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Houston, TX
Just your atypical hispanic male living in the big city

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oven Roasted Pork Chops and Grilled Veggies


So I haven't had a chance to place any postings as I have been rather busy with work. Equally cumbersome is the fact that I still deal with my tooth extractions. This has been very hard trying to cook while still in a little pain.

Well, I have continued to cook some stuff that is rather healthy. The following recipe is healthy, yet has plenty of good flavor that anyone could enjoy. With that, you can always have a simple sauce/gravy to go with the meat. Two types of sauces that I like to use are the Red Eye Gravy or a Simple Brown Gravy.


6 pork chops
1/2 cup red wine
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 onion, diced
Veggie kabobs

Start with marinating the meat. Place the pork chops into a bowl and add the balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, garlic, paprika, pepper and salt.
Add the red wine to the meat. Allow to marinade for about an hour in the open covered with saran wrap. This allows the meat to really meld well with the spices. I also find it cumbersome bringing the meat back to room temperature.
Place the marinated porkchops into a baking dish. Add the onions and rosemary sprigs on top of the meat. Place into the preheated oven. Allow to cook for about 1 1/2 hrs.
With vegetable kabobs, get skewers and alternate between mushroom, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, zucchini and red onions. Place them on the cookie sheet.

 Drizzle the veggie kabobs with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle with pepper and sea salt. When grilling, its wise to also drizzle some olive oil. This prevents the veggies from sticking to the rack. Allow to grill for about 2 minutes on each side on medium heat. Now keep in mind that I have cast iron grill for the stove. This helps me keep an eye on the veggies.

Notice that the veggies are slightly tender. You don't necessarily want all the veggies to be too tender (unless that is your goal). If you want, you can cover the veggies as you grill. They will continue to cook under the cover (foil preferably). This can make the veggies a little more tender.

I opted to use the leftover  White Rice with Basil and Onions. This was a great meal as it was light and it was really tasty! What is equally tasty is having this with some Red Eye Gravy or a Simple Brown Gravy! Enjoy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

White Rice with Basil and Onions

Lately, I have been trying to cook a little healthier. Sometimes, its hard though, especially when there are so many good comfort foods that I would love to have right now. Luckily, I have been restricted to eating certain things as my teeth are recovering from that extraction. Today, I decided to make some white rice with basil and onions. Here's the recipe...


2 cups white rice
3 tsbp butter
3 cups hot water or chicken stock
Pepper to taste
Salt, to taste
1 cup basil

First, get a large enough pot and start to heat it. Add the butter to the pot and allow to melt. Then add the white rice.

Once the rice has been browned some, add the hot water/chicken stock. Continue to cook and stir the rice.  Bring this to a boil.

While the rice is boiling, add both the salt and pepper to the rice. Dice the onions and place into to the boiling pot. After a couple of minutes, reduce the heat to a simmer.

As the rice is continuing to cook, julienne the basil. I tend to wash the fresh basil and cut the basil. Add the basil when the rice is done.

Stir in the basil to the rice and onion. The fresh basil will cook with the rice. I love to have this with fresh veggies or some meat (pork). 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Skordalia anyone?

It's hard to find good recipes for vegetarians and carnivores/omnivores to enjoy. This is the problem that a student that I tutor has. For many years, she has had to work with being a vegetarian in a meat eating household. As long as I have known her and her family, they would always struggle with what to have for dinner and something that everyone would like to eat.

To answer that issue, I felt that I would show her how to cook, as she will also be leaving to college at the end of this school year. So, we did this recipe for a class project and then we decided to do this again today. Her mom and brother loved it and well I thought why not put this on the blog.


1 lemon
4 small russet potatoes
1 cup blanched almond slivers
1/2 cup water
2 tsp white vinegar
1 lemon
olive oil
1/2 cup greek yogurt
Kosher salt
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp tarragon
1 tsp thyme

First, we start with washing the potatoes with the skin on. After they have been cleansed well enough, place the potatoes whole into a pot full of water bring to a boil over high heat. Let these continue to cook for about 30 to 40 minutes until tender. Once they are ready, drain the potatoes and let cool slightly.

While the potatoes are cooking, get a food processor. In the food processor, combine the almonds and oil until it turns into a paste. Notice that if you have to add the oil a little at a time that is okay. It should eventually look like an almond paste.

 After you have worked with the almond paste, place all the spices into the food processor. Pulse a couple of times in order for it to mix appropriately. Mix in the salt, vinegar and water as well into the almond mixture. Now this is actually supposed to have ALOT more garlic than usual. I don't like to put too much of one spice as it would overpower the whole mixture. For this recipe, I opted to only use garlic powder as opposed to fresh garlic.

Rub the peel off of the potatoes. Mash them until they are smooth. You could use a ricer or a food mill to achieve that consistency. Once you have mashed them add this to the almond mixture along with the greek yogurt. 
Continue to use the food processor making sure that it is mixed well. It will look look like a thick paste, but it is a really good, thick dip.

As stated earlier, I plan to have some with pita chips. You can use this also as a dip with your lamb, beef or pork chops. Tomorrow, I think I will be using it with some grilled vegetable kabobs and pork chops. Yummy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Its all in the bag of fajitas..

Creating good food from already pre-made packages isn't a bad thing. On occasion, I like to use some prepackaged items for some of the dishes that we make here at home. For this go around, I decided to purchase a package deal from the meat section of the local grocery store (Joe V's...a cheaper version of HEB..again in Texas).

Normally, I like to grill fajitas, but as the weather becomes cooler, I tend to cook fajitas either in the oven or over the stove. Now for those that are not aware, beef fajita is actually skirt steak. So if you try to find prepackaged skirt steak, then you have yourself some beef fajita meat. Also, keep in mind that in Tex-Mex cuisine, fajitas can be either shrimp, chicken, pork or other cuts of beef. If you go to any Tex-Mex restaurant, fajitas are the norm, but you are NOT...I REPEAT...NOT having true Mexican food....now moving on....

This recipe lends for you cooking it stovetop as opposed to in the oven. Keep in mind that this was cooked on Sunday, and since I have had oral surgery...well let's just say that I can't eat this. I do have other mouths to feed, so they will have to enjoy this delicious meat.


1 tsp oil
1 package fajitas (can be marinated)
1 large onions, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 12 oz beer
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper

First start to chop the bell pepper and onion. Notice, that you can cut the bell pepper at an angle. This will cut out the vein and the seeds. Add oil to a large sautee pan and the veggies that you have chopped.

Open the prepackaged fajitas and start to slice them. Make them into strips and place them into pan that has the onions and bell pepper that has been cooking.

Add the beer and the rest of the ingredients. Notice that it will continue to cook foaming a little at first. Stir every so often to make sure the meat is cooking evenly. This is continuing to cook on high, but after 10 minutes, lower the temperature to a simmer. This will continue to cook for a while and meat will continue to cook.

Even though the liquid dissipates, I added more beef stock.

In the end, the veggies will dissipate and the meat will be soft . All of this will be great as either fajita tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas or any other great dish that you can think of.

Remember, the Mantra that Claire Robinson preaches...BYOC (Be Your Own Chef)!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese

So a couple of days ago, I made some oven style chicken for dinner. As usual, I have leftovers with whatever I make. I got inspired with this recipe from a show called Bitchin Kitchen. I truly love that show as its funny yet its got great ideas to work with the food you have. This chicken that I made with some mash taters and green beans.


2 leftover chicken leg quarters (yields 1 cup)
1 cup cooked ham, diced
1 cup chicken stock

1 large onion, chopped
4 tbsp butter
2 cups pasta
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 cup Velveeta
1/2 cup cheddar
1/2 cup monterrey jack
1/2 cup colby
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder

In a smaller pot, take the chicken from the bone. Add the chicken stock to the leftover chicken.In another pan, add 1 tbsp butter and let it melt. After the butter has melted add the onion. Cook the onion until its caramelized.

In a larger pot, start to add the water and place to a boil. Make sure to add the salt to the water as it helps with the boiling process. Add the macaroni and continue to boil until tender.

Drain the macaroni. Add the milk, butter, cheeses and mix.Also add the spices to the mix. Continue to stir making sure that the macaroni is enveloped with all that cheesy goodness.

Add the caramelized onions, meat and ham to the macaroni and cheese. Continue to fold lightly ensuring that the spices and mixture melds together well. This is a great comfort food, but can be considered rather gourmet. Have it with a nice side salad. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cocinando Frijoles Pintos (Cooking some Pintos)

Well, it has been a nice and quiet day today. I find that I still want to have something on the stove and I continue to cook something during the weekend. Today, I decided that I wanted to make a fresh batch of pinto beans. Abuelita used to cook beans every Sunday. She did that so there were enough beans for the week. She would cook them and take a good amount to be ready to use when it came to lunch or dinner. She tended to use the same batch to cook some refried beans (just by mashing up the beans that she originally cooked).

Like most things I cook, I have a tendency of making a large batch. I guess it comes from how my grandmother used to cook. I seldom make fresh pinto beans as I like to have variety. Besides, when making a large amount, I am able to freeze them. Again, like most things that I cook, beans will keep well as long as you have it in a tightly sealed container.

4 cups dry beans
8 cups water, for soaking
8 cups water, cooking
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp bacon fat

Start by soaking the beans. I learned from my grandmother that if you soak the beans the night before, the better they taste and the cook time is a lot less. Add the beans and water into a large pot. Have them soak overnight. My grandmother used to say that if you cleaned out the beans in this way, it prevented too much gas from the beans.I don't know if that is necessarily true, but why mess with tradition?

The following day, rinse out the beans. Notice that they have puffed up. Once you have rinsed the beans, place them back in the pot. Add the other cups of water and the salt.

While its starting to boil, notice that the water will start to foam. Sometimes, its because the beans still needs to be cleaned out. I tend to clean the foam out because it doesn't taste too well with it.

When the beans are continuing to boil, add the spices and the bacon fat. Notice that the broth is light brown. Continue to cook on high, checking on occasion that the beans are getting softer for about 45 minutes. Bring the heat down to simmer. Then turn them off. If I am cooking some Mexican food, I will serve it hot maybe some rice and enchiladas. I store the leftover beans in separate containers for later use. If I were to have charro beans, I would add onions, tomatoes, jalapeƱos.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kicking it up with Jambalaya

This weekend was rather nice and the week is very hectic. Sometimes, I like to have a little kick of spice to complement the week as it really has been CRA CRA. Cajun food is a great style of cuisine that everyone would love especially since it has so much good flavor and plenty of kick! This recipe that I am sharing was from a Cajun cookbook, but of course I was BYOC (being your own chef....words to live by from good ole Clare Robinson). This go around I am using my camera that MC bought for me for Christmas last year....


4 pieces of chicken thighs, diced
1 andouille sausage, diced
1 large bellpepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp cayenne pepper (for the weak...1 tsp)
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 cup rice
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 small can tomato sauce

First, start with heating up the pot with the canola oil. Dice both the chicken thighs and andouille sausage. Place into the heated pot. Stir on occassion ensuring that the meat mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook until you start to brown the meat.Take the meat out and allow for it to drain.

Cook all of the diced vegetables (bell pepper, celery and onion) in the same pot in which you cooked the meat in. Cook them until it softens. Add all of the other ingredients EXCEPT the rice. Continue to stir and cook to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer for another couple of minutes adding the rice. Continue to cook to a simmer.

Stirring on occasion. Add the meat mixture and raw shrimp. Continue to simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Now, I have used cooked shrimp. When you are using cooked shrimp, place them last and mix into the jambalaya. This will allow the shrimp to cook evenly avoiding the shrimp getting too rubbery.

I don't know about you, but I love to eat this with some saltines. Since I cooked this on Sunday, the spices have settled and this will become so flavorful. Keep in mind that you need to add very little water to this in order to reheat. You don't want your rice to be mushy.