Chipotle Cream Sauce………

I love Mexican food. I love chipotle peppers, which are smoked jalapenos in a wonderful rich, smoky red sauce called adobo sauce.  They are pretty hot and can be used in oh so many ways! I have tried a few recipes for Chipotle Cream Sauce, but they all seemed pretty bland to me. I love things with big and bold flavors…..my coffee, my wine, my spices, my wine, my cheese and oh….yes….my wine!

I thought of my friend Bill when I made this dish. He too loves Mexican food. He loves spicy. This is a dish for you Bill C. So I do hope you and Linda will make this.

So, I made it with chicken, but I have also had it with shrimp and I think that is my favorite. I served it with cilantro rice and some flour tortillas. Ya just gotta have the tortilla to scoop up that chipotle cream sauce. My mouth was on fire the entire time that I was eating this and I was gulping massive amounts of water, but it was so tasty. If you aren’t into heat, you may just want to use 1 chipotle instead of the 5 that I used. Whew…..SPICY. OH, and have an antacid ready!  hahahahah. Enjoy!!!

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Chipotle Cream Sauce

3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 medium size can of chicken stock
1-5 canned chipotle chilis (in adobo sauce) I used 5
1 cup sour cream
4 oz of softened cream cheese
Salt and pepper
1 chicken or vegetable boullion cube
Juice of 2 limes

In a skillet, cook the garlic and chipotles with the adobo sauce just for about 1 minute. Add the broth, bouillion cube, lime juice, salt and pepper and cream cheese. Still till cream cheese is melted. Add the sour cream and stir till smooth. Let it cook at a low temp for about 20 minutes.

At this point, add chicken or shrimp. Or, simply serve it over some fish, or some fried tortilla chips, or eggs! Serve with rice. I just made regular white rice but added cilantro and a clove of garlic.

This sauce is good with:

Pasta
Chips
Veggies
Over eggs
Fish
Tossed with boiled potatoes
Poured over cake JUST KIDDING….just seeing if you’re paying attention!

Strawberrys and Cream…

What is it about strawberries and cream that just makes you feel so good? It even sounds fancy…..Strawberries and Cream  For some reason, it always makes me want champagne…… It’s such a wonderful combination and then there is the aroma of a good ripe strawberry. Then you add to that, a soft, light white cupcake and you have pure bliss. I am drooling as I write this…I was drooling when I made these. Today is cupcake day at the office again. My boss buys these from me as a treat to his staff. Pretty cool, right? Since he rarely eats treats, I tried to convince him that these were healthy……after all, fresh strawberries are good for us!! I told him I was taking care of his staff by bringing in healthy cupcakes. He laughed and walked away…..oh well, I tried.
So, back to the cupcake. White cupcake, filled with strawberry cream filling, topped with a fluffy white clouds of frosting. M-m-m-m-m-mmmmm. They are pillowy soft and light. OH MY.
Use any white cake recipe you want, but I used my White Velvet Cake recipe. Oh! and then I made a giant cupcake too, for a friend’s birthday. Happy Birthday Diana.

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Strawberries and Cream Cupcake
1 cup all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 325. Sift all dry ingredients together. Set aside. Grease and flour 2 round cake pans, lined with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, beat the oil, shortening and vanilla. Beat till light and fluffy. Add the eggs. Fold in the dry stuff alternately with the buttermilk, starting with the dry and ending with the dry. DO NOT OVER BEAT. Be kind. Pour into muffin pans and bake for about 14-15 minutes. Poke with a toothpick and if it comes out clean, its done. Place on cooling rack and cool completely. Scoop out a bit of the middle of each cupcake for the filling.
All those little cupcake “innards” can be popped into your mouth!!!! how fun, right??

Strawberry Filling

Approx 2 cups of cut up fresh strawberries
4 oz of cream cheese
2 cups of powdered sugar
With a mixer, whip the cream cheese and powdered sugar together. Add a little more powdered sugar if its too thin. (the strawberries will make it thinner) Fold in the strawberries. Drop a spoonful in each cupcake.
Frost with whip cream. You don’t want a real heavy sweet frosting because you have that sweetness in the middle of the cupcakes. Top with some more strawberry filling and a strawberry……there you have it….PURE YUM-mmmmmm

I don’t like biscotti……..

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  biscotti2  biscotti1I never liked biscotti……ever. That hard, crunchy, old tasting cookie that gets dunked in a cup of coffee and then turns to mush. BLEKH!!!! Why would anyone want to eat a biscotti? Over the weekend, I was watching QVC and there they were, selling “famous” biscotti……”the best” biscotti. I don’t know why, but as soon as I saw that man dunk his biscotti into a big cup of coffee, I just knew I had to make some. He demonstrated the “true” method of dunking…..the 1-2-3 second method: 1) Pick it up, 2)dunk, 3)take it out. Hmmmmmm. Well, anyway, I searched for a recipe my friend gave me years ago and I made Double Chocolate Biscotti. I underbaked mine a bit so that they weren’t hard as a rock. You certainly dont need a jackhammer to break one of these. You don’t feel like your jaw is breaking when you bite into one. I must say……these are FUN to make. I am thinking of all the different kinds I will make. So all you biscotti hating friends of mine…..guess what you are getting for Christmas! Excited???? No? Not so much? Aw-w-w-w-ww, come on. If I can have an open mind, you can too, right??? Who wouldn’t want a dark chocolate biscotti, dipped in chocolate? or with toasted almonds? or with white chocolate and pistachio?  or Chocolate and sea salt? Oh my gosh, I cant wait to try all the different possibilities!! Yay!!! I’m so excited.

I really must say, these are deeeeelicious. You are NOT going to get that really HARD crunch like most biscottis, but enough of one to satisfy your need for crunch. The key is to NOT dunk them for long. You don’t want a mushy, soggy cookie.

Double Chocolate Biscotti (that you won’t hate)

makes about 10 cookies

 1 cup of flour
¼ cup of cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 tablespoons of butter
½ cup of sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup white or chocolate chips

 Mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, till well mixed. STIR in the dry ingredients. Your dough will be stiff, but that’s ok. Add your chocolate chips. Don’t over mix it. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form your dough into a 12” log. Slightly flatten it, but not too much. Sprinkle with some powdered sugar and bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. (I baked it for 10 minutes, then turned the pan and cooked for another 10 minutes, since I have a crappy oven that doesn’t cook evenly) It should be slightly firm when you take it out of the oven. Let it just sit there for 5 minutes. Then, carefully slice diagonally into ¾” slices. Lay them out, cut side down, onto your baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes until they feel kinda crispy-ish. Remove from oven, and cool them on a rack. Once cooled, dip the heck outta them!!! I used melted choclate chips.

You can dip one side, or the bottoms, or whatever you want to do to make them real purty. These just melt in your mouth.

Taco Salad……

I always forget how much I love taco salads. You can put anything you want in them, but I pretty much always stick to the basics of a good taco salad. I recently made this for a friend of mine for dinner. The only thing missing was a margarita. Why didn’t I make us margaritas??!! You know me and my spice…..I would’ve liked this super hotsy totsy, where the sweat beads are forming on your forehead, soaking your tongue in a glass of cold water, mouth burning, nose sniffling….you get the idea. But I always keep it on the milder side for guests. I think I have mentioned before that most of my friends are wimps. I say this with a lot of love!! 🙂

So, I usually serve this in a big ol “bowl” made from a flour tortilla. I’m sure you all are familiar with those. But sometimes I just serve the salad on a chilled plate. The dressing is the key here. My favorite is simply a bottled Italian dressing mixed with a packet of taco seasoning. Yes, seriously! It’s really delicious. I’ve listed some variations that I use, below. You will like them all, really! I love this salad with ground beef, chicken, some leftover steak, shrimp, or meatless. Do whatever you want! Get the blender out, make some margaritas, make the taco salad. It’s delicioso!!!

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Taco Salad

serving for 4

4 bunches of romaine lettuce or your favorite lettuce, mix it up!
1 can of pinto or kidney beans, drained
1/2 cup of black olive slices
1 large tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 bunches of green onions, sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
pickled jalapeno slices (optional) BE BRAVE, BE ADVENTUROUS!
cooked ground beef (I cook mine with some taco seasoning in it)
or you can use chicken, shrimp, salmon, steak
sour cream

Toss everything together in a big, big, bowl………HUGE bowl. Drizzle the dressing in and  toss some more. Dish it onto a plate and top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of cilantro. YUMMMMMMM.

Taco Salad Dressings

1 bottle of good Italian dressing mixed with 1 packet of taco seasoning (my go to dressing)

1 bottle of Ranch Dressing mixed with 1 packet of taco seasoning (ohhhhh, I LOVE)

1 bottle of Italian or Ranch dressing, 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning and 1 chipotle chili pepper (canned) ohhhhhhh, I love this one too

1 8 oz container of sour cream,  mixed with 1 packet of taco seasoning, juice of 2 limes (ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I REALLY love)

Porcupine balls…..say what?

Eww-w-w-w-w-ww. Doesn’t sound very appetizing does it? I assure you, this dish does not contain any parts of any porcupines. There were no porcupines harmed in the making of this dish. When I was a kid, my mom and dad made these all the time. It’s a great comfort dish and back then it was a great budget meal too. We loved these porcupine balls. I started making these for my daughter when she was little and it was a favorite of hers. She wanted them all of the time…..I mean, all the time. She started asking for them early on and she would dance through the house singing “we gonna have a poka-pine balls!” Then she would invite all the kids in the cul-de-sac. Of course they didn’t have a clue as to what they were being invited over for.  So, in case you don’t know, they are called porcupine balls because when cooked, the rice is sticking out all over the outside so I guess it looks kinda like all those pointy things on a porcupine. Who knows…..but really, I could care less. I just like to eat them. Super simple, inexpensive and definitely a comfort food. Basically, it’s a meatball…..a meatball with rice in it. Simple.

I ALWAYS, ALWAYS have had these served with corn. It just has to be that way for ME. I just can’t have it any other way. Nope, can’t do it. But you can serve it with anything you want. Make these….really……..soon…..this week.

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Porcupine Balls

serves 2

1  lb ground beef or turkey
1/2 of a small onion, diced
1 cup of cooked rice
2 tablespoons of tomato sauce or catsup
1 small can tomato sauce ( I used El Pato Mexican tomato sauce for that spicy kick)
1 medium can tomato sauce
salt and lots of black pepper

Mix the ground beef or turkey, the onion, the 2 tblsp of tomato sauce and the rice together. Form into 4 good sized balls. Place in a baking dish. Mix together the 2 cans of tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Pour it over the balls and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes-1 hour. Serve with a scoop of the sauce over the meatballs. Great with corn, green beans, a salad…whatever you want! Is that easy or what!!

Since you all know that I love heat, I put lots of hot sauce on mine. 🙂