Pork Tamales with Guajillo and Pasilla Chile Sauce

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These are a Holiday Favorite of myself and my husband! Even before we met, growing up it was a tradition for my family to get tamales! I always loved eating them with sauce, cheese, and salsa on the side and I grew up understanding that the process was a lonnnnnnnnnnnggg one, I told myself hell no I am not making tamales, I prefer to just buy them because they’re too complicated! lol Well, here I am telling you TAMALES ARE NOT THAT COMPLICATED! The most complicated part about tamales is the TIME it takes to wrap them…but if you have a little team together ( or a good husband that is hungry and cant wait to eat lol) then it will be a fun process! Just have a glass of wine, beer, or a cocktail next to you lol.

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Making the Masa:

  • 6 cups of Masa Harina ( Makes 20-25 tamales)
  • 1/2 lb of lard
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cups of chicken broth ( or you can mix hot water with chicken bouillon-caldo de pollo).
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

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In a bowl, combine Masa, broth, and salt and combine and knead. Set aside. The texture will feel like a thick, soft corn meal consistency.IMG_4074

In a separate bowl combine lard and butter. Use an electric mixer if you have one. Now combine your lard/butter mixture into the masa mixture. Cover in plastic and set aside. You can sit this in the fridge for up to 3 days or until your pork mixture is finished.IMG_4073

Next, it is time to prepare your pork filling:

I used pork for stew because it is already chopped up! A good friend of mine, Jackie told me about using this and it works excellently! So thank you Jackie!

  • 2lbs of pork
  • a handful of Guajillo and Pasilla Chiles (maybe about 4 cups, but eyeball it)
  • 2 tablespoons of clove
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of cuminIMG_4075 IMG_4076 IMG_4077 IMG_4079

In a skillet, combine pork, cumin, cloves, salt, and pepper with about two tablespoons of oil.IMG_4083 IMG_4087 IMG_4088

Saute till pork pieces are browned. In the meantime, combine your chiles in a pot about 5 cups of water or enough to submerge the chiles, and 3 cloves of garlic. Boil until they’re softened. IMG_4084 IMG_4086

Once they are softened it is time to carefully spoon the chiles into a blender with the water/juices from the pot. I added a handful of chiles with about 1-2 cups of water each time. IMG_4094 IMG_4095

Once all my chiles are blended, if you have one, get your strainer out and strain the chile mixture in with the pork. Like so:IMG_4099 IMG_4100 IMG_4101

Now, it’s time to cook the pork down until tender! I cooked it down for 3 hours!! Perfection takes time!

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Now!! Once I cooked the pork down, I shredded it by hand. It was soft enough to do so…but please wait till the pork has cooled down! lolIMG_4111

Now lets ASSEMBLE THE TAMALES!! By the way, make sure you soak your dried corn husks in warm water for at least 10 minutes before you assemble!!

Adding the dough: Lay the husk on a flat surface. Spoon about 1-2 tablespoons of dough onto the husk, depending on the size of the husk. Now use a spoon to spread the dough onto the husk and make sure you leave some space for folding. Spread the dough to the edge of one of the long sides and 2 inches away from the other side. Almost like you’re making a thick circle.

Filling: Spread a couple spoonfuls of filling down the center.

Folding: If the husk is big enough, fold it like a burrito. But when the husk is a smaller husk, i folded it leaving the top of the tamal open.

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Tying: Create strips of husks by cutting or tearing. You’re going to use this to tie your tamales once you’re finished rolling them, just so they wont explode!

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Steaming: Set tamales upright. I recommend buying a steamer, and not trying to create your own, it makes it much easier! The key is to having a small amount of water at the bottom and keep the tamales away from the water!

Steam for 90 minutes COVERED!

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Once you’re finished steaming, make sure your masa is nice and fluffy! Now pour the rest ( if you have some left) of your chile sauce!! And enjoy with some rice and beans!!

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Breaded Chicken Breasts in Mushroom Gravy

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I really enjoy anything with gravy to be quite honest lol. This is a really fun and easy recipe, especially if you’re a mushroom lover. I don’t know the caloric intake, but I can only assume, chicken and mushrooms is pretty healthy for you right? lol

Prep: 5 minutes. Cook time: 40 minutes. Total: 45 minutes

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Ingredients:

  • chicken breasts (2-4)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6-8 mushrooms sliced
  • 2 cups of chicken broth or you can substitute chicken broth for water and chicken bouillon
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 whole brown onion diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of flour to bread the chicken.

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I seasoned, floured and seared the chicken breasts first and set them aside.

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In the same skillet I seared the chicken, I added all the veggies with extra virgin olive oil. I sauteed the veggies until they were soft.

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Next, I added cream, milk and broth with a little salt and black pepper.  IMG_3937

…a little bit of parsley.IMG_3938

Now, add the chicken breasts and cook down for 35 minutes or until breasts cooked through.IMG_3939IMG_3941

Yummy!!!! Cooked perfectly.IMG_3946

Seared Tilapia with tomatoes, peppers and onions.

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Since I’ve started back on my gym kick, working out and trying to incorporate more fish into my diet, I decided to buy a big sams club sized bag of frozen tilapia ! I wanted to challenge myself and see how many creative, quick and easy recipes I could come up with simply with Tilapia! Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with tilapia, it’s the type of fish you have to season WELL and pair it with some delicious ingredients in order for it to really have a good flavor. I had some leftover bell pepper that i didn’t want to waste, some lemon, garlic, onions, and tomatoes and decided to do a medley! Here’s so it turned out!

Prep: 5 minutes. Cook time: 20 minutes. Total: 25 minutes.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • tilapia filets ( you can do this recipe with however many pieces you prefer. I used 4.
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1 whole on the vine tomato.
  • Seasonings: I used old bay, lemon pepper seasoning and black pepper.

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In a skillet, add a little butter or margarine and extra virgin olive oil just to coat the pan. Add onions and saute.

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Next, add bell pepper and garlic to the mixture. Cook for 5 minutes.IMG_3983

Now, time to ass your seasoned filets! Turn the heat up a little more to get a nice sear on the filets.IMG_3984

Tilapia does not take that long to cook, so once you get a sear on them, turn them on low and allow the mixture to simmer. Make sure you stir around the fish to make sure the veggies aren’t sticking. If you need to add more olive oil, do that. IMG_3989 IMG_3990

Once your fish is finished, time to plate it. I put the peppers down first, then the fish on top. In the same skillet, saute your tomatoes just so they can get the flavor of all the fish drippings and veggies. Saute for 2-3 minutes and pour onto of the fish. IMG_3991 IMG_3994

Serve with your favorite medley! I love having fish with rice and spinach! Yum!!!IMG_3997

Fruit Compote with Raspberries & Blueberries

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Sometimes for breakfast I like to make pancakes with fruit on top. But recently, I thought it’d be fun to do a compote and combine all my favorite fruits into a delicious mish-mash of gravy, sugary-syrup deliciousness! A Compote is a french word for “mixture” usually combining fruit, sugar, water and spices. The great thing about this compote is you can put it on whatever you like whether it be pancakes, biscuits, toast, etc. AND its super easy!!

I wont do a traditional recipe post because it’s so simple! It only took about 10 minutes on medium heat for the mixture to thicken. I used raspberries and blueberries but you can do any kind of berry or fruit!

I used 2 tablespoons of water, 1/2 cup of sugar.

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After about 10 minutes it was a delicious, boiling pot of blueberries and raspberries. IMG_3818

I used it for my pancakes! BTW I made almond and banana pancakes! Take a look if you’re curious!

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It was so delish!!! You must try it!! IMG_3827

Homemade Sugar Cookies

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I’ve always loved a good sugar cookie especially around the Holidays. But for some reason, the ones in the store never did it for me! I was searching to figure out what makes the perfect sugar cookie! The ingredients seemed so easy, but there had to be something special other than butter, sugar and flour to add into a sugar cookie to give it a perfect balance of crumbly, crunchy and soft!…And then, i finally figured it out!! It was the perfect additive…and you’ll never guess what it is!! Stay Tuned…

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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extra
  • 2 oz of cream cheese (THE MAGIC INGREDIENT!)
  • 1 bottle of your favorite sprinkles
  • a few of your favorite cookie cutters (optional)

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DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add vanilla and egg.
Sift dry ingredients together and add to mixture. Mix completely, but take care not to over mix.

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Divide dough in half and form each half into a log and wrap in parchment or wax paper. Refrigerate dough for 5 minutes. Then on a floured surface, if you plan to use cookie cutters, use a rolling pin ( or get creative and wrap parchment paper around a wine bottle lol) and roll the dough out about an inch flat.Use your favorite shapes and press firmly in the dough.

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Carefully pour enough sprinkles onto a plate to make a single layer. Press one side of each circle of dough into the sprinkles and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, sprinkle side up.

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Fill the pan up, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between cookies. Bake at 325°F for 12-13 minutes, or until cookies are a light golden brown almost all over.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

Makes about 4-5 dozen cookies

And ENJOY!

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Swedish Meatballs

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This is by far my most favorite recipe meatball recipe. I think I say that about all my recipes though LOL but really, the combination of ground turkey and a little ground beef makes these balls very soft! Ok enough talky, more eaty! lol

Prep: 10 mins| Cook: 40 mins| Total: 50 minsIMG_3769IMG_3772

Ingredients:

For the balls

  • 1lb of ground turkey
  • 1/2 lb of lean ground beef
  • 1 whole white onion
  • 3 stalks of celery diced
  • 1 whole serrano chile for spice
  • 3 cloves of garlic diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of seasoning salt
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup ( my little additive)

For the gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups of milk
  • chopped parsley (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon salt and pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of beef bouillon, or substitute water for beef broth
  • 6 mushrooms sliced (you can also add more if you like)

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In a bowl, combined ground beef and turkey.IMG_3746

Add 2 eggs. IMG_3747

Next, add the bread crumbs and crushed red pepper. IMG_3748

Combine all your veggies, onions, garlic, Serrano, and bell pepper to the meat mixture. Next add ketchup, salt, pepper and seasoning salt.IMG_3749

Roll balls out about 2 inches in circumference. If you prefer bigger balls, well…thats your preference lol.IMG_3751 IMG_3752

In a skillet, drizzle SANTINI olive oil about 2 tablespoons. I only specify because some people ask which extra virgin olive oil I prefer. And I am sorry i am covering up the label! Once your olive oil is hot, add your balls and be prepared to turn continuously for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat until nice and brown. You can also cover to them to make it a little easier. IMG_3753

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Once you brown your meatballs, take them out and sit them on a plate to rest. In that same pan, now you’re ready for the gravy.

If you covered your meatballs you will notice a good amount of drippings already in the pan. Now add your unsalted butter.

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In a separate pan, drizzle olive oil and add mushrooms, and any excess celery, bell pepper and onion. I decided to cook this desperately and add it to the gravy later. Mushrooms tend to have a lot of water in them, so I didn’t want to water down my gravy by adding the mushrooms in uncooked! Saute for 5-7 minutes and let sit.

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In your gravy pan add your cream, salt, pepper, milk, water and beef bouillon ( or if you substituted the water for beef broth).

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Little bits of chopped parsley!IMG_3763

Now its time to add your balls, and mushroom mixture! Cook down for about 30 minutes!IMG_3764 IMG_3768

You can serve over egg noodles like I did! Or, have with rice or potatoes…BUT I recommend wide egg noodles!! Yummy!! Its that easy!!

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Stuffed Grilled Trout w/ Garlic, Cilantro and Serrano Chile

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Ok so what do you do when you have WHOLE TROUT, lemon, Serrano chiles, cilantro, onion, and garlic????!! You experiment by combining all those ingredients together! lol This was merely experimental, but this experiment turned out quite nicely!!! And it was so terribly easy! Of course, make sure you go to the butcher and purchase fish already cleaned, scaled, and gutted! It makes it much easier, less stressful and no hassle! All you have to do is rinse the fish off thoroughly and chop all your ingredients! You can bake this or grill it. My husband loves grilling so I opted to give him a little task, and sent him on his merry ole way to grill the fish I had prepared! lol

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Ingredients:

  • Trout, cleaned, and gutted.
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 1 whole Serrano Chile
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 onion

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Next: assemble how you like. I added salt and pepper to the inside of the fish first, then added butter, garlic, slices of lemon, cilantro, and Serrano chile then topped with onion, more butter, and lemon.

I drizzled extra virgin olive oil on the foil before placing the fish down. You can see it here! I wrapped it in foiled and smoked it on the grill for 30 minutes!

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I served with a kale, chard and spinach mixture with some tomatoes! Its healthy and delicious!

ENJOY!

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