Beer Braised Taquitos

The taquito. What’s not to love? It’s one of those menu items that often gets overlooked due to all of the other delicious items on a Mexican restaurant’s menu, but take a pause, slow down, and look at that name. The taquito. Some know the taquito as a flauto. Fine. But at the end of the day, the taquito is essentially a corn tortilla stuffed with meat and cheese, and typically deep fried. It’s crisp. It’s perfect, and I’m pretty sure I do not know anyone that would not pick one of these up and devour it. This is how my taquito started. A mistake if you will, but a great mistake at that.

Beer Braised Beef Taquito Recipe
Beer Braised Beef Taquito Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs beef chuck roast, exterior fat trimmed and removed
  • 12 oz can of your favorite beer (I used Oskar Blues Priscilla)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 package of fresh corn tortillas
  • 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • cooking spray
  • Guacamole, optional
  • Sour cream, optional
  • Your favorite hot sauce or salsa, optional

This is a slow cooker recipe, however if you decide to braise, by all means get in and go for it.

I initially started this slow cooked beef as my wife wanted kebobs on the grill one weekend. Well, time got away from me, and as I was not up for kebabs on the grill (laziness), I made something else, but decided I would add keep the beef cooking and use it the following day. Did I mention I love the slow cooker?

Start by cubing your beef. It does not matter how large or small. This stuff is going to cook for more than eight hours, if not longer. Did I mention I love the slow cooker?

Add the beef, along with the salt, pepper, and beer to the slow cooker. Set to low. Forget about it for about 6-14 hours, then return to it.

Slow Cooked Beer Braised Beef Taquitos Recipe
Slow Cooked Beer Braised Beef Taquitos Recipe

With a slotted spoon, or spider, strain the beef, reserving about 1 cup of the liquid mixture, add in the garlic powder, and shred the beef with a couple of forks. It should be falling apart tender.

Add in the reserved liquid, stir, and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Take your package of corn tortillas, add them to a plate, and microwave them for about 1 minute.

Remove and cover with a clean towel, or place into your tortilla warmer.

Take a tortilla, add some shredded beef, a bit of cheese, and roll into a log. Place onto a baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with all tortillas, beef, and cheese.

Spray the taquitos with cooking spray and place into the preheated oven, and cook until golden brown, roughly 20 minutes. Just keep an eye on them as you don’t want them to overcook.

Remove, and serve with your favorite side items.

The end result is not only an awesome taquito, but when taking a bite has you thinking ‘what the heck is that flavor in that beef?!’. Yep, that’s the beer, and the salt and garlic. It’s pretty slick to say the least.

So if you are looking for a great snack, lunch, or dinner, heck even breakfast, these taquitos are your go to. Hope you enjoy!

Lasagna with Quark Cheese

This quark cheese could not have come at a better time. My colleague had sent me a text stating he was bringing in 12 ounces of quark cheese and it was all mine. He had recently worked at a farm to table dinner and a lot of food was leftover for the taking, and one of them being quark cheese. It was awesome quark cheese at that and from Clock Shadow Creamery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They make awesome cheese curds, so I was excited to try their quark cheese.

When I took the cheese home, I gave it a taste, and it was confirmed how awesome it was. The quark cheese was soft, a bit tangy, and reminded me a bit of ricotta cheese in texture. That’s when I knew what I was going to do with it, and what a better way to use up a lot of my tomato sauce that I have been freezing from an abundance of tomatoes from my garden. What’s better is my kids did not know I was putting in this cheese, so it was a new experience to a meal they already love, lasagna.

Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe
Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 lb ground chuck, cooked, and fat drained
  • 5 cups of your favorite tomato sauce (I made my own)
  • 12 pasta sheets, I tried the ‘Oven Ready’ type
  • 1/3 cup shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 12 oz Quark cheese
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of fresh mozzarella, torn
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • aluminum foil

Start by cooking your ground chuck. Once cooked and drained, return back to the stove on medium-low heat, and add in your tomato sauce, garlic, shallots, and bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetable soften, and the sauce is cooked through. Once cooked through, set aside.

To a mixing bowl, add the quark cheese, eggs, black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mix until everything is blended through.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

To a baking dish, lightly spray with cooking spray.

Lasagna with Quark Cheese Ingredients
Lasagna with Quark Cheese Ingredients

Now time for assembly. Ladle about a cup of meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, and evenly spread out.

Top with 3 sheets of the lasagna shells. Add dollops of the quark cheese mixture on top of the pasta. Ladle a bit more sauce, top with pasta, cheese mixture, pasta, cheese mixture, meat sauce, pasta, and finish with covering entirely with the meat sauce. Add the fresh mozzarella on top of the meat sauce, then cover with aluminum foil, and place into the preheated oven for 35 minutes.

After 35 minutes, remove, take off the foil, and return back to the oven to get the cheese nice and bubbly. Remove, and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes (I know that is the hardest part).

Now you are ready to serve. Slice into squares, shower with more parmesan cheese if desired, or shower with some chili flakes.

Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe
Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe

The end result, and I don’t say this because I made this recipe with quark cheese, was spectacular. It had everything you love about a great lasagna, but there was something about the quark that really made it special.  So if you have never tried quark cheese, do so, and if you have plenty to spare give this recipe a shot. I hope you enjoy!

Lasagna with Quark Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Lasagna
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1¾ lb ground chuck, cooked, and fat drained
  • 5 cups of your favorite tomato sauce (I made my own)
  • 12 pasta sheets, I tried the ‘Oven Ready’ type
  • ⅓ cup shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup bell pepper, diced
  • 12 oz Quark cheese
  • 2 whole eggs
  • ½ tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of fresh mozzarella, torn
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • aluminum foil
Instructions
  1. Start by cooking your ground chuck. Once cooked and drained, return back to the stove on medium-low heat, and add in your tomato sauce, garlic, shallots, and bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetable soften, and the sauce is cooked through. Once cooked through, set aside.
  2. To a mixing bowl, add the quark cheese, eggs, black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mix until everything is blended through.
  3. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  4. To a baking dish, lightly spray with cooking spray.
  5. Now time for assembly. Ladle about a cup of meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, and evenly spread out.
  6. Top with 3 sheets of the lasagna shells. Add dollops of the quark cheese mixture on top of the pasta. Ladle a bit more sauce, top with pasta, cheese mixture, pasta, cheese mixture, meat sauce, pasta, and finish with covering entirely with the meat sauce. Add the fresh mozzarella on top of the meat sauce, then cover with aluminum foil, and place into the preheated oven for 35 minutes.
  7. After 35 minutes, remove, take off the foil, and return back to the oven to get the cheese nice and bubbly. Remove, and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes (I know that is the hardest part).
  8. Now you are ready to serve. Slice into squares, shower with more parmesan cheese if desired, or shower with some chili flakes.

 

Ham and Peas Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese has got to be a top ten comfort food. I’ve made all sorts of different kinds of mac and cheese in my lifetime, and granted that it is summer time here in Wisconsin that did not stop me from making another delicious batch of mac and cheese. This time it was ham and peas mac and cheese. Ham and peas are a perfect match, and as I was digging through my freezer to purge things that I have stored for the past couple of months, I decided it was the ham that was going to get purged. This ham and peas mac and cheese is not only a great pairing, but it ended up being one great one pot meal.

Ham and Peas Mac and Cheese Recipe
Ham and Peas Mac and Cheese Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 cups of cooked ham, chopped
  • 1 cup of onion, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 1 tbsp Tabasco, optional
  • 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices of American cheese, optional
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 1 lb penne pasta, cooked until al dente

Start by adding the canola oil to a large pot, and cook on medium heat for a minute or so. Toss in the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, Tabasco, and cooked ham. Cook until the ham gets a bit crisp, and the onions cook through, about 7 minutes.

During that time, cook your pasta.

In a sauce pot, add the butter, and let it get melted on medium heat. Once melted, add the flour, and using a whisk or wooden spoon, cook the flour for a few minutes. Once the flour is a bit golden in color, this is when you want to add in your milk, continuing to stir, mixing in the roux and thickening it. Once the sauce thickens, add in the cheeses and let that melt, making the cheese sauce.

ham-peas-mac-cheese-ingredients

Drain the pasta, and add it to your ham mixture. Add in the cheese sauce, along with the frozen peas, and give it a great stir. Once everything is nicely incorporated, cover, and place into a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Remove and serve. The end result is nothing but pure comfort, and yes I did crumble goldfish on mine. That’s the type of mood I was in that day, and boy were they ever delicious.  Hope you enjoy!

Ham, Bacon, and Potato Quiche

Are you like me, and love a good hearty breakfast? Well if you are, then this one is going to be right up your alley. I love a good quiche because it is something that not only is great for breakfast, but it makes for a great item for brunch, lunch, or dinner. It wasn’t long ago when I decided to come up with this recipe as I was the first one to awake on Sunday morning, and get things going for breakfast. I figured I would make this ham, bacon, and potato quiche and get a good hearty breakfast in for my wife and kids. I knew that most likely my oldest, which was true, would not even consider this as he does not like eggs, but the others would most likely devour it.

Ham, Bacon, and Potato Quiche Recipe
Ham, Bacon, and Potato Quiche Recipe

This whole recipe really started from the idea of cooking bacon, and crisping up thinly sliced potatoes in that bacon fat. Sometimes that is all it takes. Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp, chopped
  • 1 russet potato, skin on, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of deli ham, chopped
  • 1 cup of 1 cup peas

Start by cooking your bacon on medium heat in a large skillet. The beauty about this one is that everything is done in the skillet. Once the bacon is cooked to your liking, remove the bacon and chop it. Reserve half of the bacon fat. Add in the ham, onions, and cook for a few minutes. Remove the ham and onions from the skillet with a slotted spoon, and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Return the skillet to the heat, reserve any leftover bacon fat, and add the butter. Lay down the thinly sliced potatoes, covering the bottom of the skillet.  Cook the potatoes, lifting them up from time to time, until they are nice and crisp.

During this time, beat the eggs with the heavy cream. Add in the crumbled bacon, onion, ham, peas, and cheddar cheese. Mix gently with a fork, then add to the top of the potatoes in the skillet.

Place the skillet in the oven and cook for about 35-45 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through and lightly browned on top.

Slice the quiche into pie like slices and dig in. This is definitely a hearty meal, and one that is packed full of flavor. You can eat this warm, or even at room temperature, which also lends to be great for leftovers, and what is not to love about any of that! Hope you enjoy.