Sunday, April 29, 2012

HELLOOOOOOO!!!!  I'm baaaackkk!  Sorry for the delay in posts, but I had one crapper of a week.  If you'll allow me to whine for a moment, you'll understand why I couldn't find time to post...

*Inhales* I own my own bakery as some of you may know, and the kick off to our community farmers market was this past Saturday, which I was a part of.  I had big plans for baking all week and I couldn't wait to get started.  My body had other plans.  I got sick.  I couldn't sleep and didn't from Saturday night until Tuesday night.  I'm not talking up for a few hours.  I'm talking sleep-for-30-minutes-if-you're-lucky up all night.  So of course, I was in the bed all day.  No school for us, save one day, and no baking for me.  I finally gave in and went to the doctor on Wednesday after convincing myself I had the whooping cough.  (Never go on WebMD when you're sick). I just had a case of bronchitis, which was close to turning into pneumonia.  Nothing a little antibiotic couldn't fix. I came home Wednesday, slept all day and night (thanks to a cough medicine the doc gave me that knocked my ass out) and was baking away the rest of the week.  So this long explanation is why I didn't post.  *Exhales*

I feel like I owe you guys so much.  I'd love to tell you I have stockpiled pictures and cooking stories to tell you from this week, but I don't.  I just didn't cook this week really.  But today I planned our "homeschool" meal from what we've been studying. I'll give you a little background.  The one day we did school we studied about the Mexican Revolution.  Sadly, I don't remember much about it, being sick and all, or I would flood your brains with knowledge of this historical event.  But every so often we have a meal that kinda goes along with what we are studying.  This week's meal was titled, "Remember (Those Great Tortillas At) The Alamo!".  No, really.  It's from this really fun book we have.  Anyway...back to the important part.  The food.  We decided we would have this meal on Sunday, since the weekend was so busy and we were preparing a LOT of food and we could just eat on it all day.  Here's the menu:

Awesome Tacos

Ralph's Rib-Stickin' Hot and Spicy Texas Ribs

Meatless Chili

Friends, that's a lot of food.  But we made it.  And we ate it.  I decided to highlight the meatless chili, since I already kinda talked about taco meat and Danny did the ribs.

I started with green peppers.  If you don't like green peppers, you probably wanna stop reading right now and watch TV or something, because that's the main ingredient.  You take two green peppers, dice them up, cut up an onion (it called for two, but that's too many for us), 2 cloves of garlic and olive oil.  Saute that all up, then add a big can of crushed tomatoes and a myriad of spices that, quite frankly confounded me.  Dill in chili?  But, seeing as it was the first time I'd made this chili, I wanted to stick to the recipe and tweak it later if it wasn't good.  Let all this cook for a little bit, then add a can of kidney beans, pinto beans and green chiles and let that cook for a little bit longer.  We served it with shredded cheese, sour cream, and you guessed it...GUACAMOLE!!!

It was good.  I think it will be a repeat.  I don't think I'll tweak the dill either.  It gave it a sharpness that was a surprising addition.

So now, after eating all that food, we've been lazy and content, and I think that's how the good Lord intended Sunday's to be, don't you?

Meatless Chili

2 green peppers, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (15-oz) can red kidney beans
1 (15-oz) can pinto beans
1 (4-oz) can green chiles

Preheat your pot for 2 minutes on medium heat.  Add the olive oil, bell peppers, onion and garlic.  Saute for 10 minutes until soft and translucent.  Turn the heat to low and add the crushed tomatoes and all the spices. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes.  Add the beans and green chiles and cook for an additional 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Quick Dinner and Easy Lunch

I'm busy. As I'm sure most of you out there are. I have three kiddos that I home school. The boy is 13 and that in itself will leave your brain blistered. Add teenage-itis to the list of activities of said teenager, coupled with the activities of two adolescent girls and you're running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.

Speaking of headless's recipe is for Chicken Salad. See what I did there? I saw this recipe on Pinterest and knew it was for me. The original recipe looked flavorful and textureful (I realize that's not a word) and I could adapt it for my kids who don't have the same sophisticated palate as I. *pinkies up everyone* (forgive the very unfancy way I plated this sandwich. I was starving from working out and this was around 9:00 at night)

Chicken salad makes me feel cozy and warm and reminds me of my childhood. One of my favorite meals my mom used to make was chicken salad and rice. When I describe this you may feel disgusted and think I'm insane, but it was so good and I've never tried to recreate it for my family for fear of getting it all wrong and disappointing myself.

She would boil a whole chicken and once it was done and cooled, she'd take it off the bone, add magic to it and also eggs and leave it in the fridge while she cooked the rice and gravy from the broth. Then we'd fill our plates with rice, chicken salad and thin broth gravy over all of it and eat away. It seems we always did this on Sunday nights because with this memory I have the memory of the 60 Minutes theme and the panic I'd feel when I heard this theme song because inevitably I'd always have homework I'd forgotten to do. I still get the same panic feeling when I hear it today. But I digress...

My chicken salad recipe is different from hers. There are no eggs involved. Now that I'm a grown up, it's hard for me to reconcile eating a dish where there are adult dead chickens and baby dead chicken in the same meal. It skeeves me out in a way no words can express. Although, Mom, if you wanna make that dish for me sometime I won't fuss.

This chicken salad is simple and delicious. I made this as easy as I could because last night I had to take the girls to their competition cheer class, drop off some brownies for a customer, pick the girls up, and go to the gym. Believe it or not, it wasn't one of my busier days.

So I used canned chicken! *GASP* Don't hate me. It was actually good. But if you don't like that idea, just use chicken breast cooked the way you like them. I think grilled or broiled would be nice in this.

I used two cans. One can for the kids and Danny's and the other for me. Danny ended up eating mine because there wasn't enough to go around of the plain. Everyone loved their chicken salad too! When I came home from the gym, they all raved about it.

Drain your canned chicken and put in a bowl. For the plain one, I added green onion, celery, mayonnaise, and salt and pepper. Mixed it up and stick it in the fridge.

For the fancy one, I added all the same ingredients as the plain one, but added some chopped apple, chopped grapes and toasted pecans. Let me tell you something. IT. WAS. FANCY. I served it on croissants and I felt like I was in heaven. The different flavors and textures bursting in my mouth was a dream. I'm not ashamed to tell you I moaned more than once while eating this.

In fact, I was looking forward to eating this for lunch and saved one croissant for myself, only to wake up this morning and find out one of my kids snatched it for breakfast. Little crumb snatchers. I had to have an internal conversation reminding myself it's not the end of the world. And how could I be mad at her when she so sweetly climbed into my bed this morning telling me in great detail the lovely breakfast she had of croissant and warm butter? She's a girl after my own heart.

I hope you try this one, either for an easy dinner or a quick lunch. I, myself may make this on a weekly basis just to keep on hand on days when I want to feel fancy. Who wouldn't like that?


2 cans of chicken (or a pack of chicken breast, cooked to your liking)
2 green onions, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste


1/2 cup chopped apple
1 cup chopped grapes
1/2 cup toasted pecans, walnuts, or cashews

Stay fancy friends and serve on croissants.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Taco Tuesday

Okay, so this isn't a recipe for tacos, but I couldn't come up with a clever name for this post. Burrito Bonanza? LAME. Mexican Monday? Doesn't work because it's posting on a Tuesday. So Taco Tuesday is what you end up with folks. I apologize.

What I don't apologize for is this recipe. What I'm about to share with you is so versatile and lovely and delicious and're gonna wanna slap yo' mama. It's a recipe for Bean and Beef Burritos, but you don't have to stuff this filling in just burritos. Oh no, friends. We put this on top of chips to make nachos, use it for a mexican pizza filler, tacos, burritos, by the spoonful - whatever! It's so good.

I also made corn salsa and guacamole, though I didn't take pictures of the guacamole and I'm not sure why. I'll let you guys in on a little secret. I'll do just about anything for good guacamole. Some of my best memories involve guacamole. Like the time, this past December when Danny and I went Christmas shopping and we decided to eat at On The Border and we ordered the
freshly made guacamole. I was literally vibrating with excitement in my seat watching the server put it together...the avocados, red onion, fresh cilantro and lime juice, comparing chunky guacamole and smooth guacamole...OMG. If you could marry a food, I believe my last name would be Amole.

But sadly, this post is not about my favorite food group. Guacamole is a food group, right? I think it deserves a post all it's own. This post is about delicious, saucy, beefy, beany filling to go on your guacamole. Are you ready? Get excited!

We'll start with the beef part of the bean and beef burritos. Get beef. Two pounds of it. Cut an onion and saute it in a little olive oil until it's soft then add your ground beef. Brown it up and drain it.

Then add salt, chili powder and cumin. You're essentially making your own taco seasoning. I like this combo better and I can control the salt. Also, who knows what kinds of additives and preservatives are in those little packets? Don't get it twisted though. Sometimes I do use the packets. I'm no hater.

Once you've added the spices, just stir it up until it's all incorporated. Sometimes I add more chili powder and cumin. I don't know how I decide when I want to do this. It just has to smell burrito-y to me.

Next add your frijoles negros. Black beans for those of you who aren't as culturally awesome as I am. Actually, it just says it on the can. Who needs Rosetta Stone?

If you're using canned black beans, use two cans. Sometimes if I
have dried black beans leftover from a meal I've cooked, I'll use those. We eat beans a lot, so I usually have beans of some kind sitting around my fridge. You'll need around 2 cups.

Now just turn it on low and let the beans heat through and the filling part is all ready for you. Simple and easy. I love meals that are low on maintenance but high on deliciousness.

Now for your corn salsa. This
stuff is addictive. Seriously, you're gonna need an intervention. I'll tell you how I did it last night, so you will have a Plan B when there's no fresh corn available and you just have to have this salsa. But when you can...stick to Plan A. Plan A = fresh corn, lightly steamed and cut off the cob. Yeah, buddy.

Plan B corn salsa...this is the easiest and most delicious salsa I've ever had. Shout out to my Aunt Sandra for feeding it to me last year and getting me hooked. Rotel tomatoes + White shoepeg corn + onion + garlic salt = HO. LEE. GOODNESS. That can be your base to add other flavors (black beans, cilantro, lime juice, avocado...the possibilities are endless) or just eat it as is. You can top things with it, eat it with chips, by the spoonful. It's just good people.

So there you have it! This meal can literally be put together in no time. It's fairly nutritious and absolutely delicious and you will love me forever. This would be a great meal to put together for a little Cinco de Mayo celebration. Just add sombreros and margaritas and you're all set. Adios Amigas!


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 lbs ground beef
2 tsp salt
3 tsp chili powder
3 tsp cumin
2 cans (or 2 cups) black beans

Saute onion in olive oil until soft. Add ground beef and brown. Drain and add back to the pan. Add your spices and incorporate. Add black beans and turn on low to heat beans through.

Serve on flour tortillas, nachos, tacos or just eat it! Top with your favorite toppings.


3 ears of fresh corn, lightly steamed, kernels cut from the cob...or 1 can white shoepeg corn
2 cans Rotel tomatoes
half an onion
2 tsp garlic salt

Mix together and set aside for flavors to marry. Eat on ANYTHING!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Angry Pasta

I love Italian food. I'm sure most of my posts will start out this way. "I love_______." But I DO! I love how the simplest of ingredients becomes a complexity of flavors that leaves you completely satisfied. This dish is no exception. The picture does this dish no justice. Bear with me. I'll learn how to take better pictures, I promise.

The name of this dish is Pasta Arrabiata. Say that with me for a minute and see how it rolls off the tongue...Pas-ta Arr-ah-bee-ahh-tah...See? You love it already, don't you? It's fun to say, fun to make and fun to eat!

The word Arrabiata means "angry". It gets this name because of the spiciness of the sauce. Angry pasta. Roar...

It's a simple recipe that my family loves for me to make. It's so easy. And so good. For serious.

Pasta Arrabiata
Start with some garlic. LOTS of garlic. Peel them and get them ready for slicing.

Okay now slice those delicious morsels into thin slices and then scrub
your hands for about an hour to get the garlic smell off. Unless you like that smell. This is a judgement free zone.

Throw them into an already hot pan with some olive oil and saute for a few minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. The sauce will be bitter if you do...not the flavor you're going for.

Once they are lightly brown, throw in some red pepper flakes. The recipe calls for 1 be the judge. I like mine a little more "angry" but if the kids are eating, I'll add a little less. You're the boss. Do it your way.

Add some diced tomatoes,
preferably a good quality Italian brand, tomato sauce and a handful of fresh basil, torn into pieces. Simmer this for about 20 mins.

While that's going on, start your pot of water for your pasta, making sure to salt it well. Add your penne pasta and cook until al dente. That means "firm to the bite". I'm bilingual and junk. Don't be jealous.

Now it's time for the messy part...the part I LOVE! Crack some eggs in a bowl and whip them. Whip 'em good. In another small bowl, add bread crumbs, a little Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Mix that up then dip your chicken cutlets into the egg, then bread crumbs, then place it in a pan of hot olive oil to start frying.

You only need to fry these babies for about 5 mins on each side to get them done. Set aside and keep frying.

That's it people. I drain my pasta, pour my sauce over it and toss to coat, pour it on a platter, slice my chicken on top and serve. PERFECTION.

If you're one of those "follow specific directions" type of people, I'll add the official recipe here. I'm a kind of "gimme some room to create" type, but I know it takes all kinds, so here you go...

Pasta Arrabiata

1/2 C olive oil, divided
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp of red pepper flakes
1 (28-oz) can of diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil
1/2 c tomato sauce
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
1 (12-oz) package of dried penne pasta
2 eggs
2 c bread crumbs
1/2 c parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 pound thin chicken cutlets

Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes. Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes, and saute for another minute. Pour in the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, and add the basil. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add penne pasta and cook for about 8 minutes. Drain.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs. Place bread crumbs in a separate bowl. Stir in the cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Dip chicken into the egg mixture, then press into the bread crumbs until completely coated.

Heat remaining olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Fry chicken for about 5 minutes per side.

Remove chicken and cut into slices. Stir the pasta with the sauce, plate it and top it with the chicken.

You're ready to bless this mess and eat up.

Let me know if you try it and what you think! Manja! Manja!

New Adventures

So...I'm blogging. Because I have so much free time, I thought I would do something to occupy myself while I'm not homeschooling my three kids, working part time and starting my own company. I'm also crazy as I'm sure you have gathered.

But seriously, I just wanted to have an outlet to share my love of all things cooking and all things food. I love food and everything that's associated with it. I love cooking food, I love reading recipes, I love coming up with my own recipes, I love looking at pictures of food and I love taking pictures of food. I told you I was crazy :)

My family doesn't even bat an eyelash when I yell outside to my husband, "Let me know when those chickens get nice and crispy so I can take a picture of it and post it on Facebook!" So here I am, ready to share with the millions (or tens...or fives...whatever) my recipes and cooking adventures. Some will be successes, some will not. But, truthfully that's what I love about cooking. Memories are made when you've made an incredibly delicious meal and memories are made when your meal has been an epic fail. I want to create memories. Don't you?