Mexi Bowls

When you're a homesick Texan, easy Mexican dishes are something that you need to have tucked up your sleeve. 

Solid Mexican food is seriously hard to come by in the Mid-West, unless you're at Pancheros. But if you're looking to avoid the drunk, downtown goers in line, you'll be looking for a while. So when the going gets tough, you make your own! 

This is the easiest most versatile dish in my rolodex...not that I actually have a rolodex. Does anybody remember those, before everything was digital? I am obsessed with putting things from pen to paper, maybe I should get one. Anyways, back to the food. 

This is pretty much your home version of your favorite local Mexican grill. If we are going to break it down, here's the steps: 

  1. Pick you meat: chicken breast, chicken thigh, ground turkey
  2. Pick your peppers & onions
  3. Pick your depth: black beans, pinto beans, rice
  4. Pick your toppings: taco sauce, guacamole, queso, shredded cheese, tomatoes, salsa cilantro, jalapeños, etc. 

Sautee up peppers and onions. Even though I prefer multicolored peppers, this girl is on a budget so green peppers it is. 

Toss in the meat - I went ahead and crockpotted the chicken thighs, but you can dice up the chicken or brown ground turkey on the stove top.

Add in the rice, beans, & sauce. I usually let this cover and simmer until the rice is cooked (of course I use the 5 minute quick rice), this lets the flavors blend together. Ethan loves him some taco sauce - there's never enough. 

Once it is all cooked together, the fun has just begun! Guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese, and if you want it...even more taco sauce! 

Want a less carb-y version? Skip the rice and/or beans and throw over some greens! Want to add more flavor at ease? Stop by your local Mexican grill and pick up their queso and/or guac!

When life hands you avocados, you make guac! 

A Pizza My Heart

Valentine's Day is a day to spend time with those that you love, so with no questions asked Ethan and I decided a pizza night in would be the perfect date night. Without knowing what kind of pizza we wanted to make and the grocery store still in our future, we made some of the dough first thing in the AM so it could rise all day. We tend to change something up each time we make our pizzas, this time we went with all bread flour instead of mixing in any all-purpose like we normally do

10 hours without food (if you know me, you know I eat every 2-3) and arms full of grocery bags we couldn't have been happier to come home to a bowl full of rising dough. 

First pizza was a classic margherita - our go to sauce, slices of a mozza ball, and some grated parmesan. 

Second pizza was huge doughy platform (seriously so much dough), dusted with garlic butter and endless shredded mozzarella & provolone.  

In light of Valentine's weekend, we decided to go hot hot hot and cook these at pizzas at 520.  

The first pizza was topped with more grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil. The second didn't need a single finishing touch - it was perfect the way it came out of the oven. 

We think that this cheesy pizza was our #1 creation. Since the dough had risen all day it had this great chewiness as well as a hint of garlic within every single bite. We took the few minutes to take our necessary pictures and then it was time to devour.

A pizza perfect Valentines Day with my two true loves

Take Two

I am not a huge fan of some holidays: Halloween, New Years Eve, and Valentines Day. So when Halloween came rolling around this year, I couldn't be happier that the plan was to stay in...especially after a long day on the football field. Ethan's cousin and best friend were in town, so we decided to show off the skills with our pizzas. We bought a pizza stone and cousin brought his pizza peel so we ready to try a few new things out. 

We repeated the dough & sauce as my first post but went for four different pies. The stone was new for us, but was very simple. Four things to remember

  1. Keep stone in oven while it is preheating.
  2. Style up pizza on top of parchment paper.
  3. Cut access paper around the pizza.
  4. Place directly on the stone and let cook! 

These two were thinner crusts and had bell pepper & mozzarella.  The first one stopped there, the second went for some goat cheese, prosciutto and pineapple. The third (not pictured due to growling stomachs) had jalapeños for a little kick.  

With a good chunk of dough (and cheese) left, we went for a true pan style crust straight on the pizza stone. Well, in all honesty we were trying to make a big thin crust but it ended up puffing up and becoming this circle of pure heaven. Seriously...look at that sea of cheese!

The Virgin

It all started one day when I was exhausted and moody for a reason I can't even remember. I come home from work (exhausted and moody) with Ethan (boyfriend), nowhere to be found. Little did I know he was at my favorite local grocery store, Lucky's Market, getting bags full of groceries (and wine) to make homemade pizza! 

Needless to stay it was an elaborate process, with a lot of texting & googling questions. He had never made pizza and I had only witnessed my dad (Dave) put together some delicious pies.  We decided we need to go balls to the wall and make everything from scratch. 

First step. Dough. After much googling, we went with good ol' Bobby Flay's recipe , instead of water sub in a light beer. (this is a great time to get rid of those nasty Bud Lights hanging around in the fridge). 

Second Step. Sauce. After some pointers from E's cousin we came up with a pretty damn good concoction. 

  1. Melt 1-2 TB of butter in a saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add in 1/4-1/3 cup onion & 1-2 TB of garlic (we really like our garlic) and sautee until fragrant
  3. Add in one 15oz can of tomato sauce and 3 oz (half a can) of tomato paste
  4. Mix everything in and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Feel free to add salt/pepper/chili flakes as it simmers, the more taste checks the better...am I right?!
  5. Add in a TB of white vinegar, chopped fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese and let simmer for just a wee bit longer until taste is to your desire. 

At this point, it was time to handle the big ball...of dough of course. We went for 2 thick pan style crust. Essentially we oiled up two 8" cake pans and fit the dough to the pan, leaving the crust thick on the outside. We dabbled the crust with some garlic olive oil, in hopes for some extra garlicky flavor

Then the fun part...CHEESE!

Well before I get ahead of myself, we spooned the sauce in and thennnn cheese cheese cheese. We went for classic mozzarella on both, Asiago cheese crust on one, and sliced chicken on the other. We had no idea what to expect, we were more than ready to call up the Wig had this been a total disaster. To our surprise...it was the greatest thing ever. 

Needless to stay there was a long time for photo ops and & snap chats before we could actually dig in. At the end I was definitely force feeding myself but I couldn't allow myself to stop it was just too damn good!