Tortilla Soup With Beef

Tortilla Soup

What’s so different about this Tortilla Soup! It’s made with ground beef or turkey, can be cooked all day in a crockpot or made stovetop in no time. You can crisp your own tortilla strips for the garnish or use precooked tortillas, tostadas, crumbled over the top. I love these tortillas freshly cooked by Vallarta’s, a local supermarket that caters to the Latino population. We are lucky to have this impeccably clean packed with ethnic food choices supermarket chain throughout Southern California. Fresh sausages hang all along the meat section  … a little chorizo would be a good addition to this soup but not this time.

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Estrada’s Kitchen Look A Like Taste A Like

Tostada Compuesta

Tostada CompuestaThis looks simple enough. And perhaps you might be feeling a little too simple for your palate. But I promise this salad will surprise you! A few of the techniques in building this Tostada Compuesta create the distinctive flavor and shouldn’t be skipped. You’ve heard me boast about Estrada’s Spanish Kitchen. I’ve been fortunate enough to come across an enchilada sauce recipe that tastes just like theirs. If you wish to try it out just let me know and I’ll send the recipe. My brother has given the recipe a try and, it’s spot on! And for those interested in the Chile Relleno give my recipe a try. It’s so so close.

There you have it! A complete meal!

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Still in search of Estrada’s

Macaroni and Cheese

Mexican Macaroni and Cheese

Each year around this time I complete an on-line search for Estrada’s Spanish Kitchen recipes … Always hopeful but never successful. For forty years our family frequented this restaurant on Christmas Eve. With the passing of three members of our immediate family we held ourselves together and continued this tradition until the restaurant closed in our city, Visalia … the original location of the restaurant which later became a small chain. It was, is, a significant part of our lives.

This year I sorta hit the jackpot. Chowhound Chow message board had multiple entries about this restaurant and the secret recipes. I quickly zeroed in on the Macaroni and Cheese, one of my favorites. The recipe is simple. I had been advised by an Estrada’s family member most of their recipes are surprising simple. There was that Velveeta Cheese! Yikes! Well, it kinda makes sense. Velveeta and Estrada’s made their debut about the same time. And who knew … Velveeta is one of those secret ingredients chefs use for the meltability but maybe like to keep quiet.

About the recipe here, this is very good and oh so easy but sorry for Estrada’s fans … It isn’t even close to the Estrada’s Macaroni and Cheese I remember. But it does provide a starting point. How does this one miss the mark? Not as sweet, sauce is orange not red, spices are too prominent (not a bad thing but not Estrada’s), the right size of bucatini is hard to come by, and well, just maybe Velveeta wasn’t used.

If I was to do this again, and I will, I’d use their authentic enchilada sauce. I have what is supposed to be the Daly City Estrada’s, the last of the chain, recipe. Yet, I am not truly convinced the sauce used for their macaroni and cheese is a modification of enchilada sauce.

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Casserole or Individual Enchiladas

It’s Up To You!

Green Enchilada Casserole

I apologize. I wasn’t fast enough with the camera. We actually finished this off in one sitting … it was so good.

Mentioned to my daughter about my creation, this Simple Green Enchilada Casserole, with only five ingredients and she said, “Oh yeah, I have that recipe!” You do! I didn’t know it was one!

So, while my daughter was setting up the family room for a little celebration I put this together in about 10 minutes and baked it through in 40. Serve with a Taco Salad. Perfect!

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“Tac Quitos” For Kenzie With Guacamole

Taquitos and Guacamole

For Winter Solstice our family will celebrate with Mexican Cuisine. We pretty much do this every year. I usually order out for the appetizers and stick to cooking the main dishes. When these are so easy, why? After making my Shredded Beef these Taquitos were a cinch! And I cheated a little with the Guacamole. It’s my son’s, Ian, and his wife’s recipe. Thank you Ann. Ann received her inspiration for their Guacamole from the California Avocado Commission. Check out this site for great avocado recipes of all kinds.

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A MAN’S BREAKFEAST

Breakfast anyone

Guys love to cook what they love to eat! At least that’s my take. When you have that passion how can it come out any other way than delicious.

Stephen, 2nd of My Three Sons, has put together an amazing one pan breakfast. I just couldn’t resist sharing his quick easy spicy one pan breakfast … he and his family love. Hope you love it too!

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Tamale Pie with Cornbread topping

Tamale Pie

Many of my friends remember this as a kid. It was even Doug’s favorite. There are so many versions of this casserole I thought I’d add my own. I don’t remember my mother’s. It was rarely made and everyone in the family shied away including me. If my mother’s tasted anything like this I definitely missed out.

Tamales and Tamale Pie have little in common. Tamale Pie came about with the popularity of Mexican Cuisine … Although not a traditional dish it does have a special place on the table. It’s a hardy tasty economical meal!

Give it a try. And if you’re in a big hurry … leave off the topping, skip the baking and enjoy. Yes, it’s delicious this way too.

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Tex Mex Migas

Celebrating Cinco De Mayo & Austin’s Birthday Too!

Tex Mex Migas

This is definitely a variation on Tex Mex migas. The guest of honor, Austin, may just have the same hesitations when it comes to onions and fresh tomatoes as his sister, Aubree. We are a family that orders on the side. Watching When Harry Met Sally, we recognize ourselves in the restaurant scenes … well, not all the restaurant scenes.

I have given recipe options for those that prefer on the side. This recipe is so very easy and just a nice meal for guests or a large family celebration.

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