Tacos are on the Money

There’s a certain weirdness to going on the air of a radio station and knowing that the listeners are going to hate you. And getting up really early to do it. And doing it – voluntarily – for 3 hours.

Yet, Pam Parker – editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle magazine and Her Times magazine – and I have been joining Tom New, president of WQLN Public Media, for the spring fundraising drive for nearly a decade.

Yep. Nearly 10 years of begging for money on the air.

It’s a privilege and a pain.

Privilege because even though I spent most of my adult life in the for-profit end of the media business, I have been a supporter of public media since shortly after I had enough left from my paycheck to support something other than myself. I know that bringing news and entertainment to the public is not free – even thought listeners and watchers don’t pay for it like they do for the newspaper (my prior employers).

So if you listen or watch this bright, smart, sometimes funny, often interesting, programming – then I think you should pay for it. The government does not fund your local public radio station or TV station – more than 85 percent of that money comes directly from you. So, if you don’t listen or watch, then don’t give.

I get it.

But if you do, then go to WQLN.org.

Enough preaching.

While you are listening to Pam, Tom, and I ask you for money on Monday morning, we know you don’t like us to interrupt your programming. So we know we have to be chirpy and bright despite knowing you really don’t like us.

And we like to be liked.

So we get really enthusiastic when the phone rings. Or donations come in through the web site. Some years, the phones ring – especially after 7 a.m. (we start at 6 a.m.). Other years, it’s so quiet we can hear the spring peepers outside.

This year was a little on the peeper side. But we also came into the campaign with about $47,000 already in the bank courtesy of people in the sustainer category – they commit to annual giving via a credit or debit card in monthly installments. It’s easy for both the giver and WQLN. I think of it like my Netflix subscription. I pay for that each month on my bank card – why not public media. Plus it gives me access to past programming.

Needless to say, I’m a big fan. Plus I serve on the WQLN board of directors.

But it’s pretty exhausting on the air begging for money from 6 to 9 a.m. Even if you love the people you are on the air with.

By 5 p.m., all I wanted to do was take a nap. But, that’s the dinner hour. And I have a 14-year-old to feed healthy food.

Tacos are friend to moms everywhere. They can be a nutritional nightmare of grease, cheese, and sour cream. Or you can replace the ground beef with chicken thighs, and add more fruits and veggies.

This recipe takes advantage of things i keep in the house. I always have some chicken thighs in the freezer because they cook quickly when chopped, are protein heavy, and are very versatile. Taco seasoning is in my cupboard always, as are pineapple fruit cups, because they are easy to pack for lunch, add to a salad, or mix with yogurt or cottage cheese. In this recipe, you’ll use the pineapple liquid to cook the chicken.

Salsa verde is in the fridge, as are some form of tortilla or flatbread wrap. Peppers and onions are usually hanging out in the crisper.

I also keep avocados around because they add a vegetable to a sandwich or snack — making them just a little healthier.

In less than 25 minutes, you’ll wind up with this beauty – which is a whole lot tastier than takeout tacos.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

After dinner, I took the dog for a stroll and then hit the sack.

Dreaming, all the night, about selling tacos to raise money for public broadcasting.

Please give. I need to sleep.

XOXOXO

Marnie

Marnie@meadballs.com

Print Recipe
Chicken Thigh Tacos with Pineapple Avocado Salsa
Course dinner
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course dinner
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Drain and reserve pineapple juice. In a small bowl, mash avocado. Add pineapple bits, salsa verde, cilantro and 1 tablespoon of minced red onion. Set aside.
  2. In a medium to large saute pan, add 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. Add sliced onion and red peppers. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Saute until onion is soft and slightly caramelized. This will take about 10 minutes or longer. Add more oil if needed. Remove from heat and place into a bowl.
  3. Toss chicken thighs with taco seasoning.
  4. Add remaining oil to pan and, over medium heat, add chicken thighs. Cook until done, about 3 minutes. Stir in reserved pineapple juice. Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until juice is mostly evaporated. Remove from heat.
  5. To prepare: Arrange tortillas on plates (1 or 2 per plate, depending on size). Top with each with equal amounts of radish slices, chicken, onion and pepper mixture, then pineapple salsa. Serve. divide equally among the tortilla shells.
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Make It Easy Monday

My introduction to the pressure cooker came about 30 years ago when one of my podmates, a reporter who covered a lot of rural Illinois, was telling me about the hot water he was in with his wife.

An avid outdoorsman, he caught a snapping turtle and was cooking it in the pressure cooker. Unfortunately, he hadn’t removed the turtle from the shell and the resulting pressure build up blew the lid off the pressure cooker. And blew turtle all over the kitchen.

His wife was not pleased.

Knowing I was a cook, he then shared the proper method for prepping a turtle for the pressure cooker. I won’t go into details. It’s not pretty, and it involves nails.

I haven’t been tempted by a pressure cooker since.

So, like a turtle, I had my head in my shell for the past 18 months as blog and food writers would go on about the joys of the pressure cooker.

All I could think about was turtle spatter on the ceiling.

Reminder that things change a lot in 3 decades.

It was fellow Fairview resident and Vegan Cheers founder who dragged me into the moment. Lisa Rose hosted a pressure cooking class at Whole Foods Co-Op. Suitably impressed, I did some research and found the Instant Pot.

It meets my criteria of a multi-purpose device – meaning it needs to be more than a one-trick pony. The Instant Pot can saute, slow cook, pressure cook, make eggs, cakes, etc.

The first experiment was to make a bone broth. This is a rather tiresome exercise even in the slow cooker. It takes me from 4 to 8 hours. The whole house smells like chicken soup. Not a bad thing. But it’s like living above a restaurant. A whiff is fine. A couple of hours is OK. Go to bed and wake up the next morning – not good.

The Instant Pot made beautiful broth in less than 2 hours. I was officially impressed. (This is not a paid post, BTW).

Next up, chicken salsa verde. Why? Because on Mondays my daughter has tennis practice. And she’s starving when she gets home. And because I drive her there and back, so I’m not home to make dinner.

This is easy-peasy. Chicken thighs, some seasonings, and salsa verde go into the pot. Less than 30 minutes later, dinner comes out of the pot. You can serve with tortillas, rice, as a salad. You get the idea.

So my lesson has been learned. Don’t let your past dictate your future. And clean out your cupboards when you find a new device (say, bye-bye rice cooker).

XOXOXO

marnie

marniemead@gmail.com

Print Recipe
Salsa Verde Chicken
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Passive Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Passive Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Add the cumin, paprika, and salsa verde.
  2. Set cooker to high pressure for 25 minutes or on the Instant Pot press the meat or poultry button.
  3. When the chicken is done cooking, quick release the pressure or allow it to naturally release (can take 10 to 20 minutes). Release the lid. Shred the chicken in the pot with two forks. There will be a lot of liquid in the beginning. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before seerving.
  4. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve with tortillas, rice, use in burritos, quesadillas, tacos, salads, etc.
  5. You can make ahead and freeze.
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