Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tres Leches Cake (to go with Chile Relleno)

And the big dessert!

French Vanilla Cake Mix
1/4 can evaporated milk (half of the can left over from making the Chile Relleno)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
For whipped cream topping:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 cup sugar
1 Tbl vanilla extract

Bake the cake as directed, let cool 20 minutes, and poke millions of holes and gashes in it. It can be ugly because you're covering it with whipped cream. Whisk first four ingredients together and pour over cake, really soaking it into the holes and gashes. Best if you saran-wrap tightly and refrigerate overnight because then it really gels together, but not necessary. Right before serving, whip up the last three ingredients until fluffy and frost cake. YUM!!!

Salad (to go with Chile Relleno)

This chile relleno meal harkens back many years and is just a habit at this point. Why always the same salad, drink, dessert, and main course together? Just because. And it all tastes so nicely together. Amounts of everything here are to taste:

2 regular-sized packages of lettuce
About 1/2 pound shaved pepper turkey, ripped into small pieces
Light salami, chopped in small triangles
Spanish olives, chopped tiny
Black olives, chopped tiny
Grape tomatoes
Lots of avocado
The other half of the package of queso fresco you used making the chile relleno, crumbled
Mozarella cheese slices, chopped in small triangles
Bernstein's Cheese Fantastico salad dressing


Pina Colada (to go with Chile Relleno)

Jess, since you liked the chile relleno recipe, I thought I'd post everything I make to go with it. It's a perfect meal! Probably my favorite, and I always make it for dinner parties. Here's the drink (it's so yummy we call it Mother's Milk) :

Makes 1 gallon

1 quart can of Dole pineapple juice
1 can of coconut milk (small, maybe a pint?)
1 cup sugar

Blend these ingredients in a blender, and pour in gallon pitcher

Add to this mixture:
Approximately 1 quart of water (maybe less, to taste)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp rum extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

STIR AND GUZZLE! Seriously, the pitcher often disappears before dinner begins.

I am looking for a recipe for......

Let's all add to this post via the comments section and make a list of all the dishes we would like the recipes for. That way, we can check here and say "Hey I have a GREAT easy tried and true recipe for chicken and dumplings" and post it accordingly then cross it off the list here!
I will maintain the list of recipes needed as part of this original post.

We are looking for the following recipes:
Chinese restaurant style Orange chicken
White Bean Chili
Green Chili Pork Enchiladas
make your own ravioli (got to be cheaper than storebought)

Uncle Thomas' Chicken Cacciatore

Honestly, I've yet to make this for MY family, but Uncle Tommy makes it for his all the time and it's a bonafide hit. This is his recipe straight from him. He is one of those natural cooks, so he uses hardly any measurements. I will add them in along with notes on what he means by fancy cooking words like "deglaze" and "other seasonings"

You Need:
Olive Oil & Butter (maybe 2tsp of each)
Chicken (a couple lbs cut up, bone in, skin on or off)
Flour (about a quarter to half cup)
Pepper & other seasonings (about 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper and maybe 1/4 tsp of anything else you add)

Note from Jessica: By "other seasonings" I think he means, and I would suggest, using salt, garlic powder, maybe sweet paprika, maybe parsley, thyme, sage. This is mixing in with the flour to make what will be the crust on the chicken. Think like KFC...11 herbs and spices...

Garlic (about 2tsp, minced)
one Red Pepper (seeded & sliced)
one medium Onion (sliced)
(mushrooms, sliced, about four ounces, if you like them, they are NOT in Thomas' recipe)
Tomato Paste (about 1.5 Tbsp or so)
Chicken Stock, white wine or water (1/4 cup or less)
2 Cans Diced Tomatoes (any flavor, I like fire roasted)
Oregano & other seasonings

Note from Jessica: HERE by "other seasonings" he means your standard italian seasonings like basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper. Whatever you like or would normally put in spaghetti sauce. About a tsp or so of anything, or to taste.

Melt butter & olive oil in big, deep fry pan.
Dredge chicken in seasoned flour & brown in butter oil mixture for couple of minutes per side.
Remove chicken from pan and keep warm, add garlic, onion & red pepper to pan. Saute then add tomato paste & fry that up until onions & peppers start to get soft. About five minutes.
Deglaze (see below) pan with liquid of choice, add 2 cans diced tomatoes.
Bring to a bubble then lower to minimal heat. Return chicken to pan and cook over low heat for about 20-30 minutes.
Taste & season sauce to your liking. The meat should almost fall off bone. If you don't like the chunks of veggies in your sauce, blend with a stick blender, food processor or blender. Blending will also thicken sauce. Serve over favorite pasta. You should have a good amount of tasty sauce left over.

Note from Thomas: If you use boneless chicken, cook veggies longer before you add the chicken & reduce cooking time of chicken. This recipe is really meant for less expensive chicken on the bone like thighs, legs, etc. It's a great way to get all the flavor and value out of those cheaper cuts.

Deglaze: Deglazing is a cooking technique for removing bits of food from a pan in order to make a sauce with them. Usually, the meat is removed from the pan. The pan is returned to the heat, and a liquid is added to act as a solvent. This liquid can be plain water, vegetable or meat stock, a spirit, some wine or any other liquid. This allows the cook to scrape the dark spots from the bottom of the pan, and dissolve them creating a rich sauce.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Chile Relleno

This is my FAVORITE dish to bring to people's houses or serve when we have guests. It's SUPER easy and quick and always quite the crowd-pleaser. Leftovers are delicious too and it reheats beautifully.

Big can of Ortega green chiles
About 2-3 cups shredded cheese
1/2 package queso fresca
1/2 can of evaporated milk
4 eggs
A few dashes of cumin

Rinse the green chiles to rid them of any seeds and make them not too strong. In a glass dish, make the first layer by laying half the green chiles flat (no need to grease or spray the dish). Cover with half the shredded cheese (You can use as much as you want. I use a ton.) Crumble the queso fresca by smushing it with a fork, and cover the shredded cheese with half of it. Repeat these three layers. Mix (I use a blender) 4 eggs, evaporated milk, and cumin. Pour mixture evenly all over, making sure to go right to the edges. I sprinkle some more cheese on top for a nice golden look. Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Delish!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Green Chili Burritos

This one is quick & easy! Serves several & you can experiment with it if you want.


1 lb of Lean Hamburger Meat

1 can of green chili's

1 to 2 cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup (more or less for thickness)

Flour Tortillas

Pepper Jack Cheese (shredded)

Colby Cheese (shredded)


Brown hamburger meat in pan, then add can of green chili's and cook with meat for a bit, then add cream of mushroom soup. Warm until desired temp. Serve in your favorite flour tortillas with Pepper Jack & Colby cheeses.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Serves: 4

1 lb ~ Lean Hamburger Meat

1/2 to 1 ~ Onion (Chopped)

2 ~ Eggs

half can of Tomato sauce

15 or so Saltine Crackers (as desired)

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1/2 tsp. ~ Sage

Catsup Sauce

Catsup Sauce:

6 TBSP. ~ Brown Sugar

1/2 cup ~ Ketchup

1/2 tsp. ~ Nutmeg

2 tsp. ~ Dijon Mustard

Mix all ingredients, except Catsup Sauce, in small casserole dish then pour Catsup Sauce over it and put it in the oven. Bake it at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until meat is cook thoroughly. Serve & Enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tuscan Noodle Bake

Modified from the Favorite Brand Name One Dish Recipes cookbook....

This is something I have made many times and it's always gobbled up...pun intended (it's a turkey recipe!)

1 package ground turkey
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can tomato sauce (I use my own recipe)
1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 can sliced black olives, drained
1 tsp each, dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 16 oz package of wide egg noodles, cooked and drained
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In large Dutch oven or large stock pot brown turkey with onion and garlic until no longer pink. Drain off fat.
Add remaining ingredients except Parmesan cheese, noodles and mozzarella cheese. Simmer 5 minutes.
Stir in Parmesan and noodles. Blend well and pour into buttered baking dish.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella over top and bake uncovered for another 5 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Quinoa Breakfast

Quinoa is one of my new favorite foods. Like a rice, but with a slightly crunchy texture and almost nutty taste, plus it has a ton of protein. It works great as a rice/potato substitute with dinner. However, as a grain, it can also be used for a breakfast food. If you haven't tried it, I encourage you to do so!

This morning I tried a breakfast variation, stolen from my new favorite food blog, 101 Cookbooks. Check this website for a variety of vegetarian-inspired (although not all are meatless), often organic recipes.

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup quinoa (rinsed!)
  • 2 cups fruit/berries (I used some chopped, fresh blackberries)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (next time I'll use a little more for more flavor)
  • 1/3 c toasted nuts (optional)
  • sugar/honey/nectar to taste (I stuck w/ sugar, as I didn't want the honey w/ the nuts, and I'm allergic to nectars.)
Combine milk, water and quinoa in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes (or until most of the liquid is absorbed). Turn off heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in fruit and cinnamon. Transfer to bowls and top with nuts. Add sweetener to taste.

Serves 4.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Baked Potato Soup

I found this recipe on a random blog and have made it mine :D

6 large potatoes, cleaned and stabbed with a fork a few times
1/2 c butter
4 cloves garlic
1/2 c flour
2 cans chicken broth (4 c)
24 oz evaporated milk, I use fat free or skim
shredded cheese and other potato toppings

Microwave taters until done
Melt butter in a soup pot over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add flour and stir until it gets all thick like. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and broth. Chop cooked potatoes into various sizes, some big, some small, and toss into the soup. Add salt, pepper, and dill to taste. Heat through :D
Add cheese or other toppings to your bowl!

Serve with fresh bread. YUM!

this soup does not store very well... it turns into a big gelatinous mush after a while.. does okay on reheat but is much thicker the second time.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tuna Artichoke Salad

This makes a great lunch and is a nice change from tuna sandwiches without a lot of extra effort!

1 can tuna in water, drained and flaked
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
half a can of sliced black olives
1/3 cup mayo, or less if you prefer
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Mix all ingredients together. Serve.
Easy no?

Corn Casserole

This is less like a casserole and more like a super moist corn bread, which is just right for me!
Cut into squares, this is great with chili!

1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 oz) can creamed corn
1 (8 oz) package corn muffin mix like Jiffy
1 cup sour cream
1 stick butter, melted
1.5 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350
In a large bowl, stir together both cans of corn, muffin mix, sour cream and melted butter. Pour into buttered casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and top with cheddar cheese, bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let rest for 5 minutes then serve!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring-time Strata

I for one am a huge fan of breakfast dishes, and with Easter/Spring/what-have-you coming up, this recipe seems to be a good one to share. It takes some forethought (i.e. the bread needs to get crusty overnight), but can be tossed together quickly in the morning so if you have things you need to get done, or would rather visit with your visitors instead of prepare breakfast, give a strata a chance. Plus, it's kinda pretty with the bright color of the berries...

Kids young and old enjoy it. Goes great with coffee, orange juice, or mimosas. And I have to confess: this is not my recipe. I stole it from epicurious!

Berry French Toast Strata

  • 1/2 cup (plus a little extra) pure maple syrup, plus additional for serving (maple tastes best, *but* cheaper varieties can be used with tasty results, and if you add a little extra, you probably won't need any additional on top)
  • 3/4 loaf (or 6 cups) day old bread in one-inch cubes (I buy a loaf of french bread, cut it up and let it sit in the bag for the day)
  • 4 cups berries (fresh can be used, but thawing frozen is so easy - I thaw mine in the fridge overnight)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (lemon isn't always necessary; I've gone without and substituted 1/4 tsp of orange peel)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Arrange rack in center of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
  • Lightly butter 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish or 14-inch oval gratin dish. Pour in maple syrup; scatter bread cubes and berries in dish. (Personally, I find it tastes more french-toasty if you let this sit for 20 minutes or so).
  • In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, lemon zest, and salt; pour over bread cubes.
  • Bake strata until puffed and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool 5 minutes, then serve warm with additional maple syrup.
Serves 8-10 and works as leftovers.