Blueberry Pound Cake

This is another recipe from my Cooking Light Cookbook, that has not failed me.  I tried it a week ago and it was utter kitchen failure.  However, it was not the recipe it was the baking pan that was too small and very dark.  Which conduced the heat to the sides and made it rise faster than the center and it caused this weird concave issue in the middle.  I bought a new loaf pan and my funds were quite well spent.  I love Fat Daddio’s bakeware.

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Fajita Mix

I have always wanted to come up with my own Fajita Mix.  First of all the amount of additives and sodium in your standard mix makes this healthy meal quite unhealthy.  I just kept adding spices in small measurements until I got just the right flavor.   I even went out of my way, it wasn’t really, but I made tortilla’s which I haven’t done in years to go along with this meal.  I was more then estatic with the results of it all combined.

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Chicken Tostadas with Black Beans & Pico de Gallo

I realized while making this dish that in the almost 10 years we have been together I have never made tostadas. I think it was because in my family tostadas mean beans, and my husband is not a fan. I on the other hand like them a lot so having to change some of my old family dishes to now suit my new family is a slight trial.  First of all it was adding flavor to the beans enough and keeping the texture and look from being just what unfortunately in store-bought and some restaurant refried beans resembles cat food, eww.  I realized that using whole beans was the way to go.  I used the black bean recipe that I previously posted.  Which worked out perfectly for this.

This is very simple and actually quite healthy.   Most people have this image of Mexican food being sloppy, too spicy to tolerate, and slathered in cheese. This is far from the truth. It can be healthy, pretty, and still have that spicy subtly and packed with flavor. This was my goal and I feel it was quite accomplished.   You prepare everything from the tostada shell to the pico, you control the sodium which in a lot of food now a days is scary to know how much salt you’re having in prepared food.  That is why I will always let you add the salt to taste, or omit it if you prefer.

The longest part of preparation is boiling the chicken once that is done, which can be accomplished in a crock-pot on slow for a few hours while at work, or an hour on the stovetop.   Otherwise preparation only takes 15-20 min once that step is completed.  As far as assembly goes, it’s pretty much up to you.  I went with what not only made a nice presentation but really brought out the flavors well when taken as a complete bite.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Chicken Tostadas with Black Beans & Pico de Gallo

Makes 6 Servings

Pico de Gallo

  • 3 Roma Tomatoes, Diced
  • 1 small White Onion, Chopped
  • 1 sm Serrano Chili, finely minced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 c Cilantro(Coriander), finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Lime Zest
  • Juice of a Lime
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut the tomatoes in half and using a spoon scoop out the inside veins and seeds leaving just the flesh.  Finely dice the tomatoes and put in bowl with the onions, chili, garlic, and cilantro.  Stir with a spoon.  Now add in the lime zest.  With the palm of your hand roll the lime on the counter top to loosen up the pods that hold the juice it will require some muscle and it will feel very squishy and soft when you know it’s ready.   Now add in the juice of the whole lime, add salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and place in fridge.  The longer the flavors get to meld together the better I think it gets, but fresh and in season vegetables make the best pico you will ever have.

Shredded Chicken

  • 4 Chicken Leg Quarters
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 2 dried Ancho chilies
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, ground
  • 2g Fresh Oregano
  • 2g Fresh Thyme
  • 1/4 c Cilantro(Coriander), roughly chopped
  • 1 can (7oz) Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Quart of Water
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Chipotle Pepper, ground

In a stock pot over medium heat add in the water, tomato sauce.  Crush the garlic with the side of a knife, peel and add to stock pot.  Add in the dried chili pods.

Using your kitchen scale place a bowl on the scale and tare it out flat.  Tear pieces of fresh oregano adding to the bowl until it reaches 2 grams.  Leaving the bowl of oregano on the scale, now add the fresh thyme stems and all until your scale now reads 4g.  Add contents to the stockpot.  Add in the cilantro and 1 tsp of Cayenne pepper.

Add in your chicken quarters and salt.  Bring to a boil, place on lid and boil for 1h or until the flesh is starting to separate from the bone, but not falling apart in the stock.

Turn off the heat.  Remove the chicken from the stock and place on a platter to debone and shred.   Allow chicken to cool to cool for 10 min before handling.  Using two forks strip and shred the meat from the bones.

Place in a 10″ fry skillet over medium heat. (At this point you can start cooking your black beans as well and prepare your tostada shells for the oven, recipe is located below)

Place the now shredded and deboned chicken into the skillet.  Add in 1/2 cup of the stock you cooked the chicken in and 1 tsp paprika and 1/2 tsp chipotle ground pepper.  Stir, cooking until all the liquid is gone.  Now add another 1/2 cup of the stock and cook until all the liquid is once again cooked out.  Salt and pepper to taste, now add 1/4 c of the stock and cook out all the liquid again.  Once all the liquid is cooked out it is ready to serve.  Takes about 10-15 minutes.

Spicy Black Beans

  • 1 strip of Bacon, diced
  • 1/8 of a Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1  can (15 oz) Whole Black Beans, undrained
  • Small Pinch of Cumin
  • Very Small Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper

Head up a 10″ skillet to medium, once hot add the bacon to pan and cook until crispy.   Remove all of the bacon grease.

Add the diced bell pepper to the bacon and cook until the peppers turn a vibrant red, slowly add in the can of beans, with liquid and all.  Add in a pinch of cumin and salt to taste, and simmer until liquid is reduced by half.  About 10-15 min.

Tostada Shell

  • 6 White or Yellow Corn Tortillas
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Turn oven to 400°F.   Brush both sides of the tortillas with olive oil and sprinkle one side with salt.  Place the salted side down on the cookie sheet.  Place on lowest rack in oven for 10-15 min or until dark golden brown.  Cool for 5 min before serving.