Rule #352: Cleaning one dish is better than cleaning more than one dish.

This little number was inspired by one of our favorite local hangouts: Willie’s Grill & Icehouse. They have a delicious dish called Chicken Ranchero that’s made up of the same basic things in this recipe. This is a perfect meal for a weeknight because it only uses 1 pot and 7 ingredients! It’s also a great dinner to serve to a crowd because it takes very minimal effort to prepare and is a total show stopper.

chicken ranchero

Here’s what we need to make this little number:

chicken breast, EVOO, 1 white onion, 2 jars of salsa, S&P, and a few slices of cheese

chicken ranchero

Plus a little cilantro if you’re hoping for a good ole garnish.

chicken ranchero

Here’s how we make this easy one-pot-wonder:

Heat some olive oil until shimmering over medium-high heat.

chicken ranchero

Sauté onion until cooked through (about 8 minutes).

chicken ranchero

Meanwhile, liberally sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.

chicken ranchero

Once the onion is nice and softened with a little brown color…

chicken ranchero

… move the onion to the sides of the pan. Place the chicken breasts in the center and brown (about 4 minutes per side).

chicken ranchero

Then, cover the chicken with the onions,

chicken ranchero

pour on two jars of your favorite salsa,

chicken ranchero

and top with some slices of cheese. We love to use Monterey Jack, but Swiss works great, too.

chicken ranchero

Cover and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

chicken ranchero

Ta-daa! There’s one easy, delicious dinner for you. And you’ve only got to clean the one pot! Hello, happy weeknight.

chicken ranchero

We like to have our Chicken Ranchero with this Easy Peasy Mexican Rice and some canned black beans with a little seasoning added. We also will sometimes pair this with a Mexican Veggie Medley.

easy peasy mexican rice

chicken ranchero


Chicken Ranchero

2 tbs. EVOO
1 white onion, sliced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 jars of your favorite salsa
Monterey Jack cheese slices (Swiss works well, too)

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large Dutch oven or oven-proof skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering over medium-high heat. Sauté onion until softened (about 8 minutes). Liberally sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper.

Move the cooked onions to the side of the pan, and place the chicken breasts in the center. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides (about 4 minutes per side). Move the onions back on top of the chicken breasts, pour the salsa all over, and cover with cheese slices.

Bake, covered, at 375 for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Click Here for Printable Recipe: Chicken Ranchero

Rule #92: Necessity breeds invention.

They say that necessity breeds invention, and well, this little dish is no exception. Wayyyyy back in the day, when Jon Boy and I were just young pups in love, we were living in Dallas when a major ice storm hit almost out of no where. We both barely made it home after work because the roads were absolutely terrible. Delivery was out of the question for dinner because everything had shut down already. So, we peeked into the fridge praying there was something in there to scrounge up for dinner. Lo-and-behold: The Sh*t Mexican Pork was born.

Okay – so I obviously didn’t name this dish that because I’m trying to act like a grown up now, but… it is… the sh*t.

pork tenderloin

You wanna know why it’s the sh*t? (I know, I can spell it out, but it’s more fun not to.) It only needs FIVE (ish) INGREDIENTS, each serving (this recipe makes 4) is 170 calories each, and it’s friggin’ delicious! It got it’s name because after his first bite, Jon Boy literally said, “Woah! This is the sh*t!”

mexican pork

Now then, let’s do this.

You take 1 1-lb. pork tenderloin (you can definitely use two tenderloins if you’re cooking for more than 4 or if you want heartier portions). Make sure the silver skin is trimmed off as much as you can. Dice it up into about 1/2″ pieces.

mexican pork

Liberally season the pork all over with Kosher salt and black pepper. (BTW – I didn’t include those in the ingredient count because well… they’re just not. Five sounds better than seven.)

mexican pork

Now, here are the performers in our little Mexican Pork Parade. Vegetable (or chicken) stock*, green bell, red bell, white onion, fresh salsa, and salt + peppa.

*You may not end up needing the stock depending on how thick the sauce is.

mexican pork

We use fresh salsa for this recipe – you can find it in your produce section near the prepared veggies and fruits. Choose whatever heat level you like. We go for the mid-level serrrrrrrrrano type. I like the fresh salsa more than the jarred because it’s a little thinner and has (as the name states) fresher ingredients.

mexican pork

Slice up yer bell peppers and yer onion.

mexican pork

Now, you have a choice here. You can either spray a large skillet or Dutch oven with cooking spray or pour in a little vegetable or canola oil. Your choice. I usually just opt for cooking spray, but for the pictures, I used a little oil. I honestly think I prefer it without the oil – fewer calories, and it all turns out just about the same.

Brown the pork on one side, flip, and brown on the other side over medium-high heat (about 3 minutes per side).

mexican pork

You don’t need the meat to be all the way cooked through at this point. That will happen later when we add the salsa and stock.

mexican pork

Make a hole in the middle of the pan.

mexican pork

Throw in the veggies.

mexican pork

Give it all a stir and sauté until the veggies are tender (about 8 minutes).

mexican pork

This part is totally optional, but I like to sprinkle in some Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning for a little flavor. If you don’t have this or don’t want to buy it, just skip this and move on down.

mexican pork

Once the veggies are tender, make another hole in the middle of the pan.

mexican pork

Throw in the salsa (carefully). Add a little stock (about 1/4 cup) to thin out the sauce. Lower the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

mexican pork

Serve over white rice or cauliflower rice with your choice of garnish. We love us some avocado, sour cream, and cilantro. You could also get down with red onion, radishes, a little shredded lettuce, and maybe even some more salsa.

mexican pork

So, in about 30 minutes, you’ve got a healthy + yummy dinner. De nada, amigo!

pork tenderloin


Mexican Pork

1* 1-lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin, cut into 1/2” pieces
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 white onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
A few dashes of Adobo all-purpose seasoning (optional)
1 container fresh salsa (heat level of your choice)
1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock (optional)

Liberally season pork with Kosher salt and black pepper.

Spray a large Dutch oven or skillet with cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, brown the pork on all sides (about 3 minutes per side).

Make a hole in the middle of the pan, add in the onion and bell peppers. Sauté until veggies are tender (about 8 minutes). Sprinkle on some Adobo seasoning (optional).

Once the veggies are cooked, make another hole in the center of the pan and add in the salsa. Lower the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until pork is cooked through. If the sauce seems too thick, add in the stock.

Serve over white rice or cauliflower rice with your choice of garnish.

Garnishes
Avocado
Sour cream
Cilantro
Red onion
Radishes
Salsa
Shredded lettuce
Tortilla strips

* If you want heartier portions, or if you’re cooking for more than 4, feel free to use 2 pork tenderloins. Just add in some extra salsa or stock to extend the sauce.

Click Here for Printable Recipe: Mexican Pork

These little bowls of yummy are so simple to make, I really shouldn’t even call this a recipe. But I’m going to anyways, so booyah. I love a weeknight dinner that’s healthy + easy, but that can also be customized by each person chowing down (chili, tacos, pulled pork sandwiches, etc.). This little gem is one of those dishes.

salsa crazy chicken bowls

Before I tell ya about that yumminess, I have to capture this little bit of toddler heaven the other day before school. I love the bond these two share. That Daddy + Son gig is real treasure… makes me want a mini-me-little-ball-of-sass girl soooo badly!

daddy and corey

We tried a new white wine this week, {Mantellasi Sasso Bianco} and it was fantastic! The best part about this little number is that it’s only $9. It’s light, crisp, and a bit citrusy.

mantellasi wine

Anyone else experience the “NOOO SHOOOOOEEE” in the middle of the store? Tell me I’m not alone.

corey douglas

It was just the one shoe + sock. The other set was apparently okay to stay on. Smug little toddler, ain’t he?

corey douglas

I’ve got a couple of recipes I’m excited to share with y’all soon! One of those dishes are these Tuscan Chicken Cakes are nothing short of miraculous. They’re only 130 calories each and taste sooooo yummy! Jon Boy went back for seconds because he loved them so much, and BONUS: he didn’t have to feel guilty about it!

Once I get my act together, I’ll post this little fella for ya.

Tuscan Chicken Cakes

Now, for the Salsa-Crazy Chicken Bowls. The chicken can’t get any easier to make, and you can customize the bowls just like they do at good ole Chipotle.

salsa crazy chicken bowls

Here’s what’s up. First, marinate the chicken breast in Salsa Verde (we use Herdez medium) for at least 8 hours or overnight. I threw ours in the marinade in a Ziploc the morning I cooked this dish.

salsa crazy chicken bowls

You wanna know why this lovely is called Salsa-CRAZY Chicken Bowls? Because I’m gettin’ cray cray with my salsas, y’all! Salsa verde is the marinade, and you cook the chicken in a fresh RED salsa. Whhhaaatt! Mind blown, I know. Don’t buy the jarred stuff when you’re getting the red salsa. Buy the refrigerated stuff in the produce section. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. Oh, and make sure you’ve got some cumin.

salsa crazy chicken bowls

To cook the chicken, spray some Pam in an oven-proof skillet/dish (I use a Dutch oven). Brown the chicken over medium-high heat (about 3 minutes per side). Dump in the red salsa after flipping the chicken once. Sprinkle on some cumin – I think I used about 2 tsp. but use as much or little as you’d liked.

After the chicken is browned, chunk it in a 350 degree oven, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. You can just keep it warm in the oven until you’re ready to serve. Just turn off the oven and keep the dish covered.

salsa crazy chicken bowls

Meanwhile, make ya some beans. What’s a Mexican chicken bowl without beans, ‘m I right?

I used 1 can of black beans with the mysterious juices from the can. Dump it all into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add some bean seasoning (I use this one). Cook, covered, for about 20 minutes. Mash a few beans at the end with a fork or potato masher. Stir, cover, and keep warm until serving time.

salsa crazy chicken bowls

A great thing to add to your bowls is a bunch of roasted veggies. You can do broccoli, sweet potato, green beans, brussels sprouts, corn, squash, or any other crazy veggie you’ve got lying around. Just toss ’em with EVOO + S&P, roast at 400 until they’re as tender as you’d like. We actually had leftover roasted broccolini, so I just heated it up, chopped it up, and threw it in our bowls. It’s a great way to clean out the fridge, too!

salsa crazy chicken bowls

When you’re ready to grub, take the chicken to a cutting board and chop it into bite-sized bits.

salsa crazy chicken bowls

Then, build yer bowl. Some ideas for toppings are:

Sour cream

Cilantro

Diced tomatoes

Diced bell pepper

More salsa (because hey, it’s a salsa-crazy kinda day)

Avocado

Lime wedges

Tortilla chips

salsa crazy chicken bowls

Chow down without reservation, my friend. This bowl you’re gawking at here comes in at only 215 calories. We actually had ours over zucchini noodles (zoodles), but next time, I’m just going to leave those out. I don’t think they added a ton of “ooomph” and I could always use one less dish to clean. Sorry zoodles, ya didn’t make the cut.

salsa crazy chicken bowls


Salsa-Crazy Chicken Bowls

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar salsa verde
1 container fresh red salsa
2 tsp. cumin
1 can black beans
2 tsp. pinto bean seasoning
Roasted veggies (broccoli, green beans, sweet potato, squash, corn)
Toppings of choice (avocado, sour cream, cilantro, diced bell pepper, diced tomato, lime wedges, tortilla chips)

Marinate the chicken in the salsa verde in a large Ziploc for at least 8 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 350 and remove the chicken from the fridge so it gets closer to room temperature (about 10 minutes).

Spray a large Dutch oven or oven-proof skillet with Pam, and brown the chicken over medium-high heat (about 3 minutes per side). After flipping the chicken, pour the fresh red salsa over the top and sprinkle on the cumin. Cover and bake at 350 until chicken is cooked through (about 30 minutes). Keep warm until serving.

Meanwhile, make the beans. Heat the beans with their juices in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add some bean seasoning, stir, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Mash the beans with a fork or potato masher, cover, and keep warm.

Chop the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces. Assemble the bowls with your choice of roasted veggies and toppings.

What a perfect time of year: the end of summer, the beginning of school, the beginning of (slightly) cooler weather, and of course fall decor. Gotta love it! I also love this time of year because of the delicious summer vegetables available at Farmer’s Markets and in the grocery stores. Completely perfect tomatoes + summer squash + succulent corn-off-the-cob make for the ultimate end of summer vegetable medley.

Mexican Veggie Medley

What’s not to love here: deep Mexican spices + cool cotija cheese + zippy cilantro + delectable summer veggies.

And all for just 110 calories per serving (4 hearty servings from this recipe).

Mexican Veggie Medley

BUT! Before I get into this delicious side dish… a few randoms for this perfect Friday.

I just put this little fella together to stay on our porch (hopefully) all fall. I got the planter for just $30 at Target – I’d been stalking him literally all season. As I was checking out, a very sweet woman in line gave me a tip to stuff the bottom with grocery bags, then pour on the soil and plant the flowers. It’s working well so far and is WAY cheaper than having to fill this whole bad boy with potting soil. I once read in a Southern Living magazine that when it comes to making a dramatic potted arrangement, you want: a thriller, a filler, and a spiller. In this case, my thriller + filler are the same plant, and the purple sweet potato vine are my spiller. Love the concept though!

fall planter

If those cheeks ever go away, I’m going to protest by eating until they grow back onto my face. I can’t even handle.

corey douglas

My little J.J. Watt, y’all.

corey douglas

Except not really. The thought of him playing football makes me get mama rage already. Ain’t nobody hittin’ my baby.

corey douglas

He was still sleeping when I picked him up from school on Thursday. I had to take a picture of the absolute sweetness of this scene. It was kind of torturous to wake him up. I could’ve watched him sleep like that for at least 3 days.

corey douglas

Okay – back to veggies.

Here’s the easy peasy breakdown for this yumminess:

Wrap each corn cob in foil (no oil or S&P – just foil).

mexican veggie medley

Throw ’em on a baking rack and roast at 400 for about 30 minutes. Remove and let cool.

mexican veggie medley

I can’t remember the first place I saw this trick, but it became an instant game changer when it comes to cutting corn off the cob.

Getchya a bundt pan (okay, please tell me you read that like the lady from My Big Fat Greek Wedding).

mexican veggie medley

Set the corn cob in the middle of the bundt [booooonttt] pan. Start cutting the cobs and let the little fellas fall straight into the well of the pan.

Mexican Veggie Medley

Whoever thought of this is a genius. It’s so much easier to cut + keep the kernels together than just doing it on a cutting board. Gotta love a good kitchen hack.

Mexican Veggie Medley

Next, getchyer summer veggies + chop ’em up. Just a rough chop will do, but make sure the pieces are as uniform as you can get them.

Mexican Veggie Medley

Throw everything into a biggo pot with some EVOO. Sprinkle with seasoning + sauté over medium-high heat for a bit.

Mexican Veggie Medley

Meanwhile, crumble up some cotija goodness.

Mexican Veggie Medley

Before you know it, your easy-peasy, Mexican-y, healthy side dish is done.

Mexican Veggie Medley

Throw on that cheese + some cilantro.

Mexican Veggie Medley

Pair this with your next taco night or make it all into a huge taco bowl with some beans + grilled chicken. Nom Nom.

Mexican Veggie Medley


Mexican Veggie Medley

3 corn cobs, husks removed
1/4 tsp. ground oregano
1/2 tbs. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs. EVOO
1 yellow summer squash, chopped
1 zucchini squash, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 oz. cotija cheese, crumbled
2 tbs. cilantro leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 400.

Wrap corn in foil and place directly on a rack in the middle of the oven. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, or until kernels are cooked. Once cool enough to handle, cut kernels from corn.

Meanwhile, mix together all the spices (oregano through pepper) in a small bowl. Set aside.

Melt EVOO in skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash, garlic, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with spices and stir to combine. Cook just until squashes are al dente (about 10 minutes).

Remove to a serving platter and garnish with cotija cheese and cilantro.

The Bon Appetit magazine this month was on point. There were so many delicious recipes that really focused on the flavors of the season.

This was one of them – what I love about it is that it really explains the technique of how to make good, authentic enchiladas. You fry the tortillas for just a few seconds before you coat them in the sauce. It’s delicious and really made a difference with the texture of the meal.

Another awesome part is that you can assemble the enchiladas ahead of time and freeze them or throw them in the fridge.

A really great time they gave in the magazine was to look for tortillas that had condensation in the packaging. This was an indication of the freshest of the good ole guys.

Instead of making the sauce, you could always substitute a red enchilada sauce. My favorite is this one. You can usually find it in any grocery store. The big take away of this recipe is the way you fry the tortillas before assembly.
Red Chile Pork Enchiladas

Red Chile Pork Enchiladas
Red Sauce and Filling
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
14 dried guajillo chiles, seeds removed
4 dried ancho chiles, seeds removed
3 dried morita chiles (or chipotle chiles in adobo sauce)
4 cups chicken stock
8 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon crushed Mexican or Italian oregano
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), fat trimmed
Kosher salt
2 bay leaves
Assembly
1 cup vegetable oil
8 6-inch white corn tortillas
10 ounces queso fresco, crumbled, plus more for serving
Sauce And Filling
Toast coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, swirling pan often and adding cumin seeds during the last 30 seconds of cooking, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool, then finely grind in spice mill or with mortar and pestle.
Bring guajillo, ancho, and morita chiles and stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit 45 minutes to let chiles soften.
Transfer chile mixture to a blender and add toasted spices, garlic, tomato paste, and oregano and purée until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Preheat oven to 250°. Heat oil in a medium heavy pot over medium-high. Season pork with salt and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 10–12 minutes. Pour off excess oil and add chile purée and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven.
Braise pork until meat is very tender and shreds easily, 1 ½–2 hours; season with salt.
Skim excess fat from chile sauce; discard bay leaves. Transfer pork to a large bowl. Let cool slightly, then shred with 2 forks. Mix ½ cup chile sauce into pork; season with salt. Set remaining sauce aside.
Do Ahead: Pork can be braised 3 days ahead. Let cool in chile sauce (do not shred); cover and chill.
Assembly
Preheat oven to 425°. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high until it bubbles immediately when edge of tortilla touches the surface. Working one at a time, fry tortillas until just starting to brown and crisp, about 10 seconds per side (they should still be somewhat pliable). Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Dip both sides of each tortilla in chile sauce just to coat, then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Spread 1 cup sauce down the length of a 13×9″ baking dish. Spoon ¼ cup pork mixture across the center of a tortilla and fold one side over filling, then continue to roll up tortilla. Place seam side down in prepared baking dish. Repeat with more sauce and remaining tortillas (enchiladas should be nestled right up against each other in pan).
If freezing, stop at this point and cover with two layers of heavy-duty foil. Before cooking, thaw overnight in fridge and continue with process.

Top with cheese and remaining sauce. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is beginning to brown, 15–20 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes.

Adapted from Bon Appetit