My Del Real Food Contest Creation!

I’m having a lot of fun this week! I found out about a fun contest through the San Diego Food Blogger Group where I could request specific items from the company Del Real Foods (http://www.delrealfoods.com/), they would send me the items free of charge, and I could play around with the ingredients in order to create a recipe and win some cash. Uh, yeah! I requested shredded chicken, carnitas, refried beans, and salsa and started playing around with quick recipe ideas. The only stipulation was that the recipe couldn’t take longer than 30 minutes. Not a problem, especially with the main ingredients precooked. You can vote for my recipe, Picante Pollo Sliders, here:  http://www.delrealfoods.com/blogger-recipe-challenge/picante-pollo-sliders You are allowed to vote once a day through August 7th. Of course I would love to win the cash prize, but I must say it is really fun to see so many people supporting me. I keep watching the vote count go up every day, and that is just really cool!

I was having a couple of friends over for the Fourth of July, and I thought that would be a perfect testing ground for my first recipe idea. I love spicy food, but I love when flavors bounce around – spicy, then sweet, then back, then salty, then spicy – you get the idea. With that in mind, I decided on making sliders with a flavor explosion to mimic the fireworks later that evening;)

This is a keeper of a recipe! You can make the cucumber relish the day before, if you so choose. The longer the mix sits, the more intense the flavors will become, of course! The chicken mixture will come together quickly, but you can also keep it simmering on the stove for a good amount of time so that it thickens. Just keep an eye on it and occasionally stir. But if you don’t have a ton of time, no worries. Follow the recipe as is, but you may want to make sure more chicken than liquid makes it onto the slider so that it doesn’t become too soggy. Last note, this recipe makes a large serving. I like to be able to really pile the chicken mixture onto the slider, but you may not be so brash. If you have extra chicken mixture, either get more slider buns or you could mix up dinner the next night by cooking some penne and adding this chicken mixture in lieu of a traditional tomato sauce. That is exactly what I did, and then I added some lightly sautéed zucchinis. Why not? Go crazy!

This is how I received the chicken - perfectly cooked and shredded with zero fat. I felt spoiled!

This is how I received the chicken – perfectly cooked and shredded with zero fat. I felt spoiled!

The Fire Roasted Green Salsa was delicious in this recipe or even on its own!

The Fire Roasted Green Salsa was delicious in this recipe or even on its own!

 

Picante Pollo Sliders

Sweet and Spicy Cucumber Relish:
4 red jalapenos, chopped
1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Shredded Chicken Mixture:
2.5 pounds Del Real cooked, shredded chicken breast
32 ounces Del Real Salsa de Molcajete Verde
3 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 package of dinner rolls, preferably Hawaiian Sweet
Cotija cheese, 5 ounces, crumbled

  1. In a food processor, combine red jalapenos, vinegar, garlic, sugar, ginger and salt. Process until well combined, about 1 minute. In a medium bowl, place cucumber slices, onions and cilantro. Pour jalapeno mixture over the cucumber mixture and mix together. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. In a large pot, place shredded chicken, salsa, chipotle chiles, and chili powder over medium high heat. Stir to combine, and continue stirring occasionally until heated through, approximately 20 minutes.
    Once the chicken mixture is thoroughly heated and the flavors have combined, place a scoop of the mixture onto the sweet roll. You will want to slice the roll like a sandwich. Top the chicken mixture with a bit of the cucumber relish and then top with a bit of crumbled cotija. Top the slider with the top half of the roll. The amount of the chicken mixture, cucumber relish, and cotija really depends on one’s personal preference.
  3. Enjoy!
Now you can see all of the goodness!

Now you can see all of the goodness!

At this point, I had Refried Beans and Carnitas (Roasted Pork) from Del Real Foods that I wanted to turn into even more goodness. I turned to another love for inspiration – pizza. Again, I only had 30 minutes from start to finish. I created, but opted not to enter into this into the contest, Cheesy Carnitas Pillows. Simply take 1 store-bought container of pizza dough and roll it out onto a prepared baking sheet. I sliced the dough into 10 equal rectangles. On the bottom row of 5 rectangles, I placed 1 slice of Jalapeno Monterey Jack, making sure the cheese did not hang off the edges. I spread 2 Tablespoons of refried beans on top of the cheese, then I topped that with 1/2 ounce of carnitas, and layered that with 3 pickled jalapeno slices. I simply took the top row of dough and placed them on top of the prepared dough rectangles, and then I crimped the edges to ensure no goodness would escape. I baked them for about 15 minutes, or until nice and golden, at 425 degrees. I served these little lovelies with salsa.

Cheesy Carnitas Pillows

Thanks to everyone who has already voted, and feel free to continue to vote whenever you have a free moment! I greatly appreciate it!

Take Care and Happy Eating!

(Disclaimer: I did receive free items from Del Real Foods, but that in no way influenced how much I enjoyed my creations!)

 

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Del Real Foods Contest Update!

Hello! I hope everyone is having a great week so far! I want to give you an update on a contest I’m entering. I just submitted one recipe to Del Real Foods (http://www.delrealfoods.com/about-us), and I will finish creating a second recipe later today for an additional recipe entry! That entry will be enjoyed by me and my husband later tonight:) The recipes have to take 30 minutes or less to make, and you can get Del Real Foods at Costco, or you can substitute the brand with whatever your grocery store has on hand. The voting will begin Saturday and will continue through August 7th, so I will post with more details on how to help me win this contest! Feel free to pass this along to all of your friends! Really, I won’t mind at all!

Chicken Prep

The beginning of something good!

Thank you in advance for your help! And I hope you enjoy my recipes!!

Take Care, Happy Eating, and Fingers Crossed!

She’s an Easy Lover! Slow-Cooker Recipe For All!

This has been an odd weather week in San Diego. And, yes, “odd weather week” is a very rare description for this part of the country. I still find it amusing when the weather forecasters tell us to buckle up for a major warm up. Usually that means we will go from 70 degrees to 73. What is truly pathetic is that I feel it, and I get annoyed with the “heat spell.” So whether you are in San Diego braving 73 degrees and some humidity blowing in from Cabo or you are in Cleveland, Ohio feeling a true summer warm up, you may want to avoid standing over or near your oven or stove. That is when the most easily loved appliance comes into play. I always thought of slow cooker meals being more for the winter season, but I’m loving it on these hot warmer days. Another huge benefit, the ability to walk away! So even if you are home, no need to tend to the pot! This truly is an easy lover. I’m pretty sure Phil was referring to a slow cooker.

I have two recipes that I really loved making (and eating) this week. The first might not sound so “Summery” especially due to the pumpkin addition, but I love Fall, and I already miss it. Yes, we get Fall in San Diego. It goes from 70 to 68. Leaves fall to the ground! Stop judging me! The first recipe caught my eye in the San Diego Union Tribune which was adapted from Michele Corbett’s site, http://www.cookingonthefrontburners.com. I made a few changes, but if you would like to see the original recipe, please check out Michele’s website. The second recipe is from Martha Stewart’s site, but I’ve made a couple of changes to the original recipe. For the original recipe, check out: http://www.marthastewart.com/341733/slow-cooker-greek-stuffed-peppers.

Meaty (or Not) Pumpkin Chili

16 oz ground sirloin (or ground turkey, or ground chicken, or tempeh, or tofu – You get the idea.)

1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil, if needed

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 chopped yellow, red, or orange pepper

3 cloves minced garlic

2 cups crushed tomatoes

4 ounces can diced green chilies

1 cup pumpkin pie filling (not puree)

1 cup chicken broth

2 Tablespoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained

Toppings – sour cream or Greek yogurt

  1. Brown the ground sirloin in a Dutch oven (or similar pot). Drain most of the fat. Add the onion, celery, pepper and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes. You can add a bit of grapeseed oil if the ingredients start to stick to the bottom of the pot. *If you opt to go the vegetarian route, simply add the tempeh or tofu after the vegetables have sautéed, and continue sautéing until heated throughout.
  2. Add tomatoes and chilies and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add pumpkin, broth, seasonings, and beans. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Serve with sour cream or yogurt.
Slow-Cooker Greek Stuffed Peppers

Slow-Cooker Greek Stuffed Peppers

Slow-Cooker Greek Stuffed Peppers

5 large bell peppers

1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup crumbled feta (4 ounces)

1/2 cup quinoa (*You can really use any type of grain. Just don’t pre-cook the grain. Add it to the mix uncooked.)

4 scallions, thinly sliced

2 garlic clove, minced

1-2 teaspoon dried oregano

Spoonful of Sambal Oelek (*This really is to taste. I like food with a kick, so I put in a good amount. You can skip it all together if you prefer your meals on the mild side.)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper (*Make sure to go easy on the salt since feta is salty.)

Chicken stock or water, about 1/2 cup (*This is added to the bottom of the slow cooker to ensure the peppers do not stick. You just need enough liquid to coat the bottom, then the peppers are placed in the liquid upright.)

Lemon wedges, for serving

  1. Slice a very thin layer from the base of each bell pepper so they sit flat. Slice off tops just below stem. Discard stems; chop tops, and place in a medium bowl. Remove ribs and seeds from peppers.
  2. Add beans, feta, quinoa, scallions, garlic, oregano, and sambal oelek to bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Stuff peppers with bean mixture; place upright in slow cooker. I opted to add a 1/2 a cup of chicken stock to the bottom of the slow cooker just to ensure the peppers wouldn’t stick. Cover; cook on high, 4 hours.
  3. Serve with lemon wedges.

On another note, I purchased Organic Edamame Spaghetti at Costco last week. The only ingredients are water and edamame. I had to give it a try. The box has two recipes listed, both of which are very high in fat content. I opted to simply cook the spaghetti and serve it with a mushroom tomato sauce topped with Parmesan. I’m glad I tried it, but I will not buy it again. The flavor was not remarkable, but what really got me was the texture. It was spongy. I am left with a lot of the stuff, so I will use it, but I will stick to eating edamame the old-fashioned way – from the pod!

Edamame pasta

I hope everyone has a great week, and you can rest assured I will be fixated on the Cleveland Cavaliers capturing the NBA Finals trophy! Go Cavs! #allin

Take Care and Happy Eating!

To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse? I Have My Answer!

Hello everyone!

Two very cool things happened this week.  First, I finally have a new computer!  Woohoo! Thanks, Costco!  Now I can finally post to my blog and read other people’s’!  I’m old-fashioned.  I really don’t like reading very much on my phone.  (I need to get used to Windows 8, too.) The other bit of news is that I finished the 30 day Clean Cleanse – without cheating!  I began this cleanse as a test.  I wanted to see how I would feel after giving up processed foods, dairy, alcohol, etc. I’m so happy I did.  Here’s a list of why I loved this cleanse:

  1. My mind seems a little sharper.
  2.  My mood is much brighter. But like I told my husband, this cleanse will not change your personality.  Sometimes (and only sometimes) I can be a bit annoying.  A cleanse is not a cure-all.  Sorry.
  3. I have more energy.  For some reason, I had zero energy on Saturday.  I have no idea why, but I just felt exhausted.  I went for a run with Franz, and I could hardly run a  block.  Again, this cleanse will not make you perfect.
  4. It was fun going out with friends and not thinking about food and drinks.  Sounds crazy, right?  I feel like I take forever studying menus, taking pictures of my food, thinking about what I could write later, etc.  This month felt like a break.  I went to Alpine Beer Company with a group of people, and it was nice just sitting outside and hanging out.  Hopefully I’ll go back for their beer and food another time.  It looked and smelled amazing.  Check out the menu: https://alpinebeerco.wordpress.com/pub-info/pub-menu/
  5. I love that I lost a few pounds – 12 in total.
  6.  I had my blood pressure taken Monday, and the nurse commented that I must have been very calm.  I’ve never had a problem with my blood pressure, but it was really good!

I’ve got a feeling, and it’s all good!

I must mention that I am so impressed with 3 places that enabled me to stick to the cleanse when I wasn’t home.  I went to Mammoth for a ski weekend (about 6 or so hours from San Diego), and I had a blast.  After skiing one day, we went to the food court at Canyon Lodge.  I was expecting not to have too many options.  I was pleasantly surprised.  The woman in charge of the salad bar made me an amazing kale salad with roasted red beets, grilled chicken, and a ton of excellent fresh veggies.  I just pointed and she piled it into a large silver bowl.  She could tell I was hesitant about the dressings available, so she pointed out the vinegar and oil to me, I added them to the bowl, she tossed away, and lunch was served!  Two other restaurants that impressed me were Point Loma Seafoods and Pita Jungle in Hillcrest.  Fresh grilled fish with a gorgeous view of Point Loma Marina and downtown San Diego is a great way to stick to a cleanse.  Pita Jungle has awesome hummus (which is allowed on the cleanse) and a salmon dish that is truly filling and only $12.99.  I went to C-Level and had a meager salmon dish for $30.  It was tasty and fresh, and you can’t ask for a better view of San Diego, but this meal did not satisfy my hunger.  It’s a cleanse, not Hunger Games! Thirty days went by relatively fast.  I plan on sticking with a few things that I’ve done over the past month.

  1. I didn’t eat a whole bunch of processed foods before, but I will further decrease my consumption.  For example, no more Lean Cuisine and I will greatly cutback on cereal.  I plan on treating cereal as a dessert as opposed to breakfast.
  2. I will continue making smoothies for breakfast.  They really give me the energy I need, and it keeps me full until lunch and beyond, if necessary.
  3. I’m obsessed with cooking with coconut oil.  I love the flavor it imparts.  Seriously, give it a try, if you haven’t already.
  4. I will continue snacking on kale chips, almonds, dried kimchi (Trader Joe’s has made me an addict), unsweetened coconut flakes, hummus and almond butter.  All of these things give me energy as opposed to a piece of Ghirardelli chocolate which just makes me want to eat 4 more squares.

The last comment I will make regarding the cleanse is one that may need to be addressed.  A couple of people have asked, so I’m assuming more people out there might have the same question.  It’s a question concerning bowels.  Yep, you might wonder about this aspect of a cleanse.  I will be straight with you.  I’ve never had a problem in that department.  If you do have difficulties, and you start a cleanse, I would guess you may notice a big change.  For me, I noticed that I would go more often throughout the day – usually after a meal or even a snack.  However, it was never a problem.  Depending on your body, you may or may not need this product: http://www.hulu.com/watch/10308

Some of you have mentioned that you are on a cleanse or thinking about starting.  Let me know how it’s going!

Take Care and Happy Eating!

Costco Gelato??!!

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My husband and I opted to brave the Sunday crowds at Costco (San Diego, Morena Boulevard location) yesterday.  After we picked up a flat of toilet paper, a bushel of blueberries and a couple of pounds of wild salmon, I was craving some ice cream.  As I stepped up to order, something caught my eye: a sign for gelato.  And the sign noted that the gelato is made daily!  And there are 3 flavors: pistachio, mixed berry and stracchiatella!!  And it’s served in a waffle cone!!! And (drum roll, please) it’s $1.50!!!!!!!!!!  What?  Of course we ordered 2 cones and loved every lick.  It was really good!  I didn’t think I’d care for the pistachio, but it I think it was my favorite.

I looked online and discovered that not all Costco locations serve this dreamy, cheap, tasty dessert.  That’s sad.  If you live in such a place, talk to the manager and demand it!  I know people are trying to survive the heat.  Here’s one way to combat the outdoor sauna!  And if you don’t want a cone at that moment, they sell quarts to go for $4.99.  And keep in mind, if you aren’t a member, and if the food court is outside, you can walk up and order off their menu.  And if it’s inside and you aren’t a member, I’m sure you have a friend or family member who can let you tag a long!

So give your local Costco a call and ask if they sell gelato in their food court, and hopefully they do!  (As I was typing this, I called the Costco where I usually shop, Mission Valley, to see if they sell it.  The man told me no.  I asked if they would be at some point, and he told me his location was not picked to serve that item.  So sad.  Thank the gelati gods I have the other location nearby!)

Take Care and Happy Eating!