Ready for a smokier taco?
If you’re a fan of smoky flavor, prepping up a chipotle taco seasoning before taco night will make you very happy. This spice blend uses common spice rack ingredients and brings the smoke through both chipotle powder and smoked paprika. We kick in a little cayenne pepper to increase the overall heat just a touch.
Don’t limit this tasty seasoning to tacos. You can use it anywhere taco of Mexican seasoning is called for to add a little south-of-the-border flare to your meal. It’s delicious simply mixed with ranch dressing for a quick dip or use it as a dry rub on chicken, pork, or steak to add a smoky, earthy heat.
- 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Use immediately or store in a sealable jar (airtight) for future use.
- The additional cayenne pepper is optional. Chipotle pepper already brings jalapeño level heat to the seasoning (chipotle chilies are dried and smoked jalapeño peppers). Cut it completely if you prefer a low to medium level heat.
Inspired by an innovative macaroni and cheese recipe that calls for adding sodium citrate, an emulsifying salt, to cheese to keep it smooth when heated (instead of adding flour to make a béchamel), we based our sauce on American cheese, which contains a similar ingredient. Because American cheese has plenty of emulsifier but not a lot of flavor, we combined it with more-flavorful extra-sharp cheddar. A bit of mustard and cayenne pepper added piquancy. We cooked the macaroni in a smaller-than-usual amount of water (along with some milk), so we didn’t have to drain it; the liquid that was left after the elbows were hydrated was just enough to form the base of the sauce. Rather than bake the mac and cheese, we sprinkled crunchy, cheesy toasted panko bread crumbs on top. Our simplified mac and cheese recipe takes only about 20 minutes from start to finish.
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup milk
- 8 ounces Elbow Macaroni
- 4 ounces American Cheese, shredded (1 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- Small pinch cayenne pepper
- 4 ounces Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (1 cup)
- 1/3 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Bring water and milk to boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Stir in macaroni and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently, until macaroni is soft (slightly past al dente), 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add American cheese, mustard, and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until cheese is completely melted, about 1 minute.
- Off heat, stir in cheddar until evenly distributed but not melted.
- Cover saucepan and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine panko, oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in 8-inch nonstick skillet until panko is evenly moistened. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until evenly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Off heat, sprinkle Parmesan over panko mixture and stir to combine.
- Transfer panko mixture to small bowl.
- Stir macaroni until sauce is smooth (sauce may look loose but will thicken as it cools). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer to warm serving dish and sprinkle panko mixture over top.
- Serve immediately.
- Barilla makes our favorite elbow macaroni. Because the macaroni is cooked in a measured amount of liquid, we don’t recommend using different shapes or sizes of pasta.
- Use a 4-ounce block of American cheese from the deli counter rather than presliced cheese.
The idea of making breakfast sandwiches for a crowd shook up my long-standing belief that frittata was the best party-time egg dish. The wake up call came after one of those endless internet black holes where you wonder what your search term—I landed on this recipe on a website called Shaken Together. When I made it, I lowered the temperature so the eggs retain the softness you like in a scramble but never attain in the oven, added stuff to make it a little heartier (you could add anything you like in a frittata in a 2 to 3 ratio with the eggs), and ended up eating the little squares—with and without toast—for quick breakfasts and sliced on salads.
Makes 1 pan of eggs (for 6 sandwiches of 2 eggs each)
- 12 eggs
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- A little cream or milk
- 1 cup give or so of add ins (optional): shaved asparagus, peas, any veg really, rendered bacon or prosciutto or pancetta, herbs, melty cheese
- 6 rolls or 12 pieces of toast, for serving (optional)
- Grease a half sheet pan very well (or use a Silpat) and heat the oven to 300°F.
- Crack all 12 eggs in a big bowl, add salt and pepper and the splash of cream, then whisk until well combined.
- Add the other stuff—except cheese—and gently fold until mixed.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
- Dot with cheese evenly, if using. Bake until the eggs are just set, about 15 minutes.
- Transfer to a cutting board and cut into squares if you’re egg sandwiches. Cut however else for whatever other purpose you’re dreaming up: slivers for salad, rectangles for bigger sandwiches or to-go lunches, and so on.
To make a brûléed egg, simply cut the hard-boiled (or steamed or baked) egg in half and sprinkle it with salt, then top with sugar and torch away. The result is absolutely delicious, like a haute cuisine version of scrambled eggs with maple syrup.