Sunday, January 19, 2020

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Making the sauce the day before seems to heighten the flavor.

Place in a pot:

2 chicken breasts, skin removed (about 500 grams)

2 cups water
1 t chicken (or other) bouillon

Boil on a low flame, covered, for 5 minutes. Turn off fire, and leave until cool. You will use the broth for your sauce.

Now make the enchilada sauce:

Measure these spices and place in a small bowl:

2 T chili powder

1 minced clove garlic
½ scant t salt
½ t powdered cumin
¼ t powdered oregano

Place in a pot and heat:

2 T grapeseed or other oil

Add and whisk for about a minute:

2 T all-purpose flour (中力粉 churikiko in Japanese)

Add t
he spices and continue to whisk. After about a minute, slowly add while whisking to prevent lumps:

2 C chicken broth
1 T tomato paste

Simmer for about ten minutes.

Now, back to the chicken. Shred with a fork on a plate. Put the shredded chicken breasts in a bowl and pour in about ½ cup enchilada sauce. Mix in the sauce and set aside.


350 grams cooked beans (black, pinto, whatever)

T butter
1 clove garlic
¼ t salt

Heat the beans, butter, garlic, and salt in a ziplock bag (not airtight) in the microwave until the butter melts. Seal the bag and gently pound with a rolling pin to mash and squeeze it about to incorporate the butter, salt, and garlic into the beans. If you prefer not to use a bag, heat them in a bowl in the microwave or in a pan on the stove and mash with a fork. Set aside.

Heat in a frying pan:

1 T olive oil

Stir fry:

1 minced onion

When cooked, mix into the chicken.

Now it's time to put together the enchiladas.

Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF).

Lay tortillas on a clean surface. Place small amounts of each of the ingredients on each of the tortillas: grated cheese, beans, meat. Roll them and place seam side down in an oven pan lined with cooking paper. Pour on 
½-1 cup enchilada sauce. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges start to turn golden. Sprinkle a little mozzarella or other cheese on top of the enchiladas and return to the oven until cheese is melted. Serve with green salad, and guacamole and chips. (If you have leftover sauce, freeze it to use later.)

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Sugar Cookies

Thanks to Jaime-Leigh Gorham for sharing her simple and delicious recipe!


114 gm unsalted butter
140 gm sugar

When butter and sugar are creamy, blend in:

1 egg
1 t vanilla

Set aside.

Sift together:

260 gm all-purpose flour (中力粉 churikiko in Japanese)
½ t baking powder
½ t salt

Add sifted ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture. Don't overmix. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes. 

If you want to save some dough for another day, wrap it in plastic and put it in a ziplock freezer bag in the freezer.

Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF).

While the oven is heating, put a little flour on a clean surface and a little on a rolling pin. Roll the dough to 5-7mm thickness. Use cookie-cutters to cut. 

Place cookies on a parchment-covered tray and bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. The cookies should be only lightly brown. Cool on a cooling rack.

When cookies are completely cooled they can be iced.


Mix together:

250 gm powdered sugar
1 egg white
1 t lemon juice

If you are going to make a small batch of cookies, you won't need so much icing. Instead, place a pile of powdered sugar in a small bowl, add part of an egg white and a squeeze of lemon. Mix. Add more sugar as needed to make the right consistency for icing.

Divide the icing and mix in a tiny bit of a different color food coloring to each bit. Put icing in the corner of a small plastic bag. Push the icing towards the corner. Cut the tip of the corner. Do this with each of the colors. You now have icing "pens" with which to decorate your cookies.

Wait until the icing on the cookies is completely dry before serving or storing.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Almond Butter Cookies


½ C butter

Add and beat:

½ C brown sugar
½ C white sugar
(OR 1 C Japanese brown sugar)

Beat in:

1 egg
1 C almond butter (OR ½ C almond butter + ½ C peanut butter)
½ t salt
½ t baking soda
½ t vanilla extract


1-1½ C flour (more or less, depending on the wetness of the nut butters)

Press dough into about a 2 cm flat square. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or freeze in a ziplock freezer bag.

Cut into 2 cm cubes, and place 5 cm apart on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. To flatten them a bit, press with a fork once across and again from top to bottom. 
Bake at 190ºC (375ºF) for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Simple Ministrone

Heat 2 T oil in a deep saucepan. Add:

150 grams chopped bacon

Stir fry until golden. Then add:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
2 carrots, peeled and roughly cut
½ t oregano
⅓ t basil
½ t salt
½ t pepper

Stir fry until garlic and onions are tender. Add:

2 potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
1 can mixed beans, rinsed
2 cans chopped tomatoes

1 liter of water plus 3½ t Better than Bouillon or other bouillon
1 liter stock

Stir until mixed. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked. If a fork goes into a potato easily, it is cooked.


100 grams broken pasta

After about 5 minutes, add:

1½ C chopped cabbage or other greens

Cook the pasta for about 10 minutes in all or until pasta is al dente. Taste. Season with salt and pepper. Add more bouillon if necessary.

Serve. Top with fresh basil and/or grated cheese.

Saturday, August 11, 2018


Be sure to use a blender that can blend ice. This recipe makes 2 servings.

Pour in to reach the top of the blades:



1 pack of ice coffee concentrate
2 t Kahlúa (mocha or regular)
1 T cocoa mix (2 parts cocoa to 3 parts fine sugar, like kibi-sato)
(sugar to taste)

Blend, and gradually add:

1 tray of frozen milk sticks, made in water-bottle ice cube trays (long and thin ice)
(5 small ice cubes)

When everything is blended to your desired consistency, it's done.

If you want to make a chocolate shake, just leave out the coffee concentrate and add a little extra cocoa mix.

Banana shake

Pour in to reach the top of the blades:



½ frozen banana
½ t vanilla extract
1 t sugar

Blend, and gradually add:

½ tray of frozen milk sticks, made in water-bottle ice cube trays (long and thin ice) about 5-6 sticks
(3-5 small ice cubes)

Monday, July 2, 2018

No-bake Stuffed Peppers and Eggplant

Prepare vegetables

The number of green peppers and eggplant you will need depends on their size. I used 8 small green peppers and one Japanese eggplant for this recipe. 

Cut green peppers in half and carefully remove seeds, some pith, and the stems. Rinse and put open-side down in a sieve to dry. Wash the eggplant and cut lengthwise, leaving on stem. Cut out about ½ cm from the edge all around, and then scoop out the center part of the eggplant with a spoon. Chop the center part and set aside.


Finely mince:

1 garlic clove
½ onion

Mix lightly with:

½ pack tofu (first rinse it and squeeze out as much liquid as you can)
⅓ C Japanese bread crumbs (panko)
1 egg
about 300 grams minced chicken
¼ t salt (more or less)
¼ t pepper (more or less)

Gently fill peppers and eggplant with meat mixture extending about ½ cm over the tops. Place on a plate until all vegetables are filled.

Heat in a frying pan:

1-2 T garlic infused olive (or other) oil 

Turn fire to low and place peppers and eggplant in the pan meat side down. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn them over, cover, and cook for another 3 minutes or so until the meat is cooked and vegetables are soft.

Put foil on a grill tray. (In Japan, I use the fish grill portion of the stove.) Place peppers and eggplant meat side up on the foil. Sprinkle cheese on top of the meat. (Be careful not to let a bunch of cheese fall on the foil.) Grill until cheese is melted. While the vegetables are grilling, stir-fry the center part of the eggplant, salt, and serve as a side.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Pan-fried Chicken with Garlic and Lemon

Slice 2-3 chicken breasts lengthwise to make two thin slices each. 

Rub with:

1 clove finely grated garlic or garlic paste

Coat lightly with: 

flour mixed with salt and pepper

Heat in a frying pan:

1 T olive oil 
1 T butter

When hot, turn flame to medium low. Shake off excess flour and lay chicken in the pan. Cook for 3 minutes on one side, turn over and cook for 3 minutes on the other side. Cut the thickest one and make sure it is white (cooked) all the way through.

Put the chicken on a plate, and pour on one of the following sauces:

Sauce 1

¼ C lemon juice
2-3 T honey, to taste

Sauce 2

¼ C lemon juice
2 T water
¼ C honey 
A pinch of salt
1 T cornstarch - mixed with 3 T water until smooth

Heat lemon juice, water, honey, and salt. When very hot, add cornstarch mixed with water. Keep stirring until slightly thickened.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Bread Machine Prep

Bags of homemade bread mix stored in an airtight container.

My son and I have been take a few minutes after dinner once a month or so to prepare bags of bread mix. This has greatly simplified making bread and has had the added benefit of making it almost impossible to spill any flour outside of the bread pan when putting ingredients in the machine.

Each bag contains:

100 gm whole wheat bread flour
150 gm white bread flour
2 T* brown sugar
1 T milk powder
1 t salt

When it's time to put on some bread, put into the bread machine:

10-15 gm butter
180 ml cold water for regular bread or 170 ml cold water for sandwich bread
1 bag of flour mix
1 t dried yeast 

If your machine doesn't have a special place to put the yeast, make a shallow well in the center of the flour and pour the yeast there. The yeast should not touch the water. 

The finished product, with added sunflower seeds.
* If you are using Japanese measurements, 1 T is approximately 1 大さじ, 1 t is approximately 1 小さじ.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Spicy Garlic Pork

Marinate 500 grams of thinly sliced pork for 30 minutes in:

2 T light brown sugar
3 T soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
1-2 t tobanjan
(or other chili paste)
1 t minced ginger
¼ t ground pepper
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced into thin crescents

Heat a little canola or other flavorless oil in a frying pan. Stir fry the meat and onions. (Cover and leave over a low flame for a couple minutes, if you like.) Turn up the fire and stir fry to darken the onions and evaporate most of the sauce. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Swiss Butter Cookies


½ C + 1 T butter

Set aside.

Whisk in a large bowl:

2 eggs

Blend into the eggs and beat until thick, about 10 minutes:

½ C + 2 T white sugar

Mix in:

the melted lukewarm butter
a smidgen of salt
(¼ t vanilla or lemon essence)

Fold in:

1½ t grated lemon rind (just the yellow part, not any white part. Don't forget to wash and dry the lemon first.)
2 C white flour

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Alternatively, you can freeze the dough in batches. Wrap each batch in plastic, then put in a ziplock freezer bag.

Preheat oven to 170C (325F).

Lightly flour a clean surface, your rolling pin, and the bottom of a cookie cutter. Roll dough into about ½ cm (¼ inch) thickness, cut with a cookie cutter. Place the cutouts on a thinly buttered sheet of parchment paper (or baking pan or cookie sheet.) Ball up the scraps and roll out again until you've used all the dough.

Spread the tops of cookie with egg yolk. Bake until golden at the edges, for 12-15 minutes. Cool for a minute on the sheet before moving them to a cooling rack.