Category Archives: Recipes

4th of July Sopapilla Cheesecake

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4th of July Sopapilla Cheesecake

Sopapilla Cheesecake is my go-to, super-fast-and-easy dessert after any Mexican dishes that I serve for supper (like “Taco Tuesday,” Taco Salad, Tamales, Chicken/Cheese/Beef Enchiladas, Chili Rellenos, Asada Street Tacos, Carnitas, Loaded Nachos, Quesadillas, etc.).  This year I decided it would be a perfect Red, White, and Blue sweet ending to our Independence Day meal, because of the colors, and because I had all the ingredients in my fridge!

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

 

2 (8-oz) pkgs Cream Cheese, softened (room temp)

1 cup sugar

½ tsp Mexican Vanilla (or, if you want to be fancy, you can scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean pod)

Mix together all three ingredients until smooth and thoroughly incorporated.  Set aside.

 

2  (8-oz) tubes Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (or, you can make your own croissant dough)

¾ cup sugar

1 tsp. Cinnamon

½ cup butter, softened (room temp)

¼ cup honey (warm in microwave for about 20 seconds, after baking cheesecake)

Lightly grease a large baking pan (or small high-sided cookie sheet) with a tablespoon of the softened butter.  Unroll one tube of crescent rolls and roll out to fit in the bottom of the greased baking pan/sheet, pinching the perforations together.  Spread the cream cheese mixture over the dough, leaving a small edge of the dough all the way around uncovered (like a pizza).  Unroll the second tube of dough and roll out to fit over the cream cheese layer.  Press down slightly around the edges.  Mix the sugar, cinnamon, and remaining softened butter together into a paste.  Spread over the top layer of dough. 

Bake in a preheated 350 degree (F) oven for about 30 minutes, until puffed and golden.  Remove from oven and drizzle the entire top of the cheesecake with warmed honey.

 

Strawberry Blueberry Compote

(This is what gives the dessert the RED and BLUE  on WHITE treatment)

¼ cup of cold water

Juice and zest of one lemon

½ cup sugar

2 Tbsp Cornstarch

1 pkg frozen strawberries

½ pkg frozen blueberries

Place water, lemon juice and zest, sugar, and cornstarch in a sauce pot on the stove.  Stir to mix the ingredients and then turn heat on medium high.  Add strawberries and bring to a boil, stirring until mixture is thick.  Remove from heat and add blueberries.  Set aside until ready to serve.

 

Cheesecake may be served warm or cold.  My son-in-law loves it warm and gooey.  I think it is delish the next morning after being refrigerated overnight, with a hot, creamy cup of coffee – like a cheese danish.  Mmmmmmm…don’t you?

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The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.

Proverbs 11:25 NKJV

 

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” 

Galatians 5:1

 

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South Texas Style Chili Rellenos

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South Texas Style Chili Rellenos

The title is kind of a guffaw, actually, and the reason I grin-and-bare that is that when hubby and I first moved to south Texas, and specifically the little town that we’re in, there wasn’t a chili relleno to be had on a single menu; not in a single restaurant in our town.  And when I asked for “green chili” on an omelet for the first time I was met with a puzzled look and a question, “Do you  mean Tomatillo sauce?”  Um, no.

Needless to say, we were terribly disappointed, and bewildered.  How could this be?  Is it that green chilies only migrated north and west from New Mexico and not east?  Maybe they aren’t a Mexican food at all?  Perhaps it was my ignorance that green chilies and Tex-Mex were synonymous? 😞

I’m happy to report that just a couple of years later Hatch green chilies started making an appearance in these parts, and when they did, they made a big appearance.  There are still no Chili Rellenos on the menus in our town, but at least this girl can get the ingredients in our local grocery to make them now, and that’s really all that matters.

And in all fairness, not all of South Texas is a dry Rellenos area; we’ve had them in a few San Antonio restaurants, even though they only barely resemble the authentic Rellenos that first stole my heart.

And, please pardon if I don’t make mine like you do.  This is the way I personally like them.  I’m sure I would love yours, unless you make them with ground beef filling, and then I’ll have to reserve my judgement until I’ve tasted them.  Husband likes the beef filled rellenos, but I dream about cheese filled rellenos and am content to eat those for the rest of my days.

I got my Ranchera Sauce recipe from a gal I stopped in the middle of HEB not long back.  She works in a local restaurant, so I knew she would steer me straight, at least as much of it as I could remember as she rattled her recipe off to me in the midst of my gathering ingredients.  Ha!  I hope I’m making it right. It’s sure tasty, so I’m sticking with it. 😆

First we start with the Ranchera Sauce

Place a stick of butter into a heavy pan and on medium high heat begin melting.  As soon as it is melted add one whole large chopped onion (white or yellow).  Saute the onion until it is translucent, turn heat down to medium and continue sautéing until the onions are caramelized.  This will take quite a while.

Chop 2 jalapenos (stems discarded), and about 6 large plum tomatoes into chunks.  Add them to the caramelized onions and let them cook until softened.  Add a 14-oz can of tomato sauce to the mixture, stir, place a lid, reduce heat to simmer, and let cook until you are ready to batter and fry the rellenos.  At that point you will want to use a Braun Wand blender tool to whirl the Ranchera sauce into a smooth sauce with no large chunks.

Now, the preparation of the green chilies…

Pick the largest, firmest ones you can find at your grocery.  Bring them home and wash them, and then dry them.  I like the spicy ones.  You might prefer the milder ones.

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Move an oven rack up to the highest level of your oven.  Preheat your oven broiler (you can do them on the grill too…but the oven is faster and easier).  Place your washed chilies on a cookie sheet and slide them onto that top rack in the oven.

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Close the oven door (I prop my door open slightly with a wooden spoon – I like to hear my chilies popping and crackling).

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Let the chilies broil on one side long enough for them to become charred and blistered.

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Use tongs to roll them a quarter turn and return to broiler.  Check them often for doneness.  Continue turning and broiling until the chilies skins are blistered and charred all the way around.

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Quickly remove them from the cookie sheet and place them into a large Ziploc freezer back, and seal it.

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Allow chilies to steam inside the bag for several minutes, while you prepare the rest of the meal.

NOTE:  I like to serve my Rellenos with homemade refried beans and a cheesy green chili rice.  See those recipes below, and it would be a great time to start making them now.  This is also a good time to blend your Ranchera sauce and make is smooth.  Keep it simmering on a back burner until ready to serve.

Start about 2 inches of oil getting hot in a deep sided frying pan (…just hot enough that a droplet of water makes it pop and fizzle.  Not hot enough to be smoking.  If you are seeing streaks/waves in your oil, it may be too hot.  Either drop your heat, or add a little more oil to cool it down a bit before adding your chilies).  The pan you use should be large enough that two chilies will fit without touching the sides or each other.

Hot oil

As soon as the green chilies have cooled enough to handle take them to the sink and begin removing the skins.  They should slide right off easily.  If not, be careful not to tear the chili, as it will be hard to keep the filling inside while you are battering it.

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Once the chilies are skinned, make a slight slit along the side near the top stem of each.

cut the chili

Only make it big enough to slide the pieces of cheese inside.  If you wish to remove some of the seeds you  may do that also.  I push the seeds out through the slit.  I don’t mind a few seeds in my rellenos though.  I use Pepper-Jack Cheese.  For 8 to 10 chilies you will need about 1 1/2 8-oz blocks, which I cut into quarter-inch slices and then into quarter inch strips.

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Begin stuffing your chilies with strips of cheese, about 5 or so strips per chili.  Dust the outsides with flour and lay them on a paper towel as you prepare them.  Once all the chilies have been stuffed and floured, you are ready to make your batter.

I beat two eggs and add about a cup of water to them…

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…and then I whisk in some seasoned beer batter mix (part of one bag) until the consistency is about that of thin pancake batter.  The batter should stick to your chilies, but just leave a fairly thin film.  Hold the chili by the stem and dip it into the batter.  Use a fork to sweep batter over the top of the chili and then gently lift the chili out of the batter, with the fork.  Slide it into the hot oil and let it begin frying.  Add another chili and let the two fry together.

Allow the chilies to fry for a few minutes and then use tongs to turn.  The batter should turn a golden color.  Scoop the chilies out of the oil and place on paper towels for a moment to absorb the oil.  Quickly plate them and cover them with simmering Ranchera Sauce.

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Oh my how I love them!!!!!   Now if I could figure out how to feed a crowd all at the same time I’d be in business.  I only know how to make Rellenos for one person at a time.  Hot and fresh.

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Colleen's Chile Rellenos

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Mama’s Refried Beans

If you’ve made a pot of pinto beans and have leftovers, by all means use them for this.  If not, look for these varieties at your local grocery store.  I used 2 cans of Charro and 1 can of Barracho (which means drunken – notice that they use Shiner beer for this).

First I drained my beans of all the liquid (don’t rinse them).  I melted about 2 Tablespoons of rendered pork fat (lard), actually I used some bacon fat I had on hand, in a sauce pan on the stove, and then added my beans.  I let them just bubble and cook on medium low heat until I was almost ready to serve my meal.  Moments before I was ready to serve I took a potato masher and mashed the beans until they were the desired consistence.  They may be served with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and some chopped green onion.

NOTE: This also makes a wonderful bean dip, if you like that with tortilla chips for a snack.

DSCN9810Cheesy Green Chili Rice

First I sautéed my rice in about 1/2 a stick of butter in a small sauce pot, on high heat.  After about a minute of continuous stirring, I added 2 cups of hot chicken broth, 1 can of diced green chilies, and a grind of sea salt.  When the liquid boils, place a lid on the pot and turn the heat down to low.  Simmer for about 20 minutes.  Lift the lid and lay several slices of pepper jack cheese on top of the rice.  Replace the lid and leave until cheese is melted.  Lift lid and fluff rice with a fork, incorporating the cheese throughout.  If you like it just a little creamier, you may add a splash of Crema, or heavy cream, and a sprinkle of cayenne.

 

“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.”  Acts 2:46

 

 

Mrs. H’s Santa Fe Burger

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Mrs. H’s Santa Fe Burger

My husband and I discovered a little burger joint soon after moving to south Texas.  It’s not a fancy place.  In fact it’s kind of grimey looking on the outside.  A regular person might even drive right past it and not think twice about it.  It’s just a little dive of a place really, along the side of the road in Hondo, TX, but one day the old man and I cowboyed up and gave it a try … and I tell you … we absolutely fell in love with the Santa Fe burger that we ordered that first day.  We love it so much it’s all we can ever think about when we drive by.  We stop in regularly, on our way through town, just to indulge in its deliciousness.  We love it so much we haven’t even ever tried anything else on the menu.  You ever find a restaurant like that?  They are real sweet about adding a few extra things to our burgers, which is what puts the Santa Fe right over the top.  The next thing we know we’ve got it dripping down our arms, not saying a word, chewing as fast as we can to make our nagging tongues happy.

So, because of the couple of little extras I always ask for, I feel like its okay to give you my take on Billy Bobs lovely little sandwich of deliciousness.  My version by no means replaces theirs, but it’s a nice little appetizer between trips.  I’ll warn you up front that It’s a little bit of work to make, but baby it’s worth it!!!!  At least in my book.

Prepare the Green Chilies

For this recipe you’ll need about two green chilies per person, so about eight should do. I pick out the biggest and most firm Anaheim (Hatch, Fresno, New Mexico) green chilies available at the market (I also grow them in my garden).

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Wash them and dry them off, and then lay them out on a cookie sheet.

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Raise one of the oven racks to its highest position in the oven and turn the oven on to BROIL.  Allow the oven to warm up, and then put the cookie sheet of chilies in, just under the top heating element.

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I usually prop a wooden spoon in the door to hold it open a tad, so I can hear the chilies popping and crackling.

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I keep an eye on them, as it doesn’t take long.  When I see that they are pretty popped and blistered, and burned on that top side, I open the oven, slide the rack out, and use tongs to turn the chilies a quarter of a turn, and then put them back under the heat.  I continue broiling and turning until the chilies are popped and blistered, and charred on all sides.

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Quickly remove the chilies from the oven with tongs and immediately place them into a plastic Ziploc freezer back.  As soon as all the chilies are inside the bag, zip it up, and then let them sit and steam for several minutes, while you work on the rest of  your meal.

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green chilies

Back in Wyoming there was a certain time in the summer when the green chile trucks would show up in parking lots around town with heaping baskets full of green chilies and a barrel-type roaster that rotated over an open fire.  We could buy the amount of chilies we wanted and they would roast them, and then package them up for us to take home.  I often bought large amounts of those chilies, took them home and repackaged them (about six chilies to a bag) into plastic zip bags, with their blistered skins left on, but all the air squeezed out, and put them straight into my freezer.  Whenever I wanted to make something with green chilies I’d grab a bag and let it thaw for a little bit on the kitchen counter, peel the skins off in the sink, and sometimes remove the seeds and stems (depending upon what I was making), and either use them whole or chop them into pieces for whatever recipe I was doing.  SOooooo many ways to use green chilies!!!!  

Its unfortunate, but we don’t get those trucks in the little Texas town where I live now, and perhaps not where you live either.  The BBQ grill works, but I’m not a fan of standing over a hot grill to babysit chilies on a hot south Texas day.  But, in this instance, you’ll be grilling burgers out there anyways, so you may prefer just to do it all on the grill.  And maybe you have a hubby who is all about the grill and happy to do them for you!  Knuckle bump!!!!

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The Beef Patties

1 (1-pound) pkg of high quality ground beef plus 1 (1-pound) pkg of ground bison

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1 jalapeno, stem removed, seeds and flesh chopped finely

1/2 of a small red onion, chopped finely

1 tsp Salt Lick dry rub seasoning (this is mostly just cayenne and ground black pepper)

Sliced Pepper Jack cheese – to be placed on burgers at the end of grilling

Hamburger buns of choice (Sometimes all I can find are the regular, sesame seed buns, but when I can find a good, soft, ciabatta-type bun, I use that).

Mix together gently and form into four or five good-sized patties.  Set aside while you prepare the following ingredients, and then grill the burgers over hot coals on the BBQ.  Add the cheese during the last minute or so of grilling.

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Toppings

Bacon (2 slices per burger), the best is the thicker sliced applewood bacon, fried crispy  (but if I’m in a hurry and don’t have leftover bacon from breakfast, I’ll use the precooked bacon available at the grocery store and go with 3 or 4 slices per burger)

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Peel the skins off the green chilies, and remove seeds and stems, but leave whole

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Sliced jalapeno

Sliced red onion

Sliced heirloom tomatoes

Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried

Dill pickle slices

Garlic Mayonaise (mash 1 clove of garlic and mix into 2/3 cup of mayo, I often add a sprinkle of chili powder and a squeeze of lime, and sometimes some minced cilantro)

Dijon mustard

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To Assemble the Burger

Some like their buns toasted

Spread some mayo over the bun halves

Squirt on some mustard

Lay a whole slice of red onion down

Place a few slices of jalapeno on top of the onion

Then a freshly cooked beef pattie with melted cheese

Layer on two Green Chilies, two slices of cooked bacon, a slice of tomato, a folded leaf of lettuce, (and a couple slices of dill pickle if desired)

Place the top of bun in place

Mash down so you can fit it in your mouth and ENJOY!!!!!

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For this Memorial Day,

… I made these burgers and served them with my Jalapeno Potato Salad (from Cowboy Backyard BBQ), plus my latest favorite food: Mexican Street Corn, and sliced watermelon for dessert.

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Potato Salad

Mama’s POTATO SALAD 

Ingredients

6 large red potatoes cooked until tender and cubed, skins on or off as preferred

4 hard boiled eggs, cooled and chopped

1/2 large red onion diced

3 stalks of celery chopped

2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish

1 small sprig of dill weed, chopped

1 bunch of green onions chopped

1 or 2 large jalapenos, seeds and stems removed, diced

Sauce Ingredients:

1 cups Mayonnaise  (plus more or less, as you like it)

3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp Sea Salt  (plus more as desired)

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp ground pepper

 Directions:

Put first eight ingredients in a very large bowl.  Mix up sauce ingredients and pour over the ingredients in the bowl.  Toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Optional additions:

Add a half-cup of blue cheese crumbles and a quarter cup of crispy crumbled bacon as a garnish on top of potato salad.

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Colleen’s Mexican Street Corn 

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  • 8 ears fresh sweet corn (leave the husks and stems on)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Mexican crema (my grocer carries two types, a sweet cream type,which tastes like heavy whipping cream, and a sour cream kind. Both have a slightly thicker consistency than whipping cream)
  • 1/2 cup finely crumbled cotija or Queso Fresco cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I make my own blend, see recipe below)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, mashed and finely minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 or 5 limes, cut into wedges

I grilled my corn in the husks on the grill, turning about every 5 minutes until charred on all sides, and then I pulled the husks down over the stems (using oven mitt to protect my hands from burning) and returned the corn to the grill for a short time (about 3 minutes) to give the kernels that charred effect.  I left the husks attached for a decorative effect, but now as I look at these photos I’m thinking they might have been even cuter if I had tied something around each husk, like a piece of raffia or something, to bundle them together and anchor them to the stems, turning them into decorative “handles.”  NOTE: The corn can also be shucked and “grilled” in the oven at 425 degrees F, turning about every 7 minutes or so until cooked all the way around.  Once it is cooked on all sides and has some charred spots it’s time to dress it up.

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While the corn is grilling, mix together the mayo (please don’t use the fat-free stuff.  I know it may be healthier for you, but really, you must live a little!!!), crema, garlic, and add about 1/4 tsp of the chili powder.  Juice and zest a couple of the limes and then add the juice and zest to the mayo mixture.  Toss in about half of the crumbled cotija (Queso Fresco).  Mix well and keep in fridge until ready to use.  Cut the remaining limes into wedges and save for serving.

As soon as the corn is grilled, spread each cob with a generous amount of the mayo mix on all sides. Don’t be chincy.  Follow with a sprinkling all around of chili powder, and then cheese crumbles.  Sprinkle some cilantro on top, and a few extra sprinkles of the cheese.  Serve immediately with a wedge of lime for each cob!

You’ve died and gone to heaven, right?  I’m there with ya!!!!!!

 

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Colleen’s Homemade Chili Powder

  • 3 Ancho Chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 3 Cascabel/Guajillo chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 4 Arbol/Cayenne chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 2 Pasilla chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 2 New Mexico Red chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon hot Paprika

Place the chiles and cumin seeds in a saute pan or cast iron skillet and toast over medium heat about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and place in a glass bowl to cool completely.  Once cool, place in a blender, along with the other ingredients and process until a fine powder. Allow the powder to settle for several minutes before lifting the lid.  Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.  Use for making chili, to season corn, or in BBQ sauces and dry rubs.

 

HayStacks for Supper

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HayStacks for Supper

This was always one of my kids’ favorite meals.  Savory Haystacks for supper, and sweet Haystacks cookies for dessert!!!!!  We were first introduced to Haystacks as a supper food when our family was invited to dinner after church.  It’s been a staple in my repertoire ever since. It’s similar to Frito Pie, but with rice and taco toppings.  And Haystack Cookies are my very favorite cookies that my mom used to make when I was a kid.  Want to butter your kids up for something?  Make them a batch of Haystacks.  You’ll have them eating out of your hand! Ha ha!

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I make my savory, Frito Taco Hay Stacks from leftover chili with beans.  See my chili recipe HERE (it’s the second recipe down in the series on that page).

Plus…

  • Cooked Rice (I love Green Chili Rice! Just make rice as directed on package, substituting chicken broth for the water, and adding a small can of green chilis)
  • 1 family size bag Fritos (regular or spicy)
  • Make a pico-de-gallo with equal parts diced tomato, diced green onion, and diced fresh jalapeno (stems and seeds removed); add some chopped cilantro, the juice of one lime, and a pinch of kosher salt
  • Chopped Romaine lettuce
  • Chopped jumbo black olives
  • Chopped jalapenos (fresh or pickled)
  • Chopped avocado  (or guacamole)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Make a dressing of equal parts salsa and sour cream

To serve:

Place a handful of Fritos on each person’s plate

Top Fritos with a serving of rice

Ladle on some warmed up leftover chili

Top the chili with cheese, lettuce, avacado, pico, cilantro, and black olives

Pour dressing on top

ENJOY!!!!

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1 (11-oz) pkg Butterscotch baking chips

1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts

1 (12-oz) pkg La Choy chow mein noodles

Melt butterscotch chips in the top pot of a double boiler (bottom pot should have a few inches of water and be brought to boiling), stirring constantly.

Once chips have melted, remove pan from heat and stir in peanut butter and peanuts. Add chow mein noodles and toss gently to coat them all over completely. Drop by spoonfuls onto a foil lined cookie sheet. Allow to cool and set up before serving. May be refrigerated to hasten the cooling/setting up process in warm climates.

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”  

1 Corinthians 3:12-13 (KJV)

 

FUN and GAMES

A fun after-supper game for the kids… Make a giant straw haystack in the back yard and hide it full of plastic Easter eggs.  One Easter Egg can have a slip of paper inside with a picture of a needle on it.  Whoever finds “the needle in the haystack” will win a special prize.  All the other eggs can have candy, or trinkets, or even puzzles to solve – or that will lead them on a treasure hunt, or dares for the finder to act out in them.  The kids will have so much fun finding the needle in the haystack, solving puzzles, searching for treasure, and acting out the dares!!!  And when they are done, they’ll have a blast piling the hay back into a heap and pouncing into it over and over again.  Great activity for when you want to have guests with kids over.  The grown ups can gather around a fire while the kids are over yonder playing in the hay!

 

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”  Mark 10:25

 

Did you know…

frito-pie

 

 

 

 

Mrs H’s Mexican Street Corn

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Mrs H’s Mexican Street Corn

If you’ve never had it, you are about to meet your new favorite food.  You’ll be dreaming of it.  In fact, as soon as fresh corn-on-the-cob starts showing up in your grocery store, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you will probably eat corn three times a week for the first month.  I’ll almost bet you’ll never want corn-on-the-cob any other way!!!!!!!   I’m ruined too!!!!

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  • 8 ears fresh sweet corn (leave the husks and stems on)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Mexican crema (my grocer carries two types, a sweet cream type,which tastes like heavy whipping cream, and a sour cream kind. Both have a slightly thicker consistency than whipping cream)
  • 1/2 cup finely crumbled cotija or Queso Fresco cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I make my own blend, see recipe below)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, mashed and finely minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 or 5 limes, cut into wedges

I grilled my corn in the husks on the grill, turning about every 5 minutes until charred on all sides, and then I pulled the husks down over the stems (using oven mitt to protect my hands from burning) and returned the corn to the grill for a short time (about 3 minutes) to give the kernels that charred effect.  I left the husks attached for a decorative effect, but now as I look at these photos I’m thinking they might have been even cuter if I had tied something around each husk, like a piece of raffia or something, to bundle them together and anchor them to the stems, turning them into decorative “handles.”  NOTE: The corn can also be shucked and “grilled” in the oven at 425 degrees F, turning about every 7 minutes or so until cooked all the way around.  Once it is cooked on all sides and has some charred spots it’s time to dress it up.

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While the corn is grilling, mix together the mayo (please don’t use the fat-free stuff.  I know it may be healthier for you, but really, you must live a little!!!), crema, garlic, and add about 1/4 tsp of the chili powder.  Juice and zest a couple of the limes and then add the juice and zest to the mayo mixture.  Toss in about half of the crumbled cotija (Queso Fresco).  Mix well and keep in fridge until ready to use.  Cut the remaining limes into wedges and save for serving.

As soon as the corn is grilled, spread each cob with a generous amount of the mayo mix on all sides. Don’t be chincy.  Follow with a sprinkling all around of chili powder, and then cheese crumbles.  Sprinkle some cilantro on top, and a few extra sprinkles of the cheese.  Serve immediately with a wedge of lime for each cob!

You’ve died and gone to heaven, right?  I’m there with ya!!!!!!

 

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Colleen’s Homemade Chili Powder

  • 3 Ancho Chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 3 Cascabel/Guajillo chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 4 Arbol/Cayenne chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 2 Pasilla chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 2 New Mexico Red chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon hot Paprika

Place the chiles and cumin seeds in a saute pan or cast iron skillet and toast over medium heat about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and place in a glass bowl to cool completely.  Once cool, place in a blender, along with the other ingredients and process until a fine powder. Allow the powder to settle for several minutes before lifting the lid.  Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.  Use for making chili, to season corn, or in BBQ sauces and dry rubs.

 

“And it came to pass on a second solemn Sabbath, that He went through the corn fields, and His disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, and rubbed them in their hands.”  Luke 6:1 (Geneva Bible)

 

 

 

Colleen’s Chicken Salad (for sandwiches)

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Colleen’s Chicken Salad (for sandwiches)

(((Serves a crowd)))

 

ingredients

6 chicken breasts, organic skinless and boneless (or 2 fully cooked deli rotisserie chickens, skinned and deboned)

1 cup diced celery

½ red bell pepper, diced

1 large jalapeno, diced (seeds and stems removed)

1 small white onion, minced (or half of a larger size white onion)

2 green table onions, washed and chopped

1 ½ cups quartered red grapes

1 20-oz can crushed pineapple, drained

2 small gala apples, very thinly sliced

2/3 cup chopped pecans

Salt and Pepper to taste

Mayonnaise

Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried

Raisin bread, sliced,  OR … fresh deli croissants

instructions

Place chicken breasts in a large pot, cover with water, season to taste with salt & pepper (I sometimes toss in a lemon and an orange if I have them, cut in half), and bring to a boil on the stove.  Boil for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Test by removing the largest piece and cutting it in half.

Meanwhile chop the celery, bell pepper, jalapeno, onions, grapes, and apples and set aside.

When the chicken has cooked and cooled, cut it into very small chunks and place in a large mixing bowl.  Add the chopped ingredients (minus the apple), the crushed pineapple, pecans, and season with a little salt and pepper.  Add enough mayo to moisten as desired and toss with chicken until all ingredients are incorporated.  I usually start with a cup of mayo, and then add more as I mix until it has the creamy texture I want.  Taste it to make sure it is yummy.  Add more salt and pepper if desired.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

To assemble sandwiches, slice raisin bread to desired thickness, toast if desired.  Or, if using croissants, slice them in half.  Spread a thin layer of mayo over both top and bottom slices.  Next, lay a leaf of lettuce on the bottom slices.  Arrange a few apple slices on top of the lettuce, and then top the apples with a heaping serving spoon of chicken salad and press it down to spread it to the edges of the bread.  Carefully lay the top slice of bread on top.  Slice each sandwich in half, if desired.

Serve with a raw veggie medley (carrot, celery, cucumber slices), or seasoned cottage cheese, or an assortment of cheeses, or your favorite chips (personally I am a Sun Chips kind of gal)…plus a nice iced Chai latte to wash it all down with!  Mmm..mmm..mmm!!

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“For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving; For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”  

1 Timothy 4:4-5

Soup’s On!

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Soup’s On!

In this post are my recipes for…

  1. Green Chili
  2. Red Chili
  3. Chicken Tortilla Soup
  4. Creamy Poblano Soup
  5. Farmhouse Potato with bacon and jalapeno
  6. White Bean, Andouille, and Kale Soup
  7. Zuppa Tuscano
  8. Nacho Cheese Soup
  9. Clam Chowder in a bread Boule

It’s that time of year when a bowl of steaming hot soup with a side of hot, fresh baked, heavily buttered, crusty bread not only warms the body, but the heart and soul as well.  I have been asked soooo many times for these soup recipes that I decided to make a place for them here.

My husband says it is impossible for me to make a small batch of anything.  Tis true I suppose.  So, if you find yourself with more soup than you can eat, please wrap some up and take it to a neighbor, or share it with friends in the office, or bring a bowl to your child’s teacher, for lunch on a blustery winter day!

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Mom’s Green Chili

…First we have to make the roast!…

1  8-lb Boston Butt Pork Roast, patted dry and rubbed all over with this dry rub:

1 heaping Tablespoon Chili Powder

1 heaping Tablespoon dried Cumin

1 heaping Tablespoon smoked hot Paprika (Pimenton Picante)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper mélange

Place roast on grate in roasting pan, cover with foil, and put into a preheated 350°F oven for about an hour.  After an hour, turn the oven temp down to 225°F leave roast in oven to finish baking until meat is falling off the bone, approximately 3 to 6 hours.  I actually leave mine in all day (6 to 8 hours) tightly covered.

I usually always make my green chili from this leftover roast.  After the roast has cooled I pull it apart into large chunks (this is a very fatty roast, and I discard all the fat and bone), wrap the meat up in a freezer zip-bag and either put it in the fridge for the next day, or in the freezer, to make my next batch of Green Chili (recipe follows).

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dscn9111Mom’s Spicy Red Chili 

  • 3 lbs ground beef (I sometimes switch out one pound with ground bison, or you could use venison)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3  (14-oz) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes (reduced or NO sodium)
  • 3 (14-oz) cans of low-sodium chicken broth (I use the empty tomatoes can to measure my broth from a larger carton)
  • 3 (14-oz) cans of low-sodium beef stock (again, I use my empty tomatoes can to measure my stock from a larger carton)
  • 9 Tbsp of chili powder (added at different intervals)  (I make my own; it’s sooooo much better than anything you can buy at the market – see recipe below)
  • 3 Tbsp of yellow corn meal or fine masa flour (used to make tamales)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, mashed and minced

In a large, high-sided frying pan, or dutch oven, fry burger meat on medium high heat until cooked through.  Remove from heat.  Drain off excess fat. Return dutch oven to medium high heat and add onion to the ground meat.  Stir and cook together a few minutes.  Dump in the tomatoes, chicken and beef stocks, garlic, 6 spoonsful of the chili powder, and then the corn meal.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer.  Cover and let cook for 1 hour.

Remove lid, stir, and add 2-3 more spoonsful of chili powder.  Taste for seasoning.  If a soupier chili is desired, add a tomato can full of water.  If you want a thicker chili, stir in a tablespoon or two more of masa.  Stir, replace lid and let cook another 30 minutes.  Taste to make sure it is yummy before serving.  Add a can or two of drained rinsed beans if desired.  I like to add 1 (14-oz) can of pintos and 1  (14-oz) can of red beans.

Serve with crackers (I have to spread real butter on mine) or cornbread (I usually always make a Mexican style cornbread – I use a honey cornbread mix and add shredded cheese, diced onion, and diced jalapeno to the mix).  Chili may be served with any of the following toppings: crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese, chopped red or green onions, diced jalapenos, a dallop of sour cream, etc.   This recipe makes a lot, but you can use the leftovers to make Frito Pies, Chili-cheese Dogs, and Hay Stacks.

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Colleen’s Homemade Chili Powder

  • 3 Ancho Chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn into small pieces
  • 3 Cascabel/Guajillo chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 4 Arbol/Cayenne chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 2 Pasilla chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 2 New Mexico Red chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon hot Paprika

Place the chiles and cumin seeds in a saute pan or cast iron skillet and toast over medium heat about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and place in a glass bowl to cool completely.  Once cool, place in a blender (my Bullet is perfect), along with the other ingredients and process until a fine powder. Allow the powder to settle for several minutes before lifting the lid.  Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.  Use for making chili, to season Mexican Street Corn, or as an ingredient in BBQ sauces and dry rubs.

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Mom’s Chicken Tortilla Soup (mildly spicy)

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Mom’s Creamy Poblano Soup (spicy)

Let me start with my prep work on this one.  First, I grow my own Poblano Chilies in my garden, and in the fall/early winter when the weather calls for frost I harvest everything and hurry and preserve it, either by drying or freezing.

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After (1) picking my Poblanos and (2) washing them, I (3) roast them in the oven until the skins are charred and bubbled all the way around, then I (4) seal them in plastic bags and let them sit until I am done with all my roasting.  Finally I (5) put on a pair of latex gloves and begin sliding the skins off, pulling the stems out, and wiping all the seeds from the insides.

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Then I fold each chili in half and tuck them inside a freezer zip-bag, about 15 chilies to a bag, squeeze all the air out, zip the bags closed, fold the bags over, and tuck about three bags of the chilies into another zip-bag.  Then I stash these bags in my freezer for soup all winter long (or until they run out).

Recipe:

8 cups Chicken Broth (I’m kind of an organic girl, so if I can’t find organic broth I usually make my own)

2 large Yukon gold potatoes, diced

2 large onions, diced

Kernels from 6 cobs of sweet corn

1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste

1 stick of butter

4 cloves of garlic

¼ cup fresh parsley

Bring broth to a boil and add all the ingredients after that.  Cook until tender.  Add:

15 processed Poblano Chilies (as described above)

Whirl contents of the soup pot in a blender until smooth, then return to the soup pot and add:

6 cups Heavy Cream (or 3 cups heavy cream and 3 cups Half-and-half)

Let this simmer on the stove until ready to serve.  When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with shredded Pepper Jack cheese. 

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Mom’s Creamy Farmhouse Potato Soup, with Bacon and Jalapenos

12 medium potatoes (I actually prefer russets for this soup, plus they keep better so I usually have them on hand), peeled and cut into bite-size chunks

1 large white onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 ribs of celery, chopped

2 to 3 Jalapenos, finely minced (if your jalapenos are mild, use more, if spicy use less, to taste)

1 large (48-oz) container of chicken broth

2 small or 1 large can of Cream of Chicken soup (I prefer Campbells)

1 stick of butter

2 cups of whole milk

1 8-oz package Cream Cheese, at room temp

Salt & Pepper to taste

Fry bacon either while soup cooks, or before starting the soup.  Lay on paper towels, and set aside.  Place potatoes, onion, garlic, celery, and jalapenos in a large soup pot.  Add the chicken broth and enough water to cover the potatoes about one inch over.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes depending on the size of the chunks.  Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir until blended and cream cheese is melted and fully incorporated.  Taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a steaming simmer, stirring occasionally so the bottom of the soup doesn’t stick and burn.  Ladle into bowls and garnish just before serving!  Make the garnish pretty by first adding a dollop of sour cream to the center, then sprinkle with crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, and chopped green onion (and pass the diced jalapeno for those who want a little more heat).  Bon appetite!

Garnishes:

Sour cream

½ lb crispy fried bacon

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 bunch green onions, chopped

Fresh chopped Parsley

2 large jalapenos, minced

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20170219_152315-1Mom’s Spicy White Bean, Andouille, and Kale Soup

This is one of those soups that I make for my daughter.  She and I LOVE this soup, especially on a cold winter day (when we can lounge in our jammies and eat and watch a marathon of something on TV).  My crazy husband is not a fan of Kale, or really anything green-leafy and floating in his soup, so this is a special treat for when he is out-of-town and the girls and I can have a girl’s night! 

1 pkg Andouille sausage (if you can find the semi-hard Chorizo, that works too, or even a jalapeno smoked sausage), cut into bite-size pieces

2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into small chunks

½ white onion, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 finely minced Poblano chile

4 cups Chicken broth

1 14.5-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes

1 bunch of kale (fresh, raw, and washed well, stems chopped off and discarded), torn roughly into bite-size pieces  – I love Kale, so for me moooore is better!!!!

1 14-oz can Cannellini beans, drained and washed (Garbanzo’s will also work)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Fry the sausage in a heavy soup pot until crispy on the edges.  Toss in the potatoes, onions, garlic, and poblano.  Saute for a few moments and then add the chicken broth and tomatoes.  Simmer for about 20 minutes, and then add the kale.  Taste it and add salt to taste.  Grind some pepper also to taste.  Simmer another 20 minutes and add the beans.  Allow them to heat through.  When steaming hot, serve with warm, crusty bread slathered in fresh, creamery butter.  Oh Lord, I’ve died and gone to heaven!!!!

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Mom’s Zuppa Tuscano (spicy)

I found this recipe online, published by Big Oven, and tweaked it to make it my own.

1 lb Italian sausage (my grocery meat dept. has parmesan and something else Italian meatballs that I brown and chop up, plus the Italian sausage in casings – which I remove from the casings, brown and break up)

1 tsp red pepper flakes; (I grow all sorts of hot peppers in my garden– Hungarian paprika, cayenne, poblano, serrano, jalapeno, thai hots, habanero, etc. – and dry them and grind them into powder.  This is what I use in my soup.)

3 large russet potatoes, cut into chunks

1 large onion, diced

1 lb. bacon, chopped (I cook mine crispy the day before, wrap it in paper towel, and place in a plastic bag in the fridge. Unlike Big Oven, I don’t add it to the soup until after I’ve added the kale and cream)

4 garlic cloves; minced (I use the biggest outside ones)

3 cups kale, chopped (I’m sorry, I really never measure this, I just add until it looks good, probably more than 3 cups because I LOVE Kale).  Remove the tough ribs and tear the leaves roughly.  Rinse really well.

2 boxes (32 oz ea) chicken broth

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Liberal sprinkling of white pepper

(I add about a ¼ tsp of my *special chili pequin and pepper mélange seasoning also)

Original recipe makes 10 Servings.  Cook Bacon ahead of time and have ready.  Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a pot. Drain excess fat, remove sausage and set aside. In the same pan, sauté onions and garlic (I cooked mine in a little butter). Sauté for approximately 5 mins. or until the onions are soft. Add the chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Add kale during the last 5 minutes. Add heavy cream and the cooked sausage and cook until heated through. Add white pepper to taste.

If you want the soup a little thicker, you can make a blonde roux in a separate pan and incorporate it into the soup. I make my own *spice mixture of ground pepper mélange, ground chili pequin, and kosher salt and I sprinkle my portion with it just before serving. I also add some to the soup, but careful not to overload, it in case some folks were sensitive to the spice. The soup is especially good when served with warm, buttered crusty bread!

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Mom’s Spicy Nacho Cheese Soup

1 gallon can of Nacho (or Cheddar) Cheese

2 cups Chicken broth

4 cups water

1 Poblano chili, diced

6 ribs of celery, diced

2 cups of ham, diced

1 small white onion, minced

Place all ingredients in a large crockpot, cover and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, or until celery and onion are tender and soup is piping hot.  Great served with Panini sandwiches!

Serving Suggestion:

Thin sliced Italian Bread, brushed with olive oil on one side

Fillings:

Mozzarella

Provolone

Heirloom Tomatoes

Prosciutto

Pepperoni

Fresh basil

Roasted red peppers

Portabella mushrooms

Spinach

Arugula

And whatever else makes your tongue dance

Put your sandwiches together, olive oiled sides out, and then grill in a Panini press.  I don’t personally own a Panini press, but the George Foreman grill works pretty well if you clamp it down.

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Colleen’s Clam Chowder

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Colleen’s Clam Chowder, served in a fresh sour dough bread boule from the bakery!  Toast the lid and drizzle it with garlic butter for an added treat!

 

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May our soup bowls be deep and our friends plentious!!!!

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“And one day Jacob was cooking some soup when Esau came in from the fields in great need of food”  Genesis 25:29