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!

Skillet Fried Chickpeas with Garlic and Herbs

One of the things I truly love is snacking. I could snack all day long, however I find that my snacking time is really only after work. My go to snacks are pretty much cheese, hummus, or kettle style chips. As the cheese and chips are not all that great for me, I decided to turn things up a bit and make some simple skillet fried chickpeas, or garbanzo beans.  Chickpeas after all are what I use to make hummus, and as I have roasted them in the oven in the past I wanted to do something a bit different with them this time. This is where a bit of oil, cloves of garlic, and a can of chickpeas came into play.

Skillet Fried Chickpeas with Garlic and Herbs
Skillet Fried Chickpeas with Garlic and Herbs

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and lightly patted to dry
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, skin removed, lightly smashed
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • salt to taste

Start by heating a skillet on medium-low heat. Add in the oil and let it come to temperature, a couple of minutes.

Skillet Fried Chickpeas with Garlic and Herbs
Skillet Fried Chickpeas with Garlic and Herbs

Next add in the chickpeas and garlic, and give this a good toss. Continue to cook, and toss at this temperature for about 20 minutes, or until they become nice and crispy. Once crispy, season with salt and thyme, giving them another good toss.

Serve immediately. The result is a great crispy exterior, with a creamy interior along with great garlic notes (feel free to eat the garlic), and a salty thyme flavor that have you going back for more. This is truly a great after work snack, and one that is good for you to boot! Hope you enjoy.

Nueske’s Wiener with Kimchi Puree

I’ve probably said this over and over again, but I am making every attempt to purge items in my freezer (and refrigerator for that matter) and get them onto the table. So this past weekend, I was rummaging through my freezer and found a couple of Nueske’s wieners. At first I thought ‘why the heck are Nueske’s in here?!’ as hands down they are always devoured when I serve them, and by all means they are the best wieners I have ever tried.  So with that being said, I wanted to jazz it up a bit and that led me to rummage in my refrigerator, only to fine a half jar of kimchi. This is when the bell went off, and I decided to turn the kimchi into a puree. Yes, a puree, only to be used as a condiment for future use. If you have never had kimchi before, I say go a head and try it. I love the stuff, but my wife for example will not go near it. It’s funky, spicy, and good for you to boot!

Nueske's Wiener with Kimchi Puree
Nueske’s Wiener with Kimchi Puree

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite wiener(s), cooked
  • Hot dog buns
  • 2 tbsp kimchi puree per serving
  • scallions, thinly sliced, optional

Simple, right?

First, take as much kimchi as you want, from the  jar, and add it to a food processor. Blend until you have a nice smooth texture.

Take your bun, spread on the kimchi puree, add the wiener, and shower with scallions.

Kimchi Puree
Kimchi Puree

The end result is an explosion of flavor. First you get that great smokiness from the Nueske’s wiener, and then, BOOM comes the kimchi. It rocks. Hope you enjoy!

Beef Tongue Tacos

I remember years ago when my coworkers and I went to our local taqueria  and one of my colleagues ordered beef tongue tacos. I didn’t flinch at all as I was used to plenty of my friends eating ‘weird’ things in my life. I always had an interest in beef tongue, and on a recent visit to my favorite taqueria, I decided to get a beef tongue taco, or taco de lengua, and base my own recipe off what my experience was with theirs. To say the least, the beef tongue taco was amazing, not only in how ‘beefy’ it tasted, but also in texture. I swear, if I served you own, you would most likely think it was some type of beef. That’s when I decided to take things in my own hands, and head back to the meat department and order a tongue.

I did not tell anyone the following day (well I told my daughter as she was baking a cake) what I was making as I wanted to surprise them when I was going to serve the tongue tacos the following day. Were they surprised? Yes.

Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe
Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe

Making the beef tongue takes a few hours to make, but it is totally worth it, plus you are left with some awesome beef stock when you are done.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 beef tongue
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 tbsp whole black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 dried chili piquin
  • 2 whole onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bunch of cilantro stems (use the ends of the fresh cilantro)
  • flour or corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • limes, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil

Start by taking the tongue and adding it to a large saucepan. Add water and make sure it covers the tongue by a couple of inches. Place this on medium heat, and boil for about 2 hours.

After 2 hours, remove the tongue and place onto a cutting board. Pour the water out and wash out the saucepan.

Return the tongue back to the pot, cover with water again, then add in your aromatics. Add the jalapenos, black pepper, salt, bay leaves, piquin, quartered onions, garlic, and cilantro stems. Bring this to a simmer, and cook for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, remove the tongue, and strain the stock. Discard the stock solids, but reserve the stock (it’s really great).

Next, take the tongue and rinse under cold water. Now it’s time to peel the outer layer as that is not desired. If you cannot easily peel it, use a pairing knife and trim all of it away, exposing the cooked beef tongue.

Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe
Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe

Discard the outer layer, then cut your beef tongue into strips, then into bite-sized chunks. Season with a pinch or two of salt. Mix, and get ready to sear it up for your tacos.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat, then add a tablespoon of oil. Once heated, add in some of the beef tongue, and cook until it gets a slight sear on them. Once seared, add a spoonful or two of the reserved stock. Heat through until the stock reduces, then remove from the heat.

Take a flour tortilla, load it with some of the beef tongue, and top with cilantro and onion. Squeeze some lime, and dig in.

Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe
Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe

It is everything I love about a simple taco. A slightly charred flour tortilla with a bite from the jalapeno and onion, along with the tartness from the lime. I’m in. Now with the nicely charred tongue, and now I have a new favorite taco.

Short of the story… DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY NEW THINGS! The new things can be down right amazing.

Beef Tongue Tacos
Author: 
Recipe type: Tacos
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 beef tongue
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 tbsp whole black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 dried chili piquin
  • 2 whole onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bunch of cilantro stems (use the ends of the fresh cilantro)
  • flour or corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • limes, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
Instructions
  1. Start by taking the tongue and adding it to a large saucepan. Add water and make sure it covers the tongue by a couple of inches. Place this on medium heat, and boil for about 2 hours.
  2. After 2 hours, remove the tongue and place onto a cutting board. Pour the water out and wash out the saucepan.
  3. Return the tongue back to the pot, cover with water again, then add in your aromatics. Add the jalapenos, black pepper, salt, bay leaves, piquin, quartered onions, garlic, and cilantro stems. Bring this to a simmer, and cook for 4 hours.
  4. After 4 hours, remove the tongue, and strain the stock. Discard the stock solids, but reserve the stock (it’s really great).
  5. Next, take the tongue and rinse under cold water. Now it’s time to peel the outer layer as that is not desired. If you cannot easily peel it, use a pairing knife and trim all of it away, exposing the cooked beef tongue.
  6. Discard the outer layer, then cut your beef tongue into strips, then into bite-sized chunks. Season with a pinch or two of salt. Mix, and get ready to sear it up for your tacos.
  7. Heat a large skillet on medium heat, then add a tablespoon of oil. Once heated, add in some of the beef tongue, and cook until it gets a slight sear on them. Once seared, add a spoonful or two of the reserved stock. Heat through until the stock reduces, then remove from the heat.
  8. Take a flour tortilla, load it with some of the beef tongue, and top with cilantro and onion. Squeeze some lime, and dig in.