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Monday, January 28, 2019

Fool Proof Fall Off The Bone Ribs (Slowcooker)

menumusings.com_fool proof ribs
After making these a good half dozen times or so, and even going so far as to even giving my oldest child his own slowcooker to make his own (because he proclaimed these some of the best ribs he and his friends had ever had), I felt like it was probably high time to transcribe this recipe off of a sheet of paper full of "scribble scratch" into a honest-to-goodness typed up recipe that I could actually share when friends asked me for it.  

I have absolutely nothing against ribs on a smoker or a grill.  But hey... it's smack dab in the middle of winter here, and I'd rather be snuggled inside than adding woodchips to the smoker or braving the elements.  Total girlie statement there.  Let's face it, though - there are several reasons why making ribs in a slowcooker totally rocks!  Maybe you don't have a grill or smoker.  Maybe you don't wish to go out and stand around in the snow or wind or whatEVA!  Maybe you live in a small apartment and that's just not an option for you.  Maybe you have one and you're just not quite "there yet" in your comfort level.  Perhaps you just want to be able to put these bad boys on in the morning before work and have them tender and ready for the barbeque sauce and oven when you walk in the door from work!  (I'm raising my hand.)  Whatever the reason, these are amazing.  Ask my kiddos if you need witnesses. These come out so tender you will absolutely be astonished!  I'll add in the tips as we go through the post.
#glutenfree #dairyfree #slowcooker #easy #kidfriendly #pork #babyback #ribs #familyfriendly

Ingredients (1-2 racks of baby back pork ribs)

Spice Rub
I make this up ahead of time and store it in an airtight container.  That makes prep faster when I’m ready to season the ribs in the morning.  I sometimes use it all on one rack, but it really is enough to accommodate two whole racks of ribs.
·       1 Tbsp paprika
menumusings.com_fool proof ribs
·       1 Tbsp garlic pwdr
·       1 Tbsp onion pwdr
·       2 Tbsp brown sugar
·       2 Tbsp kosher salt
·       1 tsp cayenne
·       1 Tbsp chili pwdr
·       1 Tbsp black pepper
·       1 tsp steak seasoning (like Montreal or Chicago)
·       1 tsp instant coffee
Ribs
·       2-3 medium sized yellow onions
o   cut into thick slices
·       Good quality apple juice or apple cider
o   enough to cover the onion slices
·       Apple cider vinegar
o   a splash à maybe half a cup or so
·       1 - 2 nice meaty racks of baby back ribs
o   Membrane removed!!
BBQ Sauce
·       2 slices bacon, cut into ½” pieces
·       Fry until crispy, then remove pieces from saucepan, reserving bacon fat
·       To bacon fat, add 1 Tbsp EVOO
·       Add ½ cup chopped finely chopped onion to bacon fat and EVOO
·       Cook until onion is translucent and soft
·       Add 3 Tbsp minced garlic or garlic paste
·       1 (16 oz) jar apricot preserves
      2 cups ketchup
·       ¼ cup molasses
·       3 Tbsp Dijon
·       2 Tbsp brown sugar
·       2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
·       3 Tbsp honey
·       1 tsp dried thyme or 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
·       ¼ - ½ tsp red pepper flakes
·       Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
*Cook on simmer until desired consistency is reached.

Step-by-Step - 
The night before –
Make the spice rub.   Store in airtight container.  Doing this the night before saves you so much time! (*Hint - this "rib rub" would be such an awesome gift to someone!)
seasoning blend
In the morning –
Slice the onions into thick slices and line the bottom of the crock pot.  Don't skip this step!  This keeps the meat out of the liquid and OH MY GOSH, these onions are AMAZING at the end of the day!
thick onion slabs
Add apple cider/apple juice to cover the onions.  Then add a nice splash of Apple cider vinegar (ACV) to the apple juice for acidity.  This brightens up and balances out the flavors.
apple juice or apple cider
apple cider vinegar

Okie dokie.  Now this is the only technical part of the entire recipe.  Pull the membrane off of the ribs.  Yuck.  Loosen the edge with a knife or something until you can grab it.  Grab it with a paper towel and rip it off.  A paper towel works much better than trying to grab it with your fingers.  Trust me.  When you are lucky, it will come off in a sheet.  It will still look sort of white underneath, but you will know that you got it off when a thin, filmy sheet of skin stuff comes off.
Cut your rack(s) in half.  Otherwise they won't fit in the slowcooker.  Spread that great rub all over the entire rack – top and bottom.  Make sure you massage the rub into the meat really nice on all sides.

Add your seasoned ribs to the slowcooker on top of the onion slices.  I have ... ahem... several slowcookers.  The one I use for these ribs is an extra large size.  It can probably accommodate two racks of ribs easily; however one is more than enough for our needs right now.  

 Make sure you shut the lid tightly.
I set my slowcooker on low for 8 hours.  If you do not wish for them to be quite so tender and falling off the bone, check them for doneness earlier.  I realize that everyone has different opinions on this.
When you get home from work/school –
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
Make your BBQ sauce if you'd like.  This can also be made ahead of time.  Note -  It freezes very well!  One batch of sauce lasts me about three meals of ribs.  I freeze it in small portions (think muffin tin sizes, or snack baggies than can be stored flat).

Carefully take the ribs out of the crock pot and set them out onto a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. 
You may need to use two spatulas (one on each side) to remove the ribs, as they will be SUPER tender at this point.

Allow yourself to have a little taste test if a small chunk of meat should happen to accidentally fall off during the transfer.  Yes - FALL off.  Literally.
Find SOME kind of use for these AMAZING onions.  Promise me you will taste these!  Wowwww! 

Recipe for homemade BBQ sauce is listed in ingredient list
Slather as much BBQ sauce as you want onto the ribs.
Pop them into the oven for up to 2 hours on 200F until a nice crusty bark has formed.  Or turn the heat up to 400F and just leave them in a little while until bark has formed.
It also works really great to put them on a cooling rack to put them in the oven.  That way they get to develop a bark on both sides with a little better circulation.
menumusings.com_fool proof ribs
Gently cut apart into servings. 
menumusings.com_fool proof ribs
Here are some Bonus Recipes I hope you will enjoy:
Happy Hour PIzza Rolls - every kid in your house will love these..even the grown ones!
menu musings_ happy hour pizza rolls
Stuffed Peppers - old school with lots of nutritious delicious!
menumusings.com_ stuffed peppers
Cajun Crawfish Bread - it's that time of year, folks!  Substitute crab meat or shrimp if you don't live in the Gulf South.
menumusings.com_ cajun crawfish bread
Creamy Chicken Piccata - an Italian classic with a bit of twist.
menumusings.com_creamy chicken piccata
Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy) - a French classic that will warm your whole family.
menumusings.com_boeuf bourguignon (beef bourguignon)
Method:

The night before –
·       Make the spice rub.
·       Store in airtight container.
In the morning –
·       Slice the onions into thick slices and line the bottom of the crock pot.
·       Add apple cider/apple juice to cover the onions.
·       Add a nice splash of ACV to the apple juice for acidity. 
·       Pull the membrane off of the ribs.  Yuck.
o   Loosen the edge with a knife or something until you can grab it.
o   Grab it with a paper towel and rip it off.  A paper towel works much better than trying to grab it with your fingers.  Trust me.  When you are lucky, it will come off in a sheet.  It will still look sort of white underneath, but you will know that you got it off when a thin, filmy sheet of skin stuff comes off.
·       Spread the rub all over the entire rack – top and bottom.
·       You’ll probably need to cut the rack into two pieces to fit into the crockpot.
·       Close the lid tightly.
·       Set the crockpot on LOW x 8 hours.
When you get home from work/school –
·       Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
·       Make your BBQ sauce.
o   This can also be made ahead of time.  It also freezes very well!
o   (think small portions like muffin tin sizes)
·       Carefully take the ribs out of the crock pot and set them out onto a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.
o   You may need to use two spatulas (one on each side) to remove the ribs, as they will be SUPER tender at this point.
·       Slather as much BBQ sauce as you want onto the ribs.
·       Pop them into the oven for up to 2 hours on 200F until a nice crusty bark has formed
o   Or turn the heat up to 400F and just leave them in a little while until bark has formed.
·       Gently cut apart into servings.
           

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Cranberry Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Cranberry maple bacon brussels sprouts_menumusings.com
As you all know by now, we are big fans of playing with our food over here.  It's one of the joys of life that I somehow never outgrew.  I'm one of those people that gets a lot of enjoyment out of putting together new flavors and textures and seeing what will happen... sort of like that rat in the movie Ratatouille.  Ha!  I also like having multiple flavors and textures in the same dish.  Like this one one here.  My daughter and I just adore roasted Brussels sprouts.  I usually roast them with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and top them with Parmesan cheese; but I thought that this close to the holidays, I would try something a bit more festive.  

Full disclosure - we enjoyed these so much that she and I grabbed two forks and ate the entire batch for dinner.  Bam!  That's it.  To heck with anything else.  First of all, roasting the sprouts brings out that little crunchy caramelization on the edges.  Yummm.  So you have the savory sprouts, sweet  chewy cranberries, smoky bacon, tangy creamy goat cheese, sweet caramelized roasted onions... how delicious can one bite get?!  Did I mention they were so easy?

Cranberry maple bacon brussels sprouts_menumusings.com#glutenfree #sidedish #easy #lowcarb #healthy 
option for #dairyfree #paleo #whole30 
#brusselssprouts #thanksgiving #holidaymeals

Print this Recipe!

Ingredients: (4-6 servings as a side)

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 6 strips maple bacon
    • You may not need all the bacon, but will need the bacon grease
  • 1 small onion (baseball sized)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1oz box dried cranberries or small handful 
  • 1 handful of crumbled goat cheese (chevre) 
    • omit for #dairyfree #paleo #whole30
Step-by-Step:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut bacon into half inch lardons (thin pieces).  Fry the bacon in a skillet until desired amount of crispiness then remove with a slotted spoon to paper towel to drain.  Reserve the bacon drippings as you will need this to put over the Brussels sprouts.  
6 slices maple bacon cut into 1/2" pices
remember to reserve bacon grease!
don't worry.  The extra won't go to waste.  I have bacon thieves at my house.
Cut Brussels sprouts in half through the stem.  In a medium bowl, pour the warm bacon drippings over the sprouts and mix to coat.  Pour the coated spouts out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet with cut sides up.  (This makes cleanup so much easier.  Trust me.)  While bacon grease is still "wet,"  season generously with salt and pepper.
1 pound of Brussels sprouts cut through the stem.
Cut the onion into thick rings.  If you cut them too thin, they will burn.  Separate the rings and place them over the sprouts.  Roast the sprouts in preheated 400F oven for about 40 minutes.  You may want to shake them around and turn them over midway through cooking.  
1 small onion cut into thick rings, then in half.

roast 400F x 40 minutes
Remove from oven.  Add roasted vegetables to serving dish.  Add handful of dried cranberries and crumbled goat cheese.  *I find that the pre-crumbled goat cheese stays together better, and looks prettier for serving, than the one you crumble yourself (which melts faster and just becomes a puddle).  Serve immediately.

Dried cranberries
Here's where you get to add a nice handful of that crispy bacon.  Sorry, I forgot the picture.  You probably won't need it all... but hey, that's more to munch on!
Cranberry maple bacon brussels sprouts_menumusings.com
crumbled goat cheese (omit for #dairyfree #paleo #whole30)
Cranberry maple bacon brussels sprouts_menumusings.com

Cranberry maple bacon brussels sprouts_menumusings.com

Bonus Recipes:
Carrot Souffle
Toffee Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Upside Down Cake
Maple Bacon Green Beans
Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes
Written Method:


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut bacon into half inch lardons (thin pieces).  Fry the bacon in a skillet until desired amount of crispiness then remove with a slotted spoon to paper towel to drain.  Reserve the bacon drippings as you will need this to put over the Brussels sprouts.  

Cut Brussels sprouts in half through the stem.  In a medium bowl, pour the warm bacon drippings over the sprouts and mix to coat.  Pour the coated spouts out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet with cut sides up.  (This makes cleanup so much easier.  Trust me.)  While bacon grease is still "wet,"  season generously with salt and pepper.  

Cut the onion into thick rings.  If you cut them too thin, they will burn.  Separate the rings and place them over the sprouts.  Roast the sprouts in preheated 400F oven for about 40 minutes.  You may want to shake them around and turn them over midway through cooking.  

Remove from oven.  Add roasted vegetables to serving dish.  Add handful of dried cranberries, crispy bacon and crumbled goat cheese.  *I find that the pre-crumbled goat cheese stays together better, and looks prettier for serving, than the one you crumble yourself (which melts faster and just becomes a puddle).  Serve immediately.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Mango Avocado Caribbean Jerk Chicken Meal Prep

Jerk Chicken Meal Prep_menumusings.com
Hi my friendlies!  Sooo... I'm back at work now at the university!  I would by tempted to carry around a sign saying "I have ARRIVED!!!!"  But for those of you who know me, that's really not necessary.  Believe me, they know it already.  Ha!  I have sort of a big personality (read that as - I am NOT a quiet little mouse who sits in the corner).   But with my old position comes the familiar challenges of getting dinners planned out again (eek!) and definitely planning my lunches.  I'm just going to have to tell you that I've never been one to appreciate the nuances of cafeteria food.  Anyway, the other day the kids and I were talking about Jamaican Jerk Chicken and I seriously got a craving for some.  I love all those sweet, savory, tangy flavors all playing together in the same flavor profile.  The problem for my family though, is that every time we've bought a "kit" or ordered it anywhere, it's just been too intolerably hot for them.  Most of them just don't have an appreciation for spicy foods.  Hmmm.  That does present a dilemma, right?  So I decided recently to scour the internet, poll my friends, look through cookbooks and pool my resources to basically cobble together a jerk recipe that would have the flavor profile I wanted without the heat.  

My little girl (who does not like anything spicy) gave this dish glowing reviews and said it was "perfect!"  That probably means you could add more heat.  HaHa!!  It also means it's super kid friendly.  This is usually NOT the case with jerk chicken.  Typically your mouth is on fire and you are sweating and looking for a glass of milk.  You can use that as a barometer for how much heat you may want to add depending on whom you are cooking for - children vs. adults.  **I do fully realize this is not "authentic" jerk chicken as it is supposed to be "challengingly spicy" and typically relies on scotch bonnet or habanero chiles.  My entire goal was to make this friendly for my family.  Feel free to substitute these chiles in your recipe as you wish.  

#mealprep #glutenfree #dairyfree #easy #familyfriendly
Options for #paleo #whole30 

Ingredients (4 servings)

Jerk Chicken (mild)
Jerk Chicken Meal Prep_menumusings.com
  • 4 chicken breasts
    • boneless, skinless, trimmed of fat
  • 6 green onions
    • green tops and tender part of whites, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed and rough chopped
    • seeded for milder marinade
    • keep the seeds for spicier marinade
  • 1 Tbsp ginger paste (or equivalent amount of minced ginger)
  • 1 Tbsp garlic paste (or equivalent amount of minced garlic)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
    • use coconut aminos for #glutenfree #paleo #whole30
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
    • use date paste for #paleo #whole30
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 
Mango Avocado Salsa
  • 1 large mango, peeled and diced
    • about 1 1/2 cups jarred mango 
  • 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 large avocado, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • Optional - add a bit of diced jalapeno if you'd like heat
Coconut Rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups canned coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
    • use cauliflower rice for #paleo #whole30
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Step-by-Step:
Let's get this marinade started.  Yes, it looks like an insanely long list of stuff, but all you are doing is dumping it into the food processor.  I think maybe the Caribbean people were in a battle with the people from India and the people from the Arab speaking countries when they came up with this recipe.  You basically get to pull out all those little-used spices you have in the cabinet and have a party with them!
6 green onions
1 jalapeno (seeded or not.  Your choice)
1 Tbsp ginger paste
1 Tbsp garlic paste
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp brown sugar (or date paste)
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 -1/2  tsp red pepper flakes
 Blend well to combine.
Now just pop your meat into the marinade.  Allow it to marinade for 3 - 8 hours.  The longer you allow this, the more flavorful the chicken.  I had my daughter pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness before putting them in the bag to allow for even cooking.  This also helps tenderize the meat.  (You can use chicken thighs if you wish, just allow for extra cooking time.)  I like to use these ziptop bags for marinating my meat because I can push all the air out, allowing the marinade to come in contact with all of the meat.  It's also easier to squish a bag into a tight spot in the refrigerator.  

The Coconut Rice
I'm not going to lie, y'all.  I just threw all the ingredients into the rice pot, gave them a stir and hit the COOK button.   This will cook for about the standard 20 minutes for regular jasmine rice.
1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
(Use cauliflower rice for #paleo and #whole30)
1 1/4 cups canned coconut milk 
1 1/2 cups water
healthy pinch of kosher salt
 *For cauliflower rice, cook according to package directions with coconut milk and salt.   

For the black beans.
I didn't use a recipe.  Sorry.  I just drained and rinsed my canned black beans and put them in the pot.  Added some chicken broth, salt, pepper, garlic powder and fresh cilantro.  I cooked them only until a little soft.  I did not want them to get mushy!
Black beans, chicken broth, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cilantro
For the mango-avocado salsa.
Chop everything and mix it up.  No special tricks.  I would probably advise you to add the lime juice after the avocado to prevent oxidation (browning), but other than that, have at it.  You can easily adjust the flavors to make it spicier if you want more heat, etc.  Also, my choices of avocados were pretty slim and mine was a bit over ripe, but sometimes "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit." 
1 large mango (~ 1 1/2 cups chopped)
1/3 cup
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of one large lime
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 large avocado, peeled, cut into chunks
1/3 cup red bell pepper
Season to taste with kosher salt
Season to taste with black pepper

Cook the chicken.
So, we just moved and I don't have a grill here.  Womp womp....  perhaps you don't either.  So what?  Let's just throw it in a pan.  If you DO have a grill, throw those chickies on there and grill them up.  Either way, you need your internal temperature to be the standard 165 F.   I used a black iron skillet.  They have great heat distribution, are perfect for searing, do not give off toxic fumes while you're cooking and are able to withstand high heat.
Grill or pan saute marinated chicken until cooked through to 165F and golden brown.
Assemble your jerk bowls. 
Lay down a bed of jasmine or cauliflower rice.  Brown rice would also work great.  Arrange your chicken, salsa and black beans in the meal prep containers.  Add some lime wedges for squeezing over the meals later when you reheat them, and a bit of cilantro if desired.   I really liked the salsa warm when I reheated my meals; but you could also put the salsa in a separate container if you are certain that you want to eat it cold.  
Jerk Chicken Meal Prep_menumusings.com
You could feel free to pre-slice the chicken into strips or even bite sized pieces if you wish.  That may work great if you are sending them as a lunchbox option for one of your teens.  
Jerk Chicken Meal Prep_menumusings.com
Another option would be to use shrimp as your protein - just to switch things up a bit.  
Jerk Chicken Meal Prep_menumusings.com
Aren't these super cute!  A bit of the Caribbean right on your office desk!  I bet they aren't serving this in your workroom cafeteria! 
Jerk Chicken Meal Prep_menumusings.com
Tell me your honey (friends, coworkers, kidlets, neighbors, workout partners) wouldn't be super excited to get these for lunch?! 
Jerk Chicken Meal Prep_menumusings.com
I'm not sure if you know, but beans and rice together makes a complete protein, so we have a protein there that also contains tons of fiber, then the super flavorful chicken, and all that beautiful fresh fruit.
Jerk Chicken Meal Prep_menumusings.com
I hope you enjoy this recipe.  It's so fun to eat different things and not "the same old thing" all the time, right?  My kids love picking stuff from around the world and having new things to eat.
Jerk Chicken Meal Prep_menumusings.com
Mmmm.... I'm ready to make this again already.   

Check out my cookbook - Menu Musings.  A great gift for the people on your Christmas list!

Bonus Recipes -  
Orzo Artichoke Pasta Salad - picnic perfect!
Korean BBQ Shish Kabobs - so kid friendly!
Secret Ingredient Mac and Cheese - vegetables?  What?
Pickle Brined Fried Chicken - just like Chick-fil-A!
Beefy Crunch Wrap Supreme - move over TacoBell!
Brady's Brussels Sprouts Hash - perfect low carb side dish!


Written Method:
Let's get this marinade started.  Yes, it looks like an insanely long list of stuff, but all you are doing is dumping it into the food processor.  I think maybe the Caribbean people were in a battle with the people from India and the people from the Arab speaking countries when they came up with this recipe.  You basically get to pull out all those little-used spices you have in the cabinet and have a party with them! Blend well to combine.

Now just pop your meat into the marinade.  Allow it to marinade for 3 - 8 hours.  The longer you allow this, the more flavorful the chicken.  I had my daughter pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness before putting them in the bag to allow for even cooking.  This also helps tenderize the meat.  (You can use chicken thighs if you wish, just allow for extra cooking time.)  I like to use these ziptop bags for marinating my meat because I can push all the air out, allowing the marinade to come in contact with all of the meat.  It's also easier to squish a bag into a tight spot in the refrigerator.  

The Coconut Rice
I'm not going to lie, y'all.  I just threw all the ingredients into the rice pot, gave them a stir and hit the COOK button.   This will cook for about the standard 20 minutes for regular jasmine rice.  
 *For cauliflower rice, cook according to package directions with coconut milk and salt.   

For the black beans.
I didn't use a recipe.  Sorry.  I just drained and rinsed my canned black beans and put them in the pot.  Added some chicken broth, salt, pepper, garlic powder and fresh cilantro.  I cooked them only until a little soft.  I did not want them to get mushy! 

For the mango-avocado salsa.
Chop everything and mix it up.  No special tricks.  I would probably advise you to add the lime juice after the avocado to prevent oxidation (browning), but other than that, have at it.  You can easily adjust the flavors to make it spicier if you want more heat, etc.  Also, my choices of avocados were pretty slim and mine was a bit over ripe, but sometimes "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit."  

Cook the chicken.
So, we just moved and I don't have a grill here.  Womp womp....  perhaps you don't either.  So what?  Let's just throw it in a pan.  If you DO have a grill, throw those chickies on there and grill them up.  Either way, you need your internal temperature to be the standard 165 F.   I used a black iron skillet.  They have great heat distribution, are perfect for searing, do not give off toxic fumes while you're cooking and are able to withstand high heat.


Assemble your jerk bowls. 
Lay down a bed of jasmine or cauliflower rice.  Brown rice would also work great.  Arrange your chicken, salsa and black beans in the meal prep containers.  Add some lime wedges for squeezing over the meals later when you reheat them, and a bit of cilantro if desired.   I really liked the salsa warm when I reheated my meals; but you could also put the salsa in a separate container if you are certain that you want to eat it cold.  

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