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Homemade Roasted Chipotle Salsa



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Alright dear readers. I am not a great cook. I’m not even a cook for goodness sake. I’m just a recipe follower that enjoys writing about my experiences in the kitchen. Novice status, confirmed.

However, once in a blue moon, I have a creative moment of genius. This salsa is my latest genius moment that I can’t help but get excited about!

Alright, let’s be honest. I got a little help from a fellow blogger since I am inexperienced in the roasting veggies for salsa department and she honestly lended me  tips to make this idea amazing….but…I kind of want to take the credit for thinking up the idea of doing a roasted salsa instead of buying one…and…for buying the ingredients that are going into the salsa! That was all me guys! I didn’t follow a recipe or anything until I got home and picked up a few extra ingredient ideas…..ugh. Who am I kidding. This is a semi-original idea at best. Who cares…it’s one of the best salsas I’ve ever had!

Where did the inspiration to make salsa come from you ask? Well it came about on a whim when buying ingredients for fajitas. Instead of buying salsa I thought it might be good to try and make my own so I know what’s going in it.

I think I’ve come to care a little bit more about what ingredients go into food since joining Weight Watchers. Since my world has become about counting everything I eat, I love easy, no count recipes that are full of fruits and veggies (0 point foods for the most part) because they make my life so much easier.

Alright back to the salsa! When you think about your favorite salsa(s) it’s likely that you have a consistency in mind when trying to put one together yourself. One of my favorite in the jar salsas is Pace Picante. I think it is just the right mix of chunky and spicy and the flavor works. If we’re talking restaurants, I love El Torito Grill’s chipotle salsa or Chili’s salsa you get with your chips (so so so my favorite thing they make!) For me, I’m not much of a fan of salsa that is pico de gallo consistency. I  tend to love the ones that resemble more of a marinara sauce and have a smokey or chipotle flavor to them.

For the record, I know very little about buying peppers/chilis or roasting them other then a few things I’ve seen on the Food Network, and let’s face it….I don’t remember the details of much to save my life, let alone a show I watched forever ago. So, the humorous part of this whole thing is that I did really good when picking peppers for this salsa. I ended up buying some jalapenos and Anaheim chilis along with chipotle peppers in a can to add to the flavor I was wanting.

The ingredients that I picked up from the store or assembled before starting this adventure include:

minced garlic, 2 jalapeno peppers, 1 Anaheim chili, 4 roma tomatoes, 1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 1 onion, and 1 lime.

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Other ingredients that I included were cumin, fajita seasoning, salt, oregano and white wine vinegar. I have to give credit to Monica from “The Yummy Life” blog since it’s her site I landed on when trying to figure out how to roast my peppers for the salsa. She has a pretty delicious looking Roasted Salsa Recipe you should check out too!

I knew I wanted the flavor that comes with roasting the peppers so Monica’s site did a marvelous job of telling me how simple it was. What I wasn’t planning to do was roast the tomatoes and onion but I happily took that suggestion and added them to my roasting pan.

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To begin I cut the onion into chunks, halved and scooped the seeds out of tomatoes and then loaded up my jalapeno peppers and Anaheim chili. Monica suggests 450 for 30 min so I went with her recommendation and that worked well.

NOTE: I would probably spray your pan down lightly. I failed to do this and the onions were sticking to the foil. Luckily, I checked on them about half way into the 30 min and moved them around a bit to keep them from sticking too much.

When the time is up Monica suggests removing the veggies from the oven and putting something over the pan to help them steam up a bit. I found a pan that was about the same size and put it over top as she recommends but you could probably do foil too if you didn’t have two similar sized pans.

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Once the veggies sit for a bit out of the oven, the skins will be much easier to remove and make the rest of the process go a lot quicker. I peeled the tomatoes and then cut the peppers in half, removed the stems and then scrapped out the seeds. The one thing I do know about peppers is that their seeds are what hold some of the heat so if you are not like me and enjoy the burn of a hellish salsa, then leave those babies in there. If I had any seeds in there it was only by accident! She suggests using gloves when working with the peppers. Good idea if you are using some really hot guys, but I made sure to keep my hands on task and then straight into the sink when done to avoid transferring the heat of the chilis to the counters or other fun things like my eyes!

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Once you’re done with the peeling and extra cutting, then throw your stuff in the food processor along with a teaspoon or two of garlic, lime juice, and a chipotle pepper. I only wanted to put one of the chipotle peppers in after I licked my finger to try the adobo sauce. Spicy indeed! I about choked on the heat of it! Did you guess that spicy isn’t my thing?? Because of that I choose to drain the chipotle of some of its juices to reduce the extra liquid going into the salsa. I actually don’t know if it mattered too much other then it probably took some of the heat out of it.

At this point I added in my spices. I knew I was going to do cumin and salt and while scrounging through the spice cabinet I found some fajita seasoning I decided to include as well. However, Monica gave me the tip about the oregano and vinegar. She suggests apple cider vinegar….I wasn’t paying close attention (shocker) when reading her blog so I grabbed the white wine vinegar which was just fine. She suggests that the vinegar gives it a tang and to not put in a bunch or you can even leave it out completely if you’re not interested in adding that element to the salsa. I needed a little liquid so I probably put a teaspoon or two in to help with that. Water would obviously have done the same thing, but vinegar made sense in the moment. I didn’t have exact measurements for any of these ingredients so if you’re looking for something exact, go back up to the link and see her recipe. I was embracing the spontaneous that night :) If you’re feeling a bit dangerous and spontaneous yourself, then have at it. You can’t really mess up salsa unless you drop your salt shaker in there…and even then, if you go back and roast a bunch of veggies to make the batch bigger, eventually it won’t be that salty any more!

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This picture shows where I was at after a pulsing it for a few whirls around the food processor. At this point I began tasting it for flavor and adding some salt and lime juice along with some of the other spices in as needed. I couldn’t tell you how much salt I added to it, so if you’re making this I would plan to start with 1 tsp and go from there adding as you see fit. I had a taste tester say it was too salty but I thought it was okay so know yours and your audiences palate to salt accordingly. Season it until you have it where you want it and then scoop and enjoy!

For using the four roma tomatoes, this only made up about 3/4 to 1 cup of salsa so any big batches you wanted to make would need to include a bunch more ingredients. That amount was enough for David and I to enjoy with chips and add to our fajitas, while also having about a 1/2 cup left over.

I love this salsa so much that when I’m done writing it I will be heading back to the store  to get more ingredients for a second batch. I still have chips that need a friend so I’m going to go and fix that quickly!

CANNING:

I see on Monica’s blog that she cans her salsa (with detailed instructions on how to do that…thank you!). I love and fear that idea since I’ve only ever canned stuff a few times before.I I do, however, really want to give it a try again and I have a good reason why! I”m possibly going to go on a missions trip with my church to Israel this next year and in the process of thinking through fundraising efforts I thought canning and selling some stuff would be a fun way to raise support and thank people for it at the same time. I pinned a few recipes I thought would be fun to make that are not too complicated but would produce some yummy results. I don’t know if I had a salsa on there, but I certainly will now!

I recently bought the Ball FreshTECH Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker with this fundraising idea in mind and I can’t wait to use it! Of course I will blog about those recipes but dream with me for a minute please…bacon jam, carrot cake jam, onion jam, and raspberry jalapeno jam….wow right?? I can’t wait to get started!! Even if I don’t get selected to go on the trip, you better believe I’m using my new little machine to on those guys!

Alright, this was suppose to be a quick post but I’m getting a bit long winded here. Make this salsa! You won’t regret it :)

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WEIGHT WATCHERS NOTES AND UPDATE!

WW friends this is zero points so eat hardy! I would love to add some fruit into this guy (mango, peaches, etc) which would also be a low point addition.

As for me and my journey, I am happy to report I am at a 16.4 pound loss as of 7/17. I’m happy things are still moving along and I’m still able to enjoy foods like this!

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Resolution Recipe 1: Peachy Sour Cream Pancakes!


Final ProductHappy New Year! Hope you had a wonderful time celebrating with family and friends!

It’s time to get started with resolutions and I’m happy to say that I’ve made it into day two and been mostly successful….I’ll take it :o) As you know (since you’re a faithful follower of this blog…), one of my New Year’s resolutions is to do something I’ve always wanted to do and that is cook through a cookbook, cover to cover. Refer to my last post for details of this fun adventure and get excited that you’re reading blog post numero uno, folks! The journey begins now….

I think I haven’t actually cooked anything since August so this post is long in coming! I’m a little rusty in the kitchen but I’m ready to get start working on this NYR, so let’s do this!

Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes PagesRecipe Number 1: Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes (inspired by Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook) Read more from her blog at : http://smittenkitchen.com/

Peaches! Delicious right? Well, leave it to me to pick a cookbook for my resolution that starts with a recipe that has fruit out of season. Well done, Jessica. This novice cook decided to rise to the challenge and give it a whirl. I’m happy to say that my modifications still equaled delicious pancakes! Especially since I’ve never even made pancakes from scratch before.

Being a moderate fan of pancakes myself, I like the challenge of using a recipe that is non-traditional since, to me,  pancakes are a little on the bland side and not the most appealing breakfast food. This recipe had a few unique ingredients (sour cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg), that made me change my thoughts about what a good pancake should taste like. The flavors and smells reminded me more of a yummy peach cobbler then a breakfast dish which was quick to sell me on this recipe!

Okay…here’s the quick run down of the ingredients:Ingredients

1 large egg

1 c. sour cream

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

2 T sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground nutmeg

3/4 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 baking soda

Butter for pan (and the top of course)

1 peach, halved, pitted, and very thinly sliced (about 1/8-inch slices)

(modification) 1/2  to 3/4 cup canned peaches sliced thinly (great substitute for real peaches)

(modification) syrup from canned peaches (used to thin out the batter to desired consistency)

HOW I MADE IT:

Whisk together some of the dry ingredients (salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, baking powder & soda) then in a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients (sugar, egg, sour cream, vanilla). Fold dry ingredients into wet.

Funny looking p-cake 1 because of thicker batter

Funny looking p-cake 1 because of thicker batter

(Recommendation) I didn’t realize until after I started to scoop and pour the batter for my first pancake that the batter was too thick. I decided to add a little of the syrup from the peaches to thin it out. I probably only added 1/4  to a 1/2 a cup, but it helped and the pancake batter did not lose its consistency. I think it actually helped enhance the peach flavor in the cakes. So, if you have to go with canned peaches like I did because you’re making them out of season, might as well use the syrup.

Heat pan to medium low heat and melt a pat of butter.  (Deb recommends a heavy bottomed pan or iron skillet) Use 1/4 cup of the batter to make your pancake. I recommend spraying your measuring cup before scooping to make the batter come out quick and easy.

Place sliced peaches on the top of your pancake and wait for the signs to flip (bubbly center and dry edges). Flip and let it cook through for a few minutes.

Pancake 3Deb recommends heating your oven to 250 degrees so you can keep your pancakes warm until ready to serve.

I was able to make about 7 pancakes with the recipe but she suggests there is enough batter for 8. If you’re anything like me when you’re getting to the end of your batter, the final pancake is enormous. That means I have a huge peach pancake in my fridge for breakfast tomorrow! Which also means, yes, you should be able to get 8 pancakes out of the batter.

WHAT WOULD I DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME?:

Pancake non peach side 31. I would like to have an audience to cook for! It’s so much more fun to cook breakfast for others then just for yourself! My BF David volunteered to be the victim of my next pancake making adventure so I’m sure that will be much more enjoyable as long as I don’t mess it up…which could definitely happen. You’ve been warned ;o) 

2. I would use real peaches! I think the canned peaches were really tasty but cutting them was really hard to do which is why you’ll notice they are all different shapes and sizes in my pictures. Again, no regrets with the canned peaches, but they will look so much prettier with real peaches. The beautiful thing is I have a peach tree in the backyard of the house I’m living in so I’ll know when to try this recipe again!

3. I would try this with other fruits like apples! I love apple cinnamon Pancake done 2anything so it would be fun to play around with the recipes and apples. It might be good to bake the apples to soften them up a bit so maybe that can be done in a pan on the side with butter and cinnamon before they are put in with the pancake batter. I imagine bananas would be good too, but since I refuse to eat bananas (…Lord spare me if there is a recipe in this cookbook with bananas that I have to eat…gah!), I won’t be trying that any time soon.

Final on plate 24. I would drink milk with these p-cakes! They were not as sweet as I was expecting but a tall cold glass of milk would have cut the sweet that was there. I felt jittery for a few hours after but I’m a weakling when it comes to caffeine and sugar. It doesn’t take much and I get the shakes.

5. Though this didn’t make an obvious difference, I would get my measurements correct for the baking powder and baking soda. Almost positive I got them switched around. haha…makes me very happy that I named my blog what I did. I’m not trying to hid behind any fancy title here. Nope! This blog is all about my epic failures and successes in the kitchen so let’s just add this one to the list of failures and learn from my mistakes…haha.

That’s it! I hope you give these pancakes a try. Deb’s recipe won’t disappoint. I don’t think you can mess these up too much but if you do make any changes, let me (the one reader I have :o) know about it so I can give it a try too!

Happy cooking all!

Final with bite

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It all started with a chicken…




I am super proud of this guy…by far one of my more successful first attempts at a first time recipe. Which means if I can do it…get excited….you can too. I’ve been wanting to make a home made chicken pot pie since December. One of my room mates Emily made one for our house Christmas celebration which was super delicious and different then the other I’ve had. I found this recipe on allrecies.com and since all the recipes can be reviewed by users, this one promised to be a good one with 5 whopping stars!

This recipe was very much from scratch even down to the poultry seasoning and pie dough that I made. The recipe can be much easier if you decide to buy these things…of course. Instead of buying chicken breasts I bought a whole chicken and decided to roast it in the oven. I decided to make my own poultry seasoning and after looking at a few recipes and realizing that they all had marjoram and I’ve only ever misread marjoram, I decided I would have to improvise. I ended up using a teaspoon of celery salt, thyme, sage, ground nutmeg and garlic powder since that was the gist of all of them.

As for the chicken, I decided to go with the bundt pan method. If you haven’t already given this a try, I highly recommend it. The chicken can go in the center of the pan and of course all the drippings are caught in the bottom of the pan. Add some water to the bottom of the bundt pan, or beer, or apple juice.This time I did water, but I’ve done both beer and apple juice before for some extra flavor. I ended up putting a pie pan under the bundt pan since there is a whole in the center part of the bundt that will cause you some problems if you just put that in without it.

To prepare the bird, you grease him down with a little vegetable oil and then if you want to be just like me and keep you hands clean, use a shopping back to rub on your seasoning. Easy. I threw him in the oven for 20 min at 400 but I had to put some more time on the clock to make sure he was done. The quickest way to check is if you have a meat thermometer, however, you can cut into a thick part of the thigh and make sure the juices run clear. I think it may have take an additional 20 min or so. It might be wise to consult a recipe…but I wasn’t making roasted chicken for dinner :o) Oh wait…I took note, I did 400 degrees for 40 min then down to 375 for 20 min. I’m sure there is a happy medium, but that was my formula for done chicken!
While the bird was in the oven I started on the pie crust. This recipe is awesome and I highly suggest making it for your sweet or savory pies. It couldn’t be easier. I have to say I was super skeptical on the consistency, but it worked out really well. The ingredients are basic: flour, sugar, salt, butter, and ice water. Grab your food processor for this job. The recipe says that you use anywhere from 6 to 8 teaspoons of ice water. When the dough comes together you can stop adding water…which is what I’m demonstrating below. I added 6 and it was just enough. The 2nd time I made the dough I used all 8…so consistency…is not my thing.
 The recipe also says that if you want a flaky crust to knead the dough a bit before wrapping it up and putting it in the refrigerator. Note that this dough is going to be really hard when you pull it out of the refrigerator. It actually freaked me out when I pulled it out. I thought I was going to be terrible not to mention terribly hard to work with since it was so hard. Remember that a good portion of the dough is butter and that butter hardens when it’s in the refrigerator and also helps make the layers of the crust delicious. You’ll see pictures later, but a rolling pin will be your friend when it’s time to work it out.
So, I did all the roasting and pie crust making the night before I made the pot pie. I used this recipe to make the pie with a few modifications…I excluded the peas…yuck…and used celery salt instead of celery seed and salt since, again, I didn’t have any. Honestly, who really keeps this on hand anyways?? So, my first picture below was a work of photographic art…yes, it’s the base of the celery stock that looks just like a rose. Pretty right?! Well…guess who had to pick out the onions because they didn’t read the recipe? This genius. Once again, read the recipe before you start working through it. It won’t hurt anything and save you more time in the long run. But I’m sure you already do this :( You’ll want to put your veggies and chicken (minus the onions) in a pot with water covering them and boil till tender. The onions will be a part of your gravy so those require a 2nd pot. Mistake number two for me is that not only did I forget to separate the onions, but I forgot to add the chicken in with the veggies and water…which is why they are absent. Learn from my mistakes friends….
To make the gravy, you will cook up your onions with the butter and when tender add your flour to thicken up the mix. Your chicken broth and milk will be poured into the mixture and the gravy will need some time to thicken over the heat. It will take about 10 minutes to get to the right consistency. My last picture shows what it looks like when it’s thickened a bit. Your spoon will help out with figuring that out.
As the gravy is thickening up pull your dough out start rolling it out and fitting it into the pan. Remember you’ll need a top and a bottom. I rolled out the bottom round which was impossible to make round, but you can use a knife to clean up the extra pieces and use the extra if you need to patch anything up. I ended up having extra dough so you could do fun things with the top if you wanted to:) I used the rolling pin to wrap the top piece. It was easier to roll it over the top of the pie once the veggies, chicken and gravy were poured in.
Now it’s time to assemble all hard work together…put your chicken veggie mixture in the pan and then pour in the gravy. You’ll have extra so don’t worry about trying to get it all in. I saved the gravy and used it to put on top of my sliced when I ate. Very tasty. Don’t forget to cut the extra dough off the edges and add a few wholes in the top to vent the steam from the pie.
You’ll put it in for 30 min at 425. Make sure to put your pie on a baking pan with sides like I did. Some of the gravy came out so this will save the bottom of your oven.
You will love this pot pie! I ate off of it for lunches and dinners for the next few days and was a very happy girl! And isn’t it pretty?! I used a little retro camera magic on the last photo, but it felt like a retro camera moment…I’m so proud.
Give this one a try friend…you won’t regret it!
Happy cooking and read your recipes before you cook!