Easy Taco Soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Courtesy of: Cooking Classy
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 1/4 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped (1 1/2 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (optional)*
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
- 1 (14 oz) can low-sodium beef broth
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 Tbsp chili powder**
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 3/4 tsp ground paprika
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 Tbsp dry ranch dressing mix, or 1/3 cup chopped cilantro and 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (see notes***)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
- 1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14.5 oz) can can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- Shredded Mexican blend cheese, chopped green or red onions, diced avocados and corn tortilla strips/chips
- Heat a largr pot over medium-high heat drizzle lightly with oil.
- Add ground beef in a large along with chopped onion, crumbling and stirring occasionally until browned. Add jalapeno and garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
- Drain excess fat from beef mixture.
- Stir in tomatoes with chiles, beef broth, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, ranch dressing mix and season with salt and pepper to tastes. Cover pot with lid and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in corn, black beans and pinto beans and cook until heated through. Add 1/2 cup water to thin soup if desired. Stir in cilantro and lime if using.
- Serve warm finished with desired toppings.
Sweet Tea Mojito
A refreshing summer cocktail!
- 5 bags of black tea
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 handfuls of fresh mint
- 4 cups water
- 3 limes
- 1 1/2 cups light rum
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and add in your 5 tea bags, 2 cups sugar, and two handfuls of mint. Allow all to simmer while sugar dissolves (approx. 5 minutes), continually stirring.
Strain your tea, sugar, and mint liquid into your serving pitcher, and then add in the juice from 3 limes.
Add in 1 1/2 cups light rum to your tea mixture along with 1 cup of cool water and another handful of mint. Stir and chill.
Serves: 10-inch pie
Courtesy of: Vivian Howard / A Chef’s Life
“This recipe has a couple of steps but man, it is worth it. The vegetarians in your life will thank you, and your carnivore friends will never miss the meat. I know it will be nearly impossible, but try to let the pie cool to just over room temperature. I think this is when it really shines.”
– Vivian Howard
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 tablespoons ice-cold water
½ teaspoon vinegar
Filling and topping:
1 tablespoon butter
1 large yellow onion, halved and cut into julienne with the grain
2 teaspoons salt, divided
3 ½ pounds tomatoes, cut into ½-inch dice, divided
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon picked thyme
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 turns of the pepper mill or ½ teaspoon black pepper
⅓ cup picked basil leaves
½ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup grated Fontina
⅓ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Make the crust: Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium for a few seconds. Then begin adding the butter one cube at a time. Continue until the flour is speckled and crumbly. With the mixer still running, add the water and vinegar until just combined. Do not overmix. Lay roughly a 10×10-inch square of plastic wrap on the counter in front of you and turn the dough out onto it. Wrap the dough tightly in the plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Bring the crust to room temperature. Dust your counter and rolling pin lightly with flour and roll the crust slightly larger than your pie pan. Lay the crust in the pan and press gently into its edges. Cut off the edges that hang over and discard. Freeze the crust in the pie pan for at least 15 minutes or until you’re ready to blind-bake.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay foil or parchment paper on top of the crust and weigh that down with dried beans or rice. Blind-bake for 30 minutes.
Make the filling and topping: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a medium saute pan or skillet, melt the butter and add the onions and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook the onions over medium-low heat till they are deeply caramelized. This will take about 40 minutes. If your onions get away from you and burn a little, add ¼ cup of water to the pan, scrape up the overbrowned bits, and keep going, In the end, you’ll have a scant ⅓ cup caramelized onions.
Toss half the tomatoes with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon sugar. Set them over a colander and let them drain while you get everything else ready, at least 30 minutes.
Toss the remaining tomatoes with ½ teaspoon salt, the thyme, and the olive oil. Spread them out in a single layer on a sheet tray with as much room separating the individual pieces as possible. Slide the tray onto the middle rack of your oven and roast for 20 to 30 minutes. You’re looking for the tomatoes to dry out and brown slightly.
Once all the individual components are done, stir together the onions, the fresh tomatoes, the roasted tomatoes, the remaining salt and sugar, black pepper and basil. In a separate, smaller bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, Fontina, and Parm.
Spoon the filling into your blind-baked crust and crown it with mayo-and-cheese topping. Bake in the middle rack of your oven for 30 minutes. You can serve this warm or at room temperature. Both have their virtues.
Makes a 10-inch pie.
Vintage Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Recipe by: Half-Baked Harvest
- 2 cups mini salted pretzels
- 6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 6 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3/4 – 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 cups, plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease an 8 or 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom or use a standard pie plate.
2. To make the crust. In a food processor, pulse together the pretzels, butter, and brown sugar until the pretzels are fine crumbs. Press the mix into the prepared pie plate. Bake 8 minutes, until golden.
3. Meanwhile, combine the chocolate, 1 tablespoon cream, and the coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, stirring every 45 seconds, until melted. Carefully spread the melted chocolate onto the bottom of the crust and gently up the sides. Chill in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar on high speed, until very smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and beat until combined. Slowly add the 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, 1/4 cup at a time until incorporated. Add the vanilla and whip on high spread until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Spoon the peanut cream into the chilled crust. Cover and chill 1 hour.
5. Using an electric mixer, whip 3/4 cup heavy cream, 1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla together until soft peaks form. Dollop cream onto the pie. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving. Pie will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge.
Mexican Street Corn
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Elote (aka Mexican Street Corn) is an unbelievably popular antojito (little craving or street food) that you can find all over Mexico and the US. It’s often served on a stick, though you could skip the skewer and make it right on the grill.
If you are a mayo-hater and worried this recipe won’t be for you, think again. Elote will have you reconsidering your stance; or, at the very least, make one incredible exception. The mayo becomes more like a creamy sauce, absorbing the flavor of the chili powder, cotija cheese, and lime juice. It’s tangy without overpowering the corn—exactly the kind of refreshing treat you could use at your next cookout or backyard BBQ.
If you’re having trouble finding cotija cheese, you can replace it with a salty crumby cheese like feta or ricotta salata. But we really recommend getting your hands on cotija for its perfect blend of texture and taste.
This side is perfect for any cookout staple—try it with barbecue chicken or grilled steak—or, at a party, you could set up all of the toppings (adding a few wildcards, like scallions, crumbled bacon, and sriracha) and create a Build Your Own Elote Bar.
6 ears corn, shucked and cleaned
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. Grated cotija cheese
Freshly chopped cilantro
- Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high. Grill corn, turning often until slightly charred all over, about 10 minutes.
- Brush corn with a layer of mayonnaise and sprinkle with chili powder, cotija, and cilantro. Serve warm with lime wedges.
Coca Cola Glazed Ham
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes
Recipe by: Mandy Rivers I South Your Mouth
- 1 10–12-pound bone-in, cured ham
- 1 extra-large oven bag
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
- 1 large orange, washed and cut into 6 wedges
- 1 can Coca-Cola
Trim any excess skin and/or fat from the ham. Using a sharp knife, score the ham in a diamond pattern making 1/4-inch-deep slices. Don’t fret over getting this perfect.
Place the ham (on its side – not face down) in the oven bag set in a large roasting pan. Roll the sides of the bag down so that the bag is open wide, and you can get your hands around the ham easily.
Combine brown sugar and Dijon mustard in a small bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Rub sugar mixture all over ham.
Place orange wedges in the bottom of the bag around the ham. Pour the coke into the bag. Don’t pour the coke over the ham or it will wash the sugar mixture off – just pour it in near the bottom of the ham.
“Puff up” the bag a little so that the bag isn’t touching the ham. Making sure to keep a “loose fit” around the ham, close the bag tightly with the provided tie. You should end up with what looks something like a two-day old mylar balloon with a ham inside it.
Using a small, sharp knife, make three small slits in the top of the bag for ventilation. Don’t skip this step or the bag will burst wide open, and the ham won’t be able to self-baste.
Move your oven rack just low enough that the bag won’t touch the upper elements in your oven then bake at 350 degrees for 2-2.5 hours (2.5-3 hours if using a 13–15-pound ham) or until nicely browned and caramelized.
Remove ham from oven and rest, inside the bag, for 30 minutes before serving.
*Do not use a spiral sliced ham with this recipe.
Ruben Egg Rolls
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
By Lyuba Brooke
March is here, and we will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick is the patron Saint of Ireland and its National Apostle. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated every year on March 17th, on the anniversary of his death. The Irish have observed the holiday for over 1000 years, and since it falls during the season of Lent, families would attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon.
To help you celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day, we have a unique spin on some traditional Irish food, Reuben Egg Rolls. These delicious morsels are made with corned beef, cheese, and sauerkraut and then fried to a golden-brown deliciousness with Thousand Island dipping sauce on the side for that added touch.
- 12 egg roll wrappers
- ½ lb deli-sliced corned beef
- 5 slices of Swiss cheese
- ½ cup sauerkraut drained and squeezed
- 1 egg white
- About 5 cups of oil for frying
- Thousand Island dressing to dip
- Preheat oil to 350 degrees.
- Gently whisk the egg white in a small bowl and set it close to you.
- Dice corned beef and Swiss cheese and add them to the mixing bowl. Add sauerkraut and mix everything until it’s evenly incorporated throughout.
- To roll the egg rolls: place egg roll wrapper on a diamond. Spread about 2 tablespoons of Reuben filling in a line, leaving about an inch on each side. Gently and carefully, fold the corner that’s closest to you over the filling mixture, and tuck under the filling. Fold both side corners toward the wrapper’s center. It will start to look like an open envelope. Dip your fingers in egg white and run along the edges of the wrapper to seal better. Carefully roll up the egg roll.
- Fry egg rolls in batches until golden brown, turning once the bottom side turns golden.
- Serve with Thousand Island dressing for dipping.
Some of the best things about living on the Emerald Coast are the great restaurants and the fresh seafood straight from the Gulf. One restaurant in Seaside has taken these two things and made for an experience that screams 30A.
Grits A Ya Ya
By Chef Jim Shirley
Photo Credit Susan Benton
The Great Southern Cafe in downtown Seaside serves up some of the finest food around by Executive Chef Innocent Utomi. One such dish is their famous Shrimp & Grits A Ya Ya. This fan-favorite has been satisfying the palate and hunger pains of visitors and locals alike, but if you can not get down to the restaurant, you, fortunately, have a way to make it at home.
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups grits, such as Dixie Lily
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- One 14- to 16-ounce can of creamed corn
- 1 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
The Shrimp Ya Ya
- 8 strips applewood smoked bacon, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- White wine
- 1 pound peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
- 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
- 1/4 cup diced scallions
- 1 portobello mushroom caps, sliced
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Hot sauce
For the grits: Pour the chicken stock into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and turn on high until it boils. Mix in the grits and stir like crazy. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little cream if you need more liquid. Then, tumble in the butter, add the creamed corn, drizzle in the rest of the cream and stir until it’s mixed well.
Shake in the shredded cheese and stir very well until it’s nice and smooth.
For the shrimp: While your grits cook, bring a large saucepan to medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and shallots and sauté. Add the butter and a splash of white wine and cook until the butter is half melted, then add the shrimp. Cook until the downsides of the shrimp become white, then flip them and add the spinach, scallions, and mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes.
Remove the shrimp. Pour in the heavy cream and let simmer, stirring until reduced by one-third. Add salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Return the shrimp and stir to combine.
To plate, spoon the sauce onto heaping mounds of cheese grits. Place the shrimp around the edges of the grits. Serve with French bread.
Note: You can finely slice or grate the sweet potato and deep fry to make the Sweet Potato Hay for the top of this dish. It adds a nice element of texture.
What better way to start the New Year than with a nice hot bowl of Hoppin’ John. This traditional southern dish is found in most southern states, but especially in the Carolinas. There are many variations, but traditionally they will have black-eyed peas, rice, and pork served with a side of collard greens and golden cornbread.
Each item on the plate has a symbolic meaning for the New Year. The black-eyed Peas “coins,” the collard greens “greenbacks,” and the cornbread “gold.” If you add tomatoes, those represent “health.” This delightful dish should be eaten first thing on New Year’s Day and is assured to bring the one eating it luck, health, and money.
Hoppin’ John Recipe
Recipe Courtesy of A Chef’s Life
Yield: 6 servings
Hoppin John Recipe
- 1 cup dried black-‐eyed peas, cowpeas or, red peas
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil of choice
- 1⁄2 cup chopped Spanish onion
- 1/3 cup diced double-smoked slab bacon
- 1 boneless ham hock, diced (1⁄4 lb. yield)
- One fresh chili pepper, slit down one side
- 1 Sprig of fresh thyme
- 6 cups water or stock
- 1 cup Long-‐Grain unconverted white rice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Sort and wash the peas, picking out stones. Reserve.
- Heat a 4-‐quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil, then the bacon. Cook, stirring the bacon without browning. Add the onion and cooking until soft and translucent.
- Add the reserved cleaned peas to the pot, along with the ham hock, hot pepper, thyme, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for approximately 45 minutes until the beans are three-quarters tender; and not mushy.
Measure the liquid remaining in the pot. At this point, you should have 2 cups of liquid in the pot; adjust as needed. Add the rice to the pot along with 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt and black pepper to taste. Return the pot to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 15-‐20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the carry-‐over cooking finish the Hoppin’ John until the rice is tender. Serve hot or at room temperature.
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