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10 Simple Chocolate Candy Recipes

Chocolate Almond Bark Recipes

GiveMe Chocolate Recipes

This is a recipe post from the Holiday season two years ago before I stopped eating most chocolate. I now use raw chocolate in my recipes along with raw honey. But for those of you who eat any and all chocolate; these recipes will make your taste buds happy!

Maybe you heard the below rumors two years ago. Fortunately the chocolate price increase was temporary and prices are back to normal.

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I have heard about child labor and even slavery being used for cocoa harvesting. Read more about it at Slavery in the Chocolate Industry. I am thankful for journalists exposing the ugly truth. Hopefully shining light on the truth will force the industry to stop the practice of using children and slaves for profit. I will gladly pay more for my chocolate if it means freedom for people whose lives have value because they are created by God; and loved and precious in His sight.

Now add cocoa plantation owner’s concerns regarding low rainfall expected in their regions in the coming months. Cocoa grows best in climates with high rainfall so a country known for high cocoa production not receiving enough rain will affect the country’s cocoa harvest; meaning a shortage of beans. A shortage of beans could mean a drastic price increase to the chocolate foundries. The chocolate manufacturer will then pass the increase on to us, the consumers. The cost of cocoa butter has risen by 70% in the last twelve months with retail prices increasing by only 7%. The question is how long companies can wait before passing the higher cost on to the consumer; especially dark chocolate lovers. Me!

If you travel the World Wide Web or partake in social networking on Pinterest you have likely read about preppers; people who take precautionary measures to be prepared for catastrophic events. By gathering in advance, supplies and necessities, preppers have a plan to help them survive potential disasters.

Well, as an admitted chocoholic I’ll tell you—I’m taking no chance of chocolate becoming too expensive for me to afford it. Long term or short-term. I am prepared. I am responsible for my children—I must think of my boys. They need chocolate too. If tart and sour candies are ever in jeopardy I will make a run on the store for Riley a survival rationing of Sweet Tarts, Sour Patch Kids and Skittles, but for now her taste buds are safe.

Upon hearing the news of expected price increases and possibly only the wealthy being able to afford chocolate in the near future, I drove straight to Aldi’s where I purchased my affordable favorite Choceur chocolate candy bars; milk chocolate, rich almond chocolate, dark chocolate, dark hazelnut chocolate and Moser Roth Privat Chocolatiers Toffee Crunch. I’m not telling how many but it could last a long time if it absolutely had to. I will fess up to buying a case of chocolate almond bark. Yes, a case. This is in addition to the packages already on hand for my Thanksgiving and Christmas candy making.  A case is only twelve packages after all and it has a longer shelf life than the expiration date suggests.

Chocolate almond bark goes a long way for candy making. When mixed with an array of diverse ingredients you have the ability to produce various candy bar type treats. If you have never tried using almond bark for your holiday baking I will pass on my favorite recipes. I am the queen of quick quantity so you will find these recipes easy to make, faster than baking cookies, and they yield a high number of bite size goodies. I forgot to mention another high point of almond bark; it is inexpensive compared to using chocolate chips for candy making.

I relish thinking half-heartedly of myself as being the Proverbs 31 woman. Here is my spin on it. Proverbs 31:13-15 & 28: Carolyn selects milk chocolate, dark chocolate and almond bark; and works with eager hands. She is like a merchant van bringing her chocolate from Aldi’s. She stays up while it is still the middle of the night; she provides chocolate to her family; but mainly to herself; followed by A.J., Colson and Riley.  Her children arise asking for chocolate and call her tired; but blessed.

The inspired word of Proverbs 31:13-15 & 28 reads:

“She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family

Her children arise and call her blessed;”

I am prepar-r-r-ed! My family shall not run out of chocolate candy options any time soon.

NEEDED SUPPLIES:

Baking with almond bark requires a double boiler. If you do not own a double boiler use two pots of varying sizes or a pot and a metal or glass bowl.

Double Boiler Double Boiler with 2 saucepans Double Boiler using a pot and bowl

A 1 – 1 ½ quart saucepan (which technically is a pot) works beautifully because the chocolate melts deep enough to easily submerge the candy.

If you are mixing ingredients into the pot you will need a 2 ½ quart saucepan (pot) for the almond bark and a larger pot for holding the water. A metal or glass bowl could also be placed on top of the water pot. The technique requires water in the larger bottom pot (approx. 1/3 full of water) with the smaller pot resting on top, You will also need wax or parchment paper and large cookie sheets or trays.

Remove almond bark from package and melt it in a double boiler. (If your packages are a year or two old—beware of crumbling plastic packaging.)

DO NOT ALLOW WATER TO BOIL UP INTO TOP PAN OF CHOCOLATE. DO NOT ADD ANY OTHER INGREDIENT TO ALMOND BARK FOR THINNING PURPOSES. It will become gritty and dry; ruining your candy.

Line cookies sheets and large trays with Wax or Parchment Paper for easy removal of candy & easy clean-up.

When I have removed a batch of candy from the wax paper I turn the paper over and use the other side for the next batch.

Place finished goodies in airtight containers or freezer bags.

All of these candies freeze perfectly; so if do all of your baking before Thanksgiving it will last through the New Year’s celebrations.

I also make the candies in small pieces, 1-2 bites each. This way when I give a tray of cookies, candies and breads for teacher gifts, neighbor gifts and appreciation gifts; the receiver can sample everything without being overwhelmed with sugar. I find this works well for my own holiday trays too since we eat and snack all day long. We can sample everything without grossly overeating to the point of nausea.

All of these recipes may be created with chocolate or vanilla almond bark. I do not consider vanilla bark or white chocolate true chocolate. I only bake with it to cater to non-chocolate lovers and to add color to the cookie/candy trays.

Baking sprinkles, glitters, ground nuts or shaved chocolate may be added to the top of freshly dipped wet chocolates for decoration.

 Chocolate Covered Peanuts(or any nut)

chocolate covered peanuts

Use at least a 2 ½ qt. saucepan/bowl for melting the bark

-1 package Chocolate Almond Bark – melted

-32 ounces Party peanuts or Spanish peanuts stirred into melted chocolate.

You can cook raw peanuts (found in the produce department of the store) in the microwave by cooking 6 minutes; stirring every 2 minutes. If you begin to smell burning peanuts they are beginning to overcook and may be removed from the microwave. They are ready to use in a recipe. Peanuts make my favorite chocolate nut clusters!

Spoon small clusters onto Wax paper lined trays. Keep clusters close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel clusters off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Yields: about 5 dozen small clusters

Chocolate Covered PretzelsKids love these and they are ridiculously easy to make.

Chocolate covered pretzels

-1 package Chocolate or Vanilla Almond Bark – melted

-1 bag Pretzel Twists

Use a fork to fully dip pretzels in melted almond bark. Tap fork on side of pan to remove excess chocolate. Use an extra fork, knife or candy tong to push pretzel off of dipping fork.

Keep pretzels close together on wax paper but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel pretzels off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Chocolate Almond Bark Cookies

Chocolate Almond Bark

Use at least a 2 ½ qt. saucepan/bowl for melting the bark

-1 package Chocolate Almond Bark – melted

-1 ½ cup Peanut Butter – stirred in.

-3 cups Marshmallows – stirred in.

-4 cups Rice Crispies – stirred in.

Spoon small amounts onto Wax paper lined trays using an extra fork, knife or candy tong to push pretzel off of dipping fork.

Keep clusters close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel clusters off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Yields: about 5 dozen cookies

 Oreo Truffles

(I always double the below recipe and use: 2 packages cookies,  2-8 oz. cream cheeses & 1 pkg. almond bark.

oreo truffles

-1 package Oreos, Mint Oreos, or Great Value from Walmart.  ALDI’S brand does NOT work – Place one package of cookies at a time in blender, then add to the cream cheese which has been softened in the microwave.

After mixing Oreos and cream cheese together, cover with plastic wrap & place in fridge or freezer until firm.

-½ package melted Chocolate Almond Bark

Roll mixture into small (3/4 -1 inchI) bite size balls, place onto Wax paper lined trays.

predipped oreo truffles

Return to fridge or freezer to re-firm before dipping.

Dip with a toothpick, candy pick or nut pick to completely cover balls in melted chocolate almond bark. Tap toothpick on side of pan to remove excess chocolate; use an toothpick to push pretzel off of dipping fork.

Yields: 3 dozen

Keep balls close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel truffles off of paper and place in airtight containers..

Turtle Truffles

turtle truffle

-8 ounces Cream Cheese softened

-7 oz. which equals ½ bag of Kraft caramels. Unwrap and place in microwaveable bowl with 1 Tbsp. water. Cook 1 minute, stir, and repeat at 1 minute intervals until completely melted.

-8 ounces chopped pecans

Mix softened cream cheese, melted caramel and chopped pecans.

Cover with plastic wrap and place mixture in fridge or freezer until firm.

Melt 1 package Chocolate Almond Bark

Roll mixture into ¾” – 1” small bite size balls, place onto Wax paper lined trays. Melt ½ pkg. Choc. Almond bark.

Return to fridge or freezer to re-firm before dipping.

Use a fork to dip balls in melted chocolate almond bark; covering all sides. Tap fork on side of pan to remove excess chocolate. Use a second fork to slide the truffle onto the pan/tray.

Yields: 30

Keep balls close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel truffles off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Ritz Cookies So simple—so easy!

Chocolate Ritz cookies

-1 package Chocolate Almond Bark – melted

-1 box, 4 sleeves, Ritz or store brand crackers

-Peanut butter spread to desired thickness on one cracker. Place a second cracker on top of peanut butter to create a sandwich.

Ritz cracker spread with peanut butter

Use a fork to completely dip crackers in melted chocolate almond bark. Tap fork on side of pan to remove excess chocolate. Use a second fork to slide the cookie onto the pan/tray.

Keep crackers close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel cookies off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Yields: just under 4 dozen

Mint Bark

Mint Bark

WHENEVER YOU HAVE LEFT OVER ALMOND BARK in the bottom of a pan ADD FLAVORING SUCH AS MINT, PEPPERMINT OR ORANGE, 3 DROPS AT A TIME UNTIL YOU APPROVE OF THE FLAVOR; STIR. POUR ONTO WAX PAPER LINED PAN & TAP PAN UNTIL MIXTURE IS SMOOTH or spread with a spatula. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When hardened, peel BARK off of paper, break into small pieces and place in airtight containers.

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

-½ package White Almond Bark – melted

-Peppermint  extract, 1 tsp. to begin; stir, and add more if desired.

-1 box of peppermint Candy canes, crushed, I pulse them in a blender or food processor

Mix candy canes in for desired thickness.

POUR ONTO WAX PAPER LINED PAN & TAP PAN UNTIL MIXTURE IS SMOOTH, or use a spatula. Place trays in fridge freezer for quick set time. When hardened, peel BARK off of paper, break into bite size pieces and place in airtight containers.

This recipe can be changed using lemon extract and crushed Lemon Drops candy.

Yields: 4 dozen small pieces

 

Millionaire Bites

Millionaire Bites

-½  package Chocolate Almond Bark – melted

-1 14 oz. package Kraft caramels unwrapped. Place in a microwavable bowl and add 3 Tbsp. water. Melt 1 minute at a time; stirring after each minute until melted.

-1 ½ cups ground pecans – use a blender of food processor

-1 ½ cups Rice Crispies

Yields: 3 about 3 dozen

Line two large pans or trays with wax paper; GREASE the paper (or you will be sorry – guess how I know?)

Combine melted caramel, pecans and cereal (in this order). Drop small teaspoonfuls onto greased pans. Place in fridge or freezer for quick set time.

Line two more pans/trays with wax paper. The greased wax paper will not be reusable.

When the candy is set, dip it in the almond bark on all sides with a fork; tap fork on the side of the pot allowing excess to drip back in the pot. Use a second fork to slide the cookie onto the pan/tray. Keep candies close together but not touching. Place  trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, pop candies off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Peppermint Patties

Peppermint patties

-½ package chocolate almond bark – melted

-¾ cup sweetened condensed milk

-1 ½ teaspoons pure peppermint extract –imitation does not taste good; mint extract could be substituted

-4 cups confectioners (powder) sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine condensed milk and peppermint extract. Beat in enough confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, to form a stiff dough that is no longer sticky. Form into 1/2 inch balls, then place on waxed paper. Grease or butter the bottom of a flat glass. Press the glass on the dough to form small thin patties.  Let patties dry at room temperature one hour, turning once at a half hour.

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Using a fork, a meat fork may be necessary depending on the size of the patties, dip the patties, one at a time, into the melted chocolate. . Tap fork on side of pan to remove excess chocolate. Use a second fork to slide the patties onto the pan/tray lined with wax paper. Keep patties close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel patties off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Yields: about 3 dozen

~Enjoy

7 Meals From 1 Pork Shoulder Roast Recipe

huppiemama.com Pork Shoulder Roast

huppiemama.com Pork Shoulder Roast

I found Huppie Mama on Pinterest when I was looking to prepare pork shoulder/pork butt with a new twist and she provided the twist—of lemon and orange. I tweaked the recipe a couple of times and came up with my own Tex-Mex version.

I buy the pork shoulder or pork butt at SAMS Club for under $2.00 per pound. I served four people five meals with this recipe. SAMS packages 2 pork butts per package; approx. 7 pounds each. Use 1 of the pork butts for this recipe.

This recipe can be cooked, divided into 5 portions, and frozen in freezer bags. I sprinkle more spices on the meat before reheating because it tends to lose some of it’s flavor.

Here are seven meals I have made using the recipe:

  1. Pulled Pork, Cilantro Lime Rice (I add chopped cilantro and 1 juiced lime the last five minutes of the 20 minute cooking time for rice and stir,) 2 cans rinsed black beans in beef broth with ½ teaspoon each cumin, onion powder & chili powder. Chopped zucchini, yellow squash & purple onion sautéed in olive oil with cracked pepper and Greek seasoning or Adobo seasoning. (I like all the above ingredients piled on top of each other; my boys like the foods separate.) Watermelon.
  2. Pulled Pork BBQ sandwiches (Spread butter on hamburger buns or Texas Toast {The yummiest} and brown in a warm pan. Serve meat on the bread with BBQ sauce {Head Country sauce is my fav), baked French fries, salad, grapes.
  3. Pulled Pork Nachos: Shredded Cheddar and/or Monterey Jack cheese, drizzled cheese or queso sauce, pulled pork and drizzled Chipotle BBQ sauce. (I used a medium aggressive heat, smokey Chipotle salsa from Cantina Laredo, the salsa they serve warm.) I made a mix of half Chipotle salsa and half Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce. My guys were making happy noises the entire time they ate; except when the stopped eating to ask for more of the sauce. (Any BBQ sauce with smokey chipotle will work. If in the St. Charles county area, Sugarfire has delicious Chiptole BBQ sauce and Sweet Baby Rays Honey Chiptole sauce {at the grocery stores}) Serve with fruit; mixed melons.
  4. Large Yukon Gold baking potatoes with toppings of butter, sour cream, cheese and warmed pulled pork in its broth. Ladle the pork and broth over the stuffed potato. (My boys were not thrilled until they took the first bite; then they were in heaven!) Serve with salad or fruit.
  5. Pulled Pork Chalupas. Serve on warmed flour or corn tortillas with toppings of your choice: Cheese, lettuce or spinach, tomato, onion, lime wedges (for a squirt of juice), chopped cilantro and salsa. Serve with warmed tortilla chips and fresh salsa for dipping.
  6. Pulled Pork dipped in BBQ sauce, baked homemade sweet potato fries drizzled with olive oil—sprinkled with seasoning salt and Rosemary, veggie & fruit.
  7. Pulled Pork Quesadillas served on flour or corn tortillas with shredded cheese. Serve with sautéed or steamed veggies and fruit salad. I core and cut 1 red apple, 1 green apple, 1 cup green grapes, 1 cup red grapes, 1 can chunk pineapple, ½ cup whole pecans; spoon 1 small container of peach yogurt over ingredients and toss.
GiveMe Tex-Mex or Else

GiveMe Tex-Mex or Else

Pork Shoulder Roast Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion cut in chunks, plus 1 whole onion skinned without removing the ends. You want the whole onion to stay together until finished cooking.)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, skinned
  • 2 fresh lemons juiced, choose the heaviest fruits—they have the most juice
  • 1 large orange juiced or several Clementines juiced
    • (the two lemon/orange juices combined should equal 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • *optional – I add 1 tablespoon beef base or bouillon to give it a beefy flavor (you won’t be sorry)
  • One 5-7 pound, bone-in Boston butt (pork shoulder, pork butt – I used a 7.5 lb pork butt

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients, except the whole onion—NOT the whole onion, in a blender or food processor and puree.
  2. Pour half a cup of pureed mixture in bottom of crock pot.
  3. Place pork shoulder or pork butt in the crock pot and pour remaining mixture over the top and down the sides. Place whole onion is crock-pot. (I love onion flavor but putting one and a half pureed onions in the mixture messes with the texture of the finished recipe. The whole onion can be removed after cooking.)
  4. Cook on low for 9 hours. I checked mine at 7 hours. If it is still tough cut several slits across the top then turn it over and cut slits on the bottom.  It will finish cooking and be ready to shred at the end of 9 hours.

Yum!

For fresh Tex-Mex toppings see:

Black Bean Salsa Tex Mex Black Bean Salsa

Creamy Serrano Ranch Dip/Sauce IMG_0054

Fresh Guacamole IMG_0117

Pico De GalloPico De Gallo

Pork Shoulder Roast Freshly Pressed from Huppie Mama:

“{We often do family potlucks at my house with my sister and my parents. Usually it’s a ‘bring whatever you want’ kinda thing, and we end up with something like baked ziti, chicken…”

via Pork Shoulder Roast recipe & Caribbean dinner ideas.

Aside

Black Bean Salsa for Your Labor Day Weekend

Tex Mex Black Bean SalsaThis Labor Day Weekend provides the perfect opportunity to use which ever fresh tomatoes you’re still harvesting from your garden. I usually plant a variety of tomatoes so I have optimal continuous harvesting through the summer season. The best time of year to eat this Black Bean Salsa is when you have fresh Roma tomatoes from the garden; although, any fresh from the garden tomato will work. If you don’t have a garden then pick up some Romas at the store. My daughter and I make this salsa throughout the year and often use store bought tomatoes.

My sister, one of the best cooks ever, introduced me to this recipe years ago and I have since adapted it to my taste bud’s preferences. I like Roma tomatoes, Serrano peppers and lots of lime juice.

Fresh ingredients

Fresh ingredients

Black Beans and Shoe Peg Corn

Black Beans and Shoe Peg Corn

chopped veggies

Chopped Veggies

Serrano Peppers

Serrano Peppers

This Jalapeno Corer tool is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. It works for any type of pepper and also cores the tops of tomatoes. My favorite use is for coring Jalapenos. Cut the tops offs and rotate the corer down inside the pepper to remove veins and seeds. This allows you to stuff the Jalapeno for baking, grilling or placing in a smoker. The Serranos above are small and need to be cut in half, then deveined and seeded one half at a time.

I ordered my Jalapeno Corer at Amazon.com. I also ordered the Jalapeno Roasting Rack for use in the oven, on the grill, or in a smoker.

Jalapeno Corer Tool

Jalapeno Corer Tool

Limes juiced

Juiced limes

Toss chopped veggies with lime juice, Canola oil, salt and garlic powder

Toss chopped veggies with lime juice, Canola oil, salt and garlic powder

Add tomatoes

Add tomatoes and mix

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

TEXMEX Recipes

Tex-Mex Black Bean Salsa

1 can black beans

1 can Shoe peg corn

1 bunch cilantro, minced

½ Bell pepper—any color, chopped

1 small or medium purple onion, to taste, chopped

4 cups Roma tomatoes, chopped

2 Serrano peppers seeded and deveined, minced

Juice of 2 medium limes

1 T. Canola oil

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Drain and rinse beans and corn. Place in a large mixing bowl. Add cilantro, bell pepper, purple onion, Serrano peppers then mix in lime juice, Canola oil, salt and garlic powder. Add and mix chopped tomatoes. Serve immediately. Refrigerate left overs.

Serve with Restaurant style white corn tortilla chips or Tostidos Scoops.

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Creamy Serrano Ranch Dip Recipe

TEXMEX Recipes

Creamy Serrano Ranch Dip (A.K.A. Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip)

IMG_0054

Last year I traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, and visited my dear friend, Michelle, from years past. Once upon a time our families lived in Stillwater, Oklahoma, at the same time where I taught her youngest daughter at a local Mom’s Day Out program. We later belonged to the same homeschool association and would hang out at each other’s homes while her daughters and my daughter played together.

Allow me to tell you what Michelle did to me; she interjected herself into my personal life. Ha! I tell you this in the most light-hearted way with a smile on my face because I absolutely positively love this woman. It’s a long story and one I am working on writing in it full detail. The abbreviated version is that several homeschool moms, along with Michelle, were praying for me behind my back and asking God to provide me a husband and to give Riley a daddy. I mention, “Behind my back” because my friends knew I had no interest or intention of dating or remarrying. Read here for why…..MY DESTRUCTIVE MARRIAGE. I named Michelle the instigator of this but she insists it was the Holy Spirit. I heard through the grapevine that while some of my friends were meeting for homeschool playdates they would huddle in the garage and pray for me while their children played in the yard.

And they were not the only friends doing this! It began months earlier with my friend Pam speaking to me about the same subject.  Little did I know, God was working out His plan (definitely not mine or Riley’s) for my life and for Riley’s life.

Here is a quote by Michelle, “I figured out a long time ago, that when several God-fearing women walk into God’s throne room together…whatever they are praying about…better watch out!” – #moveoversatan #nottakingGod’sglory #getunderourfeetwhereyoubelong

I obviously got over Michelle’s Holy Spirit led intrusion and allowed her in-depth private details of every aspect of my life; beginning to present day, for Restoring the Foundations ministry. Michelle was training to minister with RTF and is now officially part of the Restoring the Foundations Ministry team. I can honestly testify that RTF was the most beautiful, personal, empowering, healing and tender time I have ever spent with the Lord. I love Him!

How does this connect to a Tex-Mex recipe you may be asking?

Well, before visiting Michelle I texted her and asked if there was a Chuy’s Tex-Mex in Nashville. To my delight she responded that Chuy’s was; in fact, located down the street from her home in Franklin, Tennessee.

Chuy’s was my all-time favorite eating establishment. If I were allowed to have only one option for eating out, from present day to the day I die, Chuy’s would be it. I believe it is impossible that I could ever tire of their deliciousness; however, my body was malfunctioning due to eating many of the foods used in dishes at Chuy’s. Little did I know, I had acquired multiple auto-immune diseases from genetics and a life of extreme stress. Almost every food Chuy’s serves is now on my cannot eat list. Sniff, sniff….

My boys crave Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip, but since we live in the heavily populated Italian cuisine city of St. Louis, Missouri, we have no Chuy’s Tex-Mex.

Every time I ate at Chuy’s I attempted to pull apart the individual flavors; veggie, pepper, herb and spice in the salsas, Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip and meats.

I have made the dip with Jalapeños, Anaheim Chile’s, Poblanos, Serrano Peppers and blends of these peppers. I use fresh Serrano peppers in my Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip—no Jalapeños. We find this recipe every bit as flavorful, if not the same, as Chuy’s. I did ask a manager at a Chuy’s in Kentucky if there were Serrano’s in the salsas and dips and she confirmed that there were.

When it comes to preparing dishes with peppers you get to decide the amount of heat you want in your recipe. Here is the trick:

Mild heat: Remove seeds and devein the inside of the peppers.

Medium heat:  Remove seeds and leave the veins in. You can always add a few seeds if you want more heat.

Fiery heat: Leave seeds and veins in peppers.

I always double this recipe.

~Enjoy!

 Creamy Serrano Ranch Dip (Jalapeño)

IMG_0044

½ cup sour cream

½ cup real mayonnaise (low fat is not tasty in this recipe)

¾ cup milk

½ teaspoon white distilled vinegar (this turns milk in to buttermilk)

1 (4 ounce) can green chilies

1 (1 ounce) packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix

2 Serrano peppers (remove seeds and veins for mild) Remove seeds for medium heat. Leave seeds and veins for hot heat.

¼ cup cilantro

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

IMG_0046

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.

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Refrigerate for two hours before serving so ingredients can soak into the dressing.

Serve with chips or use as salad dressing on Mexican salads, or sauce for Mexican foods and casseroles.

*Heat oven to 350 degrees and place a cookie sheet of white corn restaurant style tortilla chips in the oven for 3 minutes. Enjoy fresh restaurant style chips and dip.

Fresh Pico De Gallo Recipe

Do you have an abundance of fresh tomatoes from your garden? Then I have a recipe for you!

Fresh cilantro is a must so go pick a bunch. Ah, the scent—the taste of fresh cilantro!

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~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Today I am sharing how I make my favorite Pico De Gallo recipe. Some cooks use yellow onion, some use any type of tomato but I only use white onion and Roma tomatoes.

Because the heat and taste of onion can vary from crop to crop, I cut a piece off and inspect it by smelling it and tasting it. This is a necessary evil because not much is worse than taking the time to chop all your ingredients, mix your recipe and find out a bad onion spoiled the flavor of the entire dish. I use equal parts tomato, onion and fresh cilantro but if the onion is too strong I cut the amount back to ¼ to ½ depending on the onion’s strength.

This recipe can be made as small or large as needed.

In my house we consider Pico De Gallo a nutritious meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner; with tortilla chips. Yep, that’s it—nothing more—just Pico. I hope you don’t have a problem with that.

Pico De Gallo

Pico De Gallo Recipe:

6 Roma tomatoes rinsed, core the top, chopped

1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped

1 large bunch of rinsed cilantro, chopped; remove long stems at the bottom of the bunch

1 large lime—juiced, you may use zest too if you like it

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

*Optional-2 seeded, deveined serrano peppers, minced. If you like extreme heat do NOT remove the seeds and veins. Serrano peppers, to me, have the best flavor of all the Mexican peppers. My daughter occasionally likes to make Pico with 2 large chopped (yes, chopped not minced) jalapeños. For flavor with mild heat use a chile or Poblano pepper; seeded.

The importance is equal amounts of tomato, white onion & cilantro. I add lime juice until I can taste it mixed throughout the entire batch.

Serve with restaurant style white corn tortilla chips warmed in the oven for 3 minutes @ 350 degrees.

Eat plain with chips or as a topping on your favorite taco, fajita, burrito, quesadilla, chalupa, salad, meat or casserole.

~Enjoy!

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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread: Gluten Free

It’s fall.

Its scent is in the air, the rustling leaves sound like it, and the chilly outdoor temperature confirms it.

This means one thing in our home: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread baking time. Since we have a bon-fire to go to this weekend, and we committed to bringing this bread, our home is about to smell like the glorious scent of chocolate harmonizing with pumpkin. Our taste buds are preparing to dance!

GiveMe Chocolate Recipes

Life is hard.

Chocolate is good.

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But chocolate mixed into pumpkin in next to heavenly! Literally. I believe God made the cocoa bean specifically for women as a little gift to compensate us for the once a month hormonal upheaval we endure. And when we discovered the scrumptiousness of mixing chocolate into pumpkin, God may have smiled, leaned over to Jesus and said, “Do you see that? She discovered another little treasure we left for her.”

Make yourself a batch of this bread, which makes three loaves, and see for yourself that Gluten Free does not have to mean flavorless, fall-a-part dry bread. This bread is fit for breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight snack or anytime in between.

Eating Gluten Free means putting extra time and thought into almost every meal or snack we eat. I am thankful to have the resources to eat what we need and want but the planning is time-consuming. Plus, eating gluten free can make my boys’ taste buds whiny. They’re not whiny—but their taste buds are. The best way to hush them is with this dense, moist, bursting with flavor treat. If you have never tried chocolate and pumpkin together you are missing out on one of the finer things in life. Chocolate and pumpkin are perhaps the most perfect union since the pairing of chocolate and peanut butter. Don’t doubt it ’til you’ve tried it!

This is my own personal recipe I am sharing with you and the kids can NOT keep their hands off it. Prepare to gain a pound—or two.

Our dog became a thieving table jumper the first time she smelled it. She is willing to suffer consequences  to wrap her mouth around this delicious concoction of chocolate and pumpkin. To manipulate us in to giving her more she has, without being prompted, been known to perform every trick we have ever taught her; one after the other, until we almost die laughing and cave to her cuteness. When we have a say in the matter we remove the chocolate chips from the dog’s bread. Sometimes we don’t have a say in the matter. Like when she runs by, jumps and grabs a mouthful from our hands. She’s fast like that—for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread.

With no further ado I present to you:

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

This is a very forgiving recipe. Combine the  ingredients in the same mixing bowl in the order listed.

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups packed brown sugar

1 cup canola oil

3 eggs at room temperature

1 – 29 oz. can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

Mix

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Add 1 teaspoon each: Cloves, Cinnamon, Nutmeg & All spice

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum (located in the baking aisle near the yeast or GF items)

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Mix

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Add 2 cups white rice flour or a combination of your favorite GF flours

½ cup Gluten Free oats (I mill these in my blender) If you do not have Celiac disease  you can put Quick Oats through a blender or food processor.

¾ cup Potato starch (Tapioca, Corn or Arrow Root starch may be used)

¼ cup ground Flax seed (Flax seed helps hold the bread together)

*If you love Flax seed you can adjust the recipe to ½ cup pot. starch & ½ cup Flax seed; this slightly changes the texture.

Mix

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Mix in 2 cups chocolate chips.

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Pour into 3 ungreased 4 inch X 8 inch pans.  I use the disposable pans from the store because they bake the most uniform nicest looking loaves of bread and for some reason they bake more evenly than any of my other pans. This makes a nice size loaf of bread for DSCN3003gift giving. Sprinkle 1/4 cup chocolate chips down the center of each loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes. Insert a toothpick. When it come out dry, except for chocolate smudges, it is finished. Test each loaf. Cool about 20 minutes then use a metal spatula to loosen the bread from the sides of the pans. With one had on the top of the bread and one hand on the bottom of the pan; turn the pan upside down to remove the bread. Completely cool before placing in a bag or container.

This bread freezes beautifully in a freezer bag.

DSCN3006I buy most of my grains from Whole Foods and mill them at home with my electric mill but many grains can be purchased already ground/milled. I am listing my favorite combination of flours for this post but I have used many combinations and never disliked any of them. I have used Millet, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Brown Rice, Sweet Rice, cooked Quinoa, and Almond Four. I do not care for Garbanzo and Fava Flour in any baking product.

Gluten Free baking needs to be done with room temperature ingredients.

~Enjoy!

Below is the recipe without the pictures, or you may link to the recipe card format at Tasty Kitchen.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

This is a very forgiving recipe. Combine the  ingredients in the same mixing bowl in the order listed.

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups packed brown sugar

1 cup canola oil

3 eggs at room temperature

1 – 29 oz. can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

Mix

Add 1 teaspoon each: Cloves, Cinnamon, Nutmeg & All spice

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum (located in the baking aisle near the yeast or GF items)

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Mix

Add 2 cups white rice flour or a combination of your favorite GF flours

½ cup Gluten Free oats (I mill these in my blender) If you do not have Celiac disease  you can put Quick Oats through a blender or food processor.

¾ cup Potato starch (Tapioca starch or Corn starch may be used)

¼ cup ground Flax seed (Flax seed helps hold the bread together)

*If you love Flax seed you can adjust the recipe to ½ cup pot. starch & ½ cup Flax seed; this slightly changes the texture.

Mix

Mix in 2 cups chocolate chips.

Pour into 3 ungreased 4 inch X 8 inch pans.  I use the disposable pans from the store because they bake the most uniform nicest looking loaves of bread and for some reason they bake more evenly than any of my other pans. This makes a nice size loaf of bread for gift giving. Sprinkle 1/4 cup chocolate chips down the center of each loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes. Insert a toothpick. When it come out dry, except for chocolate smudges, it is finished. Test each loaf. Cool about 20 minutes then use a metal spatula to loosen the bread from the sides of the pans. With one had on the top of the bread and one hand on the bottom of the pan; turn the pan upside down to remove the bread. Completely cool before placing in a bag or container.

Link

Tex-Mex Crock Pot Pork Shoulder

huppiemama.com Pork Shoulder Roast

huppiemama.com Pork Shoulder Roast

Freshly Pressed from Huppie Mama:

“{We often do family potlucks at my house with my sister and my parents. Usually it’s a ‘bring whatever you want’ kinda thing, and we end up with something like baked ziti, chicken…”

via Pork Shoulder Roast recipe & Caribbean dinner ideas.

I found Huppie Mama on Pinterest when I was looking to prepare pork shoulder/pork butt with a new twist and she provided the twist—of lemon and orange. I tweaked the recipe a couple of times and came up with my own Tex-Mex version.

I buy the pork shoulder or pork butt at SAMS Club for under $2.00 per pound. I served four people five meals with this recipe.

This recipe can be cooked, divided into 5 portions, and frozen in freezer bags. I sprinkle more spices on the meat before reheating because it tends to lose some of it’s flavor.

Here are seven meals I have made using the recipe:

  1. Pulled Pork, Cilantro Lime Rice (I add chopped cilantro and 1 juiced lime the last five minutes of the 20 minute cooking time for rice and stir.), 2 cans rinsed black beans in beef broth with ½ teaspoon each cumin, onion powder & chili powder; chopped zucchini, yellow squash & purple onion sautéed in olive oil with cracked pepper and Greek seasoning or Adobo seasoning. (I like all the above ingredients piled on top of each other; my boys like the foods separate.) Watermelon.
  2. Pulled Pork BBQ sandwiches (Spread butter on hamburger buns or Texas Toast {The yummiest} and brown in a warm pan. Serve meat on the bread with BBQ sauce {Head Country sauce is my fav), baked French fries, salad, grapes.
  3. Pulled Pork Nachos: Shredded Cheddar and/or Monterey Jack cheese, drizzled cheese or queso sauce, pulled pork and drizzled Chipotle BBQ sauce. (I used a medium aggressive heat, smokey Chipotle salsa from Cantina Laredo, the salsa they serve warm.) I made a mix of half Chipotle salsa and half Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce. My guys were making happy noises the entire time they ate; except when the stopped eating to ask for more of the sauce. (Any BBQ sauce with smokey chipotle will work. If in the St. Charles county area, Sugarfire has delicious Chiptole BBQ sauce.) Serve with fruit; mixed melons.
  4. Large Yukon Gold baking potatoes with toppings of butter, sour cream, cheese and warmed pulled pork in its broth. Ladle the pork and broth over the stuffed potato. (My boys were not thrilled until they took the first bite; then they were in heaven!) Serve with salad or fruit.
  5. Pulled Pork Chalupas. Serve on warmed flour or corn tortillas with toppings of your choice: Cheese, lettuce or spinach, tomato, onion, lime wedges (for a squirt of juice), chopped cilantro and salsa. Serve with warmed tortilla chips and fresh salsa for dipping.
  6. Pulled Pork dipped in BBQ sauce, baked homemade sweet potato fries drizzled with olive oil—sprinkled with seasoning salt and Rosemary, veggie & fruit.
  7. Pulled Pork Quesadillas served on flour or corn tortillas with shredded cheese. Serve with sautéed or steamed veggies and fruit salad. I core and cut 1 red apple, 1 green apple, 1 cup green grapes, 1 cup red grapes, 1 can chunk pineapple, ½ cup whole pecans; spoon 1 small container of peach yogurt over ingredients and toss.
GiveMe Tex-Mex or Else

GiveMe Tex-Mex or Else

Pork Shoulder Roast Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion cut in chunks, plus 1 whole onion skinned with the slightest portion of ends cut off; just enough to remove the skin off the ends. You want the whole onion to stay together until finished cooking.)
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 2 fresh lemons juiced, choose the heaviest fruits—they have the most juice
  • 1 large orange juiced or several Clementines juiced
    • (the two juices combined should equal 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • One 5-7 pound, bone-in Boston butt (pork shoulder, pork butt – I used a 7.5 lb pork butt

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients, except the whole onion—NOT the whole onion, in a blender or food processor and puree.
  2. Pour half a cup of pureed mixture in bottom of crock pot.
  3. Place pork shoulder or pork butt in the crock pot and pour remaining mixture over the top and down the sides. Place whole onion is crock-pot. (I love onion flavor but putting one and a half pureed onions in the mixture messes with the texture of the finished recipe. The whole onion can be removed after cooking.)
  4. Cook on low for 9 hours. I checked mine at 7 hours. If it is still tough cut several slits across the top then turn it over and cut slits on the bottom.  It will finish cooking and be ready to shred at the end of 9 hours.

Yum!

 

 

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Tex-Mex Black Bean Salsa

Tex Mex Black Bean Salsa

My favorite time of year to eat this Black Bean Salsa is when I have fresh Roma tomatoes from my garden which usually places this salsa around the 4th of July. My daughter and I make this salsa throughout the year but tonight was the first batch with homegrown Romas.

My sister, one of the best cooks ever,  introduced me to this recipe years ago and I have since adapted it to my taste bud’s preferences. I like Roma tomatoes, Serrano peppers and lots of lime juice.

 

Fresh ingredients

Fresh ingredients

Black Beans and Shoe Peg Corn

Black Beans and Shoe Peg Corn

chopped veggies

Chopped Veggies

Serrano Peppers

Serrano Peppers

This Jalapeno Corer tool is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. It works for any type of pepper and also cores the tops of tomatoes. My favorite use is for coring Jalapenos. Cut the tops offs and rotate the corer down inside the pepper to remove veins and seeds. This allows you to stuff the Jalapeno for baking, grilling or placing in a smoker. The Serranos above are small and need to be cut in half, then deveined and seeded one half at a time.

I ordered my Jalapeno Corer at Amazon.com. I also ordered the Jalapeno Roasting Rack for use in the oven, on the grill or in a smoker.

Jalapeno Corer Tool

Jalapeno Corer Tool

Limes juiced

Juiced limes

Toss chopped veggies with lime juice, Canola oil, salt and garlic powder

Toss chopped veggies with lime juice, Canola oil, salt and garlic powder

Add tomatoes

Add tomatoes and mix

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

TEXMEX Recipes

 

Tex-Mex Black Bean Salsa

1 can black beans

1 can Shoe peg corn

1 bunch cilantro

½ Bell pepper—any color, chopped

1 small or medium purple onion, to taste, chopped

4 cups Roma tomatoes, chopped

2 Serrano peppers seeded and deveined, minced

Juice of 2 medium limes

1 T. Canola oil

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Drain and rinse beans and corn. Place in a large mixing bowl. Add cilantro, bell pepper, purple onion, Serrano peppers then mix in lime juice, Canola oil, salt and garlic powder. Add and mix chopped tomatoes. Serve immediately. Refrigerate left overs.

Serve with Restaurant style white corn tortilla chips or Tostidos Scoops.

 

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Tex-Mex Creamy Serrano Enchiladas

TEXMEX Recipes

 

 

I like flavor—bold—can’t miss it flavor. These enchiladas are full of flavor but not heat.

I often create as I go and since Colson requested some type of enchilada for dinner I used what I could find in the fridge and pantry. I already had the Creamy Serrano Ranch Dip which I had made over the weekend. I had also loaded up the grill at the beginning of the week with hamburgers, hot dogs, fajita chicken and chicken marinated in Italian dressing. I use this chicken in casseroles, pasta and salads. I sometimes throw chops and steaks on the grill too. This saves me valuable time during the week because my meats are already cooked and ready to be used for meal preparations. I slightly undercook the meats on the grill to allow for reheating.

I only have one picture of the dish since I was attempting to quickly prepare dinner in time for Riley to take A.J. to Youth Group for his very first time— ever. I had tears in my eyes as they drove down the driveway. Where did time go? He was still a little boy in my heart. How did he advance to Middle School age? This was not right!

I digressed; back to the subject. When Riley finished eating she told me I needed to write this recipe down because it tasted like restaurant enchiladas.  A.J., who thought he would not like the enchiladas wound up drooling over them, Colson was thrilled with the final product, I could have eaten a whole pan by myself and Farm Boy, who is an Italian food fan, had at least thirds and suggested I write down the recipe.

My family knows I fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to preparing meals. They also know that if I don’t immediately write the recipe down I will forget within hours the ingredients I used and the approximate measurements.

If you skip the Grilled Fajita Chicken and the Creamy Serrano Ranch Dip you will have, in my snobbish Tex-Mex opinion, blah Mexican enchiladas—you will.

Here is the recipe with the only, end of the meal, picture I have of the enchiladas.  You won’t be sorry you made these!

Tex Mex Creamy Serrano Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 – 4 oz. cans diced green chiles
  • 1 packet McCormick Fajita Seasoning (My favorite)
  • 4 grilled, (small-medium) shredded chicken breasts
  • 10 oz. mild enchilada sauce (I used Great Value brand)
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 16-18 corn tortillas
  • ½ cup Creamy Serrano Ranch Sauce/Dip (See recipe below)
  • Canola or olive oil
  • Chopped Cilantro

Instructions:

  1. Rub 4 small/medium chicken breasts on each side with seasoning from a McCormick Fajita seasoning packet. Grill chicken; sprinkling more seasoning once on each side as it grills.
  2. Sauté cream cheese (smash with fork), green chiles, and pre-grilled chicken until they are warm and well combined. If it seems too dry add more Creamy Serrano Ranch.
  3. Heat and oil pan. Warm tortillas on both sides filling one as you warm the next. Reapply oil as necessary.
  4. Fill tortillas with meat mixture and some of the cheese, reserving some cheese to sprinkle on the top.
  5. Roll up tortillas and place seam down in a 9×13 baking dish and an 8X8 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray or olive oil.
  6. Spoon enchilada sauce on top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees.
  8. Top with fresh chopped Cilantro before serving.

 

Creamy Serrano Ranch Dip (Jalapeño)

IMG_0044

½ cup sour cream

½ cup real mayonnaise (low fat is not tasty in this recipe)

¾ cup milk

½ teaspoon white distilled vinegar (this turns milk in to buttermilk)

1 (4 ounce) can green chilies

1 (1 ounce) packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix

2 Serrano peppers (remove seeds and veins for mild) Remove seeds for medium heat. Leave seeds and veins for hot heat.

¼ cup cilantro

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

IMG_0046

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.

IMG_0049

Refrigerate for two hours before serving so ingredients can soak into the dressing.

Serve with chips or use as salad dressing on Mexican salads, or sauce for Mexican foods and casseroles.

*Heat oven to 350 degrees and place a cookie sheet of White Corn Restaurant style tortilla chips in the oven for 3 minutes. Enjoy fresh restaurant style chips and dip.

Original Creamy Serrano Ranch Dip post: https://chocolateorelse.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/creamy-serrano-ranch-dip/

 

Enjoy!

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Pico De Gallo Recipe: My habit

TEXMEX Recipes

 

Spring brings great hope to my Tex-Mex lov’in taste buds.

Yes, my gustatory receptor cells know the salsa garden is planted and fresh cilantro is already being harvested. Ah, the scent the taste of fresh cilantro!

Here is my dilemma this spring: The lime supply is not sufficient.

I should not, will not, cannot eat Tex-Mex without lime and the cost of limes has tripled in price. They are sometimes teeny tiny, Key Lime size, and I can only express one to two teaspoons of juice from them. Other times the stores do not have any in stock.

Have you heard about this inconvenience?

The explanation for this disruption is one more reason to abhor the Mexican drug cartel industry. The drug cartels decided they need more money so they set their financial ambitions on lime groves. They are using armed force to take over hard-working farmer’s lime groves and the cartels are ambushing and robbing produce trucks on the way to market. In response to the crime, some farmers are burning down their groves and not giving in to the cartels.

Add to this the Huanglongbing, citrus greening disease, in Mexico, the California drought, and Florida’s poorly sanctioned diseased lime crop policy enacted shortly after Hurricane Andrew over a decade ago. (Read more at  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/25/lime-shortage_n_5191607.html)

This is why I am forced to pay $1.00 for an almost microscopic lime. Which makes me thankful that our family’s finances allow me the ability to feed my habit—my drug of choice; lime—because I’m a lime junkie.

Juiced limes

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Today I am sharing how I make my favorite Pico De Gallo recipe. Some cooks use yellow onion, some use any type of tomato but I only use white onion and Roma tomatoes.

Because the heat and taste of onion can vary from crop to crop, I cut a piece off and inspect it by smelling it and tasting it. This is a necessary evil because not much is worse than taking the time to chop all your ingredients, mix your recipe and find out a bad onion spoiled the flavor of the entire dish. I use equal parts tomato, onion and fresh cilantro but if the onion is too strong I cut the amount back to ¼ to ½ depending on the onion’s strength.

This recipe can be made as small or large as needed.

In my house we consider Pico De Gallo a nutritious meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner and it is eaten as such; with tortilla chips. Yep, that’s it—nothing more—just Pico. I hope you don’t have a problem with that.

Homemade salsa is also served as a meal option. The salsa recipe will be posted soon.

Pico De Gallo

Pico De Gallo Recipe:

6 Roma tomatoes, rinsed  then core the top, chopped

1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped

1 large bunch of rinsed cilantro, chopped; remove long stems at the bottom of the bunch

1 large lime—juiced, you may use zest too if you like it

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

*Optional-2 seeded, deveined Serrano peppers, minced

 

The importance is equal amounts of tomato, white onion & cilantro. I add lime juice until I can taste it mixed throughout the entire batch. Sometimes I make it with Serranoes, sometimes hot by NOT removing the seeds and veins. Serrano peppers, to me, have the best flavor of all the Mexican peppers. My daughter occasionally likes to make Pico with 2 large chopped (yes, chopped not minced) Jalapeños in the mix.

Serve with restaurant style white corn tortilla chips warmed in the oven for 3 minutes @ 350 degrees.

Eat plain with chips or as a topping on your favorite Taco, Fajita, Burrito, Quesadilla, Chalupa, salad, meat or casserole.

~Enjoy!

Gallery

Creamy Serrano Ranch Dip

TEXMEX Recipes

Creamy Serrano Ranch Dip (A.K.A. Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip)

IMG_0054

I recently traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, and visited my dear friend, Michelle, from years past. Once upon a time our families lived in Stillwater, Oklahoma at the same time where I taught her youngest daughter at a local Mom’s Day Out program. We later belonged to the same homeschool association and would hang out at each other’s homes while her daughters and my daughter played together.

Allow me to tell you what Michelle did to me; she interjected herself into my personal life. Ha! I tell you this in the most light-hearted way with a smile on my face because I absolutely positively love this woman. It’s a long story and one I am working on writing in it full detail. The abbreviated version is that several homeschool moms, led by Michelle, were praying for me behind my back and asking God to provide me a husband and to give Riley a daddy. I named Michelle the instigator of this but she insists it was the Holy Spirit. I heard through the grapevine that while some of my friends were meeting for homeschool playdates they would huddle in the garage and pray for me while their children played in the yard.

And they were not the only friends doing this! It began months earlier with my friend Pam speaking to me about the same subject.  Little did I know, God was working out His plan (definitely not mine or Riley’s) for my life and for Riley’s life.

Here is a quote by Michelle, “I figured out a long time ago, that when several God-fearing women walk into God’s throne room together…whatever they are praying about…better watch out!” – #moveoversatan #nottakingGod’sglory #getunderourfeetwhereyoubelong

I obviously got over Michelle’s Holy Spirit led intrusion and recently allowed her in-depth private details of every aspect of my life; beginning to present day, for Restoring the Foundations ministry. Michelle is training to minister in RTF and I can honestly testify that RTF was the most beautiful, personal, empowering, healing and tender time I have ever spent with the Lord. I love Him!

How does this connect to a Tex-Mex recipe you may be asking?

Well, before visiting Michelle I texted her and asked if there was a Chuy’s Tex-Mex in Nashville. To my delight she responded that Chuy’s was; in fact, located down the street from her home in Franklin, Tennessee.

Chuy’s is my all-time favorite eating establishment. If I were allowed to have only one option for eating out, from present day to the day I die, Chuy’s would be it. I believe it is impossible that I could ever tire of their deliciousness.

My boys crave Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip, but since we live in the heavily populated Italian cuisine city of St. Louis, Missouri, we have no Chuy’s Tex-Mex. We rely on our trips to visit my family in Texas to fulfill our Chuy’s longings.

Every time I eat at Chuy’s I attempt to pull apart the individual flavors; veggie, pepper, herb and spice in the salsas, Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip and meats.

I have made the dip with Jalapeños, Anaheim Chile’s, Poblanos, Serrano Peppers and blends of these peppers. I use fresh Serrano peppers in my Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip—no Jalapeños. We find this recipe every bit as flavorful, if not the same, as Chuy’s. I did ask a manager at a Chuy’s in Kentucky if there were Serrano’s in the salsas and dips and she confirmed that there were.

When it comes to preparing dishes with peppers you get to decide the amount of heat you want in your recipe. Here is the trick:

Mild heat: Remove seeds and devein the inside of the peppers.

Medium heat:  Remove seeds and leave the veins in. You can always add a few seeds if you want more heat.

Fiery heat: Leave seeds and veins in peppers.

I always double this recipe for my hungry guys because even Farm Boy likes this non-Italian Tex-Mex dip.

~Enjoy!

Post with introduction of Farm Boy:  https://chocolateorelse.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/peeper-and-stalker-and-harasser-o-my/

 

 Creamy Serrano Ranch Dip (Jalapeño)

IMG_0044

½ cup sour cream

½ cup real mayonnaise (low fat is not tasty in this recipe)

¾ cup milk

½ teaspoon white distilled vinegar (this turns milk in to buttermilk)

1 (4 ounce) can green chilies

1 (1 ounce) packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix

2 Serrano peppers (remove seeds and veins for mild) Remove seeds for medium heat. Leave seeds and veins for hot heat.

¼ cup cilantro

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

IMG_0046

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.

IMG_0049

Refrigerate for two hours before serving so ingredients can soak into the dressing.

Serve with chips or use as salad dressing on Mexican salads, or sauce for Mexican foods and casseroles.

*Heat oven to 350 degrees and place a cookie sheet of White Corn Restaurant style tortilla chips in the oven for 3 minutes. Enjoy fresh restaurant style chips and dip.

word filled linkup

Aside

CHOC-O-LOTTA-LOTTA CAKE

 

CHOC-O-LOTTA-LOTTA CAKE

GiveMe Chocolate Recipes

 

In honor of A.J.’s recent birthday I am sharing my recipe for his favorite Birthday cake.

DSCN3223

My first memory of A.J. being introduced to chocolate, post utero, was walking in the house to find Farm Boy sitting in the recliner feeding my precious little baby milk chocolate  M&M’s.  I saw A.J.’s mouth smeared with chocolate and heard his sweet little lips smack with shear baby bliss while he sucked chocolate M&M’s from between Daddy’s fingers.

A.J.’s in-utero chocolate experience began day one of conception , with a mid-night Chocolate Buffet Extravaganza aboard the ms Massdam, Holland America, cruise ship and most likely occurred every day of my pregnancy; as well as, his nursing days. The child did not stand a chance of disliking chocolate.

A.J.’s first word was Ma-Ma but shortly after he learned choc-o-loda-loda-loda.

We all adored hearing baby A.J. ask, in a deep raspy baby growl, for choc-o-loda-loda-loda. Sometimes he would get severely stuck on the lodas and say seven or eight of them. He was serious about his chocolate. Still is!

I made this cake for A.J. when he was two or three years old and he has continued to request it every year.

 

CHOC-O-LOTTA-LOTTA CAKE Recipe

Cake

1 Box Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge, follow recipe except instead of water add 1 cup milk.

Bake according to the directions, cool. (Aldi’s sell a terrific inexpensive Baking Spray which, in my opinion, works better than Wilton’s Bake Release Spray.)

I use Wilton’s Bake Even Strips with my cake pans to eliminate high-rise centers, cracked tops and over-cooked edges. Just dampen the strips and wrap around the pan before baking. The moisture in the strips keeps the edges of the pan cooler for level and deliciously moist cakes—every time! 

DSCN3246DSCN3244

DSCN3220

Frosting:

8 Hershey Candy bars, place these in the freezer while mixing the frosting. If the candy bars are room temperature they turn soft when you chop them in the blender.

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese,  softened  DSCN3225

1 (16 oz.) container whipped topping

1 cup powdered sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup Hershey’s Cocoa powder

(Keep 1 cup of mixed white frosting out of recipe before adding the cocoa to use for decorating the cake.)

Mix together

 

Take the candy bars out of the freezer and place 2 at a time in the blender or food processor.

DSCN3227

Fold chopped candy bars into frosting and spread on the cake. This recipe is enough forDSCN3231 frosting a 9” triple layer cake.

Chill frosted cake in refrigerator for 2 hours or more; or overnight. The frosting is delicious enough to eat by the spoonful like a thick mousse so if you have leftovers it will not go to waste.

DSCN3233

Some years we pipe frosting around the edges and the bottom of the cake.  You can also use extra chopped candy bar to put around the bottom edge and on top of the cake.

DSCN3235

DSCN3237DSCN3238

DSCN3240
A.J. is perfectly happy eating the frosting by itself.

I am perfectly happy chopping an Aldi’s Choceur Dark Chocolate Candy bar for folding into the frosting and eating it straight from the bowl!

~Enjoy!

 

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Peanut Butter Cup Bars Recipe

GiveMe Chocolate Recipes

Peanut Butter Cup Bars Soothe Super Bowl Wounds

Super Bowl season could not have been more exciting for this Denver Broncos fan. Until the game that is.

After 20+ years I still am, and will always be, a Broncos fan.

And that’s all I have to say about the game.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

But the food—well there is always plenty to discuss regarding the food; including, forgetting about eating Gluten Free  when I saw the Jalapeno Poppers come out of the oven. I couldn’t see straight or think straight. I wanted, I had to have; hot, ooey-gooey, cheesy Jalapeno Poppers. I was so overcome with glee at the sight that, “Wrong. Bad decision. Don’t eat those. Alert! Alert!” never entered my mind. An unknown force took over and before I realized what was happening I was half way through my second popper. Then I remembered, “Gluten, these are coated with wheat.”

I felt like a teenager experiencing the rush of an unknown force; otherwise known as, out-of-control hormones. My middle-age female hormones were screaming for one of my favorite appetizers.

I am resolved to never again lose my mind to the sound of Jalapeno Poppers seductively calling my name. The attraction is over!

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The week before the Super Bowl required making decisions on what food to take to the party, compiling a shopping list and going to the grocery store.

My friend, Kim, always makes certain there is a delicious spread of food for her guests. Some attend the party for the food and some of us attend for the game.  We all attend because we enjoy each other’s company.

While preparing food Saturday; including, Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread (I posted this recipe last week) I realized I did not have enough hours in my day to make everything on my list. Then, Colson added that he wanted to make homemade chocolate peanut butter candy to take to the Super Bowl party.

That is when I remembered my,  “Chocolate Emergency Preparedness” stash which included a case of Chocolate Almond Bark. Almond Bark! It is always easy and quick. It does take time to melt but I had plenty of other recipes to mix and bake during the wait. Plus my boys were helping me in the kitchen and Colson would take care of collecting the ingredients and mixing the dough/batter.

DSCN2999(Left)My helpers were busy using the side of a pan as a magic mirror. They laughed hysterically while making silly faces in the concave and convex curves of the pan. Free entertainment for boys.

I placed my double boiler on the stove with water in the bottom pot; on medium heat.  I Double Boileropened a package of Almond Bark and placed it in the top pot along with two cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Stirring occasionally until melted. If you do not have a double boiler you may find alternative options in my, “Chocolate Almond Bark Recipes: There Might Be a Run on Chocolate!” post. (I’ve included 3 pictures of different options.)

Double Boiler using a pot and bowl Double Boiler with 2 saucepans

We lined a jelly roll pan, bottom and sides, with wax paper. (A jelly roll pan is known to some as a four-sided cookie sheet.)

We poured half the melted chocolate into the jelly roll pan and, for the sake of speeding up the process, placed the pan flat in my freezer.

Ten minutes later we spread the peanut butter mixture over the entire pan of chocolate and returned the pan to the freezer. I wanted the peanut butter firm before pouring heated chocolate over it. Then we poured and spread the remaining chocolate on top of the peanut butter and returned it to the freezer for ten minutes.

It came out looking like a giant candy bar. I used a sharp knife to cut it into 1 ½ inch X 3 inch bars.

DSCN2992I don’t know who enjoyed the bars more, the adults or the children, but they could not stop eating the Peanut Butter Cup bars and said they tasted just like Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. I returned home with an empty plate which hours earlier held a pan full of bars.

DSCN3005The worst part about me cooking and baking in the kitchen is that I make many of my recipes up as I go. Then when someone requests the recipe I have to recall the ingredients and measurements. Fortunately, I usually do not forget chocolate recipes. Here it is:

PEANUT BUTTER CUP BARS

2 cups peanut butter

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

2 cups confectioners’ (powder) sugar

1 package chocolate Almond Bark

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

Melt the Almond Bark and chocolate chips in a double boiler. Do not add liquid or oil to melted Almond Bark. It will ruin the consistency and make it crumbly. Extract flavorings are fine.

Cream together the peanut butter, melted butter and confectioners’ sugar in a medium mixing bowl until a uniform consistency is achieved.

Line a jelly roll pan with wax paper.

Spread half of the melted chocolate in the entire bottom of pan and allow it to harden.

Spread the peanut butter mixture over the entire pan of chocolate and place in fridge or freezer to allow the mixture to chill.

Pour the remaining half of chocolate over the peanut butter and spread until all the peanut butter mixture is covered.  After it hardens, use a sharp knife to cut it into 1 ½ inch X 3 inch pieces. When placing in a container or on a platter place a sheet of waxed paper between the layers of bars for easy removal.

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Peanut Butter Cup Bars will make your taste buds happy! Gluten Free taste buds will be super happy!