Sunday, August 29, 2010


Molé is a meat sauce generally eaten with rice made with many spices, even including chocolate. Yeah - I know, chocolate covered chicken just doesn't sound appetizing, but it really is quite tasty (molé covered chicken at least is).

While molé can be made from scratch, I don't have the recipe for it. I do however know how to put it all together from the little bottle of molé sauce you can find in the mexican section of most grocery stores. It generally comes in a small glass jar. The jars also come in handy as glasses later on for those on a budget who get excited about molé AND a free drinking glass!

I don't have photos right now, but will add some in the near future...I decided I'd rather get the recipe posted before I lose my recipe.

1 whole chicken (or the equivalent in meat from breast, thighs etc)
1 jar mole
chicken broth (reserved from cooking the chicken)

In a large pot, heat a pot of water, and cook whole chicken (excepting the innards).
Remove chicken from broth, and allow broth to cool.
De-bone chicken, cutting into bite-sized pieces, and discarding the bones.

Scoop molé from the jar into a blender. Add reserved chicken broth, filling blender 2/3 full. Cover and blend. Add salt to taste and a little bit of sugar as well.
If mixture is still very thick, add more broth, blending until it reaches the consistency of a thick buttermilk or batter.

In a frying pan, heat oil and fry chicken pieces. Pour molé on top of this, heat, and serve with rice and beans.

Chile Pasado

Elva gave me the recipe for Chile Pasado.
While technically this means old (past its prime) chiles, these chiles are very expensive but very flavorful and add zest to just about anything you can think of.

After roasting and peeling chiles as in the chile relleños recipe, leaving stalks intact, place chiles on foil lined baking sheet and set out to dry in the sun for 3 days, covering at night.

Once dried, they can be stored for a VERY long time in a plastic bag.

To cook, cover with boiling water and cook (you may place a saucer on top of them while they boil to keep them submerged).

Throw out water because it will be bitter, and remove stalks and seeds.

Chop up rehydrated chiles and mix into potato or meat mixtures, add to rice and beans, or add to a fried onion, tomatoe and garlic mixture seasoned with tomato bouillon with ample amounts of mexican cheese.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Elva's Cheese Enchiladas


My friend Elva also makes a very mean cheese enchilada. She made these for my family the other day and gave me the recipe as well. Very similar to my friend Maria's recipe, Elva cooks the tortillas differently. We love them both ways. Elva also taught me how handy it is to cook outside on the side burner on the grill. This alleviates heat in the kitchen during the summer, and keeps things A LOT cleaner as well!

Here is Maria's salsa recipe that was almost identical to Elva's

6 or 7 Hot New Mexico Chile Pods (they are dried and in bags)
3 - 4 c. water +/-
3 whole tomatoes
1 whole onion (3/4 chopped)
1 tsp oregano
1 -2 cloves garlic

Boil chilies, and tomatoes until soft, and then blend together along with a 1/4 of an onion and 1 tsp oregano and a clove or two of garlic.

Strain with a sieve.
It didn't appear that Elva strains hers

Cheese mixture
Use either Queso Fresco/Ranchero (available at Walmart and Costco)..this is a very fine cheese that you crumble with your finger tips, or shredded mozarella or monterey jack. Place in a bowl, and mix in 1/2 to a whole finely chopped onion.


While Maria dips the tortillas in the salsa and then quickly fries them, filling them with cheese and rolling at the end, Elva took these steps in a different order.

Elva heats the corn tortillas wrapped in a dish towel (about 12) in the microwave for approximately 2 minutes. They come out steaming hot, and are dipped in the salsa and then filled with a cheese and chopped onion mixture and THEN fried.

Lower tortillas into hot oil and allow to cook for just a few minutes on each side.

Enchiladas ready to be fried

Top with sour cream or Maria's Zero Spice (Heat) Salsa
Boil four tomatoes.
When soft, add a clove of garlic, a tsp of oregano, and salt to taste. Blend, and serve on top of the enchiladas.

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Elva's Chile Relleños


My friend Elva makes the BEST chile relleños in the world period. Over the years, I've had a lot of chiles relleños, and hands down, she makes the best. Several years ago I asked her to teach me how - she responded that it was the wrong time of year for the good chiles.

Well, right now - it's the right time, so go get your chiles and get cooking!

First off, choose fresh chiles peppers. Anaheim are usually the best, and adjust the type you buy depending on how hot you want these to be. Also (I didn't know this at the time) fresh = not wrinkled. Wrinkles make it difficult later on. Also, wider is better (it isn't very often you get to say that!)

10-12 anaheim chile peppers
Oil (optional) - only if using wrinkled peppers
25-30 julienned cheese sticks (mozarella or monterey jack)
4 eggs
1/2 t. baking powder
2-3 heaping t. flour
1/4 t. salt
Oil for frying

Turn on broiler in over and allow to heat up. Meanwhile, arrange chiles on baking sheet. Once oven is hot, place chiles under broiler. Broil until blistered and roasted (almost charred), turn over and repeat until chiles are completely roasted on the outsides. If the chiles are older and wrinkled, prior to baking, wet a paper towel with oil, and wipe over the chiles, to help them peel easier later on.


Working quickly, place chiles in a plastic bag. Spray/sprinkle cold water from the tap onto the bag to help it cool very quickly.

Wrap bag with a cold wet rag, and set in bottom of sink for 10-15 minutes to allow the chiles to sweat.

Meanwhile, julienne cheese into sticks approx. 1/4 inch X 3 inches. If the cheese is a little bit older or hard, it works better.


Remove chiles from bag and gently remove and discard the outer skin layer from each chile. Remove the stems, and insert finger into the chile to remove as many seeds as possible (the seeds generally give it the heat).

Carefully stuff each chile with the cheese sticks, taking caution NOT to split the chiles.


In the meantime, crack a small hole in each egg with a spoon, and drain the whites into a mixing bowl.


Mix egg whites until they come to stiff peaks. Gradually add baking power, and flour.

Mix the egg yolks into the egg white mixture, beating until it becomes yellow and frothy. Add salt.


Heat oil until it is smoking. Gently dip each chile into the batter and place in frying pan with hot oil.


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After just a few minutes, turn chiles.


Remove from pan and place on paper towel lined plate or pan so that grease can be soaked up.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Beef Stew from Left Over Pot Roast or Canned Beef


I stumbled across this recipe for beef stew about a year ago.
Honestly, my family LOVES the pot roast from Costco. It is already pre-made and comes completely cooked with a fantastic gravy. It comes in a sealed plastic bag which you place in a pot and boil for 15 minutes or so, and it turns into a VERY impressive and quick dinner.

Try as I might, I cannot make a pot roast as good as this one - and it generally feeds a family of four for two meals.

Last year as I was contemplating what to do with my left over potroast and gravy, I stumbled onto a video from Betty on Youtube. While slightly different from my own stew recipe, my family REALLY enjoyed this variation, and I loved how quick and easy it was to make.

Today I made it with a variation - I found a lot of canned roast beef in gravy on sale a while ago which I wanted to try out with this recipe. Additionally, I love to make this in the crock pot rather than stove top.

2 cans canned beef in gravy OR 1 1/2 - 2 c. chopped left over pot roast
2 cans beef bouillon or beef broth
1/2 bag baby carrots, or equivalent 2-4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped into large chunks
1/2 can tomato sauce
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks (size - your preference)
2 bay leaves
2 c. water

Place chopped carrots, potatoes, and onion into a heavy pot and add bouillon or broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer vegetables for approximately 10 - 15 minutes.

While vegetables cook, mix meat, gravy, and tomato sauce and heat over medium until mixture comes to a boil.

Drain vegetables from the broth (reserve broth for another recipe if desired), and combine them along with the meat mixture, bay leaves, and 1-2 cups of hot water in crock pot. Cook for 2-5 hours. Stir occasionally.

Remove bay leaves prior to serving.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rhubarb Cheesecake Dessert

I thought I'd try out a new rhubarb recipe - this comes from the Taste Of Home Annual Recipes from 1999.

1 c. flour
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/4 cold butter or margarine
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 t. vanilla extract

In a bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and salt; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts and vanilla. Press into a greased 9 x 13 baing dis and bake at 375* for 10 minutes. Cool slightly.


2 packages (or 16 oz) cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Pour over crust. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until center is set and edges are light brown. Cool.

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3 c. chopped fresh OR frozen rhubarb, thawed and drained
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. cinnamon

In a saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar, water, cornstarch and cinnamon; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir until thickened, about 5 minutes. Cool. pour over filling. Chill at least 1 hour.


Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Muffins


Zucchini is coming out of our garden like crazy right now and I am enjoying trying out new zucchini recipes. Here's one that I liked because it wasn't too sweet, yet the chocolate chips add just the right amount of sweetness, and entice my children to eat them as well. This recipe comes from a Taste of Home Cookbook's 1999 Annual Recipes

1 1/2 c. flour (optional 1/2 wheat flour)
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil (or substitute with applesauce)
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. shredded zucchini
1/4 c. mini chocolate chips
1/4 c. chopped walnuts

In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
In another bown combine the egg, oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Fold in zucchini, chocolate chips and walnuts. Fill paper lined muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes.

Yield: 1 dozen
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Chicken or Turkey and Stuffing Casserole

Yes, another casserole...and we're having yet another one for dinner (the famous zucchini casserole, but then, I've already posted that recipe)


I was recently at my mother's and she decided to make this casserole for dinner for everyone. She had to run an errand in the middle and so I got to finish it up.
This recipe is originally titled "Mrs. Johns' Scalloped Chicken".
I was amazed at how no part of this recipe is really very easy (not even the title). As I was helping my mom, I realized that there were many steps that could be revised or eliminated with this recipe which would offer almost the same result. Once we got back home, I decided to try it out. I'm actually going to post this recipe with two variations. The first variation is the condensed books variation, while the second is the super quick cliff notes version for the truly busy! There are also ideas for a third variation of this recipe as well for the day after Thanksgiving Day Casserole.

If you wanted a labor intensive experience, feel free to use a 5 lb. hen, boiled for 2.5 hours with an onion, a carrot and salt. Then take it all apart, grind the giblets in and follow remainder of recipe, substituting any chicken fat for butter. While this probably gives a better flavor, I found it extremely time intensive.

6-10 boneless & skinless chicken thigh fillets
1 1/2 loaves of 2 day old bread torn into bite size pieces
1 1/2 c. butter (divided)
2 large celery stalks chopped
1 medium onion (or 6 scallions with tops) chopped
6 sprigs parsley chopped
1 c. flour
4 c. chicken broth (divided)
2 t. salt
3 eggs (optional for a very creamy experience)
1 t. poultry seasoning (or sage & thyme)

Poach chicken by bringing water to just under a boil and cook for 20 - 25 minutes. Remove from water and chop into 1/2 - 1 inch size pieces.

While chicken is cooking, melt 1/2 c. butter in heavy skillet. Add parsley, onion and celery and sauté over low heat for five minutes. Tear bread into bite sized pieces and add, lightly tossing to coat. Add 1 t. salt, a good dash of pepper, 1 t. poultry seasoning, and 6 T. chicken broth. Set aside.

Melt 1 c. butter in heavy saucepan. Add 1 c. flour and mix to make a roué. Allow to cook for 1 minute stirring constantly. While briskly stirring, add 1 c. milk and remaining chicken broth. Add 2 t. salt. Continue to cook until very thick, stirring constantly. If desired, beat 3 eggs slightly, and add a small amount of sauce - whisking briskly to keep eggs from cooking. Then add eggs to sauce, cooking over low heat for an additional 3-4 minutes stirring constantly.

Finally, add chopped chicken to sauce.

Grease one large or two small casserole dishes. Place 2/3 of the stuffing mixture on the bottom of the dish, and then cover with chicken and sauce.

Cover with remaining stuffing mixture and bake at 375* for 20 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown, and chicken is thoroughly heated.

Variation #2
3 - 4 cans chicken (drained - reserve juices)
1 1/2 packages chicken flavor stove top stuffing
2 cans cream of chicken soup

Prepare stuffing as directed on package. Set aside.
In a saucepan mix cream of chicken soup, reserved juices and just enough milk to make a very thick yogurt like consistency. Add chicken.

Place 2/3 stuffing mix on bottom of greased casserole dish. Cover with chicken and sauce mixture. Top with remaining stuffing and bake at 375* for 20 minutes until browned and thoroughly heated.

Variation #3
Use this recipe for all of the leftovers from Thanksgiving for this "Day after Thanksgiving Casserole".
Grease a casserole pan and line it with 2-3 c. stuffing.
Mix 3-4 c. chopped turkey into 2 cups of leftover gravy. If mashed potatoes are on hand, cover stuffing with potatoes, then cover potatoes with gravy and turkey mixture. Cover with stuffing and bake until heated.

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chicken Casserole

The following is a recipe I found in a casserole cookbook from the library titled "The Ultimate Casserole Cookbook, Bake Until Bubbly" by Clifford A. Wright. I've really enjoyed trying out some of the recipes in the book and was particularly pleased with this one.


While it is simply titled "Chicken Casserole", for me this was reminiscent of Thanksgiving. It was like a stuffing and turkey casserole, yet the flavors seemed simpler than the complex flavors of a stuffing.

On any account, the entire dish was eaten in one setting. As I went to clear the pan from the table, there was just a little bit left and one of our guests asked if I was planning to throw it out, because he would be happy to finish it off - at least he liked it. This is definitely one I will make again and again.

As always, I made a few changes based on what I had on hand and my personal preferences. Here's the final result.

BE AWARE: This recipe needs to sit for the whole day or overnight before it can be cooked.

1 1/2 loaves sourdough artisan bread (I bought this at Costco...the author recommends French country bread) crusts removed and cut into squares, white part diced separately
1/2 t. ground sage (this is imperative for this recipe)
2 c. (about 1 lb) diced cooked chicken breast (I used thighs)
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 t. salt (more as needed)
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper (more as needed)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c. milk (the author called for whole, I used 2%)
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I used half cheddar, and half Queso ranchero cheeses)

1 recipe of Bechamel (White) sauce - make this just prior to cooking casserole
3 T. unsalted butter (I used salted)
3 T. all-purpose flour (I used wheat)
1 c. chicken broth
3/4 c. whole milk (or 2%)
1/2 c. heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste (omit or alter to taste if using salted butter)

At least 8 hours before you plan to serve this dish, if using sourdough bread, turn the loaf upside down or on it's side. With a sharp knife, remove the entire bottom crust. Slice bottom crust into strips and then 1 inch squares. Gently extract the middle of the loaf and set aside. Cut the rest of the crust into strips and cubes. Keeping them separated from the crusts gently cube the inside parts of the loaf as well. I found that I needed the crust of 1 loaf, and the inside of two loaves.

Spread the crust squares on the bottom of a lightly buttered (I use vegetable oil spray) 9 x 13 x 2 baking dish and sprinkle with the sage.

In a bowl, combine the chicken, celery, mayonnaise, onion, 1/2 t. salt, and 1/8 t. black pepper. Spread this mixture over the bread crusts. Arranged the diced white part of the bread over the chicken mixture. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, then pour over the bread. Cover and refrigerate all day or overnight (mine actually went for about 40 hours and still turned out great).

Preheat oven to 350* F.

To prepare Bechamel Sauce
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to form a roux. Continue to cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Slowly whisk the chicken broth, milk, and cream into this mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer and stir occasionally over low heat until dense, about 12 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the chicken casserole and bake until bubbly and golden, about 45 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven, sprinkle the cheese on top, then return to the oven and bake until the cheese melts, 8 - 10 minutes. Serve hot.
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