Friday, March 4, 2011


Hummus has become something we make on a fairly regular basis lately. Plus, one time I was making it and I allowed Robby to push a chair up to the counter and help me measure and dump things in. So, now any time I am in the kitchen, he grabs a measuring spoon or cup and goes and slowly drags a large chair from the table while saying "HUMMUS! HUMMUS!"  The word "hummus" to him now means "I am coming to help you cook Mom!"..... which can also be intrepreted as "I am coming to make a mess and make it 10 times harder for you to make whatever it is you are trying to make, Mom!" Hahaha. Man, I love that kid.

Anyway, on to the recipe:

1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and heated in the microwave for 90 seconds (I do this just to soften them up a bit.... it probably works fine without doing it... but, I always do, and it always turns out great... so I never change what I do!)

2 LARGE cloves of garlic (don't skimp... unless you are a garlic wimp)

¼- ½ tsp cumin

Dash of cayenne to taste

Juice of half a lemon

Salt to taste

3 tsp Tahini
            *Tahini is sesame seed paste. I think you should be able to get it at most grocery stores these days. Sometimes it is by the peanut butter... sometime it is in the ethnic isle..... you'll have to look around or ask someone who works there. It can be a bit pricey. But, we make good use of it. You can probably make the hummus without... but, I am sure the results won't be exactly the same

Olive oil
Add all ingredients (except oil) to a food processor (a blender would probably work as well). Blend for 30 seconds just to get things going. Then, start to drizzle in olive oil a little at a time. You will see it start to smooth out and come together better. You will probably need to stop and scrape down the sides to make sure everything gets well blended. Add olive oil a little at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. It is up to you how thick or thin you like your hummus.  Allow it to blend for a while until it becomes very smooth.
Note: If you want to cut back on the fat content, you can just add a little olive oil and then use water for the rest until it reaches the right consistency. (Or I have read recipes that say to add the liquid from the can of chickpeas. I have never done that so I cannot say whether or not the results are good...).
HUMMUS is super tasty on pita bread. It is also good on crackers or used as a spread on sandwiches.
I have started making my own pita bread lately, which we enjoy. Recipe to come.

Cheesey Tortilla Soup

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup milk (I use whole milk.... because we have plenty of it in our house)

8 oz. Velveeta process cheese food - cubed

*the recipe called for a can of diced tomatoes with chilies. we wanted it to taste more fresh, so we didn't use that and instead we used:

                    a 4 oz. can of chopped green chilies (I can't remember if I used the whole thing or just half of it.... probably fine either way)

                   chopped fresh tomatoes,
                   bell peppers,
                  and green onions.

(Or you could just have those things on the side for toppings if some people you are cooking for don't like a bunch of fresh veg in their soup.)

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken

1 1/2 tsp. cumin

1 ½ tsp. chili powder

salt and pepper – to taste

Optional: 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
flour tortillas – as needed, about 4 - 6

For toppings:
shredded Colby Jack cheese OR Mexican blend cheese
optional: cilantro and extra green onion, peppers, and tomatoes

In a pot, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.

-Slowly whisk in small amounts of chicken broth at a time, then whisk in milk.

-Reduce heat to low and stir in Velveeta cubes and spices; stir until melted.

-Stir in canned chilies, chicken, and veggies (and black beans, if using).

-Once soup is heated through and veggies are cooked to your liking, it is ready to serve.

However, if you wish to make tortilla strips, it can sit over low heat while they are made (and the flavors will probably meld together more). Stir the soup occasionally.

(I just cut the uncooked flour tortillas in strips and bake them in a 400 degree oven until crispy. You could fry them if you want.)

Put soup in bowl and top with shredded cheese, tortilla strips, and extra green onion and other veggies if desired.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup canned pumpkin (or fresh, cooked, pureed pumpkin)

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips
optional: raisins, nuts, other dried fruits

Cream together the sugar and shortening. Add the pumpkin. Mix dry ingredients well in seperate bowl and then add to the rest of the mixture. (I admit, I don't alway mix them in a seperate bowl, but the main thing is that you want to make sure the baking soda and powder and stuff are well distributed and don't just end up all clumped up in one cookie or something.... yuck...).

Now, here's where you can get creative. Add in your mix-ins to your liking. My last few batches have consisted of chocolate chips, dried blueberries, AND cashews or walnuts/pecans (whichever nut I had available). You can mix and match however you want! i am pretty sure my last ones were at least 1/2 mix-ins!

Once everything is well mixed, spoon into mounds on a greased cookie sheet. I usually use two spoons to help me do the job.

Bake for 10 -15 minutes, until cooked through. The time is going to vary depending on your oven, the size you made your cookies, the pan you use, etc. So, check them at 10 minutes. They should start to brown a little on the bottom and should not look doughy in the middle. I like my pumpkin cookies soft though, so DON'T OVERCOOK THEM (at least not if you are making them for me... haha. just kidding....).

TIP: If you want to have dough ready to bake at any time, make a large batch of the dough, and freeze some of it! Form the dough into a logs on pieces of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly then put in a large zip top bag and put in the freezer! When you are ready for cookies another day, pull out a log of dough, unwrap, cut into thick slices and bake! You may  have to adjust the baking time since they will be frozen. Might even want to turn down the over just a little so the bottoms don't get too brown before the middle is done.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Chile Verde anyone?


Olive oil

5 cups diced onion

1/2 cup chopped garlic

5 pounds pork shoulder, cubed

1 quart chicken broth

15 to 20 Anaheim peppers

12 to 15 tomatillos


3 tablespoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves (Mexican oregano if you have it)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup corn flour (NOT THE SAME as corn meal! Corn flour is also called Masa. It is most likely going to be down the ethnic food isle with the rest of the hispanic food.)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (if using fresh chiles and/or tomatillos).

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add 1/4 cup of olive oil. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place the pork shoulder in a large heavy bottomed pot, coated with oil, over medium heat and sear until well browned on all sides. Deglaze with the chicken broth, and then add sauteed onions and garlic. Turn heat to low, cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

(ok, now if you are using the canned chilies and tomatillos, skip the green instructions below.)

Meanwhile, place the Anaheim peppers on a sheet pan.

Peel the outer paper skins off the tomatillos, then coat with olive oil and place on another sheet pan. Place both pans in the preheated oven and roast until the peppers are nicely charred and the tomatillos are soft, about 20 minutes.

Remove pans from the oven and place the peppers in a plastic bag to let them steam for 5 minutes.

Peel and seed peppers.

Puree the peppers and tomatillos (drain the tomatillos! don't use the liquid) in a food processor. Add the puree to the pork mixture, stir, and then let simmer on low heat.

Combine the garlic powder, black pepper, ground cumin, oregano, ground coriander and salt in a small bowl, then add to pork mixture and stir well.

In a small saute pan, mix 1/2 cup olive oil (I have used less oil before... maybe 1/4 cup? Try it and see.) with the corn flour, stirring over low heat for 2 minutes to make a masa roux.

Let the chili mixture simmer for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours on medium-low heat, or until pork is nice and tender. Then stir in masa roux and simmer for 10 more minutes. The roux should work as a thickening agent.




With the holidays approaching, it is time to start thinking about some of those recipes that, in my family, no holiday season would be complete without!

How about a holiday slush?

6 cups water
4 cups sugar
Boil and cool

1 12 oz can frozen orange juice (not diluted)
1 large can pineapple juice
juice of 2 lemons
5 mashed bananas (optional)
Pour into containers with lids. Freeze solid and thaw slightly to serve.  When serving, I usually scrape some out with a fork (to help get it to a slushy stage) then put it in a cup. Pour a little carbonated beverage into it-- lemon lime soda, or Fresca, or... whatever citrus-y soda. We like Fresca at our house. Slush together with a fork so it is one homogenous, slushy mixture! You can add as little or as much soda as you like, according to your preference. 

(Obviously, you could also slush a bunch of it in a punch bowl if you are doing it for a party or something. We usually just let people dish up their own individual servings when it is just our family.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oven Beef Stew

This is a classic comfort food for me. We had it often in my home growing up. I don't make it all that often-- somehow I always forget about it-- but when I do make it, it feels like "home."

2 lbs beef stew meat chunks
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
4 large carrots, sliced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 package dry onion soup mix (ie. Liptons)

Place all ingredients in large oven safe pot in order listed.
Add 1 soup can full of water.
Cover and cook in oven 6-8 hours @ 250 degrees

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

MMmmmmmm..... My friend Stephanie brought some delicious cupcakes with raspberry frosting to a little get together we had while I was out in Utah this summer. This inspired me to look for a recipe. I ended up using this frosting on top of little "cupbrownies" at Robby's birthday party we had in Utah. (I prefer brownies over cake, and thought it would be fun to make little cupcakes out of brownies.... just poured chewy/fudge brownie batter into muffin tins with the cupcake papers and baked them up.) They were cute and soooo tasty!


1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar


1. Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.

2. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition.

I usually end up adding MORE raspberries than it calls for. I just blend in a little more at a time at the end until it tastes how I want it. 
Note: Be sure to wash and thoroughly dry raspberries before adding to frosting.