Comfort Food

Carne Asada Crunch Quesadillas

Carne Asada Crunch Quesadillas

Soft flour tortillas on the outside, crispy corn tortilla chips inside! Grilled meat! Cheese! Everything you always wanted in a quesadilla, and more.

Spicy, Smoky, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Spicy, Smoky, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Because I’ve been known to eat a Thanksgiving meal that consists almost entirely of mashed potatoes and gravy, I replace the cream and some of the butter in the recipe with an aromatic garlic and chile infused broth that I cook the potatoes in, resulting in lighter mashed potatoes that are BIG on flavor.

Street Corn Cups

Street Corn Cups

My version of Elote en Vaso. Roasted corn kernels in a creamy, cheesy sauce seasoned with chile, lime and chives.

Old West Style Vegan Chili

Old West Style Vegan Chili

Old West style spicy vegan chili recipe made with plant-based meat, black beans and mushrooms. Served with vegan shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.

One Pot Arroz Con Pollo

One Pot Arroz Con Pollo

When I asked locals which Tucson centric recipes they would most like to see included in my cookbook quite a few people mentioned arroz con pollo and I’ve always found chicken and rice to be a comforting combo  This is a great make ahead recipe for work day lunches. At first glance salsa de chile fresco may look like pureed tomato sauce 
but it’s got a medium spicy kick of heat that will convince you otherwise.

BLT Lettuce Wraps

BLT Lettuce Wraps

Tomatoes are at their best, and something about the heat and humidity of the Arizona monsoon season makes me almost totally inert and immobile. This is about all I can muster dinner-wise, so I’m lucky that it’s fairly healthy… It turns out that mayo and bacon are better for us than expected, and my versions is also low-carb.

Parmesan Pepperoni Crustless Pizza

Parmesan Pepperoni Crustless Pizza

If you bake a layer of Parmesan cheese in the oven it will crackle and pop after a while, turning into a crispy, cheese cracker that’s much tastier than any pizza crust I’ve encountered. I topped this baked cheese crisp  (which is a popular dish called Frico in Italy) with pizza spices and toppings before sliding it into the oven. The results: crustless pizza!

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

So quick and easy; you can make this satisfying Sonoran Style Mexican chicken tortilla soup from my Taste of Tucson cookbook in 30 minutes or less!

Molletes

Molletes

These open-faced breakfast sandwiches are made by slathering refried beans onto toasted bolillo rolls and then heaping avocado slices, a fried egg, hot sauce, and lots of cheese on top.

Chorizo, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Taco

Chorizo, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Taco

I ate this for breakfast every day for weeks while writing my Taste of Tucson cookbook. The fat from the chorizo makes the egg really crispy and adds a lot of flavor without too many extra calories.

Matzoh Molletes Rancheros

Matzoh Molletes Rancheros

This crispy matzo based breakfast is a cross between molletes and huevos rancheros. I used beans from a can and my homemade chiltepin salsa.

Beef Patty Tacos

Beef Patty Tacos

Teresa Matias told me that to help satisfy her children’s cries for burgers when buns weren’t handy, she would fold a hamburger patty into a tortilla and fry it. Topped with cheese, lettuce, and tomato, it later became a regular menu item at her restaurant, Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe.
Apparently, a lot of moms had the same experience, because the beef patty taco has been standard restaurant fare around southern Arizona since at least the mid-1970s.

Chicken Molé Amarillo

Chicken Molé Amarillo

Nuttier and less sweet than its chocolate based cousin, this version of Molé Amarillo is the personal creation of Chef Suzana Davila of Tucson’s Cafe Poca Cosa. She specializes in these complex sauces, and her recipes are longtime local favorites which is one reason why I wanted to feature the recipe in my upcoming cookbook Taste of Tucson: Sonoran Style Recipes Inspired by the Rich Culture of Southern Arizona. Serve this dish with tortillas and a pretty, salad, as Suzana would. 

Sonoran Style Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

Sonoran Style Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

There are Southwestern regional influences that vary from New Mexico to Arizona, Texas, and Southern California. Here in Tucson, our regional cuisine is defined by fresh veggies, grilled meats and all of the delicacies that a mid-sized, sunshine filled desert city/college town, 60 miles from Mexico, has to offer. It’s summertime eating all year round.

Grill The Perfect Cowboy Steak

Grill The Perfect Cowboy Steak

Making authentic cowboy steaks is really easy. When I asked Bryan Keith, the Grill Master from Pinnacle Peak Steak House if he had any additional tips he said, “Put some love in it!”

The Moist Maker

The Moist Maker

The Moist Maker is inspired by “The One Where Ross Loses it Over a Sandwich.” My version uses leftover dinner rolls instead of bread.

Skillet Stuffing Shakshuka

Skillet Stuffing Shakshuka

Recipe for Shakshuka made with leftover Thanksgiving stuffing. Be sure to make extra-extra stuffing for Thanksgiving so that you can make my Skillet Stuffing Shakshuka the next morning with the “leftovers”

Candied Yam Waffles

Candied Yam Waffles

A fun Thanksgiving leftovers brunch recipe that is sure to please, waffles made with leftover candied sweet potatoes. 

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Recipe for a pumpkin pie spiced baked oatmeal casserole infused with bits of actual leftover pumpkin pie.

Creepy Spaghetti Carbonara

Creepy Spaghetti Carbonara

This recipe was originally developed for TasteCooking.com. This pasta is quite spooky looking, yet elegant enough to serve at a Halloween themed adult dinner party.

Walnut Pesto Linguine

Walnut Pesto Linguine

Walnuts are less expensive and easier to find than the traditional pine nuts and I think they taste even better in pesto, plus they’re loaded with healthy fats. Spinach linguine keeps everything a lovely shade of green.

Buffalo Chicken “Rumaki” Bites

Buffalo Chicken “Rumaki” Bites

Whatever happened to Rumaki, that vaguely Polynesian appetizer that they used to serve at tiki themed parties in the 70s? Maybe making buffalo-style rumaki will help modernize them a bit and bring them back into the public lexicon? Let’s all try serving this recipe at our next soiree and see what happens.

Beer and Cheddar Cheese Dip

Beer and Cheddar Cheese Dip

Beer, cheddar cheese, and pretzels — what more could you want? How about that it’s only got two ingredients and you can make it in ten minutes or less?

The Italian Stallion Hot Dog

The Italian Stallion Hot Dog

This no-recipe recipe is my tribute dog to Sweathog, Vinnie Barbarino. This recipe has become very popular since I first created it for my monthly column on the FoodNetwork.com. The people of the Internet have spoken, and they have said that it’s a cross between a pizza and a hot dog, and that is not untrue.

Spaghetti Squash Supreme Pizza Boats

Spaghetti Squash Supreme Pizza Boats

A healthy recipe for creamy, cheesy, supreme pizza flavored spaghetti squash, for the pizza flavors that you crave in cute single servings. They are fairly low in calories, very filling and taste like pizza. So it’s win-win-win.

Bombshell Boxed Brownie Dessert Pan Pizzas

Bombshell Boxed Brownie Dessert Pan Pizzas

These individual brownie pan pizzas are baked and served in Lodge 3.5-inch cast iron skillets. The options for different toppings are endless. Have fun experimenting with different combinations or set up a topping bar and let everyone pick their own.

Black and White Oreo Bark

Black and White Oreo Bark

Three ingredient white chocolate bark with Oreos that can be made in 30 minutes or less for a quick dessert or snack.

Mini Brownie Stack Cakes

Mini Brownie Stack Cakes

A beautiful looking stacked dessert that’s easy to make using boxed brownie mix, berries and whipped cream.

Beautiful Brownie Bites

Beautiful Brownie Bites

These rich, mini bits of extra-gooey brownies are decorated to look like fancy boxed chocolates. The topping are a great way to try out new flavor combinations and play with the contrast of the colors against the dark background of the bites.

Rainbow Sprinkles Cream Cheese

Rainbow Sprinkles Cream Cheese

Rainbow sprinkles for breakfast? Yes! A crunchy and slightly sweet sprinkles cream cheese recipe for everyone who needs more rainbow sprinkles in their lives.

Lasagna Dip

Lasagna Dip

A creamy, warm, vegetarian layered dip that tastes like lasagna. This recipe is loaded with cheese. Serve with fresh veggies.

Lasagna Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Lasagna Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Some people believe that grilled cheese sandwich must be made on the stovetop or over an open flame, but my secret to a perfectly melty grilled cheese sandwich is toasting it in the oven instead of over a burner.

The Elote Hot Dog

The Elote Hot Dog

Inspired by Mexican Street Corn, this whole beef jumbo hot dog is topped with roasted corn, mayo, lime and spices and served in a top-cut, whole grain bolillo roll. Food photo and recipe by Jackie Alpers.

The Cheesiest Cheese Crisp with Chipotle Ranch Drizzle

The Cheesiest Cheese Crisp with Chipotle Ranch Drizzle

The cheese crisp is the perfect comfort food. A cross between a Mexican pizza an an open-faced quesadilla, Southern Arizona restaurants started selling the dish more than 50 years ago and it’s become a staple of our local Sonoran style cuisine. 

S’mores Brownie In A Mug

S’mores Brownie In A Mug

A decadent single-serving brownie in a mug with marshmallows and a soft, melted chocolate center. Make this recipe just for yourself, day or night.

Chocolate, Coffee, Pistachio Biscotti with Sprinkles

Chocolate, Coffee, Pistachio Biscotti with Sprinkles

Biscotti means “twice baked” in Italian. First you form the crumbly dough into one stiff mass and bake it whole. Then you let it cool, slice it, and bake it again at a lower temperature. That’s what gives biscotti an almost cracker-like quality, which goes especially well with coffee. This triple-chocolate double-baked treat is dipped in a dark chocolate coating with sprinkles on top.

Sweet Corn Paletas

Sweet Corn Paletas

Why isn’t corn used in more desserts? It’s naturally sweet, and the kernels add a nice pop! There is a popular sweet drink called Atole sold by street vendors that’s made with corn masa and flavored with cinnamon, which served as inspiration for this flavor combination. 

Three Sisters Pizza With Corn Masa Crust

Three Sisters Pizza With Corn Masa Crust

Corn, beans and squash are three of the earliest domesticated crops grown by Native Americans in the Sonoran region. For this recipe, prepared corn masa, which is usually used to make tortillas or gorditas, is pressed into a cast iron skillet for the crust. If you’ve never tried tepary beans, this recipe is an excellent way to experiment with them, but you can substitute black beans instead if you want.

Greek Yogurt Pizza Dough

Greek Yogurt Pizza Dough

This Greek yogurt pizza dough recipe has only two ingredients! With this pizza dough trick, you’ll be a pie-making pro in no time.

Chocolate Caramel Apple Pops

Chocolate Caramel Apple Pops

Cute, kid friendly recipe for slices of apples dipped in chocolate and decorated with sprinkles candy or nuts. This recipe was originally developed fro Refinery29.

Baguette Breakfast Casserole

Baguette Breakfast Casserole

This visually stunning breakfast casserole is elegant, yet quick and easy to prepare. Tuck savory Canadian bacon, eggs, herbs, and cheese inside slices of crusty baguettes. Recipe and food photography by Jackie Alpers

Buttercream Frosting

Buttercream Frosting

Everyone needs a good buttercream frosting recipe. Here’s yours! From my cookbook, Sprinkles!: Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts.

Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches With Sprinkles!

Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches With Sprinkles!

This may be one of the easiest recipes ever. It was originally written for and published on Refinery29 where you can find seven more of my Oreo recipes. I literally wrote the book on sprinkles, so if you’re interested in learning more ways to cover everything in sprinkles, pick up a copy of Sprinkles!: Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts.

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