shrimp tacos with purple cabbage and brussels slaw

So I have to make a confession.  Making these shrimp tacos for the first time, was the first time I've ever had shrimp tacos.  I love shrimp and I love tacos, so I have no idea how that happened.  Even though these were the first ones I’ve ever made or tasted, they ended up being BOMB.   The shrimp is so easy to make, and the slaw perfectly cools you down from the spicy shrimp.

I like to make the slaw dressing and let it sit for a while instead of tossing the cabbage in the dressing and letting the dressed slaw sit.  The only reason I prefer letting the dressing sit separately is because the cabbage can start to dye the dressing purple.  Not a big deal, but it is a little less aesthetically pleasing. 


For Shrimp:
1 lb shrimp
2 tsp smoked paprika
½  tsp cayenne
1 lime, juiced
salt and pepper

For Purple Cabbage and Brussels Sprout Slaw
½ head of purple cabbage
2 cup shaved Brussels sprouts
¼ cup mayo
¼ cup sour cream
2 gloves garlic, grated or finely minced
2 limes or  ¼ cup lime juice
2 tsp cilantro

For Tacos:
8 corn tortillas

Your favorite toppings (pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese, hot sauce, salsas, guac, etc.)

To cook the shrimp:  Season the shrimp with paprika, cayenne, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Heat some oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  Put the shrimp in the pan and cook for 2 minutes each side, or until they turn pink.

To make the slaw: Cut purple cabbage into small strips. Combine mayo, sour cream, garlic, lime juice and salt in pepper in a medium bowl.  If the dressing seems too thick, add a few drops of water to thin it out.  If using it immediately, toss the cabbage and Brussels sprouts in the dressing until coated.  If not, let the dressing sit in the refrigerator for a while, to let the flavors meld, then toss the cabbage and Brussels sprouts in to coat.  Serve on top of shrimp on tacos.

To heat the tortillas, just put directly over low flame on stove grates and flip every 8-10 seconds for a minute. To assemble the tacos, layer shrimp on top of slaw and add any toppings you want.  The slaw dressing adds a nice creamy kick on top of the tacos!


chicken tacos

The Pioneer Woman was one of the first bloggers that I ever started following.  She was already a Food Network star at the point that I started reading her blog, but I was amazed at how even her older posts were so good.  Her step-by-step photos were really what drew me in, and influenced me in my blog post format.

Anyway, I learned this method of cooking tacos from her website.  This is my absolute favorite way to make tacos!  The tortillas end up being almost like a hard taco, but not quite as crunchy. 
This process involves, what I would call "shallow frying."  Basically, you assemble the tacos (with the warm ingredients), then cook them in about a quarter/half inch of oil, and add the cold ingredients.

*This photo doesn't capture the heat of the oil.  It kind of looks my oil isn't hot at all, but it was!

You use your tongs to place the taco in the oil, and just rest there for a few seconds with the tongs still holding the taco.  After about 10-15 seconds, it will start to keep its shape and it will be ok to lay on the taco on its side and let it cook for a few minutes.  Once its golden brown on the underside, flip the taco over and let it cook until the other side is golden brown.  Transfer the taco to a paper towel lined plate to soak up the excess grease.

This chicken seasoning is my GO TO.  It's so easy and super flavorful.  I love it for salads, tacos, rice bowls, literally anything.  It always ends up looking like blackened chicken, and it's divine.

Chicken tacos

For Chicken

1 lb chicken breasts
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

For Tacos:
8 corn tortillas
Refried Beans
Your favorite toppings (pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese, hot sauce, salsas, guac, etc.)

To Make Chicken:
Season the chicken using chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.  Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat, place chicken in pan when oil is hot and cook 3-4 minutes per side.  Transfer chicken to a plate and cut when it cools down a bit.

To Make Tacos:
Heat a quarter inch oil over medium-high heat.  Assemble the tacos, using 2 tbs refried beans and a few slices of chicken.  Using tongs, hold the taco by its base and place into the hot oil.  Stand the taco up for a few seconds, then lay it on its side to cook for 2-3 minutes.  Once the underside is golden brown, flip the taco over.  Once done, let the taco rest on a paper towel-lined plate.  Once it's cooled down, add all the toppings you want!

slow cooker refried beans

This is one of the easiest recipes ever.  I love the slow cooker for that reason.  Just throw a bunch of stuff in and overnight (or while you're at work) it cooks!  I love these refried beans because I use my immersion blender to make them nice and smooth once they're done cooking.  That's just because I like them really smooth.  If you like them a little chunkier, you can just use a potato masher to get the half smashed-half full bean texture.

Refried pinto beans
1 lb dried pinto beans
1 diced shallot
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne better
7 cups water or stock
ham bones
1 bay leaf

Throw everything into your slow cooker.  Cook on high for 6-8 hours or low for 10-12 hours.  When the beans re done cooking, remove the ham bones and bay leaf.  Use a masher or an immersion blender and mash (or blend) to your desired consistency!

huevos rancheros

Huevos rancheros is one of my favorite hangover breakfasts (or let's be honest, lunch).  Loaded with protein, good fats, fiber and some carbs, it fills me up without weighing me down toooo much.  I’m considering replacing the fried eggs with poached eggs next time, just to make it a little lighter.

This was actually my first time making huevos rancheros, and it came out great!  I’m sure my recipe could use some tweaks, and I will tweak as I make it more, but my first time it came out so good that I just had to share!  Depending on who’s eating, this can make up to 4 servings.  I was a little ambitious thinking I would finish two loaded tortillas.

Makes 2 servings

For salsa ranchera:

  •  1 (28 oz.) can of tomatoes (I used Glen Muir Fire Roasted)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion or shallot (I used half a shallot)
  • 2 chilies (jalapenos or serranos) 
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • ½ tsp fresh pepper
  • Salt to taste

For huevos rancheros:

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup refried beans (canned or homemade)
  • Avocado, sour cream, salsa optional for sides,  Queso fresco or your favorite cheese on top

To roast jalapenos: 
Place jalapenos right on the open medium flame turning with tongs as it is charred (black and wrinkly).  This should take about 5 minutes.  You can immediately place into a closed paper bag or put an upside down bowl on top to steam while preparing other ingredients.  Or, just scrape off the char with a knife.  If you don’t like too much heat, scrape out seeds (and wear gloves).

To make the salsa ranchera:
Saute onion in oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until tender and almost translucent.  Add in garlic and cook for one more minute. Put tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapeno peppers and cilantro into blender or food processor and blend until it reaches your desired thickness.  If you want it chunky, roughly chop jalapeno, cilantro, before adding them, then just pulse a few times.  Once all ingredients are combined, throw the salsa into the pan and add spices.  Cook for a few minutes to let flavors meld.  Simmer while cooking eggs.

There are lots of different ways you can assemble, but here’s my favorite.  I spread the refried beans on the tortilla, place the egg on top of the beans, then pour salsa ranchera all over the egg (leaving the yolk visible, if possible), then sprinkle a little queso fresco (or whatever cheese you have on hand) on top.