Tino’s Chicken Flautas


In 1976, Joe and I and our sons Benjamin, Jeremy, and Sean  (age almost 3, 5 1/2, and 8) moved from North Dallas to the growing suburb of Plano, Texas. From the time we were getting ready to move to our house on Deep Valley until the time we moved from there, our favorite Mexican food restaurant was Tino’s, owned by Tino Trujillo. Even after we moved away from Plano, we tried to make it to Tino’s when we were back in the area. From the location we first visited in 1976, Tino moved to a spot in Plano’s Collin Creek Mall. Later, there was a third location called Tino’s Too. One of our favorite dishes was Chicken Flautas.

I can still remember Tino’s smile, his warm welcome, and his personal greetings to our sons as they grew. I was delighted to get the recipe for chicken flautas when it appeared in the Plano Star Courier, our local newspaper. There was a feature in the paper titled Cooking Corner.  This recipe was titled Pollos Flautas and was contributed by Georgie Farmer, whose picture appeared along with a plate of flautas.

Interesting to me when I pick up the now yellowed and tattered newsprint:  It does not say Tino’s Flautas, but I have always called it that. It has been many years since we had a meal with Tino, and he is no longer with us, so I can’t ask him. But these flautas are exactly like the ones I remember enjoying so long ago. We remember you fondly, Tino!

Tino’s Chicken Flautas

3 Tablespoons margarine (use butter now!)

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chicken broth

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 Tablespoon parsley

1 teaspoon grated onion

dash each of paprika, ground nutmeg, and black pepper

2 cups finely diced cooked chicken

24 corn tortillas

guacamole and sour cream (optional)

In sauce pan melt butter. Blend in flour, salt, and chicken broth. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Add lemon juice, parsley, onion, paprika, nutmeg, and pepper. Stir in chicken and cool slightly. Place about 1 1/2 Tablespoons chicken mixture on each tortilla. Roll up tightly.  Fry in deep hot oil at 350 degrees, holding together with tongs for about 10 seconds or until tortilla is crisp. Spoon on guacamole and/or sour cream. We also serve with salsa.

Italian Soup with Sprouted Beans


Our family loves bean soups – black beans, lentils, red beans, white beans with ham.  A product available in health food stores and Costco combines 3 different beans:  green lentils, mung beans, and adzuki beans.  These have been sprouted and then dehydrated, making them even more nutritious and easy to prepare.  The cooking time is significantly reduced.  This recipe combines them with fresh vegetables and herbs for Italian style soup, hearty and delicious. Add some crusty Foccacia bread made with herbs and olives.  This is a tasty and healthy supper to add to holiday times around the table that feature richer foods.

Italian Soup with Sprouted Beans

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, finely diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 small ancho peppers, diced (optional)

One 14-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes

3 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup fresh basil, shredded

1 Tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

1 cup TruRoots Sprouted Bean Trio

¼ cup minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and peppers, and saute. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook, stirring as you add chicken or vegetable broth, basil, oregano, and bay leaves, bringing to a boil. Add sprouted beans. Reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
Add parsley and salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Makes 8 servings

Lovely Leftovers, or Still Thankful

One of the joys of preparing a family holiday meal is having leftovers.  OK, I know not everyone enjoys putting them away and then figuring out what to do with them.  And I do have a husband who does not complain about eating leftovers.   I really do like Thanksgiving leftovers, and thought it might be fun to look at some before pictures and then talk about how the remains were revisited. Some of the “leavings” went home with guests, but here’s how we took care of ours.

First, the bird!  I am the first to admit, the turkey was in the roaster a bit too long.  This was my first time using an electric turkey roaster but it won’t be the last.  No basting, shorter cooking time, and even though it was falling off the bone the meat was tender and moist. I rubbed it with olive oil and a Texas salt rub that had plenty of cayenne and paprika and stuffed it with slices of orange, Meyer lemon and fresh bay leaves, rosemary, and basil straight out of the garden.  I glazed the turkey with pomegranate jelly.  Honestly, there was not alot leftover.  We had enough for turkey sandwiches.  But usually I make turkey tetrazinni and turkey noodle soup.  Any that remains after a couple of days gets chopped up and stored in Ziploc bags in the freezer.  This can be used in just about any chicken recipe.

Fruit salad with cooked dressing is one dish we included this year that I remember my Mother always putting on the table for holiday meals. Our cornbread dressing is another.  In the 40’s and 50’s we never had turkey or pumpkin pie.  We had baked chicken and cornbread dressing and sweet potato pie.  We had alot of this leftover because the recipe makes alot and since it competes for dessert as a sweet, I think people “saved for dessert.”  That is OK, because I love it.  We have eaten it as a side with sandwiches but my favorite way of eating this leftover is for breakfast!  I will include this recipe.  The dressing is delicious drizzled over fresh fruit.  I included the cherries and marshmallows because that is the way Mother made it, but I prefer to omit them.

Our sons and their wives are good cooks, so we are fortunate to have their great contributions to our family gatherings.  My son Ben made our mac and cheese, green beans amandine, and the cranberry sauce, which he tells me he cooked by adding honey and some garam masala to fresh cranberries.  This was tasty spread on toast to make a bacon and egg breakfast sandwich.  The last 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce got whirled in the blender with Greek yogurt and orange juice to make a cranberry smoothie.  Son Sean made a beautiful berry pie and his wife, Teion, made Paula Deen’s pumpkin pie. And although we didn’t get to taste, son Jeremy made campfire turkey and dressing which they called from their camping spot to say turned out great.

Fruit Salad with Cooked Dressing   (just like Opal made it)

8 or 10 oranges, peeled, sectioned, each section cut into bite size

2 cans pineapple chunks, drained

1 jar Maraschino cherries, drained

1 cup of miniature marshmallows

1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped

Toss with cooked dressing and whipped cream and let set in refrigerator to chill.

Cooked Dressing

2 Tablespoons vinegar

4 Tablespoons sugar

2  whole eggs

2 Tablespoons butter

Combine and cook, stirring, until thick.  Cool before adding to fruit.

Meyer Lemon, Olive ,Rosemary, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Our Meyer Lemon tree’s branches are so heavily laden with lemons that some are bent to the ground.  I love going out to check the ripening fruit as it changes from lime green, mottles with yellow, turns yellow all over as if it is saying “Wait, wait, not yet.”  The right time for harvesting is when the lemons turn egg yolk yellow blushed with orange.  Since this variety is sweeter and thinner skinned than other varieties of lemons, there are many ways to use them.  I have a list from the LA Times that lists 100 ways to use Meyers which I previously posted as a link during last year’s harvesting.

I have used a number of those suggestions.  This week I tried one more:  pzza topped with Meyer Lemons, green olives,  rosemary, and goat cheese.  The recipe is all in the title!

1 12 inch thin pizza crust

2 Tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

1 Meyer lemon, washed and patted dry,very  thinly sliced

Green olives, sliced

1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Place crust on round pizza pan or baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil.  Add goat cheese crumbled evenly over the top. Remove any seeds from lemon slices and scatter them over the goat cheese.  Add olive slices and sprinkle with rosemary.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crust is browned and cheese is melting. The lemon slices will caramelize slightly.  Variations:  Add chopped artichoke hearts, a small amount of additional cheese such as provolone or mozzarella, or pine nuts.



Salmon Souffle

Salmon souffle is (like many of our favorite recipes) a dish with a story. Thirty-seven years ago, my good friend and neighbor Jean Merrill presented me with a gift: a cookbook titled Helen Corbitt’s Potluck.  I see several things that make me smile every time I take it from my shelf in the kitchen. First there’s its tomato red binding with a fanciful line drawing of a cow with some leaves in her mouth on the bottom right corner.  Just inside, the inscription “Mary Ann – thanks for being such a good friend. Love Jean  ’75.”  There’s the same cow from the front on the page.  Only this time she is standing with a pig and a chicken on her back.  The pig has a bottle of wine and a strawberry on its back, and the whole crew is plopped into a huge pot of vegetables labeled POTLUCK.  Not such a remarkable title for a cookbook unless you also know that Helen Corbitt was no everyday cook with her list of dishes to take to church dinners. This feisty chef authored 4 other cookbooks and is best known for her position as Director of Foods for Neiman Marcus and her menus for the Zodiac Room there.  So what makes me laugh when I pick up PotLuck is the unlikely face any recipe in there would actually find itself being called that.   In its pages, this little book has narrative and humour, and treasures from its author.  Poppy-Seed Dressing is one of her best known recipes. I have made  I have made Artichokes and Crab and a wonderful Lemon Rice Soup.  For my nieces bridal luncheon in 1983, I served Helen’s Cold Yogurt Soup.  But the recipe I have used so often that the book opens to its page is this one.  And every time I have made it, I have used leftovers, because the 1 1/2 cups of flaked salmon it calls for is just about right for leftover bits when I grill a salmon fillet.  I think Helen, the queen of sass and souffles,  would have approved.

Salmon Souffle

3 Tablespoons butter

3 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon curry powder (we like to use a heaping teaspoon or more)

1 1/2 cups fresh or canned salmon flakes

Pinch of thyme

Salt and pepper

1 cup milk

4 eggs, separated

Melt the butter, add flour and seasonings, and cook until bubbly.  Add milk, bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from stove.  add egg yolks beaten until light and the flaked salmon (no bones or skin). Cool.  Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.  Pour into a buttered souffle or casserole dish.  Place dish into a larger baking pan and add hot water carefully into the bottom pan (hot water bath).  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  Left over chicken or ham works well instead of salmon.

Serve with Bengal Sauce, recipe follows.

Bengal Sauce

1 Tablespoon butter

1 Tablespoon flour

1 cup milk or half and half


1/2 teaspoon curry powder

2 teaspoons grated coconut

1/4 cup slivered almonds

Melt butter, add flour, cook a few seconds.  Add milk and cook until smooth and thickened.  Add seasonings, coconut and nuts.

When I made this earlier this week, I served Italian plum halves filled with homemade fig chutney which I baked alongside the souffle.

Kale and White Bean Soup with Sausage

Although you will often find red and green kale in supermarkets, this variety of kale is not so common.  It is called by a variety of names including Dinosaur Kale and Tuscan Kale, but I love its Italian name, Cavalo Nero (black kale) .  I received this lovely bouquet of the nutritious greens in my CSA share from All We Need Farms in Needville, TX. www.allweneedfarms.com  I am enjoying getting acquainted with Stacy Roussel, who owns the farm with her husband Jay.  Her smile when she hands me our weekly vegetables makes the good stuff I can make from them even more delicious!

My version of soup made with this kind of kale comes from one by Chef Mario Batali. It is hearty and nutritious, bursting with flavor from the kale and herbs. The addition of a small piece of rind from a wedge of Parmegiano – Reggiano lends a true taste of Italy.

  • 2 cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  •  1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot,sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 links Italian sausage, crumbled and browned, or smoked sauge sliced into small pieces
  • 1 bunch Cavolo Nero, chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 small head cabbage, chopped
  • 2  tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmegiano – Reggiano, plus 2 inches of rind if you have it

Heat the oil with sausage,  onion, leek, carrot, celery, garlic, and herbs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add small piece of parmegiano –  reggiano rind and  cannellini beans Add cabbage and cook until  softened , about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes.  Remove the bay leaf.   Ladle into bowls and serve with grated Parmegiano-Reggiano on top.  Slices of crusty toasted Ciabbata bread make a nice addition.  Some like to put the bread into the bowls and serve the soup on top.

Stuffed Cabbage

Now is the time for homegrown cabbages with large dark green outer leaves to appear in farmstands.  Most often, grocery store cabbage has had all these lovely outer leaves trimmed, so when I find heads with lots of loose outer leaves, I am delighted.  I always separate 12 or 14 leaves as soon as I get the head of cabbage home, and put them into a Ziploc bag, saving the rest of the cabbage for other uses.  With these leaves that many people think are tough and throw away, I make one of our family’s long time favorite dishes, stuffed cabbage.  Other recipes may call them cabbage rolls. Mine is adapted from an old copy of Good Housekeeping Cookbook I have had for many years.

Cooking this one pot meal requires a few steps, and definitely more cooking time than most of my best loved dishes, but it is so worth it.  Just pick a time when you can do the preparation ahead of time, and plan on about 3 hours of baking.

Stuffed Cabbage

 Large head of fresh cabbage with loose outer leaves

1 pound extra lean ground beef

½ cup uncooked rice

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 large onion, sliced

1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes

juice of 2 fresh lemons

1 teaspoon salt

 ¼ teaspoon pepper

½ to 1 cup brown sugar, packed.

Ingredients that are listed twice are used at different times in the recipe.

 Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove 12 large outer leaves from cabbage head.  Bring a pot of water to boil and let leaves stand a few seconds to soften and make them easy to fold.  Remove, drain, and cool enough to handle.  On a cutting board, trim off thick part of each leaf.

Mix meat, rice, onion, eggs, salt and pepper.  Place a heaping tablespoon of mixture in the center of each leaf, fold up bottom, sides and top to make a small package.  Spray a large pot or dutch oven with cooking spray and place a few unused cabbage leaves on the bottom.  Place stuffed cabbage into pot, making layers with sliced onion.

On top, pour crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and lemon juice.  Sprinkle salt, pepper, and brown sugar on top.  Bring to a boil on top of the stove.  Bake covered for 1 hour.  Uncover, and bake 2 hours longer.  Makes 8 servings.



Trust me, it is worth all the trouble!  The little packages of meat and rice wrapped in cabbage are even good cold!  Children like to help wrap them up.

Glazed Rosemary Onions

I love it when a photo can just about substitute for the ingredient list in a recipe!  This dish has become an all-time family favorite side dish for any roasted or grilled meat.  It is simple enough to perk up weekday family suppers, great for potlucks, and festive enough to grace holiday tables. 

Since I have read everything in her Mitford series of books , it is no surprise that I have Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader.  Even if you don’t read through cookbooks for fun like I do, you will want to spend time savoring this collection of stories and recipes.  I have adapted mine from “Cynthia’s Glazed Rosemary Onions”,  found on page 40. 

Glazed Rosemary Onions

8 medium yellow onions, peeled and quartered

2/3 cup honey

1/4 cup  melted butter

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon  sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Place onion quarters in dish carefully and pour honey and butter over them. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper.  Bake for 1 hour, or until onions are soft.

“Life and love. What wonderful blessings to have in our kitchen.”

Pot Roast, etc.

Pot roast is a comfort food, nourishing body and spirit.  It is a one dish meal whose leftovers have any number of possibilities.  I can, and do make pot roast like my mother did, browning the chuck roast, adding onions and carrots, and cooking until the meat is very tender.  Added to that are a number of variations.  I have made fruited pot roast with dried apricots or prunes.  I have cooked the meat in wine, adding vegetables cooked separately.  But my favorite and most often chosen method combines using coffee for tenderizing with browning the meat to begin with until it is almost burnt!  The latter hint came to me from a friend years ago who said her mother in law told her the only way to cook a roast was to burn it first!  Mind you, the meat is not charred black, but seared until it has a dark brown crust.  The combination of that flavor and the cooked down coffee lends delicious flavor to the meat and vegetables, but the gravy is the star.  That gravy will be dark, rich, and perfect to spoon over servings of your pot roast.

Parkers’ Pot Roast

                                                 2 to 3 lb. chuck roast

1/4 cup flour

salt and pepper

1 large onion, sliced

10 small red potatoes, or 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in small pieces

4-5 carrots, cut in 2 inch pieces

3 stalks celery, sliced

2 Bay Leaves

2 cups strong coffee

Heat oven to 350. Dust roast with flour, salt and pepper.  Brown in an iron skillet or Dutch oven until dark brown (almost burned!).  Pour coffee over the top.  Add bay leaves and scatter vegetables on top and around meat. Season vegetables with salt and pepper.  Cover and bake for at least 3 hours, adding water or beef broth if necessary.  Remove from oven carefully so that hot liquid does not spill.  Transfer the roast and vegetable pieces to a platter, reserving liquid.  To make gravy, stir 2 Tablespoons flour mixed with 1/4 cup water into the cooking juices and season to taste.  Serve gravy on the side or spooned over portions on each plate.

One of the best things about making a pot roast is using the leftovers.  Trim and chop leftover roast and add with vegetables to soup pot with some canned tomatoes – the best soup ever!  If there is enough, slice bits of meat and serve over toast with reheated gravy – hot beef sandwiches!  My mother’s favorite use of the leftovers was making hash by chopping meat and veggies and reheating together.

Cranberry Crisp

One of my favorite fall and winter dishes is an adaptation of one found in an old church cookbook from the 80’s which was given to us at Christmastime by family friends.  In that cookbook, this dish was included in the Salad section  and titled Hot Cranberry Salad.  I am not so sure about calling it a salad, but it is wonderful as an addition to meals with pork or roasted turkey.  My favorite use, however is as a dessert, served warm and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream sprinkled with cinnamon or nutmeg.  This year we found a new favorite Haagen Dazs ice cream…Let me assure you Cranberry Pumpkin Spice ice cream on top of this is amazing!  

Cranberry Crisp

1 pound fresh cranberries

3 cups chopped apples, unpeeled

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 stick butter

1/3 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

Combine cranberries, apples, and sugar in large baking dish which has been lightly buttered. In a small saucepan, mix butter, flour, and brown sugar until butter melts.  Add oatmeal, mix well and spread this mixture over cranberries and apples.

 Bake at 375 degrees  in a shallow baking pan for about an hour, or as shown, in individual baking dishes for 45 minutes, until browned and bubbly.  It is beautiful served in these Le Creuset pear ramekins.