Any True Blood fans out there? It’s an HBO series set in the heart of Louisiana. A synthetic blood has been created, and vampires have been able to “come out of the coffin”, as it were, and live among us. Where there’s one, there is usually more, and lots of other supernatural characters have been introduced – werewolves, shape shifters, ancient fire gods. In a world full of junky, reality TV – it’s nice to have a television program that’s still scripted! This past Sunday was the Season 5 finale, and it didn’t disappoint.

My favorite character, Lafayette – who is a gay Voodoo priest/medium, in addition to a line cook, made some delectable looking Cajun Margaritas for the waitresses after their shift ended. I love margaritas, and I love the flavors and feelings that go along with anything Cajun. I couldn’t wait to make them! Most recipes I found online simply called for the addition of hot sauce to make it Cajun, but that just sounded lame. Then, I remembered the strawberry-infused vodka I had made earlier in the year. Why not do the same with chile peppers and tequila?

It’s an extra step that takes a day or so, but man oh man. It’s so amazing how liquor can leech all the qualities from something into itself. After only an overnight soaking of jalapenos and serranos in a Mason jar full of tequila, it had a lot of heat to it. We’ve made a Habenero IPA before, that we really liked. It’s so wild to take a drink, and feel the heat in your blood. This margarita gives it to you!

I’ve never been a blended marg gal, but I liked it here. Almost like a fire & ice thing going on. Jon and I both really enjoyed them, he drank virtually the whole pitcher. Which, isn’t like him – he’s a beer guy. So, if you’re looking for something a little bit different to go on this long weekend’s menu, add these to the menu. A little heat to close out this last week of summer!

This is another one I pulled from the recipe box to share with you guys. This one is from Cook’s Illustrated, so even though the preperation might seem like a bit more work than most other meatloaf recipes, it’s well worth the effort. Meatloaf was always the one thing my mom allowed my dad to cook growing up. It was always moist and flavorful – probably due to the fact that he was sneaking ground venison into the mix unbeknownst to me and my mom. We always had a heart-shaped meatloaf on Valentine’s Day in our house, and it’s a tradition I’m proud to carry on with our little family.

Don’t be put off by the addition of powdered gelatin. The first time I saw this, I was leery too. But, trust me on this one! The gelatin mimics enzymes (proteins maybe? – I’m no AB!) found in veal, retaining moisture throughout cooking. Leading to the moistest most tender meatloaf you’ve ever enjoyed. The glaze is a cut-above the standard ketchup dousing too. Apple cider vinegar is added to ketchup for some tang, brown sugar for a bit of sweetness, and ground coriander for a bright burst of freshness.

If you’re one of those people who swears they don’t like meatloaf – try this recipe. You may just find yourself making a hear-shaped loaf for Valentine’s Day this year too!

We rarely have fast food, but when we do my #1 choice is always Chipotle. I remember Jon had to drag me there for the first time, almost kicking and screaming. What was I thinking? The burritos became one of my favorite things, loving to try new combinations. At the time, the closest one was 2 hours – so, I started making my own. ChipotleFan is a great source for all kinds of Chipotle “copycat” recipes, their chicken marinade is k-i-l-l-e-r. I haven’t tried a recipe on there that isn’t spot-on. But, time after time I kept coming back to the carnitas with the corn salsa.

So, here’s my homemade version, in all it’s glory. I love the lightly seasoned pork, and the roasted peppers and corn all wrapped up in a soft tortilla. I’ll usually make it with leftover pork, which makes for an easier weeknight meal. The components are great on their own too, as more of a burrito bowl style. I like to keep the filling simple – rice, beans, pork, and salsa. But, a bit of sour cream, cheese, or guac is great inside as well!

Can’t believe I hadn’t shared this one yet! It seems like the things I make most frequently in my kitchen, I skip over on the blog. We love this rice, and I make it at least once a week. Great as a side for anything Mexican, or even as a light main course paired with some of Elly’s World Famous Black Beans.

I remember I used to be scared of cooking rice on the stove-top. Don’t tell anyone, but I always used to cook it in it in the microwave! *hangs head in shame* Some people swear by rinsing the grains of rice, but I opt for the saute method. Leaves me with perfectly cooked rice every time. I love the kick from the lime, and paired with the cilantro – it’s the perfect flavor combination!