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Still Using Different Ingredients, But the Food Still Tastes Good

If you read my last blog, you read about the struggle we have had with eating American box mixes. We just can’t. We have to continue making things homemade if we want to be well. We are lucky that America is the land of the plenty because if you search hard enough, you can find all the ingredients you need to make things homemade. It may not be exactly what you are used to, and it could be better. I have actually been astounded at how cleaned up and sterile things like eggs seem to be, and sometimes, we really have to search for what we want, but part of that is because Wal-Mart has just gotten too big. There is no wonder you see people driving around on carts, and I was tempted to go get one myself when we were trying to get our kitchen set up because the store was just hurting my legs and wearing me out. Often, I go sit on a bench and let my daughter finish when we go there. However, it is nice to find almost anything at a decent price all in the same store. However, we went to the Dollar Store the other day because we realized we could get everything we needed in a smaller store that was still cheap. However, you can’t buy everything at the Dollar Store, so we still go to Wal-Mart even if it is too big.

We had bought some some pinto beans and cooked them in the crock pot, but couldn’t eat them all because there are only two of us right now because my Korean son in law can’t come til later because of the visa process. We decided to use those beans and make Mexican food. We found all the ingredients we needed at Wal-Mart, but some of the ingredients were slightly different.

Homemade Mexican Salsa

Once upon a time, a Mexican friend of mine taught me to make homemade Mexican salsa, and it is really good. She said you can control how spicy or not spicy your salsa is. If you want it to be spicy, use a jalpeno pepper in it. If you don’t want it to be spicy, use a bell pepper. I use a bell pepper, and I don’t use the green ones anymore. I use the red, orange, or yellow ones because they have a better flavor. The salsa I made looks slightly different from the salsa I made in the past, and we think it is a different kind of tomatoes.It tasted the same, and it was good. That is all that matters. If you want my recipe, here it is:

Mexican Salsa:

The pepper I used

One pepper (I used the colored bell peppers) The pepper should be cut up very fine.

a white onion

The recipe calls for one onion cut up very small. However, we are not big onion fans, so I used about a quarter of an onion cut up small. I use white onions because they are not as strong as the yellow onions.

One tomato

Use one tomato cut up very small. I have learned not to use roma tomatoes even though they are usually cheaper becaue they just don’t taste good.

I put a little bit of cooking oil in the bottom of a sauce pan. First, I added the onion because onion takes longer to cook.I fried the onion a few minutes, and then I added the tomatoes and pepper. I kept frying it until it turned into a sauce with vegetables in it. I also salted it, and you can pepper it to taste. The nice thing about making it yourself is that you can make it to taste the way you want it to taste. We decided that the tomatoes or something looked different than usual after it was cooked, but it still tasted great.

While the salsa was cooking, I made the refried beans.

First, I used the beans I had used for beans and corn bread the night before. They were cold, so the bacon grease I used as a flavoring just lifted right off the top. Next, I added cooking oil to a pan and began to heat it. I added four as if I was going to make gravy. I let the oil and the flour heat together until they were ubbly. Next, I added all the beans and the water the beans were in. I mashed the beans with a fork and mixed them around into the flour and oil. I sprinkled the top with chili powder, not enough to make them spicy, but just enough to flavor them. I let the beans cook as long as I could because the longer you cook beans, the better they taste.

The meat

If you want to make fajitas, you need long pieces of steak or long pieces of chicken. We, however, decided to use hamburger. If you are using cheaper hamburger, you won’t need to put oil in the pan to cook it. However, if you are using ground beef, you will need oil in the pan because it is leaner than hamburger. First, you fry it and chop it up with the spatula until it is brown. When it is brown, drain the oil out of it. Next, add about 1/2 cup of water, then sprinkle some chili spice into the meat. Mix it around and let the water boil out if it. We used chili spice and not the mixes they sell because we want pure ingredients because we are guarding our stomachs from the box mixes in the stores. They put all kinds of crazy things in those mixes including preservatives which means chemicals. We don’t know what all is in those box mixes, but the way we do it tastes good, and it doesn’t hurt our stomachs.

All we did to season the meat was sprinkle a little chili powder in it and add salt.
tortillas

I can make homemade flour tortillas, and my daughter likes them better, but when I can get flour tortillas already made, I use them, and they have never hurt our stomachs. You put just a drop of cooking oil in a frying pan, not much at all. Just basically cover the bottom of the pan. I don’t fry the tortillas. I bake them on the top of the stove. If your frying pan is thick use, use a medium high heat. If you are using a really thin pan, your heat will have to be lower or they will burn easily.I am used to using a heavy iron skillet, probably the only one in Korea, but we left it in Korea, and we haven’t bought an iron skillet yet. With the iron skillet, use the medium to high temperature, and just leave the tortillas for a minute on each side. They will bubble up, and then you know the heat has reached the inside and you can turn the tortilla over. I used a really thin frying pan yesterday, and I had to turn the fire down to medium and watch them, but don’t turn them over until they began turning brown on the other side and puffing up. When I tried the higher temperature like I use with the iron skillet, the tortilla burned, so I had to adjust to the pan I had. We will eventually buy an iron skillet again because hey are everywhere here.

My fajita/ soft taco

I cut up another tomato to use fresh because we love tomatoes. We used a bag of preshredded cheddar cheese. We put everything into our flour tortillas. It was downright delicious! We wished our stomachs could hold more because they tasted so good! The ingredients are different, but we are still cooking homemade, and it is still turning out great!

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