Spanish Chicken and Chorizo

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I love chorizo (also known as chourico) in all its forms, from the fresh Mexican variety with its heavy dose of chile to Portugese style that’s gently smoked and of course Spanish which comes hot or mild depending on the type of paprika used, smoked and unsmoked and 1000 different variations of such.  As with any variety of sausage, quality counts.  For example, commercial varieties of Mexican chorizo mainly use variety meat that’s leftover after butchering (don’t read the label) while freshly made chorizo at your local Mexican market will likely use ground pork and lots of fresh chile. For this … Continue reading

FYB House Chili

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This is the house chili here at Fill Your Belly headquarters A.K.A. my kitchen.  It’s a great allpurpose chili with just enough spice and heat to please adults yet mild enough to keep kids happy.  As I said on yesterday’s blog, all the normal accompaniments were served with it – cheese, diced onions, sour cream, avocado, fritos and the perfect side of Buttermilk Cornbread. The great thing about chili is once it’s in the pot simmering, other than the occasional stir, you can pretty much forget about it.  In fact the longer it cooks the better the flavors get.  And for those … Continue reading

Nectarine and Heirloom Tomato Salad with herb ranch dressing

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Nectarines and other stone fruits are everywhere right now.  Every grocery store I wander into seems to have piles of them and at great prices too.  That’s how this salad came to be.  I’ve actually had the idea of making this salad for a few weeks-even bought the ingredients numerous times.  But life gets in the way sometimes…and family members eat the ingredients.  Really son?  I could never get you to try a nectarine before and now you eat two.  Oh well, at least he now likes nectarines. After getting my ingredients this time and fiercly protecting them from prying hands and … Continue reading

Grilled Avocado and Mango Salsa

Grilled Avocado and Mango Salsa

So it was another night of grilling here in Southern California because it was just too darn hot to cook inside.  This time it was steak and chicken breast that I had in the freezer.  The recipe for the steak will follow soon but I just had to get this salsa on here.  It paired great with both and was a refreshing addition to the meal.  The smoke flavor from the grill really changes the flavor of both the mango and the avocado.  While Mexican food purists would probably poo poo on the idea of grilling an avocado, I cannot say enough … Continue reading

Chicken Tinga

Chicken Tinga

My family and I are taco and burrito fanatics; having some version nearly weekly.  Sometimes it simply ground beef with some spices while other times it may be slowly braised beef or carnitas.  This time it was shredded chicken for burritos. Tinga refers to any kind of shredded meat simmered in a spicy, smoky tomato sauce.  It’s extremely easy to make and the heat level can be adjusted for whatever your tolerance.  The recipe below is middle of the road with enough kick to satisfy the heat seeker in your family while not blowing the roof off the wimp (sorry … Continue reading

Sausage Herb Dressing with dried cranberries

Sausage and Herb Dressing with dried cranberries

Thanksgiving dinner just isn’t complete without dressing to go with the turkey.  While some prefer to stuff it in the cavity while the bird cooks, hence the name stuffing, I prefer to cook it separately.  I find the turkey cooks more evenly and the dressing crisps up on the top yet remains moist inside. Now I know many people will be grabbing boxes of Mrs. Cubbison’s and doctoring it up, but really – how hard is it to cube bread and toast it a little.  The difference in flavor is night and day; one tastes like cardboard (not that I’m an … Continue reading

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

Between setting the clocks back and the change in the weather, there’s no doubt that fall has arrived.  While still ridiculously mild compared to most of the country, there’s still a noticable difference here in Southern California.  So on that note I decided it was time for a spicy tortilla soup with all the trimmings.  While some versions might be easier than this one here, such as opening up various cans and adding them to a pot, this one will excite your taste buds.  I’m blessed to live in an area that has a wide variety of chiles available, but if you can’t … Continue reading

Cheesy Meatloaf Pockets with creamy onion gravy

Cheesy Meatloaf Pockets with creamy onion gravy

It’s the never ending question for all home cooks- what to do with leftovers that’s different than just having leftovers?  Such was my dilema last night, facing a partially devoured meatloaf.  I had made Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf  and really wanted to do something different with the leftovers rather than eating the same dinner twice.  While my daughter and wife were perfectly content to eat it again, it’s not my son’s favorite meal.  So how do you make a ten year old love meatloaf?  Hot Pockets! To make it a little more interesting, I decided to make a gravy to dip … Continue reading