SRC: Crockpot Barbacoa

Try this easy crockpot barbacoa for your next taco night! It sure tastes great.šŸ™‚

Crockpot Barbacoa - an easy way to fancy up your next taco night! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

It was a little surprising that I picked this recipe for this month’s edition of the Secret Recipe Club. Sure, I love Mexican food. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has ever met me. The surprising part is that I don’t think I’ve ever had barbacoa, except in one or two bite tastes from my husband’s Chipotle burrito. What can I say? Pork or chicken or even–GASP–vegetarian > beef almost allll of the time in my life. But when I was selecting a recipe to make this month from Sashi’s blog, Get off the Couch and Cook, I was feeling like pulling my crockpot out of hibernation. Sashi has tons of other great recipes on her blog, but I must have been in a savory mood when perusing her blog because everything I seriously considered making was a dinner recipe! Hoisin Pulled Pork, Bean and Potato Tacos, Slow Cooked Pulled Pork… they all sounded amazing, as did the barbacoa. And honestly, I planned to make Sashi’s pulled pork, but the grocery store foiled me! There was nary a big hunk ‘o pork in sight, so beef it was.šŸ™‚

Crockpot Barbacoa - an easy way to fancy up your next taco night! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

I have to admit, that when reading SRC posts I don’t always click over to the original recipe but if you have a sense of humor, you should definitely read Sashi’s barbacoa post. It is hilarious! Especially the part about how she likes her meat… err, men.šŸ˜‰ I think Sashi and I would get along well, especially since her husband sounds a lot like mine–he even contributes to her blog, OTT style, and his nickname on the blog is Mr. Onion-Hater! Ben hates onions too, though I think his tolerance of them is a wee bit higher. She doesn’t live all that far away, relatively, as I’m in Nashville and she’s in the Atlanta area. Fun times!

Crockpot Barbacoa - an easy way to fancy up your next taco night! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

But anyway, back to the beef! This crockpot barbacoa isn’t exactly authentic since it’s cooked indoors in the crockpot [hence the name] instead of over an open fire, but it sure is easy and tasty! The only changes I made to Sashi’s original recipe was to reduce the amount of spice with the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I used two to her four, and that was plenty spicy for me. No burn but enough heat. This was a great meal to make on a lazy Saturday to enjoy during a football game. True to Chipotle, I served our barbacoa in soft tortillas with cilantro lime rice, guac, and loads of toppings. I know this will be a repeat meal at our house, and we’ll be devouring the leftovers for dayyys! Hope you try this out too!šŸ™‚

Crockpot Barbacoa - an easy way to fancy up your next taco night! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

one year ago: Pumpkin Bagels
two years ago: Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting
three years ago: Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chili Sour Cream SauceĀ 
four years ago: Pumpkin Brownies
five years ago: Cran-Tan-Oat Scones

Crockpot Barbacoa - an easy way to fancy up your next taco night! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

Crockpot Barbacoa

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 8 hours
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from Get off the Couch and Cook

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 pound beef chuck roast
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup lime juice [about 2 limes]
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • tortillas, for serving
  • rice, for serving [stir in some lime juice, chopped cilantro, butter, and a little garlic after the rice is cooked for a cilantro lime rice knockoff]
  • lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole/avocados, shredded cheese, sour cream, etc. for topping as desired

Directions:

Place the beef chuck roast in the bottom of a large crockpot. Pour chicken broth, lime juice, and apple cider vinegar over beef. Spread chipotle peppers and garlic on beef, then sprinkle with oregano, cumin, cloves, and freshly ground black pepper. Use the back of a spoon to rub seasoning into meat, then cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.

When beef is fully cooked, remove from crockpot and place on a large rimmed baking sheet or dish. Trim fat as necessary, then shred with two forks. Return meat back to crockpot and stir to redistribute the juices.

Serve barbacoa in tortillas with rice and other desired toppings. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out other recipes from the SRC this week here:

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches

A hot vegetarian sandwichĀ thatĀ is more flavorful than you ever could imagine!Ā 

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches | thepajamachef.com #summer #meatless #recipe

Eggplant… in a sandwich? Umm, is that for serious? That was Ben’s reaction, pretty much verbatim when I told him I was making these sandwiches with–you guessed it–a cache of farmer’s market goodies. Eggplant, bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, garlic, oregano, basil cooked in a rich tomato sauce. The result is an intensely flavorful sauce that is absolutely incredible on a good, thick baguette with some melty cheese. Mmmm! And oh? If you encounter any doubters when making this recipe, the smell alone should be enough to sway them.šŸ™‚

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches | thepajamachef.com #summer #meatless #recipe

Truthfully I hadn’t ever heard of eggplant caponata before finding this recipe, but it sounded kind of Italian sooo I put my librarian hat on and found out it’s a traditional Sicilian dish. It’s always made with eggplant and usually is made with a sweet and sour sauce seasoned with vinegar and olives or capers. You can serve the caponata on bread like I did, or over pasta. This made aĀ huge batch so I served some sandwich-style, more over pasta, and some actually over rice. We eat a lot of rice in this house so it was a natural choice.

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches | thepajamachef.com #summer #meatless #recipe

I’m not really the meatball sub type, but honestly, this reminded me of a vegetarian meatball sub. It’s hearty and tomato-y, with lots of great flavors and a hearty texture. This is definitely a great meatless dish to try if you like eggplant, or even if you want to introduce it to your family. I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed this saucy goodness [and#thatmeltycheese] for dinner for dayyys on end. I know you’llā¤ it too!

one year ago: Baked Cauli-Tots
two years ago: Quinoa Black Bean Burritos with Southwest Sauce
three years ago: Summery Squash and Chicken Lasagna
four years ago: Watermelon Coolers
five years ago: Tomato Pie

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 40 minutes
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from The Sweets Life

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed – aboutĀ 4 cups
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 ouncesĀ white mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoonĀ dried oregano
  • baguette, sliced into small pieces, to serve
  • shredded mozzarella, to serve
  • fresh basil, to serve

Directions:

Heat oil inĀ a large pot set over medium heat. When hot, add eggplant, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 10-12 minutes, until veggies are soft.

Stir in olives, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, sugar, and oregano. Taste and season again as desired. Reduce heat to low, then cover and cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, adding a little water [1-2 tablespoons] if mixture gets too thick or sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Allow caponata to cool for about 20 minutes, then spoon onto slices of baguette, top with mozzarella, and broil until cheese melts. Top with basil and serve immediately. Caponata also freezes well, or can be served over rice or pasta.

Costa Rican Rice and Beans with Fried Eggs

Take an easy, frugal, staple meal up a notch with some new seasonings and a couple fried eggs. Great for dinner, lunch, OR breakfast!

Costa Rican Rice and Beans with Fried Eggs | thepajamachef.comBen and I eat rice and beans quite a bit. Usually white rice and black beans. Sometimes with a bit of butter, taco seasoning, salsa, veggies, and/or cheese. The combo varies quite a bit. It’s a great dinner that’s cheap, healthy, and fast. Win win win! Sometimes I like to mix it up though, so I’m always on the look out for new variations of this great meal. It seems every culture has their take on this meal… this is Costa Rica’s. I’ve never been there [but would love to go!] so I don’t know how authentic it is… but it is sure delicious!

Costa Rican Rice and Beans with Fried Eggs | thepajamachef.comWhat sets this version of beans and rice apart from the competition is two-fold.

  1. Instead of our usual “burrito bowl” style beans and rice mixture, after all the ingredients are prepped, everything cooks together on the stove for a little bit. This maximizes the flavor… namely the tomato-y sauce with cumin, garlic, and Worchestershire sauce [props to you if you have the authentic Salsa Lizano!]. It is so good, you guys!! This sauce makes the rice and bean mixture almost creamy, and very very flavorful.
  2. The fried egg on top. Ohhh man. Runny yolks + a creamy-esque mixture = heaven!

You’ve gotta try this! SO good. It’s not spicy or anything… just good, rich flavors. Worth the extra work for sure!

one year ago: Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches
two years ago: Kale Pesto Pasta
three years ago: Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Crostini
four years ago: Brown Sugar Fruit Dip
five years ago: Butterscotch and Chocolate Yellow Cake

Costa Rican Rice and Beans with Fried Eggs

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40 minutes
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from Fine Cooking

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced [about 1 cup]
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced [about 1/2 cup]
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons Salsa Lizano; more to taste [or 3 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce + a dash of molasses if you can’t find Salsa Lizano]
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large eggs [2 per person]
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

Prepare rice according to package directions. You can use water or chicken/vegetable broth for the liquid, whatever you prefer. Keep covered after it is cooked.

While rice is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper, and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in cumin and cook another 30 seconds or so. Stir in tomato sauce, mixing until well incorporated. Add black beans and 1 cup of water or broth, stirring until combined. Reduce heat to medium-low then simmer until most of the liquid is reduced, about 4-5 minutes. Fold in rice and mix well, then add Salsa Lizano [or Worchestershire/molasses combo], and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Cover and reduce heat to low.

Heat another skillet over medium high heat. Grease with cooking spray, then fry eggs to desired doneness. I like mine over medium, so I crack the eggs in the hot pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook about 3-4 minutes until whites are set, and the edges of the yolks are just beginning to set.

To serve, place a spoonful of rice and beans mixture on a plate or bowl and top with two fried eggs. Sprinkle with cilantro and enjoy!

Indian-Style Chicken Curry with Chickpeas and Raisins over Spiced Couscous #bookclubcookbookCC

Fragrant, rich chicken and chickpea curry incorporates great flavors to make an amazing dish! Serve it over spiced couscous for a special treat.Ā 

Indian-Style Chicken Curry with Chickpeas and Raisins over Spiced Couscous | thepajamachef.com #thebookclubcookbookCC

Happy Friday! I joined a new blogging group… the Book Club Cookbook Cooking Crew. And guess what! YOU can join us. CamillaĀ of Culinary Adventures with CamillaĀ organized a group of bloggers to read through some great books and make some great recipes inspired by them. We are usingĀ The Book Club Cookbook as our guide and inspiration… you can read more about the club on her blog, but here’s the gist. Each month, one blogger serves as hostess to choose a book and a recipe from the cookbook. From there, we can make the chosen recipes OR draw inspiration from the selected book to create a recipe. Camilla is our July hostess and she chose Jhumpa Lahir’sĀ Interpreter of Maladies for our book of the month, and invited us to make curry and lassis with her. At the end of the month, you can win a copy of the cookbook so you can follow along! Go to Camilla’s blog to enter now!šŸ™‚

On with the recipe though! Have you ever heard ofĀ Jhumpa Lahir’sĀ Interpreter of Maladies? I had not, and was surprised when I picked up a copy at my local library. It’s actually a collection of short stories centering on the themes of family, home, marriage, belonging, and more. Many take place in America, but I thought some of the most interesting stories were set in India. You don’t think about adaptations to new life in your own country… this book is just lovely! The first and last stories were my favorites, but they are all good. Have you read this book before? If not, you should pick it up! I highly recommend it.

Food is an integral part to all of the stories, and nearly each one mentioned curry! An Indian classic for sure, with as many variations as there are people. One of the recipes Camilla chose for us to make this month was a hard boiled egg curry. It sounds SO interesting. But Ben hates hard boiled eggs with a passion, so that’s a no go for us [and I don’t think I could eat a whole batch alone]. Instead, chicken curry it is!

Indian-Style Chicken Curry with Chickpeas and Raisins over Spiced Couscous | thepajamachef.com #thebookclubcookbookCC

This is one of my very favorite curry recipes, and actually is the one thatĀ made me love Indian food! Ben and I have made this recipe a handful time over the past few years… it is absolutely delightful each time! Every bite is rich and flavorful, and your kitchen will smell absolutely wonderful while you’re cooking.Ā Ginger! Garlic! Garam masala! Mmm, mmm, mmm. The tomato and coconut based curry sauce is fabulous over the chicken and chickpeas and plump, juicy raisins… and the flavors are magnified since it’s not just served over regular ‘ole rice, but instead over a spiced couscous that is just bursting withĀ more raisins and rich spices. Yes, it’s a lengthy recipe with quite a few ingredients… BUT it is oh-so-good. A great dish for company, a great dish to make on a relaxing night at home. It’s just as fantastic as anything you could get at a restaurant, but easy to make at home with accessible ingredients too. Make it this weekend!šŸ™‚ Enjoy!

Indian Spiced Peas | thepajamachef.com

And oh! If you’re looking for an easy side dish to serve with this, try these easy Indian-spiced peas. No real recipe… just mix together a teaspoon or two of coconut oil, a 10 ounce bag of frozen peas, and a teaspoon each of curry powder and garam masala in a skillet. Cook over lowĀ heat until hot, then mix in a about a 1/4 cup of coconut flakes. Ahhhmazing! Next time I might toast the coconut to make it even better. Yum!

one year ago:Ā Ginger Ice Cream
two years ago: Mom’s Potato Salad

three years ago: Mediterranean Feta Dip
four years ago: Lemon Crinkle Cookies
five years ago: Big Thumbs Up Bite Size Soft Pretzels –> yes! my blog is FIVE!šŸ™‚

Indian-Style Chicken Curry with Chickpeas and Raisins over Spiced Couscous

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 60 minutes
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from Jenna’s Everything BlogĀ – go to either post for great step by step photos if that’s your thing!

Ingredients:

for curry

  • 2 tablespoons curry powder [I used a sweet curry powder]
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 serrano chili, minced – remove seeds to reduce heat… or not, your call
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 – 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts [I’ve also used chicken thighs]
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

for couscous

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend [I forget what size it is…about 18 or 20 ounces I think] — can also substitute 1 pound Israeli couscous plus a couple tablespoons quinoa and orzo — or an equivalent amount of rice [I’ve made it all three ways!!]

Directions:

Set a small skillet over medium heat. Pour in curry powder and garam masala, then stir constantly for about 1-2 minutes to toast spices, until fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.

In a Dutch oven or other large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium high heat. When hot, add onions and season with salt. Stirring occasionally, cook for about 15 minutes until onions are browned and caramelized. If you have you more time, cook the onions on medium-low heat for a longer amount of time to caramelize them more. But either way works!

After onions are cooked to your liking, add garlic, ginger, and chili pepper. Stir and cook for about a minute, then add in toasted spices and tomato paste. Pour in the chicken broth and crushed tomatoes, stirring to mix everything up. Add chickpeas, chicken, and raisins. Make sure the chicken is submerged as much as possible. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until chicken is just about done.

Meanwhile, prepare couscous while chicken is cooking.

In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until soft. Stir in garam masala, cooking for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add chicken broth, butter, and raisins. Stir and bring to a boil. Add couscous [or other grain], bring to a boil again, and cook for about 10-15 minutes until fully cooked. Liquid should be absorbed but exact time depends on what grains you use. Season to taste with salt or additional garam masala then set aside to serve with curry.

When chicken is fully cooked, remove to cutting board and chop it up into bite-sized pieces. If the chicken isn’t fully cooked, it will finish cooking in the sauce.

Return chicken to pot, then stir in coconut milk and peas [if using]. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add in half of the cilantro.

Serve curry over couscous, with additional cilantro on top. Enjoy!

SRC: Dijon Balsamic Orzo Salad

This orzo pasta salad is filled with all of my favorite flavors… dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, basil, and garlic. SimpleĀ and sophisticated, this dish can fill all your summer party needs!

Dijon Balsamic Orzo Salad | thepajamachef.com | #summer #tomatoes #salad #secretrecipeclub #healthy

Ben and I moved to a new house this spring. Though we’re still in Nashville, we are on the other side of town, and as such, have had to get used to new everything. New grocery stores, new commutes, new running paths(!!!), new neighbors… and a new farmer’s market. Our local market is only a couple years old, and as such, is still pretty small. BUT size does not equal quality. Quality > quantity, ya know? Last weekend at the market, I couldn’t resist ALL the lovely tomatoes that have started to pop up. They’re juicy and sweet and oh-s0-pretty. And what better dish to celebrate summer tomatoes than a pasta salad?

Dijon Balsamic Orzo Salad | thepajamachef.com | #summer #tomatoes #salad #secretrecipeclub #healthy

This orzo and tomato pastaĀ salad comes together, as its name implies, with a fantastic dijon-balsamic dressing. It’s funny, I found this recipe on Heather’s blog, Join Us, Pull Up a Chair. She’s my Secret Recipe Club assignment for the month of July… and her family didn’t care for the salad very much due to the tanginess of the dressing. But I made it anyway. HA! I read the recipeĀ beforeĀ the blog post so that explains it. And the dressing was tangy, for sure. I adjusted the proportions a little but the balsamic and dijon flavors are pretty prominent and strong.Ā If the dressing is too tangy for your taste, add more extra virgin olive oil, or add some honey. Ben and I thought it was perfect, a great pairing with the sweet tomatoes and fresh basil. MMM!

Dijon Balsamic Orzo Salad | thepajamachef.com | #summer #tomatoes #salad #secretrecipeclub #healthy

One of the reasons I love participating in the SRC is getting to check out the blogs of other foodies. There’s always SO many good recipes to choose from. Heather started her blog several years ago as way to organize all her recipes because they were taking over her office. I can relate to that! Some of the other recipes I found on her blog that I can’t wait to try include snickerdoodle biscotti, Kung Pao chickpeas, cranberry hootiecreeks [what anĀ awesome name for a cookie!], and cranberry vanilla shortbread cookies. If any of those recipes sound up your alley, be sure to check out Heather’s blog! I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do. And don’t forget to make this dijon balsamic orzo salad, stat! Enjoy!

one year ago:Ā Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and Edamame
two years ago: Ginger Banana Waffles
three years ago: Minty Asian Slaw
four years ago: Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Dijon Balsamic Orzo Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print

slightly adapted from Join Us, Pull Up a Chair

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces orzo pasta [another small shape would work too]
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 – 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced [if you really like garlic… if not, use 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder]
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into a chiffonade

Directions:

Cook orzo according to package directions. While orzo is cooking, toss tomatoes and chickpeas together in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, oregano, and garlic. When pasta is cooked, drain and then place in bowl with the tomatoes. Stir together, then pour dressing and toss to coat. Season with pepper to taste, then stir in basil or use as a garnish.

If the dressing is too tangy for your taste, add more extra virgin olive oil, or add some honey.

Salad tastes great warm, at room temperature, or cold. Also, it doubles easily! Add other veggies or some cheese if desired.

Click below for more recipes from this month’s edition of the Secret Recipe Club!