31 January 2009

Crockpot Chicken Cordon Bleu

Okay, so I can't let you think that everything I make is good. This recipe was an epic fail. I'm not even going to lie. I don't know how it went wrong, it sounded so good in my head. I am determined to revisit this and try it again. But here's what I did so you will know what NOT to do...

In a crockpot, layer:

Chicken Breasts
Canned Mushrooms
Swiss Cheese

Mix 1 can of cream of chicken and 1 can of cream of broccoli cheese soup and pour over layers. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.

I think where I went wrong was with real cheese. I believe cooking it for an extended period of time melted it too much changing the texture and integrity of the dish. I also would stick with cream of mushroom soups. I particularly care for the cream of chicken and broccoli cheese soup, but that's just me. I haven't figured out exactly how to redo this, but I'm gonna find a way!

29 January 2009


This morning I had to have my car worked on in San Juan which is about 30 miles from the town I'm working in. In case you're wondering there a few things I only trust with select people. I'm very picky about who does my hair, my eyebrows, takes care of my dog and my car falls into this category as well. A friend of a friend of my uncle's referred me over here, so here I am. Nevertheless, the point of this post is food! Being stranded for a few hours, I decided to walk down to the first restaurant by the shop which the owner had recommended. It was a small place in a strip mall so I was a little cautious. Everything looked too new to fall in the 'greasy hole in the wall reaaaallly good mexican food' category. The breakfast menu was overwhelming with options. Eggs with anything you could imagine, some I couldn't identify what it was. Two different kinds of migas, three different kinds of chilaquiles. I was intrigued. I've never had authentic migas OR chilaquiles and really didn't know the difference. After asking the waitress a few questions, I decided on chilaquiles rojo con chorizo. See, migas and chilaquiles both have fried tortilla bits in them, but where they differ is migas are cooked with eggs and chilaquiles are simply covered with sauce, maybe a meat and queso fresco. I ordered scrambled eggs on the side as well.

Picture from www.chezpim.com

Picture from www.roadfood.com

As you can see from these pictures (that I didn't take), the migas are more egg-y, while the chilaquiles are more sauce-y.

The plate came out with this wonderful red conncotion on a third of the plate with beans, fried potatoes and my eggs, which were real for the record and not the fake powdered kind. Although the above picture is not my meal, it was very similar, minus the pepper and tomato with a little bit more sauce. My first bite and I was hooked. The tortillas were still crunchy and the rojo sauce was the perfect blend of spices and heat. The chorizo was crumbled enough to not interfere with the simplicity of the dish. A bite of chilaquiles and a bite of eggs and I was in mexican food heaven. I swear I have a mexican grandmother somewhere in my genes because nothing is better than homemade mexican food. Shortly after I received my order, the four staff of the restaurant sat down and enjoyed breakfast together. You know it's good when you see the people that cook and serve it all day sit down and eat it. I only hope I have a reason to travel to San Juan again so I can try something else from there!

16 January 2009

Crockpot Gumbo

3/4 c. oil
3/4 c. flour

1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced (including leaves)
1 bunch green onion, chopped (roots removed, including green tops)
4 cloves garlic, chopped

2# chicken breasts
1# sausage, sliced
4-6 c. chicken stock

red pepper

*I still don't have a camera, I might insert a stock photo later. Sorry!*

Chop all your veggies first! I did not use bell peppers because I frankly don't care for them. I instead used a whole bunch of green onions and included all the tops as well.

Heat oil in a skillet until hot. Slowly whisk in flour until blended. Brown flour to a dark brown, not black. (I've heard this can only take ten minutes, but I was too afraid of burning it so it took me upwards of forty five minutes.) As soon as it reaches the correct color, remove from heat and throw in the veggies. Stir around, cover the veggies with the roux and sautee with the residual heat left in the pan.

Dump the roux and veggies in the crock pot. Add chicken (I prefer dark meat because it takes to longer cooking in the crock pot, white meat has a tendency to dry out) and sausage. Add enough chicken broth (I actually used chicken and beef because I had some open from the last time I cooked) to cover the chicken and sausage. Add salt, pepper and red pepper to taste. Cook on low allllllllll day. Seriously, I put mine on a 10:00 in the morning and we ate it at 5:30 in the evening.

Gumbo is one of those amazing things that you can simmer forever and the better it gets. If your chicken hasn't fallen apart, use a fork and gently shred it before you serve. Serve over cooked rice with some file, Tony's and Tabasco. This stuff is so simple, but sooo good! I made a whole 4 quart full and it was all gone after one sitting!

13 January 2009

Recipe in the Making

I got a crock pot for Christmas!! And yes, I actually asked for it! Now that I have one, it's my new obsession. For the next month, I plan to use my crock pot every Saturday while I'm away at indoor drumline rehearsals. I have been researching crockpot recipes for the past two weeks and they all seem to look the same. Pot roast. Chicken. BBQ meat. What about some variety? There's a lady who cooked something in her crock pot EVERY DAY of the year last year and didn't get too tired. I figured surely I can cook something once a week and not get bored. One of my favorite dishes I haven't made in a while is Hawaiian chicken. Usually I cook it in a foil pouch in the oven, but I'm thinking maybe I can do it in the crock pot...Hmmmm. I think I can. I'll let you know.

*And I promise to update with my first crock pot recipe and pictures soon!

10 January 2009

Crock Pot BBQ Pork

Ugh, this was so stinking good and I can't remember the recipe now. I thought I had saved it, but I guess not. And of course, I can't find whatever website I used for my inspiration. So here's what I *think* I did:

3-4 lb. pork roast
1 bottle BBQ sauce (Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce)
2 c. (ish?) beef broth
3T liquid smoke
1/4 c. dried chopped onion
salt, pepper

Season the pork roast with salt and pepper. Place in bottom of crock pot. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over. I know 1/4 cup of dried onion sounds like a lot but I know that I seriously used 1/2 bottle of dried chopped onion. I guess you could use real onion, but I didn't have any on hand. I also can't remember if I used 3T. of liquid smoke or 1/4 cup. I know, I suck. I guess I'll have to make it again. Either way, this is the basis and if you make it, I promise it'll be good. I mean, just look at the picture!

07 January 2009

New York Deli II

I'm in the Rio Grande Valley this week which means...sandwiches? You would think being a hop, skip, and a jump, I would be engorging myself on Mexican food. However, last time I was down this way, I was less than impressed with the "Mexican" food. You see, apparently "real" Mexican food and Tex-Mex are waaaaaaaaaay different. I have found that I am a Tex-Mex gal. Real authentic Mexican food is too bland for my personal palate. Nothing seemed to quench my mexican food craving last time, so this time I'm carefully researching it. In the mean time, I hit a relatively new place to town called New York Deli II. Apparently, they did so well in a neighboring town, they opened up one in Harlingen, so it HAD to be good, right? RIGHT! I ordered a traditional corned beef Reuben. There was cheese on both sides of bread and a hearty amount of sauerkraut, something which most places just sprinkles on. With homemade Russian dressing! It was so good, and apparently so popular, that it comes in a bottle, like ketchup would. You also get your choice of potato salad, coleslaw or bagged potato chips. I went for the coleslaw after questioning the waitress about it's creamy-ness or vinegary-ness. She said she totally understood my concern, she's had that question before but the best answer she could give was that it's both.[I was glad to know I wasn't the first to ask!] So I decided to give it a try and was glad I did! The cabbage was finely shredded, like almost to the likes of sprouts, I mean that thin. It was crazy and I couldn't figure it out. But true to her word, the coleslaw was creamy with just the right hint of sweet and vinegar. I would recommend this place without hesitation. The only cons was that it's a small place, about 25 tables and it gets PACKED and LOUD during traditional lunch hours. So come early or late, or be prepared to scout out a table. I wish I had some pictures or they even had a website, but I was ill prepared, but trust me, this is a keeper!

Pros: Awesome sandwiches with quality meats and cheese, prompt waitress
Cons: Can be packed and loud at times
Will I Return?: HECK YES!
Rating: 5/5

BY THE WAY, if you happen to find yourself in Harlingen and at New York Deli II, make sure to grab a bag of cookies at the counter. They were from a local place that just had a tag that said "Dulce Vida." They looked like a cookie I remember devouring by the dozen in my past, although my old age prevents me from remembering where I got them. I just had to buy a bag, even though it was $4/dz. However, they were SOO delicious I am thinking of calling the number on the back to get some more before I have to leave town. They were two versions, one with powdered sugar and one with cinnamon and sugar. I opted for cinnamon sugar and they were absolutely fab. They just dissolve in your mouth to the texture of sand [I know it's a horrible analogy but the best way I could think to describe it.] DEFINITELY buy yourself a bag!