Thursday, February 28, 2013

When in Texas, Grow Jalapenos

I enjoy gardening, so my husband built me a beautiful raised planter in our backyard where I could figure out what grows in North Texas. The first year, my pumpkins attracted half the squash bugs in the county, and my tomatoes attracted Texas-sized tomato horn worms. Once the pumpkin vines died, the squash bugs moved on to my zucchinis. The pests got more out of my garden than we did. My attempt at corn was undermined by heat stress that caused mutant kernals.

I tried tomatoes one more year before I gave up fighting the hornworms. I've kept at the zucchinis with success, and also tried sweet onions for the next two seasons. The sweet onions didn't turn out as big as promised, but I harvested enough to stock my kitchen for months. My biggest success, though, was jalapenos.

In the first months after we moved here, I learned that if you are going to live in Texas, you must know how to make stuffed jalapenos to go with your grilled or barbequed meat (my recipe to come later, when grilling season starts). That was my inspiration for growing jalapenos. Little did I know how abundant my jalapeno plants would be. I had to figure out a way to take advantage of my bumper crops before they all went to waste.

After hunting for various jalapeno recipes, I settled on Emeril's Green Jalapeno Sauce. At the end of the growing season, just before the nighttime temperatures dip down below 50 degrees and my jalapenos develop black spots from the cold, I harvest all the jalapenos I can, and start bottling them. This past year, I ended up with about 6 quarts of jalapeno sauce. Since that's way more than I could expect 2 people to consume, I purchased 36 bottles that were suitable for storing and serving my sauce, and gifted them to every friend, coworker and family member that I could. I still have over a quart left. Luckily, as long as it is refrigerated, my sauce can keep for up to 6 months.

One thing I like to do now is buy mild salsa, and then spice it up in my recipes by adding my jalapeno sauce. Tonight's dinner was one of those recipes, which I invented last week. My husband and I like to have breakfast for dinner sometimes, and breakfast burritos are one of our favorites. This one makes a very hearty meal for 2 -- you can easily stretch it to 4 by adding a little more egg and 2 more tortillas.

April's Beefy Breakfast Burritos

1/2 pound 93% lean ground beef
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
Garlic, Salt, and Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons Amy's Mild Salsa
2 teaspoons jalapeno sauce (or more if you want to spice things up)
1 cup Original Egg Beaters
1/2 cup Sargento Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Low Carb, High Fiber Tortillas
Additional salsa for garnish (optional)

Combine the ground beef, onion, garlic, salt and pepper in a large, non-stick frying pan and cook on medium neat until beef is cooked through, stirring frequently. Add the salsa and jalapeno sauce, and stir until thoroughly incorporated with the beef. Set aside and cover the mixture with your tortillas (this keeps the beef mixture warm, and steams and warms your tortillas so that they won't break when you fold them.

In a small, non-stick frying pan, cook your Egg Beaters like scrambled eggs over medium heat, until they are firm, and remove the pan from the burner.

Put your tortillas onto 2 plates and return the large skillet to the stove, over low heat. Add your eggs to the beef mixture, and stir until combined. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top of the mixture.

Divide the beef and egg mixture evenly between your tortillas, placing it in the middle of the tortillas. Wrap opposite sides of the each tortilla around the mixture, and roll them over on the plate so that the seam is on the bottom. Top with an additional spoonful of salsa, if desired. I like to serve it with some fresh fruit on the side.

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