Sopapilla Recipe

Fun story, when I was pregnant the first time I was nauseous for roughly the first five and a half months. It wasn’t fun. One day I woke up with an intense craving for sopapillas, so I went out for lunch with my mom and future mother in law. I asked the incredibly kind waitress for extra sopapillas and she delivered. I explained that it was the first time food tasted good in months, and she brought me more. When we paid the check, she brought me a to go box filled with even more sopapillas! I burst into tears, because I was so touched, and because pregnancy hormones are fun.

Unless you are from New Mexico, you might not know what a sopapilla is. My spell checker has apparently never heard of them either. Well guys, I’m about to blow your mind. This recipe is insanely easy to make, and sopapillas are so versatile you could eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. Sopapillas are puffy fried dough. Think funnel cake but not necessarily sweet and puffier. Or a Chalupa shell but again, puffier. The word, sopapilla, roughly translates to “little pillow”, so, puffy. 😉

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Mix the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the oil and water.
  3. Mix with a fork or your hands until the dough is uniform. It should be wet enough to not flake apart, but dry enough to not stick to your hands. IMG_1846
  4. Cover the dough and leave it to set for at least one hour. *In my experience, the longer I leave my dough alone, the better it puffs up when frying. I tend to make my dough in the morning, put it in the fridge, and fry it up for dinner.*
  5. Heat up your oil for frying. The deeper the oil, the puffier the sopapilla, so use a deep fryer, or the deepest frying pan you have.
  6. While the oil is heating, it’s time to roll out your sopapillas. Flour your surface, and grab a small (like 1 inch in diameter) ball of the dough. Roll it in the flour a little bit to make it easier to roll out.
  7. Roll it out nice and thin, about 1/8 of an inch.
  8. When your oil is ready (375°F) fry those puppies up. I find it works best to fry one at a time. IMG_1853

Sopapillas are best eaten immediately, not that you’re going to want to wait. And they really are super versatile! Because they are essentially little pillows of fried dough, they are great for stuffing! So stuff them with eggs, hash browns and bacon for breakfast, or beans, rice and meat for lunch or dinner. Pair them with some vanilla ice cream and cinnamon sugar and you’ve got dessert. Or just drizzle some honey on them.

Enjoy! IMG_1859

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Easy Pork Egg Rolls Recipe

Mmmmm. I’m still full from dinner last night. We made a quick stir fry and homemade egg rolls to go with it. The stir fry was fine, but those egg rolls! I always eat more of them than I mean to, faster than I mean to. The recipe makes about 16 egg rolls, so for a family of four, that equals a lot of egg rolls.

I adapted this recipe from several other ones that I’ve seen and tried, and that’s the nice thing about egg rolls, they are very adaptable. The following recipe is more of a guideline to get a beginning cook comfortable making them, so feel free to change it up as much as you want to! And let me know in the comments what changes you made so I can try them too!

Ingredients

  • About 2 1/2 cups of crisp veggies. I use a prepackaged slaw that’s got broccoli, cabbage and carrots in it
  • One package of egg roll wrappers
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • White pepper
  • Powdered ginger
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Season your pork with the white pepper, ginger, garlic and salt. I usually start with about a 1/2 teaspoon of each, and then add more while cooking. It is all to taste though, so if you aren’t big on ginger, go easy on it or leave it out altogether. If you like spice, add extra white pepper. You do you.
  2. Cook your pork completely through in a skillet. I cook it at a medium high heat for about 8 minutes. It should smell pretty delicious while cooking, if it doesn’t, maybe add some more seasoning. I usually add a splash of soy sauce towards the end. IMG_1447
  3. When it’s done cooking, let the pork cool while you get your veggies ready.
  4. I take about 2 1/2 cups of my slaw and put it in a big bowl. I season mine lightly with ginger, white pepper and salt. I also add a splash (about a tablespoon) of sesame oil, but sesame oil isn’t for everyone, so feel free to skip it.
  5. Add your pork to your veggies and mix. There is probably going to be a lot of fat from the pork in your pan, don’t add that to your veggie mixture or it’s going to be too wet. I use a slatted spoon to scoop my pork into my veggies. That way I leave most of the fat in the pan. IMG_1463
  6. Crack your egg into a bowl and stir. You’re going to use this to seal your egg rolls.
  7. Take an egg roll wrapper and lay it out like a diamond.
  8. Put a small handful of your mixture in the center of your wrapper. Make sure not to  add too much or too little.IMG_1485
  9. Take the side corners of the wrapper and fold them in. Then take the bottom corner and fold it up. It should look like an open envelope.
  10. Spread a little egg on the top corner.
  11. Roll your roll from the bottom up. You want to roll it pretty tight so that it doesn’t fall apart while frying.
  12. You’re going to want to get your oil pretty hot, about 375°. If you don’t have a thermometer, do what I do. I fry mine in a medium frying pan with enough oil to cover half of the egg roll. I heat it at a medium high heat and let it warm for about five minutes. To see if my oil is ready, I take a small strip of egg roll wrapper (I usually have a few left over) and put it in the oil. You want it to get golden brown relatively quickly, like 15 seconds quickly. When your wrapper strips get golden brown right away, you are ready to fry your egg rolls.
  13. I fry mine for about 2-3 minutes. I leave a few in a little longer because my husband likes them more brown than I do. IMG_1533
  14. When you take them out of the oil you are going to want drain them. The first time I made egg rolls I didn’t do this correctly and ended up with little pockets of piping hot oil. Ouch and yuck. Now I do two things; when I take the roll out of the oil, I take it out by the end so that the oil drips out the other end. And I put it on a cookie sheet covered with paper towels, that I prop up on one end. That way the rolls cool at an angle and drain any excess oil.
    IMG_1564
    The sheet is propped up on a box of pepper.

I love making these with my daughter. Since it’s such a flexible recipe, she can have a little more fun with it and get creative. She helps me with every step except the actual frying.

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The dinosaurs helped too. 😉

I hope this recipe works for you as well, let me know in the comments! Now, I think I’ll go have a salad for lunch. I’m still kind of full. 😉

Mint Lemonade Recipe

I’m going to start off topic. I hate throwing yard sales. I do. I hate taking a bunch of stuff that I don’t want and trying to convince strangers that they should want it. The whole thing feels just slightly dishonest. And yet, I’m having a two day yard sale this weekend.

As much as I don’t enjoy yard sales, I do love getting my daughter involved with the whole process. When I told her we were having one, she immediately exclaimed that she wanted to sell lemonade and cookies. Awesome! Not only could she help me make the lemonade and cookies, she could be in charge of selling them, and, (bonus!) be otherwise occupied and therefor not pitch a fit when I sell her old stuff! Win, win, win!

I’ve been in love with mint lemonade since I tried it a few years back. The hint of mint somehow makes it about a zillion times more refreshing than regular lemonade. Here’s how we make it:

Ingredients

  • 6-8 good-sized mint leaves (more or less depending on how minty you like it)
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 6 lemon’s worth)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cups water

Instructions

  1. Start by mixing the sugar and the lemon juice in a pitcher.
  2. Julienne (cut into tiny strips) the mint. Smash it, squish it, the more you abuse your mint, the better. IMG_1384
  3. Stir in the mint and water.

And that’s it! Simple right? A few things;

  1. I swear my lemonade tastes better after I leave it in the fridge over night.
  2. A lot of lemonade recipes say to create a simple syrup with your sugar and a half cup of your water. I’m sure it tastes even better this way, the reason I don’t do this is to keep it kid friendly.
  3. The cookies my daughter insisted we make are the Triple Chocolate Cookies from The Pioneer Woman.  And they are sooooooooooo good! We follow the recipe exactly, except we add white chocolate chips to make them Quadruple Chocolate. They are so chocolatey and chewy, I highly recommend them.

    IMG_1398
    Mmmmmm. Fresh mint. I feel mojitos in my future.

Well that’s everything. Let me know what you think of this recipe and if it works for you. And wish me luck at the yard sale!

 

 

Easy, 5 Ingredient, Slow Cooker Lasagna

Confession: I’ve always been intimidated by making lasagna. I don’t know, something about having to cook big old lasagna noodles, and then handle said cooked noodles made me nervous. So, despite thoroughly enjoying lasagna, I had never made one. That is, until I realized I could make it in my slow cooker! Huzzah!

After looking at some other recipes, and some good old-fashioned experimenting, I came up with this super easy, five ingredient lasagna that tastes even better than it looks.

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz package of uncooked lasagna noodle (not the oven ready ones)
  • 1 big thing (45 oz) of your favorite marinara (I like one with Italian sausage in it)
  • 1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups mozzarella cheese (separated)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

The secret to cooking a slow cooker lasagna is all in the sauce. Which I learned the hard way when my first lasagna came out with inedible crispy noodles. You’re using the sauce to cook your noodles and make them tender, so make sure all your noodles get a good covering of sauce. 🙂

  1. Mix together your ricotta, parmesan, and 3 cups of your mozzarella cheese together.
  2. Pour some sauce into the bottom of your slow cooker, covering the bottom. IMG_1069
  3. Layer your noodles on top of the sauce. Feel free to break them to make them fit.

    IMG_1073
    My eight year old sous chef helping me out.
  4. Use about a third of your cheese mixture to cover your noodles.

    IMG_1079
    Your cheese mixture will cover your noodles better than this. I’m not sure why I only snapped a picture halfway through this layer.
  5. Repeat, sauce, noodles, cheese mixture. You should have about three solid layers.
  6. After your last layer of cheese mixture, we’re going to mix it up a bit. Cover your cheese mixture with the last of your noodles.
  7. Cover the last of your noodles with the last of your sauce, making sure that your noodles are covered (so you don’t end up with crispy noodles like I did).
  8. Now cover that with the last cup of mozzarella. IMG_1080
  9. Cook on low for about 4-5 hours, depending on your slow cooker. I cook mine for four hours and it comes out a little crispy on the bottom and edges, which is perfect for my family. IMG_1084

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. Let me know in the comments how it works for you!

Grapefruit Cake Recipe

I make this cake every year for my husband’s birthday. He’s not a sweet eater (awesome, more for me), but he loves this cake as much as I do, and what is a birthday without a birthday cake?

This is a recreation of the Grapefruit Cake that was served at the Hollywood Brown Derby during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Legend has it, a powerful gossip columnist complained to the restaurant’s owner, Robert Cobb, that all of the desserts on the menu were too fattening. So he told his chef to put grapefruit on something, since grapefruit is known to be slimming.

Now, is the cake delicious? Yes. Light and refreshing? Yes. Healthy? Welllllllll, with the layers of decadent cream cheese frosting it’s definitely not the most healthy cake out there.

While the original Brown Derby restaurant no longer exists, there is a replica restaurant in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Disney World. They serve this cake along with other legendary dishes from the original restaurant including the Cobb Salad. I try to stop by every time I’m there. Not only is it like stepping back into time, but it is a very nice break from the heat and crowds. But, if a trip to Disney World isn’t in your immediate future, you can still make this cake at home and pretend. 😉

Ingredients

For the Cake

1 1/2 cups cake flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, separated

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons grapefruit juice

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 cup powdered sugar

Grapefruit, well drained

Dehydrated grapefruit wedges (optional)

IMG_0951

  1. First things first. If you decide to decorate your cake with dehydrated grapefruit wedges, you are going to want to dehydrate your wedges the day before you bake your cake. This is an easy (albeit time consuming) way to give your cake that extra bit of pizzazz. Preheat your oven to 170°F. Cut your grapefruit into thin (about 1/4 inch) slices, then cut those slices in half. Spread your grapefruit on a cookie sheet and pop them in the oven. It should take about 9 hours to fully dehydrate. I flipped my slices every 3 hours to help them dehydrate evenly.
  2. Time for the cake. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottom with wax paper, and then lightly grease the paper. (Note: The cake will fit into one 9-inch cake pan, I prefer using two so that I don’t have to cut the cake in half. I always make a mess of it when I try. If you are more coordinated than myself, feel free to stick to one pan.)
  3. In a large bowl, sift together your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together your egg yolks, oil, water, grapefruit juice, and lemon zest until smooth. Mix in your flour mixture. IMG_0963
  5. Grab another medium bowl. Using an electric beater, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks start to form. IMG_0967
  6. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture until just blended. When I was first making this recipe, this is where I always got tripped up. I either over mixed it or under mixed it. You separate the eggs and beat the whites to get lots and lots of air into your cake batter, which will make your cake light and fluffy. So when mixing the egg whites with the rest of your batter, you want to do your best to keep all that air in there. Folding it in helps keep all that air from escaping. Never stir it in! IMG_0972
  7. Bake the cake for 12-15 minutes (25-30 if you used one pan). Insert a toothpick into the middle of your cake. Your cake is done when the toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Make that frosting! In a medium bowl, use an electric beater to beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  10. Add in your lemon zest and lemon juice. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar.

    IMG_0982
    Always good to have a helper if you don’t have three hands 😉
  11. Cover your bottom layer of cake with frosting. Top it with well drained grapefruit sections. IMG_1009
  12. Cover with the second layer of cake and frost the top and sides. IMG_1041
  13. Decorate and enjoy! IMG_1055

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do. Let me know in the comments how it turned out for you!