Jalapeño Latkes Recipe

My family and me have been sick for the past few days. It started with me, went on to my husband, and now my two daughters are the latest victims of this bug. I’ve been sick for about a week now, and although I feel better, i’m just not 100% yet. For that reason, my brain tends to crave carbs. Hooray for carbs! I don’t know why but they make me feel better. I know I should have chicken soup, but I just don’t want it. I want something comforting, and quick. With chicken soup, although I can throw everything in the pot, requires diving in the fridge for veggies, and prepping the chicken, and then waiting. Ugh, the waiting… can you tell that my patience is limited? I blame the sickness. 

So what’s a cranky girl to do? Make potato pancakes, of course. Carbs…  check, spicy… check, quick… check. I can feel my happiness coming back already. I love making these little bites of happiness for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It really goes well at any time of the day. They are quick, and spicy because, you know, I wouldn’t be me without some spice. I served them with a fried egg, because fried eggs make everything better. :)

1 large baking potato, peeled

1/2 of a small onion, peeled

1/2 a large jalapeño pepper, diced

1/4C flour

1t baking powder

3/4t kosher salt

1/4t black pepper

1 large egg, lightly beaten

oil for frying

fried eggs to serve 

Using a box grater, grate the onion and potato. Transfer the shredded mixture and diced jalapeño to a cheese cloth and squeeze out as much water as possible. I must warn you, the onion juice makes me cry a bit while draining.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking power, salt, pepper, and eggs together. Stir in the potato mixture until all pieces are evenly coated. 

In small a small skillet heat two tablespoons of oil. Drop a quarter of the mixture into the skillet and flatten with the back of the spatula to the desired diameter of the potato cake. Cook on medium-high heat until the edges are golden brown. Flip the cake and cook on the other side until the edges are golden as well. 

Repeat the process with the remaining mixture working in batches, add more oil as needed. Transfer latkes to a dish and prepare your fried eggs. 

*Note: You can keep latkes warm in the oven at 250 degrees, on a parchment lined baking sheet. 

Torta de Milanesa

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Here we go again… I’m making Mexican food. I must really be feeling homesick because I have a whole week of Mexican food planned out. Torta de Milanesa today, Torta Ahogada tomorrow, carne asada, sopes, and so on.  I’m not sure if my hubby had ever had a torta de milanesa before, so today he gets to try one. He loved it. I mean, what’s not to love… you take a chicken fried steak and shove it between bread and call it a sandwich. This is up there with some of my all time favorite sandwiches.

2 eggs
1 can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
6 beef bottom round steak cutlets
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1/2C all purpose flour
1-1/2C ground oatmeal
Oil for frying 
6 bolillos
1C refried beans
1/2C mustard
1/2C sour cream
1 can of pickled jalapeño peppers 
12 tomato slices
6 romaine lettuce leaves
1- sliced avocado

Mix eggs and 2T of adobo sauce in a medium sized flat bowl or baking dish. Set aside.
Set up your dredging flours: Place the flour and oatmeal in two separate flat dishes.
Line up the meat on a cutting board in a single layer, place a layer of plastic wrap over the meat and pound with a meat tenderizer until 1/4” thick. Remove plastic cover and season with salt and pepper on both sides. 
Heat oil in a 12” skillet over medium- high heat. 
Dredge the meat in the flour, shaking off any excess flour remaining on the meat. Dip in the egg and chipotle mixture (also shaking to remove excess egg of the meat), and finally dip in the ground oatmeal.
Fry steak cutlets, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. Using tongs, transfer to paper towel to drain.
Slice your bollios in half and spread beans, mustard, and sour cream on one side of  bread. Continue to layer with the steak, lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado slices. 
Top with the other side of the bread to finish off the torta. Serve with a nice cold beer,  agua fresca, or any beverage really, it’s delicious! 

 

Singapore Noodles

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There are several instances where I purchase specialty items that I need for one recipe. Many times the ingredients get pushed back in the pantry, and I forget all about them. Right when I purchased Mai Fun rice noodles I knew this was going to be one of those items.  I had made some vietnamese spring rolls earlier in the week and I made a point to make something else with them before the week was over. 
I decided to give the Singapore noodle recipe in my Le Cordon Bleu notebook a shot. It had been a while since I made anything from the notes in my cooking notebook, and I was excited to revisit some of the things I learned how to make. The recipe is simple and you can make it all in one wok, but I find that sometimes the egg gets soggy if added and scrambled in the single wok. This is a fool proof way to get it right. 
The recipe below has a few tweaks from the original LCB recipe, for instance using low sodium products and the addition of mushrooms, well because, they were in my fridge. :)

1 (6-ounce) package of Mai Fun noodles
1/2C - low-sodium chicken broth
3T - low-sodium soy sauce
1t- sugar
1/2t- salt
Cooking spray
1T oil 
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2C- red bell pepper strips
1/4C- mushrooms, sliced thin
1T- grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4t- crushed red pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced
1T- curry powder
8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2C- green onion in 1” slices

Cook rice noodles according to package directions.

Combine broth, soy sauce, sugar, and salt; stir until sugar dissolves.
Heat a large nonstick skillet or a wok, over medium-high heat; coat pan with cooking spray. 
Add 1 teaspoon of oil, egg; stir-fry until scrambled egg consistency. 
Remove from pan, and set aside. Wipe pan clean with a paper towel. 
Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat.
Add bell pepper strips, mushrooms, ginger, crushed red pepper, and garlic; stir-fry 15 seconds. 
Add chicken, and stir-fry for 2 minutes. 
Add curry powder and shrimp; and stir-fry 2 minutes. 
Stir in noodles, broth mixture, and egg; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. 
Sprinkle with green onions and serve.

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Chicken Picatta Recipe

I love chicken picatta, I order it everywhere it’s on the menu. Although some versions have been hit or miss. I won’t mention who, or where… but there has been some serious offenses made to this bright and lemony dish.

The recipe below does not contain a heavy creamy sauce, so if you’re looking for that, I not sure where to direct you. :( However, if you want a lemony dish that is what chicken picatta should be… at least in my eyes belly, This dish will be a winner in your home, as it is in mine. 

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, pounded with a meat-mallet until 1/4” thick, cut in half to create 4 pieces of chicken.

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2C- All purpose flour, for dredging

6T- unsalted butter

5T- extra-virgin olive oil

Zest of half a lemon

1/3C- fresh lemon juice

1/2C- chicken stock

1/4C- capers in brine, rinsed

1/3C fresh parsley, chopped

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess flour.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, working in batches of two, add two pieces of chicken to the pan and cook until  chicken is browned, flip and cook other side. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.

In the same pan add the lemon juice, zest, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Serve chicken over pasta, and pour sauce over chicken; garnish with parsley.

Greek Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette dressing

The greek salad. My all time favorite salad. I used to order this salad once a week from the Middle Eastern restaurant down the street from our house in California. Then the worst thing happened. The original owners SOLD the restaurant and the new owners stopped using artichokes on the salad!!! So I stopped going there, because you can’t call it a greek salad if you take out  one of the MAIN ingredients!! Devastated about the whole “Artichoke Gate” I started to make my own greek salad at home, and let me tell you. It’s better than the salad I was getting at the restaurant, AND for the $11 it would cost me I could make the salad and feed the rest of my family as well. Not that I would share it, ok, ok. I’ll share. (wink wink)

For the Salad:

4C of mixed greens or romaine lettuce
1C marinated artichokes, cut in half
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced 
1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
8 ounces feta, drained, and cut into cubes
1/3 cup Kalamata olives
(You can add tomatoes, but I find that it makes the salad soggy)

Lemon Vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 small garlic clove, minced and then smashed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt to taste

In a large bowl, combine the artichokes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and onions. Give them a good toss to combine.  Add the diced cheese over the salad and toss in the olives. 

In a separate bowl, combine the oregano, garlic, parsley, and lemon juice.   Stream in the olive oil until while briskly whisking to combine the dressing. Add salt to taste, serve over salad.

Bacon, Fig, and Arugula Crepe with a balsamic vinaigrette

I love crepes. They can be savory or sweet and still be equally delicious. Because I like to have the best of both worlds- I made some bacon, fig jam, and arugula crepes for lunch. 

The recipe below is for plain crepes but you can add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, lemon, or almond extract to flavor your batter for some sweet dessert crepes. Be sure to top your dessert crepes with fresh berries and whipped creme, or some Nutella and bananas. MMM. 

For the crepe:

1/2C flour

1/8t salt

1T melted butter

1/4C milk

1/4C water

1 egg

Sift the flour and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Combine the butter, milk, water, and egg in another bowl and mix until all ingredients are well combined. 

Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, whisk quickly so that your flour does not begin to develop clumps. If it does clump up… no need to worry, transfer the batter to the blender and give it a few quick pulses to break up the clumps. 

Pour 1/4C of the batter into a greased skillet over medium high heat. Quickly tilt the pan in a circular motion to allow the batter to coat the bottom of pan, creating a thin even layer. Cook the crepe for 2 minutes on each side and transfer to a holding dish. Repeat the process with the remaining batter. You will make 4 crepes, maybe even 5. :)

Crepe Assembly-

1/4C Balsamic Vinaigrette 

1/4C of mozzarella cheese (prefer Brie, but I was out)

8 slices of bacon

2C of arugula

4T fig jam

Spread half a tablespoon of arugula on every crepe, top each crepe with 1/2 a cup of arugula greens, add two slices of bacon to every crepe and top with a sprinkle of cheese.  Sprinkle with the balsamic dressing and fold in half. 

YUM!

Slow Cooker Carnitas-

Who doesn’t love a week day meal that requires little to no work? 

One of my absolute favorite recipes is the slow-cooker pork. I take one weekday meal and turn it into a food for a couple of days. On the first day we make carnitas tacos (pictured above) on the second day we add BBQ sauce and buns and make BBQ pork slider burgers, and on the third day, if we still have meat left… I make crunchy pork tacos. The possibilities are really endless with this meal, I hope it becomes a favorite in your home as it is in mine. :)

2t- salt
2t- garlic powder
2t- ground cumin
1t- crumbled dried oregano
1t- ground coriander
4lbs- boneless pork shoulder roast (I use two 2lbs roasts)
2- bay leaves
2C- low sodium chicken broth

Trim any excessive fat from the pork roast, set aside.

Mix together salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, and coriander in a bowl. Coat pork, using all of the spice mixture. Add the bay leaves to the slow cooker and place the pork on top of them. Pour the broth around the sides of the pork. Do not pour the broth over the pork, that will remove all the seasoning and all of your flavor will be floating around in the broth and not  in the meat. 

Cover and cook on low heat for 5 hours, or until the meat shreds easily with a fork. Remove the roast from the slow cooker, place in a clean dish, and shred with two forks. Use remaining broth to moisten the meat, as needed.

Serve and enjoy.  

Strawberry and Feta Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

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I realize that living in AZ means that I can’t cook as I normally would in CA. I will be coming up with no-cook meals as to not warm up the house. Back in CA, this would be one of my Go-To recipes on a warm summer day. I love the tanginess of the feta and the sweetness of the berries together. The pine nuts add that added crunch that makes this a well rounded salad for me. 

It’s quick and easy to make, if you don’t have the ingredients to make the dressing you can always use a store bought vinaigrette, but why would you want to? I promise, if you make you’re own, you won’t be disappointed. :)

5oz of mixed baby greens  (or one of those store bought bags, but I recommend purchasing loose leaf greens and making your own)

1C- sliced strawberries

1/2C- feta cheese

4T- toasted pine nuts

Balsamic vinaigrette dressing - See recipe below.

Toss greens, feta, strawberries, and pine nuts together in a bowl to combine. Add Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing.


Balsamic Dressing Recipe-
1/4C- balsamic vinegar
2t- dark brown sugar
1T- chopped garlic
1/2t- salt
1/2t- black pepper
3/4C- olive oil

Whisk the vinegar in a bowl with the sugar, garlic, salt and pepper until sugar and salt dissolves. Then drizzle in the oil while continuing to whisk until the oil combines with the vinegar.

Serve on the side or on your strawberry and feta salad. :)

Grilled Corn Salsa-

2 ears of corn, husks removed
1 medium jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 ripe avocado, diced
1/4 small red onion, diced
1T finely chopped cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
1t olive oil
salt and pepper


Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Add the corn, drizzle with the olive oil and grill on all sides until lightly charred. Remove from the grill and cool.

Use your knife to remove the corn kernels from the corn. In a bowl add the diced jalapeno, avocado, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as needed. Serve on tacos, or simply serve with tortilla chips.

Bacon, Brie, and Fig Jam Grilled Cheese

This isn’t your mom’s grilled cheese made with Kraft singles. This sandwich takes a childhood favorite and turns it up with the salty bacon, the sweet fig jam, and the creamy buttery goodness of the brie. This is a great sandwich to make for brunch or anytime of the day.  

4 slices bacon
4 slices sandwich bread
4 ounces brie
2 ounces of fig jam
Unsalted butter at room temperature,

Place the bacon in a large skillet, cook until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the pan and allow the fat to drain on a paper towel lined plate. Once cooled, break the bacon pieces in half.

Spread butter on 1 side of each slice of bread.

Spread the brie on the other side of the bread (the side with no butter), spread the 1oz of the fig jam on the other slice of bread (again the side with no butter). Add 4 pieces of bacon over the bread with the jam. It really doesn’t matter which side you place the bacon on, but the jam helps keep the bacon from falling out. It’s the glue, until the brie gets melty. :)

Close up your sandwich making sure that the butter is on the outside and all the deliciousness is on the inside. Cook on the griddle until golden brown on both sides and the brie has melted.