Monday, March 16, 2015

Corned Beef Tacos

Wondering what to do with all that leftover corned beef from your St. Patrick's Day feast?! Or trying to find a new way to eat corned beer? Look no further. We had quite a bit of corned beef hanging around after I made our Slow Cooker Corned Beef last night, so tonight I made tacos with it. Yes, you read that right... I made TACOS with my leftover corned beef!

I got the idea from my food (and beverage) adventures at Hooley's, a local Irish pub and restaurant. They serve up some CRAZY-GOOD corned beef tacos, along with other delicious traditional (and not so traditional) Irish dishes. After my first corned beef taco experience a few years ago, I was desperate to figure out what was in them so I could go home and replicate the recipe. Well it turns out, besides the corned beef, they are made with a few other simple ingredients I always have on-hand... in fact, you probably do too!

So what the heck are in these magical corned beef tacos?! Flavorful corned beef is wrapped up in soft corn tortillas, then topped with cheddar cheese, ranch dressing, and raw cabbage! So simple, quick and easy... and a great way to re-purpose that St. Patty's Day corned beef. Seriously, us Southern Californians will make a taco out of anything!

Corned Beef Tacos

Here's all you need:

  • cooked corned beef
  • corn tortillas
  • cheddar cheese, shredded
  • light Ranch dressing
  • cabbage, chopped

Place a generous helping of warm (or re-heated), cooked corned beef in the middle of a warmed corn tortilla. Top corned beef with a sprinkle of shredded cheese, a drizzle of ranch, and a handful of chopped cabbage (to your own taste). Serve warm!

Hooley's serves their Corned Beef Tacos with a side of crispy wedge fries and more Ranch!

Want to change things up this St. Patrick's Day? You could break away from serving the traditional Irish dishes and serve up these tacos for the holiday instead... you just have to have the corned beef pre-cooked! Use our easy Slow Cooker Corned Beef recipe, let it cook all day, and then you'll have the corned beef warm and ready to go for tacos.


I love this homemade version of my Irish pub favorite... I think Hooley's would approve.



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Slow Cooker Corned Beef w/ Cabbage, Potatoes, and Carrots


St. Patrick's Day is upon us once again, which means many of us Americans will sit down with our friends and families to enjoy a tasty "Irish" meal of corned beef and cabbage! This traditional dish is enjoyed in Ireland, but not quite with the enthusiasm you’ll find here. But hey, "we do what we want".... you can be assured that every March 17th plenty of green-wearing, holiday-celebrating Americans will consume corned beef and cabbage, color our beer green, make minty shamrock shakes and devour other green or Irish-inspired treats!

More about Corned Beef:  Corned beef is a preparation in which a cut of beef, traditionally the brisket, is cured in a brine solution along with various seasonings, and then slowly simmered until it's tender and flavorful. It's a tough cut of meat so it is best cooked by slow, moist-heat cooking. A good corned beef is quite tender with a delicious salty flavor. The brine for making corned beef is similar to the brine used for making pickles. Thus, it's fair to say that corned beef is essentially pickled beef. One of the key ingredients in making corned beef is a curing salt called prague powder, which is what gives the corned beef its distinctive pink color.

To prepare my corned beef, I use my slow cooker! It's super quick and easy to prep, and even easier to clean up. Plus, using the slow cooker means you don't have to turn on the oven... which is great, considering this weekend it was over 90 degrees in San Diego!

This Slow Cooker Corned Beef with Cabbage, Potatoes, and Carrots is a great, easy one-dish meal that is perfect for St. Patrick's Day... or any other day of the year! The hearty tender vegetables combined with a super flavorful corned beef brisket make for a crowd-pleasing, delicious warm meal that can be enjoyed year-round. Leftover corned beef makes for some great Reuben sandwiches too...

Slow Cooker Corned Beef 
with Cabbage, Potatoes, and Carrots
makes about 4 servings

  • 1 (about 3 lb) corned beef brisket
  • 1 bottle (12 oz.) stout or other dark beer
  • 2 cups baby carrots, cut in half
  • 6-8 red potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, cut into 6 pieces

Spray a 4-5 quart slow cooker or crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. Place corned beef brisket in slow cooker, fat side up. Empty enclosed pickling spice packet onto top of corned beef. Pour beer into slow cooker around corned beef.

Cook on high for 3 hours. At the 3 hour mark, add potatoes and carrots (making sure they get covered by the beer). Add cabbage on top of potatoes and carrots.

Turn slow cooker to low and cook for another 1-2 hours, or until vegetables are tender.

Remove fat from corned beef before serving.

YUM!!!!!!!!!!! For me, it's just not St. Patrick's Day without some Corned Beef and Cabbage. And some of these other St. Patrick's Day inspired treats:



Monday, March 9, 2015

Chocolate Lucky Charms Marshmallow Treats

Chances are you have had a Rice Crispy Treat at some point in your life. With all that buttery, chewy, gooey, marshmallow-y goodness they are definitely a well-known treat! With St. Patrick's Day right around the corner, here's a version of the marshmallow treat made especially for the holiday... Chocolate Lucky Charms cereal replaces Rice Crispy cereal for a festive, fun, colorful, and delicious version of the original marshmallow treat!

These Chocolate Lucky Charms Marshmallow Treats are so quick and easy to whip up. And... just look how festive they are! Also see recipe for original Lucky Charms Marshmallow Treats.

I had never tried Chocolate Lucky Charms cereal, so these marshmallow treats were fun to make! Nothing brings out the child in you like a fun, colorful, and tasty chocolate cereal. You really can't go wrong with butter, marshmallows, and Chocolate Lucky Charms cereal... after all, "they're magically delicious".

Chocolate Lucky Charms Marshmallow Treats

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 6 cups Chocolate Lucky Charms cereal
  • cooking spray

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. 

Add Chocolate Lucky Charms cereal. Stir until well coated.

Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. (I sprayed my hands with cooking spray, then used my hands to form, firmly pack the mixture into a rectangle on wax paper)

Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.

You could push the cereal mixture into a greased shamrock-shaped cookie cutter to make shamrock-shaped marshmallow treats! 

What a super easy, quick treat to whip up for a St. Patrick's Day celebration! The fun, colorful, luck-o-the Irish inspired cereal makes this marshmallow treat a definite a crowd-pleaser!

Yum :)

- Janel

Pistachio Pudding Cake Balls

A few weeks ago I shared my recipe for Valentine's Day Cake Balls! Those little pink cake balls are fun, colorful and festive... perfect for a Valentine's Day party or celebration. With another holiday around the corner, I decided to whip up a batch of bright green cake balls for St. Patrick's Day!

These Pistachio Pudding Cake Balls start off as a green pistachio pudding cake... you could stop there if you wanted, the cake turns out super moist and flavorful! To turn the cake into cake balls, you crumble the cake once it is baked and cooled and then add a can of frosting. Mix the crumbled cake and frosting into a dough, roll the dough into small balls, then cover the balls in colorful sprinkles. Seriously, it's so easy!!!

Instant pistachio pudding and almond extract give these cake balls a much different flavor than your standard yellow cake-cake balls. 

How green, fun and festive are these cake balls?! They are perfect for a St. Patrick's Day party or celebration. Everyone loves cake balls!

Pistachio Pudding Cake Balls

1 (16 ounce) package yellow cake mix (I used sugar free)
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix (I used sugar free)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2-1 teaspoon almond extract
10 drops green food coloring
1 (16 ounce) can of white frosting
green sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl mix together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, water, oil, almond extract and green food coloring. Blend ingredients, then beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.
Pour into prepared pan. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed. Cool in pan 15 minutes. 

Crumble cake in cooled pan and add the can of frosting; mix well until a dough forms. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls, then roll cake balls in green sprinkles.

Store cake balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days. They are super yummy chilled in the freezer too!

They are the perfect festive dessert for St. Patrick's Day!

We can't get enough of these little cake balls...


- Janel

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

While I was at the grocery store on a power shop over the weekend, I grabbed a can of green chile enchilada sauce. I wish I had the time to make enchilada sauce from scratch... but my weekends are a complete whirlwind these days. Sunday has become my day to make a big, one-dish meal... and enchiladas fit that bill perfectly. If you didn't know, pre-made enchilada sauce comes in two flavors; original (red) and green chile (green). I use the red enchilada sauce for my Beef, Corn, and Black Bean Enchiladas, as the original sauce seems to go better with beef and the green chile sauce seems to go better with chicken.

Usually I would consult a recipe for guidance or ideas, but this time I totally "winged it" using ingredients I had on-hand. I threw together shredded chicken, mushrooms, green chiles, sour cream, and cheese to make the filling... then wrapped it in a corn tortilla and topped with green chile enchilada sauce and more cheese. You can't go wrong with that combo of Mexican flavors! These Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas turned out awesome...

If you aren't a fan of mushrooms, you could leave them out of the recipe. Amy and I just like to add them to dishes because they add an extra heartiness and earthiness.

There is A LOT of flavor in these Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas! If you like your food a little spicy, you'll love the heat in this dish. This recipe is a great way to get authentic Mexican flavors in a cheesy, one-dish meal that is super quick and easy to prepare!  

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
makes 13x9 inch pan

4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1 cup light sour cream
1 can (3 oz.) diced green chiles
2 cups Mexican cheese, shredded
1 can (28 oz.) green chile enchilada sauce
12-18 corn tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pour 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix shredded chicken, mushrooms, sour cream, green chiles and 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese.

On each tortilla, place an equal portion of the chicken mixture, then tightly roll the tortillas and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat until baking dish is full.

Top rolled tortillas with any remaining chicken mixture, then pour the remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup remaining cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and cheese is thoroughly melted.

Let cool for 5-10 min. before serving.

Top with a dollop of sour cream and/or guacamole!

These Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas are super flavorful and satisfying! This recipe makes a big pan, so this dish great for feeding a big crowd or cooking with the intent to have leftovers for more meals (this is what I do). :)


- Janel

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I went on my first ski trip last weekend... what an awesome time that was! Not only is hitting the slopes a blast, it's also a great cross-training activity. Of course I had to bring some treats along to share, so I baked a big batch of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. These are the kind of cookie you can eat for breakfast, a snack, and/or dessert, so they are literally the perfect cookie for road trips or vacations! These classic, crowd-pleasing cookies are packed full of hearty oats and chocolate chips, which makes them "just sweet enough". I found they go great with a warm cup of coffee!

Where did I find such a great go-to oatmeal cookie recipe, you ask? Surely it had to have been a secret recipe passed down through generations? Well.... the truth is, my oatmeal cookie dough recipe comes straight off the back of the Quaker Old Fashioned Oats canister. Yup. I mean, who knows oats better than the company that is in the business of bringing them to our table!? This is a BASIC cookie recipe... no hard to find ingredients, no low-calorie, low-fat substitutions, no frills. Just some good 'ole pantry ingredients combined together to make a yummy cookie!

I usually try to make adjustments to my cookie recipes to make them 'healthier', but I have to admit, sometimes it's better not to mess with a good thing! These Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are super delicious, and they are quick and easy to make too... no chilling, rolling, or cutting the dough. Just drop by spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet!!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe via
makes about 4 dozen cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick or old fashioned oats, uncooked
1 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and chocolate chips; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

You will love this classic, crowd-pleasing cookie! Grab a cold glass of milk (or coffee) and enjoy...

- Janel