Friday, April 27, 2012

7 layer dip

Who doesn't love a seven layer dip? No one thats who. I decided to make a huge batch for our housewarming party over the weekend, and thought I would share because it looked so pretty.

First - if you didn't already know this - you can use your cake pedestal upside down as a serving bowl for punch or in this case, dips. SERIOUSLY, how awesome is that?


1 large 28oz cans refried beans
1 packet taco seasoning
1 tub sour cream ( I used jalapeno sour cream dip)
8 ripe avocados
1 small jar, or about 1 cup of fresh salsa
3 roma tomatoes
1 small package mexican cheese blend
1 small can black sliced olives
2 green onion
1 jalapeno
juice of one lime


Take your can of refried beans, spoon into dip bowl and stir in about half the packet of taco seasoning. Smooth into an even layer.
Take your sour cream and layer on top of beans - if using plain mix in rest of taco seasoning

Make your guacamole:
Mash 8 avocados
add a good pinch of salt
squeeze in the juice of 1 lime
chop on roma tomato finely
chop 1 seeded jalapeno
Mix well.

Add guacamole on top of sour cream and smooth out.
Next, add your salsa.
Then sprinkle on your cheese mixture.
Then top with rest of chopped up roma tomatoes, olives and chopped green onion.

I think this is technically 8 ingredients, or layers, but who is counting right?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno Poppers
Yields: 50 poppers

This appetizer is my go to. I make these all the time because they are completely fantastic. I serve them with a meal as a side, I've probably made a billion and eaten a million in my lifetime. Seriously. They are low-carb, sugar free and have bacon, what more could you ask for?

When cooked properly the jalapeno is roasted, soft and has lost much of its heat, and the bacon is crispy, even children like my poppers, it becomes the perfect bite.

I like to make as many as possible at one time, I've even learned that they freeze fantastically and plan on having some on hand in the freezer at all times.


25 jalapenos, slice lengthwise then seeded and ribs scraped out.
2 large tubs of cream cheese
2 packages of bacon - bacon slices cut in half.


Take your jalapenos, and using a large spoon, fill up your jalapenos. Wrap your bacon around the jalapeno, trying not to overlap the bacon. Stick with toothpick if necessary, but I've found if you let the bacon sit on the counter and warm up a little bit it becomes pliable enough that it will stay in place.

At this point you can place your poppers on a large tray and freeze until solid, then transfer to freezer bags, if you need to.

To cook:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


Place your poppers on a wire rack sitting inside a cookie sheet - this step is my secret weapon, and I'm only sharing this with you because my cousin Stacy has demanded it :-)

When they cook on the wire rack the air in the oven can cook all the way around the popper - meaning no undercooked bottom - a serious no no for poppers! You can also place these poppers on the grill during the summertime - giving you the same result.

Bake on cookie sheets for a hour. No joke, an hour. But don't let the bacon burn, if they darken too much lower the temp, they must cook enough that the bacon is nice and crispy AND the jalapeno has begun to gray slightly and the skin is shrinking away from the flesh. Otherwise you'll get the dreaded crunchy popper that burns the heck out of your mouth.
My impatience has left this burnt resentment in my mouth often. 

There you have it, beautiful simple and delicious jalapeno poppers that you'll be making for every event, even if its just tuesdays, for life. Enjoy!

Nutritional data estimated on

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Asian Salmon

Asian Style Salmon
Yields: 2 servings

I love salmon, I could eat salmon everyday if I could afford it. I buy wild-caught Alaskan salmon and it is fantastic. This is probably my favorite way to serve salmon, simple and elegant. I believe a fish like salmon doesn't need much to elevate it.

2 6 oz salmon portions
2 cups frozen french cut green beans - thawed
1 can water chestnuts sliced
1 tablespoon french's fried onions
1 green onion - chopped
1 small bag saffron rice
1 tablespoon butter and olive oil each for searing
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon chile-garlic paste (sambal oelek)
1 tablespoon garlic minced
1 tablespoon ginger minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper

Mix marinade up and spoon out several tablespoons to reserve. Place fillets in marinade and let rest for 10-30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Heat open-proof skillet with 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil until shimmery. Place salmon presentation (pretty) side down in pan. Sear for 4 minutes. See how beautiful they are?

Carefully flip fillets and place skillet into preheated broiler on low for an additional 3 minutes.

In the meantime take reserved marinade and place into new non-stick skillet. Heat well then add green beans and water chestnuts. Bring to boil and reduce sauce by half. Turn heat off and stir in chopped green onion.

I topped the stir-fry with french's fried onion crispies, and then served saffron rice on the side.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Breakfast "Cookie"

Breakfast "Cookie"
Yields: 12 cookies

I've seen a few different recipes for a breakfast cookie, and I immediately thought of Josh. He needs something he can grab when running out the door in the morning, something that can also satisfy his insatiable sweet tooth, that I can still feel good feeding him....

Hence, this breakfast "cookie" made without flour, sugar, diary and eggs.


2 bananas - well ripened (mine weren't so to this I added 1 tablespoon brown sugar)
4 oz applesauce
1/3 cups craisins - or dried fruit of your choice. I'll try blueberries next time
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or cardamon would also be nice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon flax seeds
1 cup traditional whole grain oats
Pinch of salt
 - You could also experiment with various chopped nuts for added protein

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Add sliced banana into mixing bowl and smash slightly - but leave in pretty large chunks

add applesauce, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and sugar (if needed)
Mix in oats and flax seeds

Let mixture sit for 5-10 minutes to help hydrate the oats.

Spoon mixture onto greased baking sheet, my mixture made 12 "cookies" - although next time I will make a huge batch and freeze them (already baked).

Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until cookie has turned golden brown in color, then let cool. My cookies kinda stuck to the cookie-sheet - so next time I will line the sheet in wax or parchment paper.

Nutrition estimated from

Friday, April 20, 2012

Kale Chips

Kale Chips - WTF is that you ask?

Kale is a large green leaf that is always next to the mustard and collard greens at the grocery store. Its huge, dark green leaves with thick stems.

Take it home. Its great for you, and this is my favorite way to eat it.

Take 1 bunch of kale and rip the leaf part off the stem, in bite sized pieces.

Place on cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil over it, then sprinkle a large pinch of sea salt. Use tongs to mix it up. A full bunch usually takes two batches.

Place in preheated oven at 350 degrees until the leaves are dry and crunchy, but not burnt, about 10-12 minutes. Stir if needed.

Sometimes I feel like it doesn't crisp all the way, so I'll take it out, let it dry a bit, and then put it back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes to get it extra crispy.

They are delicious warm, but can be eaten anytime.

Ultimate Iced Coffee

Iced Coffee Heaven
Yield: 6 cups

Yes I'll say it, there really is nothing better than a strong cup of iced coffee. Until a few months ago I thought the only way for a cup of iced coffee to exist was to brew up some, cool it down, and drink it. Boy, was I wrong! The cold brew method truly is the only way to make iced coffee.

I've searched the internet for many variations on the iced coffee method, and used the pioneer woman's recipes for quite awhile, but find making an entire pounds worth of coffee at one time a little excessive, the container barely fits into my fridge.

So, I found another variation, and decided to give it a try....


6 cups of water
1 1/3 cups ground coffee
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons brown sugar

Take all the ingredients into a large glass picture (Quart sized mason jar works well) and stir well. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.

The next morning strain through a mesh strainer or even the coffee filter in a coffee pot (like I did) and refrigerate in the same (cleaned) glass container. 

When ready to drink, fill a glass with ice, pour 2/3 full of coffee and then top off with half and half.
If you are crazy like me, you'll skip the brown sugar part (but keep the cinnamon) and just add about 1 tablespoon half and half and one tablespoon sweetened condensed milk (the milk of the gods if you didn't know, a tip from the pioneer woman) and stir together for what is called a Thai iced coffee. Delish!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chile Relleno Casserole

I had a ton of extra hatch green chilies left over from my housewarming party, if you don't know what I'm talking about, then you'll need to learn. I guess it's a southwest thing, cause I've heard from others that giant chile roasters on the side of the road throughout summer don't exist in other parts of the country (and I feel bad for you all- cause you are missing out on awesomeness).

You get that bushel of fresh roasted hatch and/or poblano chilies home and your house (and car) smell fantastic for days. I clean them and freeze into individual portions in freezer ziplock bags, so I have them available all year long.

Well anyways, I took some out and ended up with about 15 large chiles left over, and I remembered by dad talking about this chile rellano dish that my grandmother used to make, that he loved, but I personally had no memory of... So I decided to give it a try.

I texted my tech-savvy grandparents and asked for the recipe, and they scanned the original recipe into an email and sent it to me, how awesome is that?

This dish can be eaten for any meal- it makes a fantastic brunch or breakfast item, but I made it for dinner and served warm corn tortillas on the side.


4 slices white bread- buttered on one side
12 whole green chiles- sliced open, cleaned and dry
2-3 cups shredded cheese (recipe says pepper jack, but all I had was Mexican blend)

6 whole eggs
1 small pkg cream cheese ( I didn't have any so I substituted for 1/4 cup Mexican crema (sour cream) I had left over
1 tsp each salt, paprika, onion and garlic powder
1/2 tsp of dry ground mustard
2 cups milk


Whisk eggs, sour cream (or cream cheese) spices and milk together. Set aside.

Place bread butter side down in 9x13 baking dish.

Sprinkle with cheese, then add one layer of green chiles. ( I could fit about 6 opened up and laying flat in dish)

Sprinkle with cheese again
Add one more layer of green chiles

Sprinkle with cheese again

Then pour egg mixture over everything, and sprinkle with cheese of you like.

Place plastic wrap or fool over and let it sit in fridge all day, or overnight depending on when you make it. I made it before I left for work, took about 10 minutes to prepare at most.

When you get home, place in preheated oven (325 degrees) for 1 hour, uncovered until golden brown on top.

Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Data estimated from

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mexican Tortilla Roll-Ups

Easy Peasy - a mexican flavored tortilla roll up can be a simple and tasty appetizer made the night before.


1 tub of cream cheese - room temperature
1/2 container of sour cream (I used the japaleno sour cream dip)
1 small bag of shredded pepperjack cheese
1 small can chopped hatch green chilies
1 smal can sliced black olives
1 chopped green onion
1 package green (garden salsa) tortillas
1 package yellow (jalapeno cheddar) tortillas

Mix all ingredients together and spoon onto tortilla. Smooth out to edges in a thin layer.

Roll tortilla up and place on platter, continue until out of mixture (this makes about 6 tortillas worth)

Place in fridge to firm up - about an hour.

When cool slice tortilla rolls into 1-1 1/2 inch slices with a serrated knife. Donzo.

The recipe made all these!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pork Carnitas

One of my most favorite recipes. I make this often because it is so easy, and soooo tasty.
I made a boat load of it for our housewarming party last week, a 6lb shoulder in fact.


Pork shoulder
One white or yellow onion
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon achiote paste
3-4 tablespoons or bacon fat or lard (or shortening or veg oil if you desire)
salt to taste


Take the pork shoulder and place in crock pot, fill 1/3 the way up with water. Sprinkle pork shoulder with salt and top with a sliced onion.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 until the pork falls apart easily. Take out of crock pot and set aside to cook. 
Strain the liquid left in the crock-pot with a sieve and return to crock pot, place on hot. Add in all the spices and let it come to a boil.

Once the pork is cook enough to handle remove any bones or large sections of fat. Discard.
Break the pork into large chunks and allow to dry as completely as possible. 

Melt 3-4 tablespoons of chosen fat into a large skillet, and heat until shimmery but not smoking. Place large chunks of pork, and fry on all sides until it develops a golden brown crust. 

Place pork back into crock-pot and turn into sauce. Turn crock-pot to warm until ready to serve. 

Serve with corn tortillas, chopped cilantro and onion, sour cream, queso fresco and lime wedges. Rice, beans and avocado are also great additions. Perfection!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tequila Flan

Tequila Flan
Serves: 12

Flan... Okay not the best name, but caramel coated custard probably doesn't sound much better...

It is amazing, especially when made from scratch and not a box.... and so easy there is really no reason to ever do so.

I spent a fair amount of time in Mexico growing up, my grandparents retired there, and got to sample the dessert of the gods A LOT, so believe me when I tell you this is the best recipe I have come up with.


1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
3 whole eggs
3 egg whites

1/2 cup cane sugar
2 oz tequila

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix custard ingredients

While that is mixing, place sugar and tequila in non-stick sauce pan and heat on medium-high.

The sugar will bulk up and look crystallized, and then melt down into a caramel liquid. The alcohol boils off, and your left with an extra delicious tequila caramel.

Once it is melted pour into a pie pan, then pour custard mixture on top. 

Make a bain-marie (larger roasting pan filled with water) halfway up the side of the pie pan, and place it in the oven. 

Cover with foil and bake for 45-60 minutes, until the custard sets - and a knife will pull out clean.

Once you take the pan out of the oven place a large plate or platter that is larger than the pie pan on top, and then flip it over - to flip the flan out of the pan. Then you will see it for all its glory, the dessert of the gods.

It will not dry out, but I like to create an aluminum foil tent to cover it and keep it safe. Chill at least 4 hours before serving.
Nutrition Estimated on