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Showing posts from 2011

Easy Lasagna

It's been a long holiday season.  During this time, you always want what you can't have the rest of the year.  And because I'm usually tired of cooking by this time, I try to find a really large dishes that will last at least 2 additional nights.  For me, this includes a nice saucy lasagna.
I can't say I know where this recipe came from.  My mom got this from a friend or co-worker,she passed it on to me, and I've always made it this way. To save time, I use jarred pasta sauce, but if you have an awesome tomato sauce recipe, by all means, use it.
I'm not sure how Italian this is, but it's still awesome.  Impress your friends with this dish or eat half and stick the rest in the freezer for another lazy night. Enjoy!

LASAGNA
serves: 10 to 12

1 pound ground beef, 80/20
1 pound ground pork or Italian sausage out of the casing
1 cup onions
2 cloves garlic2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, divided
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
lasagna noodles …

Farfalle Pasta with Beet Vinaigrette and Parsley Pesto

Hello Folks! Sorry about my absence.  I have truly been enjoying my holiday time with my husband and son.  It's been great so far and New Years is still awaiting us.
Speaking of New Years, this recipe I have for you, will be the highlight of your New Years Eve dinner party.  I've been wanting to make it because of how beautiful it looks, but my hesitation was the actual beets.  Not a real fan.  Oh man, this tastes amazing!  This Farfalle Pasta with Beet Vinaigrette and Parsley Pesto sounds like a mouth-full, and to be honest, it is a delicious mouth-full.
I made a full batch because I thought I would have guests, but since that didn't work out, we still have leftovers.  I am so glad too, because I am still eating bowls of deliciousness. Even though it says to serve right away, it tastes great the day after or two days after. The Parm cheese is a must in this recipe too. Enjoy!

FARFALLE PASTA WITH BEET VINAIGRETTE AND PARSLEY PESTO
servings: 6 to 8

Parsley Pesto:
Kosher…

More cookies (no eggs)

Christmas cookies are my favorite to make for the holidays, and here are more for you.  While talking about my cookie baking, I found out this person could never eat cookies because she's allergic to eggs, so I found some cookie recipes that did not have eggs in them. Come to find out Lime Meltaways, one of my must have cookies, is perfect, and last week I happen to see a recipe for shortbread on the show Sweet Dreams.
The shortbread also reminds me of Salvadoran cookies made from rice flour, and I will be making these more often. Not only are they easy, they are so tasty. Enjoy!

LIME MELTAWAYS
Makes about 3 dozen

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Put butter and 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted wi…

Five Minute Fudge

My family is not huge on chocolate treats, so most of the time we do without.  My grandpa is the only one I really make chocolate treats for, and unfortunately, I leave it to the last minute, so fudge has been my go to "cookie" dessert since it takes a total of 10 minutes.  It's addictive and delicious.
This is a great gift if your strapped for cash and still looking for a gift.  Go to the dollar store, buy some tins, and tissue paper.  Then, get the ingredients to make this awesome, easy fudge.  You can not go wrong with this recipe.  This is also an awesome dessert to take to a party if you don't want to spend more than 5 bucks.  This will make enough to stuff 2 small tins, and you can be really creative by making a fudge wreath for the party. Everyone will be so impressed.  Enjoy!

FIVE MINUTE FUDGE

1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate morsels
9 ounces (3/4 of a 12-ounce bag) butterscotch morsels
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract…

Holiday Turkey and Pan con Pavo

As I've mentioned, my mom's side of the family is from El Salvador, and although they weren't able to bring much, they brought there oh so yummy recipes.  My absolute favorite, and something I look forward to ever year, is the Christmas Turkey.  Once in the US, my family adapted to the customs of Thanksgiving dinner, so it became a Thanksgiving and Christmas Turkey.
Our turkey is the best turkey I have ever eaten, and we have introduced it to so many other people that end up loving it. If you're thinking of making a Turkey for Christmas, here's the best turkey recipe ever.  Along with the best pan con pavo for the day after.
Truly enjoy; especially the olives!

SALVADORAN HOLIDAY TURKEY
servings:  about 8

15 pound turkey, thawed and cavity cleaned
1 stick butter, softened at room temperature
salt and pepper
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons whole pepper corns
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
2 dry chiles, like ancho
5 garlic cloves
1-3 tablespoons powdered achote*
1 me…

Clam Chowder

So, I don't think we'll be seeing anything above 45 degrees for a while.  All I can think about now is staying warm, and keeping our insides warm with food.  Soups are always great, and chowders are even better and delicious. One of our favorites, is clam chowder, and once you see how easy it is, it'll be yours too.
Although we have made this chowder exactly how Emeril made it, we have learned to make it a little more budget friendly by sometimes using milk and a little more flour instead of heavy cream, I use canned clams instead of fresh, and there are times I use herbs I already have like sage or oregano instead of thyme. Even though it looks like a lot, most of the ingredients used are those that you'd have in your fridge or pantry.
This chowder can be chunky or more smooth. I usually leave it the way it is because Honey likes it, and it's easier to put my portion into the food processor to have it smooth with a little texture, the way I like it.
This goes gre…

Green Beans and Cranberries

This is the time of year when you are invited to so may Christmas parties or you're throwing one yourself.  Why not make things a little easier?  When planning a dinner menu, I always pick one or two items that will take little to no effort.
With my family, it's usually the same green bean recipe everyone loves.  My mom gave me these easy green beans, and I'm not quite sure where she got this from, but it's awesome.  And good ol' homemade cranberry sauce is so easy that I had to throw it in.
 Enjoy!

GREEN BEAN ALMONDINE
servings: 8 - 10

2 lbs green beans, washed and snapped
4 - 6 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 - 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 - 1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
salt and pepper

Cover green beans with water in a large pot, add garlic, and set to boil.  Let green beans cook until tender and bright green, about 15 minutes after boiling begins.
Pour green beans into ice cold water to stop cooking process and keep bright g…

Cookies Part 1

It's the holidays, and Christmas always gets me in the cookie baking mood.  I will apologize to my family in advance because I know that they love when I bake cookies, and they're a little too far to enjoy.
There are three cookies I must always make, and each year I choose a new one.  Since I have tons of time this year, I'll probably end up with a lot more, and Honey will probably gain 5 pounds eating them.
When I began baking cookies, I learned way back when the Martha Stewart Show was on ABC. I loved all the treats she made for the holiday and her rapping ideas. I recommend her site, marthastewart.com,  for great cookie ideas. My first cookie recipe definitely is a keeper and the most accepted, Thumbprint Cookie. The second are my friend's favorite, Chocolate Chip; they have sour cream which make them a little more doughy and chewy, which I love (Honey doesn't so much, but he'll still eat them).


THUMBPRINT COOKIES
makes 2 dozen

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted …

Cuban Sandwich

The best part about having leftovers stashed in the freezer is the possibility of reliving the great dinner made before and it tasting just as good or sometimes even better.  After making the pernil, we had to put a lot of it back in the fridge and freezer.  And leftover pernil always means Cuban Sandwiches. They are an easy and satisfying sandwich that, to me, tastes great for breakfast lunch or dinner.
When I make Cubans, it reminds me of my childhood, and the times we would go to this Cuban restaurant in the not-so-nice part of Houston. I would always order a Cuban and my dad would get the Ropa Vieja.  I love to remember the happy times.
Enjoy this great classic!

CUBAN SANDWICH

1 loaf French or Italian bread
1/2 - 1 pound leftover pernil
1/2 pound Swiss cheese
1/2 pound deli sliced ham
1 jar sliced pickles
yellow mustard

In a large pan, reheat pork.
On a cutting board, lay bread. Slice horizontal and open. Spread mustard on both faces of bread slices. Layer pickles, cheese, ham, an…

Chicken Pot Pie

It's cold outside, and there are so many different soups and stews I think of and chicken pot pie is made for this kind of weather.  I love eating chicken pot pie, but because it takes time I only make it on the weekend.  I made this when the temperature first dipped into the 50s, but now that it's going into the 20s and 30s, I really need to make it. Since the stove and oven are on, it also helps take off of the heating bill.
After making something so delicious, the best part is eating it. Enjoy!

CHICKEN POT PIE
servings: 6

chicken stock: 
1 whole chicken, 3 pounds
1 gallon cool water
2 carrots, cut in 2-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, cut in 2-inch pieces
1 onion, halved
1 head garlic, halved horizontally
2 turnips, halved
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 bay leaf

pot pie:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and black pepper
3 carrots, cut in 1/2-inch circles
1 bag frozen or fresh pearl onions or 1 onion, chopped
1 box frozen peas
Leaves from 4 …

Cauliflower and Parmesan Pasta

One of my favorite shows is The Chew, and since I have nothing else to do midday, I don't really miss an episode.  They have a segment called "5 in 5" where they make one meal with 5 ingredients in 5 minutes, and usually it's super affordable. (5 min after you boil the water for the pasta.)
This pasta dinner is healthy, filling and oh so tasty.  It's my new go to pasta dish; I've traded the regular ol' spaghetti for this delicious delight. This dish is supposed to be a veggie dish, but I had some leftover Italian sausage and just added it in.  You'll love it!

CAULIFLOWER AND PARMESAN PASTA
servings: 4

1 box whole wheat angel hair pasta or thin spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 links or 1/2 pound Italian sausage (optional)
3 garlic cloves (optional)
1 jar capers with water
1/2 cauliflower head, cut into small pieces
1/2 - 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
salt and pepper
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil to co…

Pasta and Bean Soup

It's the time of year when we enjoy eat all kinds of Holiday treats but don't like the extra it brings to the hips. So why not eat something light in between those Holiday parties? Here's a nice, filling recipe that I absolutely love and helps warm the soul at the same time. One serving is only 133 calories, so you can enjoy that piece of pie afterward and not feel so guilty. Enjoy!

PASTA BEAN SOUP
servings: 8

1 chicken or vegetable flavor bouillon cube plus 8 cups water
6 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2-3 cups cooked white beans like cannellini or navy (if canned, drain and rinse)
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup medium whole wheat pasta shells, orecchiette or rotini
2 cups frozen spinach, thawed and strained
6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Combine bouillon cube, water, garlic, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper in a large po…

Pernil

So, if you haven't gotten your Thanksgiving Turkey and put it to defrost, it may be a little late.  I have an idea, though....make a Pernil or Pork Butt (not a ham, but actually the shoulder of the pig).  If you really want pork, but can't afford the pricey ham this is the way to go.  At home I'd get one for 60 cents/pound, and here they happen to have it for a week at my favorite discount grocery store at $1.50 a pound.  I snatched it up even though it wasn't in my normal grocery budget.  Now, this week when the budget is really tough with Thanksgiving around the corner, with a 10 pound pork butt, I managed to get 3 meals from it (maybe it'll be 4 by the weekend).
Pork is almost a staple in our household and it definitely was while growing up.  I have to say, Puertoricans know how to roast pork.  I will never forget the trip I took to Puerto Rico, and the day we had in the mountains where they had a whole pig roasting on a giant pit.  Then my dad and his best fri…