Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Tacos


Ya know, it’s much harder to come up with vegetarian meals than initially thought … especially with slightly picky teenagers.

When I saw this recipe I figured it would be something new, in a crunchy shell (which makes everything better) and can have chicken added for my dear carnivore.

LOTS OF CHOPPING! But after the chopping prep there’s just stirring and eating!

  • 1 medium yellow squash, chopped into small chunks (1 cup)
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped into small chunks (1 cup)
  • 1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, de-seeded, ribs removed and chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium sweet potato or yam, peeled and chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • One (10-ounce) can original Ro-Tel (tomatoes + chiles)
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t smoked paprika
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 to 12 taco-sized corn tortillas
  • canola or vegetable oil
  • To serve with tacos: avocado, shredded cheese, lettuce, sour cream, lime wedges

NOTE: I used crunchy taco shells, the ones that stand on their own … it’s the preferred thing here, and I have enough battles without taco shells being one of them.

NOTE NOTE: Nope, next time there will be NO Ro-Tel, but a can of diced tomatoes. This packs enough flavor without all the heat which makes some of the delicate palates here frown!

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a large, rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.


Add all of your vegetables to a large bowl and toss with the olive oil. Spread the veggies on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes, stir, roast another 15 minutes, stir again, and roast one more time for 15 minutes (45 minutes total). The veggies can be roasted ahead of time, just refrigerate until ready to make the tacos.

In a medium skillet, heat the black beans and tomatoes over low heat.


In a small bowl, combine the spices (cumin through pepper). Sprinkle the spices over the beans and tomatoes and stir to combine. Add the roasted veggies, stir to combine and continue to heat until the mixture is completely warm.

All that’s left is to assemble the tacos! Around here the veggies were int he pan with bowls of avocado slices, limes, lettuce, and shredded cheese. Grilled shredded chicken on the side for those who like more protein!


Pork Carnitas #SundaySupper


Around here we don’t need Cinco de Mayo to have a passion for Mexican food! But it certainly doesn’t hurt! A roasted pork shoulder soaking in a citrusy marinade is enough to make my son and Jeremy and Jeannie and I absolutely giddy. This time I decided to take this dish a step further and take the delicious slow roasted pork shoulder and turn it into carnitas tacos.

A few toppings, some tortilla, rice and beans, and cold beer and you’re all set for a Cinco de Mayo fiesta!


First, you need what my darling friend Nanner refers to as a big honkin’ piece-o-pork shoulder. I use the same marinade ingredients regardless of the weight of my piggie.

  • Pork shoulder (mine was 7+ pounds)
  • 1 bottle of Goya Naranja Agria (bitter orange) marinade
  • 4 or 5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 t coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 C olive oil

Everything into a gigantic ziploc bag and into the fridge overnight.

Preset the oven to 350 and take the pork shoulder out so that it comes to almost room temperature.

Ready to Roast

Line a roasting dish with foil (you’ll thank me at washing time). Place the pork shoulder in the roasting pan and add about half the marinade (keep the other half). Cover with foil and roast for 3 to 4 hours (this is going to depend on the size of your roast). Remove the foil and roast for another 45 minutes to an hour.


Let the roast cool.

Chop a medium sized onion.  Once the roast has cooled to the point where you can handle it, shred it with your hands. This is a messy affair.

Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to a pan, over medium high heat. It should be large enough to hold all the meat. When it’s hot, add the meat and cook until the pork starts to get crispy.

NOTE: We like ours very crispy on the outside. Also, if it seems to be drying out a bit while it’s crisping, add a bit of the reserved marinade to the pan.

Ready to dress

When I serve this I place queso fresco, sliced radishes, sliced avocado, limes, cilantro, and red onion on a platter, wrap warm flour tortilla in a tea towel, put all the pork in a bowl, ice cold beer, and tell everyone to jump in. I pickle the onions and cilantro a bit by placing each in a bowl with about a 1/2 cup red wine vinegar and a 1/2 teaspoon cumin and let it sit for a while.


If you want to keep the theme through this meal, make some of these FABULOUS Maya Galletas de Chocolate! Deep and rich in chocolate goodness with just a hint of kick at the end!

This week’s Sunday Supper Movement, Cinco de Mayo, is being hosted by Jen over at Juanita’s Cocina

Cinco de Mayo Appetizers & Sides {Aperitivos}:

Cinco de Mayo Main Dishes {Platos Principales}:

Cinco de Mayo Desserts {Postres}:

Cinco de Mayo Drinks {Bebidas}:

Puerco Pibil #SundaySupper #MovieInspiredRecipes

Ready to serve

After watching the Johnny Depp movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico, my son became obsessed with Puerco Pibil. Puerco Pibil was the favorite dish of Sands, Johnny Depp’s character, so much so that he murders any cook who makes it too well.

After watching the movie a number of times and my son asking and asking for me to create this dish for him, I realized that on on the DVD the director, Robert Rodriguez, provides a recipe and video instruction on how to cook the dish. It’s located in the bonus features.

First time I made this, couldn’t find the banana leaves, used the wrong cut of pork, was so spicy that there were scorched throats all around the table … but it is requested again and again, and I have changed it a bit to suit the folks eating – unless of course you have a table of fire breathing dragons and then the original would suit you just fine!

  • 5 pounds pork butt, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 5 T annato seeds
  • 2 t cumin seeds
  • 1 T whole black pepper
  • 1/2 t whole cloves
  • 8 whole allspice berries
  • 2 habanero Peppers, fresh or dried, cleaned and minced (optional)
  • 1/2 C orange juice
  • 1/2 C white vinegar
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 5 lemons
  • 1 shot of tequila
  • banana leaves (optional)

Blend the cleaned and chopped habanero peppers with the orange juice, vinegar, garlic and salt.

Mix the dry spices with the liquid.

Add the juice of 5 lemons and a nice splash of tequila.

Place the cubed pork butt in a large zip lock bag and add the marinade. Soak 4-6 hours, in refrigerator, turning several times.

Line (8×13) baking pan with banana leaves. Pour in pork along with the marinade. Cover with Banana leaves and seal the pan with foil. Bake in a 325 F degree oven for 4 hours.


Grind the annato seeds, cumin seeds, whole peppercorns, whole cloves, and whole allspice in a spice or coffee grinder, or use a mortar and pestle.

NOTE: I have a coffee grinder that’s dedicated to grinding spices. I use rice or bread to clean it out in between uses so there’s very little residue to flavor whatever you may grind next.

Blend the cleaned and chopped habanero peppers with the orange juice, vinegar, garlic and salt.


NOTE: I used one habanero and one jalapeno. It was still spicy, but much tamer than the first time.

Add the dry spices to the liquid and add the juice of 5 lemons and a nice splash of tequila.


Place the cubed pork butt in a large zip lock bag and add the marinade. Let it sit for 4-6 hours, in refrigerator, turning several times.

Ready to cook

Line (8×13) baking pan with banana leaves. Pour in pork along with the marinade. Cover with Banana leaves and seal the pan with foil. Bake in a 325 F degree oven for 4 hours.

NOTE: I was lucky enough to find banana leaves in one of the supermarkets near me. If you can’t find them, line the roasting pan with foil and then parchment paper – OH! or use Martha Wrap, foil and parchment in one (Reynolds Wrap makes it as well)!

Serve over a bed of white or Spanish rice, extra limes, lots of napkins, and beer – plenty of beer!


NOTE: BTW, this was my first participation in the Sunday Supper Movement, hosted this week by Heather over at Girlichef. This week’s theme is inspiration from a favorite food movie scene. I owe a big thanks to my friend Lizzie from That Skinny Chick Can Bake. Thank you for mentoring me through this first foray into the Sunday Supper Movement! There are a lot of great participants in the Sunday Supper Movement, stop by their movie scene inspired dishes and have a look!


Toast (bready things)

No Reservations (soups and salads)

Today’s Special (fish, chicken, beef, and pork)

Forks Over Knives (veggie-heavy dishes and sides)

Udon (pasta and noodles)

Just Desserts (sweet treats)

Bottle Shock (beverages)


Tinga de Pollo

Not quite sure what it is, but I am on a Mexican kick. I can’t get enough ~ and to top it off, it can’t be spicy enough!

And I have been waiting ever so (im)patiently for Marcela Valladolid‘s show Mexican Made Easy to start its new season!

Finally it starts and wouldn’t you know it, second show of the new season and there are three recipes I HAVE to try! Sigh. Expect to see a lot of Marcela here!

First to try – Tinga de Pollo. You could practically smell this dish through the TV screen. It looked so good and so simple. I had to run out the next morning and purchase all the ingredients.  Then again, Marcela has a way of making everything look to amazing!

Wow! So good. So simple. So flavorful. So chicken for you know who. So spicy for the other you know who. They’ve already asked for it again!


  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 medium white onion
  • 1 bay leaf


  • 4 ounces raw pork chorizo
  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tomatoes (about 1 pound), boiled 30 seconds, peeled and seeded *See below
  • 1 cup chopped tomatillos (husked and rinsed first) * See below
  • 2 tablespoons pureed chipotle
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 sprig fresh marjoram
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 10 store-bought tostadas

NOTE: Take the chipolte in adobo and just chop it up finely. I used my handy dandy mini chopper. You can tone down the heat little by adding ess of the chipolte in adobo – I used a teeny bit more than the 2 tablespoons.

For Garnish:
Sour Cream
Lime wedges

For the chicken:

Place the chicken, peppercorns, salt, garlic, bay leaf and onion in a large heavy saucepan with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and remove the chicken from the liquid. Reserve the broth for later use. Using 2 forks or clean hands, shred the chicken into a bowl and set aside.

NOTE: Or cheat, as I did, and buy a rotisserie chicken!

For the tinga:

In a large heavy saute pan, cook the chorizo over medium heat until fully cooked, about 6 minutes. Add the onions and saute until translucent and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.

Add the tomatillos and cook for 1 minute. Add the chipotle, salt, pepper, Mexican oregano and the sprigs of marjoram and thyme.

Add the shredded chicken. Continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Add between 1/2 cup and 1 cup of the chicken cooking liquid, depending on the thickness of the sauce. Cook for 5 more minutes. Remove the marjoram and thyme sprigs.

Place 2 tablespoons of tinga on each tostada. Serve immediately.

NOTE: There’s a lot of chopping – my least favorite thing to do! Get everything chopped and prepped before you start. This goes pretty quickly once you begin!

NOTE NOTE: Tommy used flour tortillas (not a crunchy kinds guy). Tom had his over rice. You aren’t tied to the tostadas – except I loved the crunch it added!

NOTE: In case you haven’t seen them before, these are tomatillos. They come in a papery type skin. Peel off the papery layer. They’re sticky so rinse them off before you chop them.  And surprisingly enough, these have nothing  to do with tomatoes! They are part of the gooseberry family! (Ya learn something new every day!)

NOTE: To get the skins off the tomatoes, cut a small X on the bottom of the tomato. A very shallow, not much deeper than the skin X. Bring a pot of water to boil, lower to simmer, and dip the tomato in for about 30 seconds. Take out and let cool until you can handle them. The skins slip right off. Make sure you take all the seeds and goo out of the tomato before chopping.

Maya Galletas de Chocolate

I know a day (well, 2) late and a dollar short. Cinco de Mayo was 2 days ago. Sigh. But look at those chocolatey beauties … surely, I can be forgiven! And, trust me, they are delicious, chocolate, slightly sweet, with just ‘un poco calor’ at the end.

I do have a perfectly good excuse. For Cinco de Mayo I made Arroz con Frijoles Negro so I could participate in the Holiday Recipe Club. If you don’t belong, you should check it out!

These may be overdue for the FIESTA, but they are totally worth the effort!

Below is the full recipe. I made half a batch. Wasn’t sure how the addition of some heat to the cookies would work for the folks I lovingly bake for.

  • 3/4 C vegetable shortening
  • 4 oz unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 C flour (7.8 oz)
  • 3/8 t salt
  • 1 ¼ C natural cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 2 t baking soda
  • ¼ t ground pepper
  • 1/8 t cayenne
  • 6 oz finely chopped dark bittersweet chocolate (70% Lindt Intense Dark)
  • Mixture of ½ cup granulated & 1 teaspoon cinnamon for rolling


  • 1/4 C + 2 T vegetable shortening
  • 2 oz unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/4 C + 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C + 2 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1 large eggs
  • 3/4 C + 2 T flour
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/2 C + 2 T natural cocoa powder
  • 3/4 t cinnamon
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/8 t ground pepper
  • 1/16 t cayenne
  • 3 oz finely chopped dark bittersweet chocolate
  • Mixture of 1/4 C granulated & 1/2 t cinnamon for rolling
NOTE: OMG is it a LEAP of faith halving a baking recipe! I was terrified – especially the cayenne. Really, no one has a 1/16 measuring spoon, I eye-balled half of 1/8 t and it was fine.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream shortening and butter in a large bowl with high speed of electric mixer. Beat in the brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat until creamy (about 2 minutes). Beat in vanilla and eggs; beat only until they are mixed.

Stir together flour, salt, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, ground pepper and cayenne. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until it’s almost well mixed. Add the chocolate chips and stir until well mixed.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls, roll in a mixture of cinnamon sugar.

Arrange on parchment paper lined sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for about 7 minutes, then remove from cookie sheets and place on a rack to cool.

Makes about 5 dozen for the full recipe and 2 1/2 dozen for the half batch.

NOTE: Let them cool on the sheets, otherwise they fall apart and you have to eat your mistakes! If there are any left over, the cayenne intensifies ever so slightly the next day. These really are fabulous!

Arroz con Frijoles Negro

Long day.

Seriously long day.

Not always easy being the President of Jerk Work.

sometimes when I get home to my empty house I don’t want to cook and I don’t care if anyone else eats later tonight or tomorrow or next week. All I want are PJs and a pillow.

Very, very selfish of me, I know.

Quick solution? A store bought rotisserie chicken, tortillas, the fixings to go with (avocado, cilantro, onions, sour cream, etc.) and Arroz con Frijoles Negro.

For Cinco de Mayo, the Holiday Recipe Club gave us three ingredients to choose, one of them being tomatoes! This recipe fits right in and so here we go!


This is so simple it’s almost embarrassing to post!

    • 1/2 red onion, chopped
    • 1 (10.5 oz.) can black beans, rinsed well
    • 1 t cumin
    • 1/2 t chili powder
    • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
    • 1 chipolte pepper in adobo chopped
    • 2 cups cooked rice
    • 1/4 C chopped cilantro

NOTE: I totally cheated here and used instant brown rice and made it in the microwave. You can use whatever form of rice that makes you happy.

Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a saute pan and add the onions. Saute onions until they begin to wilt.

Add the drained and rinsed black beans and stir.

Add the cumin and chili powder. Stir to combine. Let cook for 1 to 2 minutes and add the chopped chipolte and tomatoes.  Stir to combine and let simmer gently for a couple of minutes.

Add rice and cilantro. Mix well, make sure everything is warm and serve.

Avocado Cream

And so the last component of this fantastic birthday, Mexican fiesta was a recipe I was inspired by by at a fellow foodie’s blog. They had used this for enchiladas, but I thought this would be perfect on top of the Burgers al Pastor I was making – and it was!

Creamy, bright, fresh, rich – perfect on burgers, enchiladas, tacos, or to just scoop up greedily with tortilla chips when everyone else has gone to bed!

  • 1 1/2 avocados
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 T cilantro
  • salt to taste
  • 3 heaping t sour cream (add a little more if you want his a little looser

NOTE: The lime, salt and sour cream can be adjusted to your own taste.

Everything into the food processor, blender or even a bowl and mash by hand. Done!

I halved this recipe and it made enough for the burgers and for a cook’s secret treat later! Although, it is really hard to eat crunchy tortilla chips quietly!