Kitchen Concoctions: mexican
Showing posts with label mexican. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mexican. Show all posts

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Week of: Cinco de Mayo (25 Mexican themed recipes)

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I hope you have enjoyed sharing some Mexican theme food, traditions and history this week week with me! As I have stated all week we do Mexican food a lot at my house and whether it is Cinco de Mayo or Taco Tuesday these recipes are to die for any time of year.

This week I featured 4 recipes and 1 useful article all about popular ingredients found in Mexican cusinie. Those recipes are pictured below (incase you missed them) and I also have 20 other mouthwatering recipes from around the web listed at the bottom of this post!


Here are a *few* more Cinco de Mayo or Taco Tuesday recipes!

Heather's Huevos (Kitchen Concoctions)
Fresh Strawberry Margaritas (How Sweet It Is)
Chicken Enchilada Pasta (Kitchen Concoctions)
Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream (Elana's Pantry)
Mexican Chicken Salad and Tortilla Crisps (Kitchen Concoctions)
Spicy Avocado Chicken Enchiladas (The Novice Chef)                                   
Why-the-Chicken-Crossed-the-Road Santa Fe Tortilla Soup (Kitchen Concoctions)
Skillet Taco Pie (Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
Dulce de Leche Tres Leches Cake (Kitchen Concoctions)
Virgin Frozen Margaritas (Taste and Tell)
Beef 'n' Bean Burrito Burgers (Kitchen Concoctions)
Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna (Annie's Eats)                                    
Turkey Guacamole Burgers (Kitchen Concoctions)
Barbacoa Beef (Skinny Taste)
Chili Lime Tilapia with Roasted Corn (Kitchen Concoctions)
Flour Tortillas (Our Best Bites)
Black Bean Hummus (Kitchen Concoctions)
Fruit Tacos with Chocolate Tortillas (Muchin with Munchkin)
Breakfast Tacos (Kitchen Concoctions)
Mexican Corn Dip (Eat Your Self Skinny)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

This isn’t the recipe I had planned for today.

Remember on Tuesday when I was extremely upset because the recipe I had planned on sharing then was MIA? Well I have spent every waking moment since then looking for that recipe. I have torn apart my office, I have gone through files and papers and still have had no luck.

So again today I am sharing a recipe I did not have planned (because I really wanted to share that recipe) BUT it is still a good scratch that, amazing one nonetheless.

AND on the brighter side I found like 5 other recipes I had jotted down in random places that go with a bunch of pictures on my computer. YEAH! Look forward to a blog overload coming soon to an internet near you.

But back to these taquitos.

Taquitos remind me of college. Late nights studying, the ability to eat whatever you want whenever you want, having only $11.67 in your bank account.

Frozen boxed taquitos and ranch dressing are a staple in college. And that is preciously where I left them, in the freezer of my second apartment, the one that I shared with 3 roommates.

I have never looked back.

But these Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos have gotten mad reviews all over the web. Which made me want to try them and want to run the opposite direction at the same time.

You see whenever something gets insane reviews, whether a movie, restaurant, book, etc., and I finally try it I am either tickled pink because it is everything I had hoped it would be or extremely disappointed because not only was it not good it did not warrant all that hype.

But don’t worry these taquitos fall under the tickled pink emotion and totally make up for all those horrible boxed taquitos I ate in college.

Like, these are a million times better!

One Year Ago: Greek Pasta Salad and Tips for a Brunch on a Budget
Two Years Ago: Cookbook Review: Family Circle All Time Favorite Recipes
Three Years Ago: Dulce de Leche Tres Leches Cake

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Printable Version
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Makes 14-16 taquitos

1/3 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup green salsa
1 lime juice, juiced and zested
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6-inch corn tortillas
nonstick cooking spray

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it lightly with cooking spray.

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for 20-30 seconds so it’s soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice and zest, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. Stir to combine and then add cilantro, chicken and cheese.

Wrap 3-4 tortillas at a time in damp paper towels and microwave for 20-30 seconds so they are soft and pliable. If you find your tortillas are cracking when rolled, use damper paper towels and increase the microwave time.

Place 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on the lower third of each tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges, and then roll up.

Place seam-side down on the baking sheet in a single layer. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown. Cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve.

Adapted from Our Best Bites Cookbook and seen all over the web

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Mexican Cuisine

I have had fun sharing all these traditional and non-traditional Mexican dishes with you this week. I have one more great recipe coming at you tomorrow but today I am sharing an informative article I wrote for meal planning/recipe site Food on the Table, all about popular ingredients found in Mexican cuisine.

Many of these ingredients are found in the recipes I shared this week and if you don't make Mexican food on a regular basis, (then there is something wrong with you.... I kid. I kid!), you may not be familiar with some of these ingredients. And even if you are familiar with these foods maybe there is a fun food fact below that you don't know or at the very least there is a great group of Mexican food recipes you should most defiantly check out at the bottom of the article!

Cinco de Mayo is fast approaching and allows many to celebrate the history of Mexico, honor Mexican culture and of course indulge in Mexican cuisine!

Mexico has a rich and flavorful food history, which uses native ingredients mixed with worldwide culinary inspiration to form the popular dishes we all know and love. Authentic Mexican cooking starts with traditional ingredients that are found in various regions of Mexico.
Below is helpful information about these popular ingredients that give Mexican cuisine its unique flavor.

• Tomatillos, a member of the gooseberry family, are small, round green fruits enclosed in a papery husk. They have a tart flavor and are often roasted and pureed into Mexican sauces or salsas, referred to as verde.

• Hominy is dried maize kernels that have been soaked in lye to soften the tough outer hulls. Hominy is often ground to make grits or masa flour or added whole to stews and casseroles.
• Cilantro is a green herb that comes from the leaves and stems of the coriander plant. It has a strong flavor that compliments spicy dishes. Cilantro is most common in Mexican cuisine, but can also be found in Asian and Indian cooking.

• Chayotes are native to Mexico and are a member of the squash family. They are mild in flavor and look like a wrinkled, pale green pear. Chayotes can be boiled or baked or eaten raw in salads. Zucchini or another summer squash makes for a great substitute.

• Chile is a generic word referring to a large variety of capsicum peppers. There are over 100 varieties of chiles, including the most popular varieties such as the spicy jalapeno, fiery habanero and large poblano. As a general rule, the smaller the chile the more concentrated the heat; which is from the capsaicin found in the chile's veins and seeds. Chiles are available fresh, dried, and pickled, and are found in many Mexican dishes.

Looking for some tasty Mexican cuisine to serve up for a Cinco de Mayo celebration or simply taco Tuesday? Well look no futher than the wonderful recipes below:
Crispy Fish Tacos (Kitchen Concoctions)
Sweet Potato Foil Packet Tacos (Tasty Kitchen Blog)
Leftover Turkey/Chicken Creamy Enchiladas (Kitchen Concoctions)
Layerd Mexican Dip Stack-Up (Cook, Learn, Grow)
Mexican Corn On The Cob (Kitchen Concoctions)
Tres Leches Cupcakes (Lick the Bowl Good)
Gooey Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas (Kitchen Concoctions)
Strawberry Quesadilla (Real Mom Kitchen)
Slow-Cooker Posole (Kitchen Concoctions)
Refried Beans (Annie's Eats)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Website Wednesday: Chicken Enchilada Stacker

Let’s talk false advertising, shall we?

I am sure you have all heard by now the little Nutella debacle.

Here is my two cents on the subject (in case you wanted to know!). We as human beings are responsible for how we treat our bodies, this means a number of things but of course what we eat.

So, People, read labels and use common sense.


But companies have a responsibility too.

Even if they put the facts on labels, their advertising, slogans, and marketing campaigns need to be honest and real too.

So there is no confusion.

No questions asked.

I am happy that many companies are now labeling their foods with their nutritional information for not only per serving but also for the entire package. You know when you run into the convenience store for a road trip snack, and grab a bag of chips and eat the whole bag even though the serving size was only ¼ a bag.

Because that is one of my biggest pet peeves, when a company, cookbook, etc. gives you nutritional data and makes the serving size super small so that the per serving data is super low.

But this is real life guyz.

Who eats only 1/10 of an enchilada stacker made using 8 inch tortillas?

This is the first recipe from this month’s recipe website, Spark Recipes. Spark Recipes is a ‘healthy’ recipe site that provides nutritional data for each recipe as well as healthy eating and cooking tips. Which I thought would be a great as we are approachin’ the, um, summer months.

But this first recipe I chose was originally labeled as a serving size of 1/10 of this whole stacker.

Which is not real.

How could you possibly even cut this into 10ths?

But I wanted to make this recipe. For today. For Cinco de Mayo week. So I modified the recipe.

Made it real and guess what it’s not that bad. I mean it is still Mexican food after all! : )

This meal was satisfying and can be easily adapted. I was drawn to it because it uses my sadly underused cheesecake pan. And has cheese. And tortillas. And is in my favorite food group. Mexican!

PS: I promise, tomorrow will be less, shall we say political.

One Year Ago: Southwestern Chicken Tacos and Ideas for Celebrating Cinco de Mayo
Two Years Ago: Everything Cookies
Three Years Ago: Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

Chicken Enchilada Stacker
Printable Version
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Serves: 4
2 boneless and skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup enchilada sauce
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons chunky style salsa
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning
4 (6-inch) flour tortillas
2/3 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line 9 inch cheesecake pan with foil.

Heat a large pot of water to boil. Add chicken and boil for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the water, let cool slightly, and shred with two forks. Add enchilada sauce to shredded chicken and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place beans and cilantro in a food processor and pulse three-five times until mashed slightly. Set aside.

Heat a small non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Add salsa, corn, onion, and spices. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
Line the bottom of the cheesecake pan with one tortilla. Top tortilla with mashed black bean mixture, then corn mixture, then chicken mixture and then 2-3 tablespoons cheese. Repeat again, using remaining ingredients.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information (calculated on Spark Recipes): Serving size: 1/4 entire prepared stacker Calories: 430.5 Fat: 6.1g Carb: 51.3g  Sodium 589mg Fiber: 10.3g Protein: 42.8g Sugar: 1.9g Weight Watchers Point Plus: 10 points

Adapted from Spark Recipes

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Quick and Easy Black Beans

It may not appear, to the outside world, that I am an organized person.

But I am.

I can tell you precisely what box my Girl Scout uniform from the 3rd grade is in.

I was able to pull receipts for parking from an event back on June 20th 2011 from my purse (which was 4 purses ago) because that is exactly where I put it for ‘safe keeping’, and complete my taxes with time to spare.

Eric always gets so mad that he can look for things for hours and not find it but then ask me and I can immediately find it.

But then it happens.

I actually lose something.

And even I can’t find it anywhere.

When this happens I become this monster. Cursing and yelling and throwing things.

I know.


But how can I, the queen of ‘organization,’ loose something.

I get the maddest when I misplace a recipe. All that time and hard work gone.

I have been trying to immediately type up my recipes as I make them but sometimes I just jot them down on a piece of paper, and then well, you know, what happens next- I lose it.

Anyways, the whole point to all of this, is that I misplaced the recipe I had planned for today. I know, I almost can’t live with myself!

But good thing we eat Mexican food at least once a week. Which translates to “I-try-a-lot-of-new-recipes” and have a whole backlog of Mexican recipes to blog. So since my original choice for today didn’t work out you get this easy, peasy, and tasty recipe for black beans. I mean really, a Cinco de Mayo feast really couldn’t exist without black beans.

That’s why I got you covered!

One Year Ago: Southwestern Tacos and Tips for throwing a Cinco de Mayo celebration
Two Years Ago: Sweet-and-Sour Turkey Meatballs
Three Years Ago: Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

Quick and Easy Black Beans
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Serves 4

2 (20 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon coriander
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
1 lime, juiced
Cheddar cheese, optional for garnish

In a saucepan on the stove, heat the olive oil to medium-high heat. Sauté onions for about 3 minutes or until they just start to become translucent. Add garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds more.

Add beans, broth, and remaining seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and simmer for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When beans are done cooking, remove from heat and add in fresh lime juice. Then use the back of a spoon or rubber spatula so mash ¼-1/2 of the beans, just to thicken the mixture. Serve topped with cheese or as desired.

Adapted from Our Best Bites Cookbook

Monday, April 30, 2012

Slow-Cooker Posole

Some days I have so much I could write about. Incoherent ramblings, food facts, cooking tips, ideas, goals for the future, questions for you. But then other days I can barely think of one word to write.

Today is one of those, barley able to think of words day. Me. Tongue tied. That’s an oddity in real life and in written form!

So I guess I will just get to it.

Lay it all down.

I have an exciting theme week for ya this week. Well exciting for me at least, maybe not you (Question: Do y’all like theme weeks?).

Can you guess the theme?

(beating drum, beating drum)

Well since Cinco de Mayo is Saturday and since we have Mexican food like once. A. week. I thought a Mexican food theme week would be perfect. Not to mention (I kid you not) I have like 8 Mexican food recipes I need to blog.

So this is perfect.

For me.

And you.

First up, Posole. Posole is a traditional Mexican dish made of pork, hominy, cilantro, and chili peppers. It is most commonly served as a thick stew but is also wonderful served on top of a bed of rice. This posole recipe is extremely easy, since it is made in the crock-pot, making it the perfect for Cinco de Mayo!

Classic. Spicy. Easy. Perfect Posole!

One Year Ago: Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Two Years Ago: Chicken Enchilada Pasta
Three Years Ago: Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

Slow-Cooker Posole
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Wait Time: 7 hours Serves: 6-8

1 (2.0 pound) boneless pork loin roast
2 (14.5 ounce can) enchilada sauce
2 (15.5 ounce can) yellow hominy, drained
1 small onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, deveined and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Place the meat in a 6 quart slow cooker. Pour the enchilada sauce over the meat. Top with the hominy, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt and pepper.

Cover, and cook on High for 5 hours or on Low for 6-7 hours. Stir in the cilantro. Cook on Low for 30 minutes more. Before serving, use two forks and shred pork in sauce mixture. Can be served as a soup or over rice.

Adapted from Food on the Table

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I am constantly teased about the way I speak. Not about my Texas accent (because I do have one) but for mispronouncing words, getting tongue tied, or just completely saying things wrong! Most of the time I just laugh along with others at my mistakes but sometimes it is just plain embarrassing. Like after 3 years of being friends with someone learning that I said his name wrong the whole time (and he just let me say it that way...  it was Eric who finally corrected me 3 years later!)

And don't get me started on the word cinnamon.! I know it sounds silly but for the longest time I couldn't say it correctly! LOL!!!

Here in Texas if you go anywhere for breakfast or brunch you are bound to find Huevos Rancheros on the menu. It is basically an open faced breakfast taco. Yummers! And even though I have lived in Texas almost my whole life, surrounded by Mexican/Tex-Mex food, I still have trouble saying Spanish words (of course I have trouble speaking Spanish, I have trouble speaking my native English)!

And even though I grew up eating Mexican food, I had never had Hevos Rancheros. Eric always talks about them and how good they are and when I saw them in this month's CBOM I knew I had to make them. The only problem? I couldn't pronounce them correctly. Of course Eric teased me about this. He then sounded it out for me and I still had trouble saying it. So he then waves his and says to pronounce it 'waveos'. I finally got it!

So one morning we went over to Eric's parents house and I made these for brunch. Everyone loved them!!! And raved about them (all day long). But because I was cooking in someone else's kitchen (which can sometimes be a hard task) I had to change up the original recipe quite a bit to use what I had on hand. That is where the name Heather's Huevos came from. Eric decided that since I pretty much completely disregarded the original recipe and had such a hard time saying 'Huevos' that I should name this recipe after myself. So I did!

(it is also very hard to get good picures of food at my in-laws)

Heather's Huevos
By Heather of Kitchen Concoctions
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Serves: 5

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano pepper (seeded if desired), diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound smoked breakfast sausage
2 tablespoons butter
5 eggs
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced,
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook and crumble the sausage until browned. Drain and add cooked meat back into the pan. Stir in the onion and serrano pepper. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Set sausage mixture aside and keep warm.

Add butter to skillet and melt. Working in batches, crack the eggs into the pan. Cook until the bottoms are set and the edges golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until set, about 1 minute more.

Heat the refried beans. Spread the beans on the tostados. Top beans with cheese, prepared sausage mixture, avocado slices and then egg. Serve warm.

Monday, November 29, 2010

All "Turkeyed" Out

I can't believe it but I am all turkeyed out! You see, weeks ago when I decided to do this whole left over turkey week, I of course had to cook a whole turkey to have the "leftovers" to make all of the tasty recipes I featured this week (I mean the past two weeks). So with all this turkey and the two Thanksgiving dinners I went to, I have had enough turkey! LOL!

In fact Eric told me I ruined Thanksgiving for him because we at all these wonderful turkey dishes right before the big turkey day! HA! But I had fun coming up with all these delicious ways to use up all that turkey. And I hope you enjoy these recipes too!
You can't have turkey leftovers without first cooking the turkey. I was amazed how this turkey turned out! Easy to make and the juiciest most flavorful turkey I have ever eaten.
White turkey chili is a great way to use up your left over turkey. It makes a lot and will warms you up on these chilly fall days.

I love cheesy enchiladas! And left over turkey makes a great filling!

Good ole turkey sandwiches are my favorite way to eat Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. And I know it is as well, for a lot of you! So if you want to change up that classic mustard and turkey sandwich try this cranberry version. Just trust me on this one!

Have turkey, veggie, and stuffing leftovers to use up? Make this cheesy veggie and turkey casserole! It is easy, yummy, and uses up all those leftover!

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I sure did (and I hope to be back to regular blogging soon)!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I try...

I try... I really do.

I try to follow through on the things I say. I try my darnedest. Like when someone invites me to a function, I make every effort to be there. If I am asked to bring a dessert to dinner at a friend's I never show up with something store bought. And most importantly I try to blog regularly and when I promise something like "a week of leftover Thanksgiving recipes" I try to have all the recipes made and blogged about and ready for each day of that week.

But then something always happens. I have computer or Internet problems, or I have to go out of town, or this time my excuse reason is that I started a new job, a second job. What have I gotten myself into?!?! As if I wasn't busy enough. Hopefully it won't be for long that I will have to juggle two jobs and soon I can just focus on just one, the one I love the most (which deals with food and writing. oh my! I am in heaven).

And until then, I will am high and TRY to blog regularly and faithfully (especially when I promise). And maybe one day I can totally be prepared and organized and blog every day of the work week like some of the blogs I love do (I admire their dedication, organisation, and TIME).

One day...

I promise...

I will try and get to that place...

Ok enough mumbojumbo. This long past due leftover turkey recipe was another awesome one. To create this concoction I took several of my favorite recipes mixed them all together, added a touch of Heather love and vola... Leftover Turkey (or of course Chicken) Creamy Enchiladas!

Leftover Turkey (or chicken) Creamy Enchiladas
By Heather of Kitchen Concoctions
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 Minutes Serves 5

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups shredded, cooked turkey (or chicken)
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup salsa verde/tomatillo salsa
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon tabasco
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 flour tortillas
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick spray.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender. Add the turkey, diced green chilies, cream cheese, 1/2 cup salsa verde, 1/2 cup sour cream, tabasco, and seasonings. Heat through.

Fill tortillas with turkey mixture. Roll up tightly and place tortilla seem side down in prepared baking pan.

Combine remaining 1/2 cup of sour cream and 1/2 cup of salsa verde. Pour over enchiladas and top with shredded cheese. Bake for 15 minutes until cheese is melted.

One Year Ago: Chocolate Cake

Friday, April 30, 2010

My Kitchen Cafe

So it is the last day of the month and I should be finishing up the April cookbook review and thinking about May's cookbook but to be honest I am actually making the final two recipes from the Family Circle cookbook right now as we speak. So I guess I will have to play 'catch up' yet again this weekend. BUT I still want to post a new recipe today. And despite how unbelievable this sounds I have 4 (yes FOUR) new recipes already to go I just have to copy and paste them to the blog and hit post (I know shocker, huh). This post is one of them!

I mentioned back in March that since it was my anniversary blogging month I wanted to feature a few blogs that I have enjoyed reading and who have inspired me along the way. I started this with The Hungry Housewife and then I got a pesky bug (you know the one... the computer bug) and could not blog for a while (I am still trying to recover from that nasty thing). Anyways, another one of my favorite blogs, and one that I have been reading for awhile, is My Kitchen Cafe (remeber I also gave her the Sunshine Shout Out). Mel, the author of this blog is funny and sweet and has tons of great recipes and tips. Every recipe she blogs about looks and sounds delicious; in fact my bookmarked pages from her blog keep growing and growing (how will I ever make it all!). The couple of recipes I have made from My Kitchen Cafe have been success, in fact these hot hoagies have made an appearance on my dinner table several times. Because Mel has a large family of 6, all guys except for herself, all her recipes are family friendly and usually make enough to feed a crowd.

Not only does the blog My Kitchen Cafe, have a large collection of her 'tried and true' favorites; which vary from desserts to breads and soups, to main entrees and sides, but Mel also offers great kitchen tips. Like how to successfully plan a menu, or make Sushi (today's detailed 'how to'), or her recommendations for must have pantry staples!

My Kitchen Cafe is a clean well put together blog and is easy to navigate. Mel includes a couple of great photos for each recipe and if she is giving step by step instructions on for her 'how to guides' then she also includes step-by-step photos. All of the recipes Mel features on her blog are either her own, from friends and family, or from her favorite cookbooks and cooking magazines.

Below is one of her unique recipes for Enchilada Pasta. This dish tasted great and was a fun twist on the regular pasta night!

Notes: I did adapt the recipe some to our tastes. The original recipe called for olives and I omitted them and added corn and Rotel Tomatoes. Also the recipe calls for the chicken to be precooked, but I did not have any precooked chicken on had so I cooked some up while making everything else and added a few more spices.

Chicken Enchilada Pasta
Printable Version
Serves 6-8

2-3 chicken breasts, cubed
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4-ounce can diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 (10-oz) cans green chili enchilada sauce (I used mild)
2/3 cup red enchilada sauce (I used mild)
1 can Rotel Tomatoes, drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
16-20 oz. penne pasta (Depending on how “saucy” you want the pasta)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta until tender. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet and add chicken and taco season. Cook thoroughly until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and add onion (you may need to add more oil). Cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes, until pepper is barely tender. Add the cooked chicken, green chilies, spices, enchilada sauces, corn, and Rotel Tomatoes. Let the sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Add the sour cream and cheese and heat through, until the cheese is melted (but don’t boil!). Pour the sauce over the hot pasta. Garnish with extra sour cream, cheese, green onions or crushed tortilla chips.

recipe adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mine and Theirs

The thing I am liking about Family Circle All-Time Favorite Recipes is that they really are 'family' favorites just improved but still 'family' friendly, easy and use ingredients that are pantry staples.

This book is great when you haven't been to the store in a week (or maybe more) so you are working with what you have on hand and don't have to get stuck with having your 'go to' basic meals (like sandwiches, spaghetti, or tacos) for the umpteenth time.

Now everyone loves classic chicken salad... Great for lunch, dinner, parties/showers or get togethers. This Mexican Chicken Salad was tasty and a great change to the classic chicken salad. The original recipe said to serve this chicken salad over lettuce in a taco bowl. I on the other hand thought this chicken salad would be delicious in a pita OR with my version of tortilla crisps (kind of a tortilla chip kind of a pita chip). My tortilla crisps were the perfect crunch and spice to pair with the Mexican Chicken Salad.

Notes: The original recipe in the Family Circle cookbook uses tuna, so use that if you want but I think the chicken worked better because it is a little bit firmer than tuna and held up to all the additional ingredients. The original recipe also only used sour cream instead of half sour cream and half mayo. I added the mayo and reduced the amount of sour cream because although I like sour cream it can be a bit over powering at times.

Mexican Chicken Salad
Printable Version
Prep time: 15 minutes Serves: 4

1 (12 oz) can chicken, drained and rinsed
1/2 sweet red pepper, cored seeded and chopped
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 green onions
1/3 cup medium salsa
1/4 cup nonfat sour cream
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Flake chicken and combine with pepper, corn, and green onions in a small bowl. Stir in salsa, sour cream, and mayo.

Serve on bread or pitas or with crackers or chips. Refrigerate leftovers.

recipe adapted from Family Circle All Time Favorite Recipes

Tortilla Crisps
From Heather of Kitchen Concoctions
Printable Version
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Makes 48 crisps

6 flour tortillas
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut each tortilla into 8 triangles. Lay tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Melt butter and add spices to butter. Brush each tortilla triangle with butter mixtuer. Flip each tortilla triangle over and repeat.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March Makes A Mark

I apologize right here and now for the long and lengthy post. I was originally going to make this a two part post but the days got away from me and before I knew it, it was already pretty much the 5th of the month. So read, take and break,and come back and enjoy some more!

March is my one year blogging anniversary!!! I can't believe that I have been writing and creating in this little, I mean big blog world for a year! I also still can't believe that I have regular readers of my blog that check in, write comments, send e-mails, and just overall show their love, support, and encourage me.

And whether or not if I have any readers or not I enjoy blogging. I love making and documenting my recipes, taking a stab at photography, writing, and of course reading other blogs.

So for the month of March, my anniversary month, (please if you go back and look at my first few month's of blogging don't judge me too harshly, I was just a newbie back then) I thought I would feature some recipes and blogs that inspire me and started my interest in blogging (and a few other blogs that I have found along the way).

Since I am paying tribute this month, to blogging and blogs that inspire me; my natural choice for cookbook of the month was "The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From An Accidental Country Girl," by Ree Drummand. I am sure most of you avid blog readers already read 'The Pioneer Woman' blog and if you don't I am sure you have heard of her.

The Pioneer Woman Blog has not only has great recipes, but stories about life on an Oklahoma cattle ranch; home and garden tips, a 'how-to guide' to stay sane while homeschooling AND living on a cattle ranch; and photography lessons. Not to mention some pretty awesome giveaways on a regular basis. Ree's blog is funny and light hearted and she updates the blog on a daily basis.

Pretty much all her recipes are her own, are from her friends and family, or classics with her own adaption. The recipes on her blog can be printed on 3x5 or 4x6 recipie cards, or on full size 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Each recipe has cooking times, serving size and the level of difficulty listed. Ree not only shows pictures of the final product but she also includes step by step photos of the cooking process for each recipe along with a photo of the 'cast of characters' (or ingredients to be used in that recipe).

Ree's cookbook, "The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From An Accidental Country Girl," which came out back in October, has the same step by step photos and format of her blog (including the cooking times, serving size, etc.). She includes appetizer, breakfast, super, dinner, dessert recipes and recipes for entertaining. The cookbook also has stories and pictures of her family and their life on the ranch. This cookbook is very well put together and P-Dub (The Pioneer Woman) obviously put her soul into it.

The one disappoint I had with this cookbook, though, was that approximately 95% of the recipes in the cookbook were ones already featured on her blog. Now don't get me wrong, in this high tech world I still love having a good, well put together cookbook with tons of photos; to read, cook from, and flip through. But I was hoping for some new recipes from The Pioneer Woman.

I still love this book and would recommended it to those who don't even obsess in this blog world; considering all the recipes are what good home cooking should be; simple, tasty, and not to mention the step by step pictures.

This first recipe was absolutely delicious. Eric and I love tacos and eat them on a regular basis. This shredded pork was the perfect filling for tacos, enchiladas, and as a topping for nachos. I hate leaving my oven on for long periods of time so I adapted this recipe for the crock pot. This pork turned out perfect in the crock pot which was great because I didn't have to babysit it and I could leave and go run errands and not worry about my stove being on for hours.
The picture below totally does not do this pork justice. Like I said this pork was perfect because it is easy, full of flavor, and can be used for so many different dishes with great results.

Spicy Shredded Pork
Prep Time: 20 Minutes Cook Time: 4 Hours Difficulty: Easy Servings: 8

1 (5 To 7 Pound) Pork Shoulder or Pork Loin
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
1 tablespoon Chili Powder
1 to 2 teaspoons Salt
1 to 2 teaspoons Black Pepper
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
4 Cloves Garlic
1 whole Onion, chopped
2 cups water
Lime Wedges, for serving

Rinse and pat dry the pork shoulder.

Combine the dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar and brown sugar.

Place pork loin into crockpot. Pour olive oil over pork loin. Add spice mixture and thoroughly rub spice mixture all over pork loin.

Add the 2 cups of water. Cover tightly and cook on low heat for 6 to 7 ours; turning once every hour or so. When it is fork tender crank up the heat to high, and roast it, skin side up for another 20 to 30 minutes to get the skin crispy. When it’s done let it rest for 15 minutes before shredding.

Shred the pork shoulder (two forks work well). When it’s all shredded be sure to pour the juices all over the meat. Serve with warm tortillas, lime wedges, sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, tomatillo salsa …

adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From An Accidental Country Girl

Sunday, January 31, 2010

An End To A Health Kick

Well out of the recipes I tried from the Best of Weight Watchers Magazines, Vol. 1 Cookbook, January's cookbook of the month, I would say 75 of them were winners and if I was giving the book an overall score I would give it an 80. There are a wide variety of recipes in this cookbook, quite a few pictures, and it has not only the number of weight watcher points listed for each recipe but also the number of fat, calorie sodium, sugar, carb, and protein grams. This is huge since most cookbooks lack this information, information that is very helpful for people that are trying to eat healthier or lose weight.

Now some of the recipes weren't that "hot" (read that as not that tasty). But some were surprisingly very tasty and did not feel like I was eating "diet" food (I even had Eric asking for seconds).

These Savory Biscotti were a unique twist on the traditional sweet biscotti. Mine turned out good but I think I should have let them cook a little bit longer so that they were crisper. Tuna salad, chicken salad, or hummus would be great toppings for these.

These Pumpkin-Apple Muffins were good but not great. The flavor combinations had all the potential but this recipe really did not bring it all together as I would have hoped.

The Southwestern Sloppy Joes were by far my favorite recipe from this book. This ground turkey mixture was great on a hamburger bun, great over yellow rice, or rolled up in a tortilla. This meal came together fast and was very tasty.... It will be seen on my dinner table again.

These Cumin Spiced Fries were the perfect side to the Southwestern Sloppy Joes. These were full of flavor, easy to make and WAY cheaper than any frozen fries at the store or ones bought at a restaurant... And who knew fries could be good for you too!

This Chocolate Coffee Shake was just as good as any you would find at any coffee shop but without the guilt trip.

Stay tuned for February's cookbook coming up (don't worry no more weight loss cookbooks).

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's Nice To Change Things Up A Bit

I love finding or creating recipes that take 'old classics' and recreate them with a 'new twist'. Take for instance taking that 'plain old mac n' cheese' and making a 'chili mac' or taking that 'traditional meatloaf' that your mom used to make and making it an Italian Meatloaf, or taking that italian lasagna and making it a Mexican Lasagna.

It's nice to have favorites and traditional recipes/menus but it is also nice to change it up a bit. That is why when I saw these Southwestern Sloppy Joes, from the Best of Weight Watchers Magazines, Vol. 1 Cookbook I wanted to try them. I mean come on I love traditional Sloppy Joes that I ate as a kid and I love Mexican Food so how could these not be good!

These were very tasty and came together fast; perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. I used mild salsa in mine and even with the jalapeno it was not that spicy (incase you wanted to feed these to kiddos). If you wanted to bump up the spiciness you could always add another jalapeno or use medium or hot salsa. These will definitely become a regular around here for when I have a busy or exhausting day.

Southwestern Sloppy Joes
adapted from the Best of Weight Watchers Magazines, Vol. 1 Cookbook

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound ground turkey
1 (oz) can mexican-style corn, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups chunky salsa (the heat level you prefer)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Hamburger buns

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Heat the oil and add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the chili powder and oregano and cook one minute more. Add the turkey and corn and cook until meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Stir in the salsa and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened. Spoon over the open rolls and serve.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

It's Cold Out There

It's been cold here... real cold. I know not as cold as places like Fargo, North Dakota or Fairbanks, Alaska but for Texas it sure is freakin' cold. We supposedly were in the teens last night and the high yesterday was only 30 degrees! That's below freezing (in case you didn't know)! How can our HIGH be below FREEZING! And seriously I know I can't complain since the whole country is under a sever freeze warning and it is much much colder every where else; but those people can handle it not me! Luckily, for my sake today was warmer!

What's the perfect cure for the winter time blues? Well a big ole bowl of Chicken Tortilla soup! Eric has been asking me to make tortilla soup for months now (since like our first 'cold front' way back in October). But since he placed such high expectations on it and repeatedly asked for it I put a lot of pressure on finding the perfect tortilla soup recipe. I searched high and low and could never find a recipe I could deem as THE perfect tortilla soup recipe. This one was very delicious (Eric and I ate the whole pot in just two sittings, just between the two of us) but I guess I am still on the hunt for the PERFECT tortilla soup!

Note: I found the original recipe for this tortilla soup on, and it is a Rachael Ray recipe. Her recipe was the bases for this recipe, however, I did make several changes. My final version is the recipe below. Enjoy!

Why-the-Chicken-Crossed-the-Road Santa Fe Tortilla Soup
Kitchen Concoctions version of Rachael Ray's recipe featured on

Vegetable or corn oil, for drizzling, plus 2 tablespoons
1 red bell pepper, split and seeded
2 large chicken breast, boiled and shredded
1 cup frozen corn
1 medium yellow skinned onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (medium), chopped -- available in small cans in Mexican and Spanish food section of market
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper
1/2 tablespoon of the adobo sauce
1 can stewed tomatoes, 28 ounces
1 can tomato sauce, 8 ounces
3 cups chicken stock, available in re-sealable paper containers on soup aisle

Garnish with:
1 cup blue corn tortilla chips, broken up into large pieces
1 cup shredded cheddar or pepper Jack cheese

Heat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and place bell pepper on top. Drizzle pepper with oil and roast under broiler for 3-4 minutes. Remove to cool, 5 minutes. Remove charred skin from the pepper and chop.

Heat a soup pot to medium high. Add 2 tablespoons oil to hot soup pot. Add onions, garlic, chipotle peppers and corn. Cook vegetables 5 to 7 minutes to soften. Add boiled and shredded chicken to pot. Season with poultry seasoning, cumin, salt and pepper. Heat chicken through to incorporate seasonings. Add adobo sauce, tomatoes, tomato sauce and stock. Bring soup to a bubble, reduce heat to medium low. Chop grilled red pepper and stir into soup. Heat soup through for 15 minutes.

Serve soup immediately with a scatter of shredded cheese and topped with crushed tortilla chips.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Unlikely Companions

Happy Labor Day! I hope you all are enjoying a nice long holiday weekend. I know I am! Since it is a Monday it means cookbook of the month recipe day. And it is perfect since it is Labor Day (a day for grilling) and I am featuring Emeril Lagasse's Emeril At The Grill: A Cookbook For All Seasons as the cookbook this month!

So since it is Labor Day and I am hosting a BBQ and I have to start cleaning my house and getting the food ready- I am going to make this short and sweet (or should I say savory). The recipe I am featuring today from this cookbook is perfect for a BBQ or Labor Day meal. It is a grilled corn with a twist: sour cream, milk, cheese, chili powder and lime juice all go on top. As I mentioned earlier some of the ingredients for some of the recipes from this book don't seem like they would go together.... but let me tell you they do. I found this corn so yummy (despite the fact that it was actually awful- thanks HEB- because it wasn't big and plump like other corn I have gotten this season). The flavors all work together and compliment each other. Trust me on this- I am even going to make this again today I liked it so much!

****Remember I changed this recipe up some, so you don't have to make it on the grill. My version is what is below.
Mexican Corn On The Cob
adapted from Emeril At The Grill: A Cookbook For All Seasons

6 ears of corn, husks and silk removed
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 cup grated queso anejo, queso fesco, or mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean corn and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle corn with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together sour cream and milk, until a smooth thick mixture forms. After 15 minutes remove corn fro oven and drizzle with lime juice. Return to oven and roast for another 5 minutes.
Remove corn and spread sour cream mixture all over the corn. Sprinkle with the cheese and a little more chill powder, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco De Mayo

Happy Cinco De Mayo! The 5th of May is not Mexican Independence Day. Mexico declared its independence from mother Spain on midnight, the 15th of September, 1810. Cinco De Mayo commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely defeat of the French Army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The holiday of Cinco de Mayo is primarily a regional holiday in Mexico. There is some limited recognition of the holiday in other parts of the country. For the most part the celebrations combine food, music, and dancing. In Mexico City, like the rest of the Mexican capitals, all the young men who serve the military services pledge allegiance to the Mexican national flag and the institutions that it represents(Wikipedia).Here in the USA we use Cinco De Mayo to celebrate the Mexican culture.

I think we as Americans use any excuse to celebrate or "eat, drink, and be marry"; whether a holiday has any actual personal relevance. We celebrate St.Patrick' Day, Oktoberfest, Chinese New Year, etc. I think it is great that we all participate in all of these holidays. It truly shows what a melting pot America is.

Even though I have no Mexican ancestors I am still celebrating this Mexican Holiday and have made a Dulce de Leche Tres Leches Cake ("Caramel Three Milk Cake"). This cake is extremely moist and rich, the caramel and coconut milk add that extra richness. Not the most beautiful cake but defiantly one of my favs. Hope you all enjoy and have a festive day!

Dulce de Leche Tres Leches Cake
By: Me, Myself and I

1/3 cup butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
1 French Vanilla Cake Mix
1 (4 servings size) package vanilla instant pudding
½ cup milk
½ cup sour cream

Tres Leches Glaze:
1 (12oz) can evaporated milk
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (13.5 oz) coconut milk (found on the ethnic food isle of your grocery store)

1 cup + 1 tablespoon caramel topping (found with all the ice cream toppings)
1 (16 oz) tub cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For Cake:
Cream together butter and cream cheese. Blend in eggs one at a time making sure to blend thoroughly after each one. Add cake mix, pudding, and ½ cup of milk and mix thoroughly. Stir in sour cream. Batter will be thick. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray and pour cake batter in. Smooth cake batter evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-32 minutes, or until toothpick inserted center comes out clean.

For Glaze:
Combine all three milks into a large glass. While cake is still warm, poke holes all over cake with a toothpick of knife. Pour milk mixture all over cake. Let cake cool and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

For Topping:
In bowl, mix one cup of the caramel topping and cream cheese frosting. After cake has refrigerated for several hours, spread frosting/caramel mixture on top of cake. Drizzle cake with remaining tablespoon of the caramel topping. Frost right before serving.

A little history about the Tres Leches Cake:

  • The origins of the tres leches are disputed, and are usually attributed to Nicaragua and Mexico. Mexico does, however, appear to have had recipes very similar to that of the tres leches, which probably led to the now famous dessert being created there, which then possibly migrated to other regions of Latin America (Wikipedia).

  • Some sources say that the cake is reported to come from the back of an evaporated milk or condensed milk can in Latin America to promote the use of the product, back in the mid-1850s. Evaporated milk and condensed milk were sold throughout Central and South America and even the Caribbean (

  • The state of Veracruz, in southern Mexico, also claims its creation which will include Mexican vanilla and Caribbean rum.

  • In the Caribbean, cream of coconut is occasionally used instead of condensed milk.

  • Central America is known for following the traditional tres leches cake recipe but soaking it in a mixture of water, rum or brandy, and sugar. This version is called pastel borracho (drunken cake).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Gooey Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas

My good friend Stacy (My Favorite Recipes) made these amazing enchiladas for me, many years ago. So when I saw that she started a food blog I requested that she post the recipe for those amazing enchiladas that she had made so many years ago. I could only hope that she remembered those yummy cheesy goodness that she called enchiladas. So per my request she posted Creamy Sour cream Chicken Enchiladas. She states on her blog that she got this recipe from a restaurant in Dallas called Durning House, who published their recipes into a cookbook. If ALL the food at Durning House is this good I want to try it handmade by them at their restaurant AND buy their cookbook.

Of course when I saw her posting I just had to make these enchiladas again. However, I changed up the recipe a bit and made mine a little more spicy. Below is my version of the Creamy Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas; I call them Gooey Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas. If you want the original check out Stacy's blog, My Favorite Recipes ( You will NOT be disappointed in either version!

Gooey Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas

1 (7 oz) can chopped green chilies
2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
½ cup yellow onion, chopped (approximately half of one small onion)
½ cup green onion, chopped
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
3 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
1 package flour tortillas
1 small can cream of chicken soup
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
1cup jalapeño jack cheese, shredded and divvied
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, diced

For Filling:
In a large bowl mix chilies, jalapenos and both onions. Reserve ¼ cup of this mixture for sauce. Add softened cream cheese and prepared chicken to remaining onion mixture. Mash everything together using fork or the back of a large spoon. Once mixed, spread a generous amount of the chicken mixture into a tortilla. Roll tortilla up and place in a 9x13 inch pan. Repeat until chicken mixture runs out.

For Sauce:
Heat cream of chicken soup, cumin, sour cream, and ½ a cup of each of the cheeses; making sure not to boil. When cheeses are melted, stir in cilantro and the reserved ¼ cup of the onion/jalapeño mixture. Pour sauce over prepared enchiladas.

Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with remaining ½ cup of jalapeño jack and shard cheddar cheeses. Place back in the oven and bake for 5 more minutes- until cheese is melted and sauce is hot and bubbly. Makes about 12 enchiladas.

*****Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated; for this add 10 minutes to the baking time. Rotisserie chicken can be used for your convince.

The next thing I must work on is my food photography skills. I have always seen beautiful pictures of food in magazines, on blogs, and on restaurant menus. The photographers make the food look so delicious you can 'smell' it in front of you. Unfortunately I don't have a fancy, super expensive camera. So I hope that I can learn how to take pictures of food so that when you see them you can actually 'smell' the food. I know a picture is worth a thousand words; so hopefully I am not making my delicious food look bad by my lack of skill with the camera.
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