Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Easy BBQ Nachos

When you make pulled pork BBQ, you usually make a lot.    A whole crock pot full, for instance.    It's a great meal for a party or a group.    

If you're looking for a way to get that BBQ in your mouth without using a bun, try making nachos.    It couldn't be any easier and when you make nachos at home you get only the toppings you want, the way you want them.   

Nachos are personal.   Getting everyone to agree on the same toppings is a challenge.    Olives (eww!). Sour Cream (yay!).   Guac (whatev).    When you make them at home, everyone (or just you) can pick what they want.

For these nachos, I used both plain tortilla chips and the Doritos Jacked - Chipotle BBQ flavored.    My pulled pork had Sweet Baby Ray's Raspberry Chipotle sauce.     I topped them with some of the shredded Mexican/Taco blend cheese from the store and drizzled a little more sauce on top.   Good to go!

What You Need

Your favorite chips
Your favorite bbq meat
Your favorite toppings (cheese, sour cream, sauce, onions, etc - you are only limited by your creativity)

What You Do

If your bbq meat is still hot, great.   If not, you'll want to warm it up in the microwave.

Preheat oven to 350.

Line a cookie sheet with either foil or a silicone baking mat.      Make a single layer of chips on the cookie sheet.   Top your chips with bbq meat and cheese (and any other toppings that you want to heat up).

Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cheese melts.     Pull out of the oven, put on plates and add any additional toppings.


And now for a little love from Maui.     Saturday February 15 was World Whale Day.   I went to Kihei to see the parade and go to the festival.    There is a sculpture of a whale at Kalama Park....to celebrate the occasion, it had a big whale sized lei on.   

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lemon Orzo

Now for something different and shocking:

A recipe that is NOT dessert.    Never fear, I also need to share the awesome first attempt in baking with coconut oil, but first.   Lemon Orzo.     

I've also started to take advantage of all the beautiful flowers that are growing near the house to include them in the photos.    I don't know what this pink one is called, but it's growing on a big tree right off my lanai.  

What You Need

6 cups of chicken broth (I used bouillon cubes)
1 (16oz) box of uncooked orzo
1/4 cup butter/margarine
the zest of two large lemons
the juice of one large lemon (and if you like lemon flavor a lot - add the juice of the second one...you zested it already)
1 cup refrigerated shredded Parmesan cheese
ground pepper to taste 

What You Do

Bring the bouillon to boil in a large covered pan/pot.    Stir in the orzo and cook uncovered 9-11 minutes until tender.    Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.   Drain (I didn't have much to drain....thirst orzo loved that broth).

Melt the butter/margarine in the same pan you used to cook the orzo.   Add the cooked orzo back into the pan along with the lemon zest, lemon juice and the cheese.    Stir gently until the cheese just melts.   Dig in and enjoy while hot.

Greetings from Maui
As you may know, I moved to Hawaii last fall in a transfer and promotion with work.   I enjoy exploring a new place and culture and jumping head first into new experiences.    So let's share some Maui love, shall we?

This honu (sea turtle) was swimming in Napili Bay last weekend.    
Who can resist a honu?  Not this girl.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

White Chocolate Sweet and Salty Snack Mix

A week and a half ago, this was the snack mix of victory.  
Of champions.  
Of Super Bowl victors.    
As you probably know, that's not exactly how it went down.    This is still the spirited orange and blue snack mix of my "home" team (3300 miles away) as well as my alma mater (4164 miles away).   
Fear not.   I didn't waste any M&Ms.    All the colors were represented, representing peace and harmony, just like the Olympics.    I just pulled some of the orange and blue aside for this special bowl. 
This recipe is super easy, made in the microwave and a giant bowl.  No special skills required.   Perfect for your snacking pleasure.
What You Need
10 cups of the Chex type cereal of choice (corn, wheat, rice, your choice)
3 cups mini pretzels
3 cups Fritos
12.6 oz bag of plain M&Ms
2 (11 or 12oz) bags of white baking chips
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
What You Do
Combine cereal, pretzels, Fritos, and M&Ms in a large bowl.    Lay out wax paper or silicone baking mats on your counter.
In a smaller microwave safe bowl combine white baking chips and the oil.    In the microwave heat the chips and oil on medium heat for 2 minutes (stir after 1 minute) - do NOT over heat.    Stir until white chocolate is smooth.
Slowly pour chocolate over cereal mix, tossing with a spoon/spatula so that every piece is covered with chocolate.     Pour coated snack  mix  out onto the wax paper and smooth out to one layer.     Wait until it cools and then break it into pieces and store in an airtight container.
In addition to the Super Bowl last week, it was also the celebration of Chinese New Year.     Last Friday I went to the celebration on Front Street in Lahaina.     The dragons dance and then you "feed" them (red envelopes of money) for good luck in the new year.    First time ever celebrating the Chinese New Year!

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