Cheesy Roasted Corn And Pasilla Chile Dip

This cheesy dip is made with Cacique's panela, queso quesadilla, crema con sal,  roasted corn, and charred pasilla chiles.  Perfect for serving as an appetizer at a party.

It seems I have a few parties to attend, and a handful of gatherings scheduled to take place at my house in the next few weeks. I will be turning to my trusty cheesy roasted corn and pasilla chile dip to entertain and allure my guests. I use Cacique’s crema con sal as my base and build upon it with queso quesadilla and panela cheese. The roasted corn and charred pasilla chiles tie the whole thing together. Once it comes out of the oven bubbly and hot, you won’t be able to resist the temptation of dipping your corn chip or mini toasted bread round in for a cheesy dip.  Get this recipe over on the Cacique blog!

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Tasty Olive Orzo Salad

Tasty olive orzo salad is perfect for a afternoon lunch, or your next gathering. I used Kalamata pearl olives to go and got them at Walmart.

It’s been decided. My son has expressed his wants and us parents are following suit. Early this year he told us he no longer wanted to eat the lunch his school provides, and instead wanted to take a packed lunch from home. I have absolutely no problem with pulling that together for him. The only problem I have is trying to figure out what I could pack him that falls under the guidelines of his school and what he will actually eat. I took him for a grocery shopping trip through Walmart and went through each aisle to see what tickled his fancy. I let him be involved in his lunch options, and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by some of the items he picked. I never in a million years expected him to choose  Pearls Olives to Go!  Have you seen them? They come packaged like a little carton of applesauce except filled with olives. This may very well be the biggest innovation for olives since pitting them! With the olives being gluten-free flavors, dairy-free, sugar-free, cholesterol-free, trans-fat-free, GMO-free, vegan and Kosher their is no way my son’s school would have any objections to this lunch box friend. It was almost too easy to just pack olives and a cheese sandwich with a side of his favorite fruit. Plus I like the idea that they come in a variety of flavors (Black, Kalamata, Pimiento-Stuffed Green Spanish, and Black Sliced), and each package contains four cups. I stocked up and used some for my son’s lunch and I have been adding them to my favorite olive orzo salad. I pack him the olive orzo salad for lunch as well. Either way….I’m loving Pearl Olives to go, and so is he.

pearl olives to go varieties

Ingredients for olive orzo salad:

  • 5 – cups cooked orzo (cook according to package)
  • 1 – cucumber (cut into cubes)
  • 1/4 – cup chopped pimiento
  • 1 – cup yellow cherry tomatoes (chopped into 4′s)
  • 9 – fresh basil leaves (chopped)
  • 1/4 – cup italian dressing
  • 4 – containers Pearl olives to go (kalamata)
  •  1/2 – cup red onion (chopped)
  • 3 – ounces feta cheese (crumbled)

Directions:

  1. Cook orzo according to package. Drain from boiling water and rinse under cold water.
  2. Place cooked orzo in a bowl. Add in cucumber, pimiento, yellow tomatoes, basil leaves, italian dressing, kalamata olives, red onion, and feta cheese. kalamata olives and orzo salad.
  3. Mix all ingredients together until evenly combined.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour.
  5. Serve cold and enjoy!

Olive orzo salad made with kalamata pearl olives.

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Cacique 101 …. The Immersion Event

The current ambassadors of Cacique taking a picture in front of the Cacique plant after a tour.

I thought I knew everything there is to know about Cacique and their beautiful products, until a few weeks ago. Let me start this story from the beginning, I’m getting ahead of myself. Okay… at the beginning of the year I was invited to come on board as an ambassador/regular contributor of recipes to the Cacique website. I gladly said yes, and a few short weeks later I was asked to come visit the Cacique plant in La Puente for an immersion event and plant tour along with the other ambassadors (pictured above). We started our morning with a wonderful tasting of yogurt smoothies.

The Cacique yogurt line is super tasty.

I was most impressed with the pecan flavor, and the strawberry, and the pineapple….. Yes…. they have a serious variety of delicious flavors.

I must say the most heartfelt introduction came from the owners children Gilbert B. de Cardenas, and Ana de Cardenas-Raptis, as they unfolded their family history before us. It was very touching to hear their story of how their parents immigrated here from Cuba and  had no idea how to make their way in America, barely spoke the language, and all they cared about was getting their young children fed. It was humble beginnings as a small company where their parents had to scrimp and save $1500 to start their family business and use to sell the cheese out of their car.  With many years of dedication they have grown into the largest selling Mexican cheese company in the United States. It was with Walmart’s help that they became a national product. They truly are living the American dream and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Gil shared their journey with us. Thank you for sharing with us De Cardenas family.

The owner of Cacique Gil De Cardenas telling the family history.

Then the serious eating and tasting began. We sampled all the different varieties of cheese and cremas! I think I finished my plate before the tutorial even began.  Then we got a serving of fried panela….. holy mother of cheeses… can you tell by the expression on my face how good it is (pictured below)?

cheese plate of the different varieties of Cacique cheeses.

A serving of Cacique fried panela is shared between Nicole Presley and Ericka Sanchez.

Here are all the different types of cheeses we sampled and a brief description of their characteristic.

Panela: Crumbly curd style, all-natural fresh cheese, has a mild, milky flavor. When heated it will soften but not get stringy, and it has the magical ability to be seared into a golden slab without getting runny. It crumbles easily and is great to stuff jalapenos.

Cotija: Also known as the “Parmesan of Mexico.” It has a very robust flavor and crumbly texture. Some people use Cotija as a substitute for salt on savory foods. Use as a nice accent of flavor to your dish. It can also be fried and made into croutons.

Ranchero Queso Fresco: A high-moisture fresh cheese that can be crumbled, sliced, or cubed. It has a milky, buttery taste and it does not melt so it is a good cheese if you need it to hold its shape. It goes well with spicy flavors. Crumble it on top of soup, enchiladas, or vegetarian tacos!

Four Quesos Blend: The consumers asked and Cacique introduced their shredded cheese blends in bags. The blend combines four authentic, Mexican-style cheeses: Manchego, Oaxaca, Quesadilla and Asadero. It’s the only one of it’s kind on the market. I like to keep a bag in the fridge at all times for quick quesadilla making.

The rest of the afternoon was taken up with a tour of the plant and an array of different dishes made with Cacique products. I loved it all and was very thankful for the first hand look into how the cheese is made: Cacique 101! In case you’re wondering where you can find Cacique products…. I usually buy mine at Walmart, Ralph’s, Superior, or Albertson’s…. basically you can find the product anywhere and everywhere. Here is a product locator to help further.

Here is a small photo diary of our day.

The tile wall in the Cacique kitchen.Cacique lunch menu written on a chalkboard at the immersion event.A delicious Cacique soy chorizo tostada

Nicole Presley taking a photo of Cacique Banana cream pies. Cacique banana cream pieCacique immersion event #SoCuNicole Presley and Ericka Sanchez of Society Culinaria at the Cacique Immersion Event.

 Disclosure: This is a sponsored post between Cacique Inc and Society Culinaria. All opinions are my own. Thank you Cacique for the lovely parting gift and for an amazing day of product learning.

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Every Easter Should Have Bunny Pretzels

Bunny shaped pretzels make for a fun treat for Easter. I got all my ingredients at Walmart.

Have you ever had a bunny pretzel? Don’t you think it’s about time? This Easter I will be making my family little and big bunny pretzels. I guess it’s safe to say we are pretzel crazy, and why not make it a bunny shape if we can fit it into the holiday. This is the deal. I have been making pretzels pretty often lately and have come to be a dough master in my own right. My Mom and I believe one of the keys to making perfect pretzels is having fresh yeast, and the warm weather helps out too.

The last time I was at Walmart I picked up a small supply of yeast to make another few batches of pretzels. As my dough came to rise for the final time, my mom suggested I make a batch for Easter Sunday. I said “pretzels for Easter?” and she was matter a fact about it all….and said “yeah….shape them into bunnies.” She just wanted another reason to eat my homemade pretzels. I decided to give them a test run and dip them into a sugar cinnamon mixture. Me and Mommy were happy with the results. Thank you Walmart for keeping fresh yeast in stock always…. looks like I’m gonna have a great Easter.

Ingredients for bunny pretzels:

  • 1 – packet active dry yeast
  • 1 – cup warm water plus 1 ½ tablespoons
  • 3 – cups unbleached flour
  • 1 – tablespoon sugar
  • 1 – teaspoon salt
  • 9 – cups boiling hot water
  • 2 – tablespoons honey
  • 4 – tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 – egg
  • 1 – tablespoon water
  • melted butter
  • sugar
  • cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a stand up mixer with a dough hook attachment add yeast and warm water to the bowl and allow to sit there for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl combine flour, sugar and salt.
  3. Pour mixed flour mixture into warm water and yeast mixture.
  4. Mix on a medium speed.
  5. Dough will come together in about 5 to 7 minutes. Forming a ball shape.
  6. Place dough on a clean surface and kneed with hands for 2 minutes.
  7. Coat a large bowl with vegetable oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover  bowl with plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place for 4 hours or until dough doubles in size.The dough for the pretzels doubles in size then it's ready to roll.
  8. Remove dough from the greased bowl, and cut into 8 even pieces. Pretzel dough is divided into 8 parts then rolled out like a long snake.
  9. Roll one piece of dough at a time, by rolling it with two hands to form a long skinny snake like shape. Then carefully shape dough into a bunny shape.
  10. Place pretzels on a baking mat lined cookie sheet and allow to rise for another 20 minutes.These pretzels are bunny shaped with big ears.
  11. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. In a large pot over a high flame add in hot water and bring to a rolling boil. Once water is boiling add in honey and mix to dissolve. Then pour in baking soda. Mix to combine.
  13. Slowly dip each pretzel into the boiling water for 30 seconds on each side. Then with a slotted spoon remove pretzels. Boiling the pretzels prior to baking is part of the pretzel making fun.
  14. Place pretzels back on baking mat lined cookie sheet.
  15. In a small bowl whisk egg and water together creating an egg wash.
  16. Using a pastry brush, brush each pretzel with egg wash.
  17. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes.
  18. While pretzels are baking mix sugar and cinnamon together to make a mixture.
  19. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes, then dip into melted butter.
  20. Let the pretzel drip dry a bit them dip into the sugar cinnamon mixture. Dip pretzel in sugar cinnamon mixture for a yummy sweet treat
  21. Enjoy.

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Some Bunny Loves You Snack Pack

A snack pack in vanilla flavor, decorated like a bunny.

I will occasionally tell my son “some bunny loves you,”  and without fail he looks at me like  “what does that mean?” I explain to him it’s just a play on words and something a lot of people say quite frankly. Yesterday we were hanging out and he says to me “Some bunny loves you Mommy.” I smiled and said “Is that some bunny you?”  He just smiled and ran to the other room… I don’t know if he was embarrassed or thought he used it out of context.

Either way later on in the day we went to Walmart to pick up some supplies and usually I allow him to get a few things while we are in the store. I have to limit him the kid or he will fill up my basket with all his needs and wants. I noticed he was scanning a certain shelve for a while, just staring at the pudding cups and then he says in a sweet voice…. “Mommy, can I get a snack pack?” I said “Yeah, you can,” then he says “Some bunny loves you Mommy, and that’s me.” He stole my heart… he could have gotten all the snack packs he wanted at that point, not to mention they were only a dollar, and have a new easy open lid. He’s so cute, when we got home I decided to make his snack packs into a “some bunny loves you” version, and it’s perfect timing with Easter in the near future.

Ingredients to make Easter snack packs

What you need:

  • snack pack (flavor of your choice, I used Vanilla)
  • shredded coconut
  • chocolate chips
  • jelly beans
  • marshmallows
  • candy sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Remove foil from top of snack pack.
  2. Fill the top with shredded coconut. shredded coconut pudding cups
  3. Place two chocolate chips for eyes, and a jelly bean for a nose.
  4. Cut a marshmallow in half, then dip the sticky side in candy sprinkles. Cut marshmallows in half then dip them in candy sprinkles to make bunny ears
  5. Place the marshmallow halves at either end of the cup for ears. :)
  6. Dig in and enjoy!
  7. Happy Easter….

Remember some bunny loves you, so pin this snack pack for later:

This snack pack in vanilla flavor is the perfect treat for Easter. I got all the ingredients I need for this "some bunny loves you" project at Walmart. #WMTMoms

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Tuna Cakes Make A Great Meal During Lent

These delicious tuna cakes are great during lent, for a simple and fresh meal pair with veggies.

I always knew it was the start of meatless meals as a young kid when my grandfather would come home with a black ashy cross smeared on his forehead. In my neighborhood many people observed lent, and my family was no exception. My grandfather used to make tortas de camaron with a side of nopals every Friday. That was part of his lent ritual. I must admit I was never a fan, I think the salt like consistency of the grounded up shrimp was too much for my young mind to wrap around, then as an adult…. it just tasted salty to me. Yet I still enjoy carrying on this tradition of a seafood type cake, so as I got older I started making him tuna cakes. I don’t know if he liked them as much as he enjoys tort as de camaron, but to me this is a way better option.

Last week I was making out my Walmart grocery/shopping list for the next 7 days and knowing we are in the thick of lent, thought I would invite my grandfather over for dinner Friday night. I picked up the phone and told him that I was thinking of making him some tuna cakes, and I was on my way to Walmart to wrangle up all the stuff. He said “Oh you’re going to Walmart right now?” I said “Yeah.” He said “I’ll go with you.” It was a win win. I got to see my grandfather twice in one week.

Ingredients for tuna cakes. I was able to buy all my ingredients at Walmart.

Ingredients for tuna cakes:

  • 2 -cans of tuna packed in water (drained from liquid, and flaked)
  • 3/4 – cup red onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 – cup black olives (chopped)
  • 1/2 – cup mushrooms (chopped)
  • 2 – tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 – egg
  • 3 – tablespoons mayo
  • 1 – tablespoon mustard
  • 1/3 – cup breadcrumbs
  • frying oil

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl mix tuna, red onions, black olives, mushrooms, sesame seeds, egg, mayo, and mustard together until well combined. Then sprinkle the breadcrumbs in and mix until mixture comes together. A mixture of tuna that will be made into patties and fried into cakes.
  2. In a frying pan over a medium flame add a little oil Just enough to coat the pan) and allow to get hot.
  3. Form 1/4 cup of tuna mixture with your hand into a patty. Then drop into pan. Raw tuna cakes being dropped into frying pan.
  4. Fry on each side until golden crisp. Tuna cakes fried until golden brown on each side.
  5. Serve with fresh veggies or a light cheese and cream mixture.
  6. Enjoy.

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My Trip To Lay’s Flavor Kitchen: DO US A FLAVOR 2015

Disclosure: I partnered with Frito-Lay for this blog post and was compensated for my photos & original DIY creation.

Nicole Presley films a intro video for Lay's Do us a flavor 2015 for Walmart.

There are very few things that can take me away from sunny California to a place where it is super freezing cold, in this case Texas. Until of course, LAY’S® Classic Potato Chips calls. Earlier this year I was invited to the frito-lay headquarters in Plano, Texas as a part of a program to help spread the news of this year’s LAY’S® “DO US A FLAVOR®” contest. Without hesitation I jumped at the chance, and soon after me and a few of the other Walmart Moms not only found ourselves in the chilly cold, but also got to spend a day with Frito-Lay Chef Jody Denton in the FLAVOR KITCHEN® creating recipes inspired by our hometowns.

Some Walmart Moms at the video shoot for the Do us a flavor 2015 campaign.

In addition to bringing our regional flavors to life… we also filmed personal videos (see my video attached below) encouraging contestants to submit their hometown flavors and why they are special to them. I couldn’t resist making a spicy mac and cheese as a fusion of who I am and where I come from. Let me explain this contest a little better so I don’t confuse you…. LAY’S Classic Potato Chips has this super fun contest going on right now called Do Us A Flavor, and fans nationwide are invited to submit their ideas for the next great potato chip flavor for the chance to win a $1 million grand prize or one percent of their flavor’s net sales, whichever is higher. This marks the third time the contest has been held in the U.S. This time around, there’s an exciting new twist: the LAY’S® brand is asking fans to also include the location that inspired each potential million-dollar idea. Then, later this year, four delicious finalist flavors – representing flavorful cities and towns across the U.S. – will be fully developed, brought to store shelves and voted on by America. That is so HUGE…. that there is the potential for your flavor suggestion to be developed and tested by AMERICA. You don’t have to be a foodie, flavor expert or chef to enter – you just have to trust your taste buds. There is a good chance if you like it, then other people will too. Do Us A Flavor 2015 awaits.

Submissions are open from January 20 – March 30, 2015. Visit www.dousaflavor.com for more details and official contest rules. Don’t worry, you don’t have to make a video to submit a flavor… you can submit your flavor suggestion on www.dousaflavor.com, or through Twitter (follow @Lays for details), or through the LAY’S® Facebook Page or by using your cell phone to text FLAVOR to CHIPS (24477) and following the prompts. How easy is that? Now get suggesting before the time runs out!

Video shoot for Lay's Do us a flavor 2015

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Lucky Green Asparagus Leek Soup!

Asparagus leek soup is the perfect way to enjoy St. Patrick's Day.

“Don’t pinch me…. Don’t pinch me!” On March 16th I go to bed wearing something green so I am never left to circumstance without a glimpse of green on my body once St. Patrick’s  Day is alive and well on the 17th. When I was a kid it was my biggest fear to be without a green article of clothing for the fear of being pinched during the Irish celebration. As I got older I just made sure to make everything green that day and I would be in the safety zone. That included my food.

As luck would have it at the end of the rainbow there is a Walmart. My Mom and I shopped for all good things this past weekend and as I cruised the produce section I found on the shelves sitting side by side a group of asparagus getting awfully close to a gang of leeks…. They had paired themselves.

Leeks and asparagus sitting side by side at Walmart.

I told my Mom wouldn’t those two greenies make the perfect asparagus leek soup for St. Patrick’s Day…. she responded by saying ” Don’t wonder about it, grab them and make me a bowl tonight.” I did, and we were so happy with the results. I even convinced my son to eat some by telling him this was the soup Yoda ate (he has a serious Star Wars fascination going on). He took one big gulp and gave me the thumbs up, then sat down at the table and ate a bowl. All of a sudden I was feeling lucky!

The star ingredients for asparagus leek soup

Ingredients for lucky green asparagus leek soup:

  • 4 – tablespoons of butter
  • 1 – leek (sliced)
  • 1 – bunch of asparagus (cut into 4′s)
  • 4 – cloves garlic
  • 3 – cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 – crema con sal
  • grilled cheese sandwich

Directions:

  1. In a large pot over a medium flame add in butter and allow it to melt.
  2. Add in sliced leeks and sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add in asparagus and garlic cloves. Saute until asparagus turns bright green for about 5 minutes.asparagus and leeks saute in a pot to make soup.
  4. Add in vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
  5. Remove from flame and pour into a blender. Add in crema con sal.
  6. Blend until completely pureed.
  7. Serve with a grilled cheese sandwich.
  8. Enjoy!

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Knott’s Berry Farm’s Boysenberry Festival 2015! #KnottsSpring

Boy eating funnel cake

It’s that time of the year when I start itching to do something fun with my family. The sun is out and the skies are blue it’s the perfect combo for a day of great family entertainment. I crave for a place with good food, live entertainment, and enough activities to keep a smile on my 5 year olds face…. As luck would have it Knott’s Berry Farm’s Boysenberry Festival 2015 is just around the corner! It’s the ideal spot and meets my criteria of a day well spent. My son is excited to go and play in Camp Snoopy and I’m excited to go and get my grub on. How can I not be when I know I will be tasting Knott’s very own farm-made Berry Market™ Boysenberry BBQ Sauce during the widely acclaimed Boysenberry Festival. The finger lickin’good sauce adds the perfect flavor to ribs, BBQ chicken, chicken wings, and more.

Delicious boysenberry wings at Knott's Berry FarmIt’s sure to be a boysenberry heaven…. Just imagine boysenberry bites served with fried cheese curds, or a fish and chips sandwich with boysenberry tartar sauce….yes! Did I mention Boysenberry ICEE Floats, Boysenberry Frappuccino and Latte? Now you see why I’m saying it’s the perfect day?

 

waffle sticks

Plus, it’s Knott’s Berry Farm… there are sure to be waffle treats and funnel cakes…. loaded fries…. something for everyone…. I’ll be sporting my stretchy pants without a doubt.

log ride

Don’t miss out on this fun festival at the park…. From March 28th through April 12th…all this family goodness can be yours. :) See you there!

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Black Bean And Corn Salsa With Fried Panela

black bean and corn salsa paired with fried panela cheese and avocado. I bought all the ingredients at Walmart. I used the Wild Oats organic line for the black beans, corn and chopped tomatoes.

Snacky. Is there such a word? I get in these moods of not really wanting a meal, but wanting a snack that is substantial. I call it being snacky. Since I know I find myself in these hungry states from time to time, I want to be better prepared, because there is no way I want to eat the same thing again and again. With that in mind, I was at Walmart strolling the aisles and came to the Wild Oats section of the market. I have to admit I always get so excited when I come to the Wild Oats section…. why you ask? BECAUSE IT’S ORGANIC and sold at such a reasonable price! Okay back to my snacks and how this black bean and corn salsa came to be… So I’m there scanning all the shelved products…. jarred pasta sauce, canned veggies, pretzels, spices, quinoa, and a ton of other amazing products. My eyes are keep diverting back to the Wild Oats black beans, and my mouth sends little messages to my brain saying it wants a black bean and corn salsa. Fair enough Wild Oats makes corn too. I think it might be extra special if I add chopped tomatoes to the equation, and so I grab a can. As I walk around the store I want to mix in avocados and little cubes of fried panela. I think it might be fair to say I have discovered my perfect snack.

wild oats organics for a black bean and corn salsa.

Ingredients for black bean and corn salsa:

  • 1- can Wild Oats black beans (drained)
  • 1 – can Wild Oats corn (drained)
  • 1 – can Wild Oats chopped tomatoes (drained)
  • 1/2 – cup red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 – avocado (cubed)
  • 2 – limes (juiced)
  • 1 – tablespoon chile flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 – tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 – ounces panela (cubed)

Directions:

  1. Drain the three cans of liquid, then place them in a bowl. IMG_6772
  2. Mix to combine.
  3. Add in red onions, avocado, lime juice, chile flakes, and sprinkle in salt and pepper to your liking. Set to the side.
  4. In a frying pan over a medium flame add in olive oil and allow it to get hot. Then add in  panela cheese cubes. fry the panela cheese in a little oil.
  5. Fry the cheese on each side for about 3 minutes or until golden crisp. Fry panela chess until crisp on both sides.
  6. Remove from frying pan and add to salsa.
  7. Mix to combine and serve with chips!
  8. Enjoy! black-bean-and-corn-salsa-with-fried-cheese

 

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