Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chile Verde

Years ago, a neighbor brought over a big container of chile verde because he made more than his family could eat. I love when neighbors bring food! It was full of flavor and I savored every bite. At that time, I wasn't doing much cooking so I didn't even bother asking for the recipe. The extent of my cooking consisted of three to four ingredients with a five-ingredient recipe being "extreme cooking" for me. LOL! My cooking has definitely improved! :)

While I was recovering from a tonsillectomy, I was pinning tons of recipes from pinterest. I was drooling over each recipe since I was unable to eat any of it. Now that my throat is fully recovered, I've been diving into some of those recipes. Chile Verde is a dish I love to order at Mexican restaurants. I love wet chile verde burritos or chile verde on its own with a tortilla on the side. YUM! 

I've never made chile verde so I don't know if this is an "authentic" recipe but what I do know is that I liked my version. I liked it a lot! I invited my Mom and sister over for dinner and they enjoyed it, too. The pork was fork tender and fell apart as I cut into my wet chile verde burrito. I ate the leftover chile verde on its own the next day with a tortilla. It's soupy texture was perfect for a light lunch. Oh, the flavors! Make this sooooooon!

Bright green!

After a couple of hours in the dutch oven....

Wet burrito with fresh guac. NOM NOM!!!

Chile Verde
Yield: Serves 8


  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • 2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed (I used 2 seeded serranos)
  • 2 Anaheim or Poblano chiles (optional)
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, washed

  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds pork shoulder (also called pork butt), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-2 inch cubes (I used 2 pork sirloins from costco)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 tbs of chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tbs of dried oregano)
  • 2 1/2 c chicken stock (I used 1 ½ c)
  • Pinch of ground cloves


  1. Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well. If you have a Vitamix blender, put the chile verde sauce ingrediens into blender. You could use a food processor if that's what you have. Cut tomatillos into quarters and place into blender container. Add the garlic, serranos, and cilantro to the tomatillos and blend thoroughly. You can add a couple Anaheim or Poblano chiles. Either use canned green chiles or roast fresh chilies over a gas flame or under the broiler until blackened all around. Let cool in a bag, remove the skin, seeds, and stem.
  2. Season the pork cubes generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a dutch oven (or a large, heavy-bottomed skillet) over medium high heat and brown pork chunks well on all sides. Work in batches so that the pork is not crowded in the pan and has a better chance to brown well. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, lift pork out of pan and place in bowl to set aside.
  3. Pour out excess fat leaving about a tablespoon and place the onions and garlic in the same dutch oven and saute about 5 minutes or till onions are translucent. Hopefully, your dutch oven is large enough to cook the entire batch of chile verde with the sauce and meat. 
  4. Add the pork back to the dutch oven and add oregano. Then add the tomatillo chile verde sauce to the pork and onions. 
  5. Add the chicken stock (enough to cover the meat), add a pinch of ground cloves, and a little salt and pepper. Not too much as the chile verde will continue to cook down and concentrate a bit.
  6. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 2-3 hours or until the pork is fork tender.
  7. Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. 
  8. Serve with spanish rice and warmed flour or corn tortillas. Can also make wet chile verde burritos by adding some chile verde into a warmed tortilla, roll it up, pour more sauce on top, top with shredded cheese, and microwave to melt cheese or put in broiler to brown cheese (be careful plates are oven safe and keep an eye on the burritos to avoid burning them).
Source: adapted from Simply Recipes

Monday, October 1, 2012

Crockpot Lasagna

We really love pasta. lt's filling, delicious, and comforting. I serve it with a side of garlic bread and salad and my boys eat it up. They LOVE pasta! Because of Son #2's egg allergy, he has never eaten lasagna because restaurants add egg in the ricotta mixture. I found a recipe for crockpot lasagna and I was all over it. I knew I had to make lasagna for my allergy boy, and because it was a crockpot recipe, I knew I had to give it a try. It was tasty! 

In my opinion, the point of a crockpot meal is a one-pot, easy meal but this recipe requires you to cook the ground beef first. The extra step and dirty pan was well worth it. 

Crockpot Lasagna  


  • 1 lb. ground beef (I used packaged ground tofu from Costco)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 29 oz can tomato sauce (add 1 tsp each:  Italian seasonings, basil, oregano, garlic salt)
  • 8 oz pkg. lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I used 2 c)
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese (I used 15 oz Ricotta) Cottage cheese


  1. Spray the inside of the crockpot with cooking spray.
  2. Spray pan with oil, and when heated, saute garlic and onions.
  3. When onions become translucent, add the ground beef (or ground tofu) and continue sauteeing until cooked through. Add seasonings to taste (I used garlic salt and pepper).
  4. Add the tomato sauce and 1 tsp each Italian seasonings, basil, oregano, and garlic salt.
  5. Spread ¼ of the meat sauce on the bottom of the crockpot.
  6. Arrange ⅓ of the uncooked noodles over the sauce (break them up so they fit better).
  7. Spread ⅓ of the ricotta over the noodles. Sprinkle handful of mozzarella over the ricotta.
  8. Repeat these layers twice and top with remaining sauce.
  9. Cover and cook on low for 4 hrs.
  10. Let the lasagna stand in the crockpot with the lid off for 5-8 minutes before serving.

* Use Italian sausage in place of ground beef or in addition to the ground beef.
* Add 1/2 - 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese to the cheese mixture.
* Add 1/2 - 3/4 cup additional shredded mozzarella cheese to the top of lasagna 5 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from Creating Through LIFE

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Artichoke and Garlic Hummus

Hummus is really good stuff. It's great on crackers, a slice of bread, with veggies, in a sandwich, or simply on its own. It's loaded with protein and is the perfect snack. I love how I can whip up a batch in no time thanks to my awesome Vitamix. Homemade hummus is delicious and guests are always impressed when I serve it.

Artichoke and Garlic Hummus

Yield:  2 cups

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, reserve liquids
  • 1/2 c artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/4 c raw sesame seeds
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • salt, to taste
  1. Drain garbanzo beans into a measuring cup and reserve the liquid. 
  2. Place all ingredients and only HALF the reserved liquid into a Vitamix blender or use a food processor.
  3. Blend 2-3 minutes. If consistency is too thick, add a little more of the reserved liquid. Blend another 1-2 minutes or until ingredients come together with creamy hummus consistency. Do not add too much liquid or hummus will be watery.
Note:  The two garlic cloves gives the hummus a nice garlicky, spicy kick. We love garlic and the amount was perfect!

Source:  Adapted from Vitamix Whole Food Recipes book

Monday, September 24, 2012

Amish White Bread

I've baked sandwich bread several times and I've even tried several different recipes.  Walter's White Bread was our favorite but we definitely have a new favorite now. Move over, Walter, here comes Amish White Bread. Seriously, this bread is tasty! The bread has a nice, tall rise, it's light, fluffy and has a hint of sweet. It reminds me of Hokkaido Soft Bread from Japan. The bread was easy to make since I used my stand mixer. Try this bread. You won't regret it.

The smell of fresh bread is amazing...mmmmmm.........

Soft. Airy. Perfect.

Amish White Bread

Yield: 2 loaves

  • 2 c warm water (Hot water will kill the yeast, and if it's not warm enough, yeast will not activate.)
  • 1/2 c sugar (I'll experiment with 1/4 c next time.)
  • 1 1/2 tbs active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 6 c bread flour

  1. In stand mixer bowl with paddle attachment, pour in warm water then sugar. Stir till sugar dissolves.
  2. Add yeast and stir. Allow yeast to proof and look foamy.
  3. Add salt and oil and stir.
  4. Mix in one cup of flour at a time. When all six cups are added and dough comes together, stop mixer and change to dough hook attachment.
  5. Knead for 3-5 minutes or until dough forms a nice ball. If it's too wet, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. Don't add too much flour or knead too long or the bread will be dense after baking.
  6. When dough is ready, remove bowl from stand mixer, set aside dough and spray the bowl with oil. 
  7. Place dough back into oiled bowl, spray top of dough with a little oil, cover with damp, clean cloth, and set bowl in warm, draft-free area. Let rise for one hour or until doubled in size.
  8.  Punch dough down and divide in half.
  9. Shape dough into loaves- On floured surface, roll out dough into a rectangle the same width as the loaf pan. Start on the short end of the rectangle and start rolling tightly. Pinch the ends and bottom of roll to seal edges. Place in oiled 9x5" loaf pans seam-side down.
  10. Let prepared dough rise for 30 minutes or until dough has risen 1" above the pans.
  11. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Bread is done when golden brown on top. To check if they're baked through, put on oven mitts and slide loaf out of pan. Remove one mitt and tap on bottom of loaf with thumb. It should sound hollow. If it sounds hollow, place loaves on cooling rack and cool completely.
  12. DO NOT CUT BREAD UNTIL FULLY COOLED. It's tempting but you gotta wait. :)
  13. If loaves will not be eaten within three days, put bread in the fridge. You don't want moldy bread. Bread must be fully cooled before going into a ziploc bag. In the past, I sliced the entire loaf before putting it in the ziploc but I read that it's better to keep the loaf whole and slice bread as needed. It supposedly keeps the bread from drying out. We shall see...

Source:  allrecipes

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Guacamole" Chicken Salad Sandwich

Son #2 with food allergies has never eaten a chicken salad sandwich because of the mayonnaise that's in it. While surfing Pinterest, I found a recipe for chicken salad sandwiches that uses mashed avocado instead of mayo. GENIUS! It's like a chicken and guacamole sandwich. What's not to love about that?! My boys love guac but I wasn't sure how they'd take to chicken and guac in a sandwich. They actually really liked it and ate it up! This was Son #2's first time eating "chicken salad." I love when I can make "firsts" happen for him. It makes me so happy when he can enjoy foods that many of us eat without thinking twice about the ingredients. 

A hot dog bun was the perfect size for our sandwiches.

"Guacamole" Chicken Salad Sandwich

  • bread/buns
  • lettuce
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or diced
  • 1-2 avocados, mashed
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 2 tbs celery, sliced
  • 2 tbs red onion, diced
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • seasoned salt and pepper to taste

  1. Prep chicken and set aside in large bowl.
  2. Place avocados and remaining ingredients in medium bowl and mix thoroughly to make "guacamole."
  3. Mix avocado mixture into chicken bowl and mix till you have a good "chicken salad" consistency. 
  4. Put mixture on bread and ENJOY!

Source: Adapted from Becoming Betty

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fried Rice

I love a great fried rice and I have yet to taste a delicious fried rice like my grandma used to make. Fried rice always makes me think of my grams and the numerous times I watched her make it. She would use an old wok that had years and years of seasoning cooked into it. The first thing she'd do is fry up chopped bacon. When the bacon was done, she'd scoop it out and place it on paper towels. She'd pour the bacon fat into a glass bowl and reserve it for frying up the rice. With the grease that was left in the wok, she'd scramble up some eggs and set it aside when done. Then came a generous amount of that bacon fat and close to half a stick of butter. She'd heat it up and then throw in the cooked rice and sprinkle some soy sauce over the rice. When the rice was crisp and ready, she'd add the bacon, eggs, and some corn or other veggies and mix it all in. Her rice was flavorful and had the perfect fried rice texture which is so hard to achieve. It was THE BEST! I don't make fried rice with all that bacon fat and butter but it was sooooooo good....... 

Because I had leftover filling from making won tons, I used that in my fried rice. My version of fried rice is definitely not like my grams' but it turned out pretty good. Son #2 with food allergies tried fried rice for the first time! He can never order it when we go out because of the egg that's in it and the shared equipment it's prepared on even if the restaurant made it egg-free. Both boys LOVED it!

Not like grams' but tasty nonetheless.

Fried Rice

  • cooked short-grain rice (Calrose or Nishiki brands are good.)
  • 2 tbs sesame oil (might need more if making a big batch of fried rice)
  • 1-2 tbs butter, optional
  • 1/3 c green onions, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 can corn, drained (or peas and carrots or veggie of choice)
  • won ton filling (see prior post) or bacon, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cook rice according to directions.
  2. Heat sesame oil and butter in large pan or wok and add rice. Let rice fry for 3-4 minutes or until bottom starts to look brown.
  3. Using a wide spatula, carefully turn rice over and fry other side another 3-4 minutes.
  4. At this time, stir rice around so the rest of the rice can get fried. If more oil is needed, push rice to edges and add a little oil in center of pan. After oil heats up, stir rice into the oil and mix around until rice is coated. Continue frying rice until rice has a good, crisp texture. ENJOY!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Won Ton Soup

Because I had leftover won ton wrappers from the "egg rolls" I made the other day, I decided to make won tons for won ton soup. I've never made won tons but figured I should be able to put them together since I've helped my mom make gyoza (Japanese potstickers) a while back. Their filling seems to be the same but they're just shaped differently. I used a filling recipe from my mom and then found a site on Pinterest so I could learn how to do the won ton wrap. 

I used an open package of won ton wrappers so I ended up with leftover filling mixture. That wasn't such a bad thing because I cooked up the filling and then made fried rice with it. I'll post that recipe next. :) It was the perfect complement to the won ton soup! I boiled four won tons per person and froze the rest. I'm stoked that I have frozen won tons that I can cook up at a later time. The prep time took a little longer than expected but at least I get two meals out of it. :)

I was a little worried that the won tons would fall apart when I boiled them but they held up. Only two won tons fell apart during boiling. :)

This picture makes me smile. 

Won Tons

  • 1 lb ground chicken or pork (I used ground turkey because that's what I had in the fridge.)
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 2 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs ginger, grated
  • 1/4 c green onions, chopped (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • won ton wrappers
  • small bowl of water
  • soup ingredients and recipe below....If you're making won ton soup, get the broth started first.

  1. Prep baking sheet with flour so won tons don't stick.
  2. Put first six ingredients in food processor and blend well. If you don't have a food processor, mix well in large bowl.
  3. Place individual won ton wrappers on dry cutting board. Try not to get the board or won ton wrappers wet or they'll get gooey and fall apart when you handle them.
  4. Use a tablespoon to measure out filling mixture. Place in center of won ton wrapper.
  5. Dip finger in bowl of water and wet two sides of wrapper. Fold up dry side to form a triangle.
  6. Press thumb in middle of won ton and join the two corners together. Wet one of the corners so they stay together. See picture above if this doesn't make sense. Place won tons on prepared baking sheet.
  7. Continue wrapping the won tons till you run out of filling or the wrappers.
  8. Boil pot of water and boil won tons a few at a time. Do not overcrowd or they won't cook well.
  9. Place in soup bowls and ladle chicken broth over won tons. Add additional green onions to taste. 

Notes:  If you have leftover filling, you can make little patties or cook it up like ground beef. I cooked it like ground beef and made fried rice with it. YUM! 
You can also fry the won tons if you prefer a crispy appetizer.

Source: Adapted from Simple Indian Recipes.


  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 1/8 c soy sauce
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 1" piece of peeled ginger
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  1. Place all ingredients in large pot/dutch oven and bring to a boil.
  2. When broth boils, turn heat down and simmer.
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