The latest update on all of our favorite things - tried and tested can't miss items for the home, health, travel, family.Read More
I get lots of questions about the products I use to pack our lunches, so I thought it might be helpful if I gathered up all my favorite items in one post.
I think one of the most important aspects of easy lunch packing is to have products and containers that are consistent and reliable. While it is fun to have a nice variety of accessories, if you want to be quick and efficient in your lunch packing, choosing a reliable set of stuff that you can use day in and day out is going to be your best bet.Read More
Posole has been a favorite of mine since I first discovered it. We typically think of soups as a winter thing, but I love it in the summer too. With the addition of the cool, fresh toppings, it makes a great summer meal!
If you are not familiar with posole (or pozole), it's a traditional Mexican soup or stew, with hominy and meat (usually pork) in a spiced broth. You dish out the fairly basic soup, and then you top your bowl with lots of fresh garnishes. There are both red and green versions, both are equally good, depending on whether you prefer the deep richness of dark red peppers, or the brighter tanginess of green peppers and tomatillos.
Traditional posole is, obviously, made completely from scratch. The real recipes have you soaking and pureeing dried chilis to flavor your broth. It gives amazing flavor. It's not particularly difficult to make, but it is time consuming and so usually reserved for special occasions and holidays. It's not generally something that could be an easy weeknight meal unless you've made it ahead.
With a busy family, I'm all about easy weeknight meals. I love taking a classic recipe and looking and the pieces of it to figure out how I can make it quicker and easier and taste just (or almost) as good. I have a great traditional from scratch recipe that I've made many times which is great to make on a weekend. I've included that one down at the end below - I don't know what the original source of this recipe was, I've had it scratched on a piece of paper for years. I highly recommend you make the scratch version at least once. But I also have developed my own cheater version.
If you start with good flavorful ingredients, I really think this version is just as good, and it is so much quicker and easier to make.
Lisa's Cheater Posole Rojo:
- 1 can/package of enchilada sauce – mild or spicy, however you like it.
- 1 quart of chicken broth
- A large can of hominy, or a couple small cans
- An onion or two
- Cooked pork – I use pre-cooked pork carnitas from Trader Joes, Costco has some too. Chicken works great too - Costco and Trader Joe's both have packages of grilled chicken, or get a rotisserie chicken and pick the meat off. Or just use whatever cooked meat you might have leftover.
Garnishes: (choose any, all, or none - whatever you like!)
- grated cheese
- crushed tortilla chips
- sour cream
- diced tomatoes
- diced avocado
- chopped cilantro
- diced or chopped yellow, white, or green onions
- sliced radishes
- shredded lettuce or cabbage
- quartered limes
Easy! Just combine everything in the ingredients list in a pot and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Basically by the time you've got your table set and your garnishes ready, you'll be ready to eat. It will taste even better if you let it simmer longer, but it's great even if you don't have a lot of time. You could saute the onions first in some oil, but you don't have to. It’s even better if you make it a day ahead and let it sit overnight.
Serve in nice big bowls with your choice of toppings. Really you can put anything you want on this. Keep it simple with just a little lime and cilantro, or load it up. It's yummy either way. Either version of this is great for a party - lay out a beautiful spread of the garnishes and people are very impressed.
Try a few different enchilada sauces and find one you like. I find it's best with a nice dark rich sauce. I've recently used the Frontera brand and I think it was the best yet - very deep rich flavor without being spicy.
This version is such a great weeknight meal for a cold and rainy day. And here's a tip for you - make a big pot of this for a dinner party or other gathering and people will be blown away! They will think you've made something really amazing, when really all you did was throw a bunch of stuff in a pot.
Original Pozole Rojo
- 1 bone-in picnic roast (pork shoulder, also called pork butt), about 5 pounds
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium-large onions, chopped coarse
- 5 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1.5 cups of water
- 2 ounces dried ancho chiles (about 3 large)
- 3 (15 ounce) cans white or yellow hominy, drained and rinsed
- 2 limes, quartered
- 1/2 head lettuce, sliced crosswise into thin strips
- 6 medium radishes, sliced thin
- 1 small onion, minced
- roughly chopped cilantro leaves
- chopped fresh oregano or dried mexican oregano
- 1/4 cup pureed ancho chiles
- flour or corn tortillas (or I like tortilla chips)
trim skin and excess fat from meat and cut into large pieces of various sizes. dry thoroughly and season generously with salt and pepper
heat oil over medium heat and cook onions and 1/4 tsp salt until onions are softened. stir in garlic
add the meat and stir often until no longer pink on the outside. add tomatoes, oregano, broth, and 1/2 tsp salt. increase heat and bring to a simmer. cover, place in oven and cook until meat is tender, about 2 hours.
meanwhile, bring water to boil. remove stems and seeds from chiles and soak with hot water until soft, about 20 mins. puree chiles and liquid until smooth. pour through a strainer and reserve 1/4 cup for garnish
remove meat and bones from pot. stir in hominy and pureed anchos. cover and return to oven and cook until hominy is hot, about 45 mins.
meanwhile, when meat is cool, shred it. stir shredded meat into the stew. taste to adjust seasonings. ladle into bowls and serve with garnishes.
You can also sort of combine the two versions. I've done it before where I started with a raw piece of pork and sautéed that with the onions as in the first recipe, but then added the broth and enchilada sauce to finish it off. I've also done both versions in the slow cooker. I have a great slow cooker with a metal insert, so you can brown your meat and onions on the stove first, and then put everything else in to slow cook.
You can even make a meatless version! Here are two versions I made once - the one on the left has pork and chicken broth, the one on the right was made for some vegetarian friends, with vegetable broth and a variety of beans. It tasted great too!
Here's the thing about kids: just when you think you've got them figured out, they surprise you.
Do you think your kids would totally turn their noses up at real, healthy foods for lunch or snacks? Are you convinced that they would refuse to eat unless you give them a plate full of processed food? Give them a little more credit, you might be surprised.
My kids are no different than most other kids - if I put out a big bowl of goldfish crackers they will devour them in no time and then ask for more. But you know what happens when I put out a big plate of healthier stuff instead? They devour it in no time and ask for more. And most of the time it never even occurs to them to ask for some crackers to go with it.Read More
Do you want a breakfast that's easy, hearty, and healthy, and the whole family will love? Well this might just be it.
Have you seen all the buzz lately about these overnight refrigerator oats recipes? Seems like some new way to make oats? Nope, not new. The Swiss have been doing it this way for over 100 years. They call it Muesli, or Swiss Muesli, or Bircher Muesli (named from the doctor that created the recipe for the health benefits of his patients). This is not the "muesli" that you've seen in a cereal box. That is a granola like cereal that has some oats and dried fruit and somebody decided to give it the name because some of the ingredients are similar. No, this is a totally different thing - it's a way of preparing oats that's like nothing you've probably ever tasted. I love it, it's one of my favorite breakfasts. I first learned about Swiss Muesli almost 30 years ago, when my older sister came home from being an exchange student in Switzerland. She introduced us to the way the Swiss do oats, and I've loved it ever since. In the summer I like to make up a huge bowl and eat it for breakfast all week long. It's cool and refreshing, but hearty and filling. And you can dress it up however you like.Read More