Month: April 2007

A Delicious Mexican Grilled Chicken Recipe

Mexican grilled chicken

Several years ago we had lunch from a Mexican chicken restaurant near us called El Pollo Primo. They cook the chicken on a couple large griddles, and then serve a few pieces of whole cooked chicken on a plate along with some corn tortillas, salsa, and Spanish rice. Then at the table, the chicken is shredded by customer, placed on the corn tortilla, mixed with some Spanish rice and some salsa. Then the tortilla is rolled up, and eaten. We found this to be a delicious and unique way of serving chicken.

So over the years we’ve tried to replicate their seasoning on the chicken and we think we finally hit it.

El Pollo Primo Grilled Chicken

1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tsp chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground corriender
1/2 tsp annatto seed (from a Latin American grocer)

The annatto in this recipe adds the lovely yellow coloring to the chicken that you see in the photograph above.

Place the canola oil, water, vinegar, garlic, cumin, corriender, and annatto seed in a blender. Blend on medium high speed for 1 – 2 minutes to allow the annatto seed to be chopped up by the tines on the blender. Alternately use ground annatto, and whip up well with a wisk.

Wash, and place 5 – 6 chicken breasts and thighs in a large, freezer duty ziplock bag. Pour the seasonings over top of the chicken and seal the bag. Turn the bag over a few times to coat the chicken well, then place in the refrigerator. Let marinate for 4 to 6 hours, turning over ever hour or so.

Cook the chicken on a griddle or large iron frying pan until done, about 15 – 20 minutes to a side.

Serve with warmed corn tortillas, Spanish Rice, and your favorite salsa. You may optionally add sour cream, and cheese.

How to make a low fat homemade breakfast sausage

Breakfast Sausage in a SkilletWe like to have breakfast sausage every once in a while. Yet often the brands at the grocer are laden with fat. We do know of

one brand

that is fairly lean, but most store bought sausage is very fatty. It seems the manufacturers often can resist the tendency to want to use up the fat and make something off it. Often you hear that the fat is required for the taste. We haven’t found that to be the case at all, and make our own sausage using store bought ground pork.

Sometimes we find a nice looking pork butt roast, remove as much fat as possible and then grind it up ourselves in our meat grinder. This is a great way of really making sure the butcher isn’t trying to make something off their fat just like the sausage manufacturers do! If you don’t have a meat grind though, you can ask your butcher to trim off the fat before grinding the pork butt, and tell them you’ll pay for the fat on the side. Personally, I like being in control of the grinding and making absolutely sure I can get rid of as much fat as I can. An honest butcher will do as you ask and make you a nice lean ground pork.

We happen to have a sausage stuffer too and sometimes make stuffed breakfast sausage. It’s a lot of work to stuff your own sausage and yet it’s rewarding since you know what’s in the sausage isn’t loaded with fat. This article is about make homemade sausage patties so we’ll reserve the discussion on making sausage links for a future article.

Pork Nutrition FactsWe started our homemade breakfast patty sausage using store bought ground pork. According to the nutrition facts on the pork, the amount of fat per 1/4 pound of ground pork is 22g which is 34% of the daily value. Readers might think that value is high, but that amount is for a 4 ounce serving. The typical fat content of packaged breakfast sausage is 22g per 2 oz serving, so the fat in our homemade pork sausage is about half of the fat in prepared sausage. The proof of this is in the picture above of our sausage cooking in the skillet. Take a look closely and you’ll see that there is no excess fat around the sausage. Keep in mind too, that we’re using store bought ground pork and the butcher just can’t resist the opportunity to get $4.00 a pound for fat. If we ground our own pork, and removed all of the visible fat then we could easily have cut the fat in half again.

What you need to make homemade sausage patties
1 to 1 1/4 pounds lean ground pork
1 tbsp very finely diced onion
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
2 tbsp parsley flakes
1 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp chervil
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp savory
1 tbsp water

Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Form into 5 to 10 patties depending on your preference. Cook over medium low heat in an ungreased non-stick skillet until browned, turn and brown the other side.

Make sure to notice how little fat is left in the pan when you’re done cooking these patties.

Homemade Spanish Rice

Homemade Spanish Rice RecipeContinuing with our latest theme of homemade recipe replacements for store bought packaged foods. The recipes we’ll feature in this series will be simple to make and tasty too.

Today’s side dish recipe is Spanish Rice, a mix of rice, celery, tomatoes and spices. There is no reason to purchase this as a box of dehydrated tomatoes and vegetables because it’s so easy to make from scratch. You find this recipe flavorful with the typical Spanish Rice taste coming for the most part from the chili powder and ground cumin.

Cooking Rice
The Spanish Rice recipe starts with 3 cups of cooked rice (that’s one cup dry rice cooked at a simmer in a covered saucepan along with two cups of water until the water is completely absorbed. Usual cooking times for short grain rice is about 20 minutes. We find Basmati rice cooks faster and is usually done in about 10 – 12 minutes. Brown rice takes longer and takes about 45 minutes. Once the water has been absorbed by the rice, remove the saucepan from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. For our Spanish Rice we used Basmati rice — it’s our favorite rice. If you like, you can use day old rice for this recipe, and you’ll find the resulting Spanish Rice has a different texture.

Spanish Rice Recipe
3 Cups cooked Rice [above]
1/2 onion, chopped fine
2 stalks celery, washed, and diced
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano leaves
1 tsp ground cumin

  1. Place 1 tbsp olive or canola oil in a large non-stick skillet and heat.
  2. Add the onions, celery, and garlic, and cook until the onions and celery are tender.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, chili powder, oregano leaves, and ground cumin. Stir and cook about 2 – 3 minutes to reduce the water from the tomatoes a little bit.
  4. Add the 3 cups of cooked rice, and mix well. If usning fresh made rice, the recipe is ready to serve. If the rice was day old from the refrigerator, cook, breaking up the rice some with the spatula, until the rice is warm.

You may add 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper to this recipe if desired. Remove the membrane from the green pepper, and then dice into 1/2 pieces. Add the pepper to the recipe along with the onions and celery in step 2.