Monday, January 24, 2011

I Think I Might Be An Italian Or A Mexican!



I was born in Wisconsin, which is about as far from Mexico or Italy as can get ! I like a lot of your basic all American cuisine, but nine times out of ten I go for Mexican and Italian flavors.

I wanted to make some soup, it is so versatile, the possibilities are  endless.  I was thinking about Tortilla soup but I was kind of chickened out. I had a pork roast in the freezer that called to me. I love Carnitas  and I thought, hey why not take all of those flavors and turn it into soup!

Turns out I had to make up my own recipe because, apparently there is no such thing as Carnita soup! Who knew I was on the cutting edge! 


Carnita Soup

1 pork roast (trim some of the fat)

4 cups chicken broth

1 jalapeño chopped (with the seeds)

1/2 bunch cilantro(chopped)

1 onion chopped

2 large garlic cloves chopped

1 Tblsp cumin

1 chipotle chili chopped with a bit of the sauce

1 small can of green chilies

salt/ pepper

1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)

1 cup frozen corn 

shredded  montery jack

sour cream

avocado (sliced)

chips or heated tortillas

1 lime sliced


Take pork and rub it with salt, pepper and cumin,


put it in Crockpot and pour the stock to the side of the roast,not on top. Add onion, garlic,chilies,peppers,cilantro(save some for garnish)and cook on low until meat is fall apart tender.

Take meat out and and set aside. At this time you will want to get the fat off the top of your broth. (I did this part the day before and put the pork and the broth in the fridge and then you can lift the fat right off) I only used 1/3 of the pork for the soup, It was enough for us to have about 2 bowls each and some left over.  Add the beans,corn and 1/3 of the pork chopped.  Let it cook on low for four hours in the Crockpot. Taste  for seasoning and adjust, it will be spicy!

images (43) Serve with sour cream and and avocados and with chips, squeeze the lime in your bowl right before serving. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Now you have 2/3 of  pork roast left over to play with.  Divide it in half and put in freezer bags and pop in the freezer,you will then be a leg up on a quick fix later on. I do this frequently because it is just my husband and I, most of the time a whole roast of anything is too much. I will probably take half and make enchiladas and the other half chop and fry and make carnitas. The possibilities are endless, just use your imagination and let me know what you can come up with.

On to Italy, now bear in mind, I am not from Italy, so these are not authentic like your little Italian Grandma made. This is my recipe that I came up with and like.

Italian Meatballs

1 lbs ground beef

bread crumbs (Italian style)

1/4  onion grated

2 large garlic cloves finely chopped

1/4 C fresh shredded parmesan cheese

2 eggs

salt /pepper

1 Tbls Italian seasoning ( I used my home grown, which is stronger than store bought so you may want to adjust to your taste)

2 Tblsp milk

In large bowl, mix meat, eggs, onion,garlic, salt, pepper, cheese . Add bread crumbs (the amount depends on the the feel ) about  1/2 cup or so. Add milk and mix but not to vigorously(it will make them tough)  you may have to add a bit more bread crumbs.

In a non-stick skillet make a small little patty and cook it for you to taste. If it needs more salt or herbs you may adjust it now. ( do not skip this step, you will not know if you have seasoned properly if you don’t, and you can not season them after you cook all of them)

I do not like big meat balls, I make them smaller than most. Make all of them up.images (45)

At this point you may put them on a cookie sheet and freeze and use them later or :

Brown in skillet.images (44) Do this in batches , so you don’t overcrowd the meatballs. with a slotted spoon remove and drain.  Now at this point you may freeze them and use later or I put them in the Crockpot and put a quart jar of my homemade marina sauce on top and put on low for 4 hours.

images (46)

  I made Meatball subs.

images (48)

Really tasty! 


Until Next time!


Nana Nita!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Beef Stew, Crab Wantons and Jam….What??!!



These things do not go together,but It is what I have been up to.

So here it goes….


First things first,It has been cold and snowy and just seemed like a Beef Stew kind of day. I did not have a lot of the normal vegetables I usually use(peas,corn,green beans) so I improvised. I liked the changes, I hope you will too.



Beef Stew


1 lb of stew meat

2 large carrots chopped

1 medium onion chopped

2 stalks celery chopped

2 cloves garlic  minced

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 tomato chopped

4 cups beef broth

salt /pepper

1/2 flour



Chop meat in to small bit sized pieces,images2

salt and pepper meat. In a lidded container put flour and meat and cover it shake to coat meat with flour. Shake off excess flour,set aside.

In a heavy bottomed dutch oven put oil in to coat bottom of pan. Heat to med high,and put in half of the beef ,brown on all sides.

images (42) Browning-Meat-3548-300x266

Remove with slotted spoon and repeat with remaining meat.


Add more oil if needed and sauté vegetables except the tomato, until the onions are tender. Add the beef back to pot and add the tomatoes and the broth.  Bring to boil and turn temperature down to simmer and simmer for 4 hours until meat is tender. The broth will thicken as it simmers. Taste for seasoning. We really liked the addition of the mushrooms,so good and beefy.

 images (37)



I love Chinese food! Those little Crab Ragoons are so good,I had to come up with a way to make them at home.

These are baked not fried so in my simple mind they are HEALTHY! Do not judge me. The entire package of cream cheese means nothing, I mean these are small bites….Lets move on.


Creamy Wantons


1 (8 oz. ) package cream cheese ,softened

1/4 cup plain bread crumbs( I used Panko )

1 small clove garlic (minced)

1 tsp sugar

1 pinch of salt

2 cups imitation crabmeat (about 3/4 lb)

30 refrigerated wanton wrappers


Pre-heat oven to 350* coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray

In food processor put crab meat and garlic, bread crumbs,and cream cheese. Pulse till combined..

Place 1 tsp crab mixture in center of each wanton.

images (41)

brush the edges lightly with water then fold in half (one point to point) and press to seal..

 images (40)

Place on the cookie sheet.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden,turning once  halfway thru baking.


Picture 083

These are really good! You could use Duck sauce to dip theses in,Ummm. I did not have any but yummy!

Picture 086

If you really wanted to, you could pan fry,I won’t tell!

(Note) I put the filling in a container and keep in fridge,then as a snack ,you can just make up some as needed. I don’t know how they would do to make up ahead and freeze I’ll get back to you on that.


Now on to the Jam…. I love to make jam, the possibilities are endless, Just think of the combinations of fruit,once you learn the method it is easy!


Christmas Jam

Okay, I know Christmas is over ,but sometimes you have big plans and buy all the stuff to do something and then you forget to do it. So….to keep from having all the fruit go bad you make Christmas Jam in January…just let the season continue.


2 cups fresh cranberries

1 medium orange

1/2 cup water

1 (10 oz) frozen strawberries,thawed and crushed

3 cups sugar or more

2 pouches liquid pectin

1 Tbsp butter


Zest orange  into cranberries in the food processor,then discard peel and chop the orange and put in processor ,pulse to desired texture. Then throw in the strawberries and give a quick chop,then mix sugar in pan,add water and butter. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes,stirring constantly.(at this point I tasted the jam for sweetness, mine needed more sugar, it is to be sweet/tart but not that tart. So taste and add sugar as needed) Bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in pectin. Stir for 4 to 5 minute:pour into sterile jars,leaving 1/4'”headspace. Wipe jar rims,adjust lids and rings . Water bath 10 minutes.

Picture 085

See how pretty  it is in the jar? Christmas red ..or hey how about Valentines Day red ??Yeah …um ..that’s what I meant …

Valentines Day Jam..See I am ahead of the game!

Enjoy ,until next time!


Nana Nita