Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Puffy Tacos, Pot Brownies, and lots-a Meatballs

Well, after 3 days in the family truckster we made it to San Antonio!  Our trip went pretty smooth....and the only real melt-down happened when Kiddo A wanted to listed to Hakuna Matata...and Kiddo B thought it would be HI-larious to download the Chinese version of the song.  So of course, he freaked out, the harder we laughed, and then the more he freaked out some more.
So, let's get to the tasty portion of this blog post!
Road food highlights include:
This SERIOUSLY cool Coke Freestyle machine.
It had so many phenomenal flavor combinations and add-ins.  We enjoyed Peach Sprite, Raspberry Sprite, and Grape Sprite.  You MUST click HERE to find a machine in your is really so cool! We also enjoyed some Jack in the Box tacos and egg rolls.  Of course I had to eat a Breakfast Jack for my Dad....those were his FAVORITE!    We were also able to hit Steak and Shake for kids-eat-free weekends as well.
No trip through Charlotte, Atlanta, Houston, and Austin would be complete without some Ikea Meatballs!
Ok, well maybe we only had them in Charlotte and Austin, but I waved lovingly in Atlanta and Houston, lol!
On Sunday night, we went to dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse
Which was really like the Old Spaghetti Factory, but not.  In all honesty, it made me miss the Old Spaghetti Factory.  Not that we ever really went all that often, but I have lots of great memories of the OSF in Seattle and when I eat in a bed, I expect to eat pasta with Mizithra Chesse and Browned Butter...and they did not have it (((sniff, sniff)))  As it was, the hubs and I spilt one of those ultimate feast plates that had a little bit of everything.  Their 15-layer lasagna and Chicken Parmesan was tasty!

Monday for lunch, we stumbled upon a uber-cool place called FREEB!RDS World Burrito

It was a totally funky joint with a hippy/free lovin' type thing going on.  They had a great Taco Special....$5.00 for 2 tacos, chips and salsa, and a drink.  I enjoyed one Steak Taco with pinto beans and Spanish Rice and one Carnitas Taco with Black Beans and Cilantro-Lime Rice.   Then I totally devoured a Pot Brownie!

They were scrumptious, baked  in a pot, lol! 

Last night, we went to dine at the beautiful La Hacienda.  This was the same place that was on Throwdown with Bobby Flay when he took on the ever-famous San Antonio Puffy Taco as well being featured on  Food Nation, Good Morning America, and Emril Lagasse.

It is truly a magical place.  FULL of outdoor seating with live music and TONS of twinkle lights hung on the trunks of these amazing trees.  We sat down at our table and ordered.  I of course ordered the famous Puffy Taco filled with chicken.  It was not like anything I had ever had before.  It wasn't a fried flour based dough like a Navajo was a corn base, but thick and puffy with a crispy outside.  It was a textural delight!

photo courtesy of
Louis Barrios (the owner) came to our table and introduced himself.  When he found out we were from out of town, he went and got us even more food to try and sat there smiling while we groaned in delight with each bite.  This is one of those restaurants that the service and management truly infuse their food with love and respect for the ingredients, and that makes it taste even better!
Louis had us try this amazing green sauce that he described as an Argentine Pesto (I think).
It was AMAZING!  He first sprinkled it in our rice, which was amazing, but I loved the garlicky/cilantro love on their ridiculously thick, hot, and homemade tortillas best.  This is one I will be trying to replicate FOR SURE!
Well, thanks for indulging me in this on-line travel diary of sorts.  I don't want to forget any morsel that made me smile on this trip :) 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Southern-Fried Roadtrip 2011

Why aren't we flying? Because getting there is half the fun. You know that.
So...just wanted to give you guys a heads-up.  The next few weeks will not be filled with Thanksgiving/Christmas goodies.  It will be filled with tales (and hopefully good food) from the road as I take our 3 kiddos on a road-trip from North Carolina to San Antonio/Austin, TX.  I will be sharing our trip with you...where we are going, what we are eating, things we are doing, my total and utter craziness, etc.   A real Southern-Fried Roadtrip if you will.
We are seriously considering a move to the San Antonio/Austin area and are trekking out there to do some reconnaissance.  I have explained before that I am the ying to Pioneer Woman's yang, so do not expect her travel diaries....we will be doing this trip staying extremely budget no 5-star hotels and fancy-pants food for us.  But that doesn't mean we can't have fun and tasty time, right?
I couldn't leaving you hangin' on the whole Thanksgiving feast case you missed it last year, here are the links for the Thanksgiving Extravaganza we did...there are TONS of recipes from friends and family!
Thanksgiving Appetizer Extravaganza
Thanksgiving Main Dish Extravaganza
Thanksgiving Side Dish Extravaganza
Thanksgiving Dessert Extravaganza
Thanksgiving Traditions and Table Scapes

Monday, November 14, 2011

Better Than Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana

I am this close to a trifecta my friends!  I present to you "Better Than Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana".  The name pretty much says it IS better than the Zuppa Toscana soup at Olive Garden.  I am working on finding a fabulous salad dressing for the "Better Than Olive Garden's Salad".  I already have the breadsticks that I think are way better than Olive Garden's, found HERE.  Don't wait to make this one, it is SCRUMPTIOUS!

Better Than Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana
Recipe Source:  Steak N Potatoes Kinda Gurl
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 lb ground hot Italian sausage
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups (32 oz) chicken stock
  • 3 cups russet potatoes, cubed
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups kale, washed and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, to taste
In a large pot, cook the bacon until crispy. Drain the grease. Add the sausage, breaking it apart as it cooks. Once sausage is browned and crumbled, remove sausage and drain off grease leaving a tbsp to saute the onion.
Add the onion to the pan; saute until translucent; add garlic; saute until fragrant.  Add the bacon and sausage back into the pot.
Stir in the stock and potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Add kale and heavy whipping cream. Bring to a simmer. Top with Parmesan cheese, when serving.

This recipe has been linked up to:
This Chick Cooks
The Country Cook
Tidy Mom
SImply Sweet Home
Eat at Home

Monday, November 7, 2011

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Quesadilla

This combination worked beautifully, amazingly, and scrunptiously.  Seriously, don't even question this one, just try it!

BBQ Chicken and Pineaaple Quesadilla
Recipe slightly adapted from:  Pioneer Woman
  • 8 Flour Tortillas
  • Butter
  • 1-2 cups Grilled Pineapple.  I used the canned Dole Tropical Gold, each chunk sliced in half once grilled
  • 3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Optional, Cajun or Creole Seasoning
  • 3 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated - I used a Cheddar, Jack, and Mozzarella blend
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Sliced - I grilled my slices to mellow them out a bit
  • Cilantro, chopped - to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons Barbecue Sauce, more to taste - My favorite is Bullseye original
Preparation Instructions
(To grill pineapple: cut wedges, stick on skewers, and grill over low heat. Cut into slices.)
(To pound chicken, place inside a Ziploc bag and pound with a mallet or large can to flatten to uniform thickness.)
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and Cajun or Creole spice.  Drizzle olive oil on a grill pan and grill on both sides until done, brushing with barbecue sauce. Set aside and slice into very thin slices.
Warm griddle over medium heat and put sizzling butter in the pan. Slightly warm and toast tortillas on both sides, then remove from griddle and set aside.
To assemble, sprinkle four browned tortillas with grated Monterey Jack. Arrange chicken slices evenly over the surface. Add pineapple slices and jalapeno slices. Sprinkle on cilantro. If desired, drizzle extra barbecue sauce over the top. Add second browned tortilla on top of each one. (You'll have four complete quesadillas at this point.)
Add to a heated oven to warm, or back to skillet to warm, until cheese is melted. Cut each quesadilla into six wedges. Serve with sour cream, pico de gallo, and lime wedges.  Black beans and rice make a GREAT side!

This recipe has been linked up to:
This Chick Cooks
The Country Cook
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sloppy DiMaggios

Blogging has introduced me to so many wonderful people that I truly count as friends.  One of those friends I met VERY early in my blogging life is Jill.  Jill had a food blog that was simply wonderful called Sublime Hodge Podge.  Though she has decided to stop writing for it, it is still up for a time to go grab her delicious recipes.  She is cooking up some good soap though, her Etsy shop, Sudsy Soaps, has the most spectacular soaps I have seen!  I am totally dying to try her Twilight Quad Soap Set for him and her.  LOVE it!
Anywho, Jill is the one who introduced me to this Rachael Ray recipe.  Since Kiddo B is a bonafide chili-dog NUT, she was all over it!  Kids and adults of all ages love this Sloppy Joe/Chili Dog hybrid.  Like all of RR's recipes, it is super quick and easy!  I made my Homemade Hoagie Rolls to serve it on,  but you could just use Kaiser Rolls or some other soft and chewy roll from the store.  Make sure and try this one soon!

Sloppy DiMaggios
Recipe Source:  Rachael Ray
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

2 pounds lean ground sirloin or ground turkey
1 packages beef or pork hot dogs, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 onion, chopped
1 TBSP steak seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
1 TBSP chili powder
3 TBSP dark brown sugar
3 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 (14.5-ounce) can tomato sauce
9 soft burger rolls - like at the ballpark.  Click HERE to get the recipe for my Homemade Hoagie Rolls.

Heat the extra-virgin olive oil, a turn of the pan, in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat and crumble as it browns. Add chopped hot dogs after 3 to 4 minutes then cook 3 to 4 minutes more. Add the onions to the pan and cook to soften, 5 to 6 minutes more. In a bowl mix the spices, sugar, Worcestershire and tomato sauce. Pour sauce over the meat and simmer a few minutes to combine flavors. Slop onto buns and serve.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Taste and Tell Saturdays with Rachael Ray
This Chick Cooks