Sunday, February 26, 2012

White Turkey Chili

Couple of years ago, I was invited to my sister’s house for dinner. Like normal, I showed up and snooped around the kitchen to see what we are eating for dinner. “Chili,” she said, “we’re having chili for dinner.” I thought, “right on, I’m all up for chili.” However, as I observed her cook the meal, I didn’t see the typical ingredients for chili like tomatoes: ground beef: large amounts of shredded cheddar cheese. I thought for a second, should I tell her…should I tell her she isn’t making this chili the right way? Soon after that, my sister explained that we were having a “white” turkey chili. White?! All of a sudden I envisioned a cream sauce with ground turkey and a bunch of stuff thrown into a pot. At that point, I was slightly disappointed. I was already savoring this bowl of ground beef chili with a bunch of shredded cheddar cheese, crushed crackers, sour cream, and maybe even some olives. I look back at that day and think “I should have known.” I know I have mentioned this before and have no problem saying it again, but both of my sisters are great cooks. They definitely are no fools in the kitchen and should have known that what was about to be served was going to be phenomenal. This white turkey chili has and is one of the recipes I make the most to this day. The green chilies and salsa verde give this chili a nice, but not overpowering, spicy taste. Plus, this dish is packed with great ingredients and cooked in chicken broth. I love cooking this chili because it’s a really healthy, yet very flavorful. Had I never been introduced to this chili recipe, I would have continued to have this misconception that chili is a bowl filled with beef and red sauce and topped with shredded cheese. Sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, crackers, chopped onion, or better yet, any other topper is not needed for this chili. It’s simply delicious on its own.   

White Turkey Chili

1 lb of ground turkey
½ an onion, chopped
1 small can of salsa verde (7 oz)
1 4 oz can of chopped green chilies
1 can of roasted red peppers
1 can of cannellini beans
32 oz of chicken broth organic or low sodium
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced


  1. Heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven/pot and add in the ground turkey, salt, pepper, and cumin.
  2. Once the ground turkey is cooked stir in the minced garlic, chopped onion, green chilies, and salsa verde into the pot.
  3. Drain the liquid from both the beans and roasted red peppers and add into the pot.
  4. Add in the 32 oz of chicken broth and simmer for about 20-25 mins over medium heat.
Serve dish with corn bread!

Source: Inspired by Trader Joes' White Turkey Chili recipe.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Caramelized Apples and Cream Cheese Pastry

I was passed along this recipe from a dear friend of mine. Let’s just call her Eileen. She brought it to class one night and of course I loved it! Before leaving class she promised to email the recipe and insisted it was the easiest dessert to make. I thought “yea right, everyone claims to have easiest recipes for desserts.” The first time I ever made this recipe it literally took me five minutes. Since then, I have made this recipe and adapted it ten different ways. Now I won’t have you sit here to listen to all ten, but I’ll share one. J
The original recipe calls for two layers of crescent rolls and two bars of cream cheese. Just imagine making, two layers of dough filled with this delicious cream cheese mixture in the middle, and topped with cinnamon and sugared apple slices on top. I know. Super easy, right?! Well one day, I sent someone to the store. Won’t mention any names, but he came back with only one package of crescent rolls. I thought “now what do I do?” I wasn’t going to send him out again considering that NFL was on, and that is essential to watch when managing various Fantasy Football leagues. I know. I’m so nice. So I figured I would work with what I had. I ended up using one layer of crescent rolls as the crust and one and a half bars of cream cheese and baked according to the recipe. Instead of placing the sliced cinnamon and sugared apples on top of the cream cheese mixture, I ended up cooking them aside, for fear of having the dessert turn soggy. As you can see, this recipe is easy and can be modified in different ways. This dish is perfect for those work pot lucks we always sign up for, yet kick ourselves in the butt when we have to make it the night before. Or better yet, when unexpected guest come over and you’re scrambling to put a frozen pie in the oven. Hey…..! I’m not judging. I’ve been known to put a frozen pie in the oven too! But why not try making something new, simple, and delicious? Nobody has to know that you just made the easiest dessert possible. That’s just between us!
Caramelized Apples and Cream Cheese Pastry (Pictured)

1 package of crescent rolls
1 ½ bars of cream cheese
1 cup of sugar
¼ of a teaspoon of vanilla
¼ of a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
3 medium size Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
¼ of teaspoon of ground cinnamon


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350, and spread one layer of crescent rolls onto a greased 9x13 baking pan.
  2. In a bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla until smooth and well mixed.
  3. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over crescent rolls and bake 18 minutes.
  4. In a skillet, melt the two tablespoons of butter and add in the two tablespoons of light brown sugar.
  5. Add in the sliced apples and cook until fork tender.
  6. Pour apples over cream cheese pastry when ready to serve.

Original Recipe

2 packages of crescent rolls
2 bars of cream cheese
1 ¼  cups of sugar
¼ of a teaspoon of vanilla
¼ of a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
3 medium size Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of light sugar
¼ of teaspoon of ground cinnamon


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350, and spread one layer of crescent rolls onto a greased 9x13 baking pan.
  2. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and ground cinnamon until smooth and well mixed.
  3. Spread cream cheese mixture over crescent rolls and lay the second layer of crescent rolls on top.
  4. Melt the butter in a bowl and spoon over top layer of crescent rolls.
  5. Arrange sliced apples on top of the crescent rolls and sprinkle the ground cinnamon and sugar over the apples.
  6. Bake for 18 minutes or until dough and apples have slightly browned.

Source: Adapted from E.G.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Not Your Abuelita's Hot Chocolate

I love the fact that every Saturday night I have a date…with my DVR. I know. And to think that I once made fun of my sister for doing the same thing, yet look at me now! Frankly, I do not mind it. My work week, as everyone’s, goes by so fast that I don’t have any time to watch TV during the week. Saturday nights are defiantly a time for me to catch up on my shows and on all the chisme with my girlfriends. Couple of weeks ago, I was preparing for my Saturday night party and wanted some sort of cocktail. I looked around in my kitchen and found wine, which surprisingly I wasn’t in the mood for, and tequila. Lord knows I don’t really do tequila. And if I do…I end up on the couch/deathbed the following morning and can expect to make a trip to the Waffle House which is not good. That night I ended up making hot chocolate using the Nestlé’s- Abuelita Mexican Hot Chocolate Mix. If you have never used this mix before, I totally recommend you give it a shot. The cinnamon, sugar, and cocoa tablets melt in the milk and create this really fragrant and flavorful drink. I’m sorry, but little Ms. Swiss Miss can’t even come close to Abuelita’s hot chocolate. After that, I thought about what could be added to this drink to make it even better, and came up with Kahlua and toffee. The smell of coffee liquor and the taste of the chocolate toffee give this drink even more flavor. Now, there isn’t anything wrong about the original recipe to making this hot chocolate. I simply just wanted something warm, with a kick, and that would satisfy my sweet tooth. I don’t know about you, but there is nothing better than curling up on the couch with snacks, and in this case, a great drink. So now you have your drink and the remote. The only thing left to decide is what Housewives episode to watch.

Serves 2

2 cups of Milk
½ tablet of Nestlé’s Abuelita hot chocolate mix
1.5 ounces of Kahlua (one shot), make it two if your having a bad day ;)
Splash of Vanilla extract
One toffee candy bar, crushed into pieces


  1. Heat two cups of milk in a small pot at medium heat.
  2. Add in the ½ tablet of Abuelita chocolate and vanilla to mixture and continue to stir.
  3. Once the chocolate has melted add in the crushed toffee and stir until most of the toffee has melted.
  4. Last, add in the one shot of Kahlua into the hot chocolate mix and serve.

Source: Adapted from Nestlé’s Abuelita Hot Chocolate Drink Mix

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Enchiladas Rojas

 I love enchiladas! I have never eaten an enchilada that I didn’t like. J What I like about cooking this dish is that it is so versatile. You can make red or green enchiladas, and have sauces that are sweet, savory, and even spicy. Enchiladas can be stuffed with just about anything! I can assure you that this will not be the only enchilada recipe I post. But…I promise that you will find each recipe different and delicious.
 I got this recipe from my mother in-law. As mentioned, I have my own recipes for different types of enchiladas, but I really like this recipe. This enchilada sauce is a red sauce that is meant to be sweet. I know that at first this recipe may seem challenging, but I can honestly say that it is pretty easy and will continue to get easier the more you make it. What I love about this sauce is that it’s sweet, but you have the option of making it spicy by adding as many chiles ( chile piquin, chile de arbol) as you’d like. You may be thinking, ok…”the sauce is sweet”…”the sauce is red” “what makes this different from any other enchilada sauce from the store?” The recipe calls for ½ of a tablet of Mexican chocolate. Mexican chocolate is made from dark chocolate, sugar, and cinnamon formed into circular tablets. That is the secret key ingredient to making this sauce so sweet and unique. I love this sauce! It almost reminds me of a mole sauce.
For this recipe, I filled the enchiladas with queso fresco, which is similar to a feta cheese and topped them with sliced lettuce. I guess I will admit this now….but, I have this love/hate relationship with onions. I will eat caramelized onions, cooked onions, onion rings, and even chips with onion flavor. However, I will not eat raw onion. I can sniff out a raw onion a mile away, and frankly it makes me gag like a child in the dental chair for the first time. No joke! But when it comes to cooking, my mother always taught me to cook with onion, so that my dishes are filled with great flavor. And I agree with her! But one day I had a conversation with my mother in- law, in which I told her my disgust with topping certain dishes, like enchiladas, with raw onion and she gave me a good tip. Mixing onion, lime, a pinch of salt and sugar, and oregano together helps tone down the smell and taste of raw onion. Since then, I always mix onion like this and leave it on the side for those who wish to add onion to their dish. Additionally, I shared a quick and easy recipe for a small side dish to pair with these enchiladas. Enjoy!
Enchiladas Rojas

Serves 4


8 Chiles guajillo
3 Garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon of dry oregano
1 Chile piquin, or chile de arbol (Optional)
1 Tablespoon of flour
½ teaspoon of salt
½ of Nestle Abuelita Mexican Chocolate Tablet
Or 2-3 Teaspoons of sugar, if chocolate isn’t available
3 Cups of grated Queso Fresco
¼ of a Cabbage or lettuce sliced into thin strips  
½ Cup of cooking Oil  
2 Tablespoons of Cooking Oil
1 ½ cups of hot water

Lime Marinated Onions (optional)
Source: H. Sandoval
2/3 of a Cup of chopped onion
½ Teaspoon of dry oregano
½ Teaspoon of salt
Pinch of sugar
Juice of one lime
Mix all ingredients, and set aside


Rinse and remove the stem of the guajillo chiles and cook them in a small pot of water. You want to cook these chiles for about 8 minutes or until they soften. Do not worry about removing the seeds from the chiles. Meanwhile, melt half tablet of Mexican chocolate in the microwave for about 40 seconds, or until slightly softened (not melted.) Also, at this time, heat one tablespoon of oil in a small pan and heat for about two minutes, then place the chile piquin or chile de arbol in the oil and toast for about two minutes, or until the peppers begin to fry. Once the guajillo chiles have softened, remove from water and into the blender with: garlic, dry oregano, chile piquin/arbol, ½ teaspoon of salt, chocolate, and hot water. Blend ingredients for about 1 minute. At this time you may taste the sauce to see if you would like to add a pinch more of salt. Leave sauce in blender.
In the same pan you toasted the small chiles, re-heat the oil and pour sauce into the pan using a strainer. Grab a spoon and press down on the mixture in the strainer to assure you get all of the sauce out of it. Next, pour 1 table spoon of flour into the sauce and let sauce simmer four about 3 minutes or until it starts to thicken, and remove from heat.
At this time, warm up tortillas on a griddle and set aside (if you do not have a griddle you may wrap tortillas in a paper towel and warm up in a microwave for about 36 seconds).
Next, in a large skillet warm up the ½ cup of cooking oil. At this time you want to create an assembly line to prepare your enchiladas. Have your sauce, grated cheese, marinated onion, and sliced cabbage/lettuce, and an extra plate near by. Dip your tortilla into the skillet with the oil. Once the tortilla puffs up, remove from oil, dip into the red sauce, and place on plate. Take 1-2 spoonfuls of grated cheese and marinated onion mix, place filling in the middle of tortilla, and then fold over both sides. Last, garnish enchiladas with sliced cabbage/lettuce on top.

Potatoes and Carrots Side Dish  (Optional)

3 Baking potatoes peeled and diced into cubes
2 Carrots peeled and cut into bite size pieces
2 Tablespoon of Cooking Oil
½ Teaspoon of salt
½ Teaspoon of garlic powder


Boil potatoes and carrots in a pot using cold water for about 18 minutes or until fork tender. Once potatoes are cooked, drain and place into a baking dish. Mix olive oil, salt, and garlic powder into baking dish. Bake potatoes and carrots at 350, for 20 minutes.

Note: If there is any sauce left over, you may freeze it and re-use it. If you cannot find queso fresco, you may replace it with feta cheese. 

Source: H.Sandoval



I am so excited to FINALLY be able to kick off this blog!I have been working at putting this blog together for about seven months now, and at last, I have everything I need to get things started. I appreciate all of you who motivated me,and waited around patiently to see what I got cookin'. Every week, I hope to share new recipes as well as improve my photography skills. I'm sure in the future I'll have some disastrous moments in the kitchen....but I won't mind sharing that with you. At least you'll get a good laugh, right?! Additionally, I'd like to thank my husband for his support, and for helping me get this blog started. In the next couple of weeks, you'll see why I needed all these little random things to get this blog started. :)