Taco Salad, My Way!

June 18, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Posted in Hamburger, Main Dish, Mexican, My Own Creation, Salad, Supper, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tonight we had taco salad.  Pretty basic, pretty delicious.

Ingredients and directions:

One pound hamburger.  Brown hamburger in medium skillet.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne packet of McCormick’s Taco Seasoning

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd water as directed on package.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALet simmer for about 15 minutes while you grab all of the other stuff for the taco salad:

taco chips

shredded lettuce

sliced tomato

sour cream

freshly shredded cheddar cheese

queso fresco


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlso, I wanted beans, so I grabbed a couple of cans of pinto beans and heated them up.  Daniel set the table:




Adios for now!



Chicken Quesadillas

June 6, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Posted in Cheese, Main Dish, Mexican, My Own Creation, Supper, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We had chicken quesadillas for supper last night.  I’ve been eating Mexican food all of my life but had never heard of quesadillas until I went into a restaurant one day and saw them on the menu.  Same with fajitas.  My mom makes authentic Mexican food, including her own flour tortillas.  I grew up watching my paternal grandmother making corn tortillas and nopales (cactus).  So, what’s a quesadilla?  It’s a tortilla (either flour or corn) stuffed with meat and cheese and grilled.

This is my recipe for chicken quesadillas.


Chicken – I purchased John Soules Fully Cooked Chicken Strips, 8 ounces

Corn tortillas – Mama Lupe’s Corn Tortillas, 20 per package

Canola Oil – I like Wesson

Shredded cheddar – yes, I was lazy today and used pre-shredded cheese

Ranchero Queso Fresco

McCormick’s Cilantro and Cumin (in Spanish, it’s comino)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOkay!  Time to get to work – I also refried beans and made Mexican rice (courtesy of Rice A Roni), so I had all four burners going at the same time, plus the oven was on.  I felt like a juggler!

First thing:  Preheat oven to 350 degress F.  Now, put some canola oil into a small skillet and heat up the chicken tenders.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs they heated, I sprinkled them with cilantro and comino (maybe 1/4 tsp. of each?) and also broke them into smaller pieces.  When the chicken was hot, I set the skillet on a towel on the counter top.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI grabbed a couple of cookie sheets and sprayed one with canola oil, poured some canola oil into my square pan and heated it up on medium heat.  When it was hot, I tossed in two corn tortillas and let them get a tiny bit crispy.  Then, I flipped them over and added chicken and cheddar and queso fresco to one of them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI let that get hot and melty and then covered it with the second tortilla.  Next, I carefully picked it up with a big pancake flipper and place it on the sprayed cookie sheet.  Three of these quesadillas fit on my first cookie sheet; the cookie sheet went into the oven while I finished up with the remaining chicken and cheese.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had enough chicken to make two more:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI put the second cookie sheet into the oven and lowered the heat  to 200 degrees F just so they’d stay hot while the rice finished cooking.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUse a pizza cutter to slice – they were a bit thick with cheese and chicken!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAServe with salsa and sour cream, along with the rice and beans.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADelicious – even if I didn’t grow up eating them!  I wonder if my mom would eat them?

Taco Bell Tuesday

May 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Posted in Main Dish, Mexican, Supper, Taco Shells, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Daniel wanted tacos this week, so we purchased a kit from the store to make both crunchy tacos and soft tacos.


Taco Bell Taco Kit*

One pound hamburger

3/4 cup water

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA*Kit includes:  taco seasoning, salsa, hard shell tacos, soft tortillas and ours had a bonus packet of Koolaid.

Start by frying the hamburger in a large skillet.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPut the taco shells on a cookie sheet and preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Wrap the tortillas in foil and set them on the cookie sheet; set aside.

Once hamburger is cooked and browned thoroughly, add the seasoning mix and water.  Put on low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  During these 10 minutes, put the shells and tortillas into the hot oven.

I also prepared refried beans; these are easy-peasy to make.  All you need is some canola oil (maybe 3 tbsp.) and a drained can of Bush’s pinto beans.  Heat the oil on high, add the beans and mash them up.  Once they’re nice and mushy, lower the heat and just keep an eye on them until everything else is ready to eat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere they are, ready to go almost:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADaniel loves my refried beans; so do I.  But I think we like my mom’s better LOL

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also made sopa de estrellas (stars).  Another easy-peasy dish that I learned by watching my mom.  All you need is a small package of sopa; I purchased mine at Walmart.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s how to make these…..ingredients:

1 package of La Moderna Estrellas (7 ounces)

2 tbsp. canola oil

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt

8 ounces tomato sauce

2 cups chicken broth – you could use more broth and make it more like soup but we like it drier

Pour the canola oil in the pot and set stove on high; once it’s shimmery hot, add the pasta and stir until it’s lightly browned.  Add the onion and garlic powders and salt.  Stir around and then slowly add the tomato sauce – be careful, it might steam up really hot!  Then, mix it up and add the broth.  Set stove to low and simmer for about 9 minutes.  The estrellas should be al dente, just like any other pasta you make.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe meat needs to be put into a serving bowl and you can take the taco shells and tortillas out of the oven, too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAServe with salsa, tortilla chips and guacamole, lettuce, onion, tomatoes, shredded cheese and black olives.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat one above was mine.  It was yummy and so was the sopa.



Pork Carnitas and Refried Beans

April 13, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Posted in Beans, Lunch, Main Dish, Mexican, My Own Creation, Pork Chops, Supper, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yesterday for breakfast, I was craving carnitas and beans.  My teen saw what was up and he stuck around.  He knows what’s good!


Pork chop, I typically use 1/2 chop per person (cut up into bite sized pieces)

Canola oil (or lard, if you are my mom), maybe 4 tbsp.

1 can of Bush’s pinto beans (unless your mom gives you some homemade), drained

Tortillas (the best ones are the ones my mom makes)


Heat canola oil in small skillet; when it’s shimmery hot, add the pork.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce the meat is cooked through, pour in the beans.  Start smashing and smushing them.  The beans need to get dry – this can take anywhere from 8-12 minutes.  See below, how they’re sticking to the side of the skillet?  That’s a good thing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHeat the tortillas and then fill one side with the beans and carnitas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFold in half, so that you make a half-moon.  I made four, two for the teen and two for me.



Daniel’s Around the World Soup

April 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Posted in Beef Chuck Roast, Daniel's Own Creation, Italian, Italian Spices, Main Dish, Mexican, Soups & Stews, Spaghetti | 2 Comments

My son loves to cook.  From the moment he could stand on a step-stool or chair and reach the stove, I’ve encouraged his curiosity and creativity.  Tonight he prepared an incredibly rich soup.  We devoured the entire pot!


1 pound chuck roast, cut into bite-sized chunks

2 tbsp. canola oil

2 tbsp. oregano

2 tbsp. salt

2 tbsp. pepper

2 tbsp. cumin (comino)

2 tbsp. parsley

3 bay leaves

1 garlic clove, minced

1 can (15 ounces) of petite diced tomatoes

1/4 cup red wine

1 packet of Knorr’s beef stock (I love this stuff!)

4 cups of water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHeat oil in soup pot on HIGH; once oil is shimmery hot, toss in the meat.  Stir in the spices and garlic.


Add the diced tomatoes.


Stir in the red wine, stock packet and water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALooks good already, doesn’t it?  I can attest that it smelled wonderful!  Cover with oven-proof lid and pop into the oven for at least two hours.  At the end of two hours, take it out and set on stove burner, turn back to HIGH, bring to a boil and break in enough spaghetti for the family; I just guesstimated the amount we’d need, Daniel broke it up and tossed it in.  Let spaghetti boil for about 8 minutes.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMmm, this mom was ready to eat!  Serve with cheese (we put Parmesan and Parmigiano Reggiano on the table).  Oh, it was so good!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow in case you’re wondering, he called it Around the World Soup because it had both Italian and Mexican touches:  the cumin, which we call comino, is Mexican, as well as the cilantro.  And, you know that the oregano and spaghetti are Italian.

Mexican Chicken with Chorizo & Potatoes

April 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Posted in Mexican, My Own Creation, One-Dish Meal, Supper, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This one-dish meal is based on a recipe from Nigella Lawson.  You know me, I can’t take a recipe and do it exactly the way it was written…


1 tbsp. olive oil

6 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless

16 ounces of chorizo (Spanish sausage, I chose pork – you could also use beef)

1 pound tiny yellow potatoes

3 oranges, plus their zest

tortillas (Mom’s if you’re blessed!  Today I had to use store-bought)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.



Pour olive oil into shallow roasting pan; add the chicken thighs and coat them with the olive oil.  Slice up any big potatoes, and toss them into the pan with the chicken thighs.


Now take your chorizo – mine came in a tube, so I had to squeeze it out like this:



It didn’t have any sausage skin on it – so I pretty much sliced it into 2 tbsp. pieces and set them in the pan around the chicken and potatoes.  Next, I took my two oranges, sliced them in half and squeezed their juices all over the pan.  Finally, I sliced the third and plopped the slices on top of the chorizo.



Cover with foil and pop into hot oven for 30 minutes.  If you’re like me and don’t have a comal, wrap your tortillas in heavy-duty foil and toss them into the oven, too, making sure you close up all the ends of the foil so that the tortillas don’t get tough.  At the end of 30 minutes, check temperature of chicken (it should read at least 160 degrees F) and if so, then remove foil and return to oven for about 10 minutes.  This will let the chicken brown.


Time to make my refried beans to eat along with this dish.  They’re a cinch to make:  heat a bit of canola oil to shimmering, add a drained can of pinto beans and mash, mash, mash your way into bean heaven.



By the time my beans were ready, my chicken was finished.  I served it in a 9×13 pan and it looked wonderful.



Next time, though, I will buy the chorizo in sausage links because the way I purchased and baked mine, it fell apart.  It was still edible, of course, but it would have been prettier if it had been in links.



Delish!  And, by the way, the only time I used my fork for this meal was to hold my chicken to cut it up.  Otherwise, I used my tortilla as a scoop to scoop up the meats, potatoes and beans.  That’s the way we eat!

Cheese Enchiladas (Thanks, Mom!)

February 22, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Posted in Main Dish, Mexican | Leave a comment

My mom made a batch of enchilada sauce and gave me a butter tub filled with some. It sounded like a good idea to make cheese enchildadas since we’re not having meat on Fridays. I’ve made enchiladas in the past, but using Old El Paso mild sauce. Mom’s homemade sauce is much, much better!

I grabbed my ingredients:

Enchilada sauce

Corn tortillas

Shredded cheddar cheese

Canola oil

Small skillet

And decided to make beans and sopa de estrellas.  For the beans, I poured about three tablespoons of canola oil into a medium-high skillet.Feb 22 003When the oil was shimmery, add the beans and begin mashing them.Feb 22 011Then I put maybe two tablespoons of canola into a small pot, poured in about a cup of estrellas and browned them, tosssed in a tablespoon each of onion powder and garlic powder, a dash of salt and most of an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce.  That bubbled nicely on the stove for about six minutes.Feb 22 010While the beans and sopa cooked, I preheated my oven to 350 degrees F. and grabbed a couple of casserole dishes.  I poured out a bit of enchilada sauce on the bottom of each casserole dish.  Feb 22 005Then, grabbed another skillet and poured in maybe three tablespoons of canola oil, so that I could heat the corn tortillas.  When the oil was hot, added a tortilla and let it get soft on both sides.  Feb 22 006Then, lay the warm tortilla in the casserole dish, add a handful of cheddar and roll it up.Feb 22 007Continue warming tortillas, rolling up with cheddar and fill the casseroles.  Top with more enchilada sauce and more cheese, pop into the oven for about 10 minutes and serve hot with beans and sopa.Feb 22 012Yum!Feb 22 013I think I ate too much……Feb 22 014

Beef Fajitas, Sopa de ABCs and Beans

December 22, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Posted in Mexican, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tonight was Mexican night. My son and I love Mexican food. My husband likes it, but not as much as the two of us do. He loves fajitas, though and that’s what I fixed for supper tonight. Along with the fajitas I made Sopa de ABCs and beans.

fajitas 002

Ingredients for fajitas:

one pound of thin-sliced chuck steak

canola oil, enough to coat the meat

Mrs. Salt Fiesta Lime, enough to coat the meat

Combine and let it marinade for about 10 minutes.

You will also need to slice up an onion for frying with the meat.  Heat a package of at least ten tortillas in the oven; I wrap mine in foil and pop them in at 350 degrees F as soon as I start cooking.  By the time I’m ready to get everything on the table, they’re hot.  Go ahead and get the beans into a pot and warmed, too.

fajitas 001

Ingredients for the sopa:

3-4 tbsp. canola oil

one cup of ABC pasta

1 tbsp. onion powder

1 tbsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. salt

one 8 oz. can of tomato sauce

one 14.5 oz can of chicken broth

In a pot, heat the canola oil on HIGH until it begins to shimmer.  Add the ABC pasta and stir around until it browns.

fajitas 004

Keep stirring; add the onion powder and garlic powder and salt.

fajitas 005

When it’s nice and browned, add the tomato sauce.  Be careful – it likes to splatter!  Once it slows down a bit, add the chicken broth.  Cover and let simmer on LOW for about 8 minutes.

fajitas 006

After 8 minutes, take a bite and see if it’s ready.

fajitas 010

While the sopa is simmering, make the meat.  Heat (on HIGH) about three tablespoons of canola oil in deep pan – I use my wok.  When oil is shimmering, add the meat.  Go ahead and add all of the excess oil and flavorings from the marinade.

fajitas 003

Keep the meat on HIGH and stir around, getting all of the pieces nice and brown.

fajitas 007

When the sopa is almost finished, add the sliced onions.

fajitas 008

Stir the onions in and let them get soft and brown.

fajitas 009


Well, if your timing is right, everything should be HOT and ready to go!

fajitas 012

Put the beans into a serving bowl.

fajitas 011

For the fajitas, we like having sour cream, cheddar cheese, guacamole and salsa to add.

fajitas 013





Taco Salad

December 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Posted in Mexican, My Own Creation, One-Dish Meal, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yum!  We love tacos but they’re so messy!  By the time you add all the goodies (meat, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, etc.) to the taco shell, half the time it breaks.  So rather than fuss over taco shells, the other night we had taco salad.  Pretty much the same thing, except that you take the tortilla chips, pile them on the plate and then pile the goodies on top of the chips.


1 pound hamburger (85/15)

1 package (.5 oz) of taco seasoning

3/4 cup water

Brown hamburger completely; pour off any grease.  Add taco seasoning and water.  Simmer for a few minutes.

taco salad 007

3 tbsp. canola oil

1 can pinto beans (15 oz.)

Pour canola oil in pan, set to medium high.  When oil is shimmery hot, add beans that have been drained a bit.  You can drain off all the juice or just a part of it.  Once, I drained it all off but my teenager said that the beans were “too dry” so I keep some of the juice.  You can see in the next picture, how much of the juice is poured off:

taco salad 004

Let the beans get warm and then start smashing them.  I use a pancake turner but you could use a potato masher if you want them really smashed.

taco salad 006

Lower the heat and let the beans simmer for a few minutes while you grab everything else:

Tortilla chips

Shredded lettuce

Cheddar cheese

Diced tomatoes

Sour cream

Taco sauce or salsa

When the meat and beans are nice and hot and bubbly, it’s time to plate:

Grab a handful of chips and put them on your plate, add lettuce and meat and everything else you want.

taco salad 010


Chicken Quesadillas

October 5, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Posted in Chicken, Main Dish, Mexican, My Own Creation | 4 Comments


Two 9.75 oz. cans of chicken (I like to use the dark and white meat chicken)

3 tbsp. Mrs. Salt Fiesta Lime seasoning

6 tortillas (fajita size)

canola oil

Mexican blend cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F


Open the cans of chicken and pour into colander over the sink; rinse well.  Shake dry.  Pour drained chicken into small bowl and mix with Mrs. Dash.  Since the chicken is already cooked, you can taste and see if it’s got enough flavoring and add more if you like.  Set this aside.

Use a pastry brush and spread oil on two 9×13 cookie sheets.  Set three tortillas on each cookie sheet.  Take the chicken and spread some on top of each tortilla, going all the way to the edge of each tortilla.  Top with cheese….the more the better, IMO.

The tortillas on the right have both chicken and cheese; the ones on the left don’t have cheese yet.

Top each tortilla with another tortilla and using your pastry brush, brush canola oil on top.  Place in oven, allow to bake for approximately six minutes; remove one pan at a time, use a large pancake turner and carefully flip each quesadilla.


Return both pans to oven for another six minutes.  After timer goes off, remove from oven and allow to sit for about five minutes.  Grab your pizza slicer and slice into four equal pieces.

Enjoy!  I serve mine with taco sauce and sour cream for dipping.


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