main dish

Barbacoa II

I've been making for quite some time in my crockpot until my husband made Rick Bayless' braised short ribs~then everything changed. I have taken that process & ingredients, merged it with mine & refined my Barbacoa II. I'm excited to share this recipe with you because we've never looked back. Not joking, this will be your favorite shredded beef filling for LIFE! 


4-6 lbs Chuck Roast, all sides seasoned with salt

Pork lard (bacon fat or oil)

1 medium onion in 1/2 slices

6 cloves garlic

1/2 bottle of beer

28 oz can whole tomatoes

1 lb roasted green chiles, sliced

Chili powder




Start with the lard in your dutch oven or deep pot...good for the stove top & oven.

Season your roast & sear it on all sides.

Set aside. Hello...They already look gorgeous. See, sear them well - until nice and golden brown. 

Add your onion & sauté until also golden brown & delicious. I have also been known to sneak more pork lard in at this step. When the onion is golden brown, add the 6 garlic cloves (chopped - or through your garlic press). Give the garlic 30 sec in the hot pot til you can smell it, but not too long or it will burn & become bitter. 

Ah, next add 1/2 of a beer & the can of tomatoes. You'll bring this to a simmer..

Chop your green chiles..If you're not familiar with roasting a pound of green chiles, you could use a canned. We stock up in the fall & freeze 1 lb bags. This year we froze 9 bushels which is roughly 72 lbs.

 That's another story for another day.

As the roasts are resting, I rub them down with chili powder & cumin. There's no measurement here. Just go for it & coat them on all sides. 

Then tuck those darlings back into your pot. 

Place in a 300 degree oven for 6 hrs. Check it at 4 hours & turn the roasts at some mid point. 

If you don't have 6 hrs, kick it up to 325 for 4. No sweat. But, the longer the better! 

In the last hour, shred the meat & lower the oven temp to 170 to hold until your ready to eat. 

OMG. No, for real. This will be your favorite barbacoa ever. Not even kidding. 

Prepare a bowl of chopped white onion (rinsed in cold water) & cilantro...along with lime wedges. This fresh topping brightens the taco & takes it to the next level.

Serve with whatever else you can pull together! 

Check out my other recipes to accompany: tortillas, beans, rice...

ENJOY and share your pics with me when you make it!

xo Momma xo

Stuffed Shells

Oooh baby. This is one of my favorite dishes, ever. 
4 oz. Pancetta (thinly sliced from deli)
1/2 med. white onion (diced)
2 28 oz can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 lg garlic clove
pinch of pepper flakes
2 T Olive Oil

Add the crushed tomatoes
Meanwhile, boil shells

Cheese mixture: 
1 Egg, beaten
16 oz Ricotta
1/2 C grated Parmesan
small handful of shredded Mozzerella
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
pinch of Kosher salt & a few twists of fresh cracked pepper
Stuff this little babies
Season sauce w/ salt before topping
Top 'Em w/ sauce & cheese & place in 350º oven

Stuffed Sopapillas w/ Steak & Potato

Oh auntie...she could have a waiting room filled with people waiting for her delicious, wonderful food. I learn so much from her & had a blast capturing her step by steps. I think it was exactly a year ago that I took the kids to her house on a Saturday, while I would be rehearsing & having church. She sent me away with two of these stuffed Sopapillas in foil & I've wanted them ever since. Now I need to try to make them myself & I think you should too.

You've got to start with tortilla dough...(click HERE for measurements)...and the filling...for now, refer to my beef & potato filling. Auntie's was steak, but I missed that part.

Here it goes!!!

Prepare the dough on the tortilla instructions until you're at this step.

cover them & keep them warm & moist

set filling aside to be coolish as you add it to the dough
make a disc out of the ball of dough
Roll starting in the middle of the disc, lightly up.
Turn a 6th, lightly roll up, turn a 6th, lightly roll up etc.
Place filling in the center
Fold over bottom & top
Fold over sides
Place seem side down
Place darlings under a towel to stay warm & moist
Have family off to the side playing Light Sabers
Place in oil seem side down
Whoops. Flipped to early & beginning to come apart.
Totally gonna taste good anyway, You know it!
Good assembly line going...
That's green chile in the back. Going on top at the finish.
Yes. The pile is building.
Sophia (age 4) ran by, smashed this one & ran off.
Still gonna be delish.
Happy Birthday Art!
The rest of the party...
there's AUNTIE!
 My beautiful sis-in-law Jen..
Art (Bompa) & Jackson!
Best part...Phia painting nails. Like everyone's nails...
...including Micah's.
"ooooh! Powish!"
Jen's amazing carrot cake..
Happy Birthday to YOU!

Grilled Quesadillas w/ shrimp, sweet corn & Jalapeño Bobby Flay

Jalapeño Pesto
6 jalapeño chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped [warning: it's mega hot - use less if necessary]
2 c. fresh cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T. pine nuts
½ c. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper




Combine the jalapeños, cilantro, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and process until smooth.  With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil and blend until emulsified.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.


3 ears corn (or 3 c. corn kernels)
12  6 inch corn tortillas
2 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 c. grated white cheddar cheese
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced into rounds
2 T. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
16 shrimp, shelled and deveined


Brush shrimp w/ olive oil, salt and pepper, & fry in non-stick skillet just until pink.
Sauté the sweet onion slices until softened.
Mix onions, corn, cheeses and thyme.
Divide evenly to top 8 tortillas.
Stack one on top of another and top with remaining 4 tortillas.
Grill both sides in hot non-stick skillet until cheeses are melted & tortillas are browned and crisp.
Cut into quarters.
Top each quarter with 1 T. jalapeno pesto and a grilled shrimp. A Bobby Flay recipe.

Gnocchi w/ Shrimp in Tomato-Wine Sauce

The first time I had gnocchi was at a friend's house for homecoming my senior year of high school. Our little group of friends loved going there for dinner. His mom & dad would prepare a feast for all of us, light candles & create the most special dinners for us. We loved  the time & energy they would put into the food & atmosphere. From a parenting standpoint, how awesome is that? I want to create an atmosphere for my kids & their friends to want to hang out. Momma Perez will be handing their little friends hot tortillas. :) So..back to homecoming. This was the first time I had Gnocchi...those soft, doughy dumplings are right up my alley. 

[I'm wild about carbs, might die without them]

Since then I've ordered them at restaurants but I've always wanted to make them & tonight was the perfect time. We were out of food, but had these ingredients & of course, all I ever want & think of is Mexican...So I was wondering around the kitchen thinking about what we did have & this delicious dish was created.  At one point I thought it was a disaster & I actually felt awkward & like Curious George making Gnocchi, but the dough is so forgiving. I almost gave up in the middle, but they turned out great. Don't be discouraged if you feel like a total wreck the first time you make these little darlings. Whenever I get a wild hair for something, I go to: I found the Gnocchi instructions here.

2 Potatoes
2 Cups Flour
1 Egg (beaten)
Wash & peel 2 potatoes
Cut potatoes in 1/2, long ways.
Then into 6's.


Start with the potatoes in cold, salted water
Bring it to a boil & cook for 15 minutes or until fork-tender & soft enough to mash



Mash the potatoes
Add 1 Cup of mashed potatoes with the egg & flour
Kneed on well floured surface
Take small sections & roll into long, skinny, "snakes"


Keep rolling, gotta get it skinnier..



Cut "snake" into 1/2, then 1/4's.



Then the 1/4's into 1/3's...


I'm not sure what I was doing here..but I always see chefs roll the gnocchi on the fork, so I tried something like it
Drop them into well-salted, boiling water & cook until the little dumplings float.


Remove from the pot & place directly onto the serving plate or bowl & top it with any sauce. I have included my quick tomato-wine sauce w/ shrimp below...



Tomato in White Wine Sauce: 
1. Dice 1/4 White onion in olive oil, add 1 clove garlic & cook for 30 seconds.
2. Pour 1/3 C white wine to the cooked onion & garlic. Bring it to a boil & cook the alcohol out of the wine.
3. Add 1 14oz can of diced tomatoes & 5 large basil leaves, rolled & cut into thin chiffonades. 4. Simmer 30+ minutes. Just minutes before eating, add shrimp to the pan. Add a splash of stock, maybe another splash of wine...season with salt.
Serve w/: Crusty bread, the wine you cooked with & double the sauce if you want enough to soak it up with the yummy bread or of course for left overs.