Arroz con pollo

I’d never made this dish before tonight, but I’d eaten it plenty of times so I had an idea of what goes into it. After about 10 seconds of browsing various recipes, I confirmed to myself that I knew what I was doing and I was off to the races. Therefore, this is a 100% original recipe! YAY ME!

Arroz con Pollo
Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo
Serves 8

approx. 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast (2 full breasts)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 bell pepper (any color), sliced
1 sweet onion (Walla Walla, for example), sliced
2 medium sized mild chili peppers (pasilla, anaheim), sliced
1 small can diced green chiles
2 cups long grain white rice
3 cups chicken stock
2 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
1 – 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. chile powder
1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano
2 oz. grated cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste
a few tablespoons of fresh cilantro
a couple of chopped green onions
1 avocado

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and season with salt, pepper, cumin, chile powder and Mexican oregano. Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil over medium high heat in a non stick skillet until it starts to ripple. Add the chicken and brown it on all sides. Once brown, remove it from the skillet. (It won’t be completely cooked.)

Wipe the pan with a paper towel, then add 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Once it’s hot, throw in the sliced onion, bell pepper, chili peppers and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook on medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add diced chiles, tomatoes, chicken stock and rice. Add the chicken back in and then add the stock. Stir well to combine.

Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Add more stock if it starts to get too dry and the rice still isn’t done.

Top with cheddar cheese and serve with chopped cilantro, green onion, sour cream and avocado.

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Chorizo quiche

I will start out by saying that yes, I know that this picture is horrible. I’m not going to refuse to put something up on my blog just because I don’t have a good picture of it. I will not be held hostage to the expectations of food bloggers whose entire lives revolve around photography! I will  not obsess over lighting and angles and depth of field when all I want to do is EAT!

That said, I whipped up something new tonight and I’m going to write about it. I promise that it’s yummier than my substandard photo makes it appear.

I’ve made quiche a few times before, but I had some chorizo in the fridge and I know that restaurants often have chorizo and eggs on the menu, so I figured hey…why not chorizo quiche?

I made my dough from scratch, but you can use store bought if you want to. Here’s how I make pie dough.

Chorizo Quiche
Chorizo Quiche

Chorizo Quiche

Pie dough – 1 crust
Mexican chorizo sausage – 8 oz.
4 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup sliced mushrooms
half an onion – chopped
4 oz. creamy swiss cheese
.5 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, parm)

Preheat the oven to 425. Line a deep dish pie plate with pie dough and blind bake (bake without the filling, but weighted down…use beans or pie weights on top of parchment paper or aluminum foil) it for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and bake uncovered for 5 more minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350.

While the pie dough bakes, remove the casing from the chorizo and brown it in a skillet. After it starts to break up and release its fat, add the onions and mushrooms. Cook until the vegetables soften.

Heat the milk to almost boiling. You can use a microwave or do it in a sauce pan.

Beat the eggs and then temper them into the warm milk. Do this by adding a little bit of milk at a time, constantly whisking. Once half the milk has been added, pour the egg/milk mixture into the milk and whisk together.

Once the pie crust is blind baked and the other ingredients are ready, it’s time to assemble. Place the pie plate onto a cookie sheet in case of spills. Spoon the chorizo mixture onto the pie crust. Now pour the egg mixture on top. Finally, place dollops of the creamy swiss onto the top.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until set. Sprinkle with cheese if you want!

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How to make pie crust

I remember the first time I decided to make pie dough from scratch, I spent hours looking through recipes. For such a simple thing, the seemingly endless combination of ingredients and techniques was astonishing. Keep everything cold, butter for flavor, shortening for flakiness, don’t work it too much, don’t add too much water!

After years spent terrified that I’d add too much water and struggling with crumbly pie dough, I finally surrendered and just added as much freaking water as I thought it needed to come together.

And guess what? I wasn’t struck by the vengeful lightning bolt of some unknown dough god. The dough didn’t jump up off the counter and bitch slap me before ranting about being too damn soggy. “Don’t you know you’re only supposed to use a few tablespoons, dummy?”

Screw it! I’m sure my grandma didn’t gingerly spritz the top of her flour with a spray bottle and then try to smoosh the dough together in her fist to see if she’d used enough. It’s enough when it makes DOUGH!

That said, the other stuff like keeping ingredients cold all do seem to matter. I personally prefer all butter crusts. Why? Well, for one, it’s easier. Why get out shortening (forget lard, I’m not using it, I don’t care WHO says it makes good dough) when you don’t have to?

Pie dough

1.5 C flour
8 oz. cold unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. salt
ice water
(add 2 tbsp. sugar if it’s for a sweet pie)

So here’s what I do…sift the flour and salt together. Now either put it into a food processor, add the cold butter and whiz it around until the butter is in pea sized chunks OR freeze the butter and then grate it into the flour. You could cut the butter into the flour using a fork or a pastry cutter too, but that’s way too much work for me.

Then add the water. How much? What I do is take a couple of ice cubes and put them into a half cup measuring cup. Then I fill it up with water. Wait a few seconds until the water is thoroughly chilled and then pour it over the flour mixture.

I do it in a bowl and once I’ve dumped the initial amount of water in, I put my hand into the bowl and move it around. If it seems to be making dough, I stop. If it’s still crumbly and isn’t sticking together, I add a little bit more. That’s all there is to it.

Flatten the dough into a disk and chill it for at least half an hour. Then roll it out and use it however your recipe dictates.

This makes enough for one crust. It’s a generous recipe too, you won’t need to roll it super thin to get it into a deep dish pie plate. If you need a top and bottom crust, just double the recipe! Divide it into two portions before refrigerating.

Good luck!

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Pumpkin butterscotch walnut pancakes

I already have a lot of recipes that I use regularly saved in electronic format and I’ll be loading those in too, but here’s the official FIRST recipe of my new food blog! It’s 100% original and was inspired by a similarly flavored bundt cake that I make every year at the holidays.

I’m sure that like most food bloggers, I’ll look back on these first pictures and cringe, but hey, I’m doing what I can with what knowledge I’ve got right now. I took a black and white old school photography class a couple of years ago where I had to use a dark room, but I’ve forgotten most of that info and gone back to using the automatic settings on my camera.

Therefore, it took a few minutes to refresh my memory on how to get back into manual mode so I didn’t embarrass myself to DEATH. Such pressure I’m putting on myself, huh?

As of right now, I don’t plan to do step by step pictures of each recipe, but maybe that will change later. Or maybe it will be recipe specific, depending on whether it’s tricky. I haven’t decided yet.

So here’s the much discussed photo and the recipe follows. I hope you enjoy it!

Pumpkin Butterscotch Walnut Pancakes
Pumpkin Butterscotch Walnut Pancakes
Pumpkin Butterscotch Walnut Pancakes
(makes 10 normal person size pancakes)

Whole Grain or Whole Wheat Pancake Mix (about 3 times what the box says you’ll need for 10 pancakes)
1 can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 C melted butterscotch morsels
1 C chopped toasted walnuts
more butterscotch morsels for scattering on the pancakes as they cook

Melt the butterscotch morsels over a double boiler or in the microwave until just melted. Allow to cool while you mix the other ingredients together. Make the pancake batter per box or recipe instructions and then add the pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin puree and chopped toasted walnuts. Once all the additional ingredients are added, thin it out with a little bit more milk if it’s too thick. Then just cook them up like normal pancakes! Once poured, take about a tablespoon of butterscotch morsels and sprinkle them on the top side of the cooking pancakes. They’ll sink right into the batter once flipped.

They’ll take a little bit more time to cook since they’re denser than regular pancakes, but it’s well worth it.

Enjoy!.

The birth of a blog…

Hello everyone! My name’s Kimberly and I’m a single mom from Washington state. A few years ago, tired of dragging multiple cookbooks out every holiday season, I bought a couple of “recipe keepers”. Picked up at Costco, they’re essentially a 3 ring binder with different sections for storing recipes. I bought two so I could keep one and have another to give to my daughter when she graduated from high school.

I’ve done an okay job of keeping them updated, but this holiday season, I found that I was researching new recipes (and finding some that I’d just forgotten to write down) almost exclusively online. It dawned on me that while having a paper copy will be nice, it would certainly be more convenient for my daughter to be able to access our family recipe collection from the internet. Add to that the fact that my nephew seems to show as much interest in cooking as my daughter does and I don’t have a book for him!

It was definitely a “duh” moment for me, especially since I already read food blogs and have a few non food related blogs myself. So yeah, DUH!

I’m far from a professional (for now), but I’m very passionate about food. Having experienced the frustration of trying to figure out which recipes to follow, how to make certain things I really want to make by scratch and then later duplicating the successes had made me want to be able to help other people just like me.

Not many of my friends or family really love to cook or bake, so I’m hoping that this blog will also connect me to people with similar interests!

I hope you enjoy the recipes and the stories that go along with them as I record my home culinary adventures. If I can finally help someone get their buttercream perfect or pass on the secrets to a perfectly stuffed pork chop, it will all be worth it..