Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Greetings from the Virgin Islands!!

Greetings from St. Thomas, USVI!!  

Well, 2016 was quite a year for us!! 

In August, 2016, we made a huge move to St. Thomas in the USVI, where I now work as a School Psychologist.   Life is a between that pesky thing called work, lol!  I have been cooking up a storm, learning about new foods that are local to the islands and introducing my favorite foods to the island as well.  

Several of my coworkers who grew up on St. Thomas or other islands like St. Kitts and St. Croix, have NEVER heard of and NEVER eaten one of my favorite things ever..........Tamales!!
Well, I had to remedy this.......I learned to make to tamales from a friend before I moved away from Colorado so I made up a batch to share with my coworkers.  As predicted, they loved the tamales and I am spreading the love of tamales to people all over the island.  

I am currently making 4 dozen tamales for my friends at SOS Coffee and Bar (see their page on Facebook) to feature on their Friday night social menu!  I am posting a picture only for now and the recipe will be posted here soon! 

Oh yeah and I forgot to mention that we are business owners as of Thanksgiving 2016!!
Wrecklife is the premier dive shop, boat charter, fishing charter, and dive boat charter on the island of St. Thomas.  If you are visiting the island and want to head out on the open seas, give us a call! 
Ask for Captain Troy!!  

Captain Troy and me enjoying time on the boat!!
See you soon and will post Tamales recipe as promised!  Much love from the island! #saltlife

We are soooooo excited to see what 2017 has in store us!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is one of my favorite comfort foods and this recipe is so easy you will wonder why you ever ate those frozen pot pies in a box.  This recipe is my mother’s recipe and my husband loves when I make this dish.  

I learned how to cook by watching my mom and helping her in the kitchen.   I remember looking forward to Sunday dinner, when we all sat down together and had a great home-cooked meal…….usually pot roast, roasted chicken, or homemade fried chicken with wonderful mashed potatoes and gravy.  Thanks mom!  J

This recipe is so easy and full of down-home goodness!  I like to serve it with a side of corn and plenty of fresh ground black pepper on top.  If you want to lighten this dish up, just use the low fat or fat free versions of cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soup.  It tastes just as delicious!

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and chopped (or 1 large can chunk chicken breast, drained)
1 large can Veg-all mixed vegetables, drained
2 refrigerated pie crusts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place one pie crust in the bottom of an 8x8 square baking dish.   In a medium bowl, mix together the cans of soup, vegetables and chicken, stirring thoroughly to combine.   

Spoon the mixture into the baking dish on top of the crust, spreading mixture out evenly.  Place remaining pie crust on top and crimp edges with your fingers to seal.  Poke a few holes in the top crust to allow steam to vent during cooking.   

Place in oven and cook for 40 minutes, until top crust is golden brown and the inside is bubbling with deliciousness.  Enjoy! 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Chicken Taco Soup

I love recipes that combine delicious Southwestern flavors and healthy vegetables too!  This recipe is one that I adapted from a South Beach recipe cookbook.  I just added more vegetables and some Cholula, of course!  

This soup goes great with some low-fat shredded cheese on top and the soup is also great over brown rice if you want something a bit more hearty.  I hope you like it as much as I do!


3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
5 cups chicken broth
1/2 yellow onion chopped
1/2 red or green bell pepper chopped and seeded
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp Taco seasoning (I use McCormick Hot Taco seasoning)
5-6 dashes of Cholula hot sauce - or more if you like spicy
1 can (14oz) petite diced tomatoes
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 small zucchini sliced thin
2 stalks celery chopped

  Dissolve the seasoning and garlic powder into the chicken broth, then combine remaining ingredients in the crockpot. Make sure that the chicken breasts are covered with liquid- add a bit more liquid if necessary.  The liquid only needs to just cover the meat.

Cook on Low for 8-10 hours. Chicken will shred apart when done.  Serve as a soup or over rice.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Skinny Pork Chops and Eggs

I’m eating healthy these days and loving it!  Now, if I could just get back into a workout routine.  This week will be the week for sure!  I go through periods of unhealthy eating……lots of rich foods, pasta, bread, and yes…….I have my share of fast food/junk food during my relapses. LOL  

Inevitably, I wake up and come to my senses, start eating healthy again and then realize how “real” food tastes so much better than processed, fattening stuff.  I hope you enjoy this clean eating dish!

4 boneless center cut pork loin chops, pounded thin
4 large eggs
1-2 avocados, sliced
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp olive oil

Lay out the pork chops and pound slightly with a meat mallet until they are about ½ inch thin, or you can just buy pork chops that are already thin.  Dry each chop with a paper towel to remove moisture.  

Drizzle a little olive oil over each chop on both sides and rub the oil over each chop.  Sprinkle each chop on both sides with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. 

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Coat the skillet with one teaspoon of olive oil.  When the pan is hot, place the chops in the skillet and cook about 3 minutes per side, or until the chops are cooked through.  Let the chops rest for about 5-10 minutes while you cook the eggs.  Cook each egg to over-medium (runny yokes but no runny whites). 

Top each chop with a layer of sliced avocados, and then a layer of sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the tomato and avocado. Place an over-medium egg on top of the avocado and tomatoes. Garnish with more avocado and tomatoes and top with more salt and pepper.  Enjoy!  Cheers!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Healthy Slowcooker Vegetable Soup

This slowcooker vegetable soup is so hearty and delicious that you will forget you are eating healthy.  A bowl of this is a little slice of heaven on a cold winter’s day!

I like my meat, don’t get me wrong, but I am ready to get serious about eating healthy so I’m starting by eating more meatless meals and more vegetables every day.  That four letter word called a “diet” is not in my vocabulary.  I am eating delicious real food that is packed with natural flavor and nutrients…….not the processed crap.

I modified this recipe from a recipe I found on my favorite new healthy recipe website,   Click here for a link to the original recipe, called Savory Superfood Soup.  I hope you try it and enjoy it!  Cheers!


2 cups sliced carrots
1 large russet potato, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like it more spicy)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Kosher or sea salt to taste
2 cups vegetable juice (I used R.W. Knudsen, Organic Very Veggie Juice, no sugar added)
2 cups chicken broth

Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker, and cook on low 6-8 hours, or until veggies are tender.  Spoon into a bowl and top with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired. 

I cut up some additional cilantro and sprinkled it on top of mine because I just love cilantro!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

So I have been kind of obsessed with making homemade egg noodles lately.  One of my favorite uses for egg noodles made from scratch…….a delicious homemade chicken noodle soup.  I recently made this soup for some coworkers and my principal.  My principal actually said that the soup and the noodles were better than his grandmother’s!  High praise if you ask me!  

You can make this soup with leftover holiday turkey or already cooked chicken…….or you can start with a whole raw chicken and boil it for an hour with the vegetables to make the broth. 
If you decide to make this soup with your leftover holiday turkey, all you have to do is put three quarts of water in a big pot and then add your leftover turkey…….bones and all!  The bones will make a great stock for your soup.  Add 8 teaspoons chicken Bouillon seasoning granules to the water and then follow the directions below for making the broth (I do this instead of using canned chicken broth).  So you will just add the green onions, celery, bay leaves, garlic, thyme, salt and peppers to the broth and turkey mixture……then simmer for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. 

Broth Ingredients:  
3 quarts water (or enough to just cover the chicken)
1 whole chicken – (about 4-5 pounds is good)
3-4 teaspoons chicken bouillon seasoning
6 large green onions – white parts only, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, smashed
½ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

Preparation of the broth:
Combine all ingredients above and bring to a boil in a large pot.  Simmer for 50-60 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the pot, and allow to cool for deboning.  Skim off the fat and foam from the broth and discard.  

Pour the broth over a colander into a bowl, strain out the vegetables and discard the vegetables.  Pour the reserved broth back into the large pot and get ready to prepare the soup.  Yum!

Soup Ingredients:
Shredded and deboned chicken from the chicken used to make the broth
1 tsp olive oil
6 green onion tops (green tops from the green onions used above)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 rib celery, sliced lengthwise and chopped
1 large carrot, diced
¼ tsp dried Thyme
Additional chicken broth, if needed
1 batch homemade egg noodles (get the recipe) or 1 large package store bought egg noodles

Final soup preparation:
Sauté the celery, green onion tops and garlic in the olive oil until soft.  Add the remaining ingredients, except for the noodles, adding more chicken broth or water and chicken bouillon if needed.  Just make sure you have enough broth according to how much soup you want to make.  

If you make the soup using the homemade egg noodles (recipe below), bring the soup ingredients to a boil and add the egg noodles.  Simmer the egg noodles for 15-20 minutes or until the noodles are cooked through.  The homemade version of the egg noodles will thicken up the soup a bit as they cook.  
If you are using store bought noodles, bring the soup to a boil, add the noodles and cook according to package directions.  Serve with some salty crackers or warm crusty bread.  Cheers!

Homemade Egg Noodles
I have tried a few recipes for egg noodles and this is the best one I have found.  After finding this recipe, I realized that the egg noodle dough must be kneaded for 10 minutes in order to achieve that lovely texture that you want in an egg noodle.  These noodles are not doughy and dense like others I have made…..they have just the right amount of “springy” texture when you bite into them.  Just make you sure that you knead the dough for 10 minutes.  I hope you like these as much as I do…….they really are easy!  Thank you to KindCook at for sharing this egg noodle recipe!  

2 cups all purpose flour
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
2 tsp salt
¼ to ½ cup water

Measure the flour into a bowl and make a well in the center of the flour.  Add the egg yolks, whole egg and salt into the well in the center of the flour.   With a fork, slightly beat the eggs while still keeping them in the flour well.  Using your hands, gradually bring the flour into the eggs and mix until eggs are incorporated into the flour.

Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.  Add only enough water to form the dough into a ball.  Place the dough on a well-floured board, knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into four equal parts.  Roll out dough, one part at a time, into a paper-thin rectangle.  Keep remaining dough covered.  I don’t roll out my dough exactly paper thin because I like them a bit thick.  Roll rectangle around rolling pin, slip out rolling pin…….you should now have a “tube” of dough folded over onto itself.  Doing this makes it easier to cut the dough into uniform sized noodles. 

Cut the dough cross-wise into 1/8 inch strips for narrow noodles and ¼ inch strips for wide noodles. 

Shake out the strips and place on a towel or paper towels to dry.  The recipe calls for the noodles to be dried for 2 hours, but I usually just let them sit for about 20-30 minutes and I have even thrown them into the soup without drying them out at all………..either way they come out great! 

When you are ready to boil the noodles, break the strips into smaller pieces.  Cook in 3 quarts boiling salted water or chicken broth for 12-15 minutes or until tender……….or add them to Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup! 

I really love these noodles and they are so easy…… long as you don’t mind the kneading part!  Cheers! 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

One of my favorite Tex-Mex dishes has always been chicken enchiladas in a cheesy sour cream sauce.  This dish was readily available at the Tex-Mexican restaurants that I grew up with in Louisiana, but when I moved to the Denver area, where authentic Mexican food is king, it was almost impossible to find.  I have resorted to making this dish for myself and I have found the perfect alternative to the restaurant version…….this recipe is even better than the restaurant version, in my opinion!  Don’t be intimidated by the idea of making the sour cream sauce yourself instead of using canned cream of whatever……….it’s soooo easy and practically foolproof! 

This recipe was inspired by a recipe for white chicken enchiladas that I found on Plain Chicken – one of my favorite food blogs.  I made a few changes and added a few things to create this dish that I know you will love as much as I do!  I like to use corn tortillas for these enchiladas because corn tortillas are my favorite, but you can use flour tortillas if you like.  I recommend that you try the corn tortilla version at least once. 

This recipe is husband approved……..the only complaint he had was that he wished there was more of the sauce.  I think next time I will double up and make two batches of the sauce to pour over the enchiladas because we like them extra saucy!  The sauce is creamy and cheesy with a little kick of spice from the green chilies and a hint of garlic …….because garlic makes everything better!  Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and you can even sprinkle some chopped jalapenos on top for a little extra spice if you like.  This dish goes well with a side of black beans or some Spanish rice. 

10-12 soft corn tortillas
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, minced
5-6 fresh roasted green chilies (or you can use one 4 oz can diced green chilies)
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves and sour cream for garnish
Pickled jalapeno slices for garnish (optional)

First, prepare the filling for the enchiladas by mixing the chicken together with 1 cup of the shredded cheese.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Place 1-2 tbsp of chicken and cheese mixture on each tortilla, roll up and place in the pan with the seam side down. 

Now to make the sauce!  In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the 3 tbsp flour and cook about 1 minute, then stir in the minced garlic at the end.  Slowly add in the broth and whisk until smooth.  Cook a few minutes more, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens.  Remove the sauce from heat and stir in the chilies and sour cream….blend until sour cream is combined into the sauce.

Pour the sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese over the top.  Bake uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes and then broil for a few minutes to brown the cheese on top.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mexican Posole

I love Mexican food and anything with Mexican, Latin or Southwestern flavors and spices.  I have learned a lot about authentic Mexican food and Mexican recipes from coworkers and friends from Mexico over the years.  I have worked in schools with a significant Hispanic population (between 60-80%) over my 12 years as a school psychologist in the Denver area. 

I think my love of Mexican food began when I was a teenager and my preacher/evangelist grandfather would take me on mission trips to a small town across the border in Mexico (Piedras Negras) every Summer.  We would eat refried bean tacos for breakfast that the church ladies made and I even got to help out in the tamale making with the ladies down there.  I cherish all of my experiences with those warm and welcoming people! 

I wanted to try making Posole because, although I love Menudo, I have several friends who won’t eat tripe and I wanted to serve something similar to Menudo for get-togethers with friends.  This recipe is a combination of some recipes I came across on the internet and the various tips about cooking Posole that I have learned from my Hispanic friends over the years.  This recipe takes about 2 hours to make, total, but it is well worth the effort and your friends will come back for seconds and thirds!  The making of the pork broth in the beginning of the recipe is a critical step and the flavorful broth totally makes this dish!  I hope you enjoy it!  Cheers!

Ingredients for making the delicious broth:
1 1/2 lbs pork shoulder (I have even used bone-in pork chops or other pork cuts- not lean pork, it needs a little fat on it for flavor!)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Ingredients for the Posole:
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ white onion chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons mild chili powder
1/2 tablespoon salt (be careful with the salt….add salt to your taste)
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 cup canned diced green chilies (or 5-6 diced fresh roasted green chilies)
*Fresh chilies are always better!
4 cups canned white hominy, drained and rinsed
3 -5 cups pork broth, from cooking pork shoulder (I add in some chicken broth if the pork broth doesn’t quite make enough)

First we make our pork broth!  Chop 1 white onion and peel and smash the garlic cloves.   Place the meat in a large saucepan and just cover with lightly salted water.
Add 1/2 chopped onion, the 2 cloves peeled and smashed garlic, pepper, cumin, and oregano.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, skim off any foam that rises, reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes.
Remove meat and broth, reserving the delicious broth.

Saute the remaining ½ chopped onion and garlic in oil until translucent.
Add the remaining spices, stir for a minute.  Cut the reserved pork into 1 inch cubes and add to the pan.  Stir in the canned hominy, pork broth (if there is not enough pork broth, add chicken stock, I like to add it anyway for flavor, about 2 cups, eyeball the amount you like) and green chilies.
Cook at a simmer, covered, for 45 to 60 minutes until the meat and hominy are tender.
If necessary, cook on low for up to an additional 60 minutes until the chilies and onions are well blended into the broth………in my opinion, the longer it simmers, the better it tastes!  Skim the grease off the top of the stew, taste for salt, and serve in soup bowls.

This is a delicious recipe and well worth the effort to make!

Garnishes that are always served with Posole are as follows:
Chopped white onion
Dried Oregano
Lots of lime wedges – squeeze a wedge of lime or two in your individual serving before eating.  Don’t skip this part….the lime imparts a whole new flavor dimension! 
Red pepper flakes for extra heat if you like
Chopped cilantro
Fried corn tortillas or flour tortillas
Louisiana Hot Sauce – as you might have guessed, I add a few dashes of hot sauce to my bowl of Posole.  It’s slightly vinegary flavor is perfect in this!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Spicy Asian Wings

In our little corner of the world there is a place called the Piper Inn.  It’s a local biker bar  that has been a neighborhood watering hole for over 50 years and is famous for its Asian hot wings.  I crave them regularly and have always wanted to try to make a copycat version of their wings.  So, I finally tried it and came up with this recipe that is delicious and pretty darn close to the famous wings at the Piper. 

The sauce is tangy and spicy and it has a salty flavor that comes from the oyster sauce.  I just love salt (way too much!) and I love the saltiness in these wings…..they go perfect with an ice cold pitcher of beer! 

The crushed red pepper flakes add the heat and the brown sugar mellows out the oyster and hoisin sauce and brings everything together in perfect harmony.  I hope you try these and enjoy!  Cheers!

Wing Sauce Ingredients
1 teaspoon canola oil
3/4 cup sliced onions
1/2 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
5 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp red pepper flakes (or less if you like it less spicy)
Canola Oil for frying the wings
I fried up about 14 chicken wing pieces total- both wing and drum portions.

First prepare the sauce in a medium sauce pan.  Sauté onions in oil until they are soft and transparent.  Add the remaining ingredients, stir well to combine and bring to boil.  Simmer the sauce on medium low for 15 minutes.

Heat about 3 inches of canola oil in a large heavy sauce pot or use a deep fryer if you have one.  Fry the wing portions in the oil on medium high heat until they are crisp.  I like mine extra crispy, so I leave them in the oil a little longer.  Take the wings out of the fryer and drain on a paper towel. 
Coat wings with the sauce and bake in a glass baking dish for 15 minutes in a 375 degree oven.