Super Bowl Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Double whammy today! It’s Super Bowl Sunday!

You didn’t think I was going to leave you better choice-less for the big game, did you??? What kind of a better choices food blogger do you think I am?!? Continue reading “Super Bowl Buffalo Cauliflower Bites”

Oven Baked Crispy Parmesan Chicken and Veggies

Sorry for the late post. Been a bit of a week – family events, travel, meetings, helping out at a bakery – the highlight of my week definitely being the time spent with my nephew. Continue reading “Oven Baked Crispy Parmesan Chicken and Veggies”

A Gringo Bandito Stole My Heart

Generally speaking, I’ve never been a huge fan of hot sauce. While I’ve partaken in a shake or two of some of the more established hot sauce players in the game, I’m not exactly a chilihead.

Don’t get me wrong – I love spicy. Eating a fat, charred jalapeño or taking down some serious Szechuan pepper ladened Asian cuisine can be downright euphoric. That song “I Can’t Feel My Face” comes to mind. Lips numb, tongue seemingly engulfed in flames fueled by capsaicin. It’s a beautiful thing. But, on the regular? I’m more of a spicy salsa girl.

I mean, how else am I supposed to eat my glorious breakfast tacos? I need salsa verde, salsa picante, salsa roja – things I not only associate with spiciness but also bursts of charred tomato, roasted peppers, and the smokiness that comes from toasted cumin or roasted garlic – flavor! For me, hot sauce has always been all vinegar and very little depth of flavor.

That was until I met el Gringo Bandito. Querido mío. And, I have to admit. The encounter has changed my life.

Armed with three options, Original Red, Green, and Super Hot, I started out on my week-long adventure the only way I know how – the breakfast taco. Now, you might be thinking, “Hey! What about better choices, chica!?” Does this stuff fit into your mantra?

Read the label, vato loco. That was brownie point numero uno.

omgs-dfw-food-gringo-bandito-30Salsa verde is normally my go-to salsa for breakfast tacos; so, I decided to stick with the program and go for the Gringo Bandito Green Sauce first.

Immediately, I knew there was something different. I wasn’t picking up that tart smack you get with most hot sauce. What I was getting was spicy but garlicky – like in that “have mercy, I need another bite” garlicky way.

The Green Sauce is a combination of Habanero and Serrano peppers, spices, and wait for it… mojo! Dude! Wow.

This was the shiznit. Blew my mind – mostly because I was fully expecting a fight with the vinegar to find some flavor. Pero no. This was good. As Nacho Libre might say, “Reaaaally goood.”

Now, as you recall, I have an aversion to sad, little salads. However, in my efforts to make better choices, I am adding more greenery to my daily intake – reluctantly so (as demonstrated in this recent text from Bear) – but nevertheless leafy greens have made an appearance on my plate.

The other day, I took some leafy greens to work. And, as part of my efforts to avoid said sad, little salad, I dressed it up with chicken and avocado. While it was a valiant effort, I feared it still wasn’t going to help take me to my happy place. So, I decided to throw some Gringo Bandito Original Red Hot Sauce into the mix.

Of the three Gringo Bandito options I tried, this was the only one that listed white vinegar as the first ingredient. I was betting on a “salad + vinegar + oil = sad, little salad + chilies = happier salad” theory.

omgs-dfw-food-gringo-bandito-27I added a generous shake or two (or ten) to my salad dressing, and once again, I was pleasantly surprised! This time, the Original Red was giving me a chile colorado vibe.

The Red Japanese Chili Peppers in the Original Red reminded me of that awesome lingering burn you feel when eating a bowl full of chile colorado just before having a sip of beer to wash it down. The addition of the Original Red took me to that happy place as I sat in the office, much like the chile colorado moment but sadly, with no beer to wash down the leafy greens.

I do have to mention, the Original Red definitely was the most vinegar-forward of the three options, but it also was nowhere near the toxic tartness levels most of the hot sauces out there embrace wholeheartedly. Gringo Bandito Original Red Hot Sauce definitely showcases an original, focused effort on getting all the heat and all the flavor out of their carefully selected pepper combinations without drowning it in acid.

omgs-dfw-food-gringo-bandito-6One of the nights this week, I made pan-seared skate wing with sauteed spinach and yellow squash. While beautifully balanced, healthy, and delicately seasoned, I couldn’t help but stare at the third bottle of Gringo Bandito sitting on the table with us, Super Hot, and wondering, “What if?”

This bad boy has Scorpion Chili Peppers!

AND Jolokia Chili Peppers! (aka Ghost Peppers! Cucuy!)

Would the skate wing melt away like that dude’s face in Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark?

Would my fork survive?

Would the yellow squash shrivel up and turn into ash upon contact with Gringo Bandito Super Hot?

I had to find out!

omgs-dfw-food-gringo-bandito-7It. Was. Amazing.

While, yes, my lips and tongue were not particularly pleased I had gone from delicate, flaky, lightly seasoned fish to FIRE IN THE PIE HOLE, it wasn’t so much about the heat. Not even Super Hot heat. I was getting the background – the onions, garlic, and additional spices that most hot sauces lack. It was hot enough to make me uncomfortable but not so hot that I couldn’t taste the fact that it hadn’t taken anything away from the skate wing; it had actually elevated it.

The whole purpose of Gringo Bandito, I discovered, isn’t to just add a dash of spicy vinegar to your plate but for Gringo Bandito to simply and artfully craft a layer of complexity that harnesses the beauty of heat without torching the natural essence of the actual chili flavor.

The more I tasted Gringo Bandito hot sauces, the more it started to change my view on hot sauce, overall and especially as an ingredient. 

In making better choices, having flavor bomb options like Gringo Bandito that don’t bomb your better choices lifestyle is key! I need flavor punches without punching holes in my progress (17 pounds gone so far). Ultimately, this was the point that sealed the romance between me and my Gringo Bandito. It rocked my world so much that I even created a clean-eating, under-250-calories-per-healthy-serving recipe featuring Gringo Bandito Original Red Hot Sauce: Mexican Turkey Meatloaf.

Ingredients:
16oz 93% Lean Ground Turkey
1/2 Medium Yellow Onion, diced
1 Yellow Squash, diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
2 Celery Stalks, diced
1 TBS Cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
12 Herb Seasoned Croutons, crushed
1 TBS Knorr Tomato Bouillon With Chicken Flavor
5 TBS Tomato Paste
1 Large Brown Egg
2 TBS Gringo Bandito Original Red Hot Sauce
1 Medium Avocado, sliced

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a large sealable plastic storage bag, add the ground turkey. Set aside. Dice the onion, squash, bell pepper, and celery into small, similar sizes to ensure even cooking.

Add the diced vegetables, cilantro, cumin, garlic and onion powder to a skillet on medium-high. Cook until the onions and celery begin to become translucent. Season very lightly with salt, as you will be using bouillon later that will contain salt. Remove from heat and allow to cool thoroughly.

Once the cooked vegetables are completely cooled, add the vegetables into the plastic storage bag with the ground turkey. Do not add warm vegetables to the raw turkey for food safety reasons. To the bag, add the tomato paste, egg, crushed croutons, bouillon, and Gringo Bandito Original Red Hot Sauce.

Seal the bag and massage the bag until all ingredients are incorporated thoroughly. Place the contents of the bag into a loaf pan and smooth out evenly with a spoon.

To the top of the meatloaf, add several more dashes of Gringo Bandito Original Red Hot Sauce. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until the temperature reads 165° when inserted into the center part of the meatloaf.

Once the meatloaf is cooked through, top it with the sliced avocado and additional dashes of Gringo Bandito Original Hot Sauce for an extra kick! Serve with roasted sweet potato.

Yields 4 servings at 249 calories per serving.

It’s no joke. You need a Gringo Bandito in your life.

#sponsored
http://gringobandito.com/
Facebook: @gringobanditohotsauce
Twitter: @gringobhotsauce
Contact: ese@gringobandito.com

LET’S KEEP IT REAL: First and foremost, I do everything for the love of food. Most of what I write about is because I love it! If I don’t love it, I tell you about that, too. From time to time, I may receive monetary or product compensation for mentioning products, offering recommendations, providing endorsements, or including links to products or services when I blog. While that may be the case for some posts, it is not the case for all. When it’s sponsored, you’ll see #sponsored when I post. When I’m just sharing the love, I won’t use that particular tag or hashtag. What you need to know is that I only give shout outs when I actually use the product or love it so much it deserves a shout out, sponsored or not.

Day 21 – Chicken Lettuce Wraps

They say it takes 21 days to break a habit.

Today is my Day 21 of making better choices, and so far, this is what I have to report:

  • Less hangry moments (they do occur if I don’t time out my meals properly)
  • Less body pain in the morning (if you don’t count my butt hurting from doing Turbo Jam)
  • Less cravings for all things formally known as “my diet” (aka Cheetos, Whatchamacallit Candy, MochaChocaLattes, and any form of beef)
  • Less pounds to carry everywhere I go (down 14 pounds since Day 1 – not even trying to lose weight, people)
  • More energy (sudden bursts of dance moves, butt squeezes, and/or squats while waiting at the microwave = more energy)
  • More sleep (actually getting 6 hours on average which is a record for me)

And, the most important thing I have to report on Day 21 is I’m eating everything I love and don’t feel like I’ve done much but somehow program myself to feel better through better choices. It’s not rocket surgery. Lo and behold, all it takes is moving my booty at least four times a week for 20 minutes and not shoveling copious amounts of M&Ms into my pie hole every time I pass a bowl full of them.

I have to admit that I’ve always felt nothing good came from eating sad little salads, and I was right. They totally suck!

But, cleaner eating or healthier, better choices doesn’t have to mean eating sad little salads. Kids, I’m eating bacon on a daily! I grew up eating breakfast tacos and bacon, eggs, and toast for breakfast. That ain’t gonna change. What did change was that instead of eating two pieces of toast, a tablespoon of butter for my two eggs, plus my three strips of bacon, and butter and jelly on my toast (don’t judge), I now have one egg cooked in the renderings from my one slice of bacon, and I enjoy one piece of toast lightly buttered. Eat what you love! Love what you eat! And, most importantly, love yourself and make simple, better choices so you can continue reading my blog!

Throw a protein and some colorful things (preferably vegetables and herbs) together, and enjoy! That’s honest to goodness all I have been doing – nothing fancy. Every meal I make is filling, delicious, flavorful, and happy – just like these Chicken Lettuce Wraps! They are flavor bombs in a nice little lettuce wrapper and super easy to throw together. Check it out, follow my blog, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and keep making better choices! I know I will!

Greek Moussaka and Lamb Chops

I’m a sucker for a beautiful plate. When the vibrant colors dance visually, you can practically guarantee they will dance on your palate, right? So, when I was first introduced to Moussaka, a traditional Greek dish featuring eggplant and ground beef or lamb, covered in a creamy bechamel cheese sauce, I did not visualize Zorba the Greek fervently strutting about my taste buds.

Moussaka ain’t the prettiest at the party. It’s a heap of brown and white assembled in a lasagna-like pattern – not particularly “Opa!” inspiring.

Then, I tasted it.

What I adore, even more than a beautiful plate and certainly more important than aesthetics, is an amazingly memorable plate that transports me to another world or embraces me with comfort and happiness through taste and texture. Moussaka does just that. I’m not Greek, but it’s comfort food to me. And, why wouldn’t it be!? I mean, it’s meaty, hearty, and loaded with creamy, cheesy goodness!

The minor obstacle I had to overcome was the fact that most of the time “meat, hearty, and loaded with creamy, cheesy goodness” does not jive with my whole “better choices” mantra for this year.

I could ignore that, but I did write about it on the ol’ interwebs for everyone to see. Not to mention, I’ve actually lost 10 pounds in the first 14 days of 2017 just by making better choices. So, who says I can’t eat what I love and still make better choices?? We can balance it all out. I’m all about harmony (mostly harmony between my taste buds and my tummy, but harmony nonetheless).

Enter My Moussaka! (I really like saying that.)

As I walked through the list of ingredients, I thought about how I could make a faux bechamel topping and how I could keep that comforting aspect even if I took out most of the stuff that makes it comforting.

The idea hit me while we were driving to the store and I was under serious hangry duress. I had not timed my day out properly and was about an hour into a Snickers commercial. Thus, I was craving something hearty and comforting.

Well, with a few minor tweaks, I got this bad boy under 400 calories per heaping serving. Plus, I got through the nearly hourlong cooking process without my hangry hurting anyone! High five!

I drank tons of water while cooking this dish that feeds six, and I was so proud that I stuck to the “better choices” plan because this version was so good! Bear is a big eater, and he absolutely loved it and said it was very filling. While I’m not an authority on Moussaka by any means, for us, this Moussaka recipe is, dare I say, “Opa!” worthy.

Ingredients:
2 TBS Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Eggplant, peeled
1 TBS Coconut Oil
3 Garlic Clove, minced
1/3 Onion, chopped
2 Portabello Mushroom Cap, chopped
16 oz Ground Turkey
2 TBS C&J Farms Greek Seasoning
4 TBS Tomato Paste
1 Large Cauliflower
1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
8oz Daiya Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds

Note: You can add an egg to the creamy mixture right before using it to layer. It will help stabilize and create a fluffier layer, but it’s not necessary.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Peel the eggplant and slice lengthwise to make 1/4 inch oblong-like slices. Place the slices on a baking sheet, trying not to overlap. Drizzle olive oil over both sides of the eggplant and season with 1 TBS of Greek seasoning. The C&J Farms brand of Greek seasoning includes salt. If you use a brand of Greek seasoning that doesn’t contain salt, season the eggplant on both sides with salt. Place in the oven and bake until the eggplant is roasted, approximately 15 minutes. It’s okay if the thinner slices get a little charred, but watch them carefully so charred doesn’t turn into burned. Once the eggplant is roasted, remove from oven and set aside for assembly.

While the eggplant is baking in the oven, in a medium saucepan, break up the head of cauliflower and add almond milk.

Add chicken stock to the cauliflower, season with a dash of salt, and then cover with a lid and allow to simmer on medium heat while everything else is cooking.

Finely chop the mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Add coconut oil to a large skillet or dutch oven and saute the onion, garlic, and mushrooms on medium high until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have cooked down.

Create a small well in the center of the mushroom mixture, and add the tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste in the center until it has a darker color. Then, incorporate the tomato paste fully with the onion and mushroom mixture. Add the ground turkey and the remaining Greek seasoning, and cook thoroughly. Set aside.

Once the cauliflower has cooked through and is softened, use a hand blender or transfer to a blender to blend into a smooth consistency. Add the mozzarella shreds and blend until well combined. (I’ve never been a huge fan of vegan cheese, but Bear got me hooked on this particular brand. So, it’s the only one I really use when I’m trying to cut down on dairy.)

In a casserole dish, add a layer of the ground turkey mixture. Top with eggplant as if you’re layering lasagna noodles.

Cover the eggplant with a portion of the creamy cauliflower mixture and continue to build, alternating turkey, eggplant, and cauliflower until the last layer is the creamy mixture.

Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Broil for another 5 minutes to char the top of the Moussaka. Then, grab a bowl, get comfy on the couch, and indulge without that pesky indulgence guilt.

Now, not my norm, but I’m going to throw a quick and easy Greek Lamb Chop recipe in here at the end because… well… it’s quick and easy! And, it’s delicious and uses the same Greek seasoning I use for the Moussaka.

Season four lamb chops with Greek seasoning that has salt. Same as above; if your Greek seasoning doesn’t have salt, season the chops with salt. Cube one sweet potato, french one medium onion, and slice one lemon. Heat up a cast iron skillet on medium high, add the lamb chops to sear until browned on all sides but not cooked through. Remove the chops from the skillet. Add the potato and onion to the skillet and saute briefly. Add the seared lamb chops back to the top of the onions and potatoes. Place the slices of lemon on top of the chops. Add a splash of chicken stock or beef stock to the skillet to deglaze. Transfer the entire skillet to the oven and bake in a preheated oven at 375° for 20 minutes.

Opa!

LET’S KEEP IT REAL: First and foremost, I do everything for the love of food. Most of what I write about is because I love it! If I don’t love it, I tell you about that, too. From time to time, I may receive monetary or product compensation for mentioning products, offering recommendations, providing endorsements, or including links to products or services when I blog. While that may be the case for some posts, it is not the case for all. When it’s sponsored, you’ll see #sponsored when I post. When I’m just sharing the love, I won’t use that particular tag or hashtag. What you need to know is that I only give shout outs when I actually use the product or love it so much it deserves a shout out, sponsored or not.

Herb Crusted Baked Salmon, Veggies, and Better Choices

If you’re anything like me, the start of the new year usually means the end of eating all things that make you happy and the start of New Year Punishment, a ritual that includes the pushing around of sad-looking salads and the unenthusiastic motion of swinging mud-bars to and from your face with a half-grimace during every bite, otherwise known as eating protein or meal replacement bars.

New Year Punishment usually ends somewhere around the fourth or fifth day when a surge of hangry washes over you. This part results in the ceremonial hiding of the empty Cheeto bag just underneath the upside down Chips Ahoy box that’s been strategically placed beneath the brown paper bag from Five Guys that looks very similar to the brown paper bag from Whole Foods.

New year, new you, right?

Well, for me, the idea of “diet” and making drastic changes to my day and expecting my taste buds to suddenly enjoy things I don’t ever dream about eating (I can say with full confidence) doesn’t work. So, this year, I’ve replaced New Year Punishment with New Year Choices – same taste buds, different approach.

I mean, for Pete’s sake (sorry, Pete), I love food. And, the only reason why junk food was ever the last hoorah when the hangry took over was because I’d denied myself so much happiness (otherwise known as cheese, bacon, and chocolate) that I was desperate for anything that remotely resembled the things I love to eat.

Why in the heck was I repeatedly denying my love of food when there are plenty of flavor-packed choices I could have, and guess what, folks??? I can cook!

Geesh. So, I’ve decided to challenge myself. I will create healthier versions of everything I love to eat, and sometimes I’ll just make things I love that don’t need a healthier twist. I am simply making better New Year Choices because I deserve to be around for a long time.

And, come on; with whom else are you going to have passionate conversations about breakfast tacos? And, I am still eating breakfast tacos.

Better choices that celebrate my love of food, remember? Not denial and tasteless choices that make me psychotic.

And, I’ll tell you another thing. I have every friggin’ exercise guru’s VCR (yes, VCR), DVD, BlueRay, poster, flipchart, and dance chart one could possibly imagine. And, I’ve taken just about every class that’s offered by anyone peddling a “fun” workout and been in every gym within a 20 mile radius of my home. In all the years I’ve been wasting money buying crap I don’t use or stopping doing whatever class after the hangry stage, there’s only one exercise that has ever made me happy.

So, Chalene has officially come out of retirement, and we’re gettin’ our Turbo Jam back on.

Want to know why I love me some Turbo Jam?

Because it’s only 20 minutes, has fun music, includes Chalene telling me how awesome I am for making better choices, and I don’t want to kill her. She’s got me jammin’ and jumpin’ and movin’ and shakin’ for 20 minutes, and I don’t feel like I want to seek and destroy, much like many other programs in which I’ve participated. That’s why I love me some Turbo Jam. That’s it. No health aspect. No variety of cardio and strength training blah, blah, blah. No. I don’t want to kill her. I can stand it for 20 minutes. It makes me happy. Ahí esta.

And, this kick-off week to making better choices has been exactly what it should be, flavor-packed and fun. At no point did I find myself crying in a corner while hoarding Ding Dongs. It was good.

Here’s one of the many super-easy and tasty recipes that made the week successful.

Ingredients:
2 Zucchini
1/2 Onion, frenched
2 Cups Asparagus
1/2 Cup Red Bell Pepper
4 Green Onion
6 Grape Tomatoes
1/4 Cup, Plain Panko Japanese Style Bread Crumbs
1 TBS Whole Grain Mustard
1 TBS Fresh Dill
1 TBS Fresh Chives
1 TBS Fresh Parsley
2 6oz Portion of Fresh Salmon
1 TBS Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 TBS C&J Farms Scarborough Fair Herb Blend
Salt/Pepper

Preheat oven to 375°.

Take one asparagus and bend it in half until it breaks on its own. Use that broken asparagus as your guide to trim the rest of your asparagus into a similar length. Set aside.

Cut zucchini and red bell pepper into matchsticks or long slices, and set aside. Slice the green onion on the bias, and set aside. French the onion and slice the grape tomatoes in half, and set aside. Finely chop the dill, chives, and parsley and place in a small bowl. Add the mustard and panko to the herb mixture and set aside.

In a large baking dish, add the zucchini, onion, asparagus, red bell pepper, green onion, and tomatoes. Drizzle with 3/4 TBS of olive oil, reserving the rest for later. Salt and pepper the vegetables, add the Scarborough Herb Blend, and toss everything together to coat evenly with oil and seasoning. Place the two salmon portions directly on top of the seasoned veggies. Salt and pepper each salmon portion.

Stir together the panko, herb, and mustard mixture. Add the rest of the olive oil to the panko mixture. Using a spoon or your fingers, crust the top of the salmon with the panko and herb mixture, ensuring the top of the salmon is completely covered. Bake at 375° for 20-30 minutes, depending on how well-cooked you prefer your salmon. And, enjoy every single flavorful bite – that dill and mustard pop makes every mouthful dance – I’m telling you.

So, here’s to making better choices! I look forward to sharing my adventures with you in 2017, and may you also journey through your own best adventure this year – because you deserve it.

Caldo de Pollo

Brrrrrrrrrr… it’s chilly up in here! North Texas may not inspire tundra-like weather, but it has officially hit the freezing mark; and, that can only mean one thing: Caldo!

Growing up in South Texas, it rarely dipped past the 40’s, but when it did, it was like the Bat Signal went up for all the abuelitas to kick into high gear and get those ollas (cooking pots) out and fill them with warm, delicious broth that overflowed with hearty potatoes, calabaza (large green squash), carrots, and celery atop large pieces of chicken that fell right off the bone. And, while I’m nowhere near abuelita status, that doesn’t prevent me from hauling out the ol’ enamel-covered cast iron 7-quart dutch oven I like to call Pun’kin… ‘cus she’s orange, large, and in charge.

You should also know that you can swap out the chicken for large chunks of beef rump roast and swap the Knorr Caldo de Pollo Bouillon Seasoning for Knorr Caldo de Tomate Bouillon Seasoning and get Caldo de Rez (beef soup). If you do this, add some fresh corn cobs cut into thirds when you add the cabbage. Everything else is exactly the same.

In the fitting words of Bernardo, “Vamonos, muchachos!”

Ingredients:
1 Large Green Squash
4 Large Carrots
3 Large Stalks of Celery
5 Medium Potatoes
1 Large Onion
1 Small Whole Green Cabbage
1 Bunch of Cilantro
4 Chicken Quarters or 1 Whole Chicken Cut in Fryer Parts
3 TBS Knorr Caldo de Pollo Bouillon Seasoning
2 TBS Vegetable Oil
6 Garlic Cloves, diced
1 TBS Cumin Seeds
2 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
Cumin Powder (optional)
Garlic Powder (optional)
Black Pepper (optional)

Rinse and dry all of the vegetables. Cut the squash, carrots, and celery into large 2-inch chunks, and set aside. Cut the potatoes in half, and set aside with the other veggies. Quarter the onion, removing the ends and peeling the outer layer. Core the cabbage, and cut the cabbage in half and then into large chunks. Do not worry about separating the onion or the cabbage, as they will fall apart in the soup. Set all the veggies aside. And, on a separate cutting board, separate the chicken quarters if they are not already cut into fryer parts. Then, liberally season the chicken all over with the Knorr Caldo de Pollo Bouillon Seasoning. You can find this seasoning at your local grocery store right next to the bouillon or in the Mexican/International aisle.

Get out your version of ol’ Pun’kin (large stock pot), heat to medium-high on the stove, and add the vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add the seasoned chicken to the pot, being careful not to overcrowd the pan at one time. Brown the chicken on one side, then turn over. When you turn over the browned chicken, add the squash, carrots, celery, potatoes, and onion on top of the chicken. Then, cover the ingredients with warm water, leaving some space for stirring and adding the cabbage. At this point, you’re deglazing the pan with water, removing any bits of the chicken from the bottom. Use a pair of tongs to gently stir up the bottom to remove all the wonderful yummy bits, being careful not to splash. Bring the pot to a rolling boil.

When you’re bringing the pot up to a boil, in a separate small skillet, add the cumin seeds. Place the skillet on medium heat, and toast the cumin seeds for about two minutes. Once you can smell the cumin, remove it from the heat, and immediately place the toasted seeds into a molcajete (mortar and pestle). To the cumin seeds, add the diced garlic and peppercorns. Take out any aggressions from a possible bad hair day or any other disaster, and smash those suckers into a paste, just like Grandma Ollie taught us how to do. Then, add some warm water to loosen the paste.

Once the pot is up to a rolling boil, add the watery cumin, garlic, and peppercorn mixture to the soup and stir. If you do not have a molcajete or mortar and pestle, do not fret. Whip out some cumin powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Add one heaping Tablespoon each of cumin powder and garlic powder; then, add one teaspoon of black pepper. Then, go buy a molcajete. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have one. They are cheap and are needed to truly create that magical seasoned paste that gives life to most Mexican/Tex-Mex dishes.

¡Andale! Go buy one after you eat caldo!

After you’ve stirred in the key magical cumin, garlic, peppercorn mixture, take the cabbage, and simply place the large chunks on top. Rip up the bunch of cilantro, and then place that on top, as well. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover the pot. Let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Be careful not to let the caldo over boil. If needed, leave the lid partially open to prevent overflow of precious caldo broth, and stir occasionally. This is the kind of soup you can leave on the stove simmering all day while you serve from the pot until every last drop is gone.

Once the chicken is falling off the bone, ladle the soup into a bowl, making sure you get at least one of every vegetable in your bowl. Serve with warm corn tortillas and a squeeze of fresh lime.

In our household, my Grandpa always used to eat corn tortillas with mayonnaise (don’t knock it ’til you try it), and that’s exactly how I eat my caldo. I slather some mayo on my corn tortilla, roll it up, and dip it into that warm, comforting broth. It brings back such wonderful memories of Grandma Ollie, as well as my Ma, making caldo and me sitting in my warm pajamas, eating right next to Grandpa at the kitchen table at the ranch.

May this soup warm you up – heart and soul.

 

Thanksgiving Stuffed Winter Acorn Squash

Winter is coming! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and while many of our tried and true traditional dishes are top of mind, I’m always game when it comes to trying something new, especially if it’s seasonal and easy!

Acorn squash is my absolute favorite winter squash, and this Thanksgiving Stuffed Winter Acorn Squash recipe knocks out two dishes in one, the veggie and the stuffing. And, it’s also a lovely side dish for any roast chicken, duck, or cornish game hen dinners you might be planning this holiday season. Or, if you’re like me, it can serve as dinner on its own! One Acorn Squash serves two people.

Ingredients:
2 Acorn Squash
Olive Oil
Salt/Pepper
16oz Your Favorite Sausage (Sage, Fennel, or Sweet Italian work well)
1 Onion, diced
2 Leek Stalks, split lengthwise and diced
3 Celery Stalks, diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1/4 Cup Fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, chopped
3 TBS Fresh Rosemary, chopped
3 TBS Fresh Sage, chopped
1/3 Cup Pecans, chopped
1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries
1 Package King’s Hawaiian Classic Stuffing, Herb & Onion
Chicken Stock (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°.

Cut 1/4 inch off the top and bottom of each acorn squash so they sit flat and even.

Core the seeds using a spoon to scoop them out, and discard the seeds.

Drizzle each side of the acorn squash with olive oil, then salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish, and bake at 375° for 30 minutes, turning over half way.

While the acorn squash is roasting, chop your onion, leeks, celery, and bell pepper and set aside in a bowl.

Then, chop your parsley, rosemary, sage, and pecans. Set aside, along with your cranberries.

In a large dutch oven, drizzle olive oil, and then sauté the onion, leeks, celery, and bell pepper on medium high heat for approximately 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Then, add sausage and cook sausage through.

Add King’s Hawaiian Classic Stuffing Herb & Onion to the mixture and continue cooking on medium-high heat until combined and the stuffing starts to absorb the moisture from the mixture. If it appears too dry, you may add a splash of chicken stock to the mixture. Be careful not to add too much liquid to avoid becoming mush.

Add the parsley, rosemary, sage, chopped pecans, and cranberries to the mixture and incorporate well. At this point, the acorn squash should be ready. Fill and mound the empty core of the acorns with the stuffing mixture.

Bake the stuffed acorn squash at 375° for 35-45 minutes or until stuffing is golden brown and the place smells amazing.

Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Lazy Fajitas at Home

Sometimes you just need fajitas a la pajamas. In other words, you don’t have to get all doodied up to head out to your local Tex-Mex joint to have grito-inspired fajitas. You are 100% capable of delivering superstar, melt-in-yo-mouth steak, chicken, and shrimp fajitas from the convenience of your own kitchen in the convenience of your own chones pajamas (dangerous to cook in chones – let’s not be that lazy).

We’ve all been there. Sometimes ya just don’wanna. And, that’s okay! Because I have the hook up for you, and it doesn’t even involve going outside to start up the grill. Plus, it’s much cheaper, and the margaritas are endless when you’re making them at home. And, while I don’t usually promote shortcuts, this definitely does the trick for a lazy day.

First, if you’re having a super lazy day and you don’t even have any groceries, have no fear. Favor is here. While it’s not available everywhere yet, it covers most major cities, including the DFW metroplex and far North Dallas. It’s a magical button that lives in your phone as an app that you download, and when you ask it to do you a favor and pick up groceries, guess what??? Someone shows up a while later with all of the groceries you’ve asked for and no cash to exchange because you set up your account when you downloaded the app! I discovered this app back in July, and truth be told, because we love it so much, Bear decided to start running for Favor. No one is paying me for this, by the way. I’m just sharing the love because everyone deserves to have the option to stay at home in their pajamas every now and again while someone else does their grocery shopping. It works for food delivery and all sorts of things, but we’re focusing on the grocery hook up today.

Grocery List:
1 Large Tomato
1 Medium Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Large Avocado
2 Limes
1 12oz Ribeye Steak
1 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
8 Peeled and Deveined Shrimp (cooked or raw works)

Now, if you do not have salt, garlic powder, cumin powder, and olive oil as part of your pantry staples, I’m very disappointed, but we’ll talk about that later. Just add those to the list if you don’t have them on hand.

If you also do not have quality tequila in your freezer, that’s okay. Not everyone is as awesome as I am. Not to mention, you don’t actually need the tequila for the recipe, but if you have it, HIGH FIVE! You’ll need about four splashes (4 Tablespoons) to make the fajitas.

Once you have everything, get your prep work done.

French the onion and slice the bell pepper into thin strips and set both aside in a bowl. Slice the tomato into 1/4 inch discs, salt, and set aside.

Don’t know how to french an onion? No problem. I got you:

Now, cut the avocado in half. Take the pit of the avocado out, then using a spoon, scoop out the avocado meat, mash up with a fork, add salt, a squeeze of lime, zest of 1/2 lime, and a dash of garlic powder and ground cumin. Stir. Holy guacamole, Batman! Set aside.

This is when you start up your cast iron comal (flat griddle) or cast iron skillet on medium high heat.

Butterfly or pound out the chicken breast to ensure it is similar in thickness across the whole breast. If I lost you at “butterfly,” just pound out the chicken breast and don’t worry about being Michael Phelps.

Season the onions and bell peppers, chicken breast, steak, and shrimp in separate bowls using the following ingredients for EACH bowl:

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Tequila
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Lime Juice
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Garlic Powder

At this point, the cast iron comal should be screaming hot. Cook the ribeye first. Be sure to turn on your vent fan unless you want the fire department to show up while you’re in your pajamas. It will likely smoke but not for long. Cook the ribeye for approximately 6-7 minutes each side for medium-rare to medium. Once the steak is cooked to your preference, remove from the heat and let it rest.

Next up, chicken! Cook the chicken for 7-8 minutes each side. If you did not pound or butterfly the chicken, you’ll have to cook it longer until it comes to 160-165 degrees using a thermometer in the thickest portion of the chicken breast. Once the chicken is cooked thoroughly, remove from heat and set aside to rest.

Add the shrimp to the comal in a single layer. If you are using cooked shrimp, just heat through and flip to ensure you create a little char on the seasoned shrimp. If you’re using raw shrimp, cook for about 2-3 minutes each side or until the shrimp begin to curl into a c-shape. If it curls too much, you’ve overcooked the shrimp. So, keep watch and remove from heat when ready.

Then, add the onions and bell peppers to the comal and cook until the onions become tender but not translucent. This will leave a little bite to the veggies but keep that nice charred flavor in the mix. Remove the veggies from the comal. Lastly, add the tomato discs to the comal and char on each side, approximately 1-2 minutes each side.

Dress your ribeye with some grilled onions, tomato discs, and guacamole. Slice the chicken or serve whole with the shrimp and veggies, along with slices of lime.

OMGs DFW Food - Fajita Style Ribeye Steak

You now have the most amazing meal, all done in your jammies! The best part is that you also have tequila and lime at the ready; so, you can even enjoy some margaritas along with your lazy fajitas!

To Tamale or Not To Tamale… That is the Question

Once a year I get this harebrained idea (which I believe stems from my upbringing) that urges me to spend two 19-hour days back to back, standing in a hot kitchen, working with argumentative ingredients that ultimately result in a severe backache and the euphoria that comes from eating a homemade tamale with a hot cup of coffee. Continue reading “To Tamale or Not To Tamale… That is the Question”

South Texican Kitchen Talk with Grandma Ollie: The Molcajete

Last week, Grandma Ollie stayed at our place to visit, and during our many adventures together, I decided to tape some of our conversations (with her permission, of course).

This particular morning, we were admiring one of my molcajetes that my Tia Eloisa had given me. A molcajete is a Mexican-style mortar and pestle made from lava rock and is an essential tool in any Mexican or Tex-Mex kitchen, like mine!

Grandma Ollie is 97 and still inspires me today, as I’ve stated before. She truly is a pistol and plays a huge part in why I do everything for the love of food. She taught me love comes in many forms and can be leveraged as a seasoning.  In this quick video, she demonstrates how to season and use a molcajete!

PS – She’s going to kill me for posting the pic with the sombrero. So, it was nice knowing you all… Ajua!

Simple Grilling on a Sunny Day

Today was the first day in a week where the sun was shining and there were no clouds in sight. What better way to take advantage of the break from all the rain than with some simple grilling?!

Today was the first day in a week where the sun was shining and there were no clouds in sight. What better way to take advantage of the break from all the rain than with some simple grilling?!

Ma has been asking me to repeat this stuffed baby bell pepper recipe since I made it a few months back, and instead of broiling the peppers like I did last time, I put a new spin on it by placing everything on the grill. It’s quick and easy with minimal prep time.

Grilled and Stuffed Sweet Baby Bells
2 Chicken Breasts (boneless preferred)
1 Garlic Clove
1/2 Onion
2 tsp Knorr Caldo de Tomate OR Knorr Caldo de Pollo (bouillon)
1 Bag of Sweet Baby Bell Peppers
1 4oz Soft Goat Cheese
8 oz Shredded Cheddar Cheese (1/2 of a 16oz block)
Zest/Juice of a Lime
Paprika
Cumin
Pepper
Garlic Powder
Salt

Place chicken breasts in a pot, cover with water, and add garlic, onion, and bouillon. Bring to a boil, reduce and let simmer until chicken is cooked through, approximately 20 minutes for boneless chicken, longer for bone-in.

While chicken is cooking, start to heat up the grill and then split each baby bell pepper lengthwise and remove the seeds, creating a pocket to fill.

Once the chicken is done, remove from pot and set aside in a large bowl to cool. Shred the chicken using two forks, separating all the meat and removing any bones (if using bone-in chicken).

Add to the cooled, shredded chicken, the goat cheese, shredded cheddar, and zest and juice of one lime. Season the mixture to your taste using paprika, cumin, pepper, and garlic power – mostly equal parts. Mix thoroughly and then salt to taste.IMG_1725

Take the seasoned chicken and cheese mixture and gently fill each sweet baby bell pepper side generously but without mounding the top. Be sure to get into every corner of the pepper to avoid empty pockets.

Depending on your grill, gently place the stuffed baby bells onto the grill, being careful they don’t fall through. Smaller grill lines can be used to help support the baby IMG_1738bells by lining them up parallel to the grill lines without falling through. Use your judgement, and if your grill is too wide, use foil on the grill to avoid any peppers from falling through.

Once all on the grill, close the lid and let heat through, approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Check at least once half way through to ensure the grill isn’t too hot. You can also stuff large peppers, but they must stay on the grill for at least 20 minutes to cook through at medium-high temperature.

Get you a glass of some refreshing sangria, a cold beer, or a tall glass of lemonade, sit back and enjoy popping in those cheesy, sweet bites of deliciousness while you soak up some sun. I know that’s exactly what I did today and loved every second of it!

IMG_1765

Lemme ‘Splain

So, this is awkward.

Okay, I know! It’s been forever! And, I won’t make any excuses because I cooked plenty of times; I ate plenty of times, took plenty of pics, and I neglected to tell you any of it since September 2015. So, here’s a quick catch up… since last we spoke:

So, this is awkward.

Okay, I know! It’s been forever! And, I won’t make any excuses because I cooked plenty of times; I ate plenty of times, took plenty of pics, and I neglected to tell you any of it since September 2015. So, here’s a quick catch up… since last we spoke:

Chicken Pesto Bake

I made a killer Pesto Chicken Bake in my handy-dandy toaster oven, using the last four sticks of mozzarella left in the fridge, a few remaining Roma Tomatoes, three skinless chicken breasts I reluctantly purchased in an effort to “be better,” and tons of garlic and basil that were in their last days of glory. I felt like I was on “Chopped” but instead of a basket, it was a molcajete full of garlic cloves next to items on my counter.

Emporium Pies in McKinney

I discovered Emporium Pies in McKinney, TX, and if I remember correctly, this one was a banana cream/caramel concoction – I really can’t remember for sure. It’s all a blur. I just remember taking this picture and waking from a sugar/happiness pie-eating induced coma on the couch – smiling and with a little bit of pie crust stuck to some whipped cream on my cheek.

Pan Braised Chicken Thigh with Herbed Potatoes

I hung out with my Grandma Ollie and made her some rustic braised chicken thighs with pan-roasted herbed potatoes. Easiest, no-frills deliciousness ever! She loved it. Basic but bomb-tastic and totally what I would also serve to Jon Snow if he ever came over to visit – and if wanted to bring over Melisandre as a thank you for the whole “bring me back from the dead” thing, that would be cool, too. Bear would love to chat her up, and maybe she could even whip up some magical dessert???

Charred Potato

At some point I went on a rustic/fire-roasted kick. We went camping in the mountains, and I pulled a Chef Mallmann move. I threw

Fire Roasted Meal in the Woodspotatoes into the burning embers of our campfire, and it was amazing. We ate “fire food” for days in the woods… right outside of our air-conditioned cabin that included cable TV. It was awesome.

Menudo and Horchata at Tipicos

Upon returning from the wilderness, I needed a taste of home, and so I indulged (using the term loosely here – I eat it all the time) in one of my favorite weekend comfort foods, menudo. Tipico’s in Dallas or off Beltline in Carrollton, TX has the BEST! And, what makes menudo taste even better??? Horchataaaaaaa! Just say it with me… “Horchataaaaaa!” Doesn’t it make you happy just saying it??? Horchataaaaaaa!

Pomegranite

I pretended I was mining for rubies and that I hit the motherload. So, I took a picture and then decided to eat the pomegranate because who was I kidding? I was hungry. There were no rubies. This pomegranate was the object of my desire, and I delighted it in, okay??? It was delicious.

Almond Milk Pancakes

I decided I should really start paying attention to my food allergies and that I should try not to drink milk straight-up anymore. So, I began a love/hate relationship with almond milk. I searched for “how not to hate using almond milk for pancakes,” and this recipe popped up. It was UH-mazing! I love these pancakes and have added all sorts of twists and turns to these bad boys. I make banana nut, blueberry, lemony, and bacon-filled pancakes using that recipe as a base, and it’s fantastic! Go almond milk! And, yes, I use Silk, but they didn’t pay me for that. Silk! Are you listening??!!!??

Attempted Pan de QuejoI made all sorts of stuff and played various versions of refrigerator “Chopped” like “I’m hangry and want something sweet – what goes with frozen almond slivers and a slightly browning apple?” I have to say, I’m pretty good at this game.

I had some huge wins in the kitchen, and I had some serious failures, like when I decided to try almond milk when making Brazilian Pan de Queijo instead of real milk – yeah, no bueno. Or, “no boa” as it were.

Christmas Cats

 

I got in touch with my inner cat-lady.

Met a Pretty Cool Husky

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made new friends with random animals waiting for their people on cool evenings, a.k.a. prepared to dial the cops if the dude with the dog in the car didn’t return very quickly, even though it was 60 degrees outside. He did, and the dog was definitely very happy and healthy.

Mariachi Pants

 

I wondered about the various types of fabrics that could have possibly been used to hold this mariachi in place while he beautifully belted out such high notes.

And, I visited several new spots in DFW, as well as Phoenix, Chicago, Kansas, Atlanta, Oklahoma, and a few other places during my business travels. And, many of those visits will find their way here!

So, there you have it! We’re all caught up!

Thanks for being patient – thanks for following my adventures via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram , and thanks for checking in.

Consider this my official re-entry into the stratosphere. We’ll chat soon… I promise! Horchataaaaaa!!!!

 

Straight Outta Day One – IFBC

IFBC - omgsdfwfood - Straight Outta Day 1As a great, prolific writer once said, “Today was a good day.”

I may not be “Straight Outta Compton,” but I am straight outta the first day of the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) in Seattle, Washington, and it was pretty darn awesome.

For the last six years, Foodista has held this conference for food bloggers everywhere, focusing on writing, food, and technology. And, this is the first year I’m participating in this phenomenally food-centric gathering.

In addition to the conference, I’m also finding some time to hit a few hot spots in Seattle to check out what the locals enjoy on a day to day. Yesterday, I made it to Stateside and Altura, two amazing visits which will get their own features soon, and today, I swung by Purple Cafe and Wine Bar before heading out to my first event with IFBC.

Purple Cafe and Wine Bar - IFBC - omgsdfwfood - Fig and Gorgonzola Pizzetta
Taking the suggestion of my server, Jessica, I opted for the trio lunch plate that featured a beautifully created fig and Gorgonzola pizzetta, along with a butternut squash soup and a strawberry and goat cheese salad. I love figs and am a huge fan of pear and Gorgonzola flatbread; so, I knew this was going to be a winner. This pizzetta was out of this world. The buttery crust was perfectly crisp on the outside and nice and chewy where it counted. It was the perfect way to start my day’s adventures.

Miele USA - Cooking - IFBC - omgsdfwfood

 

Now, while tomorrow marks the first official day of conference sessions, today featured a few excursions for the attendees. My particular group went to the Miele USA Showroom for a hands-on cooking class featuring their top of the line appliances, including an induction cooktop which we were able to utilize during the class. Their sleek, German-engineered, stylish ranges, coffee centers, wine refrigerators, and dishwashers were front and center during our class and proved to not only be appealing but functional.

Miele USA Showroom - Seattle - IFBC - omgsdfwfoodOur group was split into five separate stations where we each made a different dish following Miele recipes while being led by our Miele cooking instructor, Mary. Group number two was where I landed, and I was paired up with Suki, a “super duper fantastic” blogger out of San Francisco who joined me in our take on Pasta e Fagioli. I say, “our take” because we put our own twist on the recipe that may or may not have included adding an entire can of tomato paste to the mix versus a few tablespoons. Whatever the case, the soup rocked, and everyone thought it was a hit!IFBC - omgsdfwfood - Miele USA Cooking Event Food - Paella Souffle Pasta Fagiole Burger Steamed Bun

 

Together with the rest of our larger group, we created Paella, Steamed Pork Buns, Sliders, Greek Salad, and Gruyere Souffle, a feast fit for kings and queens! Everyone did an incredible job and seemed to truly enjoy our outting at Miele. Now, plenty of food later, it was time for another amazing event, registration and the gift suite expo featuring local restaurants and food businesses.

IFBC - Salumi Seattle - Batali - omgsdfwfood

 

Now, for me, the highlight of the gift suite expo was meeting the incomparable Armand Batali, father of famed restaurateur and Food Network icon, Mario Batali. Armand, who is actually an icon in his own right with Salumi Artisan Cured Meats in Seattle, was sampling four different salumis, fennel being the featured one in the pic. Not only was the salumi phenomenal, but Armand was, once again, an absolute delight. I’ve actually stood in line for hours to indulge in one of his handcrafted sandwiches made at Salumi, nearly missing my flight many times because I NEEDED that sandwich!

International Food Blogger Conference - omgsdfwfood - The Echo Devils

 

In addition to the ridiculous amount of goodies received, we had the absolute BEST “background” music by this funkalicious Rockabilly group named The Echo Devils. These guys were on FIE-uh! I’m talking blues, funky fab, James Bond groovy jams that took the event to a whole new level.

 

Lark Seattle - Fig Puff Pastry Tart - IFBC - omgsdfwfood

 

Now, if all that wasn’t enough, I decided that I would top off the night with a visit to Lark, one of Seattle’s best restaurants that features local ingredients from the very best artisans, produce growers and foragers in the Seattle area. Chef Sundstrom has truly hit his stride at this new location off East Seneca. While my particular service experience was initially questionable, they were quick to resolve any issues, and the food was never in question. From start to finish, the dishes were sheer perfection. Ending the night with a delectable black mission fig puff pastry tart was the absolute highlight of the evening… Told you I was a fan of the fig.

I can’t wait what Day Two has in store…

Note: While all IFBC posts are completely written based on my own experience and opinion, I was offered a discounted rate in exchange for three general posts about the conference.

Prepping Poblano Arroz con Pollo for the International Food Blogger Conference

Since 2009, food lovers, bloggers and the like have convened at the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) to explore food, writing, and technology, all while indulging in some of the best wine and food anyone can find at a conference. This year, I am partaking in the fun and leaving Bear and Poblano and Onionthe cats to fend for themselves for a few days. To ensure the refrigerator doesn’t grow something funky, I decided to create a lil’ something from what we had already in the fridge and leave a good meal behind.

I started out with a large onion and three beautiful Poblano peppers just hanging out ready to be consumed. I French cut the onion and julienned the Poblano, then added about six large cloves of chopped garlic to the mix.

omgsdfwfood Poblano and Onion WellIn a large skillet, I heated up a tablespoon of vegetable oil on medium high heat and then added the mixture to sautee until the onions started to get translucent and the Poblanos became relaxed.

While that was going, I chopped a couple of chicken breasts into bite size pieces and then seasoned the chicken with Knorr Caldo de Pollo (chicken bouillon a la Mexicana), cumin powder, and garlic powder. I didn’t add salt omgsdfwfood Poblano Arroz con Pollobecause the bouillon has loads of salt. Once the onion and Poblano mixture was nice and tender, I created a well in the center of the pan and then added the chicken to the center. After the chicken began to start browning on one side, I stirred it all together and created another well.
This time, I added 3/4 cup of white rice to the well and allowed each grain to be coated with some oil and to be toasted up nicely. Once the rice started to turn from opaque to a solid white, I went ahead and combined everything together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the skillet to lift up any fond (yummy tasty bits that get stuck to the pan when cooking).

omgsdfwfood Poblano Arroz con Pollo2In a measuring cup, I added the remaining Poblano Arroz con Pollo3smoky salsa I had made a few days ago, along with two tablespoons of table cream, making about 1 cup of liquid and then added hot water to the mixer to make it just over 1 1/2 cups total. You can use tomato sauce, chicken stock, or even use some of your favorite jarred salsa that you have on hand, as long as it totals double the amount of rice. I simply used what I had on hand. I added the liquid to the skillet and combined well, scraping the bottom of the skillet once again to incorporate that delicious fond.

omgsdfwfood Poblano Arroz con Pollo4Immediately, I covered the skillet and reduced the heat to medium low and left to simmer covered for 25 minutes. Whatever you do, DO NOT remove the lid. The key to perfect rice, alone or with a protein or veggies, is to start on medium high, then add one part rice to two parts liquid, let come to a boil, immediately cover and reduce to medium low for 25 minutes completely covered and undisturbed. You will have perfect rice every single time – we can both thank my cousin Normie for that tip. It changed my rice game forever. I even usually just cut the heat off once the time is up and leave it covered until ready to serve. Best rice advice, I’m telling ya. Check out this rice from a few meals ago. ——–> Right!?!omgsdfwfood Perfect Rice

Once the Poblano Arroz con Pollo was done, I sliced a few salad or cherry tomatoes for a pop of color and freshness. Now, I can enjoy the IFBC knowing Bear has some amazing Poblano Arroz con Pollo to devour!

omgsdfwfood Poblano Arroz con PolloI can’t wait to share what I discover at the conference. From what I understand, we’ll enjoy an amazing tasting of Seattle’s very best restaurants, specialty shops and more, and if that isn’t enough, I have tons of restaurant visits planned… Seattle, here I come!

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