Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mexican Minestrone

Today I thought I would share something that is quick, easy and delicious. After a long day at work, sometimes you just want to sit and relax and not spend time in a kitchen. Since it's starting to get a bit chilly now, a soup is fantastic for warming up. I found a recipe several years back and adapted it to what my wife and I like. Hope you enjoy this soup!


1 lb. Ground Beef ( or any ground meat of preference)
1 can Rotel Tomatoes and Green Chiles (Hot, Medium or Mild)
3 - 15 ounce cans Progresso Minestrone soup
3 - 15 ounce cans of Progresso Vegetable soup
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Box Chee-its or other cheese crackers


Start by browning the meat in a medium stock/soup pan, tossing in half the seasonings. Once browned, toss in the can of Rotel (my preference in Medium) and while simmering, toss in the rest of the seasonings. Let simmer for about 3-5 minutes.

Add in the 6 cans of soup, salt and pepper to taste and let the soup heat to slightly boiling.

After heated thoroughly, ladle into your bowls, add half a handful of your cheese crackers to the top and serve the soup hot.

All-in-all, this should take you no less than 15 minutes and no more than 20 minutes.

I know using already can soup is kind of a cheat, but when your long day is over sometimes shortcuts help you relax.

Mangiar Bene!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chicken Chili & Rosemary and Garlic Toast

Chicken Chili


3 Uncooked boneless chicken breasts
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped (any color is fine, yellow for a nice flare of color)
1 clove of garlic, chopped and crushed with salt
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 chopped medium-sized tomatoes
6 cups of cooked Pinto Beans
2 cups of cooked Black Beans
1 teaspoon Cumin
2 tablespoons Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
Salt, to taste
black Pepper, to taste


Take the chicken breasts and using a fork, poke the chicken on both sides. Then taking a little salt, pepper, cumin and chili pepper, rub the seasonings into the chicken, getting as far into the meat as you can. After this, place the chicken, 6 cups of water, half the onion and peppers into a stock pan and bring to a boil on medium heat and cover.

After an hour or 2 check the chicken to see if it's fully cooked. May be done sooner depending on chicken size. Use a stem thermometer to check the chicken (you're looking for 165 degrees Fahrenheit) and once fully cooked take the chicken and a pair of forks, using them to shred the chicken on a cutting board. Leave the broth simmering on low heat.

After the chicken is shredded, take a frying pan and heat a teaspoon of EVOO, tossing in the garlic and the rest of the onion and peppers. Lightly brown the veggies, then add half the seasonings and the chicken as well as the tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat until simmering.

After simmering for 10 minutes, add the chicken and pepper mix to the simmering stock and bring back to a boil over medium heat. Let boil for 15 minutes then turn the stock down to medium-low heat and letting it simmer for another 20 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle and absorb into the chicken. Add salt and pepper as needed to taste.

Add the beans and the rest of the seasonings and stir and blend the beans into the stock. Add any seasonings for your own taste and unless your a person that likes heat, do not add anymore Crushed Red Pepper. Let this simmer until serving but no shorter then an hour or until the beans are heated all the way through. This chili should come out a little on the thin side, almost like a soup. The liquid have a red tint but basically be transparent.

If you would prefer to have this chili a little thicker, take a 1/2 cup of the cooked beans out and mashing them up with a ladle full of stock and mixing it back into the chili.

Now for some nice toast to go with this.

Rosemary and Garlic-infused Olive Oil


3 Twigs of fresh Rosemary
2 cloves of Garlic
1 pint of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a glass bottle <---this is important, must be glass bottle


Take the Rosemary twigs and strip off the leaves. Using the back of your blade/knife, hit the leaves, bruising them and bringing the sap/oil from the leaves out. Hit them several times, being careful not to over it and creating a mash. Once the bruising is done, use your knife to coarsely chop the rosemary.

Set this aside and taking the cloves of garlic, slice off each end and peeling them. Coarsely chop the garlic, sprinkle a little salt over it. Chop a few more times. Then lay your knife on one side of the garlic and pressing firmly run your sharp edge over the garlic a little at a time, effectively crushing the garlic with the salt absorbing the oils. Once at a nice coarse, thick consistency, your done.

Take a sauce pan and pour the entire bottle of EVOO into it and place it on medium to low heat. Set the empty bottle aside. Stir and test the oil every few seconds or so with your finger. You want to allow the oil to heat up but not to the point where you can't touch it. Once the oil hits a certain temperature, the quality of it will drop. So at a point just above warm, turn off the heat and toss in the garlic and the rosemary, stirring to allow the oil and the herbs to mingle throughout.

Taking the empty bottle, funnel the oil into the bottle. Since the oil expanded during the heating process, you may need to allow about 15 minutes for the oil to cool to get all the oil and the herbs into the bottle. Allow the oil to sit overnight for a nice flavor. This oil will keep for about 6 months.

For bread, I like to use French bread or Shepherd's bread, sliced. For this chili, try Shepherd's bread. There are two methods for toasting: Broiler for thin slices of bread and Barbeque for thick slices of bread. Using a brush, spread the oil with some of the herbs onto the bread. For the broiling method for toasting, spread the oil on one side of the thin slices of bread and place on cookie sheet under your broiler until toasted brown, a little on the dark brown side would be the best. For Barbeque, brush the oil on both sides of the thickly sliced bread and toast over your open flame.

Serve the chili hot, with a sprinkle of sharp cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream and the freshly toasted bread. And let your mouth enjoy and your tongue rejoice!


Sometimes my measurements are not always what is needed for a recipe. Keep in mind my blog title. I try to make sure the measurements are approximations of what I use. Sometimes I just know from taste and look what is needed. I reccommend that you keep a small tablespoon-sized bowl or dipper nearby and continually test your soups and other recipes. And if you're having a hard time getting the seasonings right take a regular bowl and fill with your soup or other recipe. Add varying seasonings or what you think may be needed until you find your balance then add what is needed to the real recipe, testing constantly. making your test bowl allows for the fact that you may put too much of one seasoning and this helps protect your current work.

So until next post, Mangiar Bene!

Friday, October 29, 2010

After the Move!

Well, I fell behind and I promised myself I wouldn't. Between moving from our apartment into a nice condo and work and stress and World of Warcraft, I placed the blog on the back burner.

But no MORE!!

Every week I shall be posting a new recipe or at least a post of something! I will definitely stay on the topic of food and drinks of course.

By the way, moving from the apartment kitchen, which was itsy-bitsy, where my wife and I had to kiss just to walk by each other and into the condo kitchen, where we can dance to our hearts content without ever touching, is saa-weeet! But honestly, who wouldn't want to be in the same room as her and not ''accidentally'' bump into her. *wink, wink*

A couple weeks after we moved, we had a few friends/co-workers over and I tested a new recipe for Chicken Chili and a Rosemary and Garlic infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil spread on sliced fresh bread and toasted in the broiler. Fantastic! Those recipes will be the first up starting next week.

Until next RMDM post, Mangiar bene! (in case you're wondering if I was swearing you out or just plain nuts (which is usually the case), that is Italian for 'Good Eating!')

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mustard Potato Salad

Another favorite of mine is the classic Mustard Potato Salad and no summer is complete without it!
6 medium red potatoes, boiled in skins until tender, and cooled
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
2 large stalks of celery, diced(optional: some people don't like celery)
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon kosher salt(to taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup mustard
1 to 2 tablespoons pickle juice
Sweet Paprika for garnish

Cook the potatoes whole in a pot with the eggs in rapidly boiling water. After 10 minutes remove the eggs and rinse under cold water and set aside. Cook the potatoes another 20-25 minutes or until soft and tender when tested with a fork. Set aside to let cool.

Cut cooked potatoes into cubes with skin on. You can scrape off the skin with a butter knife and then cube but the best flavor is with the skin on. Place in a large mixing bowl with sweet onion, celery, chopped hard-boiled eggs, pickle relish, salt, and pepper. Toss gently.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, and pickle juice. Mix into potatoes and vegetables until combined.

Sprinkle with a light dusting of sweet paprika. Refrigerating the mustard potato salad before serving, for at least 4 hours, will let the flavors meld.

Substitute Ground Red Pepper/Cayenne Pepper for the Paprika for a dash of heat on this cold dish.
For people that don't prefer the sweet taste of relish, regular pickle relish works fine or dicing your own dill pickles. Dicing your own pickles lets you decide how big you want your pieces to be.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Classic Mac Salad

Well it's getting to that time again. Where the days are getting hotter and people do not want to slave over a hot stove. Well here is a cold dish for those hot days. Goes great with any barbeque. Now this salad is a bit sweet, so for a less sweet taste, you could either cut back on the sugar or take it out completely.

4 cups uncooked Penne Rigate pasta
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 hard-boiled, shelled and chopped

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the penne, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain.

In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in the onion, celery, egg and pasta. Refrigerate for a couple hours before serving, but preferably overnight.

Add 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped for an extra zip. Also most people prefer the regular elbow macaroni for their salad but I think the penne is a lot tastier.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Romaine and Rottini Chicken Salad

This week's recipe is a simple recipe that took me less than 5 minutes to put together. It was a random dish I threw together while my wife, cousin and I were playing a card game and didn't want to stop playing. It became a big hit.

2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced/shredded
1 1/2 cup cooked and cold Rottini pasta
1 head of Romaine lettuce, cleaned and chopped
1 can of sliced or whole Black Olives
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
Italian Dressing to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large mixing/ salad bowl, mix all ingredients together adding salt, pepper and Italian dressing to taste/preference, making sure that the dressing coats everything.

I always prefer a tad more dressing than is really necessary. I just love the taste of the Italian Dressing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Orange-Maple Glazed Rosemary Chicken

1 cup Orange Juice
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons chopped fresh Rosemary
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil

Bring orange juice and wine to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat slightly, but keep high enough to continue a low boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in maple syrup and continue boiling for another 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until glossy and just slightly thickened. Set aside.

In a small bowl mix together the rosemary, salt and pepper. Rub mixture on both sides of chicken breasts, and set aside.

Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken breasts, cover skillet and sauté for about 5 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Pour orange-maple mixture over chicken (mixture will boil and bubble). Reduce heat to simmer; cover and let cook for another 10 minutes, basting occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and sauce has turned into a rich, thick glaze.

Best served with a cold lettuce or pasta salad. Also try serving with peppered steak fries and carmelized carrots.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fiesta Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, dice
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 pound ground beef (or your favorite meat)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1 freshly seeded and chopped jalepeno
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed


Heat the oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, bell peppers and jalepeno, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the cumin and half the chili powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the ground beef; raise the heat to high and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink. Stir in the tomatoes, the rest of the chili powder, oregano and salt and pepper.

For the adding of the water, I use the empty can of crushed tomatoes. Pour in a little water and swish around to rinse the residual tomatoes off the sides and then pour in the rest of the water. Once done, empty the can into the pot of chili sauce.

Cook, partially covered, stirring from time to time, for 30 minutes. Stir in the beans and continue cooking, partially covered, 20 minutes longer. Season to taste, with salt and pepper.

Serve with tortillas, biscuits, cornbread, crackers, cheese, and/or sour cream. Goes well over rice.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stuffed Meatloaf with a Cherry Glaze

Well this week's post will cover an old family favorite with a sweet twist!

I was cooking for my cousin's birthday and he requested meatloaf. So I made it but put a small twist in. Read on for the recipe.

Cheese and Mushroom Stuffed Meatloaf: Serves 6 to 8 people 10 minute prep 1 hour cook time
9 x 12 baking dish
3lbs thawed Ground Beef
2 Medium to Large Eggs
3/4 cup Dry Oats
1 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup sliced Mushrooms (canned or fresh)
1/4 cup chopped Onion
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Garlic powder
1-2 tsp Sea Salt
2 tsp Black Pepper

Now prep your work area with a large mixing bowl and a medium mixing bowl and all you ingredients within easy reach. Fill the medium mixing bowl with warm water and keep it with in reach of the large mixing bowl. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Take your ground beef and place in your mixing bowl. Use a spoon/spatula to break apart the form. Add your Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Garlic powder, chopped onion, 1/4 cup of cheese, 1 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 1/2 tsp of pepper. Hopefully at this point your hands are clean or you're wearing food prep gloves. Using one hand start kneading the meat, thoroughly spreading the seasoning throughout the meat. You will notice (hopefully you're not using room temperature meat) your hand will definitely be cold if not freezing. Well remember that bowl of warm water that I had you get out?

Guess what it's for? Yep, dip your hand into the water to keep the chill down also the water is there to put some moisture in the meat mixture. You don't want a dry meatloaf. So don't dry your hand off. Dip into the water and put it right back into the meat. Repeat as many times as you need to keep your hand from freezing.

Once the meat is thoroughly mixed, grab two(2) handfuls of dry oats (that's a little under 3/4 cup), and toss into the meat. Crack those 2 eggs and add both the yolks and the whites. If you don't use the yolks add a third egg. The eggs and the oats are important as fillers and stabilizers. You don't want to have a flat meat patty for dinner. Mix thoroughly.

I use stoneware baking dishes so I have no need to grease my pans but if you do use any type of metal panware, using half a teaspoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a cut clove of garlic, grease the pan thoroughly. Add your meat to the pan and spread evenly using the entire pan. Create an inch thick trough in the middle of the meat using your fist. Make sure it's not to deep. You're creating a folding point and a place to put the cheese and mushrooms.

Place the rest of the cheese and the mushrooms in this trough, piling high. Grabbing one side of the meat patty, pull it up and over being careful not to tear any part of the side. Bring up one of the ends to meet the side and pinch together, then do the same at the other end. Now bring up the last side, again pinching the ends on each side to keep it up. Begin folding and pinching boths sides together, being sure to leave 3 finger wide openings on the top that reach to the cheese and mushrooms.

Cheese likes to expand when heated and having these openings will allow the cheese to go up and cover the top instead of bursting the side and having all the the cheese spill to the bottom of the pan.Use the warm water to smooth out the pinching and folding. Add a small pinch of Thyme and Oregano to the top of the loaf along with the rest of the salt and pepper. All to taste of course.

Place your loaf on the center rack in your preheated oven and let it cook for one(1) hour. I like to check at least once to make sure all is going well. Always cook to your own preference. Longer for a more well done taste or shorter for a more rare taste.

An Optional way for building this is to roll out the meat into a giant flat patty about 8 1/2 inches wide with about an half inch or less thickness. Then top with the cheese and mushrooms all over and rolling it up so that you get a spiral shape if you look the end. Pinch or fold the each end until there is no opening s that the cheese can squeeze through and place into your baking dish with the seam down. Using a straight, thin knife, create 4 openings by plunging the knife straight down to about 3/4 depth of the loaf and wiggling the knife back and forth to create a small slit that has an eighth of an inch at the top. This is for the possible cheese expansion.

Cherry Glaze: 4 to 6 servings 5 min prep/cooking time
1 1/2 cups of pitted and chopped Cherries
1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce pan add the cherries, over medium heat. Once soft and a nice glaze is forming on the bottom of the pan, add all the other ingredients together and blend throgoughly. Bring to a light boil and then let simmer. After the sauce has thickened, take off stove top and place the sauce in a glass bowl, cover and placed in fridge overnight.

Once your meatloaf is done take out of fridge and stir. You can either spread across the finished meat loaf or serve individually on each slice of loaf. It's great either way.

For a more healthier meal: Use two (2) pounds of ground turkey and 1 pound of lean ground beef and cut the cheese to 1 cup. Also use a roasting pan that allows the fat drippings to fall away from the meat.

Well there you have it! A Cherry glazed Meatloaf stuffed with Cheddar Cheese and Mushrooms! Man, was it good. Can't wait until I have the leftovers! See you next week for another mouthwatering recipe!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Real Mean Don't Measure

Welcome to the first of hopefully many posts/recipes for good food.

I have been thinking about doing this for a while now and with my wife's encouragement, Here it is! I love cooking. I have never taken a class but have been tempted many times to take several courses, if not, get some type of degree/certificate in culinary. Given time and money I might just do that.

My wife, who has always enouraged me in my cooking and a participant in several of my creations/combinations, has multiple times asked me why I don't just put a cookbook together. She even made me up a title, Real Men Don't Measure. So in preparation of hopefully my own cookbook, I started up a blog to help myself. I hope everyone enjoys this.

I love the title. It fits me perfectly. I think thats why she came up with it. I dislike using measuring items. I just like to throw things together. Using my eye or my sense of taste or smell to put things together. Using my creativity to make the most mouthwatering food.

I will tell you what. My wife was happy when she found me. Cooking + No Sports watching = Happy Wife. Guys remember that!

In future posts I will give recipes, instructions and of course, how I prepare these items. Feel free to use, manipulate to your tastes and please feel free to give me your feedback.

Being that this is the first article there will be no recipe. My second might contain a recipe but I am currently making an outline of several posts. My next article will explain my measuring techniques since I don't measure.

Keep your appetites in check and see you back here for mouthwatering morsels!