Tag Archives: Mexican

Comfort quesadillas

So here I have the easiest of recipes for you. So easy the ingredient list consists of you opening your fridge and taking a gander at just what is hiding (and perhaps languishing) in there. These are my go-to comfort food, especially when it’s a solo dinner, and they are so crammed full of all those favorite veg that I always, always over buy. In my mind everything can go into a quesadilla fresh mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes – heck yeah. Maybe you found that jar of banana peppers you’ve been meaning to use up, or those green chilies looking for a vehicle to your tum, or maybe its those last two delish olives taking up all that space. Yup, they all belong in there too. And I suppose, you could even throw some meat in there. You know, if you had to.

As a comfort food, they can’t be beat. Easy, delish, and the avocado on top will melt away the worst of days. And I’m putting that to the test. Someone made a rather large mistake, certainly not the end of the world, but I am a pretty harsh critic when it comes to this gal. But you know, I did find out I’ve got an audience. A big one. So there’s that, right?

That said, at least I have tons of fun to distract myself from all of that (and before you start gnashing your teeth wondering, “what the heck did you do, Jess?!” It was a typo. A small typo. But on a big stage). But yeah, fun! Next week marks the start of my summer hours. Yeah, you read that right, summer hours! So that’s pretty rad. But even more immediate is getting to watch my brother cross the finish line at Grandma’s Marathon on Saturday and then another trip to the bear bar! Yeah, bears. In real life.

In the meantime, let’s go comfort ourselves with quesadillas. Quesadillas oozing with cheese and dripping with salsa. Yeah. That.


Comfort quesadillas from thePenandthePan

Comfort quesadillas

per quesadilla
1 tortilla (the size is up to you, how much comfort are you feeling?)
¼ cup or less shredded cheese
assorted vegetables, raw or cooked
butter for tortilla

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Butter one side of your tortilla and place in pan. Add vegetables to one side of tortilla. Sprinkle cheese over entire tortilla.

Just as cheese starts to melt, fold tortilla in half. Continue to cook, flipping frequently, until both sides are lightly browned.


Layered leftover nachos

Uhhhh, what do you mean it’s only Thursday. You can’t be for reals. Nope, I refuse to believe that. Surely it’s been well over a week since we visited last. I mean, just look at everything that’s happened. Well, ok, I mean just look at everything I accomplished. Uhh, I mean, I’m sleepy, go ‘way.

It’s not so much that I’ve actually gotten that much dones, as it is feeling stretched in too many directions. You know the feeling. But this is no space for whining, right, I mean you definitely prefer me when I’m wine-ing (yeah that’s a thing that will definitely happen this weekend). Bonus points, my weekend started about thirty minutes ago. Winning! Comp time is the best time.

I feel like I’m nattering on saying much the same I’ve said in weeks past. So instead, let’s look at pretty pictures. Yayyyy! Pictures! Of nature!

Eagle take off

Pretty rad, huh? As much as I’d like to take credit for that shot, it was all Himself. Don’t mind me as I’m over here drumming my fingers, trying to contain my jealousy. He’s the better photographer. Though I did get this one in the yard.

Deer in yard

Sigh, I know it doesn’t compare. But really now, I can’t have *all* the talent. I mean just looky here at what I’ve done with your leftovers. It’s like magic up in here. So, the name may not be the most glamorous, but the taste will knock your socks off. I made this with my leftover crockpot pork tacos with beer. And it was glorious! This is more of a technique, since your nachos are going to depend on how much meat and veggies you have left over. Get creative here, it doesn’t have to be taco meat on these nachos. Have some leftover chicken breast? Shred it up and toss with some salsa. Have some black beans and sweet potatoes in the fridge? Oh yes, my friend, super tasty! Think way outside the box here. What’ve you got to lose?

The recipe makes a huge plate of nachos. Think of those over the top restaurant nachos. We’re talking more than enough to share in a group. But not to worry, everyone will inhale them.


Layered leftover nachos

Layered leftover nachos

2 cups leftover meat, shredded or chopped into bite sized pieces
2 cups cheese
Tortilla chips
Assorted veggies – green pepper, green top onions, tomatoes, etc
Cilantro cream sauce and guacamole to serve

Preheat oven to 350º. In a small baking dish, place a layer of tortilla chips. Top with ½ meat, 1 cup of cheese, and half the veggies (except tomatoes if using). Place another layer of chips on top. Repeat meat, cheese, and vegetable layers. Top with tomatoes.

Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Serve with cilantro cream sauce and guacamole.

Crockpot pork tacos with beer

I am having another amazing week. Getting tired of hearing that yet? I really can’t believe how much happier I am in the woods. It’s like the decision to pack in city life and just move on is reaffirmed every day. In fact, I can hardly believe that we’ve only been here eight months!

Not to be all sunshine and giggles, this week was a little tough. After all having two jobs is time consuming, and though I remember May being crazy busy when I was a student, turns out I had no idea just what that meant for grown-ups. Not that I’m laying claim to that title, mind you. But for every tough thing that happened, something amazing happened.

Culminating in yesterday’s wildlife “adventure.” I love having birds around. Always have. In fact one of the first things I did when we moved up here was request a bird book (Himself’s mother to the rescue again!). Now, you’ll find that and my inherited binoculars paired together on the porch on the reg. So naturally, I have a ton of bird feeders. We’ve got one outside the bedroom window. And since we put it up, I’ve been fascinated by how fearless those agile, little chickadees are. But I had no idea just how fearless until I went to change out the feeders yesterday. I just sauntered up, new feeder in hand, and I realized these birds weren’t going anywhere. I slowly grabbed my phone and started taking a few shots. And those birds just went on pigging out, swooping in short flights all around me. It was amazing. I dropped off the new feeder, and grabbed the big camera. Still showing no fear, these birds tried to figure out just what I was doing. And that’s when this happened.


You can bet I’m going to try to repeat that scene again today. Especially since Mr. Blue Jay found the new feeder sturdy enough to hold both him and his raucous cries. All signs that spring has finally arrived, I mean it is May already.

In fact, it’s almost Cinco de Mayo! You might be inundated with fiesta flavored recipes, but I bet you won’t find one as easy (and delish, I dare say) as this one. As if pork tacos aren’t tasty enough, I went and put beer in there. Yeah, I said beer. In your tacos. Soon to be in your FACE. Cause you’ll be busy stuffing it. Amirite?!

Ok, all hyperbole aside, these tacos are super, amazingly, unbelievably tasty! The assembly couldn’t be easier either. Mix it all up, walk away, come back and stuff your face. Keep in mind though, 3 lbs of pork is a lot. This is the recipe that you serve to a crowd and then sit back and relish the accolades.


Crockpot pork tacos with beer

Crockpot pork tacos with beer

Adapted from Crock Pot Cheddar Beer Chicken Tacos at How Sweet It Is

1 medium sweet onion
2.5 – 3 pound pork roast
10 ounce can of tomatoes (I used Rotel’s tomatoes with green chilies)
1 green pepper
1-12 ounce bottle of beer
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons dried cilantro (optional if you’re not the cilantro freak I am)
Taco shells or tortillas
Favorite toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, more green pepper, and of course cilantro cream sauce

Roughly chop onions and place in the bottom of a crock pot. If necessary, remove butcher twine from pork roast, and place on top of onions. Drain tomatoes, reserving juice, and place on top of pork. Roughly chop green pepper and add on top of tomatoes.

In a medium bowl, mix together beer, reserved tomato juice, and taco seasonings. Carefully pour over and around pork roast. Cover and cook on low 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

Just before serving, shred pork with two forks. Assemble tacos. Stuff your face.

Double cheesy chicken burritos

I think a lot of you know that I work from home. Well, this past week, I’ve had a few technical issues, which sorta means vacation, but one that keeps me near the work pc. That means lots of time at home “researching” on the interwebs and lots of baking opportunities. And that means for you, I have two new cookie recipes coming up, and a rad lesson to share.

We’re starting to get eggs already, even sooner than expected. One of the hens is laying every day. This means I’ve got eggs a plenty on my hands, since I still had commercial eggs to go through. Earlier this week, idly paging through my Mother Earth News magazine (more hippie-dippy-ness exposed), I read an article about freezing eggs. Yup, so why is this important to you? This girl hates throwing away food, so even your commercial eggs can be frozen. I just took a ziplock and used it to line a mug. Poured in one to two lightly beaten eggs, popped in the freezer for an hour, and then transferred the individual ziplocks to one big freezer bag. Freezing them upright in the mugs ensured that there was no chance of eggs leaking out all over my freezer. Now I’ve got eggs ready for all that holiday baking I’m already thinking about.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about those spicy cheesy chicken rolls I shared with you back in September. I adored the flavor. I’ve also been craving tacos lately. So one night whilst letting my mind go on a little roundabout, I came up with a way to combine the two into burritos. Now here’s the thing about burritos at my house. I love cheesy warm burritos, but I also love the crisp crunch of veggies in a taco. So I always top my burritos with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and chopped onion. You could put the onion and tomato inside the burritos, but since this burrito is so filled with cheesy goodness, you’re going to like a little crunch with it.

And while we’re at this, let’s talk hot sauce again. When I made the chicken roll-ups, I waxed eloquent about my favorite hot sauce, Cajun Sunshine. While now there’s another contender for favorite, and the best part is it’s local. I’m not just talking Minnesota local, no even better, it’s made right up the road in Grand Rapids – Steve’s Pepper Sauce. There’s a lot of flavor packed in with this heat. And it is taaaaaaaaa-sty! So, even if you don’t use this hot sauce, make sure you’ve got one with a little bit of kick and a lot of flavor.


Double cheesy chicken burrito

Double cheesy chicken burritos

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
½ teaspoon adobo seasoning
3 teaspoons hot sauce
1 can chopped green chilies
1 ¼ cup shredded cheese, divided
1 ⅓ cup (about two breasts) chicken, shredded or chopped, your call
1 8 count package tortillas – burrito size

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, taco and adobo seasonings, hot sauce and green chilies. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese and mix well. Mix in chicken.

Spread a thin layer of filling on each tortilla (you should have enough to fill all eight tortillas). Roll up and place in a baking dish with seam side down. Sprinkle with reserved ¼ cup cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Top with chopped tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, and cilantro cream.

Cilantro cream

You might just look at this recipe and say, “Hmmmm, that seems a little too simple Jess.” Well, yes, it is simple, but the taste is simply phenomenal. This is going to dress up anything you put it on. Especially the burritos that I plan on sharing with you next week.

And guys, I’m going to be real candid here. This gal needed an easy recipe that would knock it out of the park when I served it to Himself. You see, with the change in the weather and all the holiday baking articles in my food magazines, naturally my thoughts turned to holiday fudge making. Some people make Christmas cookies, but me, I’m a fan of Festivus Fudge. So, I had these amazing, grandiose fudge ideas just rolling around in my brain last week, but they just aren’t translating to the pan. Although I can say that I’ve got the flavor straight on, it’s the pesky texture or it’s not setting. But you know what you do with a fudge that won’t set? Why dig in with a spoon, of course. Which really only works for a few tastes. In my mind fudge is meant to be shared, sampled, and sent off to friends. Not one of which I was able to do with these three different iterations. Le sigh.

But this recipe however, is a fully different story. You can put this cilantro cream on tacos and burritos, use it as a dip for veg or chips, or on a hot dog with salsa (my personal favorite today), it’s even super tasty on a spicy taco pizza. So easy, so simple, so tasty.


Cilantro cream

Cilantro cream

Adapted from Bev Cooks Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

¾ cup cilantro, loosely packed
juice of half a lime
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
1 cup sour cream

Add cilantro, lime, and taco seasoning to blender or food process. Pulse until cilantro is finely chopped, resembling pesto. Add sour cream and mix well. Chill at least one hour before serving.

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