Orange Chipotle Pork Loin Chops

Hey there– We have our kids staying with us for a bit and our daughter-in-law Jodi comes from Hunan province in China– the land of spicy red peppers.  So I made this, hoping the spice would make her feel at home!!

The pork is nestled in a sauce that citrusy sweet and has a spicy kick. We ate it with roast sweet potatoes and a bright green salad for Sunday lunch.

2 tab. olive oil
6 pork loin chops*
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 tab. canned chipotle sauce**
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tsp. ground cumin

Heat the olive oil in a skillet on high.  Drop in the pork for 2 minutes on each side.  While they are cooking, stir together the chipotle sauce, marmalade and cumin.

Remove the pork from the skillet and pour in the chipotle mixture.  Simmer the mixture 3 or 4 minutes until it thickens.  Dredge the pork chops through the sauce for 1 minute to warm them and coat them with sauce and the set them on a platter and pour the remaining sauce over the top.

*I used thin cut pork loin chops (about 1/3″ thick).  If you use thicker pork chops sear on each side for 3 or 4 minutes.
**The chipotle peppers come in a spicy adobo sauce.  Just remove a couple peppers to scoop out the sauce you need.

Chipotle Veggie Chili

IMG_2395Hey there– Looking for something warm and cozy and good for you, amid all the Holiday eating?  Set aside the fudge and roast beast (thank you Dr. Seuss) for this simple, filling Veggie Chili.  It makes a fine supper served up with a hot slab of cornbread.

2 tab. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, stopped to smallish bits
1 chipotle pepper, seeds removed, minced
4 cloves garlic
1 tab. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
2  14 oz. cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
14 oz. can petit cut tomatoes with garlic
14 oz. can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can chili beans, include sauce
1 can yellow corn, drained
2 cups water
3/4 cup farro
1/2 tsp. salt & freshly ground pepper to tastE
garnish:  sour cream, cheddar green onions…

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and then toss in the chopped onion and carrots.  Sauce for 3 or 4 minutes until the onions are tender.  Then add in the chipotle pepper, garlic, chili powder and cumin and stir it around for a minute.

Then add in the tomatoes, black beans, chili beans, corn, water and faro.  Simmer on low for 10 to 15 minutes more until the faro is tender.

Season with salt & pepper to taste.  And serve it up hot with sour cream or cheddar or green onions…


White Chicken Chili with Garbanzos & Cannellini Beans

IMG_3617Hi there– Soup’s here!!  After weeks, of crazy hot weather this fall, it’s finally cooled down!   I wore sweaters to school every day this week.  And switched over to my cozy winter pajamas.  We haven’t touched the air conditioning.  And soup!  Glorious soup!

I made a ample pot of this stuff and took soup lunches to school with me all week.  And it was delish–  all those chewy beans along with the tender chicken and slightly spicy broth.  So glad to be back to wonderful warming soup days!

1 serrano chile
1 medium onion, cut to bits
2 tab. olive oil
4 cups chicken stock, divided
2 tab. flour
1 tsp. adobo sauce
1 chipotle chili, seeds removed, minced fine**
2 15 oz. cans cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. cumin
1 tsp. dried basil
1 roasted chicken, boned and cut to nice bites
2 11 oz. cans white corn kernels, drained & rinsed
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
1 7 oz. can salsa verde*
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup half & half (or whole milk)
3 tab. cornstarch
1 lime, juiced
salt to taste
garnish: sour cream, avocado, corn kernels (saved from the recipe), cilantro

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil.  Then toss in the cut up onion and the Serrano chile, cut lengthwise and the seeds removed.  Cook 4 or 5 minutes until the onion starts to brown.
Remove the Serrano and discard (unless you like your soup way spicier than I do!)

Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock, adobo sauce, minced chipotle chili and 1 can of the cannellini beans that have been drained and rinsed.  With a stick blender whirl it all into a thick paste.  Or remove the mixture to a blender and blend it all up together and return to the pot.

To that mixture, add the rest of the chicken stock, garlic and basil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Then put in the chicken, corn, the 2nd can of cannellini beans, garbanzo beans and salsa verde.  Simmer on low for 10 minutes more.

Jus before serving, shake together the half & half and the cornstarch in a container with a tight fitting lid until it is all blended.  Stir it into the simmering soup for a few minutes, until it thickens a bit.  Then add in the lime juice and cilantro.  Simmer just a minute more.

Serve it up hot and garnish with sour cream, avocado and a sprinkle of cilantro and reserved corn kernels.  I hope you like it as much as we did!

*I like the Hedrez salsa verde.
**You can more chipotle, if you love more heat.


Spicy Lentil Tacos

IMG_4487Hi all– If I had to eat one food every day for a month, I’m pretty sure I it would be tacos.  So many bright flavors scooped up into a tender little tortilla– Yep, I could eat them pretty much every day.  So here’s a new version to us– centered on savory lentils.  I’m thinking these spicy, savory things could go a lot of places–mixed with couscous or rice, into a salad for dinner, worked into a dip…  I think you may be seeing them again here.

1 tab. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup brown lentils
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 14 oz. can chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 to 1 chipotle pepper, seeded and minced*
Corn tortillas
condiments– lettuce, chopped tomato, grated cheddar (or cortijo), sour cream, avocado, salsa, cilantro…


Pour the olive oil into a hot pan and add the onion.  Stir and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion starts to brown.  Add in the garlic and cook another minute.  Then stir in the lentils and taco seasoning until it’s all blended.  Add the chicken broth, water and chipotle and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until the lentils are tender.

Toast the the tortillas lightly and scoopy those hot lentils across the middle.  Then layer all your favorite fixings.  And eat!

* Add more of less chipotle to meet your own person hot & spicy comfort level.

Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa

IMG_2355Hello there– If you’re the kind of person who loves fish tacos (and you can certainly put me in that group), then I think you’ll love this really easy shrimpy version with creamy, juicy mango salsa slathered on top.  These were seriously good!


1 pound medium sized shrimp
2 tab. olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt & freshly group pepper
lettuce cut into shreds
lime wedges
small size corn tortillas*

IMG_2335Peel and devein the shrimp.  Toss them in a bowl with the olive oil and a liberal sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Then spread them separated on a cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Slide them into a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes.  They should come out salty, peppery crispy good.

Then  warm the tortillas just a minute in the toaster.  Fill them with lettuce, shrimp and a squeeze of lime juice.  Pile on the mango salsa and they are ready to eat.

1 mango, peeled and cut into chunks
1 avocado, peeled and chunked as well
1/3 cup red onion, chopped to bits
1 chipotle, seeded and minced finely**
1 tab. lime juice
salt & pepper to taste

Carefully fold together the mango, avocado, onion, chipotle and lime juice.  Salt and pepper and taste to see if you need a bit more seasoning.  Delicious on tacos or just with a bowl full of chips!

* The year we lived in Costa Rica,  our little market sold small tender tortillas just wrapped in saran wrap and made by the ladies in the neighborhood–so fresh and tender.  So I’m excited that I found the mini taqueria size tortillas at Stater Brothers if you live in Socal.  Guerrero brand.
**If you don’t like too much spice, just use half a chipotle pepper and be sure to scrape out the seeds and membranes before you mince it up.

Orange Chipotle Chicken

IMG_2082Hey there–  Sitting out around the table under the backyard maple trees a couple nights ago, it was great to dig into this spicy, sweet, tangy plateful– with cilantro rice, a bright salad and a cold glass of “tinto de verano” (Spanish red wine and citrus soda).  It’s an old favorite.  I think you’d like it too.


The chicken:
2 chicken breasts
2 tab. olive oil
1 1/2 tab. soy sauce
2 tab. marmalade
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
toasted almonds

Filet the chicken breasts, cutting them horizontally to make 4 thinner filets.  Cook them in the olive oil, 4 or 5 minutes on each side until they are nicely browned.  Mix the marmalade and soy sauce and brush it on the chicken as it cooks.  Take the chicken from the pan and cover it with foil on the serving plate.  Save the green onions and almonds to garnish at the end.

The  orange chipotle sauce:

3 tab. butter
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tab. brown sugar
1 tab. orange marmelade
1 chipotle pepper, minced*

In the same chicken pan brown the onion in the butter over medium heat for about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minutes more.  Stir in the orange juice, broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, chipotle and marmalade.  Set the chicken unto the pan of sauce.  Simmer for 6 minutes until the sauce  thickens.

Remove the chicken back to the platter.  Pour the sauce over the top and garnish with the green onions and almonds.

*If you don’t like things too, too spicy, you can used just half of a pepper– and I always scrape out the seeds so there’s not too much heat.

Smokey Chicken Chili

IMG_9322Hello all– Is it still chilly where you live?  Spring keeps trying to break through here, but this weekend looks rainy and cold.  There’s sure to be some days left to put on the soup pot and crank up the fireplace.  We had this chili at my buddy Betty’s house and I marched straight home and made up a potful for us.  It was just as smokey good the second time around.

4 slices of bacon, chopped to bits
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 rotisserie chicken, boned and cut into chunks
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 chipotle pepper, seeded & chopped fine
1/2 tsp. chili powder
6 cups chicken broth
14 oz. can petit cut tomatoes
3 cans cannelini (small white) beans
2  4oz. cans diced green chilis
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup cilantro, chopped

Cook the little bits of bacon in your soup pot until their crispy.  Remove them from the pot.  Throw the onions in to cook until they start to brown.  Add the garlic and cook a minute more.  Then stir the chicken, paprika, cumin, chipotle and chili powder into the pot.  Finally, add the chicken broth, tomatoes, beans and green chilis.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for 10 minutes or so.  Stir in the cooked bacon and cilantro just before you serve it up.

With rotisserie chicken, canned beans and canned tomatoes, you can stew this up in about 30 minutes.  Drop a pan of cornbread in the oven and by the time it’s baked, this chili will be pretty much done.  I do like quick.

Chipotle Avocado Potato Salad

Family from far and wide showed up to the park on Sunday to celebrate Grandpa Stu’s 85th birthday.  He’s everyone’s favorite grandpa–full of words of encouragement and big bear hugs.  Family by family we arrived, with arms full of food (including this flavorful potato salad), and kids in tow,  for the pot luck bar-b-que. Lots of sunshine and squealing great grandkids made it a fine full day.

1 pound small red potatoes
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 large ripe but firm avocado
4 medium radishes, sliced thin
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tab. lime juice
1 small chipotle pepper in adobo
1 clove garlic, minced fine
1/2 cup olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with salted water.  Simmer 15 to 20 minutes, til they are tender but not mushy.  Rinse them under cold water.  Drain well and then cut them into chunks and stick them in the fridge to cool.  Cut up the avocado, radishes, green onions and cilantro and mix them along with the corn with the cooled potatoes.  Cut the chipotle pepper in half and scrape out the seeds and discard them.  Then mince the pepper finely and whisk it together with the lime juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss the potato mixture with the dressing.  Taste to see if it needs more salt or pepper.  Then stick it in the fridge for an hour or two to chill.

It’s perfect to set on the table at a summer bar-b-que.  I’m planning to serve it up with pulled pork sandwiches at my nephew’s rehearsal dinner new month.   Loads of flavor.

So here’s our birthday guy, Grandpa Stu along with Grandma Honey and their great grandson, little Ryder.  We all had fun with a bushel full of babies and little kids to keep things lively at the birthday bash.  Happy birthday dear Stu.  We all love you so–there couldn’t be a better Grandpa!!