Ajiaco Bogotana

My absolute favorite Colombian dish.  Years ago some soup company had a slogan “The Soup that Eats Like a Meal” – well they have never tried Ajiaco, because there is no heartier or tastier soup out there.   After the recipe, please check my comments about how to serve it!

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breasts, skin removed
  • 12 cups water
  • 3 ears fresh corn, cut into 2 pieces each
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 3 scallions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbs chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups Papa Criolla (available from most Fiesta markets, frozen section or Amigo Foods)
  • 3 medium red potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 3 medium white potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup guascas (maybe at Fiesta, definitely available online)
  • For serving: Steamed rice
  • For serving: Capers
  • For Serving: Heavy Cream
  • For Serving: Avocado, sliced

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, place the chicken, corn, chicken bouillon, cilantro, scallions, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Add the water, cover and bring to a boil.  Then reduce heat to medium and cook for about 35 to 40 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and tender
  3. Remove the chicken and set aside
  4. Continue cooking the corn for 30 more minutes
  5. Remove the green onion and throw it away
  6. Add red potatoes, white potatoes, and guascas.  Cook for 30 more minutes
  7. Uncover and add the frozen papa criolla and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper
  8. Meanwhile cut the chicken meat into small pieces and add back into the pot for a few minutes.
  9. Serve hot!

A few notes.  Do not get overly concerned if it appears to be reducing too much.  This should be a thick soup.  If you decide to add a little water in, DO NOT OVERDO IT!!

You want to serve the ajiaco in a fairly large bowl, making sure each serving gets one of the pieces of corn.  On a side plate, provide rice and a slice of avocado.  Put the heavy cream and capers into separate dishes that can be passed around.

I like to remove my corn from my soup, add in some rice, a little heavy cream, the avocado and lots of capers.  Your tastes may differ!  Enjoy this one, and if you can make arepas to serve with it, all the better.

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Southwestern Mayocoba Beans

This makes a good side dish, or, if you add sausage, it could be a main dish.  Especially good with a Tex-Mex meal or brisket/chicken off the grill.  Consider serving with warm tortillas or cornbread!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dry Mayocoba beans (soak overnight)
  • 1/4 lb salt pork or bacon, cut in small pieces
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs minced galic
  • 2 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbs chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano (Mexican oregano if possible)
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Soak the beans overnight and then rinse
  2. Mix all ingredients together in 9 cups of water
  3. Place in crockpot and cook all day over low heat.

Easy Hamburger Steaks

Feel like a steak, but only have hamburger in the fridge?  This is a man’s dish from the beginning.  Greasy, patently unhealthy, and delicious.  You can make it even worse for you by adding breading or sopping it in gravy.  Mmmmm good.  The only redeeming quality of this recipe is its taste.  You will love it.  Cut the quantities in half to serve 3-4 people.

Serves 5-6

Ingredients

* 2 lbs lean ground beef
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2-3 tablespoons dry steak seasoning
* 2 tbs  minced garlic
* 1/2 cup oatmeal
* 1/4 cup milk
* 2 eggs
* salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1.    Mix the hamburger steak ingredients thoroughly. Let rest 5 minutes.
2.    Form meat into 6-8, oval patties.
3.    Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high.
4.    Cook hamburger steaks over medium-high heat so that they are well-browned and cooked through. There will probably be 2 or 3 batches depending on skillet size.
5.    Pour off excess grease.

Courtesy Recipezaar.com which includes a wine gravy recipe.  I used good old fashioned cream gravy and served this with green bean casserole.

Garlic Shrimp and Scallops (Lent Compliant)

This was a first time recipe for me, but judging from the reaction, it will not be the last time.  This dish is best served over angelhair pasta.  This is very easy to make and I made only the tiniest adjustments from the Recipezaar original recipe!

Note:  Use only raw seafood for this recipe, not frozen, precooked.
Garlic Shrimp and Scallops
Total time: 30 min | 15 min prep

SERVES 4

Ingredients

* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled,deveined
* 1/2 lb bay scallop
* 1/2 teaspoon paprika
* 4 tablespoons low sodium vegetable broth
* 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
* 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley (or several dashes of dried parsley)
* salt and pepper

Directions

1. In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
2. Add the garlic and saute until it begins to brown.
3. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4. Add the pepper flakes to the skillet and increase the heat to medium high.
5. Add the garlic, shrimp, scallops, and paprika.
6. Saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
7. Add the chicken broth and cook for 1 minute.
8. Remove the shrimp and scallops with a slotted spoon, place on a platter; set aside and keep warm.
9. Add the lime juice, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste to the pan and just heat through.
10. Pour the sauce over the shrimp and scallops and serve immediately.

Chicken Surprise

The only surprise here is how good it tastes.  The boys love this one and ask for it frequently.  Calories, yes.  A slightly more involved, but equally

Chicken Surprise

Chicken Surprise

delicious version is available from Recipezaar.  I dumbed that one down to something I can do in just a few minutes!

SERVES 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast halves, thin (slice down if thick, I use boneless and skinless)
  • 1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 slices baby swiss cheese
  • 6 ounces chicken flavor stuffing mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning

Directions

  1. Place chicken in bottom of shallow oven pan.
  2. Combine cream of chicken soup, milk and half and half.
  3. Spread soup mixture over top of chicken breasts evenly.
  4. Sprinkle with pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning.
  5. Place Swiss cheese slices over soup.
  6. In saucepan, mix melted butter and 1 box of the stuffing (bread and all).
  7. Spoon stuffing mixture over cheese slices evenly.
  8. Cover pan with foil.
  9. Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes or until chicken is done.

Fried Tofu (Lent Compliant)

Let the fried tofu drain on paper towels after frying

This is probably my single favorite lent recipe.  Fried tofu can be a snack or a meal.  It can be mixed into fried rice.  It can be used in Asian dishes.  It is great hot; it is arguably better cold.  I eat fried tofu in or out of Great Lent because it just tastes good!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canola or other vegetable oil
  • 5 tbs sesame seed
  • 4 tbs corn starch
  • 4 tbs white or brown flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white sugar
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional for spicy)
  • 1 lb extra firm tofu

Steps

  1. Cut the tofu into cubes.  Put the cut tofu on a paper towel placed over a cutting board.  Cover with another paper towel.  Place a heavy book on top to drain tofu.  You may want to change out the paper towels during the process.
  2. Meanwhile, mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Heat oil over medium heat in a skillet
  4. Roll tofu cubes in flour mixture until thoroughly coated
  5. Fry in oil, turning as necessary to cook fully.
  6. Remove and place on paper towel to drain.

Moroccan-Spiced Beef with Couscous

So Dad, you want to be an international chef?  Well, try this dish then.  With flavors of the north coast, this is one of the easiest dishes to prepare.  A good food processor saves you time and also quells any doubts from kids with texture “issues”.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 med carrots or 8 baby carrots (chopped)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 can garbanzos, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 package couscous (10 oz)

Steps

  1. Heat the oil  in a large skillet over medium heat while you chop the onions and carrots
  2. Add carrots, onion, paprika, allspice, and cinnamon and cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Stir constantly
  3. Add a 1/2 tsp oil if the mixture begins to stick or dry out
  4. Increase heat to medium-high and add ground beef
  5. Brown ground beef for about 5 minutes, breaking it up as you stir
  6. Add in beans, salt and 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  7. Bring to simmer, and allow it to simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  8. Prepare the couscous according to package instructions, but substitute the remaining chicken broth for 1 1/4 cups of water in couscous directions!

Serve the the beef over the couscous, although my kids just mix it all up.  As a final thought, if you don’t choose a couscous package with garlic and pinenuts, I highly recommend adding both to your couscous with this dish!  Enjoy!  This recipe is modified from a Good Housekeeping recipe, original source unknown.