Brazilian Black Bean & Pork Stew

We had a considerable amount of snow over the course of the past two weeks, probably the most that the Eastern Shore has seen in quite a few years. Both little ones were home with me, cooped up in the house, for a majority of those days.   Needless to say, comfort food was in order.

I’d had this recipe bookmarked to try since I bought my copy of Slow Cooker Revolution, and would add it to our weekly menu – but it just kept getting pushed back for one reason or another. I finally decided that it would make a great snow day meal, so it finally came together in my crockpot last week – and I’m kicking myself for not getting around to it sooner. I assumed that I wouldn’t really like it…I’m not the biggest kielbasa fan, and it seemed really meaty. Not that I dislike meat, quite the contrary. But, on initial inspection it just didn’t seem like my cup of tea. But, I knew all the little carnivores in this house would adore it. I was right on that count at least, but was wrong in assuming that I wouldn’t love it too!

The flavors were out of this world. Everything blended together perfectly when cooked, creating a symphony of meaty goodness in one pot. The pork and kielbasa were tender, but still retained their shape and texture. And the beans – oh my word, those beans! Absolutely perfectly cooked – nice and creamy, just the way I like them. I served over a bed of cilantro-lime rice, and topped with some sliced avocado and the Brazilian hot sauce they suggest in the book. It kind of reminded me of pico de gallo…but with the addition of green bell pepper, white wine vinegar, and extra-virgin olive oil – it definitely added more layers of complexity.

It made a large batch, so we enjoyed it for dinner one night – and I stuck the other half in the freezer for a quick meal one night when I’m not feeling like cooking. Which, I must admit – is getting more and more often as the due date for baby boy #3 approaches. It’s good to know that such a hearty and comforting meal is just a thaw out and re-heat away!

Source: adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution

Tequila-Braised Short Rib Enchiladas

 A couple of weeks ago my friend Josie shared a recipe for a tequila-braised short rib enchilada. I was immediately sold. I made it for dinner one night last week, and my boys haven’t been able to stop talking about it since then! I know they’ll be on the menu again sooner rather than later, which is always a sure sign of a winning recipe.

Short ribs are braised in a bath of tequila and beef stock, with some onions and a poblano pepper tossed in to bring a little extra flavor to the party. I used boneless short ribs, because that’s what I had in the freezer – but bone in would be fine as well. The flavor of the beef after 3 hours in the oven was unparalleled to anything I’ve had grace my kitchen before, and I’m not just saying that. This will most definitely be my go-to  “barbacoa-style” beef for any Mexican dishes I make from here on out – tacos, burritos, quesadillas…you name it! Perfectly flavored and seasoned, it was just out of this world. Plus it’s a relatively hands-off dish, just browning the beef in a pan followed by softening of the onions and pepper, then a slow cook in the oven. I love those kinds of meals!

Once the beef was done I rolled it up in corn tortillas with a mixture of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, topped with a quick homemade enchilada sauce and some more cheese, and baked to a melty, bubbly goodness. I think we all agree that these took the crown for favorite enchilada in our house, taking the position from my infamous chicken enchiladas. Which, really says something, you guys. Served with a simple Spanish rice, this was a filling and delicious meal that the whole family could get behind. I just you know your family will enjoy it as much as we did!

Source: adapted from Pink Parsley


Crab EnchiladasBlue crab season is winding down to a close here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. But, it sure has been a great summer for them here at our house! My dad has a couple of crab pots at his boat slip, and he’s been gifting us with a few dozen almost weekly.

Last month I entered my crab and fresh corn chowder into the 49th Annual Hard Crab Derby Cooking Contest in Crisfield, Maryland. It came in 2nd with some stiff competition, which was more than an honor for this Maryland girl. There were actually several crab and corn soups entered. Which, got me to thinking that next year I wanted to do something really off the wall, that I was sure no one else would be making…

That’s where I came up with the idea for these crab enchiladas. These shrimp enchiladas are one of my favorite meals of all time, so it wasn’t a far leap to just replace the shrimp with crab meat. And, oh my lawd…so incredibly good! Richer than the shrimp version, but still extremely filling and different. If you have access to fresh crab meat, definitely give these a try. It’s an impressive dinner that’s sure to please. Can’t wait to enter these babies in next years competition!

Easy Black Bean & Cheese Nacos

Well, things are well under way in the back to school front here at our house. Andrew started kindergarten this year, and is gone all day long – not returning home until 3 in the afternoon. Which, is a long day for a kindergartner if you ask me…it was just a half day when I went to school!

At any rate, my little man gets home and is hungry for a snack. And to buy myself some time to get dinner started, I’m always happy to oblige. I usually always have the ingredients for these quick and easy nachos on hand, and the boys always love them. Cheese is something our family can never get enough of – so I use two varieties in these nachos. A cheddar for that cheesy flavor, paired with a Monterey Jack for a nice cheesy gooeyness.  And with the addition of black beans and a good veggie-hearty salsa, it’s a choice you can feel good about. Calcium, protein – two things my little ones need plenty of!

Supporting local dairy farmers is something I’m passionate about. Whether it’s the little independent dairy in my small town, or by looking for the Real Seal logo on dairy products when I’m shopping at the supermarket – I know that I’m supporting American cows, and that makes me smile. I can’t help but love those California cow commercials, can you? Get, get on the floor…

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the good folks at Real Seal, and as always all thoughts are my own.