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Sopa de Garbanzos

In the tiny kitchen on La Calle de la Verbena, my host mamá, Puri, always had something brewing in her pressure cooker. The flavors melded into such a beautiful aroma that filled the cozy Spanish apartment. At times, the pot would scream right before the knob would shoot straight up and hit the ceiling. One of the best dishes that came from that pot was her sopa de garbanzos, lovingly made from scratch. Twenty years later, I finally made my first pot of it. It's warm creamy, flavorful richness transported me right back to her tiny kitchen, where we lingered over our mid-day meal each afternoon.

Ingredients
1 16-oz bag of dried garbanzos (chickpeas)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 smaller (or 1 larger) onions finely chopped 
3 - 4 cloves of garlic chopped or minced
3 - 4 carrots thinly sliced
1 - 2 potatoes cubed 
1 red pepper roasted and chopped or half a jar of red roasted peppers
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp of Spanish paprika 
1 package dried Spanish chorizo sliced
1 32-oz box Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken …
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Ann's (Family and Friends' Favorite) Coleslaw

If the original recipe card has any indication about how long or how often we make this coleslaw, it proves just how much our friends and family enjoy it...and ask for the recipe! Here's the original card from Great Aunt Ann (on my husband's side). 


This lightly creamy coleslaw maintains a refreshing crunch, yet with a delightfully smooth texture. It has been the hit of many parties, family gatherings, and weeknight dinners. It can be served as a quick side dish or as a topping to barbecue sandwiches and even fish tacos. 

This recipe has been broken down into two portions: "party for many" and "party for 2-4," depending on how much you need.

Party for many                                                 
About 2 bags of shredded cabbage mix             

Dressing:                                                            
1 cup salad dressing 
1/2 cup sugar        
1/4 cup dijon mustard   
1/4 apple cider vinegar* 
Grated onion (to taste) 
Grated black pepper (to tast…

Empanada de Pollo

Any time I'm in Spain, at the top of my list is to sample the myriad of tapas, savoring the harmony of flavors that fill both my appetite and my soul. Among my favorites are the croquetas and the empanadas, and no wonder! I call this comfort food. This empanada recipe has become a favorite for my whole family -- the kids too!

I have adapted this recipe from, "Chicken, Pork, and Piquillo Pepper Turnovers," by the late Penelope Casas in her book Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain. Her recipe calls for making bite-sized turnovers, but I have only made it as a full pie and incorporated my own shortcuts for convenience. Buen provecho!

Ingredients
2 deep-dish pie crusts (at room temperature)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (trimmed of fat), chicken breast OR a 1/2 pound of each, cubed
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 - 2 boneless pork chops, cubed
2 Spanish chorizo sausages, cubed, OR 2 ounces Serrano ham or prosciutto, chopped
1 small Vidalia onion, fin…

Cold and Flu Fighter

Kick the cold or flu before it hits. At the first sign of a runny nose, sore throat, or fatigue, I mix this tea about 2 times a day. I have warded off a full-blown cold several times thanks to this remedy. My kids even take it, although unwillingly; see the kid-friendly version below.

*This is not an original recipe but is posted here for reference only.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup water (heated about 45 seconds in the microwave)
1/4 cup raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV)
1 Tbsp raw honey

Warm 3/4 cup of water in the microwave for about 50 seconds. Add 1/4 cup of raw unfiltered ACV and 1 Tbsp raw honey. Stir until honey is melted. Sip until the cup is empty. Do this 2-3 times daily. Although this tea might taste a bit bitter, the benefits are worth it. I have found the tea more tolerable (or rather less bitter) after it cools for a bit.



Kid-friendly version
This remedy works well for kids too!  But, I will admit it takes some getting used to on their part. My 8-year-old sone actually prefers t…

Rockin' Tacos

I came up with this recipe for low-sodium tacos when I was learning how to make my own sodium-free seasoning mixes. To make them sound exciting so that my son would eat them, I called them "Rockin' Tacos." He went for it, and they've become a staple in our menu planning ever since. Ingredients 1 Tbsp. olive oil 1 lb ground beef, turkey, or chicken ½ onion chopped finely 4 - 6 cloves of garlic pressed ¼ cup water Add the following seasonings to taste (about a couple teaspoons each, but about a Tbsp of chili powder): Cumin Oregano Adobo seasoning Black pepper Chili powder Garlic powder (if not using fresh garlic) Ancho chili pepper (optional) Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and sautee until clear. Add garlic if using fresh garlic. Add ground meat and brown.


When meat is almost cooked, add seasonings to taste. Add water if meat seems a bit dry (add more for turkey).
Serve on warmed corn or flour tortillas with cheese, lettuce, and salsa. Top with cilantro for …

Spicey Chicken

Adapted from a recipe by Gloria Servais and Anne Madison This original recipe comes with lots of love, yes, I mean fat and salt. This recipe comes with a lot of love too, but much healthier love.



Ingredients 2 Tbsp. olive oil 3 - 4 chicken breasts Ground black pepper ½ tsp. garlic powder ½ tsp. chili powder ½ tsp. cumin ½ tsp. Adobo seasoning (optional) 1 package corn tortillas (cut into small pieces) 1 can pitted black olives (optional) 1 large onion (chopped) 1 can Ro-tel or HyVee brand diced tomatoes and green chiles (drained) 1 - 2 finely chopped jalepeño peppers (seeds removed) ½ cup medium chunky salsa 1 can heart-healthy cream of chicken soup 1 can Mrs. Grimes no-salt-added chili beans 4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese 4 oz. shredded Swiss cheese Sliced radishes (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.

Place chicken breasts in a 9x13 glass pan. Rub chicken breast with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, and Adobo seasoning according to pref…

Italian Lentil Soup

Adapted from a recipe by Cindy and Gabriele Dellanave


This recipe came from a Community Education cooking class taught by the Dellanaves. Because I use ground turkey sausage, I don't use any added salt in this recipe. My kids love this hearty soup.  Ingredients 6 - 8 cloves garlic (finely diced) ½ onion (finely diced) 1 celery stalk (finely diced) 1 small carrot (finely diced) 4 Tbsp olive oil Ground black pepper (to taste) 1 15-oz. can of low-sodium diced tomatoes Low-sodium beef or chicken broth (about four 14-oz. cans) 1 package lentils 1 lb. Italian pork or turkey sausage Cayenne pepper (optional)
Sort and rinse lentils. Then, let drain.

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add celery, carrot, garlic, onion, and pepper. Sauté for a few minutes.

Puree the tomatoes, and add to the sauté mixture. Cook for about 10 minutes.


Add lentils and let cook for a few minutes. Add broth, and boil for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked (soft).

Meanwhile, cook the Italian sausage…

Chicken Hotchiladas

My son, Roman, loves this recipe and gave me the biggest thanks for making this dinner. Although these enchiladas are not hot, he thought I called them “hotchiladas.”
Ingredients 2 Tbsp. olive oil 4 chicken breasts Ground black pepper ½ tsp. garlic powder ½ tsp. chili powder ½ tsp. cumin Optional: ½ tsp. Adobo Seasoning  ½ yellow onion chopped 1 green pepper chopped 4 oz. Light cream cheese 12 -14 corn tortillas 1 can mild or medium enchilada sauce ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Heat oven to 350ºF.
Place chicken breasts in a 9x13 glass pan. Rub chicken breast with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, and Adobo seasoning according to preference, or use the measurements as a guide. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked. After the chicken is cooked, shred it and set it aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium heat on the stove. Then, saute the onion and green pepper. After they start to lightly brown, add the cream cheese …