Category Archives: 4th Of July

Homemade Potato Salad

Homemade Potato Salad

Potato salad is a classic American summer side dish that reminds me of hot summer days, afternoon picnics and grilling sessions. I used to purchase potato salad from a local deli but the ingredients on the label were a bit off-putting. I didn’t recognize most of them listed and I finally decided to just make it from scratch. This recipe is a perfect antidote to the store-bought problem. While it is more time consuming than just running to the store, this recipe is healthier and you know exactly what’s going in it. It’s a delicious alternative to the processed stuff!

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Roasted Chicken Tacos with Chipotle Salsa and Oaxaca Cheese

Roasted Chicken Tacos with Chipotle Salsa and Oaxaca Cheese

Tacos are one of my favorite foods and I’m always looking for different combinations to try out! This recipe combines tender, shredded chicken with a smokey Chipotle salsa and melty Oaxaca cheese. I roasted the chicken in the oven with fragrant spices, garlic and honey. The nice thing about roasting the chicken is that it produces plenty of juice in the pan to incorporate back into the meat once it has been shredded. This results in the juiciest, most tender meat for the tacos. The Oaxaca cheese melted easily over the tacos and had a mild flavor that complimented the other ingredients. The salsa can be made up to two days beforehand to save time on preparation.

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Slow Cooker Shredded Pork Tacos

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

Once I had a batch of Pickled Corn Salsa ready I took a nice pork shoulder and slow cooked it for some tasty tacos! The pork is marinated in tomatoes, onions and spices and slow cooked for about 4 hours in a crock pot. The pork ended up being succulent and fall apart tender. I was really happy with how soft and flavorful it turned out. The acids from the pickled salsa complimented the richness of the shredded pork. For garnish, I added a touch of lime and queso fresco.

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Black Bean Burger with Caramelized Onions and Chipotle Mayo

Black Bean Burger with Caramelized Onions and Avocado

Summer is almost over but I am resisting that fact by making a bunch of summery food. These black bean burgers are totally loaded with lots of add-ons: mashed avocado, chipotle mayo, tomato, melted cheddar, and crispy caramelized onions. The actual burger is mixed with sweet corn, rolled oats and spices. It’s super filling and loaded with protein. The burgers are a little bit delicate and they do best cooked over a hot saute pan. Everything came together really well and it turned out super tasty! You can always add whatever fixins you want. Some other options would be sprouts, feta cheese, sauteed mushrooms, pickles and lettuce.
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Baked Chipotle Fries

Baked Chipotle Fries

I love baked potato fries and I actually prefer them over the deep fried kind. They’re easy to prepare and can be seasoned with a seemingly endless amount of spices. These fries are seasoned with smoky ground chipotle pepper, sea salt, and garlic powder.  I like to get the fries pretty brown and crispy so I turn up the heat at the end of cooking to get that effect. The end result is a soft interior with a golden crispiness on the exterior.  I use a handy tool that cuts the potatoes into a fry shape but making wedges by hand would work fine too.   As a healthier alternative you could easily substitute russet potatoes for sweet potatoes or yams with this recipe.

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BBQ Grilled Cheese Chicken Sandwich with Chipotle Fries

BBQ Grilled Cheese Chicken Sandwich

The messiest foods are the best foods, especially when we’re talking about sandwiches. If the sandwich can’t be contained inside two pieces of bread it’s gotta be good! This sandwich has a lot of good things going for it: shredded chicken smothered in spicy BBQ sauce, caramelized onions, and sharp cheddar cheese. Since barbeque sauce is a staple in my kitchen, I just make my own since it’s so easy. This sandwich packs a ton of flavor! The combination of the melted sharp cheddar with the flavors of the BBQ sauce and caramelized onions was so tasty. I served the sandwich alongside some smoky chipotle fries. I will definitely be making this again!

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BBQ Chicken Sandwich with Melted Gruyere

The days are getting longer and each day feels a little bit closer to summer time! And what says summer more than barbeque grilled chicken sandwiches? I chose a simple recipe for barbeque sauce made with molasses, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and chipotle peppers. Then as a side I made some baked potato fries served with malt vinegar. I chose a smoky Gruyere cheese to go with the sandwich which paired very will with the flavors of the barbeque sauce. This was a tasty dish that I will definitely make again this summer!

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Turkey Burger with Caramelized Onions, Gruyere and Sage Mayo

Turkey burgers are the perfect alternative to beef burgers because they are versatile and have great flavor.  I had never tried turkey burgers before and I was surprised by how tasty they were! This recipe ended up being a celebration of the end of summer and a good way to tie two seasons together. The burgers were juicy and charred, and went perfectly with the caramelized onions and smoky gruyere. I chose sweet potato fries for a side and they were really good with the burger. The sage mayo was another great accompaniment with the turkey burger as well.  The recipe is similar to last Thanksgiving’s Roasted Butternut Squash recipe with caramelized onions and gruyere. The sandwich reminded me of a summer version of Thanksgiving dinner, and just as tasty too!

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Steak Tacos with Chipotle Cherry Salsa and Caramelized Onions

What better way to try out a tasty new salsa than to serve it with tacos?  I picked out a skirt steak for these tacos because you can get a great sear on the outside and I figured it would go well with the salsa.  I went simple and just seasoned the steak with a little cumin and smoked paprika.  The salsa, steak and onions went really nicely together.  Caramelized onions are so good on tacos so I add them in whenever possible.  I caramelized the onions in the leftover adobo sauce which added a smokiness that wasn’t too sweet.  Then for a little texture and crunch I added some red cabbage on top.  A little crumbled queso fresco added creaminess (sour cream would probably work fine too.)  All together, this was a really delicious taco and I look forward to having it again sometime.

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Black Bean and Sweet Corn Salsa

There’s this great Mexican restaurant nearby that serves black bean salsa with corn chips before the main course. I have been wanting to recreate this salsa because it’s hard to stop eating it. The salsa is easy to throw together and has great flavor. It works nicely as a condiment for chips or in tacos, burritos, tostadas, etc. The spiciness can be dialed down by adding fewer jalapenos and cayenne or increased by adding serrano peppers which are quite a bit spicier. The corn provides an element of sweetness and the white and green onions a good amount of texture and crunch. I think the recreation of the restaurant’s salsa was a success because once again it was hard to put the bowl down and save room for dinner!

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