Chicken Enchiladas – Cindy

Chicken Enchiladas – Cindy

4-6 Chicken Breasts, boiled and cut
into small bite size pieces
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
1 small can diced green chilies
1 can chopped olives
1 cup cheddar or jack cheese, grated


Mix all above ingredients and place a large spoonful in flour tortilla or a corn tortilla
that has been softened in hot oil. Roll and place in 9×13 pan. Cover with remaining
sauce. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes.

Pickled Onions

Pickled Onions

INGREDIENTS
2 red onions
¾ cup white wine vinegar
⅓ cup water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
5 whole peppercorns


DIRECTIONS
Thinly slice onions and rinse under cold water; place onions in 32-oz mason jar.  After about 15 seconds, strain out water leaving onions in jar.  In saucepan, combine vinegar, honey, and salt; heat to simmer.  Pour vinegar mixture over onions; add peppercorns.  Seal the jar, shake, and refrigerate for at least an hour.  If necessary, press onions down using a wooden spoon to submerge.  Onions can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Birria Tacos

Birria Tacos

INGREDIENTS
7 dried guajillo chiles
7 dried morita chiles
4 dried ancho chiles
3 dried chiles de arbol
1 liter water, boiling
5 lbs beef chuck
2 lbs beef shot ribs
Salt
Pepper
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp Mexican oregano
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp allspice berries
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1 can (28-oz) whole tomatoes
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp vinegar
½ cup vegetable oil
Corn tortillas
Queso fresco, crumbled; or jack cheese, shredded
Onion, diced
Cilantro, chopped


DIRECTIONS
Cut beef into 4-inch chunks and season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Remove stems and seeds from chilis1. Place in mixing bowl and cover with the boiling water.  Soak for about 30 minutes.

Grind Mexican oregano, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cloves, allspice berries, and bay leaves in spice grinder or using mortar and pestle.  Remove to a bowl and add onion powder, paprika and cinnamon.

In large dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp oil to shimmering; brown meat in batches. Remove meat to a bowl.

Place spice mixture in dutch oven; heat until spices are fragrant (about 15-30 seconds). Pour in tomatoes with juice; smashing tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon2.  Add garlic, salt, and vinegar.  Place hydrated chiles with liquid in blender and blend.  Pour chile mixture into dutch oven; bring to a simmer, being sure to scrape the fond from the bottom of the dutch oven to incorporate.  Add beef back to dutch oven and stir.  Add oil.  Simmer on low for several hours, or until meat is cooked and easy to shred.

Remove meat from sauce and shred.  Once meat is shredded, remove oil from top of sauce mixture and reserve.  Add a few tablespoons of sauce to shredded meat and set aside.  Dip tortilla in reserved oil; lightly fry both sides. Add meat and cheese to tortilla; fold into a taco and fry both sides until crispy. Add onion and cilantro to taste.  Serve with a bowl of the sauce from the meat mixture for dipping.

Notes:
1 While not recommended, chiles de arbol can be reduced or omitted for a milder spice level.
2 Because the sauce is supposed to be somewhat like a cloudy consommé, the tomatoes should be blended and the sauce strained; our family prefers a little texture to the sauce.

Chocolate Cream

Chocolate Cream

INGREDIENTS
4 eggs
300g whole milk
300g heavy whipping cream
25g sugar
400g dark chocolate chips


DIRECTIONS
Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, and sugar; place over simmering double boiler. Heat mixture whisking constantly until the mixture reaches 168ºF (75ºC). Remove from heat and whisk in dark chocolate until fully melted and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap touching surface and refrigerate overnight.

Stuffing

Stuffing

INGREDIENTS
1 lb hot sausage
1 lb sage (or regular) sausage
2 cans (4-oz each) water chestnuts, drained and chopped
2 onions, minced (divided)
2-3 cups celery, thinly sliced (with leaves)
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
5 cups chicken stock
1½ cubes butter
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 tbsp parsley flakes
2 tsp marjoram flakes
1 tsp ground sage (add an additional ½ tsp sage if not using sage sausage)
¾ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp oregano leaves
16 cups bread, cubed and dried1
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
pistachios (or pine nuts, roasted)
pepitas (optional)


DIRECTIONS
Place both sausages in large sauté pan and brown; add water chestnuts.  Place browned sausage mixture in a large mixing bowl and set aside, reserving drippings in sauté pan.

Add 1½ onions and celery to sauté pan with a small pat of butter and cook until onions are translucent. Place celery mixture in a separate bowl and set aside. Add remaining onion, mushrooms, and a pat of butter to sauté pan.  Sauté until mushrooms have release a significant amount of liquid.  Pour liquid into a separate bowl and reserve.  Continue to sauté mushrooms to desired doneness; add to celery mixture.

In a large stock pot, combine liquid from mushrooms plus enough chicken stock to total 5 cups of liquid; add butter.  Stir in Italian Seasoning (or substitute Herbes de Provence), parsley flakes,  marjoram, sage, black pepper, and oregano.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in onion and celery mixture; return to boil.  Remove from heat; immediately add bread crumbs and carefully stir to moisten.  Cover with lid and allow the stuffing to sit for five to ten minutes.

After liquid is absorbed2, stir in all remaining ingredients, reserving some of the dried cranberries, pistachios (or pine nuts), and pepitas (optional).  Place stuffing in two 9×13 pans and heat under broiler until the top is slightly browned.  Top with reserved dried cranberry mixture.

Notes:
1 For best results use baguettes.
2 If too moist, prior to stirring in final ingredients, gently spread stuffing on a baking sheet keeping bread as intact as possible. Place in a 350º oven and allow to dry to desired moisture level, stirring occasionally.

(Updated 12/27/2023)

Carnitas

Carnitas

INGREDIENTS
8 lbs pork shoulder, cut into large chucks
8 lbs lard
4 tbsp salt dissolved in 1½ cups hot water
1 can evaporated milk
1 bottle Coca-Cola
3 oranges (minimum ½ cup juice)
2-3 bay leaves
15-20 cloves garlic
½ onion


DIRECTIONS
Heat lard to 350° on medium heat; add pork.  Stir every 15 minutes until evenly brown and crispy (30-60 minutes).  Reduce heat to approx. 225°; add remaining ingredients and simmer until browned, crispy and fork tender.

For tacos, serve in warmed corn tortillas, topped with diced onion, chopped cilantro, crumbled queso fresco, and homemade salsa (salsa verde & chile de árbol salsa).

Southern Sweet Potatoes

Southern Sweet Potatoes

SweetPotatoesThis side dish is based on a recipe from Great Grandma Lena. Grandma was a proper southern lady.  Born 11 August 1901 in Missouri, at three years old her family moved by covered wagon to Dover, Arkansas.  The slow journey took over a week.  At 17, she married Wilmer (Sr).  Grandpa (Jr) was the youngest of their four children.  In 1936, the family moved to Southern California.  They made the trek in a car with a rumble seat. 

Grandma Lena’s recipe for Southern Sweet Potatoes is a Thanksgiving tradition.  The celebration just wouldn’t be the same without them!


INGREDIENTS
4 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
½ cup white sugar
4 eggs beaten
1¼ cubes butter melted
2 cups half-and-half
¾ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp allspice (optional)
2 tsp vanilla (optional)

Topping
4 cups chopped pecans
2 cups light brown sugar packed
1½ cups melted butter


DIRECTIONS
Combine sweet potato ingredients; pour into 9×13 pan and bake for 30 minutes at 375° to 400°. Remove from oven. Combine topping ingredients and spread over sweet potatoes. Return to oven and bake an additional 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot.

(Revised Dec 2022)

 

Grandma’s Lasagna

Grandma’s Lasagna

In the 1960s and 70s, most of our family parties included the Berg family.  Tom, Evie, and their daughter Donna were always there.  Their son Tommy was serving in the military, so we didn’t see him and his wife Linda as often, but all of the Bergs have always felt like a part of our family.  Grandma’s Lasagna recipe actually came from Donna Berg sometime in the 1970s.  Donna served this at a birthday party and it was such a hit that our family has since used this lasagna recipe exclusively.

I’ve made a few modifications to this recipe over the years. I added the besciamella after living in the home of Bep Lupker in the city of Delft, The Netherlands. Bep’s lasagna included a delicious besciamella—so good that I never forgot about it. Now a lasagna doesn’t seem complete without it. I’ve also made a few modifications to the meat sauce. The original recipe can be found at the end of the post.


INGREDIENTS
Lasagna:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup (8-oz) onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground chuck beef
1 can (28-oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15-oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6-oz) tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup dry white, or dry red wine (optional)
2 tsp fish sauce (optional)
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried ground fennel
¼ tsp dried thyme leaves
2 whole cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
½ tsp fresh ground pepper (to taste) 
1 tsp salt

Besciamella:
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground fresh pepper
small pinch nutmeg


DIRECTIONS:
Lasagna:
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, heat olive oil until shimmering; add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent and tender.  Add meat and cook until no longer pink. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chicken broth, wine (optional), and fish sauce (optional); add remaining herbs, spices & seasonings. Simmer covered on low heat for 30 minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes.  Remove bay leaves (sauce is best when made a day more in advance and reheated).

Place enough meat sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan to thinly coat. Add ⅓ of the cooked lasagna noodles.  Spread ⅓ of the ricotta (and/or cottage cheese), Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese over lasagna,  Cover with ⅓ of the remaining meat sauce.  Repeat for two additional layers. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan.

Bake covered at 325° for 40 minutes and uncovered for 10 minutes, or until warmed through and cheese is slightly browned.

Besciamella:
Thoroughly heat butter and flour.  Whisk in remaining ingredients; cook until thickened.

Slice and serve lasagna topped with besciamella.


ORIGINAL RECIPE

Lasagna:
⅓ cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground chuck beef
1 can (8-oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6-oz) tomato paste
1 cup water
½ tsp oregano
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tsp salt
½ tsp basil
1 whole clove, crushed
2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese (or 1 cup of each)
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
8 oz lasagna noodles, prepared

Sauté onion and garlic in oil until tender; add meat and brown.  Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and seasonings and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Place ½ of the cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a buttered 9×13 pan.  Spread ½ of the ricotta (and/or cottage cheese), Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese over lasagna,  Cover with ½ of the meat sauce.  Repeat layers.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake

The not so German, German Chocolate Cake is an American creation. The recipe comes from a Texas homemaker, Mrs. Clay, whose cake recipe calling for German’s Sweet Chocolate was published in the Dallas Morning News in 1957.

German’s Sweet Chocolate was created in 1852 by Samuel German (an American baker of English descent) for Baker’s Chocolate Company. Originally the cake was called German’s Chocolate Cake, but eventually the ’s  was dropped from the name.


INGREDIENTS
Cake:
1 pkg (4 oz) Baker’s German sweet chocolate
½ cup water
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

Frosting:
4 egg yolks
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1½ tsp vanilla
1½ cups sugar
¾ cup (1½  sticks) butter
1 pkg (about 2⅔ cups) coconut
1½ cups pecans, chopped


 DIRECTIONS
Cake: Preheat oven to 350º. Cover bottom of 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with wax paper; grease sides of pans. Microwave chocolate and water in large microwavable bowl on high for 1½ to 2 minutes, or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after each minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, betting well after each addition. Blend in melted chocolate and the vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.

Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold into batter. Pour evenly into greased pans.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in centers come out clean. Immediately run small metal spatula around cake layers. Cool in pans for 15 minutes; remove layers from pans to wire racks. Discard wax paper. Cool cake layers completely.

Frosting: Beat egg yolks, milk and vanilla in large sauce pan with whisk until well blended; add sugar and butter.  Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat; cook 12 minutes or until thickened and golden brown. Remove from heat; add coconut and nuts. Mix well and cool. (We often use a double batch of frosting!)

Spread filling and frosting between layers and onto top of cake. Makes 16 servings.

NOTE: If using a box cake mix, prepare according to directions, but substitute melted butter for oil, increasing the amount by ½ cup. Substitute milk for water and reduce amount by ¼ cup. Add 2 extra eggs.

Chile de Árbol Salsa

Chile de Árbol Salsa

Salsa de ÁrbolINGREDIENTS
6-8 árbol chilies
7-8 tomatillos
⅓ medium onion
2-3 roma tomato
2 serrano chilies or jalapeños
cilantro to taste (1 bunch)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp chicken & tomato boullion


DIRECTIONS
Roast árbol chilies, being careful not to burn; place in blender.  Roast tomatillos, onion, serrano chilies.  Once the tomatillos begin to brown, add roma tomatoes and heat until contents are browned; add to blender.  Add remaining ingredients to blender; blend to desired consistency.

Soft Pretzels

Soft Pretzels

INGREDIENTS
1½ cups warm water
1 packet (2¼ tsp) active dry or instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
3¾-4 cups all-purpose flour
coarse sea salt
½ cup baking soda
9 cups water


DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 400°.  Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Mix yeast into warm water. Allow to bloom for +/-1 minute. Stir in salt, sugar, and butter. Add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough is thick. Add additional flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If dough bounces back after being pressed, it is ready to knead.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface; knead for +/-3 minutes and shape into a ball. Cover lightly with a towel rest for 10 minutes.

Cut dough into sections, roll into a rope approximately 20″ long.  Twist into pretzel shape.

In a large pan, bring baking soda and water to a boil.  Drop pretzels, 1-2 at a time, into the boiling water for 20 seconds.  Remove pretzels from water and place on prepared baking sheet(s); sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Espiau’s Vinaigrette

Espiau’s Vinaigrette

In the 1970s and 1980s, our family would frequently make the drive to Pomona to eat at Espiau’s Mexican Restaurant.  At that time it was located on the west end of Holt.  The restaurant dates back to the early 20th century and was founded by an early Pomona Valley pioneer.  The business moved to the Claremont in the 1990s and can still be found in the Claremont Village.  Our family’s favorite dish there is the Tostada Salad.  Their tostada is unique.  Instead of salsa, their’s is topped with a vinaigrette.  This recipe is my attempt to replicate their dressing.


INGREDIENTS
1 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp water
¾ cup vegetable oil1
⅓ cup sugar2
2 tbsp Lowry’s seasoned salt
1 tbsp onion powder
¼ tsp black pepper, finely ground
¼ tsp dried oregano


DIRECTIONS
Place all ingredients in a jar; shake to combine. Allow several hours for flavors to meld. Store in refrigerator.

Notes:
1Extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil can be substituted, but become semi-sold in the refrigerator and require time at room temperature or under warm water to return to a liquid state.
2Substitute monk fruit sweetener for a low calorie/carbohydrate version.

Basic Egg Noodles

Basic Egg Noodles

INGREDIENTS
450g all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4-6 eggs
1 tbsp water


DIRECTIONS
Place flour and salt in bowl of stand mixer.  Using paddle/flat beater, mix at speed 2.  Add first four eggs, 1 at a time; add water.  Add as many additional eggs as is necessary to bring dough from a crumbled mixture to a dry dough.  Replace paddle with dough hook and knead at speed 2 for two minutes.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes.  Divide into 4 pieces and process to desired thickness using pasta roller.  Boil pasta in salted water, stirring occasionally; about 7 minutes for dry pasta, or 2-5 minutes for fresh (depending on thickness).

Dr Pepper Barbecue Sauce

Dr Pepper Barbecue Sauce

imageINGREDIENTS
1 bottle (20-oz) Dr Pepper
2 cups ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup honey
¼ cup vinegar
2 tsp liquid aminos
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ginger powder
¼ tsp galangal powder (or substitute an additional ¼ tsp ginger)


DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients and boil until thickened.

Note: For Dr Pepper, root beer or cola may be substituted.  In place of liquid aminos and fish sauce, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce may be substituted.

Meat Sauce

Meat Sauce

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup (8-oz) onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground chuck beef
1 can (28-oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15-oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6-oz) tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
¼ – ½ cup dry white, or dry red wine (optional)
2 tsp fish sauce (optional)
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried ground fennel
¼ tsp dried thyme leaves
2 whole cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
½ tsp fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tsp salt


DIRECTIONS
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, heat olive oil until shimmering; add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent and tender.  Add meat and cook until no longer pink.

Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chicken broth, wine (optional), and fish sauce (optional); add remaining herbs, spices & seasonings. Simmer covered on low heat for 30 minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes.

Remove bay leaves prior to serving.  Sauce is best when made a day more in advance and reheated. 

To serve, boil desired pasta as directed; drain retaining a some of the pasta water in a separate bowl.  Place enough warmed meat sauce to coat pasta in a serving bowl and stir in a small amount of pasta water; add pasta and stir to coat.  Serve topped with extra meat sauce and freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (or both).

Dulce de Leche

Dulce de Leche

INGREDIENTS:
1 can sweetened condensed milk


DIRECTIONS:
Remove label from can and place unopened can in Instant Pot.  Add water to cover can.  Process on high for 30 minutes.  Allow Instant Pot to cool naturally.  Remove can and continue to cool until warm to touch.  Open can and place contents in bowl; whisk and serve.

Italian Salad Dressing

Italian Salad Dressing

INGREDIENTS:
½ cup red wine vinegar
⅓ cup water
⅓ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup sugar
½ tbsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp garlic, minced
¼ tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp dried parsley flakes
⅛ tsp dried oregano
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
1½ oz. Romano cheese


DIRECTIONS:
Combine all ingredients except cheese in blender. Blend on low speed for 15 seconds.  Transfer into dressing bottle; add cheese and shake to combine.  Chill in refrigerator.

Apple Cake

Apple Cake

This recipe came from Joyce Updegraff, our neighbor two doors to the west of our home on Tudor Street.  


INGREDIENTS
2 cups apples (chopped)
1 egg, slightly beaten
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 cup pecans, chopped


DIRECTIONS
Mix together apples and egg. Stir in oil, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Mix in flour.  Add chopped nuts and pour into an 8×8 baking dish.  Bake at 350º for 35 minutes.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits

INGREDIENTS
Biscuits
4 cups flour
¼ cup baking powder
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1½ cups cold butter, grated
2 lg eggs, beaten
1½ cups buttermilk

Glaze
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp buttermilk


In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Cut in butter using a Pasteur blender until the pieces are a consistent size, about the size of peas.  Stir in eggs and once combined add buttermilk and stir until dough comes together.  Rest covered in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Scrape dough out of bowl onto floured work surface.  And flatten to about 1/2” thick.  Cut out biscuits.  Collect scraps and repeat.  Place biscuits on parchment-lined baking sheet with biscuits touching.

In a small bowl, beat together egg and buttermilk.  Brush mixture on top of biscuits.

Place in oven and bake until browned, 15-20 minutes.  Allow the biscuits to cool slightly before removing from baking sheet.  Serve with fried eggs and sausage gravy.

 

Moroccan Meatballs

Moroccan Meatballs

INGREDIENTS
Meat Mixture
1 lb ground beef
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1½ tbsp Moroccan spice mix
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 egg
¼ cup milk
1 tbsp olive oil

Sauce
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup beef flavored broth
1 can (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes, undrained


DIRECTIONS
Meat Balls
In large bowl, by hand mix Meat Mixture ingredients except oil until just combined.  Shape into +/-20 equally sized meatballs.  In a frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs; cook, turning frequently, until browned (about 5 minutes). Remove meatballs.

Sauce
Add onion to emptied meatball pan; cook stirring frequently, until softened (5-7 min). Add garlic, turmeric and cinnamon; cook while stirring for +/- 1 minute.  Add broth and tomatoes. Heat to boiling; arrange meatballs in skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and meatballs are thoroughly cooked.