Wednesday, November 28, 2012

 Green Chile Sauce

 Before I went to college in New Mexico, green chile to me was a delicious sauce for burritos or eggs. It was quite a surprise when I moved how differently it's used in the land of enchantment. When someone says "green chile" they mean the actual chile not a tasty sauce with pork in it. I loved the food I found in New Mexico, but I will always prefer my green chile as a sauce rather than just cut up green chile. 

This is my mom's recipe and it is super tasty! I have such good memories of green chile day as a kid. My mom usually made this in a large roaster from my great grandmother's kitchen, which would keep us in green chile for about a full year. If you freeze your green chile, know that it may reheat a little less spicy (which may be good or bad!).

To make my mom's green chile sauce you will need:
1 2lb pork shoulder roast (you could also use a whole chicken or a small beef roast)
1/2 of a large onion, diced
1 to 3 jalapenos, chopped (I used 2)
2 27 oz cans of whole green chilies
1 14 oz can of diced or stewed tomatoes
Salt and pepper about 1/2 teaspoon each

Start by seasoning the pork roast with salt and pepper in a crock pot. You could also do this in the oven at about 325 degrees. 

 Then add the chopped onion and jalapeno. If you want, you can take out the ribs and seeds of the jalapeno to make it less spicy. I did not. I was lazy.

On top of the pork, onion, and jalapeno, add the cans of green chile and tomato.

Stir your very full crock pot to make sure everything is well combined. I added another sprinkle of salt and pepper before I stirred it up.

Turn the crock pot onto low heat for about six hours.

Take the pork out when it is very tender and shreds very easily. Let it cook off for a few minutes, it's super hot!

If your green chile pieces fall apart and you would like to have more of a pepper texture, add more whole or diced green chilies now. I did not. The crock pot was simply too full.

When the pork is finished it should pretty much fall 
apart. Shred the meat into very small pieces

Add the pork back to the crock pot and cook for about another half an hour. Adjust the seasonings to taste. I added more salt on account of a subconscious wish for hypertension and all those things that go with eating a lot of salt.

Hooray! You have green chile sauce! Now you can eat it plain, put it in eggs, on top of burritos, in burritos, mix with Velveeta for a delicious dip and sooooo many other things. Enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2012

 Triple Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

 I have been testing quite a few cookie and bar recipes as of late to prepare for the cookie swap season. These are the times when you have to bring your cookie "A" game in order to not end up with a billion of your own cookies back at home. These types of events feel like a diluted version of picking teams for dodge ball in elementary school. If you don't have the goods you don't get picked. At least now if nobody likes your cookies you get to take a bunch of everyone elses home with you.

This is a pretty good recipe. If you really like chocolate, this one is for you. There are three different types of chocolate: milk, semi sweet and cocoa powder. Not only are they chocolaty, they are very moist and chewy.

For the recipe you will need:
1 stick of softened butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tbs milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups oatmeal (I used old fashioned oats, but I have used quick oats in the past as well)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
11/2 cup milk chocolate chips  (1/2 cup reserved for the top)

 Mix the butter, sugars, eggs, milk and vanilla until they are fluffy and light.
 Add the cocoa, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips. Mix until well combined.

Then, add the flour. If the mixture seems too stiff, just add another tablespoon or so of milk.

I like to add the flour last in order to ensure I won't over mix it and make the bars too tough.

  Press the dough into a 9 X 9 square pan that has been greased. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips over the top.

Bake the bars at 350 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester comes out of the center almost clean.

Cut and serve. Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2012

 Sweet Potato Crumble Casserole

 Thanksgiving is almost here! It really is one of my favorite holidays. There's just something so warming about the smells and tastes of fall. One of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal is the sweet potatoes. My family has quite a few different types of sweet potato dishes and all of them are delicious. This one is one I have been wanting to try for quite some time and it cam out very tasty.

I love the traditional marshmallow topped casserole, but I wanted to make a new twist on the same flavors. There has never been a streusel topping I haven't loved and this one was no exception.

 For this recipe you will need:
2 medium sweet potatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar, divided
3/4 cup flour

First, microwave the sweet potatoes for 5 minutes, or until they are very tender. Let them cook until they are easy to handle.

Take the skins off of the sweet potato and mash them with 1/4 cup of the butter that has been melted. Add in the cinnamon, salt and pepper. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of each. Add the sugar now as well.

Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish.

Combine the flour as well as the remaining butter and sugar.

Combine until it feels almost like sand. Then sprinkle it over the sweet potatoes.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. It should be heated through and browned on the top.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Baked Green Chile Macaroni and Cheese

 Hip, hip, hooray! It's casserole season. I love a good casserole. It's easy to make, transport, and freeze for later if you need to. Plus, I know few people who don't love casseroles. How can you resist them with their yummy sauces and crispy edges? This one has all of those things, and it doesn't use any processed canned soups either. Plus it has a nice spice and flavor.

To make delicious green chile macaroni and cheese you will need:

1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
1 or 2 small cans of diced green chile
1 teaspoon of garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup of grated cheddar
1 cup of grated Mozzarella or Monterrey Jack cheese
1/2 lb cooked macaroni

Begin by boiling the milk for about ten minutes. Evaporated milk is just like regular milk, but some of the water boiled out. We are going to encourage a bit more water to come out with this step.


After about ten minutes of being at a rolling boil, it should look like this. Turn down the heat as low as it will go before you add the cheese.

 Add the garlic salt, cayenne pepper, and green chiles. 

 Slowly add in the cheeses, reserving a few sprinkles for the top. If the sauce gets too thick, you can add a little milk to thin it out.

Combine with the cooked macaroni and put into an oven safe dish. Sprinkle on some of the cheese. OK, so I used a little extra cheese for this step.  I am also guilty of putting some green chiles on the top before baking as well. It's totally legal in all states.

Bake the macaroni for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until the cheese is browned and the center is bubbly and hot.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Perfect Hot Cocoa

 I have to admit, when the snow starts to fall and the temperatures drop I am a big baby. It's always been this way really. When I was a kid, all my friends would want to go sledding in the fresh powdery wonderland. I was not interested. Instead I would make them some tasty hot cocoa afterwords. It's a much more enjoyable wintertime activity, don't you think.

There are tons of recipes for hot cocoa and different mixes floating around out there. The biggest problem I have with them? They are all designed to keep a family with a circus of children in the cocoa business for over a year. Sometimes it's just nice to have one or two cups. This is by far my favorite recipe for hot cocoa. It's super chocolatey and doesn't have any silly filler ingredients in it. If you are a chocolate fan, this is for you. Plus, it's super easy!

For this yummy winter symptom elixir you will need:
1 cup of milk (whole,1%,2%, or skim)
1 Tbs cocoa powder
2 Tbs sugar

Start by putting the milk in a microwave safe mug. Then microwave it for about a minute. This will make the cocoa powder dissolve a little easier.

For the cocoa I made I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa. Not because I'm fancy, but because I don't read labels at the grocery store well. Just make sure you are using pure cocoa powder or else it will be super sweet. 

Plop in the cocoa and the sugar. Microwave for another 1 to 2 minutes more.

Stir, stir, stir. The cocoa takes some encouraging but it is worth it. If it is being stubborn, heat it for another 30 seconds or so.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the good parts of winter.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

 Easy Cheesy Rolls

 Every soup needs a good dipper, it's just kind of a requirement. These are super easy and taste delicious in any soup. You can change up the ingredients a bit to fit the soup you are serving them with. I added a good sprinkle of Italian seasoning to these since I made them with my tasty minestrone soup.

For these yummy rolls you just need:
1 can of regular crescent rolls
1/2 cup of grated cheese (I used mozzarella)
Italian Seasoning to taste

Unroll the crescent rolls and roll them out just a touch. I like a good amount of surface area for cheese!

Sprinkle on just a little cheese and seasonings of your choice.

Take a rolling pin and lightly squish down the toppings onto the rolls, this keeps them from falling off while you roll it up.

Roll up the crescents and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with any delicious meal!

Monday, November 5, 2012

 Minestrone Soup

 Fall soup season is here! There are few things I love more than having a big bowl of warm soup at the end of a day of cold weather. This soup is perfect to warm up with. It's an easy and very healthy dinner you can make in no time!

For this recipie you will need:
1/2 lb Italian sausage
1/2 lb hamburger (you could just use one full pound of either one of these but I like the combination)
3 ribs of celery
3 carrots
2 green or red peppers
1/2 red onion
1 32 oz can of whole tomatoes
1 14 oz can of kidney or white beans
2 cups cooked short pasta (ditalini or penne)
3 chicken flavored bollion cubes

Brown the ground beef and sausage until it is no longer pink. Add salt and pepper to taste
Chop all of the vegetables into bite sized pieces. They shouldn't disappear in the soup. 

Add the vegetables and cook until they are tender, but not falling apart. 

Add in the can of whole tomatoes and the juice they come in. Squish the tomatoes until they are broken into smaller pieces.

 I use the whole tomatoes because they seem to have a sweeter flavor and I like the texture better for this recipe. Feel free to used diced or stewed tomatoes instead.

Fill up the 32 oz can with water and add it to the pot with the beans, pasta and bullion cubes. Simmer for about 20 minutes and serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.   
This soup goes so well with my garlic cheesy crescents. Come back on Thursday for the recipe!