Birria Tacos

This recipe is from Food Network. It takes some time so definitely not a weekend night meal. They were delicious so I would make them again.


Making the Beef and Sauce

I prepared tomatoes, onions, and garlic.


And also prepared the chiles – chiles de arbol, ancho chiles, and New Mexico chiles.


I put the vegetables in the pot.


And the dried chiles.


Finally, I added the beef broth. I cooked this for about 20 minutes.


While the vegetables cooked, I worked on the beef.


In batches, I cooked the cubes of meat in a Dutch oven.


I put the meat aside while I worked on completing the sauce.


All the ingredients had cooked and softened.


I used my immersion blender to make it into a smooth sauce.


I transferred the sauce to the same Dutch oven used to cook the beef in order the add the final sauce ingredients.


I heated up the sauce again and used it to loosen the beef bits on the bottom of the Dutch oven. Then I added the apple cider vinegar, cumin, and coriander.


Next I added the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks.


I stirred to incorporate those ingredients and finally added the beef pieces back in.


And stirred the mixture to coat all the beef pieces. This went into a 300˚F oven for three hours.


Making the Tacos

After three hours, I took out the Dutch oven and shredded the beef.


I heated my griddle, dipped three corn tortillas in the braising liquid, and put them on the griddle.


Then I added the meat and Monterey jack cheese.


Next I added the cilantro.


I folded the tacos.


I removed the tacos to a plate and included a bowl of the braising liquid for dipping.


Bacon and Spinach Pasta with Parmesan

This recipe is from Budget Bytes. It came together pretty quickly so I think it works as a weeknight meal.


I started with cooking the bacon in a skillet.


After it was cooked, I moved it to a plate.


I poured most of the grease out into a glass measuring cup and added 1 tablespoon back to the skillet. Because I do not like onions, I added the chicken broth at this point and added onion powder to that.


Then I added the pasta to the skillet and covered it with a lid.


After 15 minutes the pasta was tender and most of the liquid was absorbed.


Next I added the spinach. I used the lid again to encourage it to wilt.

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I added the bacon back to the skillet.


I stirred everything to distribute the bacon and spinach evenly.


Then I sprinkled the Parmesan cheese on top.


And finally, I stirred to incorporate the cheese into the dish.


I think it would be good to grate a little more cheese than you need so that you can sprinkle some more on top before serving. Otherwise, the cheese completely disappears.

America’s Food Truck Cookery @ Las Cosas

Two weeks ago, I attended a Food Truck cooking class at Las Cosas with Chef Johnny Vee. This was my third attempt to take the class and I finally got in. First time, there was low enrollment so it was cancelled. Second time, it was sold out. A change to original menu – we made pupusas instead of gorditas.

Class Description: Tonight we pretend we are making a handful of stops at some of America’s hottest food carts and recreate a menu of hand-held goodies from around the country. Pull up to the window and order Korean Pork Tacos, Sweet Crab Rolls, Buffalo Sliders, French Canadian Poutine, Mexican Gorditas, Shrimp Po-Boys with Jalapeno Mayo, Truffle Fries, Gourmet Ice Cream Sandwiches. (Hands-on)


Per usual, the menu items were divided up among the class members. With another classmate, I worked on the Buffalo Sliders.

Buffalo Sliders

We used bison meat and mixed it with Dijon mustard, olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Then we formed them into small two-inch patties.


Next we cooked them in a hot grill pan.

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We also buttered and toasted some mini Hawaiian buns.

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We topped each burger with Swiss cheese.


We prepared some toppings – sliced red onion and tomatoes.


And also added them to the burgers.


These were messy, but also so delicious.

The Other Menu Items

Korean Pork Tacos – cooked pulled pork, corn tortillas, cucumber pickle, and kimchi

Kogi BBQ Sauce – gochujang, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil

Cucumber Pickle – English cucumber, rice vinegar, sugar, chili pepper, and salt

Kimchi – napa cabbage, kosher salt, garlic, ginger, kochukaru, fish sauce, light soy sauce, scallions, and carrots

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Sweet Crab Rolls – hot dog buns, butter, crab meat, mayonnaise, lemon juice, tarragon, salt, white pepper, lettuce, shallots, and cornstarch. Toast points were used instead of hotdog buns. French fried onions were used instead of shallots.


French Canadian Poutine – butter, flour, beef stock, salt, black pepper, potatoes, and cheese curd


Pupusas – masa harina, salt, cold water, mozzarella cheese, refried beans

Curtido – cabbage, onion, carrots, hot water, white vinegar, oregano, and salt


Shrimp Po-Boys with Jalapeño Mayo

Shrimp Po-Boys – shrimp, flour, cornstarch, beer, salt, cumin, cayenne, and hot dog buns (we used corn tortillas)

Jalapeño Mayo – mayonnaise, lime juice, jalapeños, cilantro, onion, salt, and pepper


Truffle Fries – potatoes, salt, truffle oil, and thyme


Whoopie Pies – unsweetened chocolate, semisweet chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and dulce de leche ice cream

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Pad See Ew (Thai Stir Fried Noodles)

This recipe is from Recipe Tin Eats. I order this dish from the local Thai food truck and really like it. This did not taste like hers, but it was good and I will make it again. I want to try changing the protein to shrimp.



Kai lan – I got this from the local Asian market. The recipe needed four stems separated into leaves and stems.

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Noodles – These are wide rice noodles that I also got from the Asian market.


I soaked the noodles in hot water, drained them, and rinsed them with cold water.


Sauce – The sauce consisted of soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, white vinegar, and sugar.


Everything was combined and stirred until the sugar dissolved.



I heated oil in my wok and added the minced garlic. The garlic cooked way too fast. Next time I will put the chicken in first and then the garlic.


Next I added the chicken.

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And cooked the chicken until it was almost cooked through.


Then I added the kai lan stems.


Next I added the kai lan leaves.


I kept cooking the mixture until the leaves had wilted. Then I pushed the mixture to the side to make room for cooking the egg.


I added the egg to the wok.


I scrambled the egg. Then I removed everything from the wok to a bowl.


Next I added oil, the noodles, and sauce to the wok.


I continued to cook until they were sufficiently coated with the sauce and caramelized.


I added the chicken mixture back in.


And continued cooking and mixing to combine all ingredients. It was ready to serve.


Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)

This recipe is from The Woks of Life. I did not like this. This was the third recipe I tried for drunken noodles and I have concluded that I just do not like this dish.


I added water to the chicken and worked it in.


Next I added soy sauce, oil, and cornstarch to the bowl and coated the chicken. I set this aside for 20 minutes.


Then I worked on the sauce – brown sugar, water, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and white pepper.


I added heated oil to my wok and then added the chicken. I removed the chicken after cooking it mostly done.


Next I added the garlic and ginger to the wok.


And then the shallot.


Next I added the scallions.


This recipe asked for four Thai chiles.


I seeded and julienned them. Then I added them to the wok along with the Thai basil and baby corn.


Next it was time to add the noodles I had soaked in boiling water earlier.


I stirred to mix them with the vegetables.


I added the sauce made and set aside.


I continued to cook until I had coated everything with the sauce.


Next I added the cooked chicken back in.


Finally, I incorporated the chicken and let everything cook some more.


Baked Sesame Chicken

This recipe is from The Woks of Life. I did not truly love how it came out, but I am planning to try again as I have some ideas on how to improve it.


Preparing the Chicken

To start, I added the cornstarch, sesame paste, salt, and Shaoxing wine to a small bowl.


I cut the chicken thighs into strips.


I added some sesame seeds to a skillet to toast them.


I put the cornstarch mixture and the toasted sesame seeds in the bowl with the chicken and coated the chicken pieces with the mixture. Then I set it aside for 20 minutes.

This was the first mistake I made. The toasted sesame seeds were supposed to go in the flour mixture. Also the instructions said “Use your hands to mix the chicken and marinade until there is no standing liquid.” This chicken and coating was extremely dry from the start. I do not know where the standing liquid could have come from.


I put the flour and white pepper in a plate and mixed to combine. (The toasted sesame seeds were supposed to go here).


I dredged the chicken through the flour mixture and laid them out on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. It went into a 475˚F oven for 8 minutes. I took them out after 8 minutes and flipped them over for the broiling step.


This was mistake number two. The instructions gave a choice between aluminum foil and parchment paper. I should have gone with aluminum foil. The broiling temperature was too high for that paper. I could smell it burning in the oven and had to take everything out sooner than I wanted to.


The Sauce

I added Shaoxing wine, chicken stock, rice wine vinegar, sugar, soy sauces, and sesame oil to a measuring cup.


To the wok, I added the oil and minced garlic. I sautéed the garlic and then added the sauce. I brought it to a simmer.


Next I added the cornstarch slurry and let it simmer some more.



The sauce was really thick. Not sure if that was correct or not. I added the chicken pieces to the sauce in the wok.


I put some jasmine rice on a plate, scooped some sesame chicken on top, and then topped with sliced scallions.


White Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe is from The Recipe Critic. This came out well enough, but I already know of some changes I want to make when I make them again.


I started by making the sauce. I melted some butter in a pot.


Then I added the flour to make the roux.


Next I started adding the chicken broth.

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Once I had a smooth and creamy sauce, I added the green chiles. This is where I would make a change. I really hate green chile bits in my food. I would just purée it. I want the flavor, but not that texture.


Next I added the sour cream.


Finally, I added the Monterey jack cheese.


After adding all the cheese, the sauce was still a bit too loose. I think some reduction in liquid, longer cooking, or higher heat could work to reduce it and make it thicker.

Next I started working on the filling – shredded chicken, cream cheese, sour cream, green chiles, cumin, and Monterey jack cheese. I would purée the green chiles here too.


I mixed it together to get everything evenly incorporated.


Then I divided the mixture up among the 10 tortillas. I will try 12 corn tortillas next time.


I arranged the rolls in a 9 x 13 inch pan.


I poured the sauce over them. Again too much sauce and too soupy.


Finally, I sprinkled a layer of Monterey jack cheese on top.


It went into the oven at 350˚F for 30 minutes. It did not cook down enough of the liquid. There was so much in the pan and so much still on top.


Baked Mac and Cheese

This recipe is from Budget Bytes. It was a little involved, but delicious. I will definitely be making this again. This was a side dish for our Easter 2023 dinner.


I started with a sauce pot containing chicken broth and heavy cream.


Next I added Italian seasoning, garlic powder, cayenne, and pepper. (Salt was supposed to be an ingredient too, but my chicken broth is pretty salty so I generally wait to see how salty the mixture will come out before adding it.) I whisked the ingredients together and brought it to a boil.


Then I mixed the Italian cheese blend and cheddar cheese in a small bowl reserving a quarter of it for the layering step.


I started adding the cheese to the sauce a little at a time until it was incorporated.


I boiled elbow macaroni and drained it.


I added the macaroni to the sauce pot.


I stirred it until it was evenly coated by the sauce.


Then I put half of the mixture in a square casserole dish.


I added a layer of the reserved cheese (Italian blend and cheddar).


Then I added the remaining macaroni to the casserole dish.


I started preparing the seasoned breadcrumb topping. I added panko breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, smoked paprika, black pepper and salt, to a small bowl.


I put butter in a skillet and after it melted, I added the breadcrumb mixture. I cooked it until the mixture was golden.


I took it off the burner to cool and then added shredded cheddar cheese.


Then I sprinkled the breadcrumb mixture on top of the macaroni.


I put it in the oven to bake for 20 minutes at 375˚F.


Collard Greens

This recipe is from Budget Bytes. This was a side dish for our Easter 2023 dinner. It takes a while to make. I did leave the sugar ingredient out. Per usual, I used onion powder instead of onion. I do not commonly see collard greens in our grocery store, but I found them chopped in a bag. I will likely make it again.


I added the minced garlic and vegetable oil to my Dutch oven. After some time, I added the onion powder.


Then I added the collard greens.


Next I added the black pepper, and red pepper flakes.


Then I added the smoked ham hock and chicken broth.


The pot was then covered and simmered for an hour.


I removed the smoked ham hock from the pot.


I put the ham hock on a cutting board, removed the meat, and cut the meat into smaller pieces. Then I returned the meat to the pot.


I stirred the meat back into the greens and it was ready to serve.


Roasted Cornish Hens with Mustard-Herb Sauce

This recipe is from Cook’s Country. It was the main dish of our Easter 2023 dinner. It is supposed to make four hens but there are only two of us so I only made two hens. I should have made the mustard-herb sauce the day before. It had tarragon in it so I did not love it. I really do not like a licorice flavor. The hens were delicious. I had doubts since the only seasoning was salt and pepper.


Roasted Cornish Hens

You have to start this recipe the day before you are going to cook and serve it. There is a 24 hour dry brine step. I patted each hen down and sprinkled all over with salt and pepper. I tucked in the wings and tied the legs with twine. I placed them on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and put them in the refrigerator uncovered.


The next day when it was time to roast them, I rubbed them all over with vegetable oil. Then I put them in the 500˚F oven for 35 minutes. They still were not done by then so I left them in for 20 more minutes.


I let them rest for 20 minutes before serving them.


Mustard-Herb Sauce

I put olive oil, tarragon, parsley, chives, whole-grain mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.


I combined all the ingredients and placed the mixture in a small serving dish.