Barbecue pulled pork – slow cooker/ Ninja Foodi /oven

Pulled pork simmered in a tangy, sweet and spicy sauce bringing back memories of a roadtrip  down to Texas where we had the most delicious and moist pulled pork – in the parking lot of a restaurant because of Covid. As we reminisced over the trip, we had to replicate the flavors at home.

Servings: 8 (for 8 sandwiches)

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 6 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1.5 large onions, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 lbs pork shoulder butt roast
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon  Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon  red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (see notes to make barbecue sauce at home)

Method

  1. Lightly rub the pork with salt and pepper
  2. If using a Ninja Foodi, put on the sear option on high
  3. Pour the oil into the bottom of a slow cooker, dutch oven or the Ninja Foodi
  4. Add the onions, garlic
  5. Add the remaining ingredients including the pork
  6. Cover the container to cook:
    1. Turn on the slow cooker and set for high
    2. For Foodi, switch to slow cooker option and set to high
    3. For oven, preheat to 250F. Cover dutch oven and place in oven
  7. Cook on high for 5-6 hours until the pork shreds easily with a fork
  8. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred the meat using two forks
  9. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker, and stir the meat with the juices in the pot
  10. Serve on hamburger buns with a side of beans, coleslaw and potato salad

Notes:

  • Home made barbeque sauce:
    • Ingredients:
      • 1.5 cups ketchup
      • 2 tablespoon molasses
      • 3 garlic cloves minced
      • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
      • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
      • 1 tablespoon red chilli powder
      • 1  teaspoon black pepper powder
      • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
    • Method
      • Combine ingredients in a pot on the stove. Simmer for 15- 20 minutes until sauce has deepened in color. Store in a tightly covered lid for upto 10 days

Mushroom, Spinach and Black Bean Quesadillas

When you want a healthy and yet quick meal or a snack on-the-go, these quesadillas are a great option. A mix of spinach, corn, mushrooms, black beans, onions, and creamy avocado makes for a filling, delicious vegetarian meal. And if you’re craving meat, just add some shredded chicken to the mix.

Servings: 4 quesadillas Cook and prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 large Red Onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper flakes
  • 8 oz Baby Bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups fresh Spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen Corn
  • 1/2 cup cooked Black Beans
  • 2 large Avocados, removed from shell and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • 4 medium Tortillas (I use whole wheat although flour tortillas are usually tastier but less healthy)
  • Salt to taste
  • Salsa, for serving
  • 2 cups shredded chicken, optional (for when you want a non-vegetarian option)

Method:

  • In a pan, heat the Olive oil
  • When oil is hot and shimmering, add in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir and add in the onions, stir occasionally while the onions turn translucent.
  • Add in the sliced mushrooms. Fry the mix, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and caramelized, and the water from the mushrooms in the pan has dissipated – approximately 3-4 minutes
  • Add in the spinach, black beans and corn. Cook till spinach has wilted. Sprinkle salt, stir and keep aside
  • Lay out the four tortillas on plates
  • Cover a half of each tortilla by distributing the 1 cup of cheese across the tortillas
  • Distribute equally the spinach, corn, black beans, and mushroom mix over the cheese
  • Layer the mix with equal amounts of avocado slices and sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese evenly over it, as well
  • Fold tortilla into half by pressing the empty half of the tortilla over the toppings
  • Heat a medium/large size skillet. When skillet is hot, place the folded tortilla in the skillet. Cook on both sides for a total of 4 mins, flipping half-way through
  • Before serving, cut the quesadillas into 3 equal sizes
  • Serve hot with a side of salsa
  • Enjoy!

Salmon with  Tamarind- Mushroom- Red Pepper Sauce

This aromatic, sweet and tangy sauce complements salmon. Not only is it a healthy, quick and easy dinner option, it is an elegant  meal for when you have company.

Serves:4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb skin-on, boneless salmon filet
  • 8oz baby bella mushrooms, diced into small pieces
  • 1 large red pepper, diced into small pieces
  • 1/4 large red pepper, cut into thin red strips
  • 2 stems green onions, diced fine
  • 1 tbsp ginger, diced fine
  • 1 tbsp garlic, diced fine
  • 2 tbsp size chunks of seedless tamarind (see method below)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • For the fish before grilling or pan frying
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil (2 tbsp if frying)

Method

  1. To make tamarind, soya and fish sauce mix:
    • Take a large marble sized piece of seedless tamarind
    • Put tamarind into a microwave safe bowl and add in 1/4 cup warm water. Heat for a minute in the microwave. Rest for 2 minutes. Then mash the pulp with the back of a spoon, forcing it through a strainer . Scrape off the paste that is on the underside of the strainer. Discard the solids left in the strainer
    • To the tamarind mix in the bowl, add fish sauce, soya sauce, sugar and blend well till sugar dissolves
  2. For the mushroom – red pepper sauce
    • Dice mushrooms and red pepper into small pieces
    • In a wok, heat oil
    • When hot, add in the garlic, stir fry for 30 seconds and add in the ginger
    • Stir fry for 30 seconds
    • Add in the mushrooms and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until the water from the mushrooms dry out
    • Add in the tamarind, fish sauce mix and stir fry for 1 minute
    • Add in the green onions, and diced red pepper and stir fry for another minute
    • Remove from heat and set aside
  3. Fish
    • To cook in Ninja Foodi: 
      • Place water into Ninja Foodi pot. Season salmon with salt and pepper on both sides, no oil, on rack, making sure the rack is in the higher position.
      • Assemble pressure lead, making sure the pressure release valve is in the SEAL position
      • Select PRESSURE and set to HIGH. Set time to 2 minutes. Select START/STOP to begin
      • When pressure cooking is complete, quick release the pressure by moving the pressure cooker valve to the VENT position. Carefully remove lid when pressure is released
      • Gently pat salmon dry with paper towel, then close with crisping lid
      • Select BROIL and set time to 7 minutes. Select START/STOP to begin, check for doneness after 5 minutes
    • To grill on a regular grill:
      • While the sauce is cooking, marinate the fish with oil, salt and pepper. Rub mixture on both sides of fish. Heat grill to 450 degree F. When hot, grill the salmon skin side down over direct heat with the lid closed, for about 4-5 minutes and then turn the salmon over, close the lid and another 4-5 minutes
    • To pan fry:
      • Rub salt on both sides of the fish. Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add fish, skin side down and fry for about 4 minutes on each side
  4. Serving
    • Serve fish while hot, with the Mushroom-Red Pepper sauce spooned over it, garnished with red pepper slivers and cilantro. It can be accompanied by vegetables like bok choi or broccoli as well as steamed rice

Thai yellow curry

This mild, yet complex Thai curry impresses with its pleasant and interesting flavors.

When we have guests, Thai or Mexican dishes are usually our go-to. Quick, flavorful, and enjoyed by most, it’s definitely faster to pull together than Indian food. When we do make Thai dishes, curries take center-stage and this yellow curry, is a mildly spicy delicious alternative to the ubiquitous red curry.

This curry can be made in advance, I prefer to, as I find it tastes even better. It has lots of sauce and can be re-heated very easily.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 10 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast (optional if vegan, see note)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can Thai yellow curry paste or the paste made with this recipe
  • 3 kefir lime leaves
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce (alternatively, 3 tbsp lime juice if vegan)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 can bamboo shoots
  • 1 medium sized Chinese eggplant, cut into thin long slices
  • 3 tbsp green peas
  • 1/2 medium red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 large red potato (or white) cut into small cubes
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced fine
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped roughly
  • 1/4 red pepper strips, cut into thin strips for garnish
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

Method

  • Slice chicken breast into thin, long slices ( 3 inch long, 1 inch wide and 1/4 inch thick)
  • Heat oil in a large frying pan or wok
  • Add in the onion, and stir fry for 2 minutes
  • Reduce heat to medium. Add in the yellow curry paste and stir fry for 1 minute
  • Add in the potato cubes and stir fry on low flame for 2 minutes
  • Add in half the can of the coconut milk, stir to dissolve the paste in the coconut milk and bring to a boil
  • Add the remaining cup of coconut milk, raise the heat to medium and let it cook for 10 minutes. You will start to see the oil from the coconut milk raise to the top
  • Tear the lime leaves to halves and add to the sauce. Cook for another 2 minutes, the sauce will thicken
  • Add chicken and egg plant into the sauce, turn heat to maximum, cook for a minute
  • Add 1/2 cup water and let the curry boil for a minute
  • Add fish sauce and sugar and turn heat to medium. Stir for 2 minutes
  • Add in bamboo shoots, red pepper strips and cook for 2 minutes
  • Add in the peas and 3/4 of the chopped cilantro
  • Stir fry for 2 minutes
  • Serve hot, topped with remaining cilantro leaves and a few red pepper strips with a side of rice

Thai yellow curry paste

Made from scratch, this recipe beats canned curry pastes. When time is not of the essence, prepare this paste and then make a delicious Thai curry. Serve it over rice and then enjoy the afternoon siesta!

Ingredients:

  • 14 dried thai chilis
  • 2 tbsp fresh turmeric root, grated (or 2 tsp turmeric powder)
  • 2 tbsp galangal or ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 cup cilantro stems
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 6 kefir lime leaves or 1 tsp grated lime
  • 6 large garlic cloves, diced fined
  • 4 small shallots peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper powder
  • 2 lemon grass stalks, bottom half only, chopped
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste, omit if vegetarian
  • 1 tsp oil, set aside for later

Method:

  • With a mortar and pestle or in a blender, mix all the ingredients (except oil)together. Grind until you have a smooth paste
  • In a frying pan, heat the oil and on low flame , slowly cook the paste for about 3 minutes
  • Use to make a Thai yellow curry

Chipotle Black Beans

To soak or not to soak? The kids want to take burritos to school and I don’t have time to soak beans. Sure I can make it without beans but beans add a lot more protein and nutrition. What to do? A no-soak option gives me delicious, smoky beans within an hour.

The options below include the method if you did soak your beans overnight.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry black beans
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp crushed chipotle pepper with sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, for garnish
  • Optional garnish: red onions, avocado

Method

  • Wash the beans and remove any debris
  • Put beans and 2 cups water in a pressure cooker-safe container and pressure cook on high for 30 mins and slow release for 15 minutes
  • If you did soak your beans for atleast 6 hours, pressure cook beans for 15 minutes
  • Garnish with cilantro

Mexican chicken casserole

How do I get easy, and healthy meals on the table on a weeknight? Mexican, Thai, Chinese are usually my go to dishes. This Mexican Chicken casserole dish is a multi-purpose one. I either roast a chicken on the weekend or buy one from Costco. Make this dish using rotisserie chicken and you can have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. And best part, use the left overs for burritos and quesadillas in the lunch box the next day!!

Servings: 4

Time including prep time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic, finely minced
  • 4 Cups chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1 cup green peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup red peppers, diced
  • 1 cup black beans (can or soak overnight and cook first)
  • 1 cup corn
  • 2.5 cups salsa (medium or spicy)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder ( optional)
  • 1.5 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese (or Mexican blend)

Garnish

  • 1 cup sour cream (I use Greek Yogurt as a healthier alternative)
  • Guacamole
  • Green onions

Method:

  • Heat Ninja Foodie on Sear function
  • Add oil
  • When hot, add in the onion and garlic
  • Stir fry for a minute
  • Add in the green peppers and red peppers, stir for another minute
  • Switch off Foodi
  • Add in the beans, chicken, corn, salsa, cumin and chili powder. Mix well
  • Sprinkle the cheese on the top of the mix
  • Close the lid of the Foodi and turn on the Bake function. Bake at 350F for 5 mins or until cheese is melted
  • When done, turn off the Foodi
  • Serve garnished with onions, sour cream and guacamole. Optionally, serve with a side of Mexican rice or in a tortilla as a burrito.

Healthy Chorizo Burrito Bowl

This Chorizo Burrito Bowl while packed with Mexican flavors, is a healthier than any version you’ll get in a restaurant but still just as delicious! Not only is it healthy, it’s a quick, delicious meal. Home-made chorizo takes center-stage on a bed of Cilantro Lime Rice along with tomato salsa, corn, black beans, lettuce, and so creamy guacamole. Pack it for lunch or get a quick dinner on the table, it’s a guaranteed favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup – Lettuce, shredded
  • 1 tbsp – lime juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup – Cooked Chorizo
  • 1 cup – Cooked Black Beans (see linked recipe for home cooked black beans or use canned – just rinse before using)
  • 2 cups – Cilantro Lime Rice
  • 1/4 cup – Queso Fresco cheese (I avoid it to keep it healthier, but use it for the kids)
  • 1/4 cup – Greek yogurt (replacing sour cream with yogurt makes it healthy while providing the same, delicious, creamy flavor
  • 1/4 cup – Pico de Gallo
  • 1/4 cup – Corn Salsa
  • 1/4 cup – Guacamole

In a rush: You can make it easier by using store bought chorizo (I have used V&V Supremo brand when in a pinch), and canned black beans – just rinse it out before using.

Method:

  1.  In a bowl, combine cabbage, lime juice, and salt . Combine and refrigerate until needed
  2. To serve:
    1. Layer each serving bowl with half a cup of the Cilantro Lime rice. Top rice with black beans, Chorizo, lettuce, cheese, yogurt, pico de gallo, corn salsa and guacamole, spreading it evenly across the bowls.
    2. Enjoy!

Note:

  1. If using store-bought chorizo, it will need to be cooked
    • Heat a pan and add 1 tbsp of oil
    • When oil is hot, add 1/2 a chopped onion. Fry onion for 2-3 minutes and then add chorizo.
    • Sauté for 7-8 minutes on a medium flame, stirring and breaking the meat up with the spatula, until it is fully cooked through and meat turns from bright red to reddish-brown

Black Beans

Tender, delicious black beans for just about any dish that calls for black beans like burritos, or a Burrito Bowl or Santa Fe Chicken. Yes, takes longer than beans from a can but so much better for you. Black Beans are full of protein, fiber, folate and magnesium. Cook up a pot and have them ready for soups, salads or just a side.

Servings: 6 cups when cooked

Time – if using a Pressure Cooker: 5 minutes prep time + 25 minutes cook time; if using stove top: 5 mins prep time + 1 hour cook time

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb dried black beans
  • 1 small red onion, diced fine
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 6 cups water

Method:

  • Rinse the black beans twice, throwing out the water after each rinse
  • Pressure Cooker Method:
    • Next day, in a pressure cooker, heat the olive oil
    • When oil is hot, add in the bay leaves. Once leaves splutter, add in the garlic and onions. Stir for a minute and then add in the cumin powder, chili powder, beans along with the water
    • Close the pressure cooker and close steam valve. Set to high pressure for 25 minutes total. Then allow the pot to naturally release steam for 15 minutes
    • To serve, stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Add salt and/or adjust seasonings, if needed
  • Stove Top Method:
    • In a large pan, heat the olive oil
    • When oil is hot, add in the bay leaves. Once leaves splutter, add in the garlic and onions. Stir for a minute and then add in the cumin powder, chili powder, beans along with the water
    • Bring the water to a boil then cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to low. Set timer for an hour and let the beans simmer. After an hour, check the beans – they should be plump and easy to press through with a fork. If still tough, continue to simmer in 5 minute increments until soft. If needed, add a little water.
    • When done, turn off the stove.
    • To serve, stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Add salt and/or adjust seasonings, if needed
  • Beans can be used right away in various recipes like a burrito bowl or Santa Fe Chicken stored in fridge for 5 days or in a well-sealed container in the freezer
Burrito Bowl
Santa Fe Chicken

Mexican pork stew

30 mins to get dinner on the table before ravenous kids burst through the door! All I had on hand was some pork in the fridge. A quick combination of pork, and beans in a tomato broth with some spices that are often used in Mexican recipes, resulted in a hearty stew that we enjoyed on a cold winter’s day.

Serves: 4 Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb Bone-in pork loin – cut into small cubes while keeping the bone – adds flavor. Alternatively, 1 lb pork shoulder, small cubes
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 15.5oz can white beans ( I had cannellini, you can use white kidney or pinto beans)
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt, if desired
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Method:

  • In Pressure cooker:
    • Put oil in pressure cooker
    • When hot, add the onions, garlic and jalapeno. Fry for 2-3 minutes until onion is soft and translucent, stirring occasionally
    • Add the chii powder, cumin powder, smoked paprika, oregano and black pepper powders and stir for a minute
    • Add in the pork pieces and stir to coat the meat with the spices
    • Add in the diced tomatoes, beans and broth
    • Close pressure cooker and pressure cook for 15 minutes
    • When done, let pressure off, remove kid and garnish with the lime juice and cilantro
    • Serve with crusty bread or Mexican Cilantro Lime rice
  • On stove top:
    • In a large, heavy bottom pot, heat oil
    • When hot, add the onions, garlic and jalapeno. Fry for 2-3 minutes until onion is soft and translucent, stirring occasionally
    • Turn flame to medium heat, add the chili powder, cumin powder, smoked paprika, oregano and black pepper powders and stir for a minute
    • Add in the pork pieces and stir to coat the meat with the spices
    • Add in the diced tomatoes, beans and broth
    • Stir, cover and cook on medium-low for about 25 minutes
    • When done, remove from heat and garnish with the lime juice and cilantro
    • Serve with crusty bread or Mexican Cilantro Lime rice