Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Spicy Posole Chicken Soup

This soup was easy and fast to make but the results suggested that I had been slaving over the stove all day. The broth is light and spicy; the ingredients are hearty and filling. It is a meal all-in-one with chicken and veggies; it is the perfect summertime soup.

Posole Chicken Soup
Recipe Adapted from Hyvee Seasons Magazine.

Ingredients for about 8 servings:
  • 1 Express (unflavored) Marinade (for carrots, pepper & cilantro below. See Direction 1).
  • 1 MX Santa Fe Salsa Marinade.This marinade adds the perfect spice to the chicken which accompanies the soup.
  • 32 ounces of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans of white hominy, drained
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans of chipotle roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
  • 3 cups chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 28 ounces of skinless, boneless chicken
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, prepped as directed below, then sliced
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, prepped as below, then seeded and diced
  • 2 avocados, chopped (optional)
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican or cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt (optional)*


1.  Prep unpeeled carrots, the poblano and cilantro using the unflavored Express Marinade for 5 minutes. This removes bacteria, dirt, and pesticides from veggies and fruits. You can eliminate the work of peeling the carrots and keep the flavor and nutrition. (I packed into the Marinade Express some red bell peppers and limes I had just bought to maximize my veggie washing use. I had previously done my cilantro and poblano and patted them thoroughly dry for refrigeration--the MX process makes them keep longer than normal--another bonus).

Look How Bright And Beautiful All My Veggies Are!
2.  Process the chicken in the Marinade Express using the Santa Fe Salsa Marinade for 20 minutes.
3. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Make sure not to cook the chicken thoroughly because it will continue to cook in the soup.
4. In a large pot, add broth, hominy, tomatoes, 2 tsp adobe sauce and one cut up pepper (save any extra peppers for a future use). Also add cilantro and oregano.
5. In a large pan, heat olive oil. Saute carrots, onion and poblano pepper for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add the entire pan into the pot of soup.
6. Add all but 1 cup** of the cooked chicken into the pot and allow the soup to heat thoroughly.
7. Serve the soup topped with avocado slices, cheese, and Greek yogurt.*

Note: This soup freezes wonderfully. I ate two servings  and froze the remainder for another time. Also the next batch I make I think I will add some fresh corn right off the cob for one more dimension of flavor.

* Fat Free Plain Greek yogurt is a healthy replacement for sour cream. It has protein, no fat, and calcium in it. I love sour cream on anything and since I have made the switch to Greek yogurt I don't notice a difference in taste, yet I know I am making a healthy choice.
** I made a second mouthwatering summertime dish with the Santa Fe Salsa chicken-- BBQ Chicken Quesadilla. (To be posted shortly).

Spicy Posole Chicken Soup

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Marinade Express Makes the Front Page!

The Marinade Express and my dad made the front page of the Janesville Gazette, my parents' local newspaper in Wisconsin. The article is titled "A Cleaner Catch". It discusses the research that UW- Whitewater has conducted to show that the Marinade Express removes contaminants and mercury, a harmful chemical found in food fish. Click here to read more about this magical process and how one mom  making baby food using the Marinade Express has helped her baby to have a healthy childhood. This article is wonderfully written and hits some of the main benefits the Marinade Express has to offer. It was a real treat to see the Marinade Express and my dad on the front page of the Janesville Gazette!

My Dad With Some Components of The Marinade Express (Image)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Crab in Tarragon Cream With Puff Pastry Shells

As I have previously mentioned, my mom went on a grocery shopping spree. She went a little overboard with buying mangoes, limes, and crab. In my last post I gave my mom's delicious recipe for Crab Cakes. My mom created the following recipe as a way to use up the rest of her crab meat.It was creamy and bold, like an elegant crab pot pie. The peppers and peas made it fresh and bright. The Pepperidge Farm puff pastry crusts, flaky and easy to bake, gave something to soak up all of the delicious juices. This recipe is a Maureen original and if you love crab as much as we do this recipe is a must-try!

Ingredients for Crab in Tarragon Cream with Puff Pastry Shells-  6 servings

Vegetables prepped in the Marinade Express: 
  1 small red pepper
  8 oz. mushrooms
  1 c. fresh shelled peas
  1/4 C. fresh tarragon leaves (or 2 Tb. dried)
1 small red onion, diced
2 Tb. butter or oil for sauteing
1 lb. lump crab meat
3 Tb. butter 
3 Tb. flour 
1 C. vegetable broth
1 C. light cream or Half & Half
2 beaten egg yolks
12 Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry shells.


1.Using the Express unflavored MX marinade and both divider ribs, place the red pepper and mushrooms on one side of the divider ribs and the fresh peas and fresh tarragon leaves on the other side. Rotate for 4 minutes.Remove from the drum and pat dry.Set the peas and tarragon leaves aside. 
2. Dice the red pepper, mushrooms and red onion and gently saute them in butter or oil until softened. Set them aside.
3. Using your choice of the Garlic Butter, Garlic and Herb, or unflavored MX Marinade mix, prep the crab meat in the Marinade Express, placing the crab meat in a mesh lingerie bag dedicated for cooking use, if desired. Use both divider ribs.Give the crab 3 or 4 rotations in the appliance, then let it rest, atop the dividers, out of the liquid for about 10 minutes. Then open the drum and carefully remove the crab. If you did not use a mesh bag, you may want to use a colander to avoid losing any of the crab meat. Refrigerate the crab as you prepare the other ingredients.
4. In a deep heavy saucepan, melt the 3 Tb. butter over low heat. Gradually stir in the 3 Tb. flour and cook for 3 minutes. Slowly stir in the 1 C. vegetable broth. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon or wire whisk until thickened and smooth. Slowly stir in the 1 C. light cream and heat through. Add a small amount of the heated sauce to the 2 beaten egg yolks, stirring, then add the mixture to the remainder of the heated sauce, stirring until the sauce thickens. Add the peas, crab meat, sauteed mushrooms, red pepper and onion. Snip the fresh tarragon leaves and stir them in, until all ingredients are heated through.
5. Prepare the frozen puff pastry shells according to package directions, and ladle the crab sauce over the shells and serve immediately.     

Friday, June 8, 2012

Crab Cakes

During the Mango Salsa Weekend my mom also bought some crab meat in bulk and to use it up she made some scrumptious crab cakes. These little patties were packed with tons of flavor and had a crunchy, crumbly crust. The crab meat was processed in the Marinade Express resulting in even more tender crab. This dish was another one that the Mango Salsa accompanied perfectly.

Ingredients for 12 Crab Cakes:
1 pound lump crab meat.
1 small red bell pepper.
3 green onions
1 c. fresh breadcrumbs, divided ( we used Brown Rice by Hol-Grain)
1/4 c. mayonnaise
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c. cilantro or parsley
1-2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning (optional)
3 Tb. vegetable oil, divided

1. Please read direction # 1 in the Mango Salsa Weekend for instructions on prepping peppers, the onions,  and cilantro or parsley in the Marinade Express. If prepping the vegetables only for this recipe, you can do them all together, with the pepper and green onions on one side of the divider ribs and the herbs on the other.

After prepping the vegetables in the Marinade Express, pat them dry and finely chop them, keeping the cilantro or parsley separate from the red pepper and onions.

2. Heat 1 Tb. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook pepper and onions 3 minutes, until slightly softened.Transfer them to a large bowl.

3. Select a MX Marinade (see suggestions below) and prep the crab meat in the Marinade Express, using a mesh lingerie bag dedicated for kitchen use if desired. Do only 2 to 3 rotations, then let the crab rest atop the dividers, out of the liquid, for 10 minutes.

MX Marinades especially tasty for this recipe include Chipolte Lime, Cajun, Garlic Butter, or Garlic & Herb. You may want to use less or no Old Bay seasoning if you use a flavored MX mix. Or use the unflavored Express MX Marinade.

4. Open the drum and carefully remove the crab, then dump out the water.(Use a colander if you are worried about losing any of the crab meat.)

5. To the bowl of sauteed pepper and onion, add 2 Tb. breadcrumbs, the chopped cilantro or parsley,
and the remaining ingredients except crab and oil. Mix well. Gently blend in crab and form into 12 patties.

6. Place the patties on a baking sheet and sprinkle with half the remaining breadcrumbs. Turn patties over and sprinkle with the rest of the breadcrumbs.

7. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours before cooking.

8. Heat remaining oil and saute 4 patties at a time, 3-4 minutes per side until golden. Keep cooked crab cakes warm in the oven as you saute the remainder.

9. Serve immediately, accompanied by Mango Salsa, alone, or with any sauce of your choice.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Chili-Crusted Flank Steak

In my previous post, "The Mango Salsa Weekend," I shared with you the story of how my mom got carried away with buying so many mangoes that she made an abundance of Mango Salsa. We discovered that the mango salsa accompanied a variety of dishes. This Chili-Crusted Flank Steak was surprisingly tender and juicy on the inside because it was processed in the Marinade Express. The spices on the outside created a fabulous crust of flavor. The sweetness of the mango salsa added a perfect note of sweetness to the chili- crusted flank steak. This recipe is a must-try.

Chili-Crusted Flank Steak
Recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking. 3-4 servings


1 beef flank steak (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 Tb. ground dried ancho chili peppers, or chili powder
2 Tb. cracked black peppercorns
1 1/2 Tb. ground cumin
1 1/2 Tb. coarse sea salt


1. Prep the steak in Marinade Express for 20-40 minutes, using your choice of the Signature Steak or Fajita or unflavored Express MX Marinade. Remove the steak and pat dry.
2. Combine the 4 seasonings in a small bowl and rub the entire surface of the steak with the spice mixture.
3. Grill or broil 3 1/2- 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Make a small incision and check the center; it should be slightly less done than desired; it will continue to cook somewhat off the heat. Remember that meat and fish prepped in the Marinade Express usually cook 20 % faster than normal because of the increased juiciness.
4. Remove the steak from the heat and let stand for about 5 minutes. Thinly slice it across the grain. Serve immediately, topped with Mango Salsa.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Mango Salsa Weekend

To kick-start my Memorial Day weekend I went home to visit my parents for two days. My dearest mother always gets excited for my visits; she makes so much delicious food I am convinced that her goal is to weigh me down so that I can't return to Dubuque. As much as I enjoy the array of meals that my mom makes, and she is a fabulous cook, she got a little carried away on her menu this past weekend.
(Image) Mango

It all started with an innocent shopping spree that my mom and her girlfriends went on. My mom found a good citrus juicer and a mango splitter with me in mind. I adore mangoes. Their silky, sexy texture and sweet taste is to die for. Now that my mom had purchased a mango splitter she knew that she needed some mangoes to use this slick device on. Next she ventured off to Sam's Club in search of some ripe mangoes. She discovered that she could buy a whole box of about 14 mangoes for a cheaper price than a smaller amount of mangoes. Then she decided to make an abundance of mango salsa with the ripe mangoes. The recipe called for a lot of fresh lime juice, so off to the store in search of limes she went. This story is beginning to remind me of the classic children's book, When You Give  A Mouse A Cookie. Limes just happened to be 10 cents per lime, which is a very good deal. My mom bought 30 limes to make sure she had enough lime juice for the mango salsa. When I came home and saw that the kitchen was buried in mangoes and limes I told my mom that she needs to go to Grocery Shoppers' Anonymous!
Mango Splitter. (Image)

Although my mom might have a slight addiction to grocery shopping, her mango salsa was absolutely scrumptious-- the sweet, silky mangoes, fresh cilantro, tangy red onions, a bite from jalapenos, and of course the tart lime juice. I was surprised how many dishes the mango salsa accompanies perfectly: we had Chili-Crusted Flank Steakpork chops (like the ones I previously made), and crab cakes. All were surprisingly delicious with the mango salsa as a topping. I also think some cinnamon pita chips dipped in the mango salsa would be a divine snack. After our mango salsa feast I enjoyed two perfectly ripe mangoes eaten directly off the cutting board. I don't think I'll ever get tired of mangoes.

Mango Salsa

Recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking

Ingredients: (About 6 cups). Note: "Normal" shoppers can cut this recipe in half.

1 large red onion, chopped
1/2 c. fresh lime juice (squeezed from about 6-7 small limes after prepping in Marinade Express)
2-3 large ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and chopped (about 4 c.)
1 large red bell pepper, chopped after prepping in Marinade Express
3/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro (prep first in Marinade Express, before chopping)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. fresh orange juice
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, finely chopped after prepping in Marinade Express
Salt and cracked black peppercorns to taste


1. Prep the limes, peppers and cilantro in Marinade Express, using the unflavored Express Marinade for fruits and vegetables. This will eliminate most surface bacteria and pesticide residue. This was especially important since we were going to use our new citrus squeezer, in which the juice washes over the lime rinds in the squeezing process. Limes and peppers can be prepped together, using both divider ribs, placing limes on one side of the divider and peppers on the other. Prep the more fragile cilantro in a second batch (but you can put lettuce or other greens needed for another use on the other side of the divider ribs for the sake of efficiency.) Rotate for about 4 minutes.

Pat dry the limes, peppers, and cilantro before juicing or chopping for this recipe. Thoroughly dry any extra fruits, vegetables, or greens before storing them in the refrigerator, and they will keep longer than normal, because Marinade Express eliminates nearly all the spoilage-bacteria that was present.

2. In a large bowl, combine the chopped onion and lime juice. Peel and chop the mangoes and other ingredients (see hint below about cilantro), setting them aside, then add all together to the onion mixture and stir well.

3. Serve immediately. Salsa will keep, covered and refrigerated, for one day. Hint: if you only add as much cilantro as needed for the serving size immediately required, the salsa keeps longer. Just put in fresh cilantro each time you serve the salsa; we did that and were enjoying the salsa for 4 days with various menu items.