In 2014 I posted this original picadillo recipe which remains a family favorite. This recipe makes a welcomed “second spin” on the original via my main squeeze: the puffy taco.
I routinely obsess about eating my favorite puffy tacos from my childhood chomping grounds of San Antonio’s Teka Molino where my Mom “Betty” grew up eating bean rolls for a nickel. She was barely 3 years old when “Tekas” opened in 1937!
This week while I was catching up with my Cousin Jennifer about newsworthy topics like puffy tacos she confirmed that the usual beef mixture inside the Teka puffy taco is in fact picadillo, which is anything but “just” ground beef! The flavors are unmistakably from south of the border and make a signature part of the best puffy tacos you’re likely to encounter.
My favorite part about picadillo are the small potatoes that are married with green bell peppers and the seasoned meat. Some describe picadillo as a ground beef hash and I’ve been known to eat it straight from the skillet with a spoon and a smile.
Give this dish a whirl and I think you’ll love it!
❤ Picadillo is one of those rare finds that makes exceptional leftovers. Enjoy it atop: 1) Nachos; 2) Warm, crusty bread; 3) Chalupas; 4) White or corn taco shells; 5) A baked potato; 6) Feeling adventurous? Make picadillo and baked eggs! To do so just reheat the picadillo in a skillet or microwave. Transfer the picadillo to a skillet and make a small well (indentation) for each cracked egg to rest in. Bake everything at 350°F for 13-15 minutes. You’ll want the egg yolks to finish a tad “runny,” – not hard boiled. This makes it a delicious way to start the day!
❤ In case you missed it don’t forget to enjoy this picadillo inside a puffy taco. Puffies aren’t necessarily easy to make the first time but after our second attempt I declared Joe a pro.
❤ Never heard of a puffy taco? Learn more about its history here!
Total prep: About 30 minutes.
1 tablespoon | oil (we prefer vegetable, canola or avocado)
1 pound | ground beef
½ | onion, diced
½ | green bell pepper, diced
1 medium | russet potato, chopped into ¼ – ½ inch squares
10-ounce can | diced tomatoes and chilies (a.k.a. RO*TEL), with the juice
8-ounce can | tomato sauce
2 tablespoons | taco seasoning
1 teaspoon | cumin
2 tablespoons | minced garlic
to taste | salt and pepper
iii. What To Do
1. In a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, add the oil and ground beef, break-up the beef with a spoon or spatula for a couple of minutes while sautéing.
2. Add the chopped onions and bell pepper and sauté another minute or two.
3. Add the potatoes and give things a stir.
4. Add the rest of the picadillo ingredients (diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, cumin, tomatoes and minced garlic).
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes. While things are simmering you can move to making your puffy tacos with this recipe or… when the picadillo is done, remove from heat, leaving covered to keep warm. You’ll know it’s done when the potatoes are soft, but not mushy.
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
This fried rice recipe didn’t seem much of a recipe at all.
There were just a few ingredients listed on Mom’s recipe card (below) and there were no measurements. Seriously?
Well I was shocked when Joe made the fried rice seemingly out of nowhere. It was absolutely the best fried rice I’ve ever had and he made it at home using my Mom “Betty’s” recipe as a guidepost!
After all these years… I’m glad there looks to be what is a dash of a soy sauce stain on Mom’s recipe card.
❤ This dish loves seemingly day old, dry seemingly unusable rice. This recipe will bring the rice back to life in a delicious way! Joe will make a fresh batch of rice in our Zojirushi rice maker then refrigerate it so it gets nice and dry.
❤ A bit about peas and carrots. We keep the frozen bagged stuff on hand at all times and these are super easy to add to the fried rice. Plus these add a nice pop of color!
❤ If you haven’t heard the term “soft scrambled eggs,” they’re just a little under cooked or taken “just to the shiny” and a bit wet look. To some, soft scrambled is the preferred way to eat them. In this recipe they’ll finish cooking in the rice.
❤ Winner Winner! Joe’s extra spin on this recipe included 3 cage free eggs and 1 tablespoon each of fresh minced ginger, garlic, soy sauce and hoisin sauce. OMG.
Total prep: About 20 minutes.
2 | cage free eggs
1 pound | meat (pork, chicken, beef)
2-3 tablespoons | vegetable oil
at least 2-3 cups | cooked, cold rice (we prefer white, basmati and jasmine rices) follow the package instructions
2-4 tablespoons | soy sauce
1-2 cups | peas and carrots (frozen or fresh), optional
lots o’ | green onions, sliced
to taste | kosher salt
to taste | fresh cracked black pepper
optional | sesame seeds, toasted
iii. What To Do
1. In a large pan over medium-low heat soft scramble the eggs and set them aside to rest.
2. In the same pan sauté the meat in oil. Joe used some thinly sliced pork and it was tender and delicious!
3. Add the the cooked rice. Stir/sauté everything until nice and brown.
4. Season with the soy sauce and continue stirring. Hungry yet?
5. Add the peas and carrots then the green onions.
6. Toss on some salt and a few fresh cracks of black pepper. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds and you’re done!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
The old saying goes “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
I know Mom loved this recipe: a) because I found it in her cookbook and b) because it has black pepper in it and I love pepper and know she did as well!
Foodie Tips ~
♥ Never trust anything that is ⅛ teaspoon in size. Either don’t waste your time adding it into your dish or pump up the jam and add more. In this case I’d add way more than ⅛ of pepper. Go for the gusto!
1-½ pounds | round steak, cut 1/2 inch thick
¼ cup | all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon | salt
⅛ teaspoon | fresh cracked pepper
¼ cup | cooking oil or shortening (we used oil)
8 ounce can (1 cup) | tomatoes
1-¾ cups | water
½ cup | white onion, chopped
1 clove | garlic, minced
1 tablespoon | beef-flavored gravy base
1-½ teaspoons | worcestershire sauce
2 large | green peppers, cut into strips
to serve | hot cooked white rice
ii. what to do
1. Cut steak into strips.
2. Combine flour, salt and pepper and coat the steak strips.
3. In a large skillet, cook the steak strips in hot oil until until browned on all sides.
4. Drain the tomatoes, reserving their liquid.
5. Add the tomato liquid, water, onion, garlic, and gravy base to the steak. Cover and simmer in the skillet for about 75 minutes until the meat is tender.
6. Uncover and stir-in the worcestershire and the green pepper strips. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes more. If desired, you can thicken the gravy by adding a mixture of flour and cold water.
7. Add the drained tomatoes then cook for about 5 minutes.
8. Take a few deep sniffs of your dish. It smells like AWESOME!
TO SERVE: Pour spoonfuls of the peppery steak and gravy over hot rice. The recipe says this yields 6 servings. But if you’re like me, this dish actually yields 2 bountiful servings. :)
This dish was brought to you by the letter “P”!
PS ~ Now that we have peppered steak on the brain let’s watch a Peter Piper video from one of my favorite childhood TV shows – Sesame Street.
Salad dressing and wine make this chicken stew worthy of top honors.
Did somebody say wine? :)
Every year when we went to the Texas Coast, Mom had a favorite hole in the wall in Port Aransas that was a “must” on her list at least a few times while we were there. She was on the hunt for chicken in the form of fried gizzards and fried livers. While not my cup of tea, so to speak, I laugh when I think of the fact that my ancestors always seemed to eat every part of an animal while I can barely eat ribs without 2 packages of floss at the ready.
Foodie Tip ~
♥ “Chicken pieces” for me means chicken removed from the bone, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
2 tablespoons | cooking oil
12 (2¼ pounds) | chicken thighs, skinned
.6 ounce package | italian salad dressing mix
1 teaspoon | salt
4 cups | water
½ cup | dry white wine
¼ cup | catsup
3 medium | potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾” cubes
1 medium | green pepper, cut into strips
10 ounces (2 cups) | small whole onions, frozen
10 ounce package | frozen cut broccoli
2 cups | fresh mushrooms, sliced
ii. what to do
1. In a 4-½ quart Dutch oven slowly brown 6 of the chicken thighs at a time in hot oil.
2. Remove the chicken, set aside on paper towels to rest, then drain oil from the Dutch oven.
3. In the same Dutch oven mix the dry salad dressing mix and salt. Stir in water, wine and catsup. Add the chicken pieces, potatoes and green pepper.
4. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Add onions, broccoli and mushrooms. Simmer 10 more minutes.
Serve and Enjoy!
In 5th grade, I remember my music class teacher praised me for my rhythm with the wood block. Grabbing that praise, I entered beginning band in 6th grade at Garner Middle School… and my passion for percussion marched on through high school and college. I still love music to this day.
Returning home from summer band practice at Garner, I remember sitting on the floor watching TV (before cable or satellite TV) and Looney Tunes was tops on my list. Bugs Bunny was one of my favorites and we all know Bugs’ love of the carrot. With that in mind…
…I hope you enjoy mom’s tasty carrot cake as much as I do!
for the cake:
2 cups | sugar
1-1/3 cups | cooking oil
4 | cage free eggs
2 cups | flour
1 teaspoon | salt
2 teaspoons | baking soda
2 teaspoons | cinnamon
3 cups | grated raw carrots
1/2 cup | nuts (texas pecans or walnuts)
for the icing:
1 pound | powdered sugar
8-ounce package | cream cheese
¼ cup | margarine (or unsalted Falfurrias butter, per my Grandmother, “Nanny”)
2 tablespoons | milk
2 teaspoons | vanilla
0. Preheat oven to 300°F.
1. Beat sugar and oil… add the eggs and beat well.
2. Sift together the flour, salt, soda and cinnamon. Add to egg mixture and beat well.
3. Fold-in the grated carrots and nuts.
4. Transfer batter to a greased 9″ x 13″ pan.
5. Bake 70 minutes at 300°F.
6. While cake cools, let’s make the icing by beating all of the icing ingredients (above), until creamy.
7. Spread icing on cool cake and serve.
♥ Go nuts… Use tasty Texas pecans!
♥ You can also make individual treats by transforming the cake into 24 cupcakes. Cook for about 50-60 minutes.
♥ OR… you can even transform this recipe into cake balls! To yield about a dozen cake balls we crumbled 4 cupcakes along with 2 tablespoons of the frosting, chilled a few hours to firm then hand-dipped into white chocolate bark. Delicious!