10 Must-Try Recipes for Taco Tuesday

Week after week you’ve probably seen a smattering of #TacoTuesday recipes across the web. This day is no joke. It’s a day to celebrate all things delicious and taco-y. (Seriously, that’s a word.) I spent most of my life eating traditional tacos with crunchy corn shells, ground beef, lettuce, cheese and tomatoes. And then I got really serious about #TacoTuesday and decided to step outside of my comfort zone. And you should too with these 10 must-try recipes for Taco Tuesday!

Chipotle Bacon Ranch Chicken Tacos

Chipotle Bacon Ranch Chicken Tacos

7 Layer Taco Salad

10 Must-Try Recipes for Taco Tuesday

Salsa Verde Shrimp Tacos

Salsa Verde Shrimp Tacos

Steak Tacos With Grilled Corn Salsa

Steak Tacos with Grilled Corn Salsa

Fiesta Salmon Tacos

Fiesta Salmon Tacos

Grilled Lime Chicken Tacos With Corn Salsa

12 Delicious Chicken Dinners

Slow Cooker Sesame Ginger Pork Tacos

Slow Cooker Sesame Ginger Pork Tacos | foodnfocus.com

Steak Tacos With Lime Mayo

Steak Tacos with Lime Mayo via @foodnfocus

Blackened Shrimp Tacos

Blackened Shrimp Tacos via @foodnfocus

Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Chipotle Chicken Tacos | foodnfocus.com

Cold Fashioned Potato Salad

  • 2 1/2 pounds red potatoes, large diced
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (homemade if possible)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 tablespoon very thinly sliced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons fine chopped cornichons
  • 1/2 cup small dice red onion
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Lets keep with the picnic side-theme this week. Up today: Cold Fashioned Potato Salad. Potato salad is a picnic favorite of mine, however, my problem is that I dislike eggs and most people put eggs in their recipe. This recipe does not include eggs (woo hooo) and offers a nice combo-spin on traditional and German potato salad.

Place the potatoes in a large stock pot and cover them with cold water (and a bit of salt). Cover the pot and then bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and remove the lid, simmering the potatoes until a fork can be inserted easily into the potatoes. Remove them from the heat and drain. If you left the potatoes larger, you can slice them here and put them into a zip closure bag. I diced mine smaller so I left them be. Add the cider vinegar into the bag and store the potatoes overnight in the refrigerator.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Once the ingredients are evenly mixed, pour the potatoes in the bowl and toss them to coat. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Allow the salad to chill in the refrigerator for an additional hours to allow the flavors to settle and then serve.

potatoespotato salad

potato salad

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

I cannot believe we are already at Thanksgiving week! You may have seen on Facebook that I had the opportunity to work with Cost Plus World Market on a Thanksgiving tablescape demo a couple of weeks ago which really got me in the mood for the holiday! It also really made me realize how excited people could be to NOT be hosting Thanksgiving! I was asking customers as they walked past my table, ‘Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year?’ And many of them gave a resounding NO! Perhaps they are just thankful that they don’t have the extra stress of preparing a Thanksgiving meal this year.

Even if you are hosting this year you might want some ideas for your desserts that are outside of the traditional pumpkin pie but that can be easily made. Now, I might be a food blogger but I still like a good cake mix that comes from a box now and again. I decided to dress up a box of spice cake mix for the Living Litehouse blog and the results were delicious! I really think that you’ll want to serve these at your Thanksgiving feast this year, even if you’re heading to someone else’s house. And the best part is that you won’t even have to tell anyone that the cake mix came from a box because they’ll be so fancy that nobody will even question you!

My Caramel Apple Cupcakes offer the perfect balance of spice, apple and caramel with a delicious cream cheese frosting. They are super simple to make and I really think that your kids will enjoy helping too.

Head on over to the Living Litehouse blog and get the recipe!

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Top Posts of 2013

Happy Monday everyone! I’m still in holiday mode for just a few more days. I can’t believe how quickly these weeks have been flying by! The year is winding down and so I thought that this would be a great time to share the top 10 posts of 2013 on Food n’ Focus! You guys have been great readers this year and I look forward to sharing many more delicious and healthy recipes with you in 2014.

#10 Spicy Thai String Bean Chicken

Spicy Thai String Bean Chicken | foodnfocus.com

#9 Fajita Enchiladas

Fajita Enchiladas via @foodnfocus

#8 Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

peanut butter cup blondies

#7 Ginger Scallion Ramen

Ginger Scallion Ramen | foodnfocus.com

#6 Simple Strawberry Mousse

Strawberry Mousse via @foodnfocus

#5 Meyer Lemon Sandwich Cookies

Meyer Lemon Sandwich Cookies | via @foodnfocus

#4 White Pizza With Tomato & Basil

White Pizza with Tomato and Basil | FoodnFocus.com

#3 Smoky Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas

Smoky Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas | foodnfocus.com

#2 Buffalo Chicken Pockets

buffalo chicken biscuits

#1 Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie | foodnfocus.com

Creamy Butternut Squash and Sage Pasta

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #thetalkofthetable #CollectiveBias The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.

I’m back! Did you miss me? I had a wonderful vacation in the French Riviera and cannot wait to share more with you next week. I returned home late Friday evening and instantly got back to work on Saturday and Sunday. I finally felt organized enough last night to bring this delicious recipe to the blog today! I had my share of wine and pasta on vacation because, well, it’s France and they love their wine and their food in this region is very much influenced by Italian cuisine. I was still craving a good pasta and wine meal when I returned home and decided to put a fall spin on the dish: Creamy Butternut Squash and Sage Pasta.

Creamy Butternut Squash and Sage Pasta

Before we get to the recipe I wanted to take a minute to talk about wine. I know that I’ve mentioned it before but I’m a big fan of wine. Bordeaux was often found while on my vacation, which I typically do not drink but learned that I absolutely love! I’m more of an Italian wine fan or a good Cabernet Sauvignon. I have my go-to wines but while out shopping this weekend I decided to explore the wine aisle a little bit more and find something new. I was looking for something affordable, in the $10-$15 range and my eye was drawn to a bottle of Clos du Bois Cabernet Sauvignon. From the bottle I learned that it was medium bodied and fruit forward and so I decided to take one home with me! This mild wine seemed like it would be perfectly paired with a fall pasta featuring butternut squash and sage.

Creamy Butternut Squash and Sage PastaCreamy Butternut Squash and Sage Pasta

My husband is not a stringy spaghetti kind of guy but it is absolutely one of my favorite shapes! I picked up a box of Barilla Angel Hair Pasta knowing that these delicate strands would be the perfect vessel for the creamy sauce that I had planned. I always grab for Barilla when I’m going for a dried pasta because it’s as close to a homemade Italian pasta as I can get without actually making homemade pasta. I had my pasta and I had my wine and it was time to get to work in my kitchen.

This dish is quick and easy to make and pairs perfectly with the Clos du Bois Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, I opened my bottle while I was cooking the meal and was wishing I had purchased a second bottle! I was thinking that this would be the perfect meal for guests and right at that moment my mother and sister-in-law stopped in for a visit. Perfect timing!

With the holiday season quickly approaching you may want to stock up on your Barilla Pasta and Clos du Bois now because we all know how family can drop it at any time! Buon Appetito!

Get more Barilla and Clos du Bois pairing ideas here!

Creamy Butternut Squash and Sage Pasta
Cook time
Total time
Author: April | Food n’ Focus
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds cubed butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces Barilla Angel Hair Pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup 2% milk
  • Parmigiano Reggiano for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place butternut squash onto prepared baking sheet. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste, and gently toss to combine. Place into oven and roast until softened and cooked through, about 40 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before pureeing in a blender until smooth.
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
  4. To make the sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add garlic, shallot and sage and cook until shallots begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Whisk in the flour until lightly browned, about 1 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and butternut squash puree. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the pasta and gently toss to combine.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with cheese and additional sage, if desired.
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Creamy Butternut Squash and Sage Pasta

Steak Tacos with Grilled Corn Salsa

Remember last week when I promised you some tasty steak tacos to go along with your Chimichurri Sauce? Well I might be a few days behind but I finally have those tasty tacos for you to enjoy. And just in time for Taco Tuesday!

I’m such a huge fan of steak tacos. And throw a grilled corn salsa into the mix and you’ve got me hooked! I decided to craft a rub for this steak that includes some spicy and sweet flavors. If you like a spicier meat you can feel free to turn up the heat with additional cayenne pepper. If you stick to the recipe you’ll end up with a deliciously sweet/spicy balance of flavors.

Steak Tacos with Grilled Corn Salsa

Since fresh corn on the cob season is coming to a close I definitely encourage you to try out this recipe before it’s too late. And don’t forget the chimichurri!

Steak Tacos with Grilled Corn Salsa
Author: April | Food n’ Focus
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Dry Rub
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon English mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Steak And Salsa
  • ¼ cup olive oil plus more for grill
  • 3 ears of corn, shucked
  • ¼ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1½ pounds flank steak
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • Chimichurri Sauce
Instructions
  1. Combine brown sugar, chile powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne, granulated garlic, mustard powder, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl.
  2. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; oil grate. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until lightly browned all over, 8–10 minutes; let cool. Cut kernels from cobs and place in a medium bowl. Add onion, jalapeño, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice to 
corn and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Set salsa aside.
  3. Meanwhile, place the steak with all of dry rub into a large zip-closure bag, packing on more than once if needed, add the olive oil into the bag and massage to coat the meat. Allow the meat to marinate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Grill steak, turning occasionally and moving to a cooler spot on grill as needed to control flare-ups, until nicely browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 130°, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.
  5. Return steak to grill just to recrisp exterior, about 1 minute per side. Transfer back to cutting board and slice against the grain. Serve topped with salsa and chimichurri sauce on the flour tortillas.
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Steak Tacos with Grilled Corn Salsa

Recipe Roundup: Thanksgiving

Since I’m out of town all week I unfortunately won’t have time to cook any Thanksgiving treats for you. I figured today I would bring you some delicious recipes that I found around the internet that can help in your final days of planning. If you have a recipe that you absolutely love, leave it in the comments below!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes – Table for Two

7 Fresh Recipes for Cranberry Sauce – The Kitchn

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Sugared Pumpkin Seeds – Food n’ Focus

50 Stuffing Recipes – Food Network

No Knead Dinner Rolls – The Pioneer Woman

Lightened Gouda Mashed Potatoes with Apples & Bacon – Food n’ Focus

Turkey 101 – Epicurious

Day 9: Sausage Breakfast Casserole & Giveaway

I’m almost in disbelief that this is the week of Christmas. I think I’m even more surprised by the fact that it was about 50 degrees outside yesterday. Sadly I’m thinking that we’re not going to be having a white Christmas this year. I guess I’m alright with that since I’m still looking forward to spending time with my family, giving a few gifts and Christmas morning breakfast!

I really think that Christmas morning is a great time to bring the family around the table to spend time together and just be thankful for another year of blessings. It’s always nice to serve something warming that everyone will enjoy, which brings me to today’s recipe for Sausage Breakfast Casserole. It comes together so simply and is sure to please your entire family. You’ll want to leave time to put everything together the night before as it needs at least 8 hours to set up. You’ll be able to wake up Christmas morning and throw it in the oven for an easy, wholesome breakfast!

 Sausage Breakfast Casserole

I decided to make this dish a little lighter on the fat and calories by using chicken sausage patties from Jones Dairy Farm. Since these patties are already precooked, they take an extra step out of the preparation process. These chicken sausage patties are lower in fat, gluten- free and all natural so you can feel good about serving them to your family!

For today’s giveaway you’ll have a chance to win a chicken sausage prize package from Jones Dairy Farm so you can stock your freezer with wholesome goodness. Good luck!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Day 9: Sausage Breakfast Casserole & Giveaway
Author: April | Food n’ Focus
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ loaf of sliced whole wheat loaf bread
  • 8 fully cooked Jones Dairy Farm chicken sausage patties
  • 10 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
Instructions
  1. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread in the bottom of a greased 9- by 13- by 2- inch casserole dish.
  2. Layer the sausage patties over the bread and top with the cheese. Then stir together the, half-and-half, dry mustard, salt and eggs. Pour this mixture over the cheese. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
  3. The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Bake the covered casserole until set and slightly golden, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the casserole to set for 15 minutes before serving.
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 Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Pasta e Fagioli

As sad as I am about the lower temperatures lately, I’ve been pretty excited to start cooking inside again and bring out all of my delicious soup recipes. I had the opportunity this past weekend to make a batch of Pasta e Fagioli and sat on my patio with my husband to enjoy it with some crusty bread and a glass of wine. Sounds lovely, right? Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that Pasta e Fagioli means pasta and beans in Italian?

I’ve been on a real food and wine pairing kick lately and the inspiration for this soup was my bottle of Castello Banfi Belnero Toscana. One of the things that I love about this wine is that it blends together rich aromas of tobacco and coffee with fruity hints of cherries and plums. This wine pairs perfectly with this soup and others, as well as grilled meats and medium-aged cheeses.

Lately I have really been enjoying the idea of wine and food pairings. It’s really fun to find a wine that you love and complement the flavors through food. If this isn’t something you have been into before, I would encourage you to start looking at wine in a different light. I no longer look at wine as just a beverage but more of a way to bring together all of the flavors of my meal.

Pasta e Fagioli

I found this really great wine pairing guide on the Wine Folly website, which is a great resource if you’re new to wine. The offer a lot of different lessons if you’re brand new to drinking wine or if you have a more advanced palate.

Wine and Food Pairing

If you’re ready to pull out the sweaters and cozy up with a big bowl of soup, try this recipe out this weekend with a glass of Castello Banfi Belnero Toscana. Buon appetito!

Pasta e Fagioli
Author: April | Food n’ Focus
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ pound pancetta, cubed
  • 1 potato, diced small
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Italian crushed tomatoes
  • 5 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1 (1-pound) package Ditalini pasta, cooked for al dente texture
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas
  • 1 (14-ounce) can cannelini Beans
  • Sprig fresh rosemary
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat a large soup pot on a medium high setting. Add oil, onions, garlic and pancetta. Lightly brown pancetta, about 4 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Add potatoes, tomatoes and broth. Once boiling, turn down to a steady simmer. Simmer on low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. For a thicker, creamier texture, we use an emulsion stick or the back of a fork to smash potatoes before adding beans. Stir in chickpeas and beans. Add sprig of fresh rosemary. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add cooked pasta and cook together for another 2 minutes to marry flavors.
  5. Serve topped with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
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Pasta e FagioliThis is a sponsored post from Banfi. All opinions expressed are my own.

Guacamole Jalapeno Turkey Burgers

One of my favorite things to grill up in the summer are these jalapeno cheddar brats from my local grocery store. LOVE this flavor combination! So you can imagine my excitement when I learned that Jennie-O would be making a turkey burger with jalapenos and Monterey jack cheese! Even better is that there are only 250 calories in one patty. And theres no better way to top these burgers than with Wholly Guacamole Classic Guacamole. Its all natural, has no preservatives and is gluten free.

I grilled these delicious burgers up in no time! I preheated my grill and cooked the patties 7 9 minutes per side. Once the internal temperature reached 165 they were ready to eat. These can also be made in the broiler in a similar fashion.

The turkey burgers can be topped with your choice of Wholly Guacamole or Wholly Salsa…or both if youre feeling adventurous! I found that these make a quick and easy lunch as well, as I reheated extra burgers throughout the week for a quick meal.

wholly-guacamole-logo

So do you want to win a prize pack from Wholly Guacamole and Jennie-O? Your prize pack will include 4 coupons for Wholly products and 2 coupons to try the Jennie-O jalapeno jack turkey burger patties.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

wholly guacamole

The opinions expressed above are 100% my own. I received product in exchange for this review and post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTCs 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.