Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Spaghetti Tacos!!

Well thanks to an article I read and the show iCarly, I ended up making some spaghetti tacos for my kiddos per their request. To my surprise they loved it and actually had seconds!! (Well my youngest did minus the tacos shell) That really shocked me, they usually hate spaghetti. But I did something different with it I wanted to make it healthier to balance out all the extra carbs. I used ground pork instead of beef and I added extra chopped onions, and I snuck in shredded carrots and mushrooms 2 things my kids won't eat. Again it was very surprising that they loved it. So this meal is definitely a keeper! So here is my own recipe for spaghetti tacos:

3/4 pound ground pork
1 TBS. olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 cup finely chopped button mushrooms
1 tsp. McCormick Basil & Garlic seasoning blend (has no MSG and no gluten)
1 26.5 oz can of Hunt's Traditional Style Spaghetti Sauce (or whatever spaghetti sauce you like)
A package of taco shells
Spaghetti noodles
shredded lettuce
chopped tomatoes

1. Cook the pork until well done then remove meat.

2. On medium heat add the olive oil, onions, garlic, carrot, and mushroom and sautee until the onions are slightly transparent.

3. Add pork back into the pot and add the basil garlic seasoning mix in well and add spaghetti sauce.

4. Turn to high until boiling then turn down to medium heat for 10 minutes.

5. While the meat sauce simmers cook the noodles according to the directions on the package.

6. Drain noodles and mix with the meat sauce.

7. Serve the spaghetti with the taco shells, lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes and let people arrange the tacos to their own to their liking.

Makes about 8-10 tacos depending on shell size


Monday, September 14, 2009

Ham Soup

Well during the weekend I made good use of some left over roasted ham. I turned it into a delicious comforting soup. My family and I were all under the weather. It came out great despite the electricity going off and on. Its been raining like crazy here in Texas. Anyway here is the recipe for my tasty soup :

2 pounds left over ham on bone or fresh
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
4 large carrots, washed and roughly cut
1 large potato, chopped into even pieces
3 medium cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup sofrito**
2 Tbsps. Olive Oil
1 1/2- 2 cups of fresh cilantro
1 4oz. can tomato sauce
Spaghetti noodles (to your liking)
2 packets of Goya Ham Flavored concentrate*
2 packets Goya Sazón*
Goya Adobo to taste*
salt and pepper to taste
8 cups of cold water


1. Carve the ham off the bone and chop into even pieces, set aside. (Don't throw away the bone!)

2. In a large pot heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil on medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, cilantro, and carrots and turn up the heat to med high and saute for 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.

3. Add the other Tbsp. of olive oil to the pot and add the ham, saute for 3 minutes. Then add the sofrito, tomato sauce, and Goya packets, turn heat down to medium.

4. Add the garlic, onions, cilantro, and carrots back to the pot. Add the ham bone as well. Then add water to pot and adobo, salt and pepper to taste. (NOTE: Do not add too much salt, the ham and Goya products contain salt as well.)

5. Turn heat up to high. Once it starts to boil, reduce heat to medium and cover, let simmer for 1 hour.

6. Once the soup has been simmering for one hour add the potatoes and simmer for 45 minutes longer.

6. When the potatoes are done, add the noodles and turn up heat to med high and cook for 10-13 minutes longer.

7. When soup is finished discard bone and ladle into bowls. Serve with fresh french bread. Enjoy!

* The Goya packets and Adobo can be found in the Spanish isle at your Grocers Market.

** Sofrito

It is a staple in Puerto Rican cooking and the base for nearly all the food. Here is my recipe:

1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup green pimento stuffed olives

What I do is stick everything into the food processor until smooth. Others prefer the texture of the chopped sofrito. It has a pungent smell so keep it in a tightly sealed container. I prefer glass because it the smell will permeate and stay with plastic. It keeps in the fridge for a good while.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Belgian Chicken

Well yesterday evening I made Chicken Braised in Belgian Ale with Cabbage. I decided on this because it looked like a good comfort food and budget. So this cooking through cookbooks will most likely be a monthly deal. I will also change it from dinner to a lunch and have some one watch the little ones. They made it very difficult to cook the other night. Other than that (and the lack of juniper berries...expensive) everything turned out delicious.

It took me about 3 hours to do the cooking, mostly because of the kids. I also made homemade mashed potatoes with real butter and half & half to accompany the dish. The brew I used was a Leffe Blonde it was a nice fruity like ale went very well with the chicken. I was disappointed that I didn't get to use juniper berries in this dish. It called for 3 berries and it cost about $8.00 for 3 oz. of dried berries. So I went without I really don't plan to make a bunch of juniper berry dishes. Perhaps in the future when I make it again and have a little more money I'll spring for them.

I made the potatoes first with russets and set them aside. Then I went on with the chicken, and remembering from the Julie & Julia movie... Julia Child was right if you dry the meat it does brown better. I didn't have a dutch oven I used my gigantic chicken fryer pan instead it worked just fine. Although do want to eventually get a dutch oven. There are tons of kitchen cookware and gadgets I want. One thing at a time though.

Overall I was pleased with the out come. It was definitely a comfort food with the slow braised chicken, onions, and carrots in that lovely simmering ale sauce. Then I used some French artisan bread to soak up everything else. Bliss...

Here is the recipe I used from from The Best Of Cooking Pleasures from Cooking Club America:


1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 (4-6 lb.) chicken, cut up
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 (12 oz.) bottle Belgian Ale or other full-bodied beer
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 juniper berries, crushed and chopped
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf


1 (2 lb.) head green cabbage, quartered, cored and slice (1/2 inch)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1. Heat butter and vegetable oil in large non- reactive Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium high heat until butter is melted. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper. Add the chicken in batches to Dutch oven; cook 10 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken and pour out all but 1 Tbsp. of drippings from the Dutch oven.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions, carrot, and garlic cook and stir 5 minutes or until softened. Sprinkle vegetables with flour; cook and stir an additional minute

3. Add beer and broth. Bring to a boil. Add juniper berries, thyme,and bay leaf; return chicken to pot. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 40 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink.

4. Meanwhile blanch cabbage in large pot of boiling salted water for about 3 1/2 minutes. Drain and cool under running water.

5. Place chicken on platter. Remove and discard thyme and bay leaf. Skim fat from liquid. Increase heat to med-high; boil 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Return chicken to pot and cook until hot.

6. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add cabbage salt and pepper cook 5 minutes. Spoon cabbage on plate and , top with chicken and sauce.

Serves 6

Monday, August 17, 2009

Let the Cooking Begin!

Well my best friend April gave me a wonderful idea inspired from watching the movie Julie & Julia. Instead of cooking my way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I will pick some recipes from various cookbooks. The other difference will be that I will only do this perhaps twice a month maybe 3 times. I have two small children that will definitely make it a challenge to get around the kitchen. So I will write down how it turned out and how I feel about my meals.

I have like 13 ethinic cookbooks, and there are sooo many recipes to choose from. I am particularly interested in Balinese cooking. I've had a book for a while now. So I might start with that, I will be cooking in another 2 weeks though when I get my next pay check. Balinese ingredients seem a little pricey depending on what I cook, but I look foward to it. I love spicy exotic things. I also was thinking about making some Korean dishes as well. I got a Korean cookbook as a gift and I feel bad because I haven't made anything from it. I guess my 1st month of cooking will be Asian.

I can't wait to start. I am doing this for me I don't expect to get famous or really make any money from this (although that would be nice :D ) I love cooking and feeding my friends & family and enjoying eating what I made with them. So until next time!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ice Cream Cake

Well its ungodly hot here in Texas and I thought perhaps a cool dessert would be good right about now. Its simple and delicious and cheaper than purchasing a small $30.00 ice cream cake! This home made version will cost you about $6.00-10.00 depending on ingredients. Its all made using your favorite box cake and ice cream! :D

1. Bake cake using two 8 inch pans and let cool.

2. In another 8 inch pan place a sheet of aluminum or wax paper a little bigger in the pan inside and fill with softened ice cream of your choice, let re-freeze over night or 4 hours. This should be done ahead of time to make things faster.

3. Remove ice cream from pan, you can use a little warm water to release the ice cream. Fill the sink with some warm water and swish the pan gently, the release the ice cream.

4. Trim the top of one of the cakes so the ice cream will lay flat on the center when you assemble it.

5. Lastly, working quickly, put your favorite frosting on it and put it back in the freezer until you are going to serve.

Note: Take it out about 15-20 mins before cutting makes it easier.

Some cake variations are:

Reese's Cake: Use chocolate cake, peanut butter ice cream, milk chocolate frosting, and top with Reese's cups or Reese's pieces

Death by Chocolate: Use chocolate cake with chocolate pieces baked in, triple chocolate ice cream, dark or regular chocolate frosting, and top with more chocolate.

Fresh and Fruity: Instead of ice cream you can use sherbet, use a white or fruit cake, frost the cake in whipped topping, and then top with fresh fruit.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mofongo and Carne Frita recipe

Well its been a while since I have made a post. I decided to post my delicious recipe for mofongo. Mmm Puerto Rican goodness! I made it for my dad on Father's Day, he hasn't had it in like 2 years. You may ask... What the HELL is that!? *lol* Very simple it is a little plantain ball that you eat with fried pork and stock. Chicken, Beef, Pork, or Fish stock is served with it. Although chicken stock is used the most.

The plantains are fried and mashed in a mortar and pestle with pork cracklin (pork rinds), a good amount of olive oil, garlic, and salt to taste. Simple and delicious but it is a little work mashing it up. Here it is!*
Note: It serves about 4-6 people or 10 (1 ball per person)

Mofongo :
6 large green plantains
pureed garlic (salted slightly)
1 Ibs. of plain pork rinds, if you can find fresh fried pork cracklin' I highly recommend using that.
Olive oil
Frying oil
large bowl
large frying pan
Large mortar and pestal

1. First cut plantains length-wise and peel off skin.

2. Cut platains into 1 and 1/2 inch pieces and soak in large bowl of salted water. 8 cups (2 quart) with 2 Tbs of salt.

3. Soak for 15 minutes.

4. Drain and dry the plantains (You don't want to get splashed with hot oil when you fry.)

5. Fry plantains at about 350 degrees for till golden drain and reserve.

6. Place 5 pieces of plantain 1 tsp. of garlic puree, and roughly 3/4 of a cup of cracklin' in mortar and mash add olive oil a little at a time till mixture is slightly smooth like thick really mashed potatoes but still has little pieces remaining. (Again this is they way I like it you can adjust the seasoning as you like.)

7. Let cool a little and form in 2 and 1/2 sized balls. It should make about 10 balls. Serve with stock and carne frita.


*See below for stock and carne frita recipes.


You can use the boxed chicken stock if you like but here is my recipe for homemade Puerto Rican chicken stock.

8- 12 cups of water
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Ibs. Whole cut up chicken with innards
1 large carrot
1 large celery stalk
1 onion
1 medium green pepper
6 large cloves of garlic
a few sprigs of fresh oregano (or 1 Tbsp of dried oregano)
1 Tbsp of fresh cilantro
1 handful of green olives crushed slightly
Large stock pot or pot large enough to do the job
Salt to taste or leave plain

1. Brown the chicken remove, then sautee the vegetables and garlic in the olive oil till slightly tender then add chicken back to pot and herbs.

2. Add water bring to a boil then simmer for 2-3 hours. (Or use a pressure cooker for 30 minutes)

3. Once stock is done strain off meat and vegetables with a colander and cheese cloth. (or heavy duty paper towel don't forget to save the chicken meat for something else!)

4. Use immediately or cool and put it away. It will stay good in the freezer for while.


Carne Frita:

3 pounds fresh pork shoulder (Cut into 1 inch chunks)

1/4 cup redwine vinegar

1/3 cup of olive oil

1 Tbsp of Goya adobo (Can be found at most grocery stores in the spanish isle)

5 cloves of garlic mashed to a paste

1/2 tsp of oregano

1. Rinse meat add vinegar, garlic, adobo, oregano, and olive oil. Let marinate 2 hours or overnight.

2. Deep fry at 350 degrees in medium sized batches till done , about 10 -12 minutes. Drain and serve

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Delicious Nutella S'mores

Here's an easy and tasty recipe. Its fun for kids to do too.  It's s'mores made with Nutella instead of plain chocolate. In my opinion its tastier.

Nutella S'mores

 Desired amount of these items: 
  • Graham crackers
  • Jar of Nutella
  • Marshmallows 

1. Simple break a graham cracker in half and place a marshmallow on top and micro until puffy. Or use an actual roasted marshmallow.

2. On other graham cracker half spread on the Nutella, squish the to crackers together and you got one tasty s'more!!

Note: For a healthier version use your favorite fruit instead of the marshmallow its just as good!