Sunday, February 28, 2010


This dish was a staple in our house growing up. We often ate it most during this time of year, Lent. Why you may ask? No meat on Fridays. Typically our family makes this dish with Tuna! Yep, you got it Tuna. My Nana would crack open that can of Tuna from the Sea and drain the water and serve it up. The best part was her telling me stories about when she worked in the Cannery. Yep, she canned Tuna! Go figure, huh. I thought it was pretty cool since it was the only out side job she ever had in her life and she could not quite speak English. Most of her life she spent taking care of her children and grandchildren. She has a rich heritage and life that had a lot to do with dancing, laughing, cooking, God, and yes canning Tuna!

I suppose this is where she learned to make Tuna enchiladas. Meat was expensive and tuna was cheap. So, on she went to make Tuna Enchiladas. In fact if you where to come to my Mom's house today this is what you would get if she as making the red sauce. I thought it strange when I moved out of the house and went to a restaurant to find chicken enchiladas. The only time we ever had chicken in enchiladas was if they where made with the green sauce (which by the way will be coming soon and you will have to sit down for that one as it is the best sauce you will ever eat on an enchilada!) Anyhow, my husband really dislikes fish so I do not often make tuna enchiladas at my house. Although my kids and I love them when my mom makes them!!! Here I give you the same recipe my Nana and mom use except I substituted the tuna for chicken, BUT you have to at least try it before you dismiss it. So make a few tuna ones on the side to at least try.

2 Boneless/skinless chicken breasts (or you can sub with Tuna like my Nana and Mom make it, 1 can tuna in WATER, drain and broken apart)
4 Green onion
20 corn tortillas (or how ever many you would like to make)
Monterrey Jack Cheese
2 Cans Tomato sauce unsalted
1/4 white onion
Chile Powered
Garlic powder
Chicken Bullion

  1. Boil chicken with salt and pepper, a piece of celery & ½ an onion & chicken bullion (about 2 tsp)
  2. Take out chicken when done and shred and salt and pepper lightly again
  3. Dice green onions (set aside)
  4. Shred Monterrey Jack Cheese (set aside)

Saute - ¼ white onion - In butter until translucent
2 (14.5 oz) Cans of Tomatoes Sauce
2-3 teaspoons of chicken bullion (be careful not to put too much as it will make it salty)
A few shakes of chile powder
A few shakes of garlic salt

  1. Let simmer for 15 minutes on medium low.
  2. Fry corn tortillas in hot oil until flexible (about 9 seconds), stack on plate with paper towels to drain grease
  3. While still warm , Dip tortillas in sauce
  4. Add chicken, a little cheese and green onions and role up.
  5. Pour rest of sauce on them and cover with cheese.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes (covered with foil) in oven at 350 degrees.
  • For some extra kick I like to garnish with Yellow and Serrano Chiles on top. Gives it a little spice and a little extra flavor. (garnish then bake)
  • We eat this topped with shredded lettuce and tomato
  • Also great with rice and beans and some sliced of avocado
  • You can also make this dish the night before and just wait to stick it in the oven for the next day.
Here's to some good food!

Extra help:

This is the chili powder I use for everything.

Friday, February 26, 2010


This one is a controversial dish. Meaning, when I asked my Nana how to make it the first time I was away at college and so she gave me her version then my mom gave me her own version and now I add a few twisted to it. So if you are in my mom's kitchen you will get a thinned out version of the soup, which is the way my Nana made and she made it with no carrots or potatoes (that's my mom's twist). What I love most about this dish is that my Nana use to make it in the summer. So while it was super hot during the day we would sit at the counter in my mom's house and sweat while we ate this soup. She served it with a side of rice and beans and of course flour tortillas, mostly for me, because she liked to eat it with corn tortillas. I can remember her with her rinsed out blue hair and painted nails rolling the meatballs. Since we where on the poor side she made the Albondigas super small so everyone could have at least two. My favorite part if my Nana's Albondigas was the rice that would fall off of them and into the soup so I add a little extra rice to my soup just for that reason. I loved when she made this soup, she would make it in the morning while watching her tela-novelas in her mandil and cook away having it ready for us at about 4pm to eat dinner, which of course, one of if not all of my uncles would come to eat. It's just how we do it. When one eats, we all can't let your family eat alone after all!

5 Tomatoes (or two 14.5 oz cans of peeled diced unsalted tomatoes)
½ white onion diced
1 garlic clove
½ bushel of cilantro
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/3 cup rice (for the soup)
1/3 cup rice (for the meat)
2 Anaheim roasted and peeled chilies
1 yellow roasted and peeled chilies
Salt, pepper & garlic powder to meat to taste
5 level teaspoon Knorr Suiza (chicken bullion)

1. Grate Tomatoes (if you are using canned no need to grate)
2. Blend onions, garlic, cilantro and chilies (blend tomatoes with this)
3. Add mixer to pot add 1teaspoon oil to sauté for 2 minutes
4. Add 10 cups water (enough to make caldo)
5. Let boil (while waiting for it to boil make meatballs)
6. mix meat, egg and rice
7. Mix well and then make the meatballs
8. While soup is boiling add the meat balls and then lower heat
9. Cover and let cook for 45minute - 1hour on medium heat
9. When the rice is done the soup is ready

  • For extra filling you can add diced carrots and potatoes.
  • If you have extra soup left over and the meat is gone use add some tortillas strips, avocado and a little jack cheese and you have a great tortilla soup!
  • This recipe will make the soup medium spicy, when I make it for my kids (who love it) I only use one Anaheim chile.
Here's to some good food!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cooking all Day

Ok, friends, now that we have the basic sides down we are going to move on to the getting your counters dirty, kind of cooking. This is where you will create all four of these dishes a the same time plus the main dish. My Nana would take all day some days to create some of the dishes. When I think about it, most of her day was spent in the kitchen cooking. I am excited for the weeks to come and can not wait to see who will be sitting at my table to enjoy these great Mexican dishes. Put your mandiles (aprons) on and get your chicken bullion out cause we are about to make some amazing Mexican food! Can't wait to hear how your meals come out!

Here's to some good food!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Here is where I take pride! is the one side dish I have spent the most time making and making it oh so good!!! It is the best you will ever have anywhere. But my Nana use to bad mouth me about making it. My Mom like to put powdered garlic in it (which gives it the most amazing flavor) and my Nana would call us dirty girls for adding it. In the end the secret it to dice well, use a lot of tomatoes and the juice from them and the garlic. Never ever ever add mayo...if you do you will be disowned. Just making sure we are all cooking on the same page. I was teased as a kid when I would make the guacamole because I absolutely LOVE avocados. I would sneak into the frig and just eat them plain and leave nothing but a few teeth marks behind. So when asked to make it the family never knew how much I would eat before actually putting it out on the table. Sucks for them, great for me! But here I want to warn you that it will take time to get this one down. Never leave chunks, always use garlic and always taste test before you serve it!

2 Hass avocados
2 Small tomatoes diced
2 Green onions finely diced
1/4 Bunch of cilantro chopped
Garlic powder (to taste)
Salt (to taste)

  • It's OK to buy avocados that are hard, just put them away for 2 days in a dark place and then once they are ripe put them in the frig. There they will last a lot longer and will not keep getting ripe to fast.
  • use a potato masher to mash down the avocados (I never knew it was called a potato masher...we only ever used it to mash avocados or beans!)
  1. Cut avocados in half and scoop out the meat from the skin (keep one pit for garnish)
  2. Mash avocados and add garlic powder (just a little bit at first like 1/8 of a teaspoon)
  3. Dice and add tomatoes, make sure to get all the juice in there. Mash this together with a fork.
  4. Add green onions and cilantro.
  5. Add salt to taste and a little more garlic powder. Mix well with a fork!

Extra help:

This is what I call a bunch of cilantro and a small tomato.

Here's to some good food!

Salsa Roja

To every good Mexican meal comes the salsa...mostly red salsa. We eat it for every meal everyday. It is a basic need! My Nana would make it by the bunches and to my husband's testament not so hot (as in spicy). She could never make it spicy enough for him. But she would make it, cool it and serve it up in little bowls for us to share. Then it would be stored in the frig in a "recycled" jar, usually an old mayo jar, I use (clean) old jam jars. You wash them in hot water and they are as good as new. Don't knock it until you've tried it.

8 medium ripe tomatoes (cut the ends off)
2 Anaheim chilies
2 Yellow chilies
1 Jalapeno
2 Seranos
4 Green onions
1/2 Bunch of cilantro
1 Garlic clove
Salt to taste

  1. Boil tomatoes, garlic, yellow chilies, serranos, and jalapeno. for about 15 minutes on a hard boil
  2. On your open fire of your stove or broiler or a comal, cook Anaheim chilies until the outside of them are brown and easy to peel off. (set aside when browned)
  3. Dice and cut green onions and cilantro (set aside)
  4. Blend ALL the stuff you boiled together (not the water) Try to peel the skin off the tomatoes if you can. Blend until there are no chunks.
  5. Pour Tomato blend into a bowl, let cool
  6. Peel and dice Anaheim chilies
  7. Once cooled add the green onions, cilantro and Anaheim chilies
  8. Salt to taste
This is a medium spicy recipe, you can add less Serranos or Jalapenos to make it mild.
Here's to some good food!

Mexican Rice

What the heck are beans without rice. This rice, this rice is one of my most favorite foods in the whole world and I am eating some while I type this so be jealous (the rice from the picture)! My Mom and my Nana always used the same pot to make the rice...this jacked up green pot with no handle or cover, they use a Marie Calendars pie pan to cover it while it cooked. This rice is fuss, you actually need to pay attention to it while it cooks or you will (as we all have done) burn it. And my Nana gave us our share of burnt rice. This just comes with years of practice, making good, non burnt, fluffy rice. I can remember standing over the stove stirring the rice to brown it and smelling it. The smell of the rice cooking and getting browned is my favorite smell in the whole wide world! My Nana or my Mom for that matter never used measurements for this's made by just adding enough of this and that. But lucky for you I broke it down.

When you are making this rice made sure to boil water on the side, the trick to making this a fluffy rice is adding hot water to it. Then if you have ever had my Nana's rice you have surely eaten a piece of chicken bullion (or Knorr Suiza), so instead of adding the bullion into the pot dissolve it in the measuring cup with the hot water before pouring it in. You will thank me later.

Browned rice with white onions

Rice with tomatoes added and liquid reduced

Rice with water and chicken bullion, let this come to a boil before covering

15 minutes later!

Your rice!

2 cups long grain white rice (or I like to just Jasmine Rice)
2 TBS cooking oil
¼ medium white onion
2 small size tomatoes (grated) or 1/2 cup tomato sauce
4cups boiling water
4 tsp chicken bullion

  • The ratio is one cup of rice to 2 cups of water.
  • Remember to grate the to tomatoes before you start cooking.
  • Chicken Bullion advise...use the Knorr brand.
  • While the rice is cooking I like to add a little bit of yellow chiles and cilantro.
  • This is a side dish.

  1. In small pot sauté 2 cups rice with 2 TBS oil and diced onion.
  2. Cook until lightly brown (brown rice on high, watching it carefully).
  3. While you are browning rice boil the 4 cups of water.
  4. Add grated tomatoes to browning rice and reduce liquid (reduce heat to low).
  5. Add the 4 tsp of chicken bullion to the 4 cups of boiling water, add to rice.
  6. Stir while it comes to a full boil. Once boiling cover and bring heat to medium
  7. Let cook for 15 minutes, or unlit the rice is no longer wet.
Extra help:

Grated tomatoes

Yellow Chile

This is the chicken bullion you should always use when cooking here!

Here's to some good food!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pinto Beans

Back in the day I can remember waking up on a Saturday morning to the smell of beans cooking. My Nana would wake up like at 6am on a Saturday to start making them so that they would be ready for breakfast/lunch. Usually all my Tios and Tias would make their way over to the house to eat some meal. By the time I was up and going my Nana had the beans done and the tortillas ready to be rolled, which she was waiting for someone to chat it up with to help her. When I finally learned how to make beans it was a little hard as there was no exact measuring system in place. See my Nana and Mom look at the size pot they are going to use and just add stuff. So I will do my best to help you out here with measurements but it really is a give and take type of thing. Once you know your family size and your pot size you will figure it out. You really can not mess beans up, you just need to remember to add water along the way.

Dry pinto beans
1 whole white onion
3 pealed whole garlic cloves

The ratio is 1 cup of beans to 3 cups of water.
  • In the pot seen above I filled it with 1/3 of beans and the rest water.
  • Takes ~3 hours to cook
  1. Rinse beans in warm-Hot water. (no need to soak them)
  2. Boil water with onion & garlic (cut onion in half, do not chop it into little piece)
  3. When water comes to a boil add beans
  4. Cover pot and let cook on Medium heat for about 3 hours or until beans are firmly soft.
  5. Salt to taste
Check the water level about every 30 minutes or so. If the water has reduced 20% then add BOILING water to the pot.

When I make this amount of beans I usually get 4 servings for my entire family of 4. I freeze about 3 batches of beans in a freezable container to use through the week.

Re-Frying Your Beans
  • To re-fry the beans my Nana use to use lard, yep, lard. My mom uses canola oil and I usually use nothing. If you do want to re-fry them this is how you do it. Heat up a little bit of cooking oil. In a separate pot mash up the whole beans until they are smooth. When oil it every hot pure it into the pot and mix.
  • In the picture above these are the beans without oil.
  • These are great as a side dish (is usually the way we eat them) or you can make the best bean burritos!
Here's to some good food!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Arroz con Pollo (Betina Chicken)

Tonight our friend Ashley came over and brought two of her friends. We enjoyed this meal with them and had a great time. Thank you red bell peppers for being on sale! This is one of my husband's favorite (non-Mexican but Hispanic dish). It was given to me by my friend Betina who is from Peru. I was able to scribble down this recipe over our lunch break about 4 years ago and she said it tasted just like hers. I hope you enjoy it.

Rice, long grain white or Jazmin, (1/2chicken broth, ½ water) (how ever much you make for your family, I usually make 2 cups of rice)
1 Bunch Cilantro
½ Red Onion
3 cloves garlic
Ground Turmeric
1Red Bell Pepper
Green Peas or Carrots
2 Serrano or yellow chilies (to taste)
Chicken (leg or thigh w/ bone and skin)
  • You are going to be cooking the rice and chicken in the same pan at the end so start off with a big/deep pan.

1. Blend ½ bell pepper, cilantro, and Chile (set aside)
2. Dice Onion and garlic lightly, fry in pan with 1TBS oil
3. Add salt and Turmeric to taste to pan
4. Add chicken to pan. Fry chicken until skin browns. Do not cook it all the way
5. Move chicken to a separate pan to keep warm. Keep covered on very low heat.
6. Add to pan the blend of bell pepper, cilantro and Chile
7. Add Chicken stock and water to pan.
8. Add more Turmeric to taste.
9. After it comes to a boil add chicken for ten minutes. Cover pan
10. Take chicken out after ten minutes
11. Add green peas and other ½ of bell pepper (diced)
12. Add rice (cover until rice is done)
13. Add Chicken for the last five minutes that the rice cooks.

Serve with French Bread.

Here's to some good food!

dish photo taken by Ashley Wells

Come and Eat

I am going to let you into my little and not so famous world of cooking. I grew up with my Nana cooking every single meal. I can rarely remember a time when we ate at a restaurant other than the occasional MDs. My Nana was Mexican as I am and being Mexican, well we ate Mexican food, all the time. My Nana practically raised me and my siblings and looking back at our time with her it was priceless. My mom was a single mom and well she just rocked it all. My Nana passed away three years ago this past Feb. 13, 2010. While she had lived with my family since I was the age of 11, it was then that she taught me how to cook. In Fact she insisted. She rather me stay in and help her make tortillas than go out and play. She taught me how to make rice and beans and flour tortillas, and Caldo and Mole and Albondiags. Back then I hated it but now I absolutely love it. When I am in the kitchen I think of her often and think about how she use to love to talk and cook. I was able to write most her recipes down before she past and now I cook them for my own little family, my husband and two kids who are 3 & 5. I am thankful that she taught me how to cook and that between her and my mom I able to continue creating her wonderful dishes. So I will share with you some of our family favorites and my little twist on some of them. Every thing from Mexican rice, to beans and tortillas and the most amazing guacamole you will ever have. I will also throw in some of my families favs...some meats and recipes I wrote down from friends over lunch time breaks. My hope is that you will enjoy cooking these recipes as much as I enjoy them and I hope that you will enjoy not only sharing them with your family but setting your table for friends. Make dinner, invite someone and enjoy some good food! Here's to some good food!