Thursday, March 1, 2012

Jeanne's Chicken Pozole

So this is my wife's famous chicken pozole. Everyone that ever eats it loves it, from those who grew up eating it to those trying it for their first time. Pozole is a traditional Mexican soup that is a household staple in Mexican homes. My wife somehow had the knack to make it perfectly the first time she made it last year and it's been a hit with family and friends ever since. This dish is great because it can serve a party of 10-15 or last a week or so for a family. Hope you try out Jeanne's recipe, especially if you've never tried pozole, you'll love it!

2-3 pounds of whole raw chicken cut up by breast, thighs, and wings with bone left on
6 lbs. Hominy - canned and pre-cooked (Smart & Final sells this for only $2.50!)
3 onions diced
1 bunch cilantro chopped
4-10 lemons halved
6 cloves garlic finely chopped
3 Tbsp. chili powder
3 Tbsp. salt
4 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Last, but not least, your favorite Mexican beer to pair with your pozole. For me it's Corona Familiar or Dos XX Amber, with some lime and salt. Pozole also goes excellent with 7up, another Mexican tradition. These two combined are the best hangover cure in the world!

Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 2 hours

Start by heating a large pot to medium high heat and pour in vegetable oil. When oil is good and hot put in garlic and 2/3 of chopped onion and saute for a few minutes until onion softens and garlic starts to brown. Now put chicken skin down into pot and cook just til it browns for a few minutes. Now pour water into pot, filling it almost to the top, it will cook down. Bring heat up on burner and boil chicken for 45 minutes or so until thoroughly cooked.

Boiling chicken
Remove chicken from water and set aside to cool. Add salt, chili powder, and oregano to water and bring heat down to a simmer. Simmer the water with spices for about 30 minutes while chicken is cooling. 

Water simmering with spices while chicken cools

Now shred the chicken meat off the bone and return meat to
 simmering water. Add in hominy as well and simmer for about 30 minutes. You just want to heat through the hominy and chicken. That's it!

Chicken and pozole added to pozole for last simmer

Now put out the cilantro, lemons and rest of chopped onion for garnish to add to each bowl of soup as it's served. I personally squeeze a whole lemon and dump generous pinches of cilantro and onion into my
bowl of pozole.


Friday, November 4, 2011

The Cookie Request

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Once a month my family and I try and volunteer at an amazing program for rehabilitating men coming from addictions at the beautiful Double R Ranch in Warner Springs. Pat and Melanie run this place and basically teach the men life skills and how much God can help their lives so they can get back out into the world and to their families or jobs. They are all essentially cowboys after their stay, learning to take care of goats, horses, chickens and many other farm life. 

On our first time we went there with a group from church and our family was really drawn to the family that has been committed to these men rebuilding their lives. One guy in particular that I first thought of to be rough around the edges, became an sweet chatter box when we would visit. He dropped a hint the last time we went up there that if we liked to bake (hint,hint) he loved a good white chocolate peanut butter cookie. I had to treat him to one the next time so I found a great recipe and doubled it to feed the volunteer crew and the men that would be there when we visited. They were so good and I will be on the hunt for another great recipe for the guys.

If you get a chance please visit the website and also try to come out to a volunteer work day, the whole family can come! PS They also feed you an amazing lunch by the cook that makes breakfast, lunch and dinner! This is their website:

Cowboy White Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie

8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Melted And Cooled
6 Tablespoons Creamy Peanut Butter, Melted And Cooled
1-¼ cup All-purpose Flour
1 cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats- not quick Oats
¼ teaspoons Salt
½ teaspoons Baking Soda
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 whole Egg
1  Egg Yolk
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 cup White Chocolate Chips
½ cups Peanut Butter Chips

Mix the flour, oats, salt and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the cooled butter,peanut butter and sugar until they are combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until mixed. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms. Fold in white chocolate and peanut butter chips. I used my cookie scoop to make perfect balls and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet, they will spread a little so give room! Bake at 325 degrees for about 10-12 minutes until the center is almost done, DO NOT OVER BAKE! Pull them sooner than later, they will be weapons if not.

I Hope you know someone who is well deserving of these cookies and that you take time to build someone up and help them out a little. Little things done by many people can change the world!

God Speed

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Hard Days Work Dinner

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I am a huge fan of carbohydrates!!!! Yep, I said it. When the server at restaurants ask what type of rolls I would like, I let her know if it has carbohydrates just bring it!!!!! The way I look at it is if you put in a good day of work and eat a fair portion of the pasta and some veggies too, you're golden! With my husband working long days and going to school I know he deserves to come home to his family and a good meal. 

This was a Pioneer Woman recipe that I had to indulge in! I realized after I made it that I have been making this for years, just more ingredients and not as easy. 

If you have a dinner party that you want to impress and are in a pinch for time this would be great along with some bruschetta and wine for appetizers, and pair with a nice salad. Something simple with farmers market tomatoes and sliced veggies. It wouldn't take you more than an hour to put together.

I have been growing this cute little Basil plant that seems to produce just enough for my recipes, you can leave it out but I really think it makes the whole dish. I only left it off for the food snobs (my kids).
As usual we dove in and loved the recipe! Today I found ways to eat the homemade ranch dip because I can't let something so good sit all alone in the fridge, it was calling me!!!!!

Carbohydrates and Their Friends Chicken
Adapted from the Pioneer Woman
4 whole Grilled Chicken Breasts, Sliced
1 pound Penne Pasta, Cooked Until Al Dente
1/2 stick Butter
3 whole Lemons, squeezed in a separate bowl
1 cup Heavy Cream
1-1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (or Romano)
Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
20 whole Basil Leaves, Chopped

*keep about a cup of the hot pasta water just in case you need to thin out the sauce.
Melt the butter in a sauce pan until it melts then add the lemon juice. Wisk the cream in slowly and keep the heat on low-med heat. When the cream is all blended add the Parmesan in  and wisk continuously until its all melted in. Add your salt to pepper to your liking, watch out for the salt only because the Parmesan has a good amount of a salty flavor. Add your drained past to the pot and mix, if the sauce gets too thick add the reserved pasta water to it a little bit at a time until the right consistency. it should coat the pasta lightly, not a heavy cream sauce. Add the chopped basil to the top as you like! I grilled some chicken during with salt pepper and a squeeze of lemon on each chicken breast, keep it simple.

Not Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
Adapted by The Pioneer Woman
1 clove  Garlic chopped and smash with the side of your knife almost to a paste
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Italian Flat-leaf Parsley chopped fine
2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives chopped fine
1 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Sour Cream
Buttermilk or milk (as Needed To Desired Consistency)

Add all the ingredients together and lightly salt and pepper as you wish. I use a fork to get it all whipped in!  Devour as you wish!!!! I found lots of ways to eat it including in my tuna and on some celery!!!

Anything you do in life could be work, it's the passion you put into it that makes it worth it at the end of the day!!!! We are doing it one day at a time!

God Speed

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Feeling the fall spirit!

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How could this not be everyone's favorite time of year? I guess since we live in a hot zone of California I wish for the summer and then when we get days of 100+ weather I am ready for fall and winter. But I am cold generally if the temperature drops to about 65 degrees, ha! It's a Southern Cali thing!!!
This week has been a baking marathon with all the events and Halloween parties for the kids. I have been pretty addicted to Pinterest lately and it has helped me to venture into new territory with baking and try amazing recipes. These two I made in one day because if you buy the big can of pumpkin you only use a cup which leaves almost the whole half of the can left. So no time or food wasted, I decided to make both!!!!
The little pumpkin pies remind me more of a pumpkin pie mixed with cheesecake so if you're not into this you can use another regular pumpkin pie filling I am sure. But just so you know the texture holds up really well for small bites. I made these for Marco's class for their harvest party. From the mouth of my 6 year old son, "everyone loved those things!" Good enough for me cause the kids could be the biggest food snobs. It's also no secret that I give food sometimes to people I like to butter-up. Parent teacher conferences were held for my 7th grader and of course I brought his teacher two bigger sized pumpkin pies that I made from the leftover batter and pie crust in a bigger muffin tin! I'll let you know if it worked-
I did send a tub of whip cream for them to top and they forgot this step and still loved them. If you are having these for a party, make your own whip cream and heck just make your own whip cream all the time! It really ups the ante for any dessert or coffee. Watch out Starbucks, we made our own Whip cream, you're not getting our 4 dollars today!!!!

The muffins were really for us to enjoy, and I loved them for breakfast with my coffee. If you wanted to doll them up for a party you could add a crumb topping to the muffins so they bake with a great crumb crust!

 Perfect Weather Pumpkin Muffin
   Adapted from Pioneer Woman
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Spice
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons Butter, cut into pieces
1 cup Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
1 whole Egg
1-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease 12 muffin tins, this is not an option, they will stick and be messy to get out if you skip this step!

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin spice, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with two knives or a pastry blender until it is completely crumbled in. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Fold gently until mixture is just combined.Do not over mix!

Pour into a greased muffin pan. I Sprinkled mine with regular granulated sugar, but raw sugar would make a nice topping too.
Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool. 

Little Face Pumpkin Pies
Recipe from

2 refrigerated ready-to roll pie crusts

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature, almost warm
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 egg beat with 1 Tablespoon water for brushing crust
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
4'' round cookie cutter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Use cookie cutter to cut 12 pumpkin shapes from each pie crust. You will need to roll the dough thinner than it comes out of the box. Press dough shapes into a 24 cup mini muffin tray. Apply egg whites from the egg and water mixture to the top edges of each pie. To be honest I left this step out, I didn't have a ton of extra time so if you don't want to forget about it. Mix cream cheese, sugar, canned pumpkin, remaining 2 eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice together until thoroughly combined.
Spoon mixture into each mini pie crust.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Remove pies to cool. 

Hope you are feeling the Love of the season too!!!!
Go out and enjoy a day on a nice hiking trail with some of these travel friendly snacks!!!!

God Speed

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mexican Chipotle Tofu Stir Fry

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If the title doesn't make sense, don't worry, most great things in life don't. I usually make stir fry with tofu when I want a quick, easy and healthy dinner. This time I decided to go away from Asian and try to make some Mexican food using tofu and a wok. Here's my take on it...

-14oz. package of extra firm organic tofu
-1 tsp. of oregano
-4 cloves garlic
-chili powder to taste
-canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (1/2 tsp.-2 tbsp. of sauce only needed depending on taste)
-two small squash
-1/2 white onion
-garlic salt to taste
-salt & pepper to taste
-4 tbsp. mild taco sauce
-1/2 reed avocado

-First take a package of tofu (organic is best, non-organic uses chemicals to process that you don't want in your body). Firm tofu will work too, but extra firm holds up better. Take tofu out of package. Slice it in half width wise like you would a bagel. now slice into 1" cubes horizontal and vertical. Now you have a bunch of 1" cubes of tofu.

-Dice onion. White onions are best for Mexican food. Mince garlic.Slice and quarter small squash. Now you can also dice some potatoes, bell peppers, jalapeno, etc. if you prefer to add to this dish.

Ever see an avocado as perfect as this? If you live in San Diego you have. These are grown right here and are amazing. Reed avocados are more rich and creamy than Hass. They are large and round like a softball, try one if you haven't yet...

Now you have all ingredients chopped, heat your wok to high heat with a couple tablespoons of oil in it. Once oil starts to smoke you know it's ready to go!

First dump in tofu and onions letting tofu sear for a few minutes before tossing or stirring to get a nice crisp crust on the tofu. Sprinkle tofu with oregano, salt and pepper as well as chili powder and garlic salt. Put as much or as little as you like depending on your taste.

After tofu starts to brown add rest of cut up veggies except garlic. Also toss in a 1/2 tsp. - 2 tbsp. of sauce from canned chipotle peppers. This stuff is potent, so if you've never used it or don't like really hot stuff just use 1/2 tsp. and not the peppers! The peppers are really hot! If you like hot stuff or know what to expect from chipotles then go for a couple tbsp. of sauce and even a whole pepper if you're loco! haha. The chipotle sauce adds an amazing smokiness and flavor to the dish. Save remaining chipotles/sauce in a small plastic container with a lid in the fridge, it keeps for a long time.

Once veggies are starting to brown add garlic. This is done so it doesn't burn from cooking too long or hot. Let cook for a couple minutes then turn heat off and pour mild taco sauce into wok and stir it into the mixture for a minute.

Stir frying some Mexican food, oh yeah!

Now it's done, top with your favorites like avocado, cilantro, lime, etc. Just serve it with your favorite sides like Spanish rice, beans, tortillas, or chips and enjoy with a cold cerveza and you're livin' life, or as Matthew McConaughey's character in Dazed & Confused would say...L-I-V-I-N.

Oh yeah! I put Juanita's chips on the bottom of stir fry mixture, topped with 1/4 of a sliced Reed avocado. L-I-V-I-N, haha!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Time is Precious, USE THE CROCKPOT!!!!

Well, the kids going back to school hit us hard this time. Mondays and Tuesdays I home school my 1st grader and try to help any where I can at their school. My hubby also just started paramedic school and we are moving this week!!!!!! I think I signed up for a meltdown in a years time. Oh well, as long as it waits until then I am fine. Some people might freak out about certain happenings of the household when things get chaotic, bills, sports schedule, etc. I freak out about what everyone is going to be eating and hope they all get fed well while enduring this busy schedule, myself included. So simply put I am planning ahead, I am using what is in my pantry and I am indulging in time not spent over the stove and making my crock pot do the work. So in this simple recipe it is an amazing lasagna that we raved about and the leftovers were even better. Please make this your own and add spinach or roasted veggies or even some "good" ground beef in the layers. I just kept it simple, because at this point that's how I roll! 

We scarfed the dinner so quick I spaced and didn't take a picture!

Honey I'm Home Lasagna

2 cups marinara sauce- read my spaghetti and meatballs page for recipe
1 can diced tomatoes with the juice
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
16 oz fresh ricotta, I only had cream cheese and I used that, if you are in a pinch
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
12 oz DRY lasagna noodles- not cooked and not the fast cooking ones
12 oz fresh mozzarella

Mix the ricotta, Parmesan and parsley together in a bowl. Put 1/3 of the marinara sauce on the bottom of your crock pot and a light scoop, about a third of the tomatoes. Add a layer of noodles on top and break to fit in your shape pot. Dollop a third of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles and add a layer of mozzarella. Repeat until there are at least three full layers of ricotta and sauces. Top the last layer the same but with extra mozzarella and make sure all the bare noodles are coated with everything. Turn crock pot on low and leave for about 31/2-4 hrs. 
* If you are gonna add veggies or meat just layer it on top of the ricotta mixture.

Viola! You are done for the day of dinner cooking, oh yeah!!! Go have some coffee with a friend or take your kids to the local dairy. Your free, enjoy your time!!!
God Speed

Monday, September 12, 2011

Western Portobello Mushroom Burger

If you've never had a grilled, sauteed, or fried Portobello Mushroom you are missing out on life! I first had one a few months ago and it blew my mind. It was mind-bottling! A cooked Portobello Mushroom takes on the texture of meat and flavor of something indescribable, a flavor Willy Wonka would invent if he were in the mushroom business instead of candy. I think he was in the mushroom biz on the side by his taste in home decor and friends, but that's a whole other blog topic.

I bought some huge portobello mushrooms and decided to make them into burgers, western style. By western I mean with grilled onions, BBQ sauce and more, similar to Carl's Jr's. Western Bacon Burger minus the meat, onion ring, ha! I'm making mine in a pan, but you can do it on a grill as well or in oven and it'll come out great!

First take half an onion and slice it for the grilled onions. Get a pan hot (about medium high heat) with 1/4" oil in bottom for onions.  Toss in the onions and saute them until golden brown, about five minutes. Once those are cooked, set aside.

Sauteing' the onions, oh yeah!

Now time for the mushroom to get cooked. put more oil in pan, this time more like a 1/4". the mushroom will absorb a lot of oil compared to onions, but you don't want it drowning in oil. make sure the oil's good an hot before adding mushroom so it doesn't absorb too much, just like when you fry something. Put mushroom with the top facing down on pan first. Don't worry about it being concave and not flat at first, it will get soft in a few minutes from heat. Do this so that the mushroom is soft when you turn it over and it will saute evenly on bottom side since it's softened now. I also put some Worcestershire sauce on the mushroom for that western flavor, I do the same for my burgers and it makes a world of difference in flavor! As you can see from my broken mushroom, that's what happens when you cook it with the top side up first.

Now flip mushroom right side up after a few minutes cooking upside down. You will be able to press gently on mushroom with spatula if desired to flatten it more and get the whole surface area of it to touch pan for an even cooking. Leave it on this side for a few minutes then it's done! Mushrooms cook quick and don't overcook well.

My mushroom cooking away.

While that's finishing up you can pop your hamburger buns in the toaster, i prefer mine toasted, just like In-N-Out!

I dressed my burger with mustard, tomatoes, lettuce, Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce (my favorite), and of course the grilled onions! Eat your heart out fast food!

What's a burger without all the sides?! A pickle, pepperoncinis, and sweet potato fries compliment this amazing mushroom burger. Oh yeah, let's not forget the Dos XX Amber in back to wash it down with! Cheers!