Ground Pork Al Pastor-Style Tacos With Spicy Avocado Crema

Makes 16.

Note: Pineapple is the secret ingredient in these tropical tacos. A dressing-free (you won’t miss it!) slaw, along with a zippy creamy sauce, are stored separated in the fridge for a fast, flavorful meal whenever you need it. From Meredith Deeds.

Pork filling:

• 2 medium dried ancho chiles, stem and seeds removed

• 1 large white onion, halved

• 1 c. chopped pineapple

• 3/4 c. fresh orange juice

• 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

• 2 tbsp. chopped chipotle chile from canned chipotle chiles in adobo

• 2 garlic cloves, peeled

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1 tsp. dried oregano (preferably Mexican)

• 1 tsp. ground cumin

• 2 lb. ground pork

Spicy Avocado Crema:

• 1 avocado, pitted and peeled

• 1 c. sour cream

• 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

• 1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

Tacos:

• 3 c. shredded cabbage

• 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro

• 1 c. chopped pineapple

• 18 corn tortillas, warmed

• 1/2 c. crumbled Cotija cheese

• Lime wedges

Directions

To make the pork filling: Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Open up the dried chiles so they lie flat and arrange them in the skillet. Toast the chiles, pressing down on them with a spatula so they make contact with the skillet, for 30 seconds on each side. Transfer to a small bowl and pour 1 cup boiling water over the top. Press the chiles down to submerge in the water and let soak for 20 minutes. Drain and discard liquid.

Coarsely chop 1 half of the onion. Place in blender with 1 cup pineapple. Add soaked chiles, orange juice, vinegar, chipotle, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, oregano and cumin. Purée sauce until smooth.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook pork, stirring, on medium heat until cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat.

To make the Avocado Crema: Combine avocado, sour cream, lime juice, serrano and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender. Purée until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons cilantro. Set aside.

To make cabbage mixture: Finely chop remaining half of onion. Place in small bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Strain and place in medium bowl. Add shredded cabbage and 1/4 cup cilantro; toss to combine.

To assemble tacos: Spoon pork mixture onto corn tortillas. Top with cabbage mixture, pineapple, Cotija and Spicy Avocado Crema. Serve with extra lime wedges on the side.

To make ahead: The pork filling, Spicy Avocado Crema and cabbage mixture can be made up to 4 days ahead and kept separately, covered, in the refrigerator. Remaining chopped pineapple can also be kept up to 4 days ahead, covered, in the refrigerator.

 

Broccoli, Ham and Cheddar Quiche Muffins

Makes 12.

Note: Quick, easy and protein-rich, these mini quiches make a great meal, along with some fresh fruit or a green salad, any time of the day. From Meredith Deeds.

• 2 c. chopped broccoli florets

• 1 1/2 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

• 1 c. chopped deli ham

• 6 eggs

• 1 c. whole or 2% milk

• 3/4 tsp. salt

• 1/4 tsp. pepper

• 1/8 tsp. cayenne

• 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a microwaveable bowl, combine the chopped broccoli florets in the microwave and 1 tablespoon water. Steam, covered, until tender crisp, about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Drain thoroughly of any excess liquid and pat dry with paper towels.

Divide the cooked broccoli, cheese and ham among the 12 muffin cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg.

Ladle the egg mixture evenly into the muffin cups (about 3 tablespoons to each muffin cup).

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is set and knife inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let stand in the muffin tin for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and carefully remove quiches from the tin.

Make-ahead: Can be made up to 3 days ahead and kept in a covered container in the refrigerator. To reheat, microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, until hot.

 

Creamy Sausage, Tortellini, Spinach and Basil Soup

Serves 6 to 8.

Note: Chopping the vegetables and cooking them with the sausage saves loads of time on a busy weeknight. Reheating the soup base with the broth, tortellini and baby spinach gives the soup a fresh flavor and great texture. From Meredith Deeds.

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 2 medium carrots, chopped

• 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

• 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 3 tbsp. flour

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1/4 tsp. pepper

• 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

• 4 c. low-sodium chicken broth

• 1 (14-oz.) pkg. fresh cheese tortellini

• 2 c. half-and-half

• 3 c. fresh baby spinach

• 1/4 c. chopped fresh basil

• 2 tsp. lemon juice

Directions

Heat oil in 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage, onion and carrots and cook, stirring, for 6 to 7 minutes, until the sausage is cooked through. Add the bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the flour, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes.

(This step can be done up to 4 days ahead. Cool sausage mixture for 30 minutes and keep covered, in the refrigerator. When ready to make soup, heat mixture in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Proceed with recipe.)

Add the broth to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Return heat to medium, add tortellini and cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the tortellini is tender. Add half-and-half, spinach and basil and cook just until the soup is hot and spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.