• Beef Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream


    What does one do with all that yummy leftover brisket? Make the most delicious beef tacos!


    • Leftover brisket, chopped or sliced
    • 2 poblanos, roasted
    • 1 onion, sliced thinly
    • 1 TBSP. olive oil
    • 1 c. sour cream
    • 2-3 chipotles in adobo, minced
    • 1 avocado, chopped
    • Flour tortillas


    1. Roast poblanos under the broiler. Once they are blackened on all sides, transfer to a ziploc bag to allow them to steam for 10 minutes or so. Remove from the bag, and remove the skins, stems, and seeds; then chop.
    2. Meanwhile, slice the onion and saute the onion in olive oil until onions caramelize; then add the chopped poblanos.
    3. Mix the sour cream and the chipotles.
    4. Assemble your taco: first the beef, then the onion and poblano mixture, then the avocado, then the chipotle sour cream.

    Beef Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream:


  • Spicy Smoked Brisket


    -s made the most delicious spicy smoke brisket tonight.  Probably the best brisket I’ve ever had.

    Dry Rub Ingredients (use a spice grinder to combine):

    • Chile powder, about 1/4 cup
    • 1 dried chipotle pepper
    • Cumin seeds, about 1 tsp
    • Garlic powder, about 2 tsp
    • Onion powder, about 1 tsp
    • 1 tsp salt
    • Black pepper


  • Spicy Texas BBQ Sauce


    This BBQ sauce is delicious, and it’s definitely worth the time to make it.  It’s great on chicken and beef.  This recipe is adapted from Stephan Pyles’ BBQ sauce.


    • 1 tsp. oil
    • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
    • 1 jalapeno, minced with seeds
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
    • 1/2 c. cider vinegar
    • 2 TBSP. lemon juice
    • 1/2 c. strong black coffee
    • 2 TBSP. chili powder
    • 2 c. ketchup
    • 2 TBSP. Dijon mustard
    • 1 tsp. salt


    1. Heat oil in a large saucepan.  Saute the onion, jalapenos, and garlic until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes.
    2. Whisk in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.  Strain the sauce through a medium strainer; pour over the sliced brisket.

    Spicy Texas BBQ Sauce: 


  • Vegetarian Baked Beans


    If you like Heinz vegetarian baked beans, you’ll love these. My recipe isn’t thick and creamy like Heinz, but the flavors are very similar. Definitely be sure to soak your beans overnight, so that after they cook they are soft and tender.


    • 1 lb. dried beans (white, pinto or red-whatever you like)
    • 3 1/2 c. water + more for soaking
    • 1/3 c. molasses
    • 1/4 c. brown sugar
    • 1 sweet onion, diced
    • 1 TBSP prepared mustard
    • 2 tsp. salt


    1. Place dried beans in a bowl and cover with water. Remove any floaters and stones. Soak overnight.
    2. Drain beans and combine with the remaining ingredients (3 1/2 c. water through the salt) in your crock pot.
    3. Cover and cook on high for at least 6 hours (may take longer depending on your beans). Basically cook until the beans reach the tenderness you like.

    Vegetarian Baked Beans:


  • Chicken and Dumplings


    I’ve never made chicken and dumplings before, and I think I’ve only ever had it once in my life, and it wasn’t very good either. -s fondly remembers chicken and dumplings from his youth, and he keeps talking about getting his mom’s recipe. This recipe is so easy to prepare, and it’s quite tasty. I will definitely make this one again. My crock pot recipe is adapted from a Campbell’s Soup recipe.


    • cooking spray
    • 1 1/2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 1 c. whole baby carrots, cut into thirds
    • 2 stalks celery, 1/2 inch slices
    • 2 cans Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
    • 1 c. water
    • 2 tsp. dried thyme leaves, crushed
    • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
    • salt to taste
    • 2 c. all-purpose baking mix
    • 2/3 c. milk


    1. Spray crock pot with cooking spray.
    2. Place potatoes on the bottom, then add the celery, carrots, and chicken in crock pot.
    3. Mix soup, water, thyme and black pepper. Pour over chicken.
    4. Cover and cook on HIGH 2 hours or until chicken is done.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt.
    5. Mix baking mix and milk with a fork until batter is formed. Spoon rounded tablespoons over chicken mixture. Tilt lid to vent and cook on HIGH 30 minutes or until dumplings are cooked in center (it took my center dumplings 45 or so minutes to fully cook).

    Chicken and Dumplings:

    3star.jpgto    4star.jpg

  • Spciy Soba Noodles with Chicken or Tofu in Peanut Sauce


    Ever since I made this dish back in 2002, it’s become when of our favorites. There’s so much flavor and it’s so easy to prepare. Not exactly kid friendly, be definitely mom and dad friendly! I usually make this recipe with chicken. You can either cook the chicken according to the recipe or use pre-cooked chicken. Tonight I tried fried tofu, and it was delicious. If you don’t like soba noodles, try whole wheat pasta, or regular pasta. My recipe is adapted from the recipe in the July 2002 issue of Cooking Light.


    • 2/3 c. chicken broth + 2 c. broth if cooking chicken
    • 2/3 c. peanut butter
    • 4 TBSP. ginger, minced
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 TBSP. soy sauce
    • 4 TBSP. honey
    • 1 TBSP. plus 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
    • 1 c. of carrot matchsticks (you can buy a bag of them at the grocery store)
    • 1 c. sugar snap peas
    • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast OR extra firm tofu
    • 16 oz. soba noodles or pasta of your choice
    • 1/2 c. sliced green onions
    • 1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
    • 6 tablespoons chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts


    1. Sauce: Combine broth, peanut butter, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, honey, and red pepper in a bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth.
    2. Chicken: Place chicken in a large saucepan; add 2 cups broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove from heat; let stand 20 minutes. Drain; cut chicken into 2-inch pieces. You can also use pre-cooked chicken.
    3. Tofu: I used extra firm cubed tofu and dredged the cubes in an equal parts flour and cornstarch mixture, then pan fried. You don’t have to fry the tofu, but that’s the only way -s will eat tofu.
    4. Boil soba noodles according to directions on the package.
    5. Combine carrots, sugar snap peas, peanut sauce, chicken, and noodles in a large bowl; toss to coat. Sprinkle with green onions, cilantro, and peanuts.

    Spicy Soba Noodles with Chicken or Tofu in Peanut Sauce:


  • Baja Fish Taco Sauce


    Fish tacos have become a staple at our house. The adults actually have fish tacos and the kids have fish with ketchup and a tortilla on the side. Even though we aren’t all eating the same exact thing, it works, and we don’t have to make the kids a special meal. Since we’ve been having the tacos quite a bit, I’m trying to come up with delicious sauces to accompany them. Tonight’s fish tacos had fish, cheese, tomatoes, avocado, and the Baja sauce.  This was my first attempt at a Baja sauce, and I think it turned out very tasty.


    • 1/2 c. light mayo
    • 3/4 c. sour cream
    • 2 limes, juiced (you can add less or more depending on your taste)
    • 1 tsp. chili powder
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
    • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, minced


    1. Combine all ingredients.
    2. Top fish taco and enjoy!

    Baja Fish Taco Sauce:


  • Cardamom-Lime Sweet Rolls


    This recipe is from the Jan/Feb issue of Cooking Light. I was very intrigued by the flavors, so I made them this afternoon. First off, the last few times of made breads, I’ve been having trouble getting the dough to rise, and this time was no exception. The dough rises twice in this recipe, and it barely rose each time when it was supposed to double. Strangely it did rise when it was cooking, and that’s what has happened before with the other doughs I’ve made recently. Next time I make a bread dough, I’m going to try a different yeast and use bottled water (maybe there’s something in the tap water that’s effecting the rising capabilities). Anyway, the rolls turned out good, but not great.



    • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
    • 1/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
    • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
    • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup butter, melted
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (about 10 1/2 ounces), divided
    • Cooking spray


    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon grated lime rind
    • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted, divided


    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice


    1. To prepare dough, dissolve yeast in warm water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
    2. Combine sour cream and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl, stirring until well blended. Gradually stir yeast mixture into sour cream mixture. Lightly spoon 2 1/3 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 cups flour to sour cream mixture, stirring to form a soft dough.
    3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly tacky).
    4. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)
    5. To prepare filling, combine brown sugar, rind, and cardamom.
    6. Divide dough into two equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, roll dough into a 12 x 10–inch rectangle; brush with 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle half of filling over dough. Beginning with a long side, roll up jelly-roll fashion; pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends of roll). Repeat procedure with remaining dough, 1 tablespoon butter, and filling. Cut each roll into 12 (1-inch) slices. Place slices, cut sides up, in a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
    7. Preheat oven to 350°.
    8. Uncover dough. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack.
    9. To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring until smooth. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls.

    Cardamom-Lime Sweet Rolls:


  • Salad with Avocado and Citrus


    Ever since my Grandmother served me my first green salad with avocado in it when I was about 10, I was hooked for life. This salad is delicious and refreshing.


    • Mixed salad greens
    • 1 shallot, sliced thinly
    • 1 cup of grape tomatoes, sliced
    • 1 orange, sepremed
    • 1 avocado, sliced
    • Balsamic vinaigrette of your choice


    1. To supreme the orange (or any citrus), slice off the ends until you reach the flesh. Place the flesh side on the cutting board, and from the top of the fruit, cut down to remove all rind and pith. Continue around the whole fruit. The flesh of the orange should be completely exposed on all sides.
    2. Hold the orange in one hand, and with the other hand, use your knife and locate the membranes that separate each flesh segment. Looking at the fruit find a membrane and slice just to the right of the membrane. Then find the next membrane to the right and slice just inside that membrane. Remove the orange segment. Sounds hard, but once you get the hang of it it’s pretty easy.
    3. In a large bowl, add greens, shallot, orange, tomatoes, and avocado, then dress and enjoy!

    Salad with Avocado and Citrus:


  • Chicken with Creamy Roasted Poblano Sauce


    Back from vacation and back to cooking! First day back was stressful enough, so I picked up a roasted chicken at the grocery store and to jazz it up I made a creamy roasted poblano sauce. It’s delicious, and you can always saute up some of your own chicken.


    • 3 poblano peppers
    • 1 onion, sliced thinly
    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/4 c. to 1/2 c. of sour cream


    1. Set your oven to broil; place the poblanos on a cookie sheet and broil the poblanos until the skins char; turn peppers, so that all sides roast.
    2. Remove peppers and place in a ziploc bag for 10 minutes. This will steam the peppers so the skins come off easily. Remove the skins of the peppers. Remove the stems and seeds. Slice peppers into 1/4 inch thick strips.
    3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium high heat and saute onions until soft and caramelized. Add peppers and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
    4. Add sour cream and stir to heat.
    5. Top chicken with sauce.

    Chicken with Creamy Roasted Poblano Sauce: