Tomatillo Sauce

I absolutely love Mexican food.  I love the cheap kind, the expensive kind, but I especially love making it at home.  Guacamole is so much fun to make, but unfortunately I’m the only one in this house that appreciates it, so I rarely do make it.  I found Pioneer Woman’s pico de gallo recipe and fell in love with it, and a couple of years ago I also found Use Real Butter (Jen Yu)‘s Shredded Beef Tacos which are AMAZING.  I just love her.

Back in October, we took the kids on a Disney cruise that ported in the Keys, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and the Bahamas.  It was heaven.  I love Disney 🙂

Anyway, when we stopped at Cozumel, we went to see the Mayan ruins, and after that went to an authentic Mexican restaurant for lunch.  My son has dubbed this meal the best of his entire life.  It was very good…..but not sure I would say that.  

They had a very, very lengthy menu and some of it I didn’t understand so I had a hard time deciding what to order. 

I ended up ordering steak tacos that were awesome – the steak, cheese and peppers were combined and served on the side next to warm tortillas.  Very good.  And the service was serious – they really wanted you to be happy.  I think I’m officially ready to go back on that cruise now.

Onto the recipe-

I like to make salsa, guacamole, pico, etc. but I’ve never tried making tomatillo sauce “verde sauce”, which I have a little soft spot in my heart for.  I order it every now and then and when it’s good, it’s really, really good….but when it’s bad, you can pretty much live without it.  I would like to perfect it at home.  Here’s my first attempt-

Tomatillo Sauce

1 lb tomatillos

1/2 onion, diced

2 tbsp Mojo sauce

1 jalapeno pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 big handful fresh cilantro, chopped


Preheat oven to 400°.  Peel the sticky skins off of the tomatillos.  Place top side down on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, or until brown on the bottom and a little wrinkly – they will be soft. 

Place the tomatillos with the rest of the ingredients (except salt; wait until last) in a food processor.  Process until salsa type consistency.  Salt to taste. 

Serve with tortilla chips, over burritos or in tacos!

Oh, and if you’re unsure about the Mojo, here’s a pic.  I had never used it, but since I bought it I have found several handy uses for it.  It’s good stuff…


Dixie Chik

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My Mother’s Spicy Salmon Croquettes with Creamy Horseradish Dipping Sauce

You know how you have those foods that you grew up eating – that you’re used to and don’t give much thought until you get older?  For me, those foods would include (and I don’t mean all together) butterbeans (and we would put ketchup on them…try it sometime), homemade vegetable soup, cornbread dressing……and salmon croquettes.   I can remember thinking as a kid “What in the hell is a croquette?“.   But as far as I remember I don’t think I ever asked.  I just ate.

By the way, here’s the official definition according to Wikipedia:

A croquette is a small fried food roll containing usually as main ingredients mashed potatoes, and/or minced meat (veal, beef, chicken, or turkey), shellfish, fish, vegetables, and soaked white bread, egg, onion, spices and herbs, wine, milk, beer or any of the combination thereof, sometimes with a filling, often encased in breadcrumbs. The croquette is usually shaped into a cylinder or disk, and then deep-fried. The croquette (from the French croquer, “to crunch”) was a French invention that gained worldwide popularity, both as a delicacy and as a fast food.

I cited – so nobody say I plagiarized 😉

My mother typically has never measured, weighed, or really went by any recipe.  The food she made she literally just put together and it was always good.  Sometimes I have that knack…. sometimes not so much.  Anyway, today we had a mother/daughter day at her house and she cooked these up but added a little heat, which I loved.  Oh, and here’s my mother so you get the full effect-

Spicy Salmon Croquettes

1 can salmon

1 egg

1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs

1/2 envelope onion soup mix

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp horseradish mustard

1 tbsp dry mustard

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp lemon pepper

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp mango-lime seasoning (we used Weber brand)

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp chili pepper oil

1 tbsp canola oil

 Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp horseradish mustard

If you aren’t familiar with horseradish mustard, here’s a pic of what she used.  I will be buying this from now on.

Combine the dipping sauce ingredients together in a small bowl; refrigerate.

Begin by opening the can of salmon and drain it – I like to de-bone (or fillet?) the salmon before using it, but you don’t have to.  It’s those tiny little round bone thingy’s that gross me out so I have to get rid of them.

Next, mix the salmon and egg until combined.  Then throw in the rest of the ingredients.  Mix together (my mother used her hands, and so do I).

Then form into burger-sized patties.

Heat a grill or saute pan over medium-high heat and add the canola and chili oil.  If you don’t have chili pepper oil, that’s ok – there’s enough heat in the croquettes themselves if you’re a heat-a-holic.

When the oil is hot, add the salmon croquettes to the pan.

Cook them for about 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom, then flip.

Cook about another 5-7 minutes until browned on the bottom.  Remove from heat.

Immediately grab a fork, cut into one and dunk it into the dipping sauce.  Then get a plate and have one.  Or three.


Dixie Chik

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Ingredient Challenge Monday – Lemony Kale with Raisins and Pecans Over Grits

The Christmas trees are put away! The wreaths are all taken down! No more Christmas music, champagne or cookies! At least let’s hope so…well all except the champagne part 😉 

After all that indulging, partying and baking (except me – I’m not a baker) it always feels good to kinda detox.  I’m not a dieter, but I do like to keep a good balance in the food I eat – and that’s pretty easy for me because there’s not many things I don’t like to eat. 

As part of the ingredient challenge this week including Nutritionella, And Love It Too! and Marci Gilbert  using kale, I came up with a healthy dish that’s packed with fiber and protein, low in fat, but screams comfort food.  Especially if you like lemon, this is just a big ol’ bowl of yum.

Lemony Kale with Raisins and Pecans Over Grits

1 bunch Kale, washed, dried and coarsely chopped

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup cornmeal or grits

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

2 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided

Olive oil

In a large saute pan over medium heat, drizzle about a tbsp of olive oil and add pecans.  Stir around for a few minutes until they just start to brown and you start to smell them. 

Remove from heat and set aside.  Add 1/2 cup chicken broth to the pan and turn the heat up to medium-high.  Add the kale, and cook until almost completely wilted, turning with tongs to cook evenly. 

While the kale is cooking, add 2 cups of chicken broth and the cornmeal to a sauce pan on high.  When it just starts to boil, cover and turn the heat down to low.  Simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 5-8 minutes.  ← Watch it though, this cooks fast and can scald very easily.   Remove from heat, then stir in the parmesan.  Salt and pepper to taste.

To the kale add the raisins, nuts and lemon juice.  Toss with tongs, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed – about 10-15 minutes. 

Ladle some grits in a serving bowl, and top off with the kale mixture.

 Now go see what the other challengers made with kale and be sure to let us know what you think-

Marci Gilbert


And Love It Too!

Happy Monday!

~Dixie Chik~

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Ingredient Challenge Monday!

Today we are announcing the ingredient that will be used in Ingredient Challenge Monday!  This is our second Ingredient Challenge, and we have added another challenger!  

This weekend there will be four of us creating recipes from one ingredient; Nutritionella, Marci Gilbert, And Love It Too!, and Yours Truly ;).  Now onto the ingredient…..


Just some interesting little tidbits about Kale….in case you were wondering. 

♦Kale is loaded with beta carotene which is important for our vision (7 times of that in broccoli!).

♦Kale is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B6.

♦Sulforaphane (? never heard of that, even in nursing school) is produced when you chew vegetables like kale, which actually are thought to be detoxifying chemicals that protect against cancer. 

So, now I can’t wait to find out what everybody comes up with for this recipe challenge –  Check back on Monday to see our dishes and have a safe and Happy New Year!

~Dixie Chik~

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Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter Sage Sauce

I hate that I haven’t posted in a few days… but with the holidays, the job hunt, etc., it’s been hard to find the time to sit down and post.  I am, however, glad to have the Christmas tree put away and the house looking back to normal.  Now all I have to do is hope the next 3-4 months fly by…..I’m waayyyy over this cold weather and ready for the pool and highs in the 90’s 😉  Anyway – onto the food.

Rarely is there a time that my husband actually requests I make something.  He’s not picky and typically eats whatever I decide to make.  I made this about two weeks ago (of course I didn’t take any pictures) and he said it was “one of the best things he’s ever tasted”.  So yesterday he asked me if I would make it again.  Let’s hope this time turned out as good!

Mise En Place

1 1-lb butternut squash

1 package wonton wrappers

1 1/2 stick butter, divided

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 tsp seasoned salt

2 tbsp fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 pinch nutmeg

1 cup chicken broth

1 tsp cornstarch whisked in 1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 400°.  Slice the butternut squash horizontally.  Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt.  Roast in the oven for about 30-45 minutes, until fork tender throughout.  Scoop the squash into a large bowl and combine with 1/2 stick of butter, seasoned salt and parmesan.  Mix on low until combined.

Heat a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add 1 stick of butter and cook, stirring, until slightly brown.  Turn the heat down a little and add the sage, nutmeg, chicken broth and cornstarch mixture.  Simmer for a couple of minutes, whisking, until slightly thickened.  Cover and set aside.

Using a pastry brush, carefully line the edges of one wonton skin.  Add about a teaspoon of the butternut squash mixture in the very center.  Add another wonton skin on the top, sealing the edges. 

Continue with remaining ingredients, but keep them covered loosely with a paper towel until you’re finished.  Heat a large pot of water over high heat until boiling.  Add the “ravioli” about 5-6 at a time.  Boil for about 3-5 minutes, stirring a few times to keep them separated.  You will know when they’re done – they start to turn a bit translucent.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a serving plate.  Drizzle with the butter sage sauce and serve.


Dixie Chik

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