Carnita-Style Beef with Peppers and Onions


I like pot roast as much as anyone.  But judging from the looks I got from my family after telling them I was planning to have pot roast for dinner, I think they are ready for a change.  After I got everyone off to work and school I started looking through stacks of cookbooks trying to find something different to do with my chuck roast.  I found this recipe in Perfect One-Dish Dinners by Pam Anderson and my family loved it.



Carnita-Style Beef with Peppers and Onions
  • 2 boneless chuck roasts, 2½ - 3 lbs. each
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. ground cumin, divided
  • 2 cans (4.5-oz. each) green chiles, undrained
  • ¼ c. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 qt. chicken broth
  • 3 lg. onions, each peeled and cut into 12 wedges
  • 3 lg. multicolored bell peppers, cut into 12 wedges
  • flour tortillas, warmed
  • sour cream
  • fresh cilantro sprigs
  • limes, cut into wedges
  1. Adjust oven racks to the lowest and middle positions. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large heavy roasting pan over two burners on low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, place roasts in a large bowl, coat with 2 tbsp. oil, and season with 2 tbsp. cumin and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Mix chiles, chili powder, remaining 2 tsp. cumin, and oregano in a small bowl.
  3. A few minutes before searing, increase heat to a strong medium-high heat. Add roasts and sear, turning only once, until both sides form an impressive brown crust, about 8 minutes total. Transfer roasts to a plate, set aside. Add garlic to pan and cook, stirring until fragrant and golden, about 30 seconds. Add chile mixture and cook, stirring, to intensify flavor, another 30 seconds. Add chicken broth, bring to a simmer, and return roasts and any juices on plate to pan.
  4. Place a sheet of heavy-duty foil over pan, pressing down on foil so that it touches roasts. Seal foil around edges and repeat with a second sheet of foil to seal completely. Continue cooking on medium-high until juices bubble. Set pan on middle oven rack and cook for a total of 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, about 30 minutes before roasts are done, toss onions and peppers with remaining ¼ c. oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet, place on bottom oven rack, cook until crisp-tender, about 20 - 30 minutes.
  6. When roasts are done, remove from oven, cool, and shred meal into bite-size pieces with two forks.
  7. Serve with peppers and onions, warm tortillas, sour cream, cilantro sprigs and lime wedges, shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes.
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Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Apricot Ginger Glaze

Holy Moley!!  Greg found this recipe over the weekend. I just happened to have a pork tenderloin in the freezer so we tried it.  It was FABULOUS!!  I made Coconut Cilantro Rice to serve with the tenderloin, but plain Jasmine or Basmati rice would be fine.


Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Apricot Ginger Glaze
  • 2½-lb. pork tenderloin
  • Spice Rub:
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Glaze:
  • 2 (18-oz.) jars apricot preserves
  • 1 c. barbecue sauce
  • 2 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 2 limes, juiced
  1. Place chili powder, garlic powder, sugar, salt and pepper in a jar; shake to blend. Rub mixture onto pork tenderloin. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
  2. Prior to grilling, melt apricot preserves in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove pan from heat and stir in the remaining glaze ingredients. Place half of the glaze in a serving bowl and set aside for serving. Hold the rest for grilling.
  3. Prepare grill at medium-high heat. Grill pork tenderloin for 20 - 25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 160 degrees fahrenheit on an instant read thermometer.
  4. When approximately 4 minutes of cook time remain, brush the tenderloin with apricot glaze. Cook 2 minutes, turn the pork tenderloins and brush glaze on the other side. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove pork from the grill and let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with reserved glaze.
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Fat Tuesday Beignets

Fat Tuesday has me thinking about one of my favorite places…New Orleans.  New Orleans isn’t the only city that celebrates Mardi Gras in a big way, but it is famous for celebrating it.  Mardi gras is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.  I’m not sure that I really paid attention to Mardi Gras before living in Florida, but it was somewhat of a celebration there too with parades & balls and such.

To celebrate Fat Tuesday I made Beignets.  If you’ve ever been to New Orleans then you’ve probably had them at the famous Cafe Du Monde.  It’s one of those places that you just have to visit to make the trip complete.

This is a Paula Deen recipe and quite good.  I won’t be in New Orleans for Fat Tuesday.  However, with these beignets I can put on some jazz music, pour a cup of coffee, close my eyes and imagine that I’m sitting on the patio at the Cafe Du Monde.


Fat Tuesday Beignets
  • 1½ c. lukewarm water
  • ½ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 c. evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 7 c. bread flour
  • ¼ c. shortening
  • confectioners' sugar for dusting
  • 1 qt. peanut oil for frying
  1. Mix water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix eggs, salt and evaporated milk. Add yeast mixture to egg mixture.
  3. Add 3 cups of flour to yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface, knead until smooth.
  4. Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray or grease by rubbing oil on inside of bowl. Put the dough into the bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oil to 370 degrees.
  6. Working with a softball size portions of dough at a time, roll out to about ¼-inch thickness. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 2-inch squares. Deep fry, flipping constantly, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, then sift a generous portion of confectioners' sugar over the top. Serve warm.
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Celebration Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

These are the cupcakes I made to take to school.  They were really good and I loved the buttercream frosting.  Like the red velvet cupcakes, you start with a cake mix for these cupcakes too.

The butter flavoring and the meringue powder can be found where cake decorating supplies are sold.



I found this idea on Pinterest!  The icing looks as good when you get to where you’re going as it did when you decorated it.  Just place the cupcake in a plastic cup and then into a plastic bag, tie with decorative ribbon.  The only trick to this is you need a fork to remove the cupcake from the cup.  I just ate mine out of the cup, but Wes stuck the fork into the cupcake then lifted it out of the cup.


Celebration Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 (18.25-oz.) box white cake mix
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1⅓ c. water
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 4 lg. eggs
  • Buttercream Frosting:
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 c. vegetable shortening
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. butter flavoring
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract
  • 1 lb. confectioners sugar, sifted
  • pinch salt
  • ½ tbsp. meringue powder
  • ½ tbsp. milk if needed
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners, set aside.
  2. Whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar and salt. Add remaining ingredients and beat with electric mixer until well blended. Beat on medium for 2 minutes .
  3. Scoop batter into prepared pan, filling about ¾ full. (You'll get about 36 cupcakes from this recipe.) Bake in preheated oven for 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  4. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. When cool top with frosting.
  5. To make frosting:
  6. Mix butter, shortening and salt on low speed for 5 minutes. Add vanilla, butter flavor, and almond extract, beat until well blended. Add meringue powder and ½ confectioners sugar, mixing on lowest speed of mixer until the sugar is mixed in. Add remaining sugar, mixing on lowest speed until sugar is mixed in. Turn mixer to medium speed and beat about 5 minutes, until fluffy and smooth.
  7. Spread or pipe onto cupcakes. Decorate if desired.
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Blue Cheese Dressing

This is a great blue cheese dressing.  Adapted from my sister-in-law, Tabatha’s, recipe for blue cheese dip for chicken wings.  I just thinned it a little.  It is still slightly thick, but a little goes a long way on a salad.  If you like blue cheese you’ll love this dressing.


Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 5-oz. blue cheese
  • ½ c. sour cream
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. Tabasco sauce
  • ¼ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ c. buttermilk
  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor until almost smooth. You can thin even more with buttermilk if desired.
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