Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cranberry Salsa

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope this holiday finds you surrounded with friends, family, peace, and love. This is one of my most requested recipes because it is simple and absolutely delicious. I serve mine over a thin layer of cream cheese on wheat thins, or straight up with tortilla chips.


1 bag fresh cranberries
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch green onions (white and green part)
1-3 jalapeno depending on heat tolerance
3/4 cup sugar
The juice of 2 limes
1/4 teaspoon salt

Add cranberries to a food processor and pulse until the cranberries are coarsely chopped. Add them to a large bowl. Then add the next three ingredients to the food processor and chop fine and add those to the cranberries. Add in the sugar, lime juice, and salt and stir until combined.

Cover and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours so the flavors can meld together. Enjoy!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tailgate Chili

When I think of fall, three things come to mind....cooler weather, football, and chili. I grew up in a small college town and there is absolutely nothing like it. The town would come together to cheer on the High school football team on Friday nights and gather again for the college game on Saturday. One thing we always had at tailgates was a hot bowl of spicy chili. True comfort food. I miss my hometown, but making a big batch of chili always takes me back.


1 yellow onion diced
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
3 fresh jalapeno peppers seeded and finely chopped
3 lbs ground beef
1 lb breakfast sausage in the tube
3 packaged McCormick chili seasoning
3 large cans tomato sauce (29 oz each)
2 cans diced tomatoes (14.5 oz each)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
2 cans dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Add meat, sausage, onion, garlic, and jalapenos to a dutch oven. Brown and break up the meat until no longer pink.

Drain off the excess grease. I pour mine into a large strainer and then put it back into the pot. Add seasoning packets and stir over medium heat so the spices get absorbed into the meat mixture. Next, add in the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and place in the oven. Cook for 3 hrs stirring frequently. The last hour add the beans and sugar and continue to cook for another hour. Serve with your choice of toppings. Here are a few of my favorites:


shredded cheddar cheese
sliced jalapenos
chopped onions
Frito's (in the bottom topped with chili for a Frito chili pie)
vinegar (I know it sounds weird, but once you try it, you'll be hooked!)

Pecan Bars

This recipe is for those people who think they can't bake. It is rediculously easy and taste exactly like a delicious piece of pecan pie.



1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature


4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups Karo syrup
2 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cream together butter and sugar on medium speed. Add flour and saltto the butter and sugar and mix until it resembles fine crumbs.

Press into a 10X15 inch baking pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Make sure you use the right size pan to get the correct crust to topping ratio. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until light golden brown. While the crust is cooking, prepare the filling. Beat eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla until well blended. Stir in the chopped pecans. Pour over hot crust and bake for another 30 minutes. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Beware, these cupcakes are addicting!!! They are also a nice treat for those who don't like the traditional thanksgiving pies.


1 box super moist yellow cake mix
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup pecans
8 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1 teaspoon good vanilla
4-5 cups powdered sugar (depending on desired sweetness)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place paper baking cups in muffin tins.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cake mix, pumpkin, water, oil, eggs and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups about 2/3 of the way full. I can usually get about 18 cupcakes with this recipe.

Place in oven and bake 18-20 miunutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cupcakes comes out clean. Do not over bake or they will become dry. Let cool in pan about 2 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

For Frosting, cream together butter and cream cheese on medium speed until well blended. Add in vanilla and powdered sugar a cup at a time mixing on low speed after each addition. After you have added all of the powdered sugar, continue to mix on medium speed for about 10 minutes until smooth and creamy.

Turn oven up to 350° F and place pecans on a cookie sheet. Toast pecans in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.

Place frosting in a piping bag with a large pastry tip and pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Dust with pumpkin pie spice and top with toasted pecan. Enjoy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Orange Glazed Salmon

I decided after a week of eating the leftover Halloween Candy that I needed to take it easy on the calories. This salmon is one of the most requested dishes when I cater events so I can practically make it in my sleep. It really is one of the quickest meals you can make and it looks impressive too!


2 (6 oz) center cut salmon fillets (skin removed)
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
Cooking Spray
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary ( plus a little more for garnish)
3/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 oranges)
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Sprinkle fillets evenly with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat and coat with cooking spray. Most fillets you buy will be thinner on one end. A trick to cooking the fillet evenly is to tuck the thin side under the fillet making the fillet equally thick from end to end. Place the salmon in the heated skillet with the tucked end on the bottom. Cook about 2 minutes on each side making sure you get a nice sear on both sides.

Remove salmon to a plate and tent with foil. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Recoat the skillet with cooking spray and return to a medium heat. Add the shallots and saute for about 45 seconds. Stir in the wine and rosemary and continue to cook until the liquid is almost evaporated. Add orange juice and syrup and bring to a boil. Cook another two minutes. Return the fillets back to the pan and cook another minute on each side. When serving, spoon remaining sauce over the salmon and sprinkle with leftover chopped rosemary. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Not Your Abuela's Tortilla Soup

I had this soup for the first time when I moved to Texas 15 years ago and I fell in love with it. I get a call asking for this recipe about 10 times a year. After trying tortilla soup at several Mexican Restaurants, I realized this is not a traditional tortilla soup, but it is still one of my favorites. I also don't feel like this is really cooking because you are basically emptying your pantry and dumping it into a pot. It doesn't get much easier!


5 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 boxes of chicken broth
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 small onion chopped
1 can tomato sauce
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans ranch style beans drained and rinsed
2 cups uncooked white minute rice
1 lime juiced


cilantro chopped
shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
tortilla strips

Place the chicken in the crock pot with the chicken broth, onion and seasoning and let it cook for 4 hrs on low. Remove the chicken and allow to cool on a cutting board. While the chicken is cooling, add the rest of the ingredients except for the lime juice and toppings. Turn the crock pot to high and cook for 30 minutes. Shred the chicken with two forks. Then add the shredded chicken and lime juice to the soup mixture and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes. Serve in bowls and top with desired toppings and enjoy!