Hibiscus Iced Tea

I love shopping at my local Mexican grocery store. I have said it before and I will always say it as to how much fun I have browsing the aisles. Granted I’m pretty much the only gringo roaming the aisles, but that is just ok by me. At my particular store, one of the end caps is loaded with dried chilies and an array of spices. There are things I have never heard of before, such as different dried flowers for cooking, but one recently grabbed my attention, and one that I knew. Hibiscus flowers.  These dark burgundy looking dried flowers were grabbing my attention, only to be brought home and turned into a refreshing tea, that I knew my wife and I would love.

Hibiscus Iced Tea Recipe
Hibiscus Iced Tea Recipe

If you are not familiar with hibiscus tea, don’t worry. This stuff is brewed all over the world, has a great taste, and is super easy to make.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz bag of dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 8-10 cups of water
  • Additional items could be lime, ginger, or allspice berries

Start by adding 5 cups of water, sugar, and cinnamon stick to a pot. Bring to a simmer, add in the dried hibiscus flowers, and let this steep for about 30 minutes.  If you want to explore with lime, ginger, or allspice berries, go ahead.

After 30 minutes. Strain the mixture, reserving the hibiscus concentrate. This is your base, so if you are wanting to use this right away, mix about equal parts of concentrate to cold water, served over ice. My batch was pretty much gone in one day due to everyone loving it so much.

Hibiscus Tea Recipe

This hibiscus iced tea is comparable to a blended cranberry juice flavor with that kick of cinnamon. Not only is it super refreshing to drink but it’s loaded with awesome health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, great for the liver, blood pressure, and it has anti-cancer properties, all of which my body probably needs.

If you are looking to impress some guests and help boost their immune system, why not give this hibiscus iced tea a try. It’s a winner! Hope you enjoy…

Loaded Puppy Chow Dessert

Most every time I go to the store, I see small packages of what is called ‘puppy chow’, and I see people buying these powdered sugar based cereal. I’ve looked at the cost and say to myself ‘seriously, that much for this?!’. That when I figured I would come up with own batch, making it my own and loading up this puppy chow that I knew my wife and kids would love. The ingredients are way too simple and I pretty much had everything laying around with the exception of the Chex cereal. You’re going to love this one.

Loaded Puppy Chow Dessert Recipe
Loaded Puppy Chow Dessert Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups of Chex Mix (I used the Rice variety)
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 10 Oreo cookies, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup of regular M&Ms
  • 1 1/4 cup of powdered sugar

Get a large mixing bowl, one large enough to hold all of the cereal comfortably.

Add the crumbled Oreos, then the cereal, then top with the M&Ms.

Loaded Puppy Chow Dessert Recipe
Loaded Puppy Chow Dessert Recipe

To another bowl, add the chocolate chips, butter, and peanut butter. Place in a microwave and melt for about 90 seconds or until you have a smooth mixture. Give it a good stir, and if you need it to smooth out even more, add a few more seconds in the microwave.

Get your powered sugar ready.

Take the chocolate mixture and pour all over the cereal and quickly mix, then pour on the powdered sugar. Continue to mix until everything is coated. Pour the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet and let cool.

Serve in bowls and seal in a bag for all of the leftovers. I must say my family probably took down a half of that batch and wow they were in heaven. If you are looking for a simple dessert and one that you can simply throw together for that sweet tooth of yours, give this one a go. The addition of the cookies and M&Ms were a huge hit. Hope you enjoy!

Garlic and Dill Fried Cheese Curds

This past weekend I had to go to one of our local grocery stores, and typically on the weekend, there are always vendors pushing their local products. I’m somewhat a fan of that, and I always sample their products, and about half of the time purchase their products, only to support local. My first encounter was an older lady pushing her cheese curds. She had a few to choose from, and when my first question was ‘how fresh are they?’, she immediately said she pulled them this morning. You can always tell a fresh cheese curd from that first bite. It should be squeaky, soft, and lightly salty. These were everything that, and more. I loved them.

As my daughter has been asking, A LOT, lately ‘when are we going to make those cheese curds again?’, I decided that this was the time, and a perfect time because the curds from Malcore Foods were really good, especially the garlic and dill cheese curds. I picked up some regular cheddar, as well as the garlic dill, and headed home to show them to my daughter.

Garlic and Dill Fried Cheese Curds
Garlic and Dill Fried Cheese Curds

When I opened the bag, I was a bit skeptical if she, or my boys would like them, after all they had green specs of dill on them! They liked them, a lot. I’ve never fried these type of curds, so I was excited to see how they would turn out. Let’s just say they were gone in a matter of minutes!

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz bag of fresh cheese curds, garlic and dill, room temperature
  • 2 cups of canola oil
  • 12 oz of lager beer
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt

Add the oil to a medium pot, and bring to a medium-high heat. In the meantime you can prepare the batter. In one bowl add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix. In another bowl, beat the eggs and add in the beer. Mix. Combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture to form your batter. Make sure you mix well to get any lumps out of the flour.

Once your oil is heated through, carefully dip a handful of the curds into your batter. Once they are golden brown, this only takes a few minutes, remove them with a slotted spoon or kitchen spider, and place onto a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil. Repeat.

How to make garlic and dill fried cheese curds
How to make garlic and dill fried cheese curds

Serve immediately. Again, this bag of cheese curds were gone in a matter of minutes, and all of my kids wanted more! I thought one bag was enough, especially that we are going to the annual State Fair. If you ever wanted something from Wisconsin, and especially our State Fair, well, cheese curds would be the ticket. I’m sure we will get plenty more, and hopefully they have the garlic and dill fried cheese curds as that subtle garlic and tang from the dill really made these cheese curds that much better. Hope you enjoy!

Garlic and Dill Fried Cheese Curds
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
Ingredients
  • 12 oz bag of fresh cheese curds, garlic and dill, room temperature
  • 2 cups of canola oil
  • 12 oz of lager beer
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Add the oil to a medium pot, and bring to a medium-high heat. In the meantime you can prepare the batter. In one bowl add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix. In another bowl, beat the eggs and add in the beer. Mix. Combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture to form your batter. Make sure you mix well to get any lumps out of the flour.
  2. Once your oil is heated through, carefully dip a handful of the curds into your batter. Once they are golden brown, this only takes a few minutes, remove them with a slotted spoon or kitchen spider, and place onto a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil. Repeat. Serve immediately.

 

Taco Pie

This past fourth of July, we decided to break from our normal routine of staying put in our neighborhood, and instead decided to go to our sister-in-law’s house for the weekend. It was fun to say the least. We were able to go fishing along the Rock river, as well as just spend good old time with family. Granted we did not catch many fish, but my kids were able to spend some good quality time with their cousins, and they loved every second of it! With that said, my cooking responsibilities were set aside as well. My sister-in-law did not even let me help. WITH ANYTHING. I will be honest, it actually felt pretty good not to cook for a bunch of people. Regardless, there was one dish she threw together that was so simple, and one where everyone devoured. It was a taco pie.

Taco Pie Recipe
Taco Pie

This taco pie is everything you could probably love about tacos, but done in a pie kind of form. In my case, I decided to use pre-baked puff pastry sheets as my top and bottom crust. Did my family love it? Heck yes, and it was so, so good.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, cooked according to directions
  • 1 1/2 lb ground chuck, cooked and fat removed
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 1 whole jalapeno pepper, diced (seeds removed if you do not want it spicy)
  • 1/2 tbsp salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of cooked corn kernels
  • 1 cup of your favorite salsa (I used a blend)
  • 3 cups colby jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Doritos, crumbled
  • black olives, optional
  • sour cream, optional
  • shredded lettuce, optional
  • additional jalapenos, optional
  • lime wedges, optional
  • hot sauce, optional

Start by heating a large skillet on medium-high heat. Once heated, add in your ground chuck, and cook until browned. Strain and discard the fat.

Return the ground chuck back to the heat, and toss in the onions, corn, jalapenos, salsa, and seasonings. Stir and cook until the vegetables have softened. Once softened, remove them from the heat, and prepare your taco pie.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To a baking dish, one large enough to fit one of the pre-cooked puff pastry sheets, place the puff pastry sheet on the bottom.

Ingredients for making a Taco Pie

Top with some of the cheese, then layer on the meat mixture, then layer on the rest of the cheese, and then the crumbled Doritos. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melted. Once melted, remove and top with the remaining puff pastry sheet, and then back in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the top puff pastry is warmed through.

Now you are ready to dig in. I let the pie rest for about 5 minutes before slicing into squares, but you do what you want.

Once sliced, place onto your plate, and add sour cream, olives, hot sauce, lettuce, and limes. Or don’t. It’s your call.

The ultimate is the taco pie. It’s a bit sweet from that awesome puff pastry, and then an explosion of flavor from everything you love about a spiced taco meat mixture. You could do this with chicken or pork if you want, but the classic ground beef mixture hit a homerun with my kids. Did I mention my oldest even ate it, and loved it? To me, that’s a win, win, and I’m thankful my sister-in-law turned me on to something so easy, yet so comforting to make. Hope you enjoy!

Taco Pie
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, cooked according to directions
  • 1½ lb ground chuck, cooked and fat removed
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 1 whole jalapeno pepper, diced (seeds removed if you do not want it spicy)
  • ½ tbsp salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of cooked corn kernels
  • 1 cup of your favorite salsa (I used a blend)
  • 3 cups colby jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Doritos, crumbled
  • black olives, optional
  • sour cream, optional
  • shredded lettuce, optional
  • additional jalapenos, optional
  • lime wedges, optional
  • hot sauce, optional
Instructions
  1. Start by heating a large skillet on medium-high heat. Once heated, add in your ground chuck, and cook until browned. Strain and discard the fat.
  2. Return the ground chuck back to the heat, and toss in the onions, corn, jalapenos, salsa, and seasonings. Stir and cook until the vegetables have softened. Once softened, remove them from the heat, and prepare your taco pie.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  4. To a baking dish, one large enough to fit one of the pre-cooked puff pastry sheets, place the puff pastry sheet on the bottom.
  5. Top with some of the cheese, then layer on the meat mixture, then layer on the rest of the cheese, and then the crumbled Doritos. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melted. Once melted, remove and top with the remaining puff pastry sheet, and then back in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the top puff pastry is warmed through.
  6. Now you are ready to dig in. I let the pie rest for about 5 minutes before slicing into squares, but you do what you want.
  7. Once sliced, place onto your plate, and add sour cream, olives, hot sauce, lettuce, and limes. Or don’t. It’s your call.