We’re usually not vegetarian meal people. I hate to say that, because I’d like for us to be more often. I have a few dishes that are meatless that go on the menu, usually about twice a month or so, that I don’t hear griping about. When I told my husband I was putting bean burritos on the menu for last week, I was greeted with a bit of hostility. I’ve got a great chicken recipe for burritos that we love (need to share it!), not to mention all the other awesome filling possibilities for burritos (barbacoa, carnitas, etc.). He wasn’t a happy camper at the thought of beans being the primary filling for a burrito. They’re always an “add in”, and never the star!

Let me tell you, they were so good! I loved them more than my chicken  burritos that I’ve been making for years. The beans are so flavorful and spicy. You can of course add less chipotle, or more, depending on your tastes. Ours was moderately spicy, but Andrew had no problem chowing down. The sour cream certainly helps to quell the spiciness. You could also substitute greek yogurt to shave some calories. I think the extra tang would be great! It fed the three of us for dinner one evening, and then I had leftovers for lunch the next day. Going to make up another batch of the bean filling this week to have in the fridge for lunches for Andrew and I . Make these, you won’t be sorry!

Isn’t it amazing that salsa is the #1 condiment in the United States? We love salsa in our house. Whether it’s a chunky pico de gallo, or a smoky salsa verde – we have yet to meet one we diddn’t like. This recipe is no exception. When I came across it on my friend Josie’s site, I knew it was going to be a winner. First of all, it’s Rick Bayless. The man moved to Mexico for 6 years to better learn the cuisine. He knows his salsa, folks.

I also loved the addition of fire-roasted tomatoes as the base. I like using good quality canned tomatoes for the restaurant style salsas that I’ve made in the past, so I knew the flavor could only be amplified by using the fire-roasted variety. The store only had fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic on shopping day, so I adjusted my recipe by reducing the amount of fresh garlic in the recipe by a couple of cloves. My changes are reflected below. The tomatoes lended a smokey sweetness, and the cilantro and lime juice just made it so bright and fresh. Made a nice sized batch that stored in the refrigerator wonderfully for a few days!

It’s no secret that I have a penchant for anything Italian. However, there are only so many lasagnas and risottos one can eat before they yearn for something new to try. The idea for this recipe sparked years ago, when I spotted a recipe for pork chops with vinegar peppers in The Sopranos Family Cookbook. However, the recipe called for spicy pickled peppers, which diddn’t really appeal to me . I thought bell peppers would bring more flavor to the “party”, as well as look more attractive.

I’ve always been a huge fan of balsamic pan sauces when it came to any pan-seared meat, so decided on that for  my deglazing agent to get all those yummy bits from the bottom of the pan. Plus, balsamic vinegar is pretty mild on the acidity scale. That’s just what I was looking for to pair with pork, which is on the milder side.

I used boneless pork chops this time around, because it was all that was available to me at the store last week. I usually like to get a thin cut bone-in chop if I can, because I  think they have better flavor and retain more moisture. But, the boneless was great. Just make sure you don’t overcook them, as they can dry out so quickly! Alternatively, I’m sure the dish would be wonderful with chicken breasts or thighs.

I’ve always been a firm believer in pork cuts in a tomato sauce. It adds an unbelievable richness and depth of flavor that cannot be attained with simply beef. But, to make a proper “gravy”, it’s an all day process. Browning the sausage, beef, and pork. Sauteing the onions and tomato paste, reducing down the sauce for-ever. Delicious, but time consuming.

My mom always made spaghetti sauce to use up leftover ham. Apparently, her mother opted to use ham in her sauce as well. It’s delicious, easy, and a change of pace from your run-of-the-mill spaghetti sauce using ground beef. Since I’ve got a house full of boys, I opt to add ham as well as ground beef. But, feel free to make the recipe using exclusively ham. Great way to use up those Easter leftovers!