Crockpot Applesauce

As a child and young teenager, I loved applesauce. I anticipated the soft, sweet, cinnamony, gentle taste as I eagerly ripped open the aluminum top of the plastic, kid-sized package. One second later, I had eaten all of the applesauce and was always disappointed there was no more.

Now that I’m what many would consider a seasoned adult (my mom would object), I am no longer a fan of applesauce. . .that is, not the store-bought kind. I originally tried out this apple dish as a means to make apple juice/cider while making applesauce a byproduct. After much frustration with the muslin cloth and the realization of how little liquid yielded from the 10-14 cooked apples, I decided to stick with applesauce.

But that very little bit of juice/cider that managed to seep drip through the cloth was really like liquid gold! It was thick, sweet, and oh so flavorful. I hope to try making more apple cider soon. Anyway, when I tasted how AMAZING the juice/cider was, my curiosity was peaked. I tried the applesauce and SWOONED! I couldn’t believe it had only 2 tablespoons of sugar instead of the 1/4-1/2 cup called for in other recipes. It was perfect.

It was thick and soothing to my tongue and throat. It had a perfect balance of sweetness and cinnamon, clove, ginger, allspice, and other fall-like flavors. This applesauce was so amazing that only a couple of days later, I bought more apples to make more! The other great thing about this recipe is that you don’t need to peel the apples. Just cut them, place them in the crockpot, squeeze a bit of fresh, lemon juice on top along with brown sugar and spices, and allow it to cook and fill your house with the rich, delicious perfume of fall, apples, cinnamon, and love :). I hope you give this recipe a try!

Crockpot Applesauce
by mangiodasola
10-14 small- to medium-sized apples (I have now used Jonathons and McIntosh apples)
1/2-1 small lemon
2 Tbsp brown sugar, optional (depends on how sweet your apples are)
cinnamon to taste
pumpkin spice (cloves, allspice, ginger, and cinnamon) to taste
Cut the apples (no need to peel them*; they will be pulverized later). Place apples into the crockpot. Squeeze lemon juice on top of the sliced apples. Add sugar, cinnamon, and other spices. Allow apples to cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Pulverize the softened apples with a hand blender or transfer them to a blender. Blend softened apples until they reach your desired consistency. Eat the applesauce warm or cold! Enjoy!
*If you prefer a chunkier applesauce and are not a fan of apple skins, then you should peel the apples before cutting them. My applesauce was blended well enough that I rarely tasted any skin. It was perfect for me. Also, the skin has extra nutrients!
Copyright – Memoria James –

Copycat Recipe: Rudy’s BBQ “Sause”

As a native Texan, I’ve always loved to eat BBQ ribs, chicken, sausage, etc. So while attending graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, I explored various BBQ joints in search of the all-time best place for BBQ. Most people raved about the famous Salt Lick. However, after having ordered a large sampler plate of all their “best” fixins’, my friend and I were quite disappointed with the food and never returned. Then I discovered Rudy’s …

The end. 🙂

Seriously though, eating at Rudy’s was an eye-opening experience for me. That place was so good that I had my order memorized (1/2 lb extra moist brisket, 1/2 a hottie (aka jalapeño sausage), potato salad, large Coke (the Coke seemed stronger there FSR), and extra, soft, white bread). Rudy’s was so good that after my then-husband/friend discovered the place, he ate there almost every single day and requested to go there for his birthday as a “special dinner” even though we had just been there the day before! haha

Now that I no longer live in a city with a Rudy’s establishment (they are primarily located in Texas and Oklahoma now), I have been going through BBQ withdrawals. My first withdrawal prompted my search for a copycat recipe for Rudy’s peppery BBQ “Sause” (with an “s”, thank you very much!). Their “sause” is peppery with a hint of sweetness and tang; it is perfection IMHO.

I found a good recipe on Beth’s Favorite Recipes, but the “sause” tasted a bit too sweet and not peppery enough compared to that of Rudy’s BBQ. So, I adjusted the recipe to match it more with the original taste. Although the “sause” is pretty darn close to how the real stuff tastes, I still miss the brisket, ribs, chicken, turkey, potato salad, bread, paper plates (literally paper!), benches, water bags (to ward off insects), strong Coca-Cola, reusable cups (I used to have more than 20 of them!), quirky signs, automatic hand-washer, and the overall ambiance.

My mother’s lovely hand demonstrates how thick the yummy “sause” is!

Even if you’ve never known the wonders of Rudy’s BBQ, I suggest you give this “sause” recipe a try. All of my friends and coworkers love it and have asked for the recipe on more than one occasion. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, add more brown sugar. If you prefer a spicier sauce, add more cayenne and/or pepper. Just try out the recipe as is the first go round and then make adjustments. ENJOY Y’ALL!

The recipe yielded all of the sauce you see in this black bowl (about 2+ cups).
  Copy cat Recipe: Rudy’s BBQ “Sause”
Yield: 2+ cups

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup (236 ml) ketchup
1/4 cup (50g) brown sugar
2 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
juice of 1/2-1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
2-3 tsp coarse, black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Simmer until slightly reduced (about 10-15 minutes). Serve hot or allow to cool.
Copyright – Memoria James –

Palak Paneer, Pulao, and Roti

Indian food. I love Indian food so much. In fact, being a vegetarian would be a lot easier if I were to just eat Indian food every day. However, sometimes I get in the mood for other types of foods, so…yeah. I’ll eat more Indian food and just reduce my meat consumption instead ;). I think that’s a fair compromise for now…

I’m still in Lisbon and was craving Indian food and decided to make things for harder and more expensive for myself make paneer for Palak Paneer for my friends and me. I had never made paneer before, but I’ve made mascarpone, which is a similar process. I made one batch of paneer with whole milk and another with a milk with less fat (called meio gordo here). The paneer with whole milk was less crumbly, but both had similar textures and were fine. Next time, I plan to add a bit of salt and masala/spices to the paneer before allowing them to set.

LEFT: paneer with less fat/meio gordo. RIGHT: paneer with whole milk (gordo)

Next, I prepared the roti dough, which is much easier and quicker to make than naan dough because it contains no yeast. Roti is almost like a flour tortilla; they contain similar ingredients (I know some Mexicans who make flour tortillas with oil instead of shortening). I allowed the covered roti dough to rest while I prepared the pulao/pilaf and palak paneer.

Roti: Packed and ready to be delivered to my friends…

The sauce for the palak paneer was pretty easy to put together. Just be sure to have all of your ingredients out and ready, which is the rule for the preparation of all Indian dishes. You should also puree your tomatoes, onions, garlic, chilis, etc. before working on this dish. 

I love the love the bright green color from the spinach! I wish I had placed the paneer in the fridge for 30-60 minutes instead of allowing it to set out on the counter. I think it would have been a bit firmer that way. Make sure your paneer is firm before using it in the dish. Also, the paneer itself is bland and soft. If you’d like a paneer with more flavor, add a little bit of salt or spices.

The day I made this dish, I was to meet my roommates at the outdoor theatre. So, I packed up the meal to deliver it to them (I had eaten my own plateful beforehand). Unfortunately, I could not find them, and we weren’t able to contact each other on our cellphones. However, once they returned home, they devoured this dish and said that it was delicious! I agree wholeheartedly!

The rice dish came from Pioneer Woman’s website! I love this rice recipe; it is my go-to for Indian-inspired rice.

Funny story: When my friend started eating this dish, I asked her, “How is the paneer?” and she grabbed the roti saying, “Oh! I haven’t tried it yet!” haha. In Romance languages, the word for “bread” is similar to the word “paneer“, so she thought I was referring to the roti, not to the Indian cheese :).

from various sources but here’s a video: (
  • 1 liter of whole or 2% milk (whole milk yields a creamier cheese but both are good)
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, vinegar, yogurt, or curd
  1. Have ready a cheesecloth, muslin cloth, or clean tea towel over a heat-resistent bowl. 
  2. Stir and heat the milk until it comes to low simmer (do not boil!). 
  3. Add in the acid component of your choice until the milk and whey form. 
  4. Immediately pour the milk/whey mixture into the cheesecloth-lined bowl. 
  5. Then transfer the cloth (with paneer inside) to another container (I used the pot I used to heat the milk) and rinse the paneer with the cloth open to remove the lemon or vinegar taste and to cool down the cheese. 
  6. Squeeze out excess liquid. (If you’d like to add salt or spices like garam masala, this would be the time.) 
  7. Next, close up the cheesecloth, put it on a plate or shallow bowl and place something heavy atop the wrapped cheese. 
  8. Allow it to sit on the counter or refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. I suggest letting it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour for it to be ready for the Palak Paneer or any other curry.Storage: I’ve read that it can be stored in the fridge overnight, but I’ve never tried it.
Pulao (pilaf with peas)
  • 2 cups Basmati rice (I used brown rice)
  • 2-4 Tbsp butter 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric powder
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of frozen green peas
  1. To a rice cooker add all of the ingredients then cook the rice in the cooker. 
  2. If you do not have a rice cooker, boil the cold water, turmeric, butter, and salt. Then add in the rice once the mixture has started boiling. Cover and allow to cook according to the packaging. Once the rice is done, throw in some frozen peas, stir, and allow the heat of the rice to cook the peas.
Roti (Indian flatbread)
  • 125 grams (1 cup) of wheat flour (I used AP flour/tipo 55)
  • 1/2 cup hot water (I’ve seen this made with warm water as well)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp of oil (I used veg oil)
  1. Place flour and salt into a big bowl. Then add the oil. Mix the mixture together and add warm/hot water a little bit at a time (I did not use all of the 1/2 cup of water)
  2. Use your hand to pour warm water to the flour (I did not use all of the 1/2 cup of water) and knead with the right hand. Do not pour too much water at once; mix flour properly.
  3. Press the dough and turn it over several times with your right hand for about 4-5 minutes.  When the dough seems uniformed and smooth, sprinkle 2-3 tsp water on it, then cover and keep aside for 20-25 minutes (I left it in the bowl for an hour because I was preparing the other dishes.).

Palak Paneer Recipe

  • 500 grams of fresh spinach
  • 200 grams of paneer, in cubes
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  •  1tsp of cumin seeds
  • 2 tsps of kasuri methi
  • 2-3 large tomatoes/5 small tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 chili peppers or jalapeños or 1/2 of one green pepper
  • 1 inch of ginger
  • 2 tablespoon of cream (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp salt or to taste

  1. Remove the stems of spinach. Wash the spinach well and put them in a bowl . Pour the 1/4 cup of water into the bowl and heat it. The spinach will take 5 to 6 minutes to boil.
  2. Grind the onions and garlic finely and set aside
  3. Grind the tomato, green chilly and ginger in the grinder finely and set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a pan. Put the cumin seeds into the pan.
  5. Once the cumin seeds start to fry, put in the crushed (with your hands), kasuri methi and cook it.
  6. Next pour in the onion/garlic paste.
  7. Then pour in the tomato paste, green chilli and ginger into the masala (spice mixture). Fry the masala till it releases the oil.
  8. Grind the boiled spinach in a grinder, hand mixer, or blender, and pour it into the fried masala. Then mix the masala properly.
  9. Pour the cream into the masala and cook it for 3 to 4 minutes.
  10. Now put in the paneer and cook the sauce for and additional 2 minutes.
  11. The palak paneer is now ready!

Optional: Garnish it with a small spoon of cream. You can either serve hot or eat hot with chapati, roti, or naan.

Copyright – Memoria James –

Resuscitated Dough for Cinnamon Rolls

So you’re looking at the title of this post and are thinking “huh? what?” I hear ya. Let me explain…

These past few years I’ve made a lot of bread and yeast-based desserts on this blog so I am familiar with the usual signs of good/bad yeast growth, dough quality, etc. While living abroad, however, I have to relearn how to cook in a sense and get familiar with different ingredients and tools. I’m in Lisbon this time around, and I decided to make cinnamon rolls for my two friends who have graciously allowed me to stay with them for two months!

Happy, risen dough! You would never know that this dough had no life in it just a few hours ago. . .

Before embarking on my trip to the grocery store, I asked one of my roommates, the one who cooks the most, if she had any yeast for bread, and she said yes. I was a bit leary of the leavening agent she had because it was for pizza dough, which doesn’t require as much rising time as cinnamon roll/brioche dough, and with the added butter and eggs, I knew I needed something stronger.

Nevertheless, I trusted my dear friend and returned from the store sans fresh yeast. Once I opened the yeast-for-pizza package, I knew it was wrong. It had a powdery, white color and contained cornstarch! Because it was late in the evening, and I was too tired of going to the store (mind you I had to go to more than one store to find international, hard-to-find ingredients for another meal), so I trudged along with this yeast. I kneaded the dough and placed it in the fridge overnight for a slow and steady rise. Hah! The next morning, I was greeted by a DEAD-looking, brownish-looking lump of…something I wouldn’t consider dough. My heart sank because 1) I knew that yeast wasn’t right for cinnamon rolls yet I didn’t follow my first thought; and 2) I realized I had wasted all that time, ingredients, and money for nothing.

I was about to throw away the dough, buy real yeast, and start all over again until I thought about resuscitating my dough. Was it possible? Could it be done? I searched on the all-knowing Google and found out that if you just kneaded in some fresh or activated yeast into your “dead” dough, you can bring it back to life!! As soon as I had read that, I bought more yeast and started taking photos of the process for my own records and for all the other people out there who have or will encounter unrisen dough.

I wish I had taken a photo of the dough as I had discovered it the next morning. However, here it is rolled out a bit on the table. You can see that it is void of life and is a darker color than “living” dough.
I used yeast for all types of bread and submerged it into about 1/2 cup of warm milk before adding it to the dead dough. I didn’t use any type of added sweetener because of the natural sweetness of the milk.
Before and after photos of the yeast activation step. Note the level of liquid and the spoon handle.
I added the activated yeast to the dead dough and once I saw the imminent mess, I carefully transferred the now wet dough to a mixing bowl, kneaded in the yeast mixture, and then transferred the “new” dough to a mat and continued to knead.
Once the dough started to rise, I placed it in the fridge overnight and was greeted by what you see in the bottom right photo! It’s alive!!!!
The next morning, I rolled out half of the dough (froze the rest), and made cinnamon and strawberry rolls with a cream cheese glaze.

So, if you ever end up with unrisen dough due to the usage of the wrong type of yeast (as in my case), too little yeast, or if you “kill” your yeast with hot water or salt, don’t throw out the yeast or use the “dead” dough as is. Activate a new batch of yeast (dry or fresh) with warm liquid (and a little sweetener, if you’d like) then add it to the unrisen dough. Hope this helps! Have a great day!

Rolls without the frosting: I sort of overbaked these rolls by only fewer than 4 minutes!! You want your rolls to be less brown than these. My roommates still loved them, though!

For the cinnamon roll recipe, go to Use Real Butter and see her gorgeous photos! I used the recipes for the strawberry filling, dough, and frosting (sans alcohol). For the cinnamon roll version, I just used softened butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar (or you can use muscavado or a mixture of granulated/caster and brown/muscavado sugars).

Copyright – Memoria James –

Carrabba’s Bread Dip

Carrabba's Bread DipCarrabba’s Bread Dip

Carrabba’s Bread Dip

Whenever my mother comes to visit, I know that there are two places she will want to visit: 1) Her favorite bubble tea place – Tapioca Express/House and 2) Carrabba’s Italian Grill. I honestly believe she visits me just to go those two places and seeing me is just like a little perk on the side ;).

I only go to Carrabba’s Italian Grill when she visits me, and we both order practically the same thing. I order either the Pasta Carrabba, which is basically Fettuccine Alfredo with green peas, or Pollo Rosa Maria (I’m definitely going to make this soon). She almost always orders the Insalata Johnny Rocco or something with eggplant.

Once we sit down and order our drinks, the waiter brings out some fresh sourdough bread and a little saucer filled with spices that looks very similar to what I have made on this post.

Carrabba's Bread Dip

The waiter then proceeds to pour olive oil on top of the spices to create the dip. Because my mother has the annoying habit of soaking up all the spices and oil with just one slice of bread, we always request for two saucers of spices so that I can have my own.

Carrabba's Bread Dip

I promised many moons ago that I would blog about the copycat recipe for this dip and never got around to it until now. Once you’ve made the spices (without the oil!), you can keep it in a closed container in your fridge for a long time. Whenever you’re ready to eat some, just spoon out as much as you want on a little plate, and pour the oil on top.

Carrabba's Bread Dip

Make sure your bread is soft and not hard like mine was. I shouldn’t have toasted it. Oh well. The dip is the focus of this post anyway. Enjoy!

Carrabba’s Bread Dip

adapted from Chef 2 Chef

1 Tbsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp crushed black pepper
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried rosemary
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp garlic powder (I use 2 tsp garlic salt in place of the two last ingredients)
1 tsp salt

In a to-go container (like one from Whole Foods, Central Market or other specialty grocery store), combine all the ingredients together. Store mixture in the refrigerator until needed.

Put 1 Tbsp of mixture per person in a small saucer with raised edges. Pour extra-virgin olive oil over the mixture, and dip warm sourdough or French bread into the mixture. Be as greedy or dainty as you like!

Copyright – Memoria James –

Chicken, Shrimp, & Chorizo Paella & A Giveaway!

Paella blogTwo years ago, my mother and I went to Madrid, Spain. Once there, I was tempted to try paella, but the presence of seafood prevented me from doing so. You see, the only types of unfried seafood I like are very small shrimp (like in fried rice), baked salmon, and tuna fish in a can. The only types of fried seafood I like are fish (like in fish and chips) and shrimp. That’s it. I don’t like crab, lobster, mussels, crawfish, or anything else that resembles how it looked when it was alive haha. I don’t like slimy food either, so yeah, I had to stay away from the paella. I did, however, try to taste just the rice portion of the paella one day, but I had to quickly wash out my palate (not “palette!”) because I could still taste the seafood or clam juice in the rice. From that day on, I had decided that the only way I would be able to have paella would be to make it myself, but at that time of my life, I wasn’t a cook at all. So, I just gave up on that dream until a few days ago!

After corresponding with Sarah Jay (read how she started the company!), the founder of Paella Pans, which is a small, family-run business,  I received a pan imported from Valencia, Spain in only a matter of days. 
I found a recipe for Chicken Paella on her website and examined it anxiously every day as I waited for the pan. I almost had it memorized. My yellow-cake friend, Lydia, was with me when the pan arrived, and we were both impressed with how the pan looked and how big it was. I was beyond excited to try it out and felt like the luckiest person in the world.

A couple of days later, I made the yummiest paella I had ever had (out of two paellas total haha!). Lydia said that it looked incredible, and my neighbor said it looked like the real thing even without the big prawns and mussels, and they both used to live in Spain. 

The pan from various angles: I stuck the tag back on this pan so you could see from whence (hehe) this pan came.

So, first let me talk to you about this company and this pan that was graciously given to me for me for review. It is a 14″ pan made of carbon steel, which is considered the most popular and most used in Spanish households. The company, also sells pans made with enameled steel, stainless steel (so shiny!), pata negra (literally means “black foot/paw (of an animal)”), and flat-bottom pans. Not only do they have pans on their site, but they also sell authentic ingredients for paella, such as bomba rice, chorizo, pimentón (with an accent on the “o”!) dulce or sweet paprika, and saffron or azafrán of various sizes. They also have recipes and tips on making a successful and authentic paella. Okay, enough links for now! I’m just really excited about this company, its products, and especially the founder. She is such a lovely lady with whom I’ve interacted via email for quite some time now.

The bottom of the pan and its handle: look at the bubbles or dimples at the bottom of the pan; they are there to promote even heating.

As an instructor of college-level Spanish, it is refreshing to see how her excitement for the Spanish language and culture encouraged her to start a business for importing paella-related products directly. Now, that’s what I call ambition and drive. I hope some of my students get that excited about learning Spanish and various cultures different from their own.  

Anyway, back to the paella. Because I wanted to make this paella asap, I did not get to try out the ingredients on the Paella Pans  website, but I did use similar products. 

For instance, I used bomba rice that I obtained from Williams-Sonoma…
 That’s the most classiest-looking rice container I’ve ever seen. 

I also used Spanish chorizo

pimentón dulce (purchased in bulk for only .39 cents!), and saffron. 
 You can see the packaging of the chorizo in the top right corner.

The chicken as pictured was not fully done, so I had to cook that some more when I returned home from my friend’s house (I don’t have a photo of that because it was devoured quickly by my neighbor and me for dinner). Lydia, her husband, and I gobbled up the shrimp and chorizo, though, while pushing the lemon slices aside haha. 

As Sarah writes in the recipe, don’t pull out any plates for this dish; eat the paella directly from the pan itself. YUM! I want to make this again very soon. 

 ¡Buen provecho!

 After some serious damage, I still had plenty of leftovers. I still need to work on making the socarrat or the crusty, crispy layer formed under the rice, but look at that garlic!

I made only two additions to this recipe – the chorizo and shrimp. I cooked the deveined and peeled shrimp in a separate pan, but you could cook up all the meats together since the pan is so large or one at a time and then place them in a separate plate to rest. Don’t cook the shrimp up too much because it will go back in the pan along with the rice later on. Just cook them until they turn a slight peach-looking color. Make sure the chicken is cooked pretty well, though. I had to cook the chicken for about 30 minutes, and that still wasn’t long enough, so cook it longer than that. The chorizo is already dried and cured, so you don’t need to cook it for very long. For the full recipe, go to the site

For your entertainment, I have some process photos below and a special announcement you don’t want to miss!!

 Boil chicken broth; toast and crush saffron, and add to boiled broth.
Cook the peppers and garlic; cook the meats and veggies and set them aside; peel the covered, hot bell peppers
 Make the compote comprised of grated tomatoes and onions.
 Add the Spanish or short/medium-grained rice before adding the broth and the rest of the ingredients that have been set aside while keeping the whole garlic in the middle of the pan.

Okay, now for the exciting news! Paella Pans has graciously allowed me to sponsor a giveaway for one of their 14″ carbon steel pans – just like the one I now have – to one of you all!! 
MINIMUM QUALIFICATION: Because this is a small company, this giveaway is open to residents of the contiguous United States only. 
TO ENTER THE PAELLA PAN GIVEAWAY: All you have to do is go to their site and tell me what you would like to either make or buy there if you could.  
DEADLINE: Monday, July 5th, 2010. ¡BUENA SUERTE! GOOD LUCK!

Copyright – Memoria James –

BBQ Chicken and Macaroni & Cheese

I was craving barbecue. I was sifting through one of my now favorite blogs, Deep South Dish. I found a recipe for BBQ chicken on it. I looked for a recipe for a copycat of my favorite BBQ sauce at my FAVORITE BBQ restaurant, Rudy’s BBQ (the “sauSe”). I ran to the kitchen and made BBQ chicken, macaroni and cheese, and green beans. I took photos. I prayed for my meal. I ate the meal heartily. I thanked God again for the ability to make such a wonderful meal. The End.

I hope you make this meal soon. It would be even better on the grill, but if you don’t feel like using it like me, then make it in the oven. Just be sure to line your jelly roll pan with foil for easy cleanup!

BBQ Chicken
adapted from Deep South Dish

Brine for a moist, flavorful chicken:
2 lbs drumsticks (about 6), with or without skin based on your preferences
2 Tbsp of kosher salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Fill a large pot or container with enough water to cover the chicken well. Whisk the salt into the water until dissolved; whisk in the vinegar. Add the chicken, and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours, or overnight.

Dry Rub Marinade for added flavor, spice and a kick!:
2 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp freshly-cracked pepper
1 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp celery seed (didn’t have)
2 tsp of Cajun seasoning, or to taste
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Remove the chicken from the brine, and drain well. Discard the brine. Pat the chicken pieces dry, laying out on a platter or baking sheet that will fit in the fridge. Combine the dry rub ingredients and rub the chicken well with the dry rub, cover loosely, and refrigerate one to several hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the rubbed chicken pieces on a rack on a foil-lined large baking sheet. Bake for approximately 45-60 minutes. [Use your tongs for this!] Turn the chicken over after 25-30 minutes. After 40-50 minutes, add the BBQ sauce on both sides with a brush or via a squeeze bottle. If you’re a sauce lover like me, add more sauce once they are done.

For instructions on how to grill the chicken, go to the source.

Copycat Recipe of Rudy’s BBQ Sause (with an “s”)

from Beth’s Favorite Recipes who adapted it from Chaos in the Kitchen

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp coarse black pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Simmer until slightly reduced.Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Quick Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

1/2 lb macaroni shells
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp regular flour
2 cups WARM milk
2 tsp mustard or dry mustard
kosher salt to taste
pepper to taste
1-2 cups of cheese that melts, to taste (I used regular American cheese because that was all I had)

Cook pasta according to instructions (al dente). Make a roux by melting the butter in a separate saucepan and then adding the flour. Cook the roux for about 3 minutes, and stir frequently. Add the WARM milk 1/4 of a cup at a time at the beginning. Stir between each addition. Once you can no longer see the bottoom of the saucepan, add more milk in generous portions until you use it all. Add the mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir in the cheese until it tastes cheesy enough for your tastes. Turn off the heat.

Immediately, add in the al dente pasta, and then stir well. Once pasta is well-coated, you’re done.

Copyright – Memoria James –

Black-Peppered Egg Noodles

Click on the above photo and enlarge it to see this beautiful pasta closely.

On our way back from the berry farm, my mother and I stopped at one of our favorite places – Barnes & Noble Booksellers. If you’re not familiar with this place, it is essentially a big bookstore with a café serving Starbucks coffee.

Of course, I quickly sashayed (yeah, I don’t sashay) to the cookbook section and picked up a bunch of stuff. The cookbook I spent the most time on was Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano cookbook. I copied down many recipes to use for later, and my head continued to think about those recipes hours after I had left the bookstore.

The recipe I thought the most about was for these black-peppered egg noodles. It was mentioned nonchalantly as a variation of the regular egg noodles, but it appealed to me so much that I could not wait to pull out my pasta maker to make them.

Speaking of my pasta maker, I have a question for you: If you received a $100 Amazon card from your Chase Visa Rewards, what would you buy? Well, I used it for a Kitchen Aid Pasta Roller and Cutter Set that was on sell for 115.95 and paid only 15.95 out of pocket, and I don’t regret the decision. Although I don’t use the roller & cutter set much, I know I never would have been able to buy this coveted item (at least by me) on my own.

Anyway, these noodles were fantastic, flavorful, and oh so fragrant (oooh alliteration)! They looked so ugly at first that I thought I had wasted 5 eggs (I’m stingy with my eggs.). The dough was much rougher than regular pasta dough b/c of the black pepper. However, on a positive note, the black pepper prevented the dough from sticking together as much as the plain variety.

This ugly duckling became a beautiful swan!

If you have a similar pasta roller/cutter, I suggest working in small batches. I first divided the dough into four balls, but had to later divide those balls into two more smaller balls for a total of 8. This was way too much for one person, but I have dried out the noodles and plan to eat more as the week progresses.

Don’t be deterred by how the noodles look and feel at the beginning; you will be rewarded in the end. They become lovely noodles after you boil them for merely 2-3 minutes. Stay tuned for what else I did with these noodles. You didn’t think I just ate the noodles by themselves, did you?

Black-Peppered Egg Noodles

3 1/2 cups Tipo ’00 or AP Flour
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 Tbsp black pepper (I used the powdery, cheap variety)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika (optional; I added this because of what I prepared with it)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil, based on desired consistency

Place the flour in a large bowl or atop a flat, wooden surface and make a well in the middle for the other ingredients. Next, add in the eggs, black pepper, salt, and paprika (if using).

With your hands or a fork, mix the ingredients together until you form a ball of dough (I would suggest using a stand mixer for this because the dough was somewhat coarse and hard to put together in a ball. Don’t mix it too much, though). Add the olive oil as it mixes.

Keep on trucking. This ugly, questionable, brain-looking dough ball will form pretty noodles in the end; I promise!

Once you form the ball of dough, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature before using. Next, separate the dough ball into 8 smaller balls. Flatten the balls of dough and put them through the pasta maker according to the instructions for your machine (I went up to the penultimate or next-to-last notch on the roller). Flour each layer so that the dough layers won’t stick.

[From left to right: 1) dough balls that I had to divide into two again. 2) flattened dough ball that was still too big to fit into the pasta roller. 3) The layer of dough after going through the first notch on the roller. 4) the final product up to notch 7 with flour on top.]

Cut the flattened layers of dough into fettuccine noodles, or use the fettuccine cutter attachment. Make sure you sprinkle flour on the noodles so that they won’t stick to each other.

Freshly-cut, floured, uncooked noodles that turned out much prettier than I’d expected.

**If making the noodles immediately, prepared boiled water with a bit more olive oil and kosher salt. Add the noodles, and cook them for 2-3 minutes.

***If using the noodles later, lay them out on a flat surface and allow them to dry out for a few hours. Store the dried noodles in a closed container for 2-3 days in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer. More info here. You’re welcome :).

Copyright – Memoria James –

Daring Cooks: Stacked Enchiladas and Giveaway Winner

¡Hola! from the land of Daring Cooks. Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce, was found on and written by Robb Walsh.

Yes, I’m a Daring Cook. Yes, I’m late. Yes, I’ve been a Daring Cook for a long time without posting anything. Shame on me. I saw this dish, though and knew I had to make it. It didn’t come out as pretty as I’d like, but the enchilada sauce was amazing. Click here for more!

I first made everything with a juicy cut of beef, and it was amazing. However, the sun had gone down by the time I was done setting up everything, so I just made some soft tacos with the meat.
I also made frijoles refritos (refried beans) and arroz mexicano (Mexican rice).
For the challenge, I stuck with all the basic and made the stacked enchiladas with chicken. I used chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for added flavor but later found that I would have preferred the breast for this particular dish b/c the thigh’s flavor took over the dish. It was still good, but the beef tacos with the same enchiladas sauce were a million times better.

I know I don’t shred my chicken up very finely. I don’t have time or patience for such shenanigans haha.

As I stated already, I really liked the recipe for the enchilada sauce. I will be making it over and over again. It was surprisingly mild but still very good. Next time I will add a couple of jalapeños along with the Anaheim peppers and tomatillos instead of hot sauce.

I altered the instructions for the sauce a bit by following what I’ve seen my (Mexican) ex-girlfriend’s mother did when she prepared salsa verde (pronounced sort of like “BEHR-day”).

I first grilled and scorched the Anaheim peppers and tomatillos.Then, I placed the hot peppers in a bag and peeled the skin off. These photos look gross!!Then, I used the blender for all the for scorched peppers and tomatillos along with garlic, cumin, Mexican oregano, salt, and lime juice. After blending everything I poured the contents in the saucepan and followed the instructions for Daring Cooks from there. Here is the Mexican Oregano I used in the sauce.

Of course, I made my own flour tortillas. Barbara, the co-host of this challenge was kind enough to link back to my site for the tortillas, and I used that very same recipe. I already blogged about how to make these tortillas ahead of time, so if you missed that post, you can go here.

Stacking the enchiladas was easy. (The sun had really gone down by now.)
It was nice to use homemade tortillas, sauce, and fresh monterey jack cheese…
…and fresh cilantro.This was a fantastic challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I haven’t participated in the past challenge b/c it is more expensive to cook than bake. Also, I’m a picky eater, so many of the past dishes consisted of foods that I would not want to or could not eat. So I have to pick and choose my challenges. I wish I had the money to participate in all the challenges, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Nevertheless, I enjoy looking at what others have done and see their interpretations on the dishes. I hope to be more active in the Daring Cooks and Bakers Groups this summer.

I used the Random Generator to pick out the winner of the “Bittersweet” giveaway, and the number was #7, which is WIZZY THE STICK of Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Punch and One Thousand Faces (both BEAUTIFUL blogs) who stated:

What would I make? You mean what wouldn’t I make with these chocolates! I would love to try the two cocoa powders most of all. Goodness there is ice-cream, mousse, truffles, brownies, ohhhhhhh molten cakes. Listen I don’t live in any of the above countries but I do have a US address that I use for my Internet shopping can I participate in this giveaway?

Wow! Congratulations!! I’m really glad you won, chica! Send me an e-mail with your address information!

Copyright – Memoria James –

Shredded Beef Tacos

I cannot believe I forgot to blog about this dish! Remember when I made the adobo sauce many moons ago?! Well, there was a purpose for that sauce, and I was supposed to share with you all this dish I’m posting today.

What a bad food blogger I am!! I must have been distracted by something sweet or something because this dish was fantastic. Along with this flavorful beef, I made arroz mexicano (yes, I used the same recipe. I guess I used more red tomatoes the first time and tomatillos/regular tomatoes this time. I don’t remember.) and tortillas de harina or flour tortillas.
The good thing about the beef is that you make it in the crockpot. You could also make the tortillas the day before by rolling them out, placing the uncooked, flattened discs of dough between wax paper, place them all in a freezer bag, and keep them in the refrigerator (or freezer for a longer amount of storage). The next day, you take them out and cook them on a comal, cast-iron skillet, or some very hot oven-top surface.
The arroz can be made ahead of time, too, but it tastes better when it is first made. I grated monterey jack and lots of cheddar cheese. I also used a bunch of jalapeños. These jalapeños weren’t very spicy, so I could handle a bunch of them for added flavor and zing.

I apologize for holding out on this amazing dish. It was truly perfect. I wish I could make some more right now, but I haven’t been in the kitchen much these days. I think I’ve lost my mojo for now. I hope to get back in the kitchen very soon.

Shredded Beef Tacos
adapted from Gimme Some Oven and Baking Addiction

1-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds beef (boneless chuck roast)
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 cup beef stock or broth
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (homemade version here!)
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Flour tortillas, homemade or store-bought

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine the chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika in a small bowl.

Rub the spice mix into the beef, covering each side evenly. Once the oil is hot (it will shimmer a bit in the skillet), place the beef in the skillet and sear on each side. Do NOT MOVE the meat while it cooks for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Remove the beef from the skillet, and place in the bottom of a slow cooker. Leave the pan on the heat, and add in the beef stock to deglaze, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste and minced chipotle or adobo sauce, and whisk into the pan sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.

Add the diced onion and minced garlic on top of the seared beef in the slow cooker. Pour the pan sauce down over the onions, garlic, and beef. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

Remove the beef from the slow cooker, and shred with two forks. Use a slotted spoon to remove the onions from the slow cooker, and mix into the shredded beef.

Serve the beef in the flour tortillas, topped with your favorite taco toppings, such as fresh salsa like pico de gallo, frijoles refritos, arroz mexicano, etc.

Copyright – Memoria James –