Beer Braised Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

During the fall and winter months, it is so comforting at night to have a warm cooked meal on the table. The problem with that is we don’t always have the time to be in the kitchen for hours on the weeknight. This recipe helps bring both together by giving you a delicious meal that can be ready in less than 30 minutes. This is a fun Mexican spin on a traditional shredded chicken. The beer, limes, and dried chiles blend together for a tangy, citrusy chicken that has just a hint of heat. We love this recipes because there are endless options for how you can use this chicken. We put it in tacos, over salad, or even on a burger bun- you can truly incorporate this any way you would like. We have found through some trial and error that our favorite beer for this recipe is a lighter ale, specifically, Corona. The key to cooking with any alcohol is that if you like to drink it, you will likely enjoy eating it as well. So if you don’t like Corona, just swap it out for something that suits you.

Beer Braised Instant Pot Chicken

  • Servings: 6-8 for taco preparation
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A quick & easy recipe for shredded chicken that is perfect for tacos, enchiladas, and salads.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 tbs kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 4 dried guajillo chilis (these can be found in the Mexican section of most grocery stores)
  • 6 oz Corona Beer or another beer of your choosing
  • 1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs (~6 chicken thighs)
  • 1 lime, cut into segments

Directions

  1. Put the Instant Pot on the sauté setting and add the olive oil and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes until the onion becomes translucent.
  2. Add the salt, pepper cumin, chilis, beer, and limes to the pot and give everything a quick stir. Place the chicken breasts into the Instant Pot and try to submerge them in the liquid as much as possible. It’s ok if they are not fully submerged. Switch the Instant Pot setting to the Pressure Cook setting on High and set for 12 minutes.
  3. Use the quick release once the chicken has finished cooking. Use two large forks to shred the chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve in tacos with rice and salad or in any other format you would like!


Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

We love to have a good pot of soup on the stove in the fall as the weather starts to get chilly. This Chicken Tortilla Soup has been in our recipe repertoire for many years now- it’s a go-to recipe that is the perfect mix of savory and spicy. It’s also very healthy and an easy way to get our veggies in when it’s cold out. If we are having friends over to watch a football game, we can up the ante and have lots of fun toppings to add over top. What starts out as a simple cup of soup can easily turn into a hearty meal with just a few toppings! We love to serve this soup with a batch of cornbread or crusty bread to dip into all of that spicy soup left at the bottom of the bowl.

Soup Ingredients

  • 1 package chicken breasts (about 1.3 lbs)
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed (we used a roasted corn from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1- 28 oz can roasted tomatoes
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional Topping Ingredients

  • shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • tortilla strips
  • sour cream
  • chopped cilantro
  • diced green onions
  • sliced avocado

Directions

  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and let it get nice and hot. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper and the paprika. Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes per side, or until they are seared well. They will not be cooked through at this point, but remove from from the pan onto a plate.
  2. Add the yellow onion to the pan. If the pan is dry, go ahead and add an extra tbs of olive oil to prevent sticking. Saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion starts to caramelize. Add the garlic, jalapeno, cumin, and coriander to the pan, saute another 3 minutes.
  3. Add the black beans and corn to the pan. Toss to give it all a good coat. Add the roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, and chicken breasts back to the pan. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and remove the chicken breasts from the pot. Keep the liquid cooking on a low simmer while you shred or chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken back to the pot, stir to combine, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve the soup hot with any additional toppings.


Post-Baby Breakfast Burritos

We have seen a number of requests for “post baby” frozen meals from our soon-to-be mama friends looking to get ahead in the kitchen before baby. When Tate’s human brother was born, these frozen breakfast burritos were a savior after sleepless nights. We make them in big batches and keep them in the freezer. All it takes is a quick pop in the oven and we have breakfast ready in no time.

Post-Baby Breakfast Burritos
Makes: 16 burritos
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Ingredients:

  • 16 burrito-sized tortillas
  • 24 eggs
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 package bacon
  • 1 package breakfast sausage
  • 1- 8 oz bag of shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 jar green salsa
  • salt and pepper to taste

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 roll of aluminum foil
  • 1 roll of parchment paper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and grate the sweet potatoes and place them on a large cookie sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Lay the sweet potatoes in an even layer on the cookie sheet and bake in the oven until lightly crispy, about 15 minutes.
  3. Place the bacon and sausage onto two additional small cookie sheets. Bake in the oven until the bacon is crispy and the sausage is cooked through- about 10 minutes for the sausage and 15 minutes + on the bacon. Remove the sweet potatoes, sausage, and bacon from the oven when they are finished and set on a countertop and cool. Chop each into small bite-sized pieces.
  4. While the ingredients are in the oven, cook the eggs. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk well to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter to the pan and melt; add the eggs. Slowly scramble the eggs until they are just cooked; remove from the heat immediately and cool.
  5. Create an assembly line for the burritos by laying 16 pieces of foil (about 8-10 inch squares) on a large counter space. Follow the foil with a similar size piece of parchment paper. Top each parchment paper with a tortilla.
  6. Assemble the tortillas by layering the following on the center of each tortilla: 1/2 cup of scrambled eggs, 1/4 cup potatoes, 1 heaping tablespoon shredded cheese, and 1 tbs green salsa. Distribute the chopped bacon and sausage to eight tortillas each. Roll the burritos, wrap in parchment paper, and then wrap in foil. Label each burrito as either bacon or sausage and place into gallon sized freezer bags. Freeze the burritos.
  7. To heat the burritos from frozen, cook in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes, or heat in the microwave (foil removed!!) for 5-6 minutes.

Vegan(ish) Mexican Sweet Potato Grain Bowls

We are back with another fun vegan(ish) recipe! We say vegan(ish) because we did add cheese to this recipe, but it can easily be omitted or substituted with a vegan alternative. One of the keys to eating vegan is attempting to reject the traditional concept that a meal needs to be “a protein, carb, and veggie”. It’s easy to feel stuck trying to fit that mold. Instead, we try to focus on changing the terminology to eating “plant-based”, where a meal can be made up of a bunch of different vegetables. This recipe has a bunch of different veggies and proteins that we bring together with a kick-ass, cilantro lime vinaigrette. These bowls are filling and really tasty; so much so that we promise that when you eat it you won’t be missing the meat.

Vegan(ish) Mexican Sweet Potato Grain Bowls

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients for the Bowls:

  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed grains (we used brown rice and farro but use what you have)*
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, patted try with paper towel
  • 1 tbs chili-lime seasoning (Tajin), divided
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 avocado, quartered
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese (you can leave this off if you want the recipe totally vegan)
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • juice of two limes
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lay the sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with 2 tbs olive oil and 2 tbs of the chili-lime seasoning. Toss to coat. Lay in a single layer and bake in the oven until tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, cook the grains. Heat 3 cups of water to a boil and add the grains you are using with a pinch of salt. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Prepare the chickpeas by laying them on a second cookie sheet. Drizzle 1 tbs olive oil and the remaining 1 tsp chili-lime seasoning over top. Toss to coat and lay them back in a single layer. When the sweet potatoes have cooked for about 20 minutes, add the chickpeas to the oven. Cook for the remaining 10 minutes with the sweet potatoes.
  5. While the chickpeas are cooking, prepare the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small blender. Blend until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. When the grains, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas have finished cooking, prepare the bowls for serving. Layer 1 cup arugula, 2/3 cup of the mixed grains, and 1/4 of the sweet potatoes in each of four bowls. Top each bowl with approximately 1/4 cup chickpeas, 1/4 of an avocado, a few slices of red onion, and 2 tbs of crumbled Cotija. Divide the dressing among the bowls and serve immediately.

**You can buy frozen, pre-cooked brown rice or quinoa and save a step by just reheating to serve.


Marinated Flank Steak Tacos

Flank steak is one of those cuts of meat that we want to love, but seem to have a hard time preparing correctly. We tend to buy it in a pinch when we don’t want something as decadent as a ribeye. It’s thin like a strip steak but is still a tough cut of meat- it really tastes best after it has been marinated for a few hours, or ideally overnight. After a few attempts at marinating, we finally feel like we have a much better approach to flank steak.

What we love about this recipe is how vinegary the marinade is. The vinegar helps break down the steak and makes it much more tender than cooking it straight away. We have used the steak for tacos in this recipe, but it is versatile enough that you can eat it as is with grilled vegetables or with a drizzle of chimichurri

Marinated Flank Steak Tacos 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 24 hours    Total Time: 25 hours 

Ingredients For The Steak: 

  • 1.5 – 2 lbs flank steak 
  • 3/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2/3 cup red wine vinegar 
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed 
  • salt and pepper  

Ingredients For The Tacos: 

  • 8-12 tortillas, warmed 
  • 3/4 cup cotija cheese, crumbled 
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 
  • tomatillo salsa 
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges 

Directions: 

  1. Combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and smashed garlic in a gallon ziplock bag or a pyrex baking dish. Pat the flank steak dry with paper towel and season it well on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the flank steak to the marinade and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 15-20 minutes before you want to cook the steak to bring it back up to room temperature. 
  2. When it is time to cook the steak, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Let the pan get very hot, letting it get warm for a few minutes, before adding the steak. Cook the steak for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on how close to medium-rare you want the steak prepared. Remove the steak from the pan and let it rest for 8-10 minutes before slicing. 
  3. Serve the steak sliced in tacos with the taco ingredients listed above, or any preferred taco accompaniments. Slice the steak and serve immediately. 

Semi-Homemade Vegan Burrito Bowls

Tuck’s dad watched the documentary “Game Changers” on Netflix a few weeks ago and has been trying to eat vegan as much as possible since. Inspired by our usual Chipotle order, we made these tofu burrito bowls. We love the taste and texture of the tofu – it is loaded with spices and crumbled to resemble taco meat.This recipe falls into the semi-homemade category because we have purchased a majority of the burrito bowl toppings pre-made at the grocery store. We have included a recipe for the black bean and corn salsa, but you can purchase a similar product at the grocery store if you want to skip that step as well. Thanks to these grocery store helpers, this recipe comes together in under 30 minutes and is a healthy, filling recipe for a weeknight dinner. 

Semi-Homemade Vegan Burrito Bowls 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 30 minutes    Total Time: 30 minutes 

Ingredients for the Burrito Bowls: 

  • 1 box firm tofu
  • 1 packet taco seasoning 
  • 1 package cilantro lime Right Rice (can sub pre-cooked brown rice) 
  • pico de gallo 
  • guacamole (you can use our recipe or buy it pre-made from the store!)

Ingredients for the Corn & Black Bean Salsa 

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 1 large ear of corn, kernels removed 
  • juice of 2 limes 
  • 1/4 red onion, diced 
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro 
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil 
  • 2 tsp cumin 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Remove the tofu from its packaging and drain any excess water. Use paper towel or a kitchen towel to press the tofu and remove as much liquid from it as you can. Crumble the tofu and put it onto a cookie sheet, sprayed with cooking spray. Season the tofu well with taco seasoning, using your hands to coat well. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until it is crispy but not dry. 
  3. While the tofu is cooking, cook the Right Rice according to package directions. It will take about 12 minutes to cook once you bring the water to a boil. 
  4. While the Right Rice is cooking, make the black bean and corn salsa. Gently mix all of the ingredients in the salsa (black beans – cumin) together in a large mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  
  5. Assemble the burrito bowls. Divide the Right Rice, tofu, and black bean salsa evenly amongst four bowls. Top with guacamole, pico de gallo, and any of your other favorite taco bowl ingredients. 

Spicy Enchiladas

The other night we were craving Mexican food and enchiladas was one of the first things that came to mind. Enchiladas are not normally on our menu rotation and we thought this was a fun way to mix up our routine. This recipe is a bit homemade and a bit store bought. By using pre-made enchilada sauce instead of making our own, we found that we were able to save time and not compromise flavor. The result of this dish is a cheesy, savory, can’t stop eating until you are licking the plate kind of dinner that the whole family will love.

Spicy Enchiladas

Makes:6-8 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1- 4.5 oz can diced green chiles
  • 2 tbs chili powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 package of tortillas (we used whole wheat, but whatever floats your boat will do)
  • 4 cups of enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, guacamole, olives, cilantro

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a deep pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add in the ground beef and use a spatula to break the beef up into small pieces. Continue to “chop” and stir the beef for 5 minutes, or until the beef is mostly cooked through. Add the green chiles, chili powder, cayenne powder and salt and stir until all of the ingredients are well incorporated and the beef is thoroughly cooked (about 2 minutes). Remove from the heat.
  4. Put 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the beef mixture into a tortilla and roll in up as thinly as possible. This does not have to be perfect, just try to be consistent with portions. Place the tortilla in a large baking dish (must be at least 2 inches deep). Continue this process until the baking dish is full with tortillas. If you have extra ground beef, pour it over the top of the tortillas.
  5. Pour the enchilada sauce evenly over the top of the tortillas. You will want to be sure the tortillas are fully covered. Sprinkle the cheese on top and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve warm and top with sour cream, guacamole or any other extras you would like!

Soft Scrambled Breakfast Quesadillas with Avocado Crema

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! We know this year isn’t the margarita bar crawl that we thought it would be, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do a little to celebrate and have some fun in quarantine. We love a good breakfast situation and thought that breakfast quesadillas are a great, low key way to celebrate this year. We have given our favorite breakfast ingredients the essential Mexican twist for a special celebratory morning. Insert a paloma or tequila sunrise and you’ll have yourself one heck of a quarantined Cinco de Mayo morning.

Soft Scrambled Breakfast Quesadillas with Avocado Crema

Makes: 2 large quesadillas; 2- 4 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 flour tortillas (approx. 8 inch)
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 slices bacon (optional)
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Mexican blend cheese
  • 2 tbs butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • hot sauce for the quesadillas, if desired

Ingredients for Avocado Crema:

  • 1 avocado
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed
  • 3 tbs sour cream
  • 2+ tbs water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Start by making the avocado crema. Combine the crema ingredients (avocado – sour cream) in a small food processor. Pulse to start combining the ingredients. Add enough water so that the crema is a dippable consistency; we added about 3 tbs of water to achieve this texture. Season the crema with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. If you are making the quesadillas with bacon, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon in the skillet until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and reserve the fat, leaving enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Slice the bacon into small, bite-sized pieces.
  3. Leaving the heat on, add the peppers and onions to the pan. Sauté until the peppers and onions start to brown and soften, about 5 minutes. Remove the peppers and onions from the pan into a bowl and set aside. Reduce the heat of the skillet to low.
  4. Crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl and whisk well. Add another tbs of bacon fat if you have it, or butter, to the pan. When it has melted add the eggs. Slowly stir the eggs constantly, seasoning with salt and pepper about halfway through. When the eggs are barely cooked, even just slightly undercooked, remove them from the heat and into the bowl with the peppers and onions. Clean the skillet well for making the quesadillas.
  5. Assemble the quesadillas by layers an even amount of cheese, bacon, egg, and peppers to each of two quesadillas, starting with the cheese so that the quesadilla sticks together. We prefer to put cheese on both the top and the bottom of the quesadilla, so divide the cheese into four parts when assembling.
  6. Heat the cleaned skillet back over medium heat, along with a second skillet if you have it. Add about 2 tsp butter to each of the two pans. Add one quesadilla to each pan and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the bottom cheese is nice and melted and the tortilla is crispy. Carefully flip the quesadillas and repeat for another 4-5 minutes. It is better to err on the side of cooking the quesadilla on too low of a heat than scorching the bottom trying to cook it quickly. When the quesadillas have finished cooking, remove them from the pans, let them rest for a minute, and slice into 8 slices.
  7. Serve the quesadillas hot with avocado crema and hot sauce on the side.

Elote (Grilled Mexican Street Corn)

Whether you’ve always been a big Cinco de Mayo celebrator in the past, this year we feel like we need to celebrate all the things while in quarantine. It helps us break up the monotony of daily life at the house and helps remind us there is a real world beyond isolation that is worth celebrating! One of our favorite Mexican dishes is elote- or grilled street corn. It takes just a few ingredients to create the rich, smokey, salty and sweet combination that you get when you eat this dish. It’s a favorite of ours all summer long!

Elote (Grilled Mexican Street Corn)

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears of corn, husks removed
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 limes, separated
  • 1/2 cup + manchego cheese, grated or queso fresco, crumbled
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • scallions and cilantro, sliced for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat your grill to medium-high heat. Use the 2 tbs olive oil to coat each of the four ears of corn. Season them well with salt and pepper and grill them for about 15 minutes, rotating as each of the sides starts to char. A little bit of char is great, too much tends to taste bad so keep an eye on the corn on the grill!
  2. While the corn is grilling, make the spicy sauce. Whisk together the mayonnaise, paprika, cayenne, and the juice of one lime onto a large plate. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Have the shredded manchego or crumbled queso fresco on a second large plate.
  3. When the corn has finished grilling, immediately remove it from the grill and roll each of the four ears in in the sauce plate and then press into the cheese plate. We try to coat the ears of corn with the sauce on all sides but only have the cheese on one side of the corn. Press any extra cheese onto the tops of the corn.
  4. Place the corn back on the grill in indirect heat for just a few minutes to let the cheese melt. Serve immediately with chopped scallions and a slice of the second lime for garnish.

Semi-Homemade Barbeque Chicken Salad

Lunches can sometimes be one of the hardest things for us to pull together during the week. With juggling schedules, working from home, taking care of the dogs and kids, it is just plain hard right now to pull together good meals! We have brought semi-homemade Monday in to save the day. We leverage rotisserie chicken and basic store ingredients. This salad is extremely flavorful, filled with fresh vegetables and comes together in less than 30 minutes.

Semi-Homemade Barbecue Chicken Salad

Makes: 6 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients for the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup of ketchup
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs smokey hot sauce (or any hot sauce you have on hand)
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 3 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 rotisserie chicken (available at most major supermarkets), chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Directions:

  1. Make the dressing. Combine the dressing ingredients (ketchup – honey) in a sauce pan over low heat. Continuously stir the dressing until the brown sugar is dissolved. The BBQ does not need to come to a boil. Remove the sauce from the heat and into a bowl. Add the ranch dressing and stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. Rinse out the pan. Add the olive oil, corn and jalapeno. Sauté on low for 5-10 minutes until the corn is fully heated through. If the mixture seems dry, add 1/4 cup of water.
  3. Assemble the salad. Add the romaine, black beans, cherry tomatoes and chicken in a bowl. Toss with the BBQ ranch dressing until the salad is thoroughly coated.
  4. Top with cheddar cheese and avocado and serve cold!