just a little preface...
This blog consist of meals that are practically all purchased with the help of my footstamp budget, I work full time, but as a single mom with two children at home I am classified as "poverty level". I thank God everyday that my children get good homecooked meals, because there are so many kids in the USA that go hungry every day. I just wanted to add this so if you think you cannot purchase good food and create good meals on a tight budget I hope my blog makes you think of food in a different way. noturtypicalgma

the only thing i ask in sharing these recipes with you, is that you must really love the person you serve them to....cooking is how i show my love to the special people in my life.....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Simple Easy Thanksgiving Recipes

Time got away from I was supposed to post this last weekend and then some stuff called life came up...so I am sorry I did not get back to it. So here we go... late is better than never. Just some simple basic recipes, unfortunately some of my video was deleted, my rolls and gravy. I will add those at a later date. I hope you and your family and friends enjoy the day with good food, good drink and good company. From my Family to yours Happiest Thanksgiving Wishes!

This green bean recipe came about because I wanted something fresh...no canned, no frozen, fresh greenbeans, the kind that when you bite into them they still have that snap! If you want a cleaner version omit the bacon altogether.

Mushroom, Onion, Garlic and Bacon Greenbeans
1lb of Fresh green beans ends snapped
6-8 fresh white or crimini mushrooms sliced
1 small white onion sliced
3 cloves of garlic minced
6 slices of bacon fried and crumbled
1-2tsp of olive oil
pepper and salt to taste

These are simple garlic mashers, I use both white and russet to balance out the waxiness of the white and the starch of the russet, the garlic adds a nice taste to these simple potatoes, if you have sour cream use dollops of that intsead of milk!

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
3 russet potatoes peeled and cut into equal size pieces
3 white potatoespeeled and cut into equal size pieces
3 cloves of garlic peeled
2 tsp salt added to water when boiling
splash of milk or 2tbsp of sour cream
2 tbsp butter or margarine
Boil till soft, drain water leaving garlic in and add milk, and butter and mash away, add salt to taste if needed

Wanted something different but my daughter wanted her good ole marshmallows so the video has two toppings on it, the grown up and the kid friendly version of  Sweet Potatoes
Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Pecans, Brown Sugar and Honey
4 med size yams boiled
2 tbsp margarine or butter
2tbsp of milk
1/3 c. of brown sugar
2-3 tbsp honey
1/3 cup of pecans


This stuffing is a recipe my Grandma Katie used to make, hers was a lot moister.. I prefer mine stuffed in the turkey. From the pan or in the turkey it is a hit at my house.

Grandma Katies Sage Sausage and Olive stuffing
2 packages of bread cubes
2 cups of chopped celery
2cups of chopped onion
2 cans of  black olives, sliced
2 packages of Farmer John Sausages
2tbsp of poultry seasoning
1stick of margarine or butter
2 cans of chicken broth

Turkey is basically like a big chicken! Just make sure you have the right times for your stuffed or unstuffed turkey and follow the guidelines in the link I provide. If you are worried about your turkey being dry cook it in a Reynolds Oven bag...guaranteed moist turkey!

Roasted Sage Turkey
1 turkey
1 bunch of fresh Sage
1tsp of poultry seasoning
1 to 2 tsp Paprika
1/2 to 1 tsp of Garlic powder
1/2 to 1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp of canola oil or olive oil
Mix all of your dry powdered spices and salt together

Before roasting your turkey go to this link to get the correct roasting time time for your size turkey
visit this link to learn how to use your meat thermometer correctly


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thanksgiving.....or the day most first time cooks go BONKERS!

To be honest with you I had a little anxiety about cooking my first turkey way back years ago. After watching the Martha Stewart show and pouring over recipes I just created what still remains my Thanksgiving meal. Some things have changed a little bit like the greenbean casserole which is now fresh green beans, and the yams which are not covered in marshmallows but a more grown up brown sugar honey and pecan although Kassi does want the marshmallows version.
I am doing these recipes early so I can share them with you. These posts are geared to first timers who have never cooked a turkey. Let your anxiety and fears go. Trust in your oven and the fact that cooking a turkey is like roasting a big chicken. Your first Thanksgiving is no time to fuss with some gourmet recipe where anything like brining and marinating, injecting and using a weird stuffing is the highlight of the recipe.
This is a simple no nonsense oh so good recipe! So this is for you my daughter Destinee hope that you like it and your Thanksgiving Dinner is a success.

Thanksgiving Menu
Sage Roasted Turkey
Sausage and Black Olive Stuffing
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Whipped Honey Pecan Yams
Fresh Mushroom Onion Garlic Green Beans
Homemade Gravy
Homemade Refigerator Rolls
Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

Most of these recipes have less than 6 ingredients and this menu should feed about 4-6 people so I hope you enjoy trying them. Here is your shopping list.

1 13-15 pound turkey
Fresh Sage
poultry seasoning
Paprika, Garlic powder, Pepper, Salt
olive or canola oil
3-4 russet potatoes
3-4 white potatoes
1-2 pounds of Fresh Green Beans
2 white onions
1cup fresh sliced mushrooms
1 pkg bacon
2 pkgs Farmer John Sausage
1 can black olives
1 can or 3 fresh large yams
brown sugar
1/2c pecans
All Purpose Flour
unsweetened cocoa powder any brand
Milk any kind
instant yeast
1 package of margarine or butter
Whipped Cream/Cool Whip or Vanilla Ice Cream

This is all you will need to make this Thanksgiving Meal!
By all means if you like cranberries get a can and add to your meal. My kids dont like it so I do not want to waste it!
Stay tuned as I post video recipes throughout the day!


Feta stuffed chicken is one of my daughter Kassi's favorites, she has been asking me to make it for a while and so I thought it would be a nice change from the comfort foods we have been gorging on lately....creamy soups, and gravy laden meals....gives me a warm fuzzy feeling just thinking about it! This meal is light and refreshing and also clean eating...yes I do eat that way occasionally! I aspire to eat more like that but its hard being the lover of food that I am.
Last week Madera had their first ever Pomegranate Festival, and I was working so did not go. Next year I cannot wait to go. Pomegranates take me back to my Grandma Katies house. I remember being in her back yard where there were fruit trees and lots of plants, it felt like a magical forest back there. I would sit out there and just enjoy nature. It was her tree that I first had a pomegranate from and I fell in love with the sweet yet tart taste and I liked that it stained my lips a pretty natural color. I remember Grandma Katie peeling one showing me how to pick one off of the tree that was cracked a little bit. She assured me the cracked ones would be the sweetest. Her old fingers peeling back the leathery flesh to a soft creamy white pith and membrane that kept those sweet seeds safe. She peeled back the membrane and the crimson juice stained the white napkin as she sat and gently freed the seeds from their strong hold. She handed me one and I have been  a lover of pomegranates ever since! We grow a lot of pomegranates here locally and even have pomegranate honey at a local growers. Time for a field trip! To complete this simple meal I will show you how to make couscous. Rachel Ray ain't got nothing on this Gma, this meal takes less than 20 minutes to make. People will think you have slaved over it!


Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c. feta cheese
1/4 tsp dried parsley
small lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
Garlic powder to taste about 2 tsp.
 No Salt Seasoning/ Mrs Dash for chicken
1 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp olive oil for cooking chicken

Cous Cous
1 and1/2 c. cous cous instant..
1and 1/2 c. broth
salt and garlic powder to taste
1 tbsp of olive oil

Winter Salad
Fresh Greens of your choice or Spinach
1/2 large orange peeled and segmented
1/4 c. pomegranate seeds

3tbsp of pomegranate red wine vinegar
1/3c. honey

Video Recipe

Monday, October 17, 2011

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese...Basic Cheese Sauce Recipe

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese, just such warm creamy yumminess to eat on any day of the week and something my kids love! Yeah I know we all have eaten that uber orange stuff in a box but nothing beats homemade mac with a creamy cheese sauce that can be used for other recipes like Broccoli and Cheese soup. I learned how to make this cheese sauce on the back of an Argo cornstarch box about 20 years ago and have been making my mac and cheese this way, I have tried variations with extra sharp cheddar and one with 5 blend Italian cheese and add lots of garlic and parsley for a penne pasta dish I make that my kids love...I have made Alfredo with this recipe using Parmesan and regiano and asiago so if you have the basic white sauce recipe you can make many different cheese sauces I bet one with pepper jack would be awesome. Hope you experiment and try this recipe!


4 cups cooked whole wheat or regular durham semolina macaroni or penne, or shell pasta
2cups or more of extra sharp cheddar or your favorite cheese(s)
1/3 cup of Parmesan (optional)
1/4 cup heaping of sour cream
4 tbsp butter or margarine or spread like smart choice
3 tbsp of cornstarch
1 cup of milk low fat or non fat is fine
salt and pepper to taste
optional topping like bread crumbs,crushed crackers, chips, crushed croutons
1/4 c or more of cheese to top casserole
additional butter or margarine to dab on bread crumbs
a note to bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes till topping browned and cheese melted

Video Recipe

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Clamchop" as my girlees used to call Clam Chowder Soup

I made this soup last night and invited some friends over.. it ended up being a few girlfriends of mine and we ate soup and had a drink and laughed and talked into the nite.  That is exactly what I like to happen when I cook for the people I love in my life...good food, good conversation, and good times.. thanks Pauline, Stephanie and Denise!

Clam Chowder soup has been a favorite of mine since I was a child, my Mother never made it but she loved it too. I perfected my recipe by trial and error and by reading the ingredients on a can of soup. Basically I surmised that it was a glorified potato soup, but as I have cooked it more often I realize it is much more. I love clam chowder or clam chop soup as my daughters use to call it when they were little. It is an ideal comfort food served in a soup mug or in a bread bowl...these I made following a bread recipe http://noturtypicalgmacooks.blogspot.com/2011/06/homemade-bread-so-easy-kid-could-make.html  that is posted on my blog, using the water method, since it yeilds a much more crusty bread. So I hope you enjoy it and if you do not want to make a vat, this serves about 16-20 people simply cut everything in half. Also a note about the cornstarch I did add about 1/2 cup of dry cornstarch mixed with enough water to dilute it... and added it to the final soup. This thickened it perfectly, add more or less to your desired consistency. When you add water to cornstarch it is hard to stir at first but with a few stirs it becomes thinned out and should be like a heavy cream in consistency. Make sure to always dilute with cold liquid, and stir as you add the cornstarch until the desired consistency is acheived.


4 cans of whole baby clams or minced clams with juice
3-4 pounds of potatoes diced into 1 inch cubes
2c. chopped onin
2c. chopped celery
1 stick or 1/2 c. butter
1/2 pint of half and half
1c. milk
1/4 plus 1/2 c. corn starch
1 pound of bacon fried and crumbled
enough water two knuckles high over potatoes
sea salt and white or black pepper to taste
more fried and crumbled bacon

Video Recipe

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Homemade Cream of Broccoli Soup and "Gorilla" Cheese Sandwiches

Who remembers the grill cheese sandwich as a child? Dipping it in your tomato soup, total complete yumminess...takes me back to my days as a kid on Lincoln Street. Well tonight I make a version of a "gorilla" (as my lovees used to say when they were little) cheese sandwich that I saw You Tuber Foodwishes make, and my homemade cream of Broccoli soup that is sooo good. The turn of the weather here in the Cen  Cal valley has me pining for comfort food... its only dropped down into the 80's but hey that's 20 degrees less than it was 1 month ago. So I hope you are ready for some comfort food recipes this month. Last month was super hectic and I blogged not one bit... but now that football is winding down for my daughter we are getting ready to have a break and some good home cooked food so I am warning Taco Bell that they may take a dip in sales this month.

Traditionally soups that are cream base are well, made of cream and lots of butter and flour and fat and calories. So in order to eat the grill cheese sandwich LOL I needed to cut calories somewhere and I do it by using chicken broth, the broth from the broccoli that I have boiled and 2 percent milk, along with olive oil, and margarine (yikes i know) you could use butter folks and some good ole cornstarch. This cream base can be used for many soups and sorry but when I was filming it I somehow lost the part where I mix the liquids with the cornstarch so bear with me and I will post that piece again when I make some clam chowder this weekend.

Ingredients for Cream of Broccoli Soup
8 cups of boiled broccoli pieces and some stem
1c. of chicken broth
1c. of 2 percent milk
2 c. of water from the boiled broccoli
3tbsp butter or margarine
1tbsp of olive oil
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/2c. of white onion
3tbsp of cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste

~for garnishes~
crumbled bacon
 grated sharp cheddar cheese

Gorilla Cheese Sandwiches
bread for however many servings you want to make
good ole white bread or fancy schmancy grown up bread
good quality sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese grated and some sliced
butter, margarine, mayo or olive oil to toast bread

Video Recipe
just a note people I say the F word to my kid, its not said with any seriousness, if you know me you know I am who I am so take it or leave it....I am not on the food network but maybe I should be well at least I could battle with Gordon Ramsey in Hells Kitchen! F bombs would be flying! I take nothing in life too seriously shoot I woulda had an aneurism by now if I did...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tomato Sandwiches Ala Ruby

Every spring my Dad, Robert would plant a garden, well what we now call a salsa garden, chilies, onion, tomatoes things like that. He would pickle his chilies for his own use and to give out at Christmas time. I would eat tomatoes right out of the garden with salt sprinkled on top even though I am slightly allergic. Fresh out of the garden was best....so juicy! My  mom, Ruby would make her salsa fresca, or tomato salad, but my clear favorite was her tomato sandwich! My kids and I would make them with store bought tomatoes but they are just not the same as when you get a tomato fresh out of the garden. I had planted a garden at my old house, and when we went back to get the chilis and eggplants and tomato plants someone had come and dug them up! I was so upset! But I can't say I blame them hope they are enjoying my veggies!
Last week a coworker of mine brought these beautiful tomatoes from her garden and they were gorgeous and I picked two large ones and ate two small ones right at work on my break! The taste took me back to when I was about ten or so and to the days when Mom would call us in for a lunch of tomato sandwiches on regular ole white bread and Kool-Aid Lemonade. They were always soo good. So when I introduced them to my kids they, well the two that like tomatoes loved them immediately, and whenever we come up on a fresh summer tomato we make these sandwiches, in a kind of more grown up way. We have traded in the white bread for a sour or extra sour dough bread and though I love the jack cheese like my mom used, Swiss or even an extra sharp cheddar are good too!

So go grab a large fresh tomato and enjoy!

Tomato Sandwiches Ala Ruby

1 large garden fresh tomato
4 slices of sourdough round bread/or eight slices of white bread
6 to 10 slices of jack, Swiss, or cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1tsp mayo or olive oil

Spread the oil or mayo on both sides of the bread place on cookie sheet top each bread slice with a tomato slice or two, salt and pepper to taste, top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes till cheese is bubbly and browning. Remove from oven and let sit for about 3-5 minutes before eating, the tomato and cheese has been known to burn eager eaters!
That is if you can wait!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How To Make Homemade Taco Shells and Chicken Tacos

Tacos  in our house growing up were a weekly thing. My Dad loved tacos. As we got older my sister and I would have to fry the taco shells sometimes up to 15 or so. Tedious, but as I grew up I never, repeat never bought those prefab taco shells. They just do not taste the same as homemade. So here is a tutorial and a recipe for you to enjoy. I am even throwing in my daughters recipe for American Guacomole. Enjoy!

American Guacamole
1med avacado
2-3tbsp of sour cream
1/4 lemon wedge
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt to taste
~optional items~
1/2 diced tomato
tbsp fresh minced onion
1 minced jalapeno

Taco Shells
10 - 6 inch corn tortillas yellow or white
1/3 cup of canola oil for frying

Chicken Tacos
3-4 breast fillets cut up
1tbsp olive oil
2tsp of "No Salt" seasoning like Mrs. Dash
Salt to taste
10 Taco shells
Taco Fixings
1 cup of shredded cheese of your choice or crumbled Cotija
1/4 of small iceberg lettuce sliced thinly
1 tomato diced
Sour Cream
American Guacamole
Salsa or Hot Sauce

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Moms Chili Con Carne

My mom used to make the best chili con carne. She used pork steak for this. Chili Con Carne or chili with meat was one of my Dads favorites, we never ate it as a burrito but usually on the plate with beans and rice. I make mine in a burrito just easier and less cleanup! I had made this a while back but never edited it and ran across it tonight. Since I showed you how I grill pork steak here is another option for you so I hope you enjoy it.

Moms Chili Con Carne
2 and 1/4 lbs of porksteak cut into small 1 inch pieces rinsed
1/4 c. flour
1tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cumin powder
4 roma tomatoes
1-4 jalapenos
1tbsp of garlic minced
1tbsp of red onion
Salt to taste

Video Recipe
Brown your pork for about 15 minutes and then add the salsa, simmer for another 10 minutes.

I Like it Spicy and Sweet....Making Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce is soo easy to make! I made mine one day after realizing I did not have any in my pantry. I just experimented with ketchup and brown sugar. Today I do not use ketchup but tomato sauce instead, it tends to not have that ketchuppy (is that a word?) taste. I make a couple of different versions one with honey one without. This is the non honey version.
Its the end the month for us and we were low on meat choices, either fish or porksteak. I took out the pork steak. Pork steak is an inexpensive and versatile cut of pork. I use it to make chile verde or chile con carne, but I just felt like grilling it. I served this with some white rice and a cold spicy blackbean and corn  salad .


My Spicy and Sweet Barbecue Sauce

1c. of tomato sauce
1/2 c. of brown sugar
1tbsp molasses
1tbsp soy sauce
1tbsp apple cider vinegar
1tbsp vietnamese garlic chili paste
1tbsp of  liquid hickory smoke
1tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cumin powder
mix everything in a saucepan and let simmer for about 30 minutes till it thickens

Spicy Blackbean and Corn Salad

1 can of black beans rinsed
1 can of corn rinsed
2 serrano chilis deveined and seeded
1/3 cup of diced red onion
1/2 avacado diced
1 green tomato sliced thick and grilled for 1 min on each side diced
juice of 1 lime
Mix everything together and let chill this is even better the longer it chills.. great the next day!

Video Recipe

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Tri-tip 101

I love tri-tip, it is solely responsible for keeping me from being a vegan...ok I love NY strip steaks too.
This is the first step to preparing a great tasting tri-tip. Tri-tip is big in California and I am not sure if it has made its way further east yet but a few years ago no one out of Cali knew what it was. When I lived in Minnesota people were like tri-tip whats that? Well it is from the cut of meat known as the brisket and it is generally a fattier piece of roast, which makes it ideal for us Cali barbecuers, is that a word? Anyway I have been loving me some tri-tip for over 20 years now. I was first introduced to it by working my first job in the now closed Monty's Liquor on Howard Road in Madera. It was my job to prep the numerous tri-tip we would go through on a Friday. We grilled inside on a large grill in the Deli Kitchen. This is the "secret Monty's Tri-tip recipe" I call it mine but of course I just stole it from them...
So here we go...on the way to tri-tip heaven!

1 bottle of liquid Hickory Smoke
garlic powder
1  3lb tri-tip

Don't make the mistake of using garlic salt...use powder only, and you will want the shakerful because there will be a lot of shaking going on.
This is the first video of prep it shows no cooking. Cooking video will follow tomorrow.

Prep video

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Albondigas or as I know it Meatball Soup

Albondigas or Meatball soup is a soup my Mother used to make often, it is inexpensive and filling. My Dad loved soup of all kinds but for some reason this was a soup we ate more than others. I think it is because we always had the ingredients on hand. My Mother used to make hers with hamburger, I make mine now with ground turkey meat. This is my Mothers basic recipe, and the way I prepare it, it is also a clean eating recipe. Serve it with warm flour tortillas or whole wheat or corn tortillas for clean eaters, and garnishes like finely shredded cabbage or sliced radishes, lemon wedges, and your favorite hot sauce like Tapatio or Cholula or Tabasco... I remember my Dad sitting and eating soup on a hot summer day and just sweating as he enjoyed every bite. So this recipe is dedicated to my Mom and Dad, Ruby and Robert.

Moms Albondigas Recipe
1&1/2 lbs of ground turkey ( you can use hamburger)
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/4 of large onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
1/3 c. of uncooked white rice
2tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1tsp. crushed dried parsley
1/4 tsp. of cumin powder
1tbsp. of olive oil

2tbsp. of olive oil 1 for sauteeing veggies, 1 for browning meatballs if using turkey meat
1&1/2 c. baby carrots cut in half
2 c. or about 6-8 small white potatoes quartered
3 stalks or 1 c. of celery cut into 1 inch pieces

1 14 oz. can vegetable, or chicken or beef broth
6-8 c. of water or broth
1   8 oz. can of tomato sauce
seasoning like No Salt Seasoning or Mrs. Dash to taste
salt to taste

If you use a broth for all of your soup it will have a much richer taste and you can adjust your seasonings especially the salt content accordingly. My mom never used broth she always just used water. Good old water is good enough for me! Please note the amount of liquid I add is about 6-8 cups in the video I say 5-6, I ended up adding a little more.

Video Recipe


Saturday, June 25, 2011

My First Central California Food Revolution Visionary; Whole Foods and Revive Cafe

I have not posted in a bit and well no excuses other than I have been posting on my other blog "True Confessions of  A Welfare Mother"  http://noturtypicalgma.blogspot.com/  but that is not to say that I have not been cooking or eating, hah to the contrary. I have also been admining my facebook page Central California Food Revolution and as of now we have 25 likes but I would love a lot more! One of my likes is Kyal Cali Organics http://www.facebook.com/kyalhamilton  pageowner Kyals family owns and operates Whole Farms and Revive Cafe, which is located in Fresno Californa. Though I have not personally been there I am planning a little trip there next weekend, I am excited about something they are doing.

Whole Farms and Revive Cafe, their raw vegan cafe are offering food stamp/SNAP and Electronic Benefit Transfer cardholder recipients the chance to purchase 15 dollars worth of produce or food for 10 dollars! Through a special grant from Roots of Change http://rootsofchange.org/  they are able to to offer this for a limited time. Basically until the funds are exhausted. I think this is an awesome way to encourage people to check them out. Not limiting themselves to a certain type of consumer, but rather realizing that all consumers whatever their financial situation have the right to consume high quality food! That is why I am choosing them as my Central California Food Revolution Visionary. Something they just inspired me to do!

I cannot wait to visit them and  come blog about them some more to show you what these Food Revolutionaries are doing! Plus I get to try a raw chocolate smoothie! What more could a girl ask for?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Eggplant Parmigiana

I love eggplant, love it, love it, love it, it is such an underappreciated veggie! I make parmigiana and what I call an eggplant patty or fritter, my Grandma Katies recipe, post that one later. The parmigiana is my recipe one that I just worked on over the years. Now my kids love it to and so does my grandson who is going to be three. He has a great palate already..Hope you enjoy this recipe!

1 med to large eggplant
1c. flour
1c. italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4c. parmesan cheese grated
2tsp. paprika
1tsp. garlic powder
1tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp. dried oregano 
1/4tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp basil
crush dried herbs between fingers to release flavor

1 egg
1c. milk
mix them together!
3-4 mozzarella string cheese sticks/or 6 slices if you want extra cheesiness

4tbsp of olive oil
1 to coat pan(s)
3 to brush on eggplant medallions

Video Recipe

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Steak Taco Salad

We love a good taco salad in our house usually we use hamburger, but we want to get away from the processed hamburger that you find in your grocery store. So tonight I made a chuck steak taco salad. We had homemade guacamole, cotija cheese, romaine lettuce, tomatos, and a spicy garlicky aji sauce. We of course had tortilla chips, you can make your own in the oven but this particular brand is not high in fat.
This is a fun dinner, the kids build their own and more than not they put everything on it maybe sans tomato, but then she adds salsa..go figure. This is a great weekend wind down, you can grill the steaks of your choice on the barbecue, and lay out all of the fixins, be adventurous and try different cheeses besides that taco blend. Make a salsa or sauce you would not normally try.Use romaine lettuce to up the vitamins, fresh guacamole is simple and easy to make, and vine ripe tomatos will be at their peak soon. So get ready for taco salad nite!

4 chuck steaks/steaks of your choice
grilled or pan cooked
2cups of romaine lettuce chopped
1 large vine ripe tomato diced
lime cut into wedges
cheese of your choice/we used a Mexican cotija
Salsa of your choice/we made an Aji sauce
baked tortilla chips/chips with no transfats

Aji Sauce
2 jalapenos deveined and seeded
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup of cilantro leaves
5-6 green onions/scallions
1tbsp vinegar
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

Friday, June 10, 2011

Homemade Bread So Easy A Kid Could Make It...

Its no secret I love bread...recently we started making it again. I used to make it when the kids were little, now I make it because I like the satisfaction of knowing there are less than a gazillion ingredients in it. I call storebrand whitebread air bread, have you ever looked at it its all full of air holes... The recipe is not my own but from justpeace.org. It is simple and easy so easy I had Mak my daughter make it in the video. Hope you get in the kitchen and make some bread soon!

6-7 c. of flour
1c. of warm water
2 tbsp of instant yeast
3tbsp sugar or honey
3-4tbsp of oil
1c. of milk or water

The steps are as easy as 1-2-3-4

1. Put 1 cup of warm water plus 1tbsp of sugar or honey in large mixing bowl add 2tbsp of instant yeast. Let sit for five minutes.

2. Add 3c. of flour, 1c. milk or water, salt, 2tbsp of honey or sugar and 3-4tbsp of oil. Stir fifty times clockwise and fifty times counter clockwise.

3. Add another 3-4c. flour and mix until ball forms, turn dough out onto floured surface and let it sit for ten minutes then knead for five to ten minutes.

4. Let rise in a greased bowl for about an hour, it will double in size. Punch down dough, knead five more minutes divide into two equal parts and place in loaf pans or free form rolls or loafs and place on pan sprinkled with cornmeal.  This is where I let my bread rise for 10-15 minutes...... Bake at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes. 15 if smaller rolls. Let cool thoroughly.

oops seems I forgot there is a last step enjoy them!

The sandwich we built, we got rained out of going to the drive in...
turkey and roastbeef mustard, no mayo, lettuce, onion, tomato and jalapeno with baked Lays....
Here is  the video recipe

Join The Food Revolution!!!

Tonight Jamie Olivers Food Revolution will air and I just joined the community on facebook and requested to start a page for the Central Valley. It was approved and we are up and running. I want to encourage people from all over central Cali to join the movement. Childhood obesity is on the rise and so are diseases like diabetes and hypertension, especially in younger people every day. As a person who has struggled with my weight and also loooooves food it is my duty to get involved! The Food Revolution wants to create change... change in the food that our children eat at school, giving healthier options to them. Getting involved with school districts across the nation to get real food back into the cafeteria. Teaching kids and their families where their food comes from and teaching them how to prepare good healthy meals.These are all tools necessary to give our children a healthier future, one they deserve. Please join the Revolution in your community, to find your local community page or to request to start one go to this link http://www.jamieoliver.com/us/foundation/jamies-food-revolution/activists   and to join the Central California Food Revolution go to this link http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Central-California-Food-Revolution/179852995402251
Watch the show and then decide if you want to become an integral part of the Food Revolution. Heres a look at whats in store...

If after seeing this promo you are not moved to join then I don't know what else will make you. Be inspired, be motivated to create change, be a part of giving todays kids and their families a healthier future.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chile Rellenos, Moms Recipe

I have never met a gringo that does not like Mexican food and I say that with love... Of all of the recipes that I have ever made, my Moms Chile Relleno pronounced roll your rrrr (rey-yay-no) recipe has by far been the one Mexican recipe I have prepared the most for my Caucasian friends, and they have loved them. I remember these were often prepared during the Lenten season and  they were only prepared a handful of times in a year. I know why. They are time consuming, but if you break it down into steps you can do them pretty quickly. If you prepare the fresh chili's and char or roast them ahead of time, clean and stuff them half the work is done. I recommend Pasilla, Anaheim are slender and less forgiving when filling also they tend to be hotter to me. We always ate Anaheim, when I got older someone introduced me to Pasilla and I have been making them that way ever since. They are also larger and are usually a generous serving.

Relleno's are prepared in a variety of ways, some with meat, we always had ours made with Monterrey Jack cheese. My mom never served hers with a sauce until I figured out a recipe for one that mirrored "The Mexican Kitchen" sauce that they served on theirs, a favorite hometown restaurant that is long gone and sorely missed by many! Its a simple sauce made with salsa and broth and thickened with cornstarch. It is equally good on Huevos Rancheros. You can thank my daughter Kassi for this post because she is the one who asked me to make them today! Hope you enjoy these recipes!


6 pasilla peppers
1/2 lb jack cheese cut into 1/4in thick sticks
1&1/2 cup flour
4-6 eggs seperated
1tsp salt
oil for frying

Salsa Sauce
1cup jar salsa
1 small tomato diced
1 jalapeno seeded and deveined and diced
1/3 cup sliced onion
3tbsp easy blender salsa
1&1/2 cups beef or chicken broth
1/2 c.  cold water with 2tbsp cornstarch mixed in

*Just a note this should serve six idividuals when served with beans and rice, if not 3 ravenous individuals! I give you fair warning!

You first need to prepare your chilis by charring and roasting them, I do mine on a stove top in a cast iron pan or comal.

The next video will show you how to stuff and prepare the egg batter and fry the rellenos.
I say cheddar cheese note that I am using only Monterrey Jack cheese! Also included are my kid friendly chililess  "relleno" cheese sticks.

Finally the sauce which is optional but I love it! Plus you can use it on Huevos Rancheros!
*note that I revised the amount of cornstarch to 2 tbsp this amount yields a saucier sauce....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why I decided to do a Food Blog...

I am having the best time writing this blog, I mean its about food..Something I have had a love affair with for years. But what a lot of people don't know is that most all of my food is purchased with a food stamp allotment that I receive. I work full time and  as a single Mom, I am what my government classifies as poverty level. My hours have been cut a little at work and its been even tighter for us lately, but that is all temporary and I know things will get better. For goodness sakes we have been homeless before, so we appreciate what we have right now. I have even gone to a food bank this year, something many people have had to do for the first time in their lives. I was hoping to get a garden in but it has not happened yet no extra funds, but did you know that food plants and food seeds are food stamp eligible? Learn more about the food stamp program at this link http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/ and what you can purchase at this link  http://www.gettingfoodstamps.org/whatfood.htm

 Being on food stamps should not be something you have to be ashamed of or stigmatize you. If you need to feed your family then you do what you need to do. What I wish more food stamp recipients would do is stop buying processed foods and really learn how to cook healthy, inexpensive, meals made of fresh ingredients. Obesity is on the rise and kids today are more sedentary than in years past. I hope to add a feature that shows you just how much I spent on my meal per person and also add the nutrition value of the meals I prepare... mind you I love food its not all gonna be salad...but there are ways to cut the fat and carbs and sugar in comfort foods too. Also I love to make a variety of foods and will be adventurous, sushi or shawarma, or tandoori chicken some recipes I cannot wait to make for you! So stay tuned and enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

MY Southern Smothered Porkchops and Mashed Potatoes

Today I was craving comfort food (which I do a lot) but in particular I wanted smothered pork chops, I think my loves, Auntie Bonita first introduced me to these. God rest her soul...that's when I learned what Southern soul food was, I love greens too. His family showed me how to cook those also, I think Auntie Pink, either way I love this stuff. So tonight I made some smothered chops and mashed potatoes no greens though, next time. I worked late and I technically would consider this a Sunday dinner meal, but in actuality it took me 15 mins of prep time and 30 minutes to cook. So be adventurous make em on a weeknight!


My Smothered Pork chops
9 thin sliced pork chops center cut
1 cup sliced onion white or yellow
1&1/2 cups of flour
1tsp paprika
1 &1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1tsp garlic powder
oil (canola) for browning
2tsp butter/or margarine
2&1/3 cups of water

Mashed Potatoes
3 russet potatoes cut into cubes
3 white potatoes cut into cubes
3 large cloves of garlic peeled
1tsp salt plus salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup of Philadelphia cooking creme plain
2tbsp butter/ or margarine

I did not even use the milk after all!

Once potatoes were in the pot I started my chops.

Peel and rinse potatoes, add to 3 qt pot add cold water, add in garlic cloves and 1 tsp salt and boil over med heat till cooked through... I left some skin on just to give it that home cooked appeal. Once potatoes have cooked and been drained do not remove garlic, add 1/3 c of Philadelphia cooking creme, and 2tsp of butter or margarine, mash, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile rinse chops in cold water do not shake off excess dip immediately into flour mixture. Dredge chops in flour that has been mixed with paprika, salt, garlic powder, and pepper.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the flour for smothering onions when I add onions right before the addition of the flour I add 1 tsp of butter or margarine just  to introduce some fat for the flour  to create the gravy! I brown the chops about 6 minutes each batch (I did 3) because they are thin, you may need to alter that cooking time if you are cooking thicker chops. Cooking time after being added to gravy is about  14 minutes. So a total of 20 minutes to cook these chops.
Watch as I cook this meal. Watching a video is always easier than looking at photos.
I had to video myself so sorry for the shakiness....but you will get the idea and you will love this recipe....by the way when I am making the gravy I say its ok if its thick I meant to say thin after adding 2 cups of water...Hope you try it!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Enchiladas and SCREAMIN Enchilada Casserole

An enchilada is a tortilla that is filled with any number of fillings, shredded beef, chicken, ground beef, etc. My Mothers specialty was black olive and red onions with sharp cheddar cheese. No meat. These were often made on special days like Christmas, Thanksgiving and during the lenten season. I started making them with ground beef one year and my Grandpa Gonzales who was a usual grouch about everything really liked them. So I still make them that way now I use turkey and ground beef mixed together. Here are my version of my Mothers enchiladas.

1&1/4 pound of ground beef
1&1/4 pound of ground turkey
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
1 c. chopped onions
1 can of  whole black olives/ slice them yourself
1 whole potatoe diced finely (optional)
1/2 bell pepper diced finely (optional)
36 corn tortillas
oil for frying (canola)
20 oz of grated sharp cheddar cheese
Recipe of Grandma Ruby's Mole About 5cups

Chop your onion, bell pepper, and potato

Brown and drain your turkey and hamburger
I rinse the meat as well under hot water

Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Cook down potatoes, pepper and onions till soft

Chop the olives and add to the meat filling
add about 1 cup of the mole sauce to the meat mixture

Heat oil in a pan and let tortilla just soften turn and do both
Drain on paper towels
Get your cheese, tortillas that have cooled, mole sauce that is cooled and pie plate, meat filling, cheese and pan that has been sprayed with pam or wiped with canola oil
assemble your enchiladas.
Watch as I roll mine


Ok this video is of enchilada casserole, and I thought about editing it but then as I was watching it I realized this is me, this is who I am... with my dog walking around as I cook and my kids in the background being well, kids. I yell when my kids are rude or  piss me off...for goodness sakes its not like I am gonna be on the Food Network with this video so be warned this is footage of a real mom cooking a real meal! Hence the name for the casserole. Hope you get a laugh!