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I’m just going to say it… I love New Year’s resolutions! Whether I keep them or not, I love them. New Year’s resolutions motivate me to not only try to become a better version of myself, but they also inspire me to keep dreaming and to continue pursuing whatever my dream may be at that moment in time.

food blogging goals for 2017 - lacocinadeleslie.com

Every year I compile a short list of resolutions (or goals) I hope to keep throughout the new year and share it on my personal blog, La Casa de Leslie. While listing out the things I want to do and accomplish in 2017, a lot of what I came up with pertained specifically to my cocina blog, so I compiled a separate list of blogging resolutions/goals just for La Cocina de Leslie.  

Before I share my blogging resolutions, I’m going to get a little personal and share a bit of what last year was like and why I haven’t been as consistent with my blogging. Cooking and sharing recipes here on La Cocina de Leslie has always brought me great joy. I love cooking, in general, and I also love sitting down to write about the recipes I share, the stories behind them, and sharing why they mean so much to me. No other hobby of mine has ever made me as happy as this little blog.

For the past three and half years I haven’t been able to dedicate as much time as I would have liked to my beloved cocina blog, because being a wife, mom, and full-time caregiver were my top priorities. 2016 was a rather difficult year for us as a family. We moved out of the rental house we had called home for 13 years and moved into my suegro’s (father-in-law's) home, and my suegro’s health continued to rapidly decrease as the months flew by culminating in his passing away in mid-September. 

My suegro's passing was devastating to us all, even though we knew it was coming. After my suegra’s (mother-in-law's) sudden (and unexpected) passing in 2012, we foolishly thought a prolonged illness might be less devastating, but in 2016 we learned that it wasn’t. We´ve spent the remaining months of 2016 mourning the loss of Don Chuy, who was such an integral part of our family. My family and I spent every day with my suegro, caring for him, sharing each of our meals, listening to his stories, and laughing with him. Even before we moved in with him, we counted him as part of our family of seven. 

We are still mourning his loss and will for quite some time, but with the start of the new year we realize we need to try to pick up the pieces and focus on the things that matter most and make us happy. For me those things are my family and my writing.

This year I want to get back to doing what I love most and that includes sharing recipes here in my cocina.  

Blogging goals 2017 - lacocinadeleslie.com

My Blogging Resolutions/Goals for 2017: 

  • Blog consistently! One of my main goals is to post new recipes on a regular basis, like two or three a week. Because it's been a while and I'm a bit out of practice, we'll start with two new recipes per week and work our way up to three later in the year. I may not have blogged much in 2016, but I did cook and even managed to snap a few pics, and now I have quite a few recipes in my drafts folder just waiting to be shared. 
  • A to Z Challenge: Speaking of blogging consistently, in April I will be participating in the A to Z Challenge and posting a Mexican recipe for each letter of the alphabet. That's 26 new recipes! Ay, ay, ay!  
  • New monthly series: To help fill the void of the now defunct Secret Recipe Club, I’m starting a new monthly series here on my blog. I’m still working on a fun/cute name for my 2017 series which will focus on classic Mexican pan dulce (pastries). If you have any suggestions for series titles (all I’ve got so far is Pan Dulce 101) or pan dulce recipes you’d like to learn to make at home, let me know in the comments.
  • Cookbook reviews: This also falls under the “new series” category, and is something I have been wanting to do for quite some time. I love cookbooks and I would love to share some of my favorites from the two shelves full of cookbooks in my bookcase and the dozens I also have on my Kindle. Because this blog’s main focus is Mexican food, I’m going to start with reviewing my favorite Mexican cookbooks (in no particular order) and then we’ll move on to other types of cookbooks. The plan is to review one cookbook a month. If you have suggestions of cookbooks you’d like me to review, let me know in the comments. 
  • A monthly round-up: When I started this blog back in 2009, I didn’t think anyone besides a handful of friends and family would ever read it. And I certainly never imagined that someday I would also be invited to share my recipes on other websites. I used to share links to those recipes via Facebook or Instagram, but it’s one of those things that got pushed to the back burner. Starting this month, I’m going to post a monthly round-up of any recipes I’ve shared on sites other than my cocina
  • Bringing She Made/Ella Hace back! My friend Heather (from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen) and I will be starting back up with our monthly She Made/Ella Hace series. Yay! (Insert happy dance here.) I’m not only excited to get back to blogging, I’m also super excited to get back to cooking with my dear amiga.
  • Sharing about my cookbook. One of the good things to come out of 2016 is that one of my biggest dream came true... I wrote a cookbook! I still don't know how I managed to do it, but Taquería Tacos was published in October of 2016. In the coming months I will be sharing an in-depth look at my cookbook along with some of the recipes, and I'll even be hosting a giveaway or two. So, stay tuned! 

I really am excited to get back into the swing of things, and hope you’ll come along for the ride. 

This post is part of the SOTB Blog Hop hosted over on my casa blog

Blogging Resolutions for 2017

Simple and easy to make, Entomatadas Verdes are corn tortillas stuffed with asadero cheese and red onion baked in a mild tomatillo salsa.

For those of you unfamiliar with entomatadas, they are milder version of enchiladas. Simply put, enchiladas are made with a chile-based sauce and entomatadas are made with a tomato or tomatillo-based sauce. Entomatadas Verdes are a childhood favorite of mine. My abuelito (grandpa) used to make Entomatadas on those days when groceries were running low. (Meaning we didn't have any meat in the freezer and/or we still had a few days before payday.) Now that I'm all grown-up, entomatadas verdes are one of my go-to recipes because I always have corn tortillas, some kind of Mexican cheese, and homemade salsa verde in the fridge.

Entomatadas Verdes (Mild Green Enchiladas) #MeatlessMonday

Fresh squeezed orange juice and chilled Mexican beer combine together for a fun twist on the classic mimosa.

Beer Mimosa - lacocinadeleslie.com

Hello, friends! Welcome to another installment of The Secret Recipe Club. I've been apart of the SRC for a couple of years now, and have really enjoyed discovering new blogs from all over the world, learning about different cuisines, trying new recipes, and of course, making new friends along the way. Sadly, The Secret Recipe Club is coming to an end this month.

Secret Recipe Club: Beer Mimosa

Café de Olla is a delicious and fragrant Mexican coffee brewed with aromatic spices like cinnamon, clove, and star anise.

Mexican Café de Olla - lacocinadeleslie.com

I'm baaaaccckkk! And... I'm not alone. My friend Heather (from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen) and I are teaming up once again to bring back She Made/Ella Hace. To kick things off, we are celebrating Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead). Whether you're looking for something sweet and delicious to serve for your Day of the Dead celebration, or if you're looking for traditional food ofrendas (offerings) for your altar de muertos (altar), we've got you covered. Heather is making Camotes Enmielados (Mexican Candied Sweet Potatoes), while I am serving steaming mugs of classic Café de Olla (Mexican coffee).

She Made/Ella Hace: Café de Olla

Roasted cauliflower and tart fall apples topped with melted manchego cheese atop toasted bolillo roll slices.

Cauliflower Apple Manchego Melts - lacocinadeleslie.com

¡Hola, mis amigos! Welcome back to another edition of The Secret Recipe Club. This month my assignment is The Wimpy Vegetarian, written by Susan who also happens to be our group's hostess with the mostess. Susan describes herself as a mostly (wimpy) vegetarian married to a mostly carnivore. Her blog is filled with tantalizing vegetarian recipes which also include tips on how to adjust for meat lover's. Comforting fall-inspired recipes like Lightened Maple Carrot Flan, Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, and Mexican Street Corn Tart were just a few of the recipes that caught my eye.

Secret Recipe Club: Cauliflower Apple Manchego Melts

Enjoy homemade roasted pepitas in as little as five minutes after you've carved your pumpkin with this easy microwave recipe.

How to make roasted pumpkin seeds in the microwave - lacocinadeleslie.com

It's fall, ya'll! And I for one couldn't be happier because fall is my favorite season of all. The crisp weather, the shorter days, and the endless array of delicious pumpkin treats and goodies. I bought my first calabaza (pumpkin) of the season the other day, and immediately split the pumpkin in two to make both Calabaza Enmielada (candied pumpkin) and homemade pumpkin puree (to freeze and use later). And because I don't like to let any part of the pumpkin go to waste, I also roasted up some Pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds) using my go-to microwave method.

Microwave Roasted Pepitas

Traditional arroz con leche (rice pudding) meets tropical piña coladas in a creamy dessert made with pineapple, cream of coconut, and shredded coconut.

Piña Colada Arroz con Leche - lacocinadeleslie.com

Did you know that August 9th is National Rice Pudding Day?! I didn't, at least not until this morning while scrolling through my Instagram feed. Because I love all things rice pudding, what better way to celebrate this food holiday than with Piña Colada Arroz con Leche? This is a delicious summertime dessert that can be enjoyed warm--topped with toasted coconut, or served cold--topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry just like a piña colada cocktail.

Piña Colada Arroz con Leche

Repollo Guisado is a simple and comforting Mexican dish made with sautéed cabbage, onion, serrano chile, and queso fresco.

Repollo Guisado (sauteed cabbage) - lacocinadeleslie.com

I have been craving my abuelita's (grandmother's) repollo guisado for a couple of weeks now. But with so much going on the past couple of months, I never got around to making it. It had almost completely slipped my mind when someone on a Facebook Mexican food lover's group asked for Mexican recipes using cabbage. I shared my grandmother's sautéed cabbage recipe with the group, and once again my craving returned. I made it the very next day, and finally satisfied my craving. It was well worth the wait.

Comfort Food Classics: Repollo Guisado (Sauteed Cabbage)

With the exception of my Secret Recipe Club posts, I've done a terrible job lately of sharing recipes and blogging. A rather interesting project presented itself, and I've spent the better part of the last two months working on it. This "project" is a dream come true for me, and a part of me still can't believe it's really happening. But, it is! And for that I am extremely grateful.

Salsa Verde Ground Beef Tacos w/ Corn and Nopales

Can you believe how fast time flies by? It feels like it was just the other day that I was posting the reveal of my July assignment for The Secret Recipe Club, and now all of a sudden it's August 1st and time for another installment. Granted, I've been a little distracted lately, and will explain in much more detail later this week. But first, a little about my assignment this month. Lavender and Lovage is a stunningly gorgeous blog written by Karen, whose love of food was greatly influenced by her grandmother and mother. (Something I can relate to.)  Karen divides her time between France and England, and devotes that time to food writing, food styling and photography, and teaching cooking workshops.

Mexican Salsa Roasted Cauliflower - lacocinadeleslie.com

It took me a couple of days to stop swooning over the beautiful photography, mouth-watering recipes, and Karen's dreamy, Julia Child-style kitchen. (Or at least that's how I imagine how Julia Child's kitchen might have looked like.) My original plan while perusing through Lavender and Lovage was to choose an appetizer or dessert to serve at Hope's high school graduation party. But as we read through Karen's blog, Hope and I ended up wanting to make pretty much every single recipe for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert for the next two weeks. We finally narrowed down our choices from Spiced Cinnamon and Coffee Buns, Baked Lemon Chicken w/ Saffron, and Shirred Eggs over Kale & Garlic, down to a rather impressive Whole Roasted Cauliflower in a Spicy Mexican Sauce.

Secret Recipe Club: Salsa Roasted Cauliflower w/ Queso Fresco

This slow cooker fajita-style shredded chicken seasoned with ancho chile powder, cumin, garlic, and bell pepper, is a flavorful filling for tacos, burritos, and/or tostadas.

Happy 4th of July, amigos! To my friends and family celebrating in the US, I hope you are having a safe and happy Independence Day. And because it's also the first Monday of a new month it's time for another installment of The Secret Recipe Club. My assignment this month is my friend Dorothy's blog, Shockingly Delicious. With 25 years of recipe writing and recipe developing under her belt, Dorothy offers great recipes, tips, and how-to's that'll transform just about anyone into a fabulous home cook. Dorothy's byline--"unbelievably drool-worthy, scrumptious, 'scary good' recipes for people who love food"--is the perfect description of her blog, I have been a fan and follower of Dorothy's blog since "meeting" her in another cooking group a few years ago.

Secret Recipe Club: Slow Cooker Fajita Chicken Tostadas

Creamy, dreamy Key Lime Pie Paletas are a deliciously sweet and tart summer treat!

Pay de Limón Paletas - lacocinadeleslie.com

This week mi amiga Lola (from Lola's Cocina) is celebrating #PaletaWeek and has invited some of her favorite bloggers (myself included) and Instagrammers to join her in this sweet celebration. Always one looking for any reason to celebrate, I gladly accepted her invitation. Be sure to check out Lola's list of all the mouthwatering paleta recipes being shared this week.

Pay de Limón Paletas #PaletaWeek

Brunsviger is a classic Danish coffee cake with a buttery sweet brown sugar and cinnamon glaze.

Brunsviger (Danish Coffee Cake) - lacocinadeleslie.com

One of my favorite things about The Secret Recipe Club. is discovering new-to-me cuisines and/or recipes that I might not have ever thought to make. My assignment this month is Sid's Sea Palm Cooking. Sid loves preparing good food and sharing it with friends, so much so that she hosts a monthly Tapas Night in her home and later shares photos and recipes on her blog. Sid's blog is full of delicious and easy-to-follow recipes, but what really drew me in were her authentic Danish recipes. My mouth was watering just reading through the recipes. Asier (Danish pickles), Skidne æg (hard-boiled eggs in mustard sauce), Lagekage (Danish layer cake), and Melboller (flour dumplings) which Sid says are perfect for soup. are all on my list of Sid's Danish recipes to try. I ended up choosing Brunsviger because the words Danish Coffee Cake just spoke to me.

Secret Recipe Club: Brunsviger (Danish Coffee Cake)

Mexican chocolate, cinnamon and rice combine together in a rich, decadent twist on a classic agua fresca.

Satisfy your sweet tooth and keep cool this summer with an ice cold glass of Mexican Chocolate Horchata. Mexican chocolate isn't just for atoles, Champurrado, and mole sauces. It can be used in cookies, custards, as well as countless other desserts, and even in refreshing aguas frescas. Two of my favorites being Agua de Chocolate (made without milk) and this Horchata de Chocolate, which tastes like cinnamon chocolate milk in a fun agua fresca that is way more refreshing.

Mexican Chocolate Horchata

Enjoy all the spicy sweet goodness of Tacos al Pastor in no time at all with these easy to make tacos made with Mexican longaniza sausage and pineapple.

Mexican Longaniza Tacos with Pineapple - lacocinadeleslie.com

If you like chorizo, you're going to love Mexican Longaniza. Longaniza is a Mexican sausage similar in flavor to chorizo - although sometimes it can be spicier - the main difference lies in that chorizo is made with ground meat while longaniza is made with finely chopped meat. Both are delicious and can be prepared a number of ways.

Longaniza Pineapple Tacos #TacoTuesday

Pambazos de Papa (Potato Pambazos) are a delicious meatless take on a classic Mexican sandwich made with crusty bolillo rolls bathed in a spicy guajillo salsa then filled with refried beans, cooked potatoes, shredded lettuce, crumbled queso fresco, and Mexican crema.

Potato Pambazos - lacocinadeleslie.com

Pambazos are a traditional Mexican torta (sandwich) made by splitting open telera or bolillo rolls, dipping them in a spicy guajillo salsa, then frying them in manteca (or vegetable oil). The fried bread rolls are then stuffed with potatoes and chorizo, and topped with garnishes like shredded lettuce, crumbled queso fresco, Mexican crema, chiles en escabeche (pickled chiles) and/or a spicy tomatillo salsa.

Potato Pambazos #MeatlessMonday