Monday, July 29, 2013


I have come to the point where I am just using recipes to get ideas but really don't go by them at all.  Yesterday I was looking for a recipe to use some steak I HAD to use by yesterday or it would be inedible, but I didn't want to grill it.  I also had some corn tortillas that MUST be used, so I decided on some kind of fajita casserole.  I went on the hunt of a good fajita marinade that wouldn't take over night but could become fully marinated by the time I got through canning some tomatoes (which I have become addicted to).  I came across this recipe found here: .  Of course, I only used it as a "guide".  It called for flank steak...I had ribeye.  It called for jalepeno pepper and chiles de arbol...I used jalepeno and fresh cayenne pepper (I had the chiles but needed to use the cayenne).  I also did not use the cumin seeds and peppercorns but cumin powder and fresh ground pepper since really that's what it turned out to be for her after she used her morter and pestle and ground them up.  I let them marinate just like she said.  instead of broiling the meat after it was through marinating, I grilled it on my George forman.  The rest of the casserole I made up as I went along and here is what I came up with:

2 medium size ribeyes
6 cloves garlic minced
1 jalapeno pepper finely diced
1 cayenne pepper finely diced
1 tbsp. oregano (didn't have Mexican oregano so I added a little paprika...don't ask me
fresh ground pepper (about 30 turns on the grinder)
1 tbsp. chili powder

I also made a tomatillo sauce but slightly different than her it is:

5 tomatillos (pretty big)
1 Anaheim pepper
lots and lots of cilantro (fresh)
juice of 1 lime

I also used the following in the actual casserole body:
18 corn tortillas (you could use flour but I have found that flour tortillas turn a little slimy in casseroles)
about 3 or 4 cups of cheddar and pepper jack cheese mixture
1/2 cup salsa (I used my own salsa)
2 tbsp. sour cream (mix with the salsa)
1 onion
1 bell pepper

after the meat has marinated 3 hours in the fridge and then taken out and let sit for 30 minutes, add it to a preheated grill (discard remaining marinade).  While that is grilling, prepare a casserole dish (I used a 9x13 glass dish) with cooking spray and then put 9 tortillas across the bottom.  Add the salsa mixture, then some cheese (how much ever you like).  Put the grilled steak next, then a little sprinkle of more cheese (I love cheese).  Add the remaining tortillas and then top with the tomatillo sauce.  Bake for about 20 minutes then add the remaining cheese and bake for another 10 minutes (or until cheese is melted).  My ENTIRE family loved this and that is saying something to me because my oldest daughter HATES steak...any form of it is gross to her.  Very easy meal to prepare when your canning everything under the sun.  I went crazy at the market this weekend!!
I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, July 6, 2013


I have neglected this blog lately...phew, what a year.  My oldest daughter graduated and keeping her on task was almost impossible.  I was really sad at the beginning of the year but by the end, I was so ready for it to just be over....for a couple of reasons.  One for the reason mentioned above and the second was because I was taking her on a 5 day cruise to Mexico.  I so needed was a great relaxing way to end the school year.  I'm ready for another one!
I have made this stew/soup/goulash thing several times.  I've been telling my girls lately they are going to have to start coming up with names for my dishes.  I have gone from HAVING to have a recipe to just creating stuff on my own.  I still use recipes from time to time as a guide or idea, but I rarely go completely by a recipe.  Anyway, I made this concoction for a house full of family and friends on graduation day, but before that, I made it when my mother was staying with us around Christmas.  My family told me that I need to take this around and sell it at festivals and markets...things like that...out of a  Hey, I do want to open a restaurant some day...I guess that would be a great way to start!  Since I do not have a real recipe for this anywhere but in my head it is different every time depending on what veggies are in season really...but I do basically use the same stuff and definitely the same spices and herbs (I am adding all of the veggies I have used before in the recipe, but you can mix and match what you prefer and put as little or as much as you prefer.  This is also a wonderful recipe to you moms who are trying to "hide" veggies so your kids don't even know what they are eating ).  So, here goes:

First, let's start with the base of this stew that is homemade veggie broth.  I make that by putting all of the clean peals, seeds, membranes, tops...whatever you cut off and are not using to eat of the veggies below along with a couple of cloves of garlic, some peppercorns, basil, oregeno, and about a tsp of sea salt and let it boil in about 6 cups of water for about an hour (also, if you have a ham bone or some chicken bones and/or skin left over from something else, you could add that for a little more flavor).  I also add a jalepeno or chili pepper and a small onion for a little extra flavor.   After it has boiled an hour, put it through a food mill or like I do, through a strainer/sieve. 

1 lb boneless pork spare ribs (trim as much fat off as you can but not ALL...adds flavor to the broth)
10 large roma tomatoes peeled and diced (you can use whatever tomatoes you have...this just gives you an idea of the size of the tomatoes)
1 medium onion
1 large green bell pepper
1 Chayote (I contribute to Bountiful Baskets and often get the Mexican add-on.  This squash is often in there and is perfect for stew because it is harder than zucchini or yellow squash so it doesn't get mushy and tastes wonderful)
1 Mexican squash (looks a lot like zucchini but is a little firmer and as the Chayote, gets soft but not mushy)
1 zucchini (always need a little mushy in stews)
1 yellow squash
4 carrots peeled and roughly sliced
4 russet potatoes (or large red potatoes or really whatever you like and how much you like)
2 stalks of celery finely chopped (I finely chop them because I do not like celery but it adds great flavor to stew and as long as I can't tell I'm eating it, it's ok :) )
1 jalepeno
1 hatch chili or any mild green chili
1/2 pound fresh green beans
1 large ear of corn (cut corn off the's much better..haha...and yes, add the cob to the veggie broth above)
 3 or 4 leaves of fresh cabbage finely chopped
a bunch of spinach finely chopped
4 flowerettes of broccoli and cauliflower finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp fresh basil finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregeno finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp fresh rosemary finely chopped (I use kitchen shears to cut this up)
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
4 or 5 cloves of garlic minsed (I love my little minser that I got from a home and garden show...I don't know what it is called but I have seen it several times at different shows and markets.  It looks like a little plate with teeth :)
salt and cracked pepper to taste (I also add a few red pepper flakes for a little extra kick)

While the veggie broth is boiling in another pan, I dice up about 6 of the tomatoes and add them to a large soup pot along with some olive oil (about a tbsp) and let it boil to mushy.  I also add half of the onion to the tomatoes along with a pinch of salt.  While the tomatoes are cooking I dice up the rest of the veggies.  Last nights stew consisted of the zucchini and yellow squash (I sadly did not have any of the Mexican squashes), celery, potatoes, carrots, corn, green beans, and cabbage along with the onion and all of the peppers.  After I get those diced, I get out a skillet and add about a tbsp of olive or coconut oil and let get hot.  Then I add the pork (that I have diced in to small bite size pieces) and cook for about 2-3 minutes then add the spices and herbs and cook for another 2-3 minutes (the pork does not have to be completely done and best if not because it will cook in the stew.)  While the pork is cooking, add the broth and veggies to the tomatoes, then add the meat to that (make sure to not drain the want that extra flavor that is in the oils).  If the broth does not cover the concoction, either add a can of rotel or tomatoes with the juices, or just more water (if it was me and I added more water, I would also add about a tsp of chicken broth granules).  Let it simmer for about an hour so the flavors melt together and serve with zucchini, green chilli cornbread...recipe found here:  Best cornbread recipe ever!  I did add an ear of corn cut off the cob and sauted the green chilli and onion in some olive oil. 

This is a really easy recipe and to make the prep time a lot quicker, just add frozen veggies (I wouldn't do canned veggies...too much sodium and preservatives...yuck) and use broth from the store...veggie or chicken.  ENJOY!
I did not take a picture of the stew I made last night, but here is one that is similar I made a while back.