Tortas de Papa/Potato Cakes

The liturgical season of Lent has been my favorite since I entered the Church years ago.  I imagine it has something to do with the beauty of the intense time of penitential practice that had been missing from my spiritual life for so long.  One challenge that I encountered in the beginning was how to feed my family meatless meals since I was inexperienced in this area.  Fortunately, I have a devout Catholic mother-in-law who is also an amazing cook!  She passed this recipe onto me and I now enjoy making these for my husband and children during Lent.

Great Balls of Snow

I recently tried this recipe in the attempt to feed my children healthy food in the midst of Christmas season. My husband always laughs at me when I am baking because my greatest weakness (or strength) is that I do not follow any recipes. Please don't judge me. I often ask Our Lady to help me cook when I am in need, and it always turns out miraculously edible.

These "Great Balls of Snow" (as we call them) are a creation of my Christmas gifts put all together. As a mom, my favorite present is... food! In all simplicity, it's perfect because it comes and goes and doesn't leave much clutter. For example, this Christmas I got 5 gallons of honey, 1 gallon of coconut oil, and 2 pounds cocoa nibs. Whoa! Time to think up a recipe! Praise God that honey never goes bad, otherwise we would be in a serious trouble.

If you don't like coconut, don't bother to make this treat since 90% is pure coconut. Please, adjust the portions of honey and cocoa to your own taste, and feel free to exchange cocoa nibs for raisins or chocolate or whatever holiday candy you can find at home. Add chia seeds, flax seeds, or pumpkin seeds... This is your treat! Make it as healthy or as unhealthy as you like. Here is what I did for the first time:

Great Balls of Snow

1 cup of shredded coconut (I had sweetened at home but unsweetened would be much better)
1/2 cup of coconut flour or almond flour
1/2 cup of coconut oil
1 handful of cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips or MMs)
A squeeze of honey according to your taste

Mix it all together and shape it into balls. Put it in the fridge, and wait until firm. Enjoy!

Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us!

Recipe contributed by Maria Dittus

Whole Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots


1 (3-4 lb )  whole chicken
2 c.  baby carrots
3 baking potatoes, cubed or 1 lb. small new potatoes
1 Vidalia onion  or yellow onion, chopped
Olive oil
1 ½ Tbsp.  sea salt
1 tsp.  pepper
1 Tbsp.  garlic powder
1 ½ Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped or 1 1/8 tsp. dried rosemary


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Rinse whole chicken and pat dry with paper towel.
Put chicken in a pan fitted with a lid or one that can be covered with aluminum foil.
Arrange carrots, potatoes and onion around chicken in the pan.
Drizzle chicken and vegetables with olive oil. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, garlic powder and rosemary evenly over chicken and vegetables.
350 degrees F for 1 ½ hours.
Remove cover or foil from pan and return to oven for 10 mins. or until chicken begins to brown.

Serve with salad, broccoli or vegetable of choice.


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Strawberry Balls

Is this a main meal or a dessert? In my family, we always made it into a main meal, and we would make a lot of it. I come from Slovakia, and this is everyone's favorite traditional food, especially children's top favorite. Once strawberries or plums are in season, we would make 100 of these balls and freeze them for later. Because my parents came to town, we made some (only 60) out of frozen strawberries. They disappeared within couple minutes.


I learned to eat this delicious recipe when I met a friend from Syria and her mother was an excellent cook who introduced me to many new meals. Now my family and I enjoy it as one of our favorite snacks. The great thing about Hummus is that we can have it with anything; crackers, veggies, pita bread, in a wrap or in a sandwich.

1 Can Chick Peas (drained, rinsed, and dried)
2 Cloves garlic
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Lemon juice or Apple Cider Vinegar.
Sea Salt

Optional: Fresh parsley
Cayenne Pepper

Servings: 4-6
Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth: chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice or vinegar, olive oil and salt.  Add the optional ingredients according to your taste.
Enjoy it!

Recipe contributed by Nancy Rodriguez

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A Mexican Feast for Our Lady of Guadalupe

It’s a feast fit for a most glorious feast day!  I do not know many people who do not love Mexican food and who needs a better reason to dine on this mouthwatering cuisine than the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe? I’m going to share with you a simple yet delicious recipe for flautas, Mexican rice, and charro beans.  Don’t worry-it may sound like a lot but there are a few short cuts in here to aid those with busy schedules!


For the flautas:

3 cups of shredded chicken (I use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken for shredding)

24 corn tortillas

Olive oil (or other frying oil of your choice)

For the Mexican rice:

1 cup of white rice

2 cups of water

¼ cup of canned diced tomatoes in their juice

1 tbsp of chicken bouillon granules

2 tsp of garlic powder

¼ cup of frozen mixed veggies

For the charro beans:

1 lb dry pinto beans

2-32 ounce boxes of chicken broth

Additional water

1 tbsp of salt

2 tsp of pepper

5 slices of cooked bacon, chopped (cooked to a soft consistency not crispy)



Let’s start with the beans since they take the most amount of time to cook to completion. 

1. After rinsing and soaking your beans, add them to a large stock pot. 

2. Add 2, 32 ounce boxes of chicken broth and then add water until the beans are covered, plus about 3 inches more of water.  (As they cook you will want to check on them periodically to stir and add more water if necessary).  

3. Next stir in 1 tablespoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of pepper and the chopped bacon.  

4. Bring the beans to a rapid boil.  Then bring the heat down to a simmer, put a lid on it and stir it every so often.  It should need to cook for about an hour and a half or until the beans are soft to bite into.


Now for the rice!  

1. Put 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauce pan.  Turn the heat to medium.  

2. Add one cup of white rice.  Stir the rice frequently so it doesn’t burn, just slightly browning it for about 3 minutes.  

3. Next add 2 cups of water and ¼ cup of canned diced tomatoes with their juice.  

4. Now mix in 1 tablespoon of chicken bouillon granules, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder and finally, ¼ cup of frozen mixed vegetables.  

5. Bring all of this to a boil.  Once it is boiling turn the heat down to medium-low and cover it.  Do not stir the rice.  Let it cook for approximately 25 minutes or until soft and fluffy.


Lastly, here is the recipe for the star of the show, the flautas!  Fortunately these are simple and scrumptious at the same time!  

1. Heat up your tortillas before using them so that they do not break.  You can do this easily on of two ways-either by heating them up on both sides on a griddle or hot pan or by putting 4-5 tortillas at a time in a wet dishcloth or hand towel and microwaving them for about one minute.

2. Add about a tablespoon of shredded chicken to a tortilla, placing the chicken close to the edge of where you will begin to roll up the tortilla.  Then roll it up tightly and place it seam side down on a plate until you are ready to fry all of them.

3. Add olive oil to your frying pan to a depth of about one half an inch.

4. Heat the oil on medium heat.

5. Carefully add your flautas to the pan one at a time, laying them side by side, seam side down.  You will want to fry the seam closed first before you flip them.

6. After about 1 ½ - 2 minute, use a pair of tongs and flip each flauta over in order to fry the other side.  Once they are fried to a golden crisp remove them and let them drain on a platter layered with paper towels to absorb the oil.

Now you are ready to feast!  ¡Buen provecho!

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