Juanita's Cocina

A labrynth of food adventures by an at-home cook, wanna-be chef, and aspiring foodie. May you be satiated.

11 March 2012 ~ 35 Comments

Spring Chicken Wings for #SundaySupper

If you’ve been reading my blog for the last few weeks, you should be familiar with #SundaySupper.

#SundaySupper is the brainchild of my friend Isabel at Family Foodie.  Isabel’s mission is to bring back weekly family meals shared around the family table, where the main ingredient is always love.  We’d love for you to join us each week and share what you and your family are sharing around your table!

This week’s #SundaySupper theme is Spring!

What images does the word “Spring” conjure for you?

For me, I think of green grasses, blooming flowers, singing birds, and maybe a BBQ or two.

Funny thing though…as I look out of my window, it is gloomy, pouring rain, and the temperatures are only in the 40′s.  We’re having the coldest weather in Texas that we’ve had in weeks.  And it hasn’t stopped raining in 2 days.

It’s also the first full day of Spring Break.  And this weather is so not fair that I may throw a fit or two about it.

Orrrrr, I’ll continue to do what I’ve done today.  And I’ll cook.  Which is almost as good as being somewhere warm.

Since I can’t BBQ outside underneath the Springtime sun, I looked for something I could make inside while it’s raining.  I’ve been sitting on this recipe for Caramelized Chicken Wings from my friend Nancy’s blog, A Recipe A Day.  I was waiting for the perfect day and opportunity to make them.  Springtime #SundaySupper seemed like a perfect time (or excuse…heh) to enjoy them!

Caramelized Chicken Wings 

Printable Recipe

3 lb. chicken drumettes
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs. ketchup
1 cup honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.  Line a 9×13 pan with foil.

Lay chicken drumettes in a single layer in the bottom of the pan.

Mix oil, soy sauce, ketchup, honey, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper together in a bowl.

Pour sauce over wings.  Turn the wings over in the sauce to coat all sides of the wings.

Bake for one hour (or until wings are caramelized), flipping the wings half an hour into cooking.

These were fabulous.

I had an extra spring chicken wing on my plate after I got full, and I plopped it on UncleR’s plate so it didn’t go to waste.  You woulda thought it was Christmas morning in the house.

#SundaySupper doesn’t always have to be fancy.  It doesn’t have to be frilly or expensive.  All that matters is that you’re sharing love around your table.

Happy Spring, y’all!

10 March 2012 ~ 8 Comments

What’s Been Happenin’ In The Cocina ~ 3/10/12

It’s Spring Break.

For those of you that work for the public school system, you know what that means.

It means you’re too tired to breathe.

Yes, we all love what we do.

But, we also love Spring Break.  Much the same way whales love the ocean.  Or dogs love rolling in the grass RIGHT after you give them a bath.  Or how my mother loves to call three full months before my niece’s birthday to give me suggestions (orders?) on what I absolutely have to get her.

It’s been a busy week here in the cocina!  So, let’s recap, shall we?  (before I forget what happened altogether)

Cheeseburger Pie

Tortellini Spinach Bake for #GreensLove

English Muffin Toasting Bread

Shrimp Fra Diavolo for the #CrazyCookingChallenge!

Chipped Ham Sandwiches


And here are the things I’ve pinned on Pinterest that I can’t wait to try!

Crockpot Lasagna from my friend Nancy at A Recipe A Day!  I think Nancy loves her crockpot as much as I love mine!

Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza from Brown Eyed Baker.  Seriously.

Carrot Cake With Coconut Milk Frosting from The Harried Cook.  I may just die now.

Grapefruit and Pecan Sheet Cake from the Homesick Texan.  I want to move into her house.  Right now.


If this is your Spring Break, I hope you make it a great one.

If it isn’t, I hope your weekend is amazing!

But either way, I hope you’re making something yummy in your cocina!

09 March 2012 ~ 19 Comments

Livin’ In The Country And Chipped Ham Sandwiches…

Before we moved to the country, we used to eat out.  At restaurants.  Or occasional fast food places.  That weren’t at least a half-hour’s drive away.  (Okay, that’s not fair.  Our town DID just get a McDonald’s…and it only takes 30 minutes to get there and back)

Living in the middle of nowhere has almost forced me to hone my cooking skills.  We plan our menus for two weeks at a time and shop accordingly.

We rarely eat out.  Not because we don’t want to.  But because there is literally no place to go.

J used to go out with his grandfather quite often before we moved here.  He was used to eating out at least once a week.  Once we moved to the middle of Texas, that stopped.

Over a year after we moved here, the McDonald’s opened.  You couldn’t drive past the McDonald’s because of the traffic jam.  People from miles around lined up at the McD’s (that only sits about 10 folks, plus cowboy hats).  We took J and Big C on a lunch date at the brand spankin’ new McD’s.  After we got home, J picked up the phone and called his grandfather.

J:  “Lilo…guess what?????” (sounding excited enough that if I hadn’t known what he was going to say, I may have thought he hit it big down at the lotto office)

Lilo:  “What?”

J:  “I just had my FIRST Big Mac since I moved to Texas!  And it was awesome!”


He’s not deprived.  It’s not like he doesn’t eat good at home.

Why am I telling you all of this when I’m not presenting you with a burger?

Because this sandwich reminded me of another fast-food joint.

Raise your hand if you like Arby’s.

UncleR happens to love her some Arby’s.  (Yes, I do realize that Arby’s uses roast beef.  No, I’m not confused.  Hear me out)

There’s a science to eating an Arby’s burger (as we call ‘em).  You get the plain roast beef with cheese and then you add the Arby’s sauce.  And that tangy red sauce and cheese mix together and drip off the sides.

If you get out of Arby’s without a spot on your shirt, you’re doing it wrong.

These Chipped Ham Sandwiches from Brown Eyed Baker offer up the same kinda thang.  Read and imagine what I’m about to throw down…

I’m offering you, for the low, low price of one at-home meal (travel NOT needed), a toasted sandwich bun topped with chopped, shaved ham, mixed with a tangy chili sauce, smooth and melty Velveeta cheese, and a finely diced hard-boiled egg.

In other words, I’m offering you a homemade version(ish) of an Arby’s burger that is full of YUM!

Chipped Ham Sandwiches

Printable Recipe

2 lb. shaved ham (I used smoked), chopped
4 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
8 oz. Velveeta, finely diced
1 12 oz. bottle of chili sauce
Sandwich buns

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine ham, eggs, Velveeta and chili sauce together in a large bowl.

Spoon mixture onto sandwich buns and wrap each sandwich in foil.

Bake wrapped sandwiches on a baking sheet for 30 minutes, or until filling is warmed through and bun is oven-toasted.  Serve while warm.

The best part is peeling back the foil…

I lied.  The best part is getting to eat this:

Melty AND tangy????

BTW, we had some extra filling.  Know what that means???


It’s hard to miss all of that fast-food when there’s chipped ham sandwiches in the house…

08 March 2012 ~ 42 Comments

It’s My Two Month Bloggiversary!

I’ve officially been food blogging for two months.

In that two months, I’ve made and eaten some slammin’ food.  (And conversely, some not so slammin’ food)

I’ve taken hundreds of pictures of food, including some photos at restaurants, for which, I always get strange looks from fellow patrons.  Hello?  Don’t judge random eater.  I’m not snapping photos of you chewing with your mouth open.  And I’m not taking secret pictures of the too-grabby couple in the corner (except for that one time).  It’s about the food!

I’ve spent countless hours writing and blogging and obsessing.  I’ve spent so much time here, I no longer have time to do the other things I love…like reading, or sitting, or sleeping.

I’ve inserted my foot into social networking.  Dudes, Twitter is addicting, yo.  And time consuming.  And difficult to keep up with.  The other day I learned how to retweet AND add a comment…in the SAME tweet.  Also, being limited to 140 characters is a challenge, for someone such as myself, who is wordy and tends to drone on and on and on and on…

I’ve learned a lot.  I’m still learning.  And I’m trying to get better every day.

I simply love sharing my love for the kitchen.  I make and eat what I like.  I don’t want to be pigeon-holed as a “Mexican home cook”, or a baker, or any other culinary label.  My tastes are diverse and I hope that comes across to all of you.

I appreciate the feedback and comments I receive on my blog.  I’m tellin’ y’all, receiving a blog comment is like getting a foodie gold star on your homework.  It is AWESOME.  And I love hearing from all of you.  Makes this li’l home chef’s heart go pitter-patter.

How fitting that, on my two-month bloggiversary, I received a nice little e-mail from a fellow blogger giving me a little food blog love.

Amrita from Beetle’s Kitchen Escapades is one of my favorite food bloggers.  She is sweet, she’s spunky, she’s funny and her cooking exudes love!  I just adore this lady!  I’m proud to call her my foodie friend.  Please make sure you check out her food blog, if you haven’t yet done so.  She’s got the “it” factor that you so rarely see in the blog world!

I’m sure that Amrita didn’t know it was my bloggiversary, but she gave me a present or two anyways.

She passed along two very cool blog awards in my direction:

The Versatile Blogger Award AND

The Kreativ Blogger Award!

Both of these babies are given BY bloggers TO bloggers as a little way of recognizing and appreciating the dedication that it takes to crank out a blog.

However, these blog awards don’t just come with recognition.  They come with a bit of responsibility as well, if the blog recipient so chooses.  You can choose to receive and appreciate your awards, simply admiring them.  Or you can pass them along and have a bit of fun along the way.

There are a few blogs I’d love to recognize, so I’m going to have a bit of fun with these babies AND I’m going to pass the love along.  To those whom I share the bloggy love with, please don’t feel an obligation to participate.  This is simply my way of acknowledging you and what YOU do.  Or, if you so choose, here’s a few rules to run with:

  • Pass the recognition along, y’all!  You can spread the bloggy love to up to six other blogs of your choice.
  • Link to the blogger that gave you the award (Me)!
  • Let the people you’ve passed the bloggy love to know that you’ve given them a little somethin’, somethin’…
  • List 10 random/funny facts about yourself.
  • And as Amrita suggested when she passed the bloggy love in my direction, shmooze yourself a bit in the mirror for a job well done.

Without further ado, here are 10 things you probably never needed/wanted to know about Jen here at Juanita’s Cocina:

1.  I’m short.  Really short.  4’11″ short.  When we graduated from Junior High, they lined us up by height to walk into the auditorium, from shortest to tallest.  Guess who was #1?
2.  There’s been times in my life where I have eaten nothing but Skittles for dinner.
3.  I’m a Disney-freak.  My entire family is comprised of nothing but Disney freaks.  We travel to Disney at least once a year, staying on Disney property, enjoying everything that Disney has to offer.  We love Disney so much that we honeymooned there after we married last summer.  Disney fawned over us like we were Royals.  It’s something I’ll never forget!
4.  Related to #3, my favorite Disney movie is “Mary Poppins”.
5.  Related to #4, my favorite movie EVER is “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and it is my dream to actually have breakfast at Tiffany’s someday.
6.  I played competitive soccer when I was younger.  Girls are mean.  I can’t tell you how many hair-pulling episodes and fist-fights I’ve seen on a soccer field.  The best competitive experience I had was when we had the opportunity to participate in an International soccer tournament.  We played a team from Norway!  Those girls were tall.  I could practically run between their legs.
7.  I don’t like chocolate.  I’ll eat it occasionally.  But it’s not something I really enjoy.  I think it tastes like dirt.
8.  I also don’t like meat on a bone.  The mere thought of biting into a bone makes me wants to gag.
9.  I’m obsessed with clean counters.  If you leave a spare crumb on my counter, I will hunt you down like a rabid dog.
10.  I would sell my soul for a Diet Coke.

So, there ya’ have it.  10 random Jen facts.

I have chosen to pass these two awards on to three of my favorite food bloggers.  I hope you guys have a chance to stop by their blogs and see all of the wonderful things they have to offer, both in food and in utter fabulosity!  (I really wish fabulosity was a real word…)

I hope you three know I adore your blogs, your food and how hard you work at what you do!

07 March 2012 ~ 45 Comments

A #CrazyCookingChallenge and Shrimp Fra Diavolo

The Crazy Cooking Challenge is a monthly challenge in which food bloggers gather together to bring readers a blog featuring one, pre-selected food item.  Each participating blogger has the choice to utilize the selected food item in whatever way they so choose.

The point of the challenge is for food bloggers to not only highlight the featured food item, but also for food bloggers to highlight recipes that they’ve found on other food blogs.  It’s a virtual recipe share and celebration of great food.  And it happens once a month!


This month’s featured food item was spaghetti with red sauce.

Since this is my first time participating in the challenge, the monthly selection left me excited.  I felt like the food blog world had been left wide open for me to search.  After all, what’s more versatile than spaghetti and red sauce?

I’d had this recipe for Shrimp Fra Diavolo from Gimme Some Oven pinned for months.

Score!  Spicy sauce with seafood over pasta?

I’d say that’s pretty close to my own personal heaven.  Yours may or may not involve spicy shrimp.  But mine sure does.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Printable Recipe

1 lb. spaghetti or angel hair noodles
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 Tbs. olive oil
5 cloves minced garlic
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbs. dried parsley flakes
1/2 Tbs. dried basil
Grated or shredded parmesan for service

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Season shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the skillet.  Saute for 1 minute before flipping to cook on the opposite side for another minute, or until shrimp are just pink and cooked through.

Transfer the shrimp to a plate.

Add onion to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.  Add garlic and cook for one more minute.

Add the wine to deglaze the pan and cook for one minute.

Add crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, oregano, parsley and basil to the skillet.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until sauce is thickened to your desired consistency.  Season with salt and pepper as needed.

***Note:  The original recipe called for 1 tsp. of red pepper flakes.  I added 1 1/2 tsp. because I wanted the sauce to be spicy.  I wanted the sauce to live up to its name.  Feel free to add a bit less red pepper to lessen the spice.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions.  Once cooked, drain well and add to the skillet with the tomato sauce.  Toss in cooked shrimp.

Serve topped with parmesan cheese.

Did you know that “Fra Diavolo” translates to “Brother Devil”.  Hmmmm.

I don’t know what that says about me.  Or you.

But I know for this dish it means yum.

Enjoy, you spicy devil, you.

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