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  • Candied Yams

    I wait all year for this one. And this year I couldn’t celebrate with my family so I had to learn how to make it myself. (thanks Covid)

    And, I had to learn how to make a smaller batch too!

    Here’s the rough guide on how to make it. It still serves 6-8 people. I made it in an 8″x 8″ square dish instead of my mom’s usual 13″X9″ dish

    Jump to Recipe

    Candied Yams

    (serves 6-8)

    • 3 large red skinned sweet potatoes
    • Couple drizzles of honey
    • Couple tablespoons brown sugar
    • Sprinkling of cinnamon
    • Light sprinkle of ground clove
    • Light sprinkle of ground nutmeg
    • About 2 cups mini marshmallows

    Directions:

    1. (Can fully assemble the day before) Place yams in a large pot of boiling water. bring to the boil and boil for 30-40 minutes or until very fork tender. Then, drain water and peel yams when cool enough to touch.

    2. Butter a 8×8 square dish. Slice yams into ½” rounds and layer one layer in the baking dish. Then drizzle with honey, sprinkle with a tablespoon of brown sugar and sprinkle with generous cinnamon and just a little cloves and nutmeg.

    3. Repeat with 2-3 more layers in the same way. Then cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge if serving the next day.

    4. When ready to serve place in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 350 F. Then turn oven up to high broil. Place marshmallows scattered on top. Broil for 5 minutes or so or until marshmallow turn golden brown (don’t walk away- they burn easily!) Now it’s ready to serve.

    The first layer

    Candied Yams

    Ingredients
      

    • 3 large red skinned sweet potatoes
    • Couple drizzles of honey
    • Couple tablespoons brown sugar
    • Sprinkling of cinnamon
    • Light sprinkle of ground clove
    • Light sprinkle of ground nutmeg
    • About 2 cups mini marshmallows

    Instructions
     

    • (Can fully assemble the day before) Place yams in a large pot of boiling water. bring to the boil and boil for 30-40 minutes or until very fork tender. Then, drain water and peel yams when cool enough to touch.
    • Butter a 8×8 square dish. Slice yams into ½” rounds and layer one layer in the baking dish. Then drizzle with honey, sprinkle with a tablespoon of brown sugar and sprinkle with generous cinnamon and just a little cloves and nutmeg.
    • Repeat with 2-3 more layers in the same way. Then cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge if serving the next day.
    • When ready to serve place in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 350 F. Then turn oven up to high broil. Place marshmallows scattered on top. Broil for 5 minutes or so or until marshmallow turn golden brown (don’t walk away- they burn easily!) Now it’s ready to serve.
  • Roasted Turkey Breast

    If you’re lucky enough to find a small 2-3 lb. turkey breast here’s how to cook it. I made this for Christmas for two and it came out perfectly.

    Roasted Turkey breast

    • 2-3 lb. Young hen turkey breast with ribs attached
    • ½ onion, roughly chopped
    • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
    • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
    • Herbed Butter:
    • 2 tsp. Minced garlic
    • 1 tsp. Chopped fresh rosemary
    • 2 tsp. Chopped parsley
    • 1 tsp. Smoked paprika
    • A few cracks of black pepper
    • 2 Tbsp. Butter
    • 1 tsp. Salt

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
    2. Place carrot onion celery in the bottom of an oven proof pan or 13 x 9 dish.
    3. Put all the herbs butter ingredients together and massage with your fingers. Put it under the skin of the turkey.
    4. Sprinkle with a little more paprika and add a drizzle of olive oil and salt on the skin. Massage in. Don’t be afraid the salt the skin and underside of the bird.
    5. Place in oven for 15 minutes at 425 F. Then lower oven to 375 F and cook for 1 hour or until thermometer inserted reads 165 F. Baste with a spoon 2-3 times if you can.
    6. Remove turkey from pan and let rest 10 minutes before cutting. serve with any remaining juices in pan.

    Roasted Turkey breast

    Servings 6

    Ingredients
      

    • 2-3 lb. Young hen turkey breast with ribs attached
    • ½ onion
    • 1 celery stalk roughly chopped
    • 1 carrot roughly chopped

    Herbed Butter:

    • 2 tsp. Minced garlic
    • 1 tsp. Chopped fresh rosemary
    • 2 tsp. Chopped parsley
    • 1 tsp. Smoked paprika
    • A few cracks of black pepper
    • 2 Tbsp. Butter
    • 1 tsp. Salt

    Instructions
     

    Directions:

    • Preheat oven to 425 F.
    • Place carrot onion celery in the bottom of an oven proof pan or 13 x 9 dish.
    • Put all the herbs butter ingredients together and massage with your fingers. Put it under the skin of the turkey.
    • Sprinkle with a little more paprika and add a drizzle of olive oil and salt on the skin. Massage in. Don’t be afraid the salt the skin and underside of the bird.
    • Place in oven for 15 minutes at 425 F. Then lower oven to 375 F and cook for 1 hour or until thermometer inserted reads 165 F. Baste with a spoon 2-3 times if you can.
    • Remove turkey from pan and let rest 10 minutes before cutting. serve with any remaining juices in pan.
  • BBQ chicken sandwich with cabbage & kale date slaw | Easy Quick Lunch Ideas

    This is one of the fastest lunches I could whip up. I even made the slaw ahead of time so all I had to do was cook the chicken and warm the bun.

    When you’re in a pinch, this is a helpful recipe to keep in your back pocket!

    .

    BBQ chicken sandwich with cabbage & kale date slaw

    .

    Ingredients:

    (For 2)

    2 pretzel buns

    2 chicken breasts

    1 Tbsp oil

    1 cup shredded purple cabbage

    2 cups shredded kale

    2 dates, chopped fine

    ½ lemon

    1-2 Tbsp. Olive oil

    Drizzle of honey

    Salt and pepper

    2-3 Tbsp Primal BBQ sauce (I like Hawaiian style)

    .

    Directions:

    1. Pound chicken with mallet or large pan to flatten slightly. This helps tenderize it and cook it more evenly.

    2. Heat a pan and add 1 Tbsp. oil once hot. Cook chicken, about 5 minutes per side or until internal temp reaches 165 F and juices run clear.

    3. Remove chicken from pan and spread bbq on top. Let chicken cool 5 minutes then slice.

    4. Meanwhile make slaw by adding kale, cabbage, date, lemon juice, honey and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Massage with your hands to break down the kale and marinate it well.

    5. Heat pretzel buns or your favorite bun. Slice chicken and place in bun. Top with slaw and close with the top bun. Enjoy!

  • Fall-off-the-bone Short Rib Tacos | Low-cost Meals

    If you’re like me you only crave beef every now and then. This recipe is for one of those times.

    The short ribs melt down to make a thick, decadent broth. Something to be enjoyed every once in a while.

    It’s been a cold winter in Southern California so I needed some warming foods like this.

    I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s made for one of those work-from-home days.

    It doesn’t need attending to but it goes in the oven for 2-3 hours. So starting after you finish your breakfast is a good idea. It stays warm for a while so there’s no harm if it rests a bit before you get to it.

    Fall-off-the-bone short ribs

    Ingredients (for 2-4):

    • 1.5 lbs. Short ribs
    • 3 tomatoe, sliced in half
    • ½ onion, rough chop
    • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 2 cups water (or more as needed)
    • 2 small carrots, cut in half
    • 2 small celery stalks, cut in half
    • ¼ bunch cilantro with stems
    • ½-1 tsp salt
    • 1 Tbsp oregano
    • 2 ears of corn, cut into ½ “ pieces
    • ½ lb. Small potatoes

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Get a large pot that’s oven proof. You can also do this on the stove top at a low simmer.

    2. Place roughly chopped tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, garlic and 1 cup water in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour this mixture into the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients, too.

    3. Place in the oven for 2 hours.

    4. After 2 hours, add potatoes and corn. Cook another 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and bone is easily removed from short rib.

    5. Remove from oven. Set short rib aside and shred. Remove excess fat. Serve meat in tacos with cilantro and onions, and serve soup in a separate bowl.

  • Gluten free Blueberry muffins

    I made these for my brothers birthday because he’s a gluten free muffin fanatic. He’s not gluten free officially but loves the texture of gluten free muffins. They’re very tender. So here they are!

    Ingredients (Makes 12):

    • 2 cups gluten-free baking mix or all-purpose flour (plus more)

    • 2 teaspoons baking powder

    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

    • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

    • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

    • 1 cup and 1 tablespoon sugar, divided (I used a mix of regular sugar and coconut sugar)

    • 2 large eggs, room temperature

    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    • ½ cup buttermilk

    • 1 heaping cup blueberries

    Directions:
    
    1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Grease muffin pan or line with paper liners.
    
    2. In a medium bowl add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to distribute evenly.
    
    3. In large bowl add the butter and 1 cup sugar. Best until fluffy. Then add the eggs and vanilla and beat briefly.
    
    4. Add 1/2 flour mixture then ½ buttermilk into egg mixture. Stir briefly then add the rest of the buttermilk and flour. Stir just until combined.
    
    5. Toss blueberries with 1 Tbsp flour and then add into the bowl and gently stir in.
    
    6. Portion batter into muffin tins evenly. Sprinkle with a little sugar on top (May not need full tablespoon).
    
    7. Place in the oven and immediately lower heat to 375F (*don’t forget this step!). Bake 26-32 minutes or until slightly golden brown on top.

    Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

    I made these for my brothers birthday because he’s a gluten free muffin fanatic. He’s not gluten free officially but loves the texture of gluten free muffins. They’re very tender. So here they are!

    Ingredients
      

    • 2 cups gluten-free baking mix or all-purpose flour plus more
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg optional
    • ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup and 1 tablespoon sugar divided (I used a mix of regular sugar and coconut sugar)
    • 2 large eggs room temperature
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • ½ cup buttermilk
    • 1 heaping cup blueberries

    Instructions
     

    Directions:

    • Preheat oven to 425 F. Grease muffin pan or line with paper liners.
    • In a medium bowl add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to distribute evenly.
    • In large bowl add the butter and 1 cup sugar. Best until fluffy. Then add the eggs and vanilla and beat briefly.
    • Add 1/2 flour mixture then ½ buttermilk into egg mixture. Stir briefly then add the rest of the buttermilk and flour. Stir just until combined.
    • Toss blueberries with 1 Tbsp flour and then add into the bowl and gently stir in.
    • Portion batter into muffin tins evenly. Sprinkle with a little sugar on top (May not need full tablespoon).
    • Place in the oven and immediately lower heat to 375F (*don’t forget this step!). Bake 26-32 minutes or until slightly golden brown on top.

  • Healthy Apple Pancakes

    Hello brunch! Here’s a super simple recipe for brunch that’s a little healthier. I originally wanted to make apple muffins but I was out of apple sauce so I found the next best thing- pancakes.

    These come together quickly. It’s nice to find a recipe for pancakes that doesn’t make like 2 dozen pancakes. I love my pancakes… but don’t like standing over the stove for 30 minutes flipping pancakes when I’m already hungry. These make only 9 so you’ll be done by the time your coffee is brewed!

    Apple Vanilla Whole Wheat Pancakes

    Ingredients (makes 9 pancakes)

    • 1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
    • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
    • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, optional
    • 1 Whole Eggs , well beaten or Flax meal Egg Replacer
    • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
    • 1 cup almond milk, or milk of choice, cold
    • 1 Apple, peeled and grated (grater of choice)
    • 1 tablespoon Oil
    • maple syrup for serving
    • sprinkle of cinnamon, optional

    Directions

    1. In a medium bowl, stir together wheat flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar.
    2. Add eggs (or the flax eggs), milk, vanilla extract, grated apple, oil, and cinnamon (if using) and whisk just until blended.
    3. Heat a large pan on medium heat. Spread a thin layer of oil or butter in the pan if not a nonstick pan. Pour a ladle full of the apple vanilla pancake mixture on the skillet. Do not spread the mixture on the skillet.
    4. Cook until bubbles form and edges start to fry and turn lightly crisp, 3-4 minutes. Flip over and cook until lightly browned.
    5. Serve the pancakes with toasted walnuts, maple syrup or fruit of choice. I used blueberries.
  • Mexican Red Rice

    When I asked my mom how she learned how to make this moist, Mexican comfort food, she said she learned by watching other Mexican mothers and from my father. She has finally mastered the art of cooking Mexican rice (a requirement for my dad!) and now I am trying to learn from her. I finally convinced her to measure out her ingredients to make it easier for me to remember, and now I can share this recipe with you.

    The recipe is fairly simple, just blend up most of your ingredients to make a tomato sauce, and then mix it with the rice. There are two tricks to good Mexican rice: first, be sure to toast the rice grains slowly in the beginning; second, keep the lid on the pot for 10 minutes after the rice is done cooking. This ensures the moisture will be trapped inside, and your rice grains will open fully and make for a nice fluffy rice.

    Serve the rice with some of the beef or chicken juices left in the pan if you are making either for the entree, and you will be enjoying my father’s favorite meal!

    Ingredients (Serves 4):

    • 2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
    • 1/4 coarsely chopped onion
    • 1/4 cup water + 3 cups water
    • 2 low-sodium chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes*
    • 1 T vegetable oil
    • 1 large garlic clove, halved
    • 1 1/2 cup extra long grain rice
    • 1/2 cup frozen peas (optional, included in nutrient analysis)

    *Substitute the chicken cubes for 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth. You won’t need to add the 2 1/2 cups water if you choose to do this.
    1. In a blender, blend tomatoes, onion, 1/4 cup water, and low-sodium chicken cubes, if using. Blend for 30 seconds. Set aside.

    2. Place oil in medium saucepan with lid. Heat, then add garlic halves. Brown garlic slowly, then immediately add the rice and stir well with slotted spoon or fork. Keep stirring so it doesn’t burn. This part takes time, but you need to make sure the rice gets a nice even golden color, about 3 minutes.

    3. Then, add the tomato mixture over a low heat. Stand back and be careful, it will smoke a little. Stir mixture for about 15 seconds to mix in the rice. After that, stir in 3 cups water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Add peas in the last 5 minutes of cooking if desired. After 25 minutes, keep rice covered for at least 10 minutes. Rice will be moist when done.

    The perfect accompaniment for Steak con Chiles


    Additional Information: appropriate for Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian (if vegetable bouillon is used), Vegan (if vegetable bouillon is used) and Gluten Free diets.

  • Chicken Tinga

    Chicken Tinga with cilantro lime rice

    This is a meal prep favorite. If you’re having a big group of guests over it’s a great dish to serve. Just double the recipe. I serve it with Mexican red rice, cabbage slaw, limes, guacamole and cotija cheese. for tortillas I love using Tortillaland tortillas.

    It keeps amazing in the fridge for a couple days so it’s a great dish to make on the weekend or a day you have some more time to spare.

    Chicken Tinga 

    Serves 6

    Prep time: 1 hour Cook time: 45 minutes

    Ingredients:

    • 1 chicken, cut in half or quarters ( I use a mix of 2 bone-in chicken breasts and 4 thighs)

    Tinga Sauce-

    • 3 tomatoes
    • 1/2 onion
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1-2Tbsp. chipotle or smoked pepper paste (optional)(usually found in can, Ethnic aisle)
    • 1 T oregano
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 T oil

    Directions: 

    1. Boiling chicken: In a large pot, boil the chicken with 2 garlic cloves and 1/2 onion, roughly chopped. Boil for 30-45 minutes or until meat is no longer pink at the bone. You will see the meat starting to fall off the bone for the legs. Set aside when done, save some strained liquid, about 1 cup (for sauce). Shred the chicken and discard bones when cool enough to handle. (This is easiest done in a 13×9 pan with two forks even when hot)

    3. Tinga sauce: Make the sauce in a blender. Blend all sauce ingredients except oil. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of reserved chicken broth if you need to thin the sauce. Then, in a large pot or frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and stand in back, pour blender contents into the pot. Then, lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

    4. Cook chicken in tinga: Place chicken into pan with sauce and simmer for 20 minutes or more (no crime cooking longer here, chicken will stay moist).

    5. Serving: Start with a base of rice or quinoa, then, spoon on some shredded chicken tinga. Add your veggies, corn, chopped avocado, lime cilantro and cheese if you like.

    This recipe is a GREAT batch recipe, meaning you can make a big batch on Sunday and the chicken heats up so well the following days. Serve it on salad or in tacos for variation.

  • Sunomono Salad Recipe (Japanese Cucumber Salad)

    Here’s an easy cucumber salad recipe that will remind you of the salads at sushi places. It’s salty and sweet. I made it as a side dish with a soba noodle salad and vegetable dumplings. It was a perfect spread!

    PREP: 5 MINSCOOK: 5 MINSTOTAL: 10 MINS

    SERVINGS: 6

    INGREDIENTS

    ▢6 crunchy Japanese or Persian cucumbers

    ▢2/3 tsp salt to draw out moisture

    DRESSING

    ▢6 tbsp rice vinegar

    ▢2 tbsp sugar

    ▢1/2 tsp salt

    ▢1/2 tsp soy sauce

    ▢2 tsp sesame seeds

    INSTRUCTIONS 

    1. Slice all the cucumbers very thin and transfer to a medium sized bowl. Use a sharp knife or a mandolin. Get them as thin as you can. Leave the skin on.
    2. Sprinkle with salt and toss well to ensure even salt coverage to draw out moisture, Wait 5-10 minutes.
    3. Then rinse the cucumbers thoroughly to remove the salt, drain, then squeeze all the cucumbers to remove excess moisture. Remove as much water as you can. Don’t be afraid to squeeze hard, the cucumbers can take it!
    4. Mix dressing ingredients until dissolved, then add to cucumbers. Toss well and it’s ready to enjoy!
    That’s the mandolin I used to get them so thin.
    Wash and drain them to remove excess salt.
  • Soba Noodle Salad (vegan)

    I made this salad to go alongside a dumpling cooking class.

    It’s super light, full of veggies and you feel good eating it. Best thing is that it keeps well in the fridge a few days, and can be eaten warm or cold.

    It can be gluten-free if you get soba noodles that don’t contain any wheat. Check the label. Enjoy!

    Yield: 6

    INGREDIENTS

    • 8 ounces soba noodles or spaghetti noodles of choice*
    • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
    • 1/4 to 1/3 cup reduced sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
    • 2 tsp. Sugar, honey or agave
    • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
    • 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 medium lime)
    • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
    • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste (scale back or omit if sensitive to spice)
    • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (about 10 ounces or 1/4th medium cabbage)
    • 3 whole carrots, peeled and then sliced into ribbons with vegetable peeler (about 1 1/2 cups)
    • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into very thin strips
    • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    • Optional: 2 cups shelled edamame, boiled

    Directions:

    1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the edamame and cook for 1 minute. Then, add soba noodles and cook for 4 minutes or just tender to the bite. (Check package directions for exact cooking time).
    2. After noodles are done, drain noodles and edamame together. Put them in a colander and rinse them well under cool water. Transfer the drained noodles and edamame to a large serving bowl and set aside.
    3. In another bowl, combine the tamari or soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, lime juice, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Whisk until blended. Set aside.
    4. To assemble, add the cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, green onions, cilantro to your bowl with the noodles. Drizzle in the dressing. Add all of the sesame seeds, and use tongs to toss until the mixture is fully combined. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for later. This salad is best consumed within a couple of days, but it will keep for up to 5 days.