Sunday, January 31, 2016

Stuffed shells

My kids call these alligator mouths, but they're the best stuffed shells! It was my go to record for a while but then I lost track of it. So glad I've found it again!

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells
Submitted by Erin (Brittany’s delicious recipe. :) )

44 uncooked jumbo pasta shells (That’s about one and one-half 12-oz boxes)
2 c chopped cooked chicken
2 c fresh chopped spinach
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15oz) container ricotta cheese
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (5oz) package shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1 2/3 c.)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tb dried parsley flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (26oz) jar prepared spaghetti sauce (any variety)

Cook shells according to package directions (be sure to stir every once in awhile so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan and tear apart); drain and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease 2 13x9x2inch baking dishes.
In a large bowl, combine chicken and all the rest of the ingredients except mozzarella and spaghetti sauce. Stir in 1 cup mozzarella. Spoon into shells. Spread half of spaghetti sauce into prepared baking dishes. Arrange shells over sauce; top with remaining sauce. Cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Bake for 5 to 10 more minutes.
Makes 8-10 servings.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Faux pho

6 cups beef broth
4-6 in cinnamon stick
1 garlic clove
1 t ginger
2 star anise
Handful dried shiitake
1/4 c died onion
Simmer together

Bring to boil add rice noodles and thinly sliced brisket.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


6 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cups Margarine Or Softened Butter
1-1/2 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Molasses
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 whole Eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla Extract 

2 pounds Powdered Sugar, Sifted
1/3 cup Whole Milk, Plus More If Needed For Thinning
2 whole Large Egg Whites 
Miscellaneous Candies, Sprinkles, And Other Decorations


In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, allspice, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a mixer, beat the margarine (or butter) and brown sugar until fluffy. Drizzle in the molasses, mixing well and scraping the sides of the bowl a couple of times to make sure it's evenly combined. Add the eggs and maple extract and mix. Add the flour mixture in three batches, beating until just combined after each addition. 

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or more if you have time!

When you're ready to bake the cookies, remove the dough from the fridge and preheat the oven to 350 F. When the dough is soft enough to roll but still firm, divide it in half and roll out each half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap (dividing it in half just makes it more manageable.) Cut out shapes of your choosing and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a baking mat. Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of cutters used, until the cookies are baked through but still soft. Remove with a spatula and allow to cool completely.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Kale Salads

So I had this salad at Zupas once and completely fell in love with it... I make it at least once a week.

I've never really written down a recipe for a salad before so I'll just list the ingredients and you can adjust how much you want to put in. Let's call it a matter of personal taste instead of my laziness mmkay?

*Sweet Vinaigrette of some kind (basic recipe below)
*Kale (any kind curly/ not red/ green mix it up)
*Grapes (I normally use red, but this time green was cheaper...)
*Quinoa, cooked
*Dried Cherries
*Optional Parmesan cheese (just don't use the powdered green can stuff)

4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons peeled fresh garlic
8 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
Sugar to taste (arround 1/2 cup)

Mix together in a blender.

 Toss everything together. If I'm feeling extra fancy I'll cut the grapes in half.

Also on a side note, if your kale is more tough than tender massage the heck out of it before you throw the salad together. It's tough it can take it but it'll soften it up and make it nicer to eat.

Mango Variation:
*Same vinaigrette
*Fresh mango cubed
*Dried Cherries

Monday, March 16, 2015

Irish soda bread

1 pound (450 grams/ 3 1/4 cups) white flour, preferably unbleached
1/2 American teaspoon salt
1/2 American teaspoon bread soda ( baking soda)
Yogurt or buttermilk to mix - about 12 to 14 fluid ounces 

First fully preheat your oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

Sift the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center. Pour all of the milk in at once. Using 1 hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a well floured board.

WASH AND DRY YOUR HANDS. Knead lightly for a second, just enough to tidy it up, flip over. Pat the dough into a round about 12 inches (2.5 centimeters) and cut a cross on it to let the fairies out! Let the cuts go over the sides of the bread to make sure of this. (FYI this is actually pretty critical. The bread is so dense the center has a hard time cooking through. This helps heat get to the middle)
Bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 30 minutes, or until cooked. If you are in doubt, tap the bottom of the bread: if it is cooked it will sound hollow.

Soda bread only takes 2 or 3 minutes to make and 20 to 30 minutes to bake. It is certainly another of my 'great convertibles'. We have had the greatest fun experimenting with different variations and uses. It's also great with olives, sun-dried tomatoes or caramelized onions added, so the possibilities are endless for the hitherto humble soda bread.

Read more at:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Tamales

For every 2 cups of masa harina (meal), add ½ cup of shortening or lard, 1tsp. of salt, and 1tsp baking powder (optional: enough chili powder to make a pink dough). Add broth mixture a little at a time to masa and mix with your hands to get a smooth, spreadable consistency. If you run out of broth, you can use hot water. (Use about 1:1 ratio with masa) whip till fluffy.

Pinto bean & cheese filling:
Fill crock pot half full with rinsed beans. Add one onion, and 3 cloves of peeled garlic. Fill with chicken broth until 3-4 inches above beans. Cook on high until soft. Blend or mash until smooth.
Optional: mix in enchilada sauce
1/4 c oil
2 T flour
1/4 c chili powder
8 oz tomato sauce 
1 1/2c water
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t garlic powder 
1/4 t onion powder 
Salt to taste 

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and chili powder, reduce heat to medium, and cook until lightly brown, stirring constantly to prevent burning flour.
  2. Gradually stir in tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic powder, and onion salt into the flour and chili powder until smooth, and continue cooking over medium heat approximately 10 minutes, or until thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt.
Cheese: small slice quest fresco

Green Chili Chicken:

2 pounds green tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 serranos chiles, or more to taste

1 cup cilantro leaves

1/4 cup white onion, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste

2 tablespoons safflower or corn oil

Place the tomatillos along with the garlic cloves and the chiles serrranos in a pot and cover with water. Place over high heat until it comes to a boil. Simmer at medium for about 10 minutes, or until tomatillos change their color from a bright to a pale green, are cooked through and are soft but are not coming apart.

Place tomatillos, garlic and chile (you may add one chile first) and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in the blender and puree until smooth. Incorporate the cilantro leaves, onion and salt and process again. Taste for salt and add more if need be. Also taste for heat, you may add the other chile in pieces until you reach your desired heat level.

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Once it is hot but not smoking, pour in the sauce and bring it to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes, until it thickens a bit and deepens its flavor and color. Turn off the heat.

Once it cools down, you may store it in a closed container in the refrigerator for weeks. However, the heat level of the sauce will diminish as the days go by.



Place in crockpot covered in broth with onion and garlic. Cook till tender. Shred and mix with salsa verde.


Cook meat (pork or beef, or both in separate pots) in a large pot of water (or in a slow-cooker filled with water) with an onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for the day, 4 hours minimum. The more broth you can generate from the meat, the better!

After the meat is cooked (so that it falls apart and shreds easily), remove from pot, set aside to cool, and puree the onion and garlic with the broth. Season broth mixture to taste with chili powder and salt.

Shred meat finely with two forks (you can even chop it after shredding), and store covered in refrigerator separately from broth. (Use broth to make masa)

Season shredded meat with chili powder, salt, and cumin (optional) to taste. As you season the meat, add a small amount of broth to moisten meat, but it should not be runny.

Cream Cheese, bacon, jalapeño

Purée jalapeños, bacon, and cream cheese to taste

This time I did about 4 jalapeños, 8 strips of bacon, and 3 boxes of cream cheese.


Assemble the tamales: spread masa about 1/8 inch thick on corn husk with fingers, leaving about ½ inch border along the sides and 2 inch border along the top and bottom of husk. Use about 2 Tbsp. of shredded meat to fill the tamal (like a cigar). Fold sides until they just overlap, fold narrow end under, and place tamal folded side down. Grandma Salazar tears thin strips of the corn husks to tie a “little belt” around each tamal to keep it secure. Although this isn’t necessary, it does look the nicest and makes each tamal a little gift to be opened.


To cook, steam fresh tamales for 15 minutes or until masa is no longer sticky.


Store in freezer. Steam frozen tamales for 20 minutes. (This is a real treat a few days or a few weeks later. After you’ve recovered, it’s almost like someone else made them for you!).

Friday, July 11, 2014


I've always wanted to try ratatouille after seeing the movie so when it came up in my search for a healthy summer recipe I knew it was time. This was amazing! I was strapped for time making it so mine wasn't as pretty as it could of been but it was delicious. We served it with polenta and grilled chicken.

Layered Ratatouille

YIELD: Makes 4-6 servings


1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 can garlic and olive oil diced tomatoes puréed 
¼ tsp. oregano
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant, such as Italian or Chinese
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 long red bell pepper
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, one tablespoon of the olive oil, and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.

Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. Trim the top of the red pepper and remove the core.

On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.

Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper.

Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside. Or tinfoil

Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.

Serve with a dab of soft goat cheese on top, alone, or with some crusty French bread, atop polenta, couscous, or your choice of grain.


Recipe adapted from