How to Make Refried Beans

Have you been wondering how to make refried beans without being a slave to the stove? Do you want some good flavor to accentuate your favorite dishes? When my sister and I were living together, she used to make a lot of Mexican meals from scratch and she taught me a lot. I always loved her beans and eventually had her tell me how she did them. Then I made my own adaptations to fit my own palate. So here you go.

Note: To truly cook refried beans from scratch, you need to start with a bag of pinto beans and boil them on the stove for a couple of hours until they are soft. Time can range anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours or more. When I have a craving for refried beans, I don’t usually feel like waiting quite that long. So I choose to use canned beans. I also like the taste of the canned beans a little bit more, but add enough of my own flavor. Continue reading “How to Make Refried Beans”

Homemade Salsa Verde Recipe

A fresh batch of salsa verde is the perfect accompaniment to all kinds of meals from breakfast to dinner, from eggs to enchiladas or chicken. Stir it into your soup or chili for a flavorful kick or serve it as a dipping sauce with tortilla chips. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination and this salsa verde recipe is quick and easy to make. It’s done in well under an hour and this batch is enough for about four to six people. Double or triple as needed! You can also put the extra in the freezer for later, but I doubt you’ll have a lot of leftovers.

(I do have a couple of affiliate links in here for products that I think you’ll find useful as you’re preparing your salsa verde. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission to help me earn a few pennies toward supporting my websites, at no extra cost to you.)

What is salsa verde?

You’re probably most familiar with a more “traditional” salsa, which is usually red in color thanks to its tomato base. It can range in heat from a mild to a spicy flavor. Verde is Spanish for green. As you can see, most of the ingredients in this recipe are also green in color. The base is tomatillos.

Ingredients for salsa verde:

Salsa verde is quick and easy to make with these fresh ingredients.

You should be able to easily find all of these ingredients at your local grocery store. When the weather permits, though, I highly recommend checking out your local farmers markets to get the freshest and tastiest ingredients. Or you can even grow them in your own garden! You’ll need the following:

  • 1 lb tomatillos
  • 2 medium jalapeno peppers
  • 3-4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 c fresh cilantro leaves (Use less if you have the “soap gene,” of course.)
  • 1/4 c fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 T. honey (optional)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

How to make salsa verde:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.
  3. Husk the tomatillos and cut them in half.
  4. Arrange the halved tomatillos in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, along with the whole jalapeno peppers and garlic cloves. Drizzle them with olive oil and gently toss to coat.
  5. Place the baking sheet of vegetables in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are tender. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for several minutes.
  6. Once cooled, cut the jalapenos in half and remove all of the seeds.
  7. Transfer the roasted vegetables to a blender or food processor.
  8. Add green onions, cilantro, lime juice, ground cumin, and oregano. Pulse the ingredients until they are combined, but keep the mixture somewhat chunky.
  9. Add honey for sweetening if needed. Salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve immediately or freeze for later.

Spicy Popcorn Recipes for Popcorn Lovers Day

Popcorn and movies have gone together since the motion picture was first introduced. Most of us traditionally like to have the buttered variety. Some of us like to hit our sweet side with kettle corn. Why not tempt your savory side this Popcorn Lovers Day with a spicy popcorn recipe or two?

How to Make Popcorn

There are a few ways that you can make popcorn and then flavor it with either one of these recipes.

1.) Pick your favorite microwave popcorn, preferably a plain version.  Follow the package instructions, as each variety and brand may vary in length of time and temperature needed to pop. Remember to listen for the pops to slow down to a couple of seconds in between before you take it out.

2.) Break out your favorite air popper for a healthy popcorn snack. (The following are affiliate links for some of my recommended products. I only share those products I think you will like. Should you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission to support my websites.)

Using the Hamilton Beach Hot Air Popcorn Popper brings back nostalgic memories of my childhood. Oh, the excitement when Dad brought that out on the weekends!

My friends have one of those West Bend Stir Crazy Poppers. Even the youngest at the age of three is able to help make popcorn in this. They love playing with all kinds of flavor concoctions in it.

3.)My favorite way to make popcorn is on the stove. Use any large heavy saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid. Use just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. (A couple of tablespoons is usually plenty, as it spreads while it heats.) Heat the oil over medium-high heat and then add enough popcorn kernels to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Cover with the lid and occasionally shake until the kernels are finished popping.

However you decide to make the popcorn, when it is fully popped, place it in a large serving bowl so that you can mix the flavoring on top.

Spicy Popcorn – Chili Flavored

Set your tastebuds on fire with this spicy chili flavored popcorn.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp hot paprika
  • 1 tsp salt

How to make the chili flavoring:

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
  2. Stir in cayenne pepper, paprika and salt.
  3. Pour over the popcorn and mix well.

Spicy Popcorn – The Spicy Italian Version

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika

How to make the Spicy Italian version:

  1. In a little bowl, mix paprika, thyme, oregano, onion salt and vegetable oil.
  2. Pour the spicy mixture over the popcorn and mix well.

Heat things up with these spicy popcorn recipes.

Homemade Meatballs 3 Different Ways

Homemade meatballs are a fabulous food. You can make them out of so many different kinds of meats. They work as part of a main dish or even work as an appetizer for a party or watching the big game. Today I have three different types of meatball recipes for you, to mix up your traditional routine.

Continue reading “Homemade Meatballs 3 Different Ways”

Spaghetti With Zucchini Pasta Sauce

Traditional spaghetti is a classic comfort food that has stood the test of time and is usually a family favorite. But sometimes you may want to mix things up a little bit with some different flavors. Are you looking for a new and easy recipe to try? Check out this easy spaghetti with zucchini pasta sauce.

Ingredients for Spaghetti with Zucchini Pasta Sauce

1 lb spaghetti
1 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4 large zucchini, coarsely grated
1 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

How to Make Spaghetti with Zucchini Pasta Sauce

Follow package instructions for boiling the pasta. Drain and place into a large bowl.

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and then add the crushed garlic and zucchini. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the zucchini has softened. Stir in pepper and basil.

To toast pine nuts, place them into a small dry pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Or you can toast them on a baking sheet in a toaster oven set at 325 or your kitchen oven set at 375. Again, stir frequently to prevent them from burning. Or try Alton Brown’s microwave method.

To serve, spoon the zucchini pasta sauce over the hot spaghetti and top with the toasted pine nuts and cheese. Serve with hot crusty bread and a tossed salad for a fun twist on a classic dinner.

Looking for some other spaghetti recipes? You can find 30 other recipes as part of a celebration of National Spaghetti Day, which happens to be on January 4. There’s something for everyone — all kinds of flavors from seafood to chicken to veggie. Serve it hot or cold. Make it on the stove, in the oven, or in the slow cooker. Enjoy!

How do you like to serve your spaghetti?