Soft Beer Pretzels

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle (12 oz.) amber beer or nonalcoholic beer (we used Dos Equis amber beer)
  • 1 pkg. (¼ oz.) active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt (we used table salt)
  • 4 to 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • Topping
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 Tbsp. water
    • Coarse salt (we used kosher salt)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Pour the beer into a small saucepan, heating it to 110-115 degrees. Once the beer is in that temperature range, take the saucepan off the heat and immediately stir in the yeast, continuing to stir until all of the yeast has dissolved. Add the butter, sugar, 1 ½ tsp. salt, yeast mixture and 3 cups of flour to a large mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer set to medium speed to blend these ingredients together just until smooth. Mix in just enough of the leftover flour to create a soft dough (the dough will be sticky as well).
  2.  Grease* a large mixing bowl, setting it aside for now. Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a floured surface where you’ll knead it for 6-8 minutes or until it becomes soft and elastic. Place the dough in the bowl you greased earlier, flipping the dough over once so the top is greased. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place where the dough can double in size, this will take about an hour to achieve (we put the bowl on the stovetop).
  3. Take the plastic wrap off the bowl and punch the dough down. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, dividing it into 8 portions and shaping each portion in a ball. Roll each portion into a 24-inch rope. Now curve the ends of the rope to form a circle, twisting the ends once and laying them over opposite sides of the circle, pinching the ends to seal.
  4. Pour the water and baking soda into a Dutch oven (the recipe doesn’t say to but we stirred the mixture together), turning the heat up high enough for the water to boil. Place 2 pretzels into the water at the same time for 30 seconds, taking them out using a slotted spoon and placing them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  5. Place the pretzels two inches apart on a greased* baking sheet (we lined our baking sheet with aluminum foil and then greased the foil). Add the egg yolk and water to a bowl, whisking to combine. Brush the yolk mixture over the pretzels, sprinkling salt onto the pretzel afterwards. Bake the pretzels for 10-12 minutes or until they look golden brown. Once you take the sheet out of the oven, take the pretzels off the sheet and place them on a wire rack to finish cooling off.

*We used unsalted butter to grease.

This took a bit of work to make but it was all worth it once we took our first bite ! The pretzel has a little bit of chew to it and you can taste the yeast in the dough. We really enjoyed eating this with some nacho cheese but it’d probably taste just as good being served with mustard.

This recipe came from Taste of Home.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Dos Equis or Taste of Home.

Take care everybody !

Pork Tacos With Pineapple-Serrano Salsa

Ingredients

  • For the pork:
    • 1 (4-pound) pork shoulder
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil (we used extra-virgin olive oil)
    • 3 tablespoons paprika (we used smoked paprika)
    • 1 tablespoon ground cayenne
    • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
    • 1 tablespoon onion powder
    • Salt and pepper to taste (we didn’t know what amount to go with so we used 1 tablespoon each of table salt and freshly ground black pepper)
    • ¾ cup chicken stock
    • ¾ cup pineapple juice
    • Warmed corn tortilla taco shells for serving
    • Hot sauce for serving (we used Taco Bell’s Fire Sauce)
  • For the salsa:
    • 1 ½ cups finely chopped pineapple
    • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
    • 2 serranos, finely chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
    • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • Salt and pepper to taste (we used kosher salt)

Directions

  1. Trim any excess fat off the pork before cutting it into big 2- to 3-inch cubes.
  2. Place the cubed pork in a large mixing bowl. Pour the olive oil into the bowl as well as adding in the paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Toss to ensure that the cubed pork is evenly coated in the oil and spices.
  3. Take a stockpot out (we used a Dutch oven) and set the heat to medium on the stovetop. Once it’s hot, add the pork into the stockpot, searing on all sides until it looks nicely browned (we seared our pork in 3 separate batches so all of the pork could have a chance at getting a good sear).
  4. Pour the chicken stock and pineapple juice in, stirring to mix afterwards. Put the lid on the stockpot and cook on low so it can simmer for 4 hours or until the pork is easily pulled apart. Drain any excess liquid and shed the pork using two forks.
  5. Make the salsa simply by taking a large bowl and adding all the salsa ingredients into it, stirring to combine.
  6. Place the shredded pork in the warmed tortillas and top with scoops of the salsa and some dashes of the hot sauce.

We fell in love with this dish. The pork was nice and tender and had so much flavor. The only problem we had with it really was that it was a little salty so next time we fix this (and there’s definitely going to be a next time) we’ll try adding just 2 teaspoons of salt. The pineapple salsa, that was addictive ! You definitely get the heat in this but despite the spiciness you can still get a nice sweetness from the pineapple and it just becomes this sweet and spicy combo that you want to put on as many things as possible ! The taco’s great with or without the hot sauce but if you choose to use it then you’ll get that much more flavor and a little bit more heat.

We got this recipe from Chile Pepper magazine.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Taco Bell or Chile Pepper magazine.

Take care everybody !

Margarita Pops

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice (They say it’s supposed to only take 2 to 3 limes but those must have been some big limes ! It took us roughly 8 limes to get that much lime juice.)
  • ½ cup tequila (we used silver tequila)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Triple Sec or orange liqueur (we used triple sec)
  • 8 (2-ounce) plastic or paper cups or shot glasses (we used 3-ounce paper cups)
  • 8 pop sticks
  • Coarse salt (we used kosher salt)

Directions

  1. Take a small saucepan out and mix together in it the water, lime juice, tequila, sugar and Triple sec. Bring he mixture to a boil. Let it boil for 1 minute or until the sugar has dissolved, stirring constantly during that time (our sugar dissolved before it came to a boil). Once the sugar’s dissolved, take the saucepan off the heat and let it cool until it gets down to room temperature.
  2. Pour the mixture into the cups*, covering the top of each cup with a small piece of aluminum foil. Place them in the freezer for 2 hours.
  3. Put the pop sticks into the cups through the center of the foil, putting them back in the freezer for 3 hours or until firm.
  4. Take the foil off the cups, taking the pops out of the cups by gently twisting them until they come out or simply peeling away the paper cups.
  5. Take a small plate out and spread the coarse salt out on it. Roll the pops in the coarse salt. You can either eat them right away or put them back in plastic cups and return them to the freezer until you are ready to eat them.

*We don’t know what we could’ve done differently but we had enough mixture to fill 10 cups.

This is a wonderful treat to enjoy on a hot day. You can really taste the classic flavors of a margarita in this.

Recipe source unknown.

Take care everybody !

Margarita Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • Cupcakes
    • 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist lemon cake mix (we used Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme Deliciously Moist Cake Mix)
    • ½ cup water
    • ½ cup gold tequila or water (we used gold tequila)
    • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 box (4-serving size) lime-flavored gelatin (we used a 3 oz. package of Great Value lime gelatin)
  • Frosting
    • 2 containers Betty Crocker Whipped fluffy white frosting
    • 1 teaspoon electric green gel food color*
  • Decoration
    • ¼ cup coarse white sugar or white decorator sugar crystals
    • 24 thin lime slices (about 3 limes)
    • 24 cocktail umbrellas

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (or 325 degrees if you’re using dark or nonstick pans). Place a paper baking cup in each of the 24 regular-size muffin cups.
  2. Take a large mixing bowl out and beat all the cupcake ingredients together using an electric hand mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Turn the speed up to medium and beat the ingredients together for another 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
  3. Stick the trays in the oven and let it bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out looking clean. Pull the trays out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, taking the cupcakes out of the pans and placing them on cooling racks afterwards. Let the cupcakes cool completely before moving onto the next step.
  4. Take a medium-sized bowl out and mix the frosting and food color together in it until completely blended. Frost all of the cupcakes. Take a small plate out and sprinkle the sugar on it, rolling** the edges of the cupcakes in it afterwards. Cut a small slit in each of the lime slices, twisting them and placing them on the cupcakes afterwards. Poke 1 umbrella into each cupcake and it’s ready to be served ! If you have any leftover cupcakes, store them (loosely covered) in the refrigerator.

*We couldn’t find any “electric green gel food color” so we just added 1 drop of green gel food color to every 5 drops of yellow into the frosting, stirring until combined and repeating until we got our desired color of frosting.

**We found that to be too messy so we just held the cupcakes at an angle and sprinkled the sugar along the edge of the frosting. That way the frosting didn’t get smeared.

These are so freaking cute and delicious ! We were hoping to taste the tequila but we never did. What we did taste though was a really good citrus-y cupcake ! We know the recipe said to roll the rim of the cupcake in sugar but we tried it with some kosher salt and thought it tasted really good. The salt was a nice contrast against the sweet frosting. In the end, it was good with sugar or kosher salt sprinkled along the edges.

We got this recipe from Betty Crocker.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines or Great Value.

Take care everybody !

BBQ Tomatillo Tacos

Ingredients

  • 6 medium tomatillos, husks removed and halved
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • 1 jalapeño, halved and seeded (we left the seeds in)
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (we used extra-virgin olive oil)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (we used table salt)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (we used freshly ground black pepper)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 8 hard taco shells
  • 1 pound shredded barbecue pork (we used meat from the Three-Ingredient Slow Cooker Barbecue Pork, recipe for the meat below)
  • ½ cup chopped tomato (we didn’t use it)
  • ½ cup crumbled queso fresco
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Three-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Barbecue Pork
    • 1 (3- to 4-lb.) boneless pork shoulder roast (Boston butt), trimmed
    • 1 (18-oz.) bottle barbecue sauce (such as Cattlemen’s Kansas City Classic Barbecue Sauce) (we used Jack Daniel’s Honey Smokehouse)
    • 1 (12-oz.) can cola soft drink (we used Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola)

Directions

  1. Start off by making the pulled pork. Take a 6-qt. slow cooker out and lightly grease the inside of it. Add the pork to the slow cooker, pouring the barbecue sauce and cola over it afterwards. Put the lid on the slow cooker and let it cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours or until the meat is tender enough that it shreds easily with a fork. Take the pork out of the slow cooker and shred it using two forks, throwing away any large pieces of fat that you come across. Try to skim the fat off the sauce before stirring the shredded pork back in.
  2. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Take a large rimmed baking sheet out and line it with aluminum foil.
  3. Take a large mixing bowl out and mix the tomatillos, onion, jalapeño, garlic, oil, salt and pepper together. Spread the mixture out on the lined baking sheet. Place the sheet in the oven for 10 minutes or until softened (ours took somewhere between 10-15 minutes and we flipped ours over after the initial 10 minutes).
  4. Take the roasted tomatillo mixture, cilantro and lime juice and place it in a blender, processing long enough for it to turn into a smooth sauce.
  5. Fill up the taco shell with pork and top with the tomatillo sauce, chopped tomato and queso fresco. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro on afterwards and enjoy !

The pork has a sweetness to it thanks to the sauce but it’s also dripping with the sauce it was sitting in so make sure you have some napkins or paper towels with you while eating this. The tomatillo sauce has so much brightness to it. We were surprise that we didn’t get any heat from the sauce even though we left the ribs and seeds in for the jalapeño. Had we used tomatoes, it would’ve added more flavor and brought a different texture to the dish but we still enjoyed the taco regardless !

We got the Three-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Barbecue Pork recipe from Southern Living but we don’t know where we got the BBQ Tomatillo Tacos recipe from.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Cattlemen’s, Jack Daniel’s, Coca-Cola or Southern Living.

Take care everybody !

Chile & Coke Carnitas

Ingredients

  • 4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn (we left the chiles whole, stem included)
  • 2  dried chipotle chiles, stemmed (we left the stems on)
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
  • 1 can cola (12 oz.) (we used caffeine-free coca-cola)
  • 1 Tbsp. each ground cumin, ground coriander, dried oregano, kosher salt and black pepper (we used freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder roast (5-6 lb.)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar (we used light brown sugar)
  • Salt to taste (we used kosher salt)
  • Flour tortillas (we used taco-sized tortillas)
  • Toppings: pickled onions (we made ours using the recipe for pickled onions found in the Deviled Egg Macaroni Pasta Salad recipe), pickled radishes (we made ours based off the recipe within the Smoky Pork BBQ Sandwiches recipe), crumbled cotija cheese, cilantro sprigs and lime wedges

Directions

  1. Take a skillet out and set the heat to medium. Place the chiles in the skillet, toasting them for 5 minutes or until fragrant (we turned the chiles occasionally during that time). Take a 7-qt. slow cooker out and add to it the toasted chiles, onions, garlic and cola.
  2. Mix the tablespoon of salt, cumin, coriander, oregano, and pepper together, rubbing the mixture all over the pork, placing the pork in the slow cooker afterwards. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook the pork on HIGH for 6 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.
  3. Take the pork out of the slow cooker and place it on a cutting board. Once it’s cool enough for you to handle, shred the meat. Don’t put the meat in the slow cooker just yet.
  4. If you left your chiles whole like us, now would be the time to remove their stems returning them to the slow cooker afterwards. Skim what you can of the fat from the surface of the liquid in the slow cooker, throwing the fat away afterwards. Take a hand blender* and puree the liquids and solids in the slow cooker. Add the lime juice, brown sugar and shredded pork to the slow cooker, stirring to combine. Take a bite and season with salt if needed.
  5. Serve the carnitas in the tortillas, adding on the toppings afterwards.

*We didn’t have a hand blender so we just put the cooking liquid, chiles, onions and garlic into a regular blender, pureed the mixture and poured it back into the slow cooker afterwards.

When we toasted the chiles, they puffed up and just had to show you what they looked like:

We’d suggest getting this going at the beginning of the day because we don’t know if it was something we did or the recipe got it wrong but it took more than the 6 hours listed for the meat to be tender enough that the bone slid right out ! It ended up taking so long that we didn’t get to actually try the dish until the next day. When we did try it though, oh my god it was so delicious ! You can’t pick any one specific flavor, you just know it’s delicious as fuck ! The meat can stand on its own for flavor but the toppings make it that much better.

We got this recipe from Cuisine at Home.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Cuisine at Home or coca-cola.

Take care everybody !

Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ lb. boneless pork shoulder, trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • ¾ tsp. black pepper, divided (we used freshly ground black pepper)
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice, divided
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice, divided
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 dried ancho chile
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 white onion, sliced (we sliced ours about ¼ in. thick) (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 oregano sprigs
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
  • 6 Tbsp. chopped white onion
  • Cilantro sprigs (optional)
  • Lime wedges (optional)

Directions

  1. Cut the pork up into 3-inch pieces, placing them in a large ziplock bag afterwards. Sprinkle the brown sugar, ½ teaspoon pepper and ½ teaspoon salt over the pork.  Add 2 tablespoons each of the lime juice and orange juice to the bag and seal, removing as much air as possible*. Refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.
  2. Add the hot water and dried ancho chile to a large bowl, letting it sit for 10 minutes. Take ¼ cup of the ancho soaking liquid and leave it off to the side for now along with the ancho chile. Take a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker out and add the pork to it, discarding the marinade that the pork was in. Add the garlic, sliced onion, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, oregano, ancho chile, that reserved ¼ cup soaking liquid, the remaining 2 tablespoons each of orange juice and lime juice. Put a lid on the slow cooker and let it cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours or until the meat is very tender.
  3. Take the pork out of the slow cooker and place it in a container for the time being. Take a bowl out and place a fine wire-mesh strainer over it. Pour the cooking liquid from the slow cooker through the strainer, throwing away any solids. Measure out ½ cup of the cooking liquids, throwing away any leftover liquid afterwards. Take a large cast-iron skillet out and pour the canola oil in, setting the heat to medium-high. Once the oil’s hot, add in the pork, searing it for one minute without moving it**. Take the pork out of the skillet and place it back in the container. Pour the reserved ½ cup of cooking liquid into the skillet, scraping up any bits of pork stuck to the skillet, pouring it over the pork afterwards. Add the salt and pepper to the pork, shredding the pork afterwards. Divide the pork up afterwards among the tortillas, topping each one with 1 ½ teaspoons of chopped onions (we didn’t measure how much much we used). Serve with the cilantro and lime wedges if you’d like.

*After getting as much air out as possible, we rolled the ziplock bag up as tight as possible to help the pork absorb as much flavor as possible.

**We weren’t sure if they wanted you to sear one side only or all sides but we decided to sear for one minute on the first side and 30 seconds – 1 minute on the other sides.

The pork tasted great the first day we had this but the second day, the flavors were even stronger ! The char on the outside of the pork brings a smoky flavor to the taco and is a nice contrast against the tender parts of meat. The toppings bring a freshness to the dish and the onions offer a nice crunch as well.

Recipe source unknown.

Take care everybody !