You can do it just right too!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Beer Chasin' Salsa (er-Tijuana Sauce)

Crack a Beer and get out the Kleenix!

This is not for the weak!
A neighbor lady from Tijuana taught me this recipe. It can be modified by using other kinds of peppers & chilies. It is great with pork, on chips, or a thin coat on bread for an after-Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwich.

You really can't do anything wrong with this recipe if  you stick to the below base. Remember that "less is best" when it comes to the SALT and OIL. The more lemons the tarter, the more tomatillos the weaker (less tomatillos and more peppers = HOTTER).

When I have blackened the peppers in the house, everyone runs out the doors coughing so grilling them is best unless you have a great vent or another way that you blacken peppers.

You will Need:

4- handfuls of Serrano peppers (de-stemmed and blackened either on a grill or in a frying pan but if you do it in a frying pan beware--everyone in the house will be coughing!)

20- medium size Tomatillo (peeled, washed and boil till soft)

1-Large Onion of your choice peeled and chopped (sized for blender)

Set out Ingredients & Blender
1-2 Bulbs Fresh Garlic peeled,

3-6 Lemons (depending on your taste)

1-3 Tbs Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp-2 Tbs Salt

Blacken Serrano Peppers

Boil cleaned Tomatillos until soft

When cool enough Add EVERYTHING to the Blender except Salt (do that to taste)

Pulse and Blend until Smooth Add More Lemon Juice as needed

Can be Frozen

The darker
you char the peppers the darker the sauce

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NO SOS! Easy Mess for Breakfast!


Mess it up the easy way! I have used this recipe for years. It can be (partially) made-ahead; Or it can be baked a whole day ahead (flavors blend overnight--just warm it slowly in an oven); it can be made in an iron skillet, electric skillet, crock-pot or the oven. 

Yes it does take a while to bake, but the aroma pulls everyone out of bed and into the kitchen without a word.

In a pan (or your iron skillet) simmer the following mess (except the shredded cheese) until heated through and bubbling:

2 cups of any kind of cooked meat (in this picture I used left-over cooked hamburger --so the prep-time was 10 min)

1 cup chopped or sliced sweet yellow onion

1- 14 oz can of ANY tomato-based salsa, fire roasted salsa, or the El Patio's...(I used, "Salsa Fresco--Salsa de Chile Fresco")

1- 4 oz can chopped jalapenos or chilies

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese--(keep this ASIDE for step three)

Remove from heat and/or keep in frig for the next day or: Place mixture into whatever you are going to bake it in.

Mix the following:

1 pkj "Jiffy" corn muffin mix (or 2 cups of made-from scratch cornbread OR 2 cups of Bisquick)

2 eggs
1/2 cup ricotta cheese, (OR: cottage cheese, or any other kind of creamy cheese that you like)

1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)


1/2-1 cup whole milk, butter milk, or 1/2 & 1/2 (add milk last--you want a pancake-like batter)

***Depending upon your altitude, you my need to adjust the milk accordingly. Higher altitudes may need more liquid.

Before Baking: Sprinkle meat mixture with sharp cheddar cheese (and/or sliced scallions)

Pour the above over the meat mixture. Cover and bake for up to 1 hour depending on altitude (knife inserted comes out clean).

Remove from oven, heat, or turn crock to low....sprinkle with any cheese-- longhorn is great.Cut, flip, and serve with salsa, picante, sour cream, jalapenos, sliced scallions, leeks, black beans, etc...

I poured the meat mixture into a baking dish and topped it with the cheddar, and then the batter

There are so many variations to this!

Meatless? No problem (use a veggie in place of meat just stir-fry it first, then simmer in salsa or fresco). 

You can use water instead of dairy, You can also substitute all the ingredients for low-fat. 

Other ingredients to add to the meat mixture: veggies, various onions and peppers, multiple kinds of meats, etc..
Other ingredients to add to the corn-bread mix: 1 can creamed corn, 1 can whole kernel corn, canned pimento, green or black olives, etc..Experiment and have fun!

Just make sure that the batter is the consistency of pancake batter before you pour it over the meat.

** This recipe can be multiplied like mad...just make sure that the batter is the right consistency.

Copyright 2012 by Soni Cido. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

So I Am Also a "KP" in My Own Home!

Full Story at: 

According to Joe Lipsius, the "Kitchen Police" were nothing more than the kitchen janitors. He writes:
"I remember with much pleasure my first encounters with the Mess Hall of Co C, 32nd Inf Trng Bn, IRTC, Camp Croft, SC, just outside of Spartanburg, SC... 

The Mess Hall had its bad side, though. That was when you had to work kitchen police, better known as "KP."  By some magic formula which was never explained, we all had our turn working in the kitchen in various jobs such as "firing the boiler", working the "pots and pans" sink, etc.  After three or four turns at "KP," I finally earned Sgt. Stout's respect to the point he offered to make me a cook if I wanted to work in the kitchen.  I said, "No thanks, Sarge, Sir.  I like the food and I don't mind the kitchen work, but I like close-order drilling and marching better so I'll stick to doing it." -JL

In my house, the "magic formula" showed up on my kid's a chore chart when I wasn't assigning myself to it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Feeding the Masses

Do you or do you not feel that cooking for anyone but yourself is like, 'feeding an army'?  I do. But now after reading this blog, I think that, I might not be feeling that way so much anymore! Pancakes for a thousand? At West Point? where everything is perfect and disciplined?

Check this out:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

How many of us have never complained about a meal that we were served? Ditto.

Yet most soldiers have always had a reason to complain. Since the beginning of organized military, feeding the soldiers has sometimes been such a huge task, that keeping them healthy, satisfied, and full, ranked last priority (if at all) on the mess hall to-do list.

Back in the day, and even now, military meals have either been ignored, completely dismissed, or the brunt of hundreds of jokes.

A former Veteran told me that when he was in service 47 years ago, most cooks and meals were referred to as, "Gut Cheater". Another man at a VFW dinner told me, "The word was, and still is, 'anything will go down with Tabasco'." A round of laughter broke out as those at my table joked about military meals of the past.... if they could be called "meals". Nutrition was never a concern, but filling the gut was the goal even if it was not always possible. Overweight soldiers were unheard of because overeating and lack of exercise just didn't happen. And many had suffered starvation.

These days, however, body fat is a concern for the military. According to Jim Gourley via blog:, " in every three service men or women are obese". 

Even if overeating is not the culprit, lack of exercise, cheap, low-quality food, and available junk food is. 

In Fort Rucker, Alabama, I've seen cooks throw lard on the short-order grill line. Is it too much to ask to get something without trans fats, please?
4:59 AM ET
June 3, 2011

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Growing up in the 60's and 70's it was very common for a parent to say to a child, "Do NOT take more than your stomach will hold!" OR "There are starving kids in China!" (some parents said, "Africa"-- my parents preferred China for some reason.

Photograph with caption "Cafeteria Lines in Mess Hall

 at Naval Barracks Area," U.S. Naval Ammunition 

Depot, Hastings, Nebraska., 1944?

Taking a closer look we can see that the sign on the wall 

that 'any wasting of food will be followed with disciplinary 

action'. (can that advice even be comprehended by kids 

these days?)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Help Feed Someone Besides Yourself

I have been in the situation where I did not know how I was going to feed my family. I can live on apples and potatoes but children need nutrition.

Even though I had always given to food shelters and food drives over the years, when it came my time to get help, it was not so easy.

Check out the link Below. Snickers is willing to give out two meals to every bar code that you enter. Watch for "specially marked" bars.

Here is their partner:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kitchen After-Laughs

Kitchen disasters are fun stories to tell and to hear about. I call them, "after laughs" because nobody laughs 'till long after the disaster.

My worst kitchen disaster was when I was about 23 years old. I started 4T of oil and three kernels of popcorn sizzling around in a heavy pan (for those of you who have no idea how to make popcorn grandma's way, you wait until the three kernels pop, then you add a cup of corn and swirl it around until it is popping like crazy, reduce the heat and keep shaking until the popping stops).

Because I had a mild case of 'attention deficit' (before it made the news and after I found out that it can come in handy when one has screaming toddlers) what do you think that I did right then?


I went outside to help my son and I forgot to go back into the house.

Soon the black fog came rolling out of the kitchen window, I ran to the scene which, by now, was flames shooting two feet above the pan! and like a silly young girl, I grabbed the pot, ran outside with it, and flung it down into the gully!

Thankfully, I did not trip over the dog with the scorching oil and nobody was burned. 
I was able to repaint my kitchen that week to cover the horrible smell.

However, my four-year-old son had to enlighten all the neighbors, my family, and friends as to why I was painting my kitchen.
"Momma almost burned down the house and all she was making was a snack!"

Years later, I learned that in a case like that, a lid dropped on it would have stopped the drama quite quickly with little risk to me, my son or the dog.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Camp Cooks and Lumbarjacks

Taken from: Wexford County Historical Society & Museum online album

I am always amazed when I think about the days when providing a meal was so much more than prepping food and turning a knob. And in a camp like this, the cook was under a lot of pressure to satisfy...these men worked hard and burned food faster than race cars and gasoline.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Progressive Dinners

A "Progressive Dinner" is when a group of 6-15 people get together and go as a group from house to house..eating a full-coarse meal along the way. 

Four people (or couples) agree to welcome and serve in their home, one portion of the four coarse dinner to the guests.

The appetizer at the first home
The dinner salad at the second home
The main dish at the third home
The dessert at the fourth and final home

It really is a lot of fun! It is not that big of a deal to prepare just one portion of a meal even if it is for up to ten people. It's a great way to make new friends and get to know each other better.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Smithsonian published this excellent article about the history of the soup kitchen (public mess hall).

And then there are those who believed that Al Capone set the first Soup Kitchen in motion:

YOU decide. I like both ideas.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Well, the season of major messing is over! Eggnog, Spinach Pom Poms and lots and lots of snacks were in the hall every turn of the Holiday! Here is hoping that 2012 turns out all good things for you, yours, and the Mess Hall Cook Book :)


Mess hall dining dates back to the beginning of time- when everyone gathered around a fire to eat the latest kill.