Nov 20, 2008

New Mexican Frijole Cheese Soup

Many, many years ago, my Grandfather gave me a cookbook he bought as a fundraiser for his old school, Menaul High School in New Mexico. It's the kind of recipe book where real people contribute their own tried and true recipes.

This recipe was contributed by someone named Connie Bralley, and I halved and slightly altered the recipe for my own use. Other than using the blender, it's really easy, and only requires 1/2 lb of bacon. You can save the other half for breakfast, or for another recipe. Perhaps I'll post another recipe for using the other half (like Puerto Rican Rice or Pasta Carbonarra) one day soon.

This is a family favorite.

New Mexican Frijole Cheese Soup

1/2 lb bacon
1 large onion, chopped
22 oz. can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup water
3-4 ribs celery (I leave this out!)
1/2 lb sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (or less, to taste)
1-2 15-oz can(s) pinto beans with jalapenos
1 22-oz can of pinto beans
1 tsp vinegar
salt and pepper

Cut bacon into 1-inch pieces and fry until crisp. Remove from pan onto paper towel to drain. Saute chopped onion in the bacon drippings and drain on paper towels. Pour grease from the pan.

Combine bacon, onions, tomatoes, water, celery and shredded cheese in a large pan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently until blended and cheese is melted. Puree the pinto beans with their liquid. Add two cans beans w/jalapenos if you like it spicier. Stir the beans into the cheese mixture with the vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 + servings.

Nov 13, 2008

A Package of Chicken Two Ways

With the rising price of food and a slumping economy, I've been following several articles about family meals below $10. I'm always looking for ways to cook and eat economically, so last week I took a "Family Style" package of chicken ($6.50 on sale) , and divided it in two. I put a few pieces into a baggie and back into the refrigerator, and the first night I made one of my husband's favorite meals, Hot Braised Chicken.

Day 1: I got this recipe from a Filipino friend of mine, named Liz.

Hot Braised Chicken

Approx. 1 lb boned chicken pieces, cut to desired sizes
flour, salt & pepper
vegetable oil
2-3 Serrano chili peppers, sliced
1/2 - 1 bottle soy sauce
Cooked rice
Add oil to a deep pan, less than 1/4 inch. Heat oil over medium heat. Dredge chicken in flour seasoned with a little salt and pepper. Don't add much salt, as you will get a lot more from the soy sauce. Drop the chicken into the hot oil and fry on each side a few minutes until cooked and browned. Remove from oil and repeat until all the chicken is cooked.

When the chicken is finished, make sure there is still some oil in the pan. Add the peppers and saute, and the oil will take on the flavor from the chilies. After a few minutes, add soy sauce and water it down a bit, to taste. Add chicken back to pan and simmer in the hot sauce until heated through.

Serve over cooked rice.

Day 2 - I made up this recipe. It's easy and delicious (IMHO).

Crock Pot Tortilla Soup
Few chicken pieces (1/2 - 1 lb)
1 15 oz can corn. drained
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes w/green chile
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic seasoning, red pepper flakes
Condiments for serving*

Put chicken, drained corn, canned tomatoes and spices to crock pot. Don't add salt yet, as canned vegetables often include salt. Cook on high 5 hours +. When almost ready to eat, remove chicken and allow to cool. Shred the chicken and return it to the pot. Salt to taste.

Serve condiments for garnish. Allow each person to create their own bowl according to their taste.

If you don't have a crock pot, you could cook this soup over low heat for 1 hour, then shred chicken pieces.

Suggested condiments:
Corn chips
corn tortilla strips **
cheddar cheese
cilantro, fresh
avocado, diced
sour cream
minced onions

**To make corn tortilla strips, take a short stack of corn tortillas and cut into thin strips. Toss with oil and bake on a baking sheet at 300 degrees, turning over every 10 minutes until crisp and brown. Salt to taste.


Nov 3, 2008

11 Foods You Might Not Be Eating

I thought this article in the New York Times was interesting. It seems that pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium! I looked it up further, and it seems they are also pretty high in potassium, copper, iron and manganese. Surprisingly, they are not high in dietary fiber.

I believe that eating many different colors of foods because that brings an assortment of nutrients to your system. This article seems to illustrate this principle, athough it's not the thrust of the article. The columnist asked Dr. Bowden, author of "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth," to list the healthiest foods that people don't seem to eat much of. The list is:

  1. Beets (red)
  2. Cabbage (green or red)
  3. Swiss chard (green and red)
  4. Cinnamon (brownish red)
  5. Pomegranate juice (bright red!)
  6. Dried plums (prunes) (deep purple or black)
  7. Pumpkin seeds (white or yellow)
  8. Sardines (black?)
  9. Turmeric (bright yellow)
  10. Frozen blueberries (blue)
  11. Canned pumpkin (orange)
The article explains some of the health benefits of each, and with each a suggestion of how to eat it.