Pork Tamales

Yesterday I went down to my work friend's* house and she taught Stephanie and I how to make tamales. You can use any meat you want, but this recipe is for pork. They're actually pretty easy (and fun) to make, just time consuming. I'm sure next time, when I'm not learning, and we're not making 8,000, that it won't take as much time.

3 1/2 lbs pork shoulder or butt roast
4 - 6 cloves of garlic minced or chopped
1 Lg onion finely chopped
1/4 cup spiced dark chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

Cooking Instructions
Place all ingredients in crockpot. Cook on low
for 4-6 hours until meat sheds easily.
Alternate cooking method:
Instructions: 1. In a large stock pot or dutch oven, combine pork, water, onion, and salt.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, tightly covered, about 2 1/2
hours. Remove meat and reserve liquid. Meat should be very tender. Shred meat while
adding dark chili powder.



25-30 dry corn husks, plus more for steaming (you can get a small package of these at the regular grocery store, or a big bunch at a Mexican shop)

Tamale Masa (Dough) Ingredients:

3 1/2 C. Masa Harina (find this in Mexican groceries or specialty shops - it comes in a big paper bag, like flour)
2 1/4 C. Hot Water or1 to 1 1/2 C. chicken broth (as needed) or reserved liquid
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
10 oz. pork lard (or vegetable shortening)

Instructions for Dough:
1. In a separate large bowl, beat together the lard/shortening, salt, and baking powder
with an electric mixer on med-high. Beat one minute, or until fluffy.
2. Add the masa mix in three additions, beating between each addition.
3. Reduce mixer to med-low, and beat in one cup of broth. Beat for about one minute.
4. Beat in the remaining broth, up to 1/2 C., until your dough resembles a soft but not
runny muffin batter.

Get a corn husk (if they're too dry and crack, just soak them in lukewarm water for a bit until they soften up) and open them up so the smooth side is exposed. Take a regular kitchen knife (it's best if it's a little flimsy) and spread the masa up the husk (this is difficult at first, but you'll get the hang of it) until about the top 3/4 is coated.

Next, put your pork in the middle (and whatever else you want - vegetables, hot sauce, whatever...), roll it up, and fold the bottom up or tie it off with a strip of corn husk. Stack them vertically in a pot with about 2 inches of water in the bottom (important: they cannot be in the water, but just above it so they can steam. There are pans that made for this where you can put a liner in the pot that sits just above the water, or you can use an upside down pie tin covered in foil that will sit above the water).

Cover and let them steam for about 2 hours or until the masa starts to peel off the corn husk. You will most likely need to put more water in for steaming throughout this process, so don't just leave them for the 2 hours.

Take out, unfold the husk and enjoy plain, or with salsa or sour cream. You can freeze a bunch and just have them on hand. I ate four today. I almost feel like they were better the day after.

*Big thanks to Shelly for letting us use her kitchen and teaching us how to make these!


Chicken Bourbon (without the bourbon)

I decided to make this Chicken Bourbon (found here) for dinner because I was not up for taking a lot of time for dinner and I had all the ingredients because they are definitely things most people have on hand.

This tastes like teriyaki chicken and it is the most FLAVORFUL recipe ever. Matthew and I loved the taste. 

Bourbon Chicken

Time: 30-40 minutes

Yield: 5 servings

5 chicken breasts (update: I only used 2)

2 T oil

1 t minced garlic

1/4 C apple or pineapple juice

1/3 C brown sugar

2 T ketchup

1 T apple cider vinegar

1/2 C water

1/3 C soy sauce

pinch red pepper flakes

1 T cornstarch 
1. Cut your chicken into small 1-2 inch pieces with some kitchen scissors. 
2. Heat up a large skillet over medium high heat. Once it is hot, pour 2 T Olive Oil into it.
3. Add your chicken pieces to the pan and let them cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
4. The chicken will start to get a bit juicy and bubbly. 
Put the lid on the pan, slightly tilted and drain the juices out into the sink. Return the pan to the stove top and continue cooking over medium high heat. 
5. Into a medium sized mixing bowl combine 1 t garlic, 1/4 C apple or pineapple juice, 1/3 C brown sugar, 2 T ketchup, 1 T apple cider vinegar, 1/2 C water, 1/3 C soy sauce, a pinch of red pepper flakes and 1 T cornstarch. Whisk it all together until the cornstarch is dissolved and all ingredients are well combined. 
6. When your chicken has a nice brown sear on some of the pieces...
pour the sauce into the pan. Stir it around to cover all the chicken pieces. 
7. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover the pan with the lid at an angle to allow some of the steam to escape. Let this baby simmer away for about 20 minutes, stirring a couple of times during the cooking period. 

8. Serve over rice


Pork and Cheese Nachos

I don't know who really watches the Superbowl, but I have always enjoyed my roommates and now my husband always being on board with sitting around eating lots of yummy food. This is what we had this year:

-Lil' smokies
-Dilly dip with celery and carrots
-Chocolate chip cookies

That other place, not Costa Vida, serves nachos similar to this so Matthew and I decided to give it a try ourselves. I took the bbq pork recipe from our pork salads and put it on top of chips and cheese and it was an insane SUCCESS!

Here is what you do:

5 lb pork (ours is always smaller)
1 c brown sugar
1 c salsa

Place the meat in a crock pot with the brown sugar and then salsa on top and cook on high for 3-4ish hours. Take the meat out and shred it and then place it back in the juice until you are ready to eat so that it soaks in all the yummy-ness.

Place chips on a foil covered cookie sheet, load on the cheese and place it in the oven on broil until it reaches the desired melty-ness. Load it up with meat and go to town. You are welcome to throw on some green onions, sour cream, olives and whatever else, but we ended up loving them best by themselves.

These are SO EASY and divine.


Nutella Muddy Buddies

1/2 cup butter
1 cup Nutella (this is a just a whole small container)
1 pkg dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (milk chocolate is too sweet)
1 pkg white chocolate chips
Powdered sugar
1 box Rice Chex (12 oz box)

Melt butter and chocolate chips in medium saucepan. Take off heat and add Nutella. Pour over Rice Chex in a large mixing bowl. With CLEAN hands, mix it until the chex is coated enough for the powdered sugar.

When coated, put it in a large ziploc bag (you may have to do two different batches) with the powdered sugar and shake it until evenly coated. Pour in bowl and enjoy.


Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks

You guys, I made these. From scratch. Including the crust. It was surprisingly easy. I just wish I had a rolling pin because getting it to lay flat in a nice looking circle was a chore - and it still wasn't very circular. It's another Pinterest recipe via Lauren's Latest. They are soooo good.

Basic Pizza Dough

1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey {or sugar}
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 cups bread flour {give or take 1/2 cup…depending on the heat & humidity - I used 2 1/2 cups - also, make sure it's bread flour}

In a large mixing bowl, preferably that of a stand mixer, stir yeast and honey into warm water. Sit for 5-10 minutes or until bubbles form and mixture starts to foam. This tells you that the yeast is alive and kicking. Pour in salt, oil and half the flour and mix.

Once that flour is incorporated, start adding flour in bit by bit until you get the pizza dough to the consistency you want: slightly tacky, but when you touch it it doesn’t stick to your hands.

Once you reach this stage, turn the mixer on high to knead for 6 minutes (I don't have a mixer, so I kneaded it by hand). Turn a timer on and walk away! Resist the temptation to stop earlier than 6 minutes - that seems to be the magical number. The dough should be smooth and easy to work with and the bowl should be clean.

Lightly grease the bowl & the dough so it doesn’t dry out, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise 1-2 hours.

Now you can turn this dough into anything your little heart desires.

Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks
yield: 1- 12 inch pie

1/2 recipe Fail-Proof Pizza Dough
2 tablespoons softened salted butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese {use the real stuff!}
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
{salt & pepper, if desired}

Preheat oven to 500 degrees with pizza stone inside. {If you don’t have a pizza stone, use an upside down cookie sheet}
Mix butter and garlic in a small bowl and set aside.
Spread pizza dough out into a 12-inch circle on parchment paper {this makes it easier to transfer to the pizza stone}*
Spread the butter and garlic mixture over dough and top with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Top with a light sprinkling of salt and pepper, if desired {optional}.

Bake 9-10 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Remove from oven and cool 1-2 minutes before cutting. Serve hot, with marinara. My roommates and myself all loved them!

*Be careful, the parchment paper is a beast to get off when it's done. If you find a way to transfer without the parchment paper, please, do tell.