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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 5: Whole-Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones



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Back to the blogging! Feels like it’s been awhile, but oddly enough I’ve been in the kitchen more then usual so I have a few posts coming your way. Let’s start with this one!

I made these scones back on February 1st. I think I made more mistakes with these then I would have liked, but let’s learn a few things from my failures, shall we? You can find the recipe on Deb’s Website along with her notes on how she came about the idea.

 

RECIPE: Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones 

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Ingredient Notes

Baking Powder:

Deb has a note about Baking Powder in her book. When shopping for baking powder make sure to find one that is Aluminum Free. You can see in the picture above the Argo brand I chose. Deb’s note on the aluminum free suggests that, “Some bakers feel that aluminum contributes to a ‘metallic’ or ‘tinny’ taste in baked goods that use large volumes of baking powder, such as biscuits, scones, and muffins. She has also found that baking powders with aluminum in them are more likely to discolor or give a blue-green tint to baked goods with fruit in them, such as these scones (pg xiii).” I assuming the acid in the fruit is what’s going to cause that discoloration but you would have to ask someone who actually knows a thing or two about. How about a French pastry chef? Yeah, that works…check out David Lebovitz’s post on Baking Powder and read up on the benefits.

For those of you who might have a hard time finding it, Deb also offers a recipe for aluminum free baking soda in her “Notes and Tips” section of the book….mix 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cream of tarter, and 1/4 tsp corn starch to make 1 tsp of baking powder (can find that on xiii in her introduction).

I didn’t have a difficult time finding it but if you want to make it go for it. I never have Cream of Tarter in my ingredients so I couldn’t make it if I wanted to!

 

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Raspberries:

Caution with the Raspberries! I don’t know how she was so careful with her raspberries because my dough was pretty pink while hers seems to have flecks of pink. I believe I used the Kitchen Aid to mix them in but it would have been better to to fold them in with a spatula or spoon. You do want the berries to break up a bit but try not to over stir where the berries are breaking and coloring your dough.

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Flour:

I definitely over floured the dough. Definitely. I put them on the pan with more then a little too much flour and mostly because the dough is very moist. Moisture in dough is fantastic, especially scone dough, because it can be on the dry side which makes scones dense. This recipe boast the opposite as you’ll read in Deb’s post on her site and it’s surely the ricotta cheese that helps with that. She mentions being generous with the flour, but don’t do what I did and over use it for fear of the dough being to wet.

Because I put so much flour on the scones as I was rolling them and cutting them, they ended up very floury when they went in the oven. The end result is a burnt flour funkiness on the bottoms of the scones (sorry, I forgot to take a picture) and the tops need to be brushed off a bit. Instead you might try to find the balance of allowing the scone to be both moist and yet controlled a bit with the flour. If I get it right and find a magic trick to this, then I’ll make sure to update! Next time, I would really try to brush the flour off the bottom before putting them in the oven. I imagine that would make an improvement. Squares

 

Review of Recipe:

These are good, but I don’t think I did them very well. I really want a redo on them. I am not the biggest scone eater either so I was hoping for my mind to be changed. I would be very interested to hear a bit from those who do like scones and have tried this recipe. What do you think??? For my WW friends, you can enjoy these scones for 6 Points a piece at the normal yield of 9, two-inch square scones. If you make the scones a bit smaller you can cut those points in half for 3 a piece. Not bad for a pastry.

I am also learning that I’m not a fan of baking with whole-wheat flour. I use King Arthur brand since that seems to be the only one I find when I shop for it. Not sure if it’s the brand, the recipe, or the cook :) but I am not a big fan. I would be up for trying this with a 2nd cup of AP flour and pulling out the whole wheat flour to see if I like it better. I know that baking is a science so I would hate to alter it too much but it’s worth a try.

Hope you give these a try and please post a review if you have one yourself!

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COMING UP NEXT:

Home made Salsa, Chocolate Chip Brioche Pretzels, and Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies…sounds good doesn’t it?!

 

 

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Resolution Recipe 4: Gingerbread Spice Dutch Baby


Final DBIf you’re looking for a simple and fun breakfast idea that is outside of the norm, then try this little guy. Such a quick and easy thing to throw together and the sky is the limit for what you can add Deb has one on her website that is great for this season since cherries are plentiful …check it out (Cherry Almond Dutch Baby). Serving size is 1 to 2 people. If you’re a WW person then probably you should share since it’s a bit higher in points. Ingredients

Ingredients for this recipe include: 

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unsulfured molasses
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Confectioner’s sugar, maple syrup, or heavy cream, to serve.

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Run the eggs in a blender until they are pale in color. Blender with Eggs
  • Add remaining ingredients except butter and confectioners’ sugar and process until smooth.

Blender with all ingredients

  • Melt the butter over high heat in a 9 inch ovenproof skillet and swirl it up the sides, making sure the pan is nicely coated. Butter in Pan
  • Pour the batter into the prepared skillet, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Cake in PanPan in Oven 2
  • Slide pancake onto a plate. Serve with powdered sugar maple syrup, maple syrup, and/or a drizzle of heavy cream. finished in ovenOn Plate from side 1

I don’t have any tips or tricks for this one other then just follow the directions and it will turn out great. This is a rarity that I get a recipe right the first time but I’ll take it. WEIGHT WATCHERS MODIFICATIONS: For those of you doing weight watchers with me I recommend splitting this guy with someone so it’s only 9 points for you since it’s 18 for the whole thing (not counting syrup or confectioners sugar). One modification I thought of is not using butter but spraying the pan down with a low point spray. The butter probably helps give it flavor but also keeps it from sticking so that would be a 6 point reduction making it 14 points so 7 for half (but make sure to count the spray you use).

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Resolution Recipe 3: Plum Poppy Seed Muffins



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Plum Poppy Seed Muffins

Okay, we’re back in business! Happy to be blogging once again. Thanks for your patience loyal readers. I hope this is worth it!

I actually just made these muffins yesterday because even though this recipe was next in the book (back in January),  it wasn’t plum season. I figured I would postpone this recipe and come back to it in the summer…well…summer is here. What a coincidence! Small advantages for not having time to blog!

These muffins were pretty easy and delicious. They yield about 12 muffins according to the recipe, but in honor of making things more Weight Watchers friendly, I decided to make mini muffins instead. Using a Tablespoon I was able to make 37 muffins.

 

TIPS: 20140613_1902241. CHOOSING PLUMS: I would make sure to use plums that are not tart or sour. She says you can use any kind of plum ( I guess I didn’t realize there were other kinds then the reddish ones I see in the store, but there are….even Italian plums! Wanna see some pictures?? Click here) I mistakenly used the first ones I bought at Wal-mart and didn’t really make sure to buy those which were sweeter and riper. How does one do that you ask…well let me tell you. According to the helpful blog entitled “Just Plums” you do not look for plums with your eyes, but with your nose. They indicate that plums that are ripe and un-ripe are the same color. They say that a ripe plum will smell sweet and fruity where an unripened plum is not going to have a smell to it at all. Other sites mention that the plum will have a give to it if you press on it and the opposite is true for an unripened plum. If you have unripened plums that you want to use for this recipe, refer to the post from WikiHow about “How to Ripen a Plum.” I found this very helpful….AFTER doing this recipe. Yes, I’m proving very much to be the novice I claim to be when I do stuff like research the ingredients after I work with them.

2. MINI MUFFINS: Yes, mini muffins are just mini versions of muffins. 20140613_195557It’s not magic at all. However, if you are wanting to watch your waistline or you’re a WW point counter, then mini muffins are the way to go. This recipe went from 5 points a muffin to about 2 points a muffin if you yield 37 muffins when you only use a tablespoon of batter. I highly recommend this as an alternative because as WW people know, 2 point snacks are the best things to have on hand. You can still use the same recipe and enjoy, but in moderation that works for you.20140613_193049

3. MAKING BROWN BUTTER: I love that Deb Perelman simplifies what sounds like a potentially scary process of browning…not burning…butter. In her cookbook she takes you to a dessert recipe to learn how to make the brown butter. Her suggestions are as follows on page 202 of her cookbook:

  1. Using a pot, heat the pan to medium low heat
  2. Drop in your butter
  3. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden, and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty.
  4. Stir frequently, scrapping up any bits from the bottom as you do.
  5. Don’t take your eyes off the pot. You may be impatient for it to start browning, but the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a min.

She has a lot of other tips and tricks but I have to leave something for you to read when you buy her cookbook!

REVIEW: I think you’ll love this recipe any time of the year. I love how it’s summer but with the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg I felt transported to fall with one waft of amazing from the oven. I would love to see how these turn out with other kinds of fruit. I happen to find the most sour/tart plums on the earth that were most definitely under ripe…now that I know what to be looking for…ugh. The great thing about this recipe is that the sweetness of the muffin batter helps balance out the sourness of the plums so be encouraged if you too end up making these with a few bad plums. You might actually like the way they turn out! Hope you give these a try this summer. You won’t be disappointed and they are fun change to the muffins we all know and love.

Happy baking, friends!

 

PLUM POPPY SEED MUFFIN RECIPE

Ingredients

YIELDS 12 MUFFINS (5 WW Points) , 37 MINI MUFFINS ( 2 WW Points)

6 T. unsalted butter, melted and browned and cooled, plus butter for muffins cups

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c packed dark or light brown sugar

1/4 c. sour cream or a rich, full-fat plan yogurt (WW: use light/low fat sour cream to keep muffins low points)

1/2 c. whole-wheat flour

1 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp table salt

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

2 T. poppy seeds

2 cups pitted and diced plums from about 3/4 pound of Italian prune plums (though any plum variety will do). (NOTE: If doing mini muffins, consider doing 1 1/2 cups instead).

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Butter muffin tins
  3. Whisk egg and sugars in bowl
  4. Stir in brown butter than sour cream
  5. In separate bowl, mix flours, bp, bs, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and poppy seeds
  6. Stir dry  mixture gradually into wet mixture “until it is just combined and still a bit lumpy.”
  7. Fold in plums
  8. Divide batter into cups.
  9. Bake for 10 -12 min (mini muffins) 15-18 (regular size muffins)
  10. Allow to cool in pan for a few min before removing to cool on rack

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Resolution. Failure.


Alright.  Let’s face it. I failed. Great resolution but honestly life turned out to be obsessed with school. Obsessed I tell you! Every weekend was about studying and homework and I was bad and barely went grocery shopping.  And if I’m being super candid, I ate terribly too. Fast food was enjoyed way too much and healthy food was ignore in the same way. ” Easy” was my word when it came to cooking….not “healthy” or “home made”.  That also means sticking to my resolution was absolutely not going to happen. *sigh*

My last post was around January…this is June. Yikes. I did make a few recipes over the past 5 months or so but those haven’t been written up yet. I have a lot of catching up to do.

I think I have recovered from my semester a bit and now I’m chomping at the bit to get back to this cookbook goal. I’m excited for what I can get done this summer but it might be quite awhile between posts, folks. Just being realistic here.

In other news, with all that bad eating from this past semester, I’ve been more than a little inspired to start some sort of dieting or weight loss program. The hardest thing for me is moving more often and eating at home more frequently. I figured summer was a good time to start new eating habits since I have time to think about it.

Recently my workplace started a Weight Watchers group and with healthy eating on the agenda for the summer I decided to join in on the fun!

Fun, however, was not exactly what I was thinking  the week after sign ups. When they started explaining the Simple Start program I started inwardly groaning and scolding myself for joining. I was not thrilled with the food they were saying we could eat and I figured this would last me a whole week and I would be done.

The things that stopped me from giving up, however, was the accountability I was going to be experiencing by doing it in a group. My previous WW experience was on my own and I didn’t go to meetings which was probably also why I didn’t last. When I thought about the pressure of showing up next week and having lost nothing or maybe be the one to have gained weight I knew I had to give it a try. My embarrassment and pride is what motivates me :o) Good to know.

The other thing that encouraged me was knowing I could just count points and not do Simple Start to experience results. So I decided to get the first week a try. I am now three weigh-ins into the program and I am happy to report that I am down 7.6 lbs and enjoying the program so much!!

All that to say, I think my focus will switch a little bit on this blog to incorporate a few nuggets of wisdom from the WW world I am now a part of. That way if you also happen to be in a Weight Watchers program you can enjoy this food knowing the point value.

The one thing I love most about WW is that you don’t have to stop eating the food you love. And for me that means I still get to work on this goal of cooking and blogging about these yummy recipes. Should be fun!

Here’s a sneak peek of some recipes I’ll be posting. Get excited everybody! This novice cook is back in the kitchen!!

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