Pinto bean soup


I think I prefer this pinto bean recipe to taco soup. It is just that good. I made this using dried beans that I had soaked in water for 20 hours. At one point I learned that the longer you soak dried beans, the easier they are on the tummy. It is true. I know that the soaking time could be decreased if you wanted.

The meat I used for this was from a butcher. I purchased the bacon and ham end pieces. You could use any type of ham or bacon for this recipe. You do not have to purchase premium meat as it cooks for a such a long period of time that the meat will tenderize.

This soup cooks for approximately 2-4 hours. It is an all day type meal but most of the work really happens in the first 30 minutes. It is kind of slow and low cook type meal that is very hard to mess up. This recipe makes enough for 6-7 very large bowls of soup.


1.5 pounds of bacon ends and ham ends

1 large yellow onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 large jalapenos, sliced

15 ounces of canned diced tomatoes – undrained

1 pound or 2 cups of dried pinto beans

5 chicken bouillon cubes

10 cups water

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon mexican oregano

1 bunch fresh cilantro, cleaned and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon black pepper


In a large dutch oven, cook the bacon and ham over medium heat until done. Remove the cooked meat from the pan and drain any fat.

Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Replace approximately 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add the meat back as well. Cook on medium to low heat for approximately 20 minutes or until the onions are soft and reduced.

Add the diced tomatoes, water, and all spices (including the cilantro). Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours. Stir the soup every 20-30 minutes and add more water if needed.


Serve this with corn bread or toasted tortillas.



Hatch green chili salsa


1.5 whole garlic, roasted

5-6 medium ripe tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

4 tablespoons lime juice

2 Hatch chili’s roasted

2 medium yellow onions, roasted


For tips on roasting the chili, onion, and garlic please see my Hatch chili salsa verde recipe.

Bring the tomatoes and oil to medium high heat in a skillet on the stove. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Cover and turn of heat. Allow to sit covered for 10 minutes. Peel tomatoes if desired. I would peel if you plan to leave the salsa chunky and leave the skins if you want it less chunky.

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until desired consistency. Best if left in refrigerator for at least 6 hours prior to eating.






Homemade enchilada sauce


Canned enchilada sauce is very easy. It also can have a bitter and sometimes unpleasant taste.

This sauce can be made in under 30 minutes. It is a 30 minute task that is well worth it. It can freeze well for later use.

For the chili powder, I mixed equal parts Concho chili, Chipotle chili, and Guajillo chili.

This makes 2-3 cups of sauce.


1/4 cup vegetable oil

2-3 tablespoons flour

6-7 teaspoons of chili powder

16 ounces tomato sauce

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

The first step is cooking the oil and flour on medium heat stirring constantly until lightly browned. This is the same as making a light roux.


Add the spices, then add the water and tomato sauce slowly and stirring constantly. Continue to cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until thickened.


Mexican couscous


This is intended to be eaten cold. It takes about 10 minutes to make and is really simple. Great with chicken, fish, or even smoked bbq meats.

2 cups plain couscous cooked to package directions using chicken broth

1 can black beans drained

1/2 cup diced red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup diced tomato

Dressing – combine the folowing then pour over.

the juice of one lime

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

Refrigerate at least 2 hours prior to serving.


Carne guisada

What is this? Great question. It is like nothing else. Basically super spicy tex mex stew. It is almost like a beef chili….. served in a flour tortilla. Super juicy and saucy. There is a flavor explosion from slow cooking everything for hours. This is NOT a fast dinner. I will make a big batch on a Sunday. I usually use leftover steak that we didnt eat or stew meat. Today I used leftover steak and some frozen leftover smoked pork.

I hate soggy previously prepared and frozen casseroles. Before my second daughter, I filled my freezer with nothing else and it was a horrid experience. Non of the recipes froze well. I have found a few exceptions that do well in the freezer and this is one. It keeps wonderfully in a ziploc bag to reheat later.


3 roma tomatoes

8 ounces tomato sauce

2 pound beef – steak, stew meat, smoked brisket, whatever you have or a combination but not ground beef. Trim fat. You do not want a fatty piece of meat for this.

1 yellow onion chopped

1 green bell pepper chopped

1 jalepeno seeded and chopped

3 cloves garlic chopped

1/2 or more fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper or peppercorns

2 teaspoons cumin

2 cups beef broth

1/2 teaspoon mexican oregano

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon chipotle chili powdered

1/2 teaspoon salt

If using pre-cooked meat then just combine all into a cast iron dutch oven with lid. Cook on stovetop on low for 2-3 hours. Stir every 20-30 minutes. Add water if it becomes too thick. I leave mine until there are no recognizable veggies left. I want them all cooked down into gravy. The finer you chop the veggies the faster this process happens.

From the beginning and then 30 minutes in:

1 hour:


2 hours:


And the final. See how the veggies vanish? Then it is done. Remember, it will look slightly different. Remember I said I had leftover pulled pork from last week. This photo is using a combination of leftover grilled steak and leftover pulled pork.


Don’t forget this freezes well! It is work (if by that I mean watching it cook for 3 hours), but you can easily get about 2-3 meals for 2 people out of this and maybe more!

Light cowboy caviar dip


On chips, with grilled chicken on corn tortillas, on a quesadilla…. when is this not good?

1 can pinto beans drained and rinsed

1/2 red onion small diced

1 large avocado diced

1 large lime juiced – about 1/8 cup or slightly more

1 roma tomato diced seeds are okay

1/2 large green bell pepper diced small

1 cup fresh cilantro chopped

1 can Rotel not drained

1/2 teaspoon cumin

salt and black pepper to taste

Mix it all up and enjoy.

Here is how my recipe is different. I do not think the corn is needed. I do not enjoy canned corn’s flavor. Second, the acidity from lime is just enough where vinegar and oil (or italian dressing) are not needed. It really just adds calories. There are over 600 calories in 1/3 cup of oil. Third… fresh jalapeno is not my favorite. I like them better cooked. The Rotel tomatoes add a little liquid and spice without the super fresh jalapeno kick.

Keep this refrigerated. Best eaten within the same day of making.

Oh yes. I almost forgot. Tortilla chip are fried. You can bake flour and corn tortillas in the oven at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes to turn them into chip. Cut them first into triangles with a pizza cutter. This is a less salt, less fried, and more filling alternative.