Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

It has been so cold this weekend here in Cincinnati that I have been eating soup and oatmeal and drinking a lot of tea and coffee. I also have seen the whole second season of Downton Abbey. Which everyone should see!

Anyway, I had a lot of rice leftover in the refrigerator and I did not want it to go to waste. I also had some broccoli that I wanted to use before it went bad. So I looked for recipes that used both ingredients and I came across this "healthy" version of a chicken broccoli rice casserole. I was very hesitant because most this recipes use some kind of canned soup and they always taste the same. But this one recipe was much better than I expected. It would be a perfect weeknight meal. You could leave it ready the night before and throw it in the oven the next day. It's a great recipe. It was easy, cheap, and warm!

P.s. Sorry for the not so great picture, my husband was starving and I couldn't take a decent enough picture of the whole casserole. It tastes much better than it looks ;)

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Adapted from Live Cook Love

Serves 3
Very easy and fast


2 cups of broccoli cut into small bite-size pieces
2 cups of cooked white or brown rice
2 large chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 cup diced onion
1 garlic clove mashed
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp flour
1 cup milk (I used skim)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup of shredded cheese of your choice (I used cheddar and mozzarella)
Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder to taste


Add the rice and the chicken broth in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower temperature and simmer for 10 minutes . Add the broccoli on top of the rice and cover. This will allow the broccoli to steam. Cook for 10 more minutes and remove from heat.

Add the chicken, garlic, and chicken to a hot skillet. Let chicken cook through on both sides. When chicken is done remove from heat onto a plate. 

In the same pan, add the milk and flour and whisk until combined. Simmer for 5 minutes and add sour cream and half of the shredded cheese. Add aditional garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste. When cheese melts, add the chicken, rice, and broccoli to the sauce and stir everything to combine. Pour into a grease casserole pan. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and more if you want to.

Broil casserole until cheese melts (5-10 min). Serve warm with bread of your choice!

If making the night before, prepare the casserole as directed. When ready to eat, sprinkle cheese and broil until cheese melts. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lemon Bars

I love lemon bars, or better said lime bars. Honduran lemons= USA limes. So when I say lemon bars, its actually lime bars. I did not know that until a few months back when I moved to the United States.

Anyway here I share with you my favorite recipe of lemon bars. It is soooo good!

Lemon bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen


2 sticks of butter at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt

Lemon Filling
6 large eggs
2- 2 1/2 cups of sugar (depending how sweet or sour you want them)
1 cup- around 8 limes- freshly squeezed lime juice (you can use lemons if you prefer)
1 cup flour

Confectioner's sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

For the crust: Cream sugar and butter either by hand or in a mixer. When combined, add the flour until just mixed. It will look like crumbs. Put the crumbs in the baking pan and spread out evenly and then press them down with your fingers until you have and even looking crust.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until it has lightly browned edges. Let cool, and leave the oven on.

For the lemon layer, whisk all the lemon filling ingredients and carefully pour on baked crust. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until  center looks set. Let cool to room temperature.

Dust with confectioner's sugar and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mini Bean Pizzas

Tortillas are a big thing in Honduras, and probably all of Central America and Mexico. Yet, I had never made corn tortillas before on my own. A typical Honduran meal will include corn tortillas. You can have them with beans and eggs for breakfast, or rice, beans and chicken for lunch and dinner, or simply any meal that you desire to.

Most Honduran homes will have tortillas with every single meal. Some families will have homemade tortillas, while other families, such as mine, will probably have store bought tortillas. If all you have ever tried are store bough corn tortillas, you are missing out! Homemade corn tortillas do not taste any like store bought.

When I was a little girl I remember going to my grandmas house or my aunts house and their maids  (having a maid is pretty common in latin culture) would be making tortillas and I would have them warm and fresh- you can't even imagine how tasty warm homemade tortillas with melted butter or crema (our version of sour cream) are!

So this weekend I decided to take the challenge! I invited a friend over (because cooking hard things with friends is more fun than on my own) and we made homemade tortillas. Then we topped them off with beans and cheese for Mini Bean Pizzas!

Don't let the tortilla making scare you! Try this out and you wont regret it :)


2 cups maseca (corn masa flour found at the Mexican area in supermarket)
1 1/4 cups of water (more or less as needed)
Pinch of salt

1 can of pinto beans or 1 can of refried beans
2 chicken chorizos
1 cup of mild salsa or tomato sauce

Tomato slices
Onion slices
Sharp, mozzarella, mexican, colby cheese (any shredded cheese)
Crema or sour cream


In a mixing bowl combine masa harina and salt. Add water and combine until smooth and a little sticky. If the dough is too dry add more water 1 tablespoon at a time. Dough should feel more or less like playdough. Divide into 16 portions. If you are not going to use the dough right away, cover with a damp cloth to keep the dough moist. (I had never made tortillas before so I followed the instructions in the back of the bag.) Make each portion into a ball and flatten gently with your hands, then put the ball in between plastic wrap and either use a tortilla press to flatten tortilla gently or press with a plate or skillet.

Preheat ungreased skillet or comal on medium-high heat. Cook tortillas one at a time for 1 minute on each side. Cover cooked tortillas with cloth napkin to keep soft and warm. 

Preheat skillet. Take chorizo out of the casing and cook in ungreased skillet. When the chorizo starts looking brown add the beans. If you are using the pinto beans mash them with a potato masher, if you are using the refried beans just combine. Once beans and chorizo are hot add the salsa and some cumin and black pepper. If you want it spicy go ahead and add some hot sauce or jalapenos!

Layering the Mini Bean Pizzas
When you are ready to serve, preheat oven to 450 deegres. In a cookie sheet place as many tortillas as you want or can fit, spread some of the bean mix, then add tomatoes and onion, and last add the cheese.  Bake for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. When they come out of the oven, garnish with avocados, sour cream and even queso fresco if you have any! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Overnight Oats in a Jar

I love breakfast and lately I am in love with oatmeal. On a normal day, I will have eggs, toast, and cottage cheese for breakfast. Not so long ago though, I discovered baked oatmeal and I liked it so much I've had to include it in my weekly breakfast rotation. That is why when I saw overnight oats in a jar on Pinterest I got curious.

At first I wasn't sure if it was going to turn out any good, but this week I decided to try it. Oh, I am so glad I did! I made it the night before with high hopes, and the next morning I decided it was a keeper! My husband concurred :)

Overnight Oats in a Jar (or any container you can seal!)
Adapted from Kath Eats Real

Serves 1


1/2 cup old fashioned oats (you can use quick oats, steel cut, rolled oats)
1/2 cup of milk (any kind you like, even almond or soy)
2 spoonfuls of your favorite yogurt (I used plain because that was all I had but I will try greek vanilla soon)
Sweetener of your taste, aka splenda, sugar, honey, maple syrup
Handful of blueberries (any berry fresh or frozen)
Half banana
Flax seeds or chia seeds (optional)


Mix all the ingredients in the jar, shake, and refrigerate overnight!
When you are ready to eat you can add granola, cereal, nuts, more fruit. The possibilities are endless. Just don't add pineapple ;)

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I love cooking!

My name is Andrea and I am from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. I moved to the United States last summer with my husband who goes to med school in Cincinnati, Ohio. I love baking, I love cooking, I love food. I love healthy meals that taste good, because who says eating healthy has to be boring? Our kitchen always has beans, corn, chicken, fruits, and dessert! Because what is better tasting than black beans and sugar?

I started working in the kitchen when I was younger and I would spend a lot of time with my aunt. She baked back then and let me help with mixing cupcake batter. After a while, I became a Betty Crocker expert, impressing my friends and family with my baked goods, while Betty got no credit. One summer my grandma gave me a recipe for carrot bread and a honduran coffee cake called quesadilla (not like the mexican food) and I baked and sold my goods! After that summer I never put my baked goods for sale again, but I never stopped baking.

I can't quite recall when or why it happened, but cooking became on of my favorite things to do.
Food became my passion. I dream about food, I talk about food, I eat food.

I hope you all enjoy the recipes I will be sharing with you as much as I will enjoy sharing them with you.