I was recently in Mexico and man, do they do meats right there. You may think that the best thing about tacos is the innovation of stuffing meats in a delicious tortilla, but you’d be mistaken: the best thing about tacos en México is the incredible fillings, such as succulent salty beef, earthy stewed turkey with egg, or pork cooked for fifty-seven hours.
For this truly delicious taco filling, I cut the cooking from fifty-seven hours to six in a slow cooker, and used some clever Mexican-style innovations, namely using multiple types of dry chilies and orange juice for tang and sweetness. To make the sauce complex and spicy, I used all the different chilies at my disposable, which admittedly was not an exceptionally large variety.
My local grocery store only sells dried California chilies, so I toasted them in a pan, hydrated them in orange juice and chicken broth, and reduced everything down into a delicious broth. Then I blended it all up in the Bullet with jarred ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder, and cayenne powder, as well as some garlic and sautéed onion. (If your household doesn’t keep three kinds of chili powder on hand: (1) you should get some chipotle chili powder because really, it’s good and (2) just use whatever chili powder you have on hand.) Cooked with the pork for several hours, this created a taco filling that was about a bazillion times better than ground beef with some stuff from a packet.
Pork Tacos with Tangy Chile Sauce
- 2 whole dried chilies, any type, such as California
- 2 tsp. ancho chili powder, or use 2 dried ancho chilies
- 2 tsp. chipotle chili powder, or use 2 dried chipotle chilies
- 1 tsp. cayenne chili powder, or to taste
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- 2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into cubes
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- Place dry chilies in a pan and toast over medium heat until fragrant, about 90 seconds. Add orange juice and broth and raise heat to medium-high. Cook until liquid is reduced by about half, cool, then transfer to Magic Bullet.
- Clean pan with paper towel and add a glug of vegetable oil. Add pork and brown a bit, just on the exterior. Remove pork to slow cooker.
- Add onion to the pan. Cook until beginning to soften, about five minutes. Transfer to Magic Bullet with the chilies.
- Add all remaining ingredients except pork and bay leaf to onions and chilies in the Magic Bullet. Blend everything up until thick and creamy.
- Add everything to a slow cooker and cook on low for about six hours. Serve with tortillas.
Dressings can add a lot of flavor to simple dishes, like this southwest quinoa dish I made the other night. It wasn’t the most exciting dish without any dressing, so I decided to quickly blend up a cilantro lime dressing for it and it completely changed the flavor! I love this dressing because it is full of flavor and it’s also healthy for you, made with fresh lime juice and olive oil. This dressing is great for salads, too. Try it with chopped romaine lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, corn and avocado – yum!
Cilantro Lime Dressing
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- Add all ingredients to a small Magic Bullet cup and blend well.
Makes 1/4 cup dressing
News flash: it turns out that if you make a salad that has a lot of hearty, filling ingredients and a freshly made, particularly delicious dressing, you can make a dinner that’s mostly vegetables, low in calories, easy to assemble, and completely delicious. Of course, if you’ve been following my blogging up to now – and who hasn’t been? – you’ll know that I’ve already done this with Caesar salad. Twice. So, there’s nothing really new here, except that it’s a completely different salad with largely different ingredients.
I guess you could call that new…
With this salad I explore the mind-altering possibilities of miso, an ancient Japanese ingredient that just celebrated its 3,208th birthday. OK, I made that up, but miso is pretty awesome: it adds richness and depth of flavor (“umami”), as well as salt, a perfect addition to any lean meal. Here, I do a classic sesame-ginger-miso dressing, a classic from the Japanese steakhouse meals of my childhood. In the salad itself, I recommend salt-soaked tofu for a great, chewy, satisfying protein, which also keeps this meal vegan, but you could also use chicken breast or roast pork for that matter.
The Magic Bullet, per the us’, does a great job with the dressing, whipping everything up to the perfect consistency.
Arugula Salad with Ginger-Miso Dressing and Salt-Soaked Tofu
- 1 bag arugula (5 oz)
- 1 pound tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for frying tofu
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp. honey
- 2 tsp. miso paste
- 1” piece ginger, peeled
- chopped red onion, cheese, nuts, or other garnishes
- Add tofu to a bowl and cover with water. Add a large pour of salt. Let sit for fifteen minutes.
- Add ginger to Magic Bullet and chop until fine. Add vinegar, oils, honey, and miso and blend until smooth and thick.
- Heat a dash of vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add tofu and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned on several sides, about fifteen minutes.
- Mix arugula, tofu, and garnishes. Serve.
I know what you’re thinking: “Smoothies in the wintertime?” Yes. Smoothies in the wintertime. Because 1. they’re delicious; and 2. why should we let frigid air dictate when we’re allowed a tasty, icy drink? Especially when our heaters are cranked up to summertime temperatures.
The berry banana smoothie is a classic. Simple, tasty, timeless. I’ve also added some maple syrup to highlight this season, and anyway, who doesn’t like maple syrup in the winter?
Berry Banana Smoothie
- Frozen strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
- 1 banana
- 3/4 cup of milk
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- Combine frozen fruit, sliced banana, milk and maple syrup in Magic Bullet. Proportions of fruit are based on personal preference.
Pair with a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, a savory sandwich at lunch, or satisfy your sweet tooth at dessert!
I have always enjoyed making homemade lemonade, but I recently discovered flavored lemonades! So far, I’ve made raspberry and strawberry lemonades, but this slushy mango lemonade is my new favorite. I use frozen mangos to give it a cool, slushy texture. You can use fresh mangos if you don’t want it as cold.
What’s your favorite flavored lemonade?
Slushy Mango Lemonade
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped frozen mango
- Add all ingredients to a large Magic Bullet cup and blend well.
Makes 2 cups
You may or may not know that Connecticut is the best state in the country for pizza. And if you do know that Connecticut is the best state in the country for pizza, you may or may not know that Pepe’s and Sally’s (and maybe Modern) are the famously best places for pizza (though I’m actually partial to Bar). In any event, even if you know that Connecticut is the best state in the country for pizza, and even if you know about Pepe’s (and Sally’s and Modern and Bar), you may or may not know about Colony Grill, which is also a great place for pizza… in Connecticut… and not a grill of any kind. It’s also Irish-themed, not exactly a country known for its pizza.
Anyway, the pizzas at Colony are what’s known as “bar style” — incredibly thin crust, bordering on cracker-like, basically individually sized, with hearty toppings like pepperoni, hot peppers, or anchovies that go all the way out to the edge (very little crust). When Serious Eats did a feature on bar style pizza made with tortillas in 15 minutes or less, I knew I had to try it.
The trick to the tortilla bar pizza is using a cast iron pan, which can get roaringly hot to give the cracker-like crust, and fitting the tortillas into the pan so that the toppings don’t slide off, as the pizza has little or no raised crust. These were really, really good — if a not-quite-Colony perfection of toppings and crust, at least a very satisfying crunch to go with pizza flavors.
My cast iron pan is a little small, so I cut my tortillas down by about an inch in diameter to fit. Other than that, the technique is really easy: get the pan good and hot over very high heat, then turn the heat down, add the tortilla, top, and stick it all under the broiler until everything is hot and charred.
Since the tortilla isn’t exactly bursting with fresh bread flavor, I’d recommend a heavy hand on the toppings (true to the Colony tradition!) Here, I went with both a traditional red pie with pepperoni, a red pie with sausage, and a white pizza with an olive-oil garlic base and sausage, spinach, caramelized onions, and ricotta.
The Serious Eats recipe uses olive oil for the pan, but I find that vegetable oil produces less smoke. And the Magic Bullet does a great job of producing the pizza sauce for the red pie.
Bar Style Tortilla Pizza with Red Sauce
Adapted from Serious Eats
- 1 large flour tortilla that just fits inside your cast iron skillet; if too big, cut to fit
- Shredded mozzarella
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- 1 small can tomatoes, in juice
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- Other toppings, such as anchovies, pepperoni, sausage, or fresh basil (optional)
- Kosher salt
- Adjust oven rack to 6 to 8 inches below broiler and preheat broiler to high. Heat vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet on the stovetop over high heat until shimmering. Reduce heat to low.
- Blend tomatoes, garlic, oregano, olive oil, and big pinch of salt in Magic Bullet. (This makes enough for about four pizzas.)
- Place tortilla in skillet. Spread tomato mixture evenly over tortilla all the way to the edges. Top with mozzarella all over and sprinkle edges of tortilla with parmesan. Season lightly with salt. Add toppings.
- Place skillet under broiler and broil until cheese is melted and starting to brown in spots, 2 to 4 minutes. Check bottom of pizza with a spatula; if more crispiness is desired, return to stovetop over medium high heat. If not, slide pizza onto cutting board and serve. Careful not to burn the roof of your mouth.
This ham and cheese quiche is great for an appetizer or main dish. What I love about quiche is that it is one of the only foods that you can eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Amazing! The Magic Bullet works great for grinding up the ham and bacon in this recipe. For a healthier twist, prepare the quiche crustless by pouring the batter straight into the pie dish and skipping the crust.
Ham ‘n Cheese Quiche
- 1 cup chopped ham
- 2 slices bacon, grinded
- 1/2 cup Colby Jack cheese
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- Pinch of salt
- 1 store-bought pie crust (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Grind ham and bacon in Magic Bullet cup, then add to a mixing bowl.
- Add eggs, salt and milk to Magic Bullet cup and blend. Pour into the mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour and cheese together. Then, transfer the cheese and stir in well.
- Transfer the mixture to a greased 9×9-inch pie dish (or pie crust if using).
- Bake for 50 minutes.
Makes 1 9×9-inch quiche
I love Indian food, but sometimes restaurant Indian is too heavy for a weeknight meal. Here’s a much healthier take on an Indian classic, saag paneer. (Fun note: saag actually just means “greens” in punjabi, whereas palaak means “spinach,” so technically this is both saag paneer and palaak paneer.) Usually creamy spinach with cheese, I substitute super-pressed tofu for the cheese to give protein and virtually the same flavor with a lighter touch.
The Magic Bullet really shines in this dish, working for the classic Indian base of garlic, onions, and ginger as well as chopping the spinach extra fine. You could do this with any greens, fresh or frozen (“saag,” not “palaak,” remember?), though I think frozen spinach creates an easy and convenient classic version.
Saag Paneer with Tofu
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 lb super-pressed tofu, cubed
- 2 packages frozen chopped spinach
- 1 medium onion, peeled
- 1-inch piece ginger, peeled
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 large green chile, serrano or jalapeno
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 cup half and half and/or a couple tablespoons butter
- vegetable oil
- plain greek yogurt (optional)
- Mix turmeric, cayenne, a large pinch of salt, and about a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large bowl. Marinate tofu cubes in this mixture while preparing the rest of the recipe.
- Blend ginger, garlic, onions and chile in Magic Bullet.
- Add spinach to Magic Bullet and blend, in batches if necessary.
- Add tofu to large pan on medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, then remove onto plate.
- Add a glug of vegetable oil to pan and lower to medium heat. Add onion paste and cook until beginning to brown, adding a bit of water as necessary.
- Once beginning to brown, add spinach and remaining spices. Cook a few minutes until everything is sizzling, then mix in half and half and/or butter to taste. Return tofu cubes to pan, and serve – with greek yogurt if you like.
Have you ever been to a Mexican restaurant and thought, “Wow, I wish I knew how to make this salsa!”? Well, what if I told you that you can make it at home, and that it’s incredibly easy? After gathering a few ingredients, all you need to do is pulse them a few times in your Magic Bullet and you end up with delicious, thick and tasty restaurant style salsa.
Never again do you have to leave the restaurant embarrassed, head low in shame, after having asked your server to box up the rest of the salsa for you. Come on, you know you’ve done it before!
Restaurant Style Salsa
- 1 can (14.5 oz) stewed Mexican style tomatoes
- 4 hot chili peppers
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
- 3 green onions, chopped (white part only)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 Tbsp vinegar
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Add all ingredients to a large Magic Bullet cup and pulse several times until well mixed. Do not blend continuously or texture will be too runny.
Makes 1 cup
The combination of blueberries and oranges is not only delicious, but it is really healthy for you. The freshly chopped oranges give this smoothie a pulp-like texture, which I like, but you can always juice your orange (or simply just use orange juice, instead) for a smoother texture. You can use fresh blueberries instead of frozen and add some ice cubes to make it chilled.
Blueberry Orange Blast
- 1/2 banana
- 2/3 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 orange, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
- Add all ingredients to a Magic Bullet cup and blend well.
Makes 1 smoothie