresh salsa Mexican rice grated cheese fresh lettuce tomato onion cilantro squeeze of lime juice

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hello?? Did You Miss Me???

Hi all,
Wow, it sure has been a long time since I have been here.  Let me see if I can get you caught up on what has been happening in the household....

The Sarge is in the process of retiring from the military after 26 years of service.  Hard to believe that it has been that long.  It is a little unsettling with everything up in the air right now.  We are excited for him to be finally getting out, but until he has something else lined up, nervous as well.

Thing One graduated from HS last June and is currently attending Texas A&M University, Whoop!!! He is a member of the Corps of Cadets and is in the Fightin Texas Aggie Band.  He is incredibly busy, but seems to be doing real well.  He did earn his Eagle rank in Boy Scouts, which we are really proud of him for finishing.

Thing Two is a Sophomore in high school this year.  She has spent this past fall marching with the band and preparing for region band auditions coming up soon.  She has also been very involved in the Church.  She spends 4 evenings a week there and helps teach on Sunday mornings.  Free time is a precious commodity right now for her.

Thing Three is in eighth grade already!  I think last we had spoken, she was still in gymnastics, but that went by the wayside about a year and a half ago.  She decided that it was not what she wanted to be doing.  That summer I signed her up for diving lessons (combining her love for the water with her gymnastics skills) and it was a hit.  She did the class, went to the camp and joined the team.  She is now beginning her second season with them and loving all the work.  She is also helping with one of the RE classes on Sunday mornings at Church.

My mom is currently somewhere in the far east (Asia) cruising from port to port with a bunch of Genealogist.  I love seeing her do things for herself.  She will be gone for 4 weeks, which is a really long time in my books.  While she is gone, and with Thing One at college, meals are becoming hit or miss with the girls schedules. 

Tonight will be leftovers...we have plenty.  One of the items in our stockpile is a wonderful soup that I made in the crockpot.   It is very similar to a family treasure, called Stuffed Pepper Soup.  This makes such a good sized amount, that I was able to freeze half in a ziplock bag for another meal.  Enjoy!!!

2 Pounds Ground beef
1 Med Onion
1 Box Zatarans dirty rice mix
4 Green Peppers, chopped
4 Cups Beef broth
1 (28 oz) Can tomato sauce
1 (28 oz) Can diced tomatoes with garlic & onions
1/4 Cup sugar
1 Teaspoon ground pepper
1 & 1/2 Teaspoons salt
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese/optional

Step One - In a skillet brown the ground beef with the onion and drain off the fat.
Step Two - Put the ground beef and onions in the crock. Add the rest of the ingredients except the Parmesan cheese and stir.
Step Three - Cook on low 8-10 hours. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over soup. Serve with corn bread or crackers. 

This recipe was orginally taken from the Crockin' Girls website: