Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Winter blues

Ok, so I know once again, it has been a while. I have been in a blogging funk, or maybe just a funk in general. I think its about that time of year where the winter blues start to take affect. It seems that simple tasks are more tiring and take more effort. In the winter it is so easy to separate yourself from the rest of the world and hibernate. I was at a local coffee shop today just staring out the window imagining summer and walking out into a green, warm, and alive world. But instead, it is cold, quiet, and gray. I know I am being a complete pessimist right now. And this soon shall pass, but until then, I must continue to do the things that make me happy or remind me off the warm months that will soon follow. One of the most therapeutic remedies for me is cooking. When I cook, I feel like I can breathe. I have pondered why this is so therapeutic for me. I think its the whole process. It  involves all your senses of sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. The sight of many colors, the sound of a simmering pot,tossing vegetables into a pan, smelling the aroma of spices blending together, and finally tasting the finished product, and the sound of pleased taste buds from the ones you are sharing with. For some of you, this may sound like a nightmare because I know many people who do not find cooking therapeutic in the least. I want to share with you a few recipes and images of a meal that I made last week when I almost allowed winter to win. In that case I would have probably sat in bed all day sulking and watching the Foodnetwork and HGTV. The menu was Roasted poblano peppers stuffed with chicken, bacon, cream cheese, etc., blackbeans, spanish rice and glazed lemon bread with blueberry sauce. I did not follow any recipes for the first three so I will just tell you what I used and "about" how much.  If the recipes are unclear, please feel free to comment me with a question. If you would like the Glazed lemon bread with blueberry sauce recipe just let me know and I will post it. I hope you try these, especially the black beans because they are so simple and delish!!!

Roasted Stuffed Poblano Peppers

4 Poblano Peppers
1 purchased rotisserie chicken (already cooked or you can roast your own)
6 ounces of neufchatel cheese (1/3 less fat cream cheese)
1/2 C diced red onion
1/2 C red bell pepper
3-4 slices of chopped crisp cooked bacon
Fresh chopped cilantro to taste
1 1/2 C shredded Monterey jack cheese
olive oil

*The next time I make this, I will add about 1/4 C to 1/2 C of sour cream to the mixture, but it is optional.

Turn oven on broil. Place peppers on a baking pan that is broiler safe. Place the peppers in the oven and let the skins blister and turn black. You will need to rotate them to let all sides get black. When they are finished put foil over the pan and let the peppers steam. This will make removing the skins easier. 

While the peppers are roasting, chop onions, red bell peppers and sauté in oil with salt and pepper until they are soft. Chop Chicken, cooked bacon, and cilantro. Combine cooked onions, bell peppers, diced chicken, bacon, cilantro, 1/2 C Monterey jack cheese, and cream cheese (and sour cream if you wish). Taste and add salt and pepper if you wish. 

By now the peppers should be ready to skin. Be careful when removing the skin as to not tear the peppers. Once peeled, make a slit from top to bottom and carefully remove the stem and seeds. Divide the chicken mixture among the peppers and top with cheese. Place back in the broiler and let the cheese brown on top.

Doctored Up Black beans (These are a "must try")

1 Can Goya black beans with liquid
3/4 C water
1/2 C  red onion
1/2 C red or green bell pepper
1/2 C tomato salsa
2 chicken boullion cubes
1/4 C fresh chopped cilantro
2-3 Tbs White wine vinegar

Saute onions and peppers until soft. Place all ingredients in a pot and let simmer for 10 to 15 mins. 

Spanish Rice
*any of these amounts can be adjusted according to your taste

About 4 to 6 servings of cooked white rice
One small can tomato sauce
1 Can green chilis
1/2 C red onion
1 Tb. bacon fat (left over from bacon for stuffed peppers)
1 Tb. olive oil
fresh cilantro to taste
salt to taste

Heat bacon fat and olive oil in a pan and add diced red onion. Once the onions are soft, add the tomato sauce and chilis. Add salt to taste and remove from heat.Combine sauce and rice and add fresh cilantro. 


  1. Yes please! I want the lemon bread and blueberry sauce recipe now!

  2. i want the lemon bread one to. WOW does it look good. your a wonderful cook. love your pics. YUMMMMMMMMMM

  3. I understand what you mean by having the blues. Cooking TOTALLY helps! I've been snowed in for two days now, and my school is closed tomorrow, make that THREE days! I've been cleaning like crazy. Cooking and cleaning gives me a sense of pride. And to think I'm a modern woman ;)