Sunday, February 28, 2010

#59 :: Buñuelos

These are a quick, easy and delicious dessert to finish off any Mexican meal. Instead of using vanilla ice cream like the recipe called for, we used cinnamon ice cream. The cinnamon ice cream makes it feel more like a Mexican dessert to me.... {reminds me of the dessert at El Chicho's Mexican Restaurant back home in Texas}!


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 (8-inch) flour tortillas, whole or cut into shapes


On a plate, mix the sugar and cinnamon. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add enough oil to come halfway up the sides of the pan. Heat over medium-high heat until a deep frying thermometer, inserted in the oil, reaches 350 degrees F. (If you do not have a thermometer, test the oil with a piece of tortilla, which should sizzle when it touches the oil and should brown in about 2 to 3 minutes.) One by one, fry tortillas until golden brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer the crisps to paper towels to drain. While still warm, transfer to cinnamon-sugar mixture, turn to coat and serve.

*Cooks note: These crisps can be made ahead, sealed in cellophane bags and given as gifts!

**Cooks note: A fun way to present these crisps is to serve a couple in a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream with fresh, seasonal berries on top.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Recipe from Mexican Made Easy on Food Network

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#58 :: Tortilla Soup

Finishing off our Mexican week is Tortilla Soup {and for dessert, Buñuelos}. This is hands down the best tortilla soup I think I've ever eaten, and the leftovers the next day taste even better! I was really proud of us on this recipe, too! We used a whole chicken for this, made our own stock, fried our own tortilla chips and strips....everything was fresh and homemade. It was great!


For the Stock:

  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) whole chicken, innards removed and rinsed
  • Salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup medium diced carrots
  • 1 cup medium diced celery
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 8 cups water
For the Soup:
  • 8 (7-inch) corn tortillas, recipe follows
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded (about 6 to 8 Romas)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  • 1 large avocado, peeled and diced
  • 2 fresh limes, cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves


For the Stock: Season the chicken with salt. Place in a large stock pot and add the remaining ingredients. Season with a teaspoon of salt. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 2 hours. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Remove the chicken and set aside. Strain the liquid into a another pan, discarding the vegetables. Remove the fat and bones from the chicken. Dice the chicken into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

For the Soup: Preheat the fryer. Cut half of the tortillas in quarters and thinly slice the other half. Fry both cuts of tortillas in batches, until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and set aside. In a stock pot, over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf and jalapeno. Continue to saute for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes. Crush the reserved fried tortilla quarters over the tomatoes. Stir to mix. Stir in the reserved chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes. Using a hand-held blender, puree the soup until smooth or leave chunky. Re-season the soup. Stir in the reserved diced chicken and cilantro. Simmer for another 5 minutes. To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls. Garnish with the avocados, squeeze of lime juice, fresh cilantro and the fried tortilla strips. Serve warm.

Makes 6-8 servings

Recipe from Emeril Live on Food Network

Star Rating: 5+ out of 5 stars

#55 :: Pico de Gallo

Last night's dinner consisted of 3 different recipes -- Pico de Gallo, Creamy Poblano Pepper Strips (Rajas) Tacos, and Sauteed Potatos with Chorizo Tacos. This first recipe for Pico de Gallo is really simple, and different because of the golden tomatoes. I did try it personally,{because I don't like raw onions} but Jamie said it was great.


  • 1 1/2 pounds yellow or red tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 serrano chiles*, seeded and minced
  • Pinch kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper


Add all the ingredients to a medium bowl, and toss to combine. Cover and chill until ready to serve. This salsa can be made 4 hours ahead.

Cook's Note: In Mexico, pico de gallo is used to describe a wide variety of regional salsas, which are always made with fresh cubed fruit and/or vegetables. The most common version is made with any red tomato, onion and green chiles and is sometimes called "salsa mexicana" or "salsa bandera," because the colors in the salsa represent the Mexican flag.

*The serrano chile is a fresh, small, green chile. Traditionally used in salsas it is slightly hotter than a jalapeno chile and can be found at most supermarkets, Latin specialty markets or online.

Makes 3 cups

Recipe from Mexican Made Easy on Food Network

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

#57 :: Sauteed Potatoes with Chorizo

Mmmm Mmmm good stuff! I think anything with chorizo is good, and red potatoes are no exception. It makes a great taco filling! Jamie thought it made a good breakfast today, too. :)


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 10 ounces Mexican pork chorizo, casings removed*
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 pound red skinned new potatoes, cut into small (1/4-inch) dice, and boiled
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, breaking up the clumps, until dry and crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a paper lined plate to absorb any additional oil. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan and heat the pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and boiled potatoes and saute until brown, about 12 minutes. Stir in the cooked chorizo and season with just a little salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

*Cook's Note: Mexican chorizo is an uncooked sausage, made with fresh ground pork and well seasoned with smoked red chiles. Since it's fresh, you will need to remove the casing before cooking it. They can be found at most supermarkets. Also, some chorizos are very salty so watch the seasoning!

A great filling for soft tacos, just add shredded cheese, beans or your favorite taco filling!

Makes 4-6 servings {or 3 cups}

Recipe from Mexican Made Easy on Food Network

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

#56 :: Creamy Poblano Pepper Strips (Rajas) Tacos

This recipe is delicious! It completely made up for the bum mole from the night before. Broiling the peppers gives it such a great flavor! I think I liked it best because it wasn't your every day taco, but it was easy to make and big on taste. This is going on the list of favorites for sure.


  • 6 fresh poblano chiles* (or canned, peeled)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 ears corn, kernels removed
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Mexican crema or creme fraiche
  • 1/2 cup, shredded Monterrey jack cheese
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper


Char the poblano chiles directly over the gas flame on the stove or under the broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in a plastic bag and let steam for about 10 minutes.

Add the oil to a heavy large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the corn and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Set aside.

Peel and seed the chiles. Cut the chiles into 1/4 to 1/2-inch strips (rajas) and add the strips to the onion and corn mixture and saute until the corn is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the heavy cream and Mexican crema and cook until bubbling, about for 8 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Season the rajas with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a serving dish and serve.

*Cook's Note: The poblano chile is a fresh chile that ranges from mild to hot. It is a deep, dark green color and is large and wide with shiny skin. Ripened on the plant and dried it is known as "chile ancho" or "pasilla." They can also be found at most supermarkets or Latin specialty markets. Just keep your eye out, as some stores sell them fresh under the name "pasilla."

A great filling for tacos or topping for grilled arrachera. You can use virtually any chile but a mild poblano adds the perfect amount of spice to any dish.

Makes 4-6 servings (or 2 cups)

Recipe from Mexican Made Easy on Food Network

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, February 27, 2010

#54 :: Chicken Mole Enchiladas

"Catastrophic flavor failure!" -Jamie

This was a disappointment. I'm not sure what I did wrong, I'm pretty sure I did something to mess this one up. The flavor of the mole was just...wrong. I have full confidence that it's a good recipe when it's done right...and I will definitely have to re-visit this one and try again someday soon. For now, feel free to try it yourself and let me know your results!

*There are no photos because the mole was so bad I didn't even roll up the enchiladas. I ate the shredded chicken breast for dinner instead!


  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil


  • 5 dried pasilla chiles, (or dried anocho chiles) stemmed and seeded
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 (6-inch) corn tortillas, grilled crisp, recipe follows (or handful of regular tortilla chips)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5.5 ounces Mexican chocolate, chopped, (recommended: Ibarra*)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche (or sour cream)
  • 3/4 cup queso fresco (or mild Feta)


For the chicken breasts: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a baking sheet, season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and olive oil, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until cooked through or, set aside to cool, then shred into small (1-inch) pieces.

For the Mole: Reconstitute the dried chiles by soaking them in 1 1/2 cups hot water for 15 minutes, then drain and set aside. Grill the 2 corn tortillas in a grill pan until dry, crisp and golden. Tear into pieces and set aside. In a heavy large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, season with a little salt and saute 3 minutes, or until translucent. Then add the minced garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer onion and garlic mixture to blender with all remaining mole ingredients (except for the chocolate and chicken) and blend until very smooth. Then transfer the sauce to a medium saute pan and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in the chocolate. Season the mole with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve 1 cup of mole for garnishing the enchiladas, the rest will be used for dipping the tortillas.

To assemble the enchiladas: Re-heat the shredded chicken if necessary and keep warm. In a medium saute pan (wide enough to fit the tortillas laying flat) over high heat add the oil to reach 1/2-inch up the side. When oil is hot, dip one tortilla at a time, and fry for a few seconds just until soft and heated through. Lift out, let excess oil drip, then dip the fried tortilla directly into the warm mole (which should be right next to the pan for easy dipping) and place on a cutting board. Working quickly, put about 1/3 cup of the warm shredded chicken in the center, being careful not to over fill. Roll the tortilla like a cigar to enclose the filling and place in serving dish seam side down. (Individual gratin dishes work great to hold the extra mole sauce or if serving family style, a baking dish will work as well.) If necessary, use tongs or a spatula to place each enchilada seam side down in the dish. Continue to fill all of the tortillas and place them side-by-side. Pour the remaining, reserved Mole over the top, drizzle with a little creme fraiche, sprinkle with queso fresco, and serve.

Cook's Note: Queso Fresco is a white, mild, fresh Mexican cheese with the texture of fresh farmer's cheese in the US. Queso fresco can be found in many supermarkets, or can also substituted with a mild feta cheese.

Cook's Note: The pasilla is a Mexican dried chile, also known as "ancho" or "chile negro" in the U.S. It is often used in moles and other Mexican sauces. It also can be sold as a fresh chile in the U.S. - similar to the poblano. They can be found at most supermarkets, Latin specialty markets or online.

*Cooks note: Ibarra chocolate is a brand of Mexican chocolate that can be purchased in most national supermarkets. If you cannot find Ibarra or any Mexican chocolate, you can substitute one ounce of Mexican chocolate for: 1 (1-ounce) of semi-sweet chocolate, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and one drop of almond extract.

Makes 4-6 servings

Recipe from Mexican Made Easy on Food Network

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

(but we'll try it again!)

Friday, February 26, 2010

#54 :: Avocado Salad

I realized at the last minute that our Poblano peppers should probably have some sort of a side dish served with it. I wanted to keep it light, and I had an extra avocado, so avocado salad was my first thought.


  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted and sliced
  • 4 leaves of Romain lettuce
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • A sprinkle of fresh cilantro
  • Salt & pepper to taste


Lay the Romain on the plate as a base for the salad. Cut the avodado in half, remove the pit, then score the avocado into slices while it's still in the skin. The slices can easily be peeled back from the skin this way. Layer them over top of the lettuce. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime over the avocados, this will keep them from turning brown so quickly. Mix in a few slices of Roma tomatoes and top it all off with a sprinkle of chopped fresh cilantro and salt & pepper.

Makes 2 servings.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

#53 :: Poblano Stuffed with Chorizo, Shrimp and Rice

This recipe is in our top 3 favorites so far. It was melt in your mouth amazing! From the very second the first ingredients hit the pan, the kitchen smelled wonderful and we couldn't wait for it to finish. Try this recipe for sure!!


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 pound Mexican-style chorizo
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 cup short-grain rice
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 large, fresh poblano chiles
  • 1 pound shrimp, shelled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup Cheddar, shredded
  • 3/4 cup Jack cheese, shredded


In a medium saucepan, heat oil and chorizo, cook for 3 minutes. Add peppers, jalapeno, onions and garlic. Cook until translucent, then add rice and cook until all the grains of the rice are coated with oil. Add all liquids and stir over high heat for 3 minutes, cover and reduce heat to low. Check rice for doneness after 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place poblano chiles on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, cut top 1/4 of chile off and remove ribs and seeds.

When rice is finished cooking, fluff with fork and stir in shrimp. Stuff chiles with 1/6 of the rice mixture. Place all the chiles on baking sheet and place into oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, mix cheeses together and cover pepper with cheese. Broil for 3 minutes to melt and brown the cheese.

Makes 6 stuffed peppers

Recipe from Guy's Big Bite on Food Network

Star Rating: 5+ out of 5 stars

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

#52 :: Skirt Steak Tacos

This steak taco just didn't have a lot of flavor. It wasn't bad by any means, but I guess that it pales in comparison to the other dinners we've prepared lately. Oh no, I've become a food snob! :)


  • 8 (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, thinly shredded
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, halved and diced
  • 8 ounces sour cream


Heat grill to high.

Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and on the top rack of the grill while the steak is grilling.

Heat grill pan over high heat. Brush steak with oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill on one side until golden brown and slightly charred, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the steak over and cook to medium-rare doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes longer. Let rest 5 minutes then slice against the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Fill each tortilla with some lettuce, 3 to 4 pieces of meat, onion, sour cream, and avocado.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Boy Meets Grill on Food Network

Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

#51 :: Chocoflan

One word sums it up. Mmmmmm! Made-from-scratch chocolate cake, with homemade flan and caramel sauce..... rich and sweet! This dessert was absolutely delicious.....and magic!

  • 12-cup capacity Bundt pan
  • Softened butter, to coat pan
  • 1/4 cup cajeta or caramel sauce

For the cake:

  • 10 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

For the flan:

  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For garnish:

  • 1/4 cup cajeta or caramel sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans


Put an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Coat a Bundt pan with a little butter, then coat the bottom with 1/4 cup cajeta and put it in a large roasting pan. (The roasting pan will serve as a water bath during baking.)

For the cake: Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, beat until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa in a medium bowl. Beat 1/3 of the flour mixture, and 1/2 of the buttermilk into the egg mixture. Repeat, ending with the flour mixture. Blend until well incorporated.

For the flan: In a blender, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, cream cheese, eggs and vanilla. Blend on high for 30 seconds.

Scoop the cake batter into the prepared Bundt pan and spreading evenly. Slowly pour the flan mixture over the cake batter. Cover with foil and add about 1-inch of hot water to the roasting pan.

Carefully slide the pan into the oven, and bake 1 hour, until the surface of the cake is firm to the touch, or an inserted toothpick comes out clean. When cake is done, remove from the water bath and cool completely to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Invert a large, rimmed serving platter over the Bundt pan, grasp tightly together, giggle a little and flip over. Remove the pan and scrape any remaining cajeta from the pan onto the cake, garnish with chopped pecans and serve!

Cook's Notes: The batters may appear to mix when you pour them into the pan, but they completely separate while baking, with the flan ending up on the bottom when it's inverted. I like eating it warm, but traditionally, it is chilled 24 hours before serving.

Flan is a rich, creamy, cooked egg custard. It is often flavored with vanilla and baked in a water bath to retain its delicacy.

Cajeta is a thick and creamy spread or paste made with caramelized sugar and milk. It is used as a desert on its own or as a topping. Also known as "dolce de leche," it is sold in many supermarkets, Latin specialty markets or online. It can be substituted with a thick caramel sauce.

Makes 10 servings

Recipe from Mexican Made Easy on Food Network

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#49 :: Baja Fish Tacos

This fish came out perfectly! The batter was light and crisp. The salsa borracha was sweet and spicy, and the crema cooled it down.... I didn't think I would be a fan of fish tacos, but these kind I could definitely eat again.


Beer Batter:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dark Mexican beer*

Cream Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup Mexican crema** or sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fish Tacos:

  • Oil, for frying
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 pounds skinned halibut cut into 5 by 1/2-inch strips (we used Ocean Perch because it was fresh that day at the meat market)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 medium tomato, diced


For the Beer Batter:

Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Gradually add in the beer while whisking. Set aside and let the batter rest for 15 minutes before using.

For Cream Sauce:

Add the mayonnaise and crema to a medium bowl. Whisk in the lemon zest, lemon juice and water. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper (can be made 3 days ahead, covered and refrigerated).

For the Fish:

In a large skillet, over medium heat, add enough oil to reach a depth of 1-inch. Heat the oil until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F or when the end of a wooden spoon sizzles when inserted into the oil.

On a large plate, combine the flour and salt. Season the fish pieces all over with salt and pepper and coat with the flour. Working in batches, dip the fillets in the beer batter and coat on both sides. Fry in the hot oil until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Make tacos with the tortillas and fish and top each with cream, shredded cabbage, tomatoes, salsa borracha and anything else you desire (jalapenos, salsa, etc...)

*Cook's Note: Crack open a cold Mexican cerveza like a Negra Modelo or a 2 Equis (XX) Amber to make this tasty beer batter, which will change the way you think about fried fish! You can use it for vegetables, too.

**Cook's Note: Mexican Crema is Mexico's version of creme fraiche and is found at many supermarkets and can easily be substituted with sour cream.

Makes 6-8 servings

Recipe from Mexican Made Easy on Food Network

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

#50 :: Salsa Borracha {Drunken Salsa}

This is definitely a different salsa than what you're used to! It's sweet, but it definitely has a spicy kick! The sweet Ancho chiles paired with orange juice makes this salsa the perfect balance for the crema sauce on the fish tacos.


  • 8 dried pasilla chiles* or dried ancho chiles
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup golden tequila
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled anejo cheese** or feta cheese (we used queso fresco)


Cook the chiles in a dry saute pan over high heat turning constantly until slightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and when cool enough to handle, cut them in half and remove the seeds. Tear them into small pieces and add them to a blender.

Add the orange juice, tequila, garlic and olive oil to the blender. Puree the salsa and add it to the same saute pan used to toast the chiles. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season the salsa with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cool completely. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with crumbled anejo cheese.

Cook's Notes: "Drunken" salsas have been around forever but they were originally prepared with pulque, an alcoholic beverage made from the once sacred maguey (Agave plant). Pulque, which is not easy to find outside of Mexico, is not distilled and has a much stronger flavor than tequila, which I use in its place in this recipe. The alcohol leaves a musky flavor in the cooking process.

*The ancho chile is a dried poblano chile. It is also sold as "pasilla" or "chile negro" in the US. It has a deep red color, and the flavor ranges from mild to pungent. The rich, slightly fruit flavored ancho is the sweetest of the dried chiles. Anchos are often sold whole and can be stemmed, seeded then ground at home in a coffee or spice grinder. They can also be found at some supermarkets, Latin specialty markets or online.

**Anejo is a salty, crumbly cheese that is generally sprinkled on top of enchiladas, burritos and tacos. It is sold in some supermarkets and Latin specialty markets or even online. It can be substituted with feta cheese.

Makes 1 cup (about 4 servings)

Recipe from Mexican Made Easy on Food Network

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, February 22, 2010

#48 :: Patty Melt

I was feeling like a down-home comfort food classic. We had a lot of extra hamburger meat and some crusty french bread, so I immediately thought Patty Melt. Jamie said "I've never had a Patty Melt". So of course I had to make him one. Who has never had a Patty Melt?????


  • 1 lb. ground hamburger
  • 4 slices of crusty french bread
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • Sliced cheese (we used Smoked Swiss for mine and Hot Pepper for Jamie's)
  • Salt & pepper to taste


Shape the hamburger meat into patties and season with salt & pepper. Cook them in a frying pan until done, then remove and set aside. In the same pan, add 2 Tbsp.butter to melt.

Dice the onion and saute it in the same pan the hamburgers were cooked in. Saute the onions until they are carmelized.

Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp. butter on the grill, assemble the sandwiches and grill them until golden brown on both sides. (Usually 10-12 minutes)

Makes 2 servings

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Mexican Week

Today begins Mexican week! I attempted this with Asian week, but didn't give myself enough time to find all the ingredients I needed. I went shopping with Jamie yesterday and got everything we need (except for Ancho chiles which I am about to go shopping for today!)

Tonight is Beer Battered Baja Fish Tacos, Salsa Borracha {drunken salsa - yes, tequila is involved!} and Chocoflan.

#47 :: Chicken & Shrimp Kabobs

There are so many different varieties of kabobs to make...we could go all summer and never make the same ones twice! Plus, something about grilling veggies makes them taste so much better! Grilled flavor really is the best! I can't wait until summertime when we can grill kabobs outdoors on the patio! Listen to me talking about summer in February....I think I have a case of cabin fever......

Makes 8 shrimp skewers and 6 chicken skewers

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


  • 1 bag frozen shrimp (around 12 oz.- we used pre-cooked)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 pint of mushrooms
  • Sprinkle of garlic salt
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Wooden skewers


Since our shrimp were pre-cooked, and our chicken wasn't, we put them on different skewers. If your shrimp is raw, you can use it on the same skewer as the chicken.

Cut the chicken breast into small to medium sized cubes. Do the same with the green bell
pepper, and remove the stems from the mushrooms. Slide them onto the skewers, alternating meats and veggies. Sprinkle with garlic salt, and then salt & pepper to season.

Cook on a med-high heat grill for 10-12 minutes, rotating occasionally to get grill marks on all sides.

This wedding gift has probably been used more than anything else we got -- The George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill! You can use it outdoors on its stand, or indoors on the counter. Having an indoor grill in Ohio during the winters is GREAT! Thanks Mike & Michelle!

Makes 8 shrimp kabobs and 6 chicken kabobs

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

TIP :: Recycling Green Onions

I was skeptical when I heard this on Food Network, but I'll be darned if it doesn't work like a charm.

After you chop the green end off of your green onions, put the roots in a cup of water. Almost immediately (no kidding) the green stalks will begin growing again. I think mine grew an inch overnight.

So, if you use a lot of green onions in your food (like we do) start "recycling" your green onions instead of tossing the roots and buying more.

I took this photo right after I put the onions in the cup (about 8pm on Friday night). The tops were about as tall as the top of the cup, maybe just a bit higher.

This photo was taken Sunday morning, just 2 days after I put them in the cup!

#46 :: Linguine with Alfredo and Scallops

We picked a few random ingredients from the cabinet and fridge and put together a creamy decadent dinner; linguine al dente, home made alfredo sauce and thyme & lemon scallops.


  • 1 bag frozen scallops (around 12 oz.)
  • 1 small box of Linguine pasta
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. Thyme
  • Salt & pepper to taste
For Alfredo Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. flour (or 3 Tbsp.for thicker sauce, 1 Tbsp. for thinner sauce)
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese


Zest the lemon and put it aside for later.

Boil the linguine for 8-10 minutes in heavily salted water. Drain, rinse with a bit of cold water to stop the cooking, and set aside.

In a pan over medium high heat, melt 1 Tbsp.butter. Add the scallops, thyme, lemon, and a dash of salt & pepper. The water from the frozen scallops will create a thin sauce. Cook for 8-10 minutes then remove from heat.

In another pan over medium high heat, melt 2 Tbsp. butter. As soon as the butter melts, add the flour. Stir with a wire whisk until blended. Microwave 1 cup of milk for 2 minutes {until almost boiling}. Pour it over the flour mixture and stirring rapidly until completely blended. Add the Parmesan cheese, mix until melted, and continue stirring frequently for bout 15 minutes. (makes about 1 cup sauce).

Stir the scallops & sauce in to the alfredo sauce, then pour over the linguine.

Makes 3 servings (we ate it for dinner, and had enough leftover for my lunch)

Alfredo Recipe from: Italian Family Cooking by Edward Giobbi (cookbook)

Star Rating: 5+ out of 5 stars - bellisimo!

#45 :: Eggs Florentine Sandwich

Jamie came up with this great idea. We're all about using up our leftovers, and hopefully using them in a different way than we ate them the first time. Jamie's idea was to use our leftover Gorgonzola Spinach Artichoke Dip on a ham, cheese and fried egg breakfast sandwich to create a Florentine sandwich. Excellent idea, it was yummy!


  • 4 slices of crusty french bread
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • Sliced deli ham (we used honey ham)
  • Sliced deli cheese (we used cheddar)
  • Leftover Gorgonzola Spinach Artichoke Dip
  • Salt & pepper to taste


Over medium high heat, melt the butter in the pan (or on the griddle). Lay 2 pieces of bread in the pan to brown. Top one slice with your spinach dip, ham and cheese. At the same time, fry 2 eggs. Place the fried egg on top of the cheese, to help the melting. After the egg is placed, flip the 2nd piece of bread over and place it on top of the sandwich (browned side up). Flip the entire sandwich and cook for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted and gooey.

Makes 2 sandwiches

Recipe from: Jamie

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Friday, February 12, 2010

#44 :: Green Bean Casserole

I grew up on this stuff. So easy to make, but soooo good! I served it with some chicken (in sage butter, like we've made before).


  • 2 cans french style green beans (drained)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 small can french fried onions
  • 1/4 tsp coarse grind black pepper


Preheat the oven to 350.

Pour the drained green beans into a glass baking dish. I use a 9x or a meat loaf dish. Add in the cream of mushroom, 1/2 of the french fried onions and the black pepper and mix it all together. Sprinkle the last of the french fried onions over the top. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly around the edges.

Makes 4-6 servings

Recipe from: My Mom (or maybe the Campbells Soup can, lol)

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

#43 :: Chicken Wing Sauces *Super Bowl*

Honey Mustard
  • 1/2 bottle of Dijon mustard
  • 4 Tbsp. honey
Mix the two ingredients in a bowl. Make it to your taste,adding more honey if you like it sweeter.

BBQ Sauce

  • 1 bottle BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Liquid Smoke
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.


  • 1 bottle of Ranch dressing
Pour it in a bowl. Ha! Easy.

Garlic Parmesan

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan. Add the butter. Once butter is melted, add the garlic and sautee for 2-3 minutes. Add the Parmesan and stir until all ingredients are combined. Remove from heat, but try and keep it warm. This sauce is best when kept fairly warm, so the butter doesn't solidify.

#42 :: Chicken Wings *Super Bowl*

We made a lot of chicken wings for the Super Bowl..... I mean....a LOT! I bought 2 four lb. bags of wings - which I think equals out to about 96 wings....and we ate them for 3 days afterwards! (No Monday meal to post, because we had leftover chicken wings!) We made the chicken wings plain, and served the sauces on the side so people could choose their own.

The first round of wings we tried Panko breadcrumbs for the breading. Unfortunately, the Panko bread crumbs don't hold up in the frying oil for 10 minutes. Jamie liked them, but they came out a little too dark for my liking. So, we used the regular flour/egg/flour method.

I saw a dredging tip on Guy's Big Bite (Food Network) that I shared with Jamie. To keep from getting goopy hands, use 1 hand for wet ingredients and the other for dry. Keeps the mess to a minimum! Jamie said it took a few tries to get the hang of it, but then it came natural and he quickly dredged our 100 wings!

  • (2) 4 lb. bags of frozen chicken wings {thawed}
  • Approx. 2 cups of flour
  • 6 eggs
  • Salt &Pepper to taste

Here's the dredging station! We tried the Panko bread crumbs first {as you can see in the photo}, but then switched to flour.


Preheat oil to 375. Defrost and pat dry the chicken wings. {A dry wing is a crispy wing!}

Set up your dredging station -- 1 bowl of flour (about 1 cup), 1 bowl of 3 beaten eggs, and nother bowl of flour (about 1 cup).

Dredge each wing, making sure the entire wing is covered -- first dip it in the flour, then dip in the egg, then in the flour again.

Fry at 375 for 10 minutes.

Makes a boat load of servings! {About 96 wings}

Recipe from: Many different places! {and Jamie says"common sense"} lol

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

#41 :: Cheese Dip *Super Bowl*

This dip is another one of my family favorites, and a tradition at all family gatherings and football games. Everyone I've served it to in Ohio so far loves it, too. I'd say it's a winner! Along with the cheese dip, we also served the Gorgonzola Spinach Artichoke Dip again.


  • 1 pound of ground hamburger (or, 1/2 lb ground hamburger and 1/2 lb ground sausage)
  • 1 box Velveeta cheese spread
  • 1 can diced tomatoes & green chiles (recommended: Rotel)

Brown and drain the meat. Put the drained meat(s) into the crock pot.

Cut the entire block of Velveeta cheese into small cubes. Add the cubes to the crock pot with the meat.

Pour in the can of tomatoes & chiles. Turn the crock pot on low and stir occasionally. When cheese is completely melted, serve with tortilla chips.

Recipe from The Kemp Family :)

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Catching up!

Well, after our Super Bowl party on Sunday, this week went by quickly! I didn't even have time to stop and think about posting here! Today is a free day, so I'm going to work on getting caught up with everything we cooked this week and what we made for the Super Bowl party!

Friday, February 5, 2010

#40 :: Cheese Stuffed Bacon Meatballs

Who knew meatballs could be a main course by themselves? One word. De-lish. :)


  • 8 to 10 slices applewood smoked bacon
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 package onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon beef stock
  • 8 to 10 bocconcini mozzarella balls {we used shredded mozzarella and pressed/rolled it into balls}

He was excited when he came home from work and smelled the meatballs. He dropped right down to his knees to look in the oven and check them out. I just happened to have my phone in my hand at the time, so as I was laughing at him I had to snap a photo.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Arrange the bacon slices on a sheet pan. Put in the oven and bake until crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan to a cutting board and chop. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the beef, Worcestershire, onion soup mix, bread crumbs, black pepper, stock and the chopped bacon.

Form portions of the meat around bocconcini to make smooth balls. Arrange the meatballs on a sheet pan with a rack and bake until thoroughly browned, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the meatballs from the pan to a serving platter and serve with marinara sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Big Daddy's House on Food Network.

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, February 4, 2010

#38 :: Mexican Dish

This is one of my favorite things that my mom used to make when I was a growing up. She got the recipe from my Aunt Nancy, so this is a Kemp family favorite being passed along!


  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 1 lb. hamburger, cooked & drained
  • 1 can Ranch Style beans
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can Rotel {I use Mild}
  • Mexican blend shredded cheese


Preheat the oven to 350.

Layer 5 of the corn tortillas in the bottom of a glass 9x13 baking dish, covering the bottom. Add 1/2 of the cooked hamburger meat. Pour the can of Ranch Style beans over the hamburger. Lay out the last 5 tortillas and the other 1/2 of the hamburger meat.

In a blender, mix the Rotel, cream of chicken and water. Blend until the tomato chunks are broken down and everything is mixed well. Pour the mixture over the top of the layers. Then top with Mexican style shredded cheese {I use about half the bag, we like it cheesy!}.

Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, or until cheese on top is bubbly and beginning to brown. Let stand for 10 minutes to cool before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe from: Mom {& Aunt Nancy}

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Ranch Style Beans

I haven't been able to find cans of Ranch Style beans since I moved to Ohio. Not only is it an ingredient in one of my favorite casseroles {the Mexican Dish we just featured}, but I grew up eating them and I miss them terribly!!

If anyone here in Ohio happens to know where I can buy them, please let me know! Right now I have to buy them by the case when we visit Dallas, or my Mom has to ship them to me! It would be so much easier if I could just buy them here! :) Alas, maybe it's like Jack-In-The-Box and I just have to travel 1100 miles for it....

Here's what the can looks like, for those who aren't familiar. If anyone knows where I can get these please let me know!

#39 :: Cacio e Pepe Potatoes

I'm learning so many new ways to make potatoes! Before there was fried, baked or mashed. That's it. Now I have options! There are red potatoes, gold potatoes, baking potatoes, sweet potatoes.....I'm incorporating flavors like bacon, garlic, cheese, pepper, or onions.... We might never eat a potato the same way again!


  • 2 pounds baby Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or milk
  • 1 tub grated Pecorino Romano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Quarter baby potatoes and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then salt water and cook until tender, about 12 minutes.

When the potatoes are tender, drain and return to the hot pot to dry them out a little. Mash the potatoes with 1/2 cup stock or milk, 1/2 to 2/3 cup grated Romano cheese, a few generous handfuls, lots of black pepper and a little salt.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from 30 Minute Meals on Food Network.

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

#37 :: Cornish Hens

This was yummy! I have to say, I liked the sage butter hens we did before better than these....but that doesn't mean that these weren't good. These were {dare I say it?} healthier than the sage butter hens we had. Still made for a good dinner, with a side of roasted sweet corn.


6 Cornish hens
Olive Oil

2 Tbsp. lemon pepper
1 Tbsp.dried basil
1 Tbsp. poultry seasoning
2 celery stalks
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper


Watch the video for directions from the Neely's! :)

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe from Down Home with the Neely's on Food Network.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Asian Week Postponed!

Unfortunately we have to postpone our Asian inspired menu week. I don't have quite a few key ingredients, and I haven't gotten to the grocery store like I should have. It's going to require a lot more planning from me to get it all together, so we'll try it another time!