Where does the time go! It’s been 10 years since I started this time capsule of preserving my family’s favorite recipes throughout the years. Back in 2011 my oldest son Josh earned a degree in Graphic Design but decided he was going back to school and was moving on to pursue a degree in Physics/Astronomy. As he gained his independence he started cooking his own meals and wanted me to share some of the recipes that he could follow and make on his own. One day he surprised me with a newly designed blog to start sharing recipes. I can honestly say I knew nothing about photography or writing a blog. Through his graphic design knowledge he taught me how to take pictures in different lighting, how to crop them and also photoshop. As time went by I became more confident venturing out of my comfort zone and found myself trying new foods and new techniques that I had never dreamed of before. Food has always been about making memories and special events and every recipe tells a story which comes to mind every time I revisit an old post. In 10 years there have been some unexpected surprises and opportunities, along with meeting some wonderful new friends and blog colleagues along the way. Here’s a few of the highlights from some of my favorite moments as well as some of the most shared recipes over the years. One of my most treasured gifts was my very own cookbook (pictured above) that Josh designed and had published for me. Here’s my trip back in time over the last 10 years.
One of the first things I wanted to share was my Mom’s Okra Gumbo. She made this every summer with fresh okra and home grown tomatoes. It’s fried okra with bacon, sauteed onions and tomatoes. It was always a summer favorite growing up on the farm. I try to make it at least once each year.
My Mom’s Apple Dumplings is one of the most searched recipes on An Inspired Cook. These pastry covered apples, cinnamon and sugar are cooked in a buttery simple syrup. It is one of the most memorable desserts of my childhood.
This Chile Pequin Salsa has consistently been a top search over the years as well. It’s the hottest and most mouth watering salsa’s I’ve ever made. Once you taste this salsa you just have to keep dipping because when you stop the burn starts!
An unexpected surprise in November 2011 came when I won a Kitchenaid Mixer from the “Pioneer Woman” blog. It was the first and only stand mixer I have ever owned. You can’t imagine how much I have enjoyed and appreciated this mixer over the years.
Ending the year 2011 with a bowl of Blue Corn Posole, a tradition from New Mexico that we share every year during the holidays.
In 2012 I recreated IHOP’s Lingonberry Crepes adding a cream cheese filling and lingonberry butter. This recipe has been searched more than any other from 2012.
Making tamales was a labor of love and took an entire weekend to prepare. Joe and I made Tamales with Pork and Red Chile and another batch of Pork Tamales with Verde Salsa. All in all we made 96 tamales that we shared with family and friends.
While spending A Week in New Mexico, Joe and I found this beautiful bowl in Taos made by Red Earth Studio in Tucumcari, NM which is also my hometown. Green Chile Stew was the first thing I made to fill my bowl.
My love of fried green tomatoes has no bounds. I’ve incorporated them into many of my recipes with Biscuits and Fried Green Tomato Gravy being was one of my favorites along with being one the most popular recipes of 2012. It was inspired by Chef Paul Prudhomme who taught me much about spice blends. I’ve made many of his recipes and loved them all!
This Apple Green Chile Pie with Pine Nut Streusel was inspired by a segment on the Cooking Channel that originated from a pie shop in San Francisco. It was so intriguing, I thought it was a pie made for New Mexico and served it up for the holidays.
Surprisingly to me Chipotle Tabasco Sauce from Scratch has probably been the most searched recipe of all my recipes. It truly does taste just like the Tabasco brand and I always keep a can or two of Chipotle en Adobo on hand to make this sauce in case we run out. That happens a lot at my house!
Breakfast has always been Joe’s favorite meal of the day. We have breakfast at least once a week for dinner. Bird’s Nest Brunch was a family favorite from the first time we tasted it.
Charro Beans was one of my Mom’s recipes that everyone loved. She called them Chuckwagon Beans but they are commonly called Charro Beans. Growing up we had pinto beans on the side at most every meal but when she added bacon, onion, tomato and green chile that was the meal in itself along with a hunk of cornbread!
Fried Green Tomatoes with Crawfish Cream Sauce was an appetizer that I had on vacation in Gulfport, MS. It was the best thing I ate on our trip and I couldn’t wait until we got home to recreate it. Out of the blue in 2019 I received a message from an editor from AY (About You) Magazine with a request to use my photo for Fried Green Tomatoes with Crawfish Cream Sauce to use in their Eat and Drink section of the magazine. Of course I said YES, it was truly an honor and made my day!
Pecan Pie is one of Joe’s favorite desserts and definitely his favorite pie. And this pie is usually his pick for his birthday “cake”. We are a family that rarely celebrates birthdays with cake. . . strange but true!
Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting was my Valentine cupcakes for 2014. Valentines Day is Joe and my half year anniversary so every year we kid each other that we made it another 6 month’s.
Tacos are like my children, I love them all! You can get creative by adding almost anything in a taco to suit each individual taste. I’ve made my share of tacos with many different flavors including 2014’s Aussie Shrimp Tacos with Jicama Salsa and Jalapeno Cream.
We have fond memories of 2014 when Josh graduated from UMKC earning a degree in Physics/Astronomy. We were proud parents for sure, he had worked so hard for this degree. After graduation we treated him to dinner at the Capitol Grill on the Plaza in Kansas City. They suggested that we try the Lobster Mac and Cheese which was their signature dish. It was excellent and I made mental notes of all the flavors to recreate it one day. Instead of lobster I made it with lagostino tails and it turned out fantastic, even Josh was impressed and thought it tasted as good as Capitol Grill’s.
In August 2014 “Chile Monster” shared my recipe for Lime Ice Cream with Candied Hatch Green Chiles on their site. Chile Monster is one of the great Chile Stores in New Mexico. You can get your chile fix along with many New Mexico products through their website.
I was surprised once again when in April 2015 Chile Monster featured another one of my recipes for NM Inspired Steak Pinwheels. This was one of my all time favorite grilled recipes. The steak was laid out and topped with cheese, cilantro chimichurri and green chile. They were then rolled up, tied together with string, sliced and grilled. A side of guacamole and salsa were served along side.
This New Mexico Frito Pie brings back memories of my childhood and more specifically my childhood friend Ruby. We were in 4-H together and served up Frito Pie’s at the County Fair’s concession stand. We loved our frito pie’s and I always think of Ruby when I make them. Sadly Ruby passed away almost 10 years ago, shortly after I started this blog. We were friends our entire lives and I miss her every day!
One of the biggest thrills for me personally was when I submitted my Skillet Blackberry Bread Pudding with Lemony Whipped Cream in a dessert contest with Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. The winner’s recipe would be included in their first ever published cookbook. Now I don’t normally do contests but it’s Joe’s and we think their bar-b-que is second to none. Their award winning barbecue is the best barbecue on earth and for 25 years it was our absolute favorite place to eat while in KC. Last year in 2020 I got an email from the marketing director that my recipe was the winner and would be included in the cookbook. They explained that it was taking a lot longer to complete the cookbook than expected but it should be within the next year. That was in 2020 during the pandemic. As of now the cookbook is listed on Amazon to be out in March, 2022. It’s been delayed twice but I’m still hopeful that it will be published so I can put their cookbook on my shelf!
Josh first discovered his love for cheesecake over spring break when he was 16 years old, which would have been way back in 2004. It became tradition to go to NM over spring break and for several years we made a side trip to Carlsbad Caverns. Josh loves caves and could explore them for hours. At the end of the tour is an underground lunchroom where we got a bite to eat. Josh discovered wrapped slices of Reese’s Cheesecake and had to try it. It made such an impression from that first bite that he only wanted Reese’s Cheesecake for his birthday. So every year I make a different version of this cheesecake for him. In 2016 I made these individual Mini Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bites for his birthday. It was a huge hit and any time that we can get together on his birthday I make his favorite cheesecake.
My Mom made the BEST buttermilk pies! Everyone raved about her pies, they were always so good. She usually made a creamy pie with meringue which to this day I’ve not found a recipe quite like it. I contributed my take on a custard buttermilk pie using the same exact ingredients but cooking them into a delicious custard filling. So of course Mom’s Buttermilk Pies would be on my list of favorites!
Publix Bakery Calypso Cookies came about when my friend Wendy asked me to recreate them. She had been to Florida on vacation and brought back a bag of Calypso cookies that had the ingredients list on the label. I tasted them and after a couple rounds of trial and error with measurements and ingredients I came up with a recipe that seemed to match the cookies straight from Publix Bakery. These cookies were the most viewed post for the year 2016.
Dion’s pizza is an Albuquerque favorite that has been around since 1978. During our KC years we craved a slice of our favorite pizza , the “505” aka Dion’s Pepperoni and Green Chile Pizza. So in 2016 I made my own version which was pretty good if I do say so myself! The locals enjoy a slice with a side of Dion’s signature ranch dressing!
Pork and Veggie Potstickers marked 5 years of An Inspired Cook. I love these so much I make a huge batch every year and freeze them so that we can enjoy them anytime.
These Cocoa Coffee Braised Beef Tacos were inspired by a segment of the Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise” in which they ranked the best picks for Mexican Food. This episode included Taco Guild Gastropub in Phoenix, AZ which showcased their popular tacos that ranked #2 on their countdown. I taped the episode and watched it over and over again taking notes on the ingredients and technique they used to make these tacos. It turned out that I wasn’t the only one watching this episode and many people viewed my recipe while searching for a copycat recipe.
This is one of the first things I make every August when the chile harvest begins. You might say it’s New Mexico’s favorite time of year with the aroma of roasting green chiles throughout the state. Chile Relleno Chimichangas make me happy!
One of my most proud moments was conquering Smoked Baby Back Ribs like they make at Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. It took me years to get up the nerve to try smoking ribs and I’m so glad I did. They are well worth the effort!!
My summertime indulgence with fruit pies has no bounds! I love fruit pies and could not imagine a better fried pie than these Cherry Fried Pies with a Lemon Glaze!
2018 was the year we moved back to New Mexico and and breakfast dominated many of my recipes. My love for New Mexico showed proudly with this Hatch Green Chile Benedict with Fry Bread. All my favorites on one plate was more than I could have hoped for. Mini fry bread with crisp bacon, perfectly poached eggs with green chile hollandaise sauce, is there anything better?!!
Recreated from our Florida holiday in Panama City where we had the most amazing French Toast with Roasted Cinnamon Pecans and Raspberries.
This New Mexico Green Chile Cheese Ball was a big hit with my New Mexican friends. All things New Mexico went into this appetizer with the cheese coming from the Tucumcari Mountain Cheese Factory in my hometown!
For Christmas 2018 I made Green Chile Pistachio Brittle and Red Chile Pinon Brittle. The sweet heat of this brittle is addicting!
You will find Carne Adovada on almost any New Mexican menu. One of the best Carne Adovada Chimichangas I ever tasted was from Little Anita’s New Mexican Food. I couldn’t wait to go home and re-create it. This is the result, Carne Adovada Chimichangas Christmas Style smothered in red and green chile.
Another re-creation came from Hot Tamales in Rio Rancho. They serve some of the most amazing breakfasts incorporating traditional New Mexican foods with eggs. You can find Enchiladas & Eggs, Tamales & Eggs and my favorite Relleno & Eggs. I took their Relleno & Eggs and made it into a Chile Relleno Skillet Breakfast which was over the top delicious!
In mid September I picked up a half bushel of roasted red chile. It’s green chile that turns red when it begins to mature and becomes available at the end of harvest season. The longer they’re left on the vine the more red they become. Red chiles (non roasted) are also are strung together into a “Chile Ristra” to dry and use to make red chile sauce with the pods or ground into a fine powder. I really had no experience using roasted red chiles but I quickly became a fan of their flavor and created this recipe for Roasted Red Chile Alfredo with Chicken. It was delicious and one of our favorite pasta dishes to date! Since then I’ve found more ways to use roasted red or substitute it for green chile in many recipes.
2020 was a crazy year! We experienced a new normal of washing hands, staying home and social distancing. It was hard at first learning the limitations of being out in public and over time we adjusted our way of life. We ate more comfort food which led to adding on those dreaded pandemic pounds like everyone else. So we started taking day trips to explore the outdoors, hike and get away to remote places where there were less people. One of our favorite comfort foods was Roasted Tomatoes and Pasta with Burrata that I adapted from Marie at Proud Italian Cook. It was one of the most memorable dishes in 2020 that I made over and over again!
One of my most popular recipes of 2020 was Red Plum Jam. I found some beautiful red plums that made this gorgeous red jam. It was simple to make and we enjoyed it with biscuits, scones and tortillas!
When strawberries were in season and at their sweetest I made a vinatage Strawberry Pie. This pie reminded me of long ago family gatherings where we had potlucks and the most remarkable pies would appear on a table made with jello mixes, pudding mixes, cool whip or cream cheese. Over time these pies and desserts faded away until recently when I started seeing them again on Pinterest. They taste just as good today as they did back in the days of my childhood.
There’s a little market on 4th Street called the Fruit Basket where you can get local products. They have many varieties of dried beans, cornmeal, spices and nuts along with produce and green chile. I picked up a bag of blue cornmeal one day to make Blue Corn Skillet Cornbread. Blue cornmeal is a little coarser which gave the cornbread a crisper texture and was so good with butter and a drizzle of red chile honey.
In December of 2020 Josh had some time off and came to visit. Since the pandemic began we had not seen him in over a year. There’s nothing that Josh loves more than Kansas City Barbeque, so we decided to make burnt ends. We spent 9 1/2 hours smoking 6 pounds of beef to make the most irresistible burnt ends we’ve ever tasted with the exception of Joe’s KC Bar-B-Que of course. I had intended to freeze part of them to send home with him but within a couple of days they were all gone. We promised to make his favorite Burnt Ends Kansas City Style any time he comes back to visit.
In 2021 I was contacted by Taste the Tradition and New Mexico Department of Agriculture with an opportunity to support and promote locally made New Mexico products by incorporating them into new and creative recipes. It’s been a challenge and has inspired me to think outside the box at times. One of the first things I had to work with was New Mexico Pinon Coffee and a package of Dark Chocolate covered Pecans from Legacy Pecans. I brewed coffee to include in the cake batter and roughly chopped the chocolate covered pecans to use as a topper for this Decadent Dark Chocolate Cake. Every bite was so decadent and the flavor was enhanced by the pinon coffee and chocolate covered pecans.
I’m not a a big pork chop fan but when I made a chimichurri to top these grilled chops, the flavors just exploded. I cannot remember a recipe that changed my attitude on one food more than these Grilled Pork Chops with Red Chile Pistachio Chimichurri. The flavors of the chimichurri complimented the pork chops in a way that I have never tasted. These chops have made a dinner appearance again and again at our kitchen table.
When the weather is cool and there’s a chill in the air I love a mug of hot chocolate. Making your own mix tastes so much better than anything you can buy. This Mexican Hot Chocolate Mix was a favorite at our house and didn’t last long. Good thing it only takes about 15 minutes to mix up another batch!
Huevos Rancheros is a New Mexican favorite that is served any time of day. It’s pure comfort on a plate. Eggs over corn tortillas cooked your way smothered in red chile sauce with fried potatoes and pinto beans on the side. What else needs to be said!
Finally I will leave you with the best for last. And it only took me 10 years to make one of the most celebrated New Mexican dishes . . . Indian Tacos. If you are ever in New Mexico please please order an Indian Taco, you will not be disappointed! Or better yet, make your own!
Thank you all for your inspiration and friendship throughout the years. There have been so many memories packed into 10 years.