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Recipes straight from Claudia's Cocina

Cinnamon Raisin Crescent Rolls

Claudia Sandoval


1 package of Pre-Made Crescent Rolls

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 cup raisins

For icing:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon water

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Makes 8 Servings


Preheat oven to 350F

  • Line a Cookie Sheet with Parchment Paper.

  • In a small bowl mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and and ground nutmeg.

  • Roll out Crescent Roll Dough, separating 8 triangles carefully. Add 1/8 of sugar mixture and sprinkle raisins evenly. Roll from the widest part toward the point.

  • Arrange 8 rolls with smallest roll facing upward. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 mins.

  • In a small bowl whisk powdered sugar, water, and cinnamon. Icing should be thick and viscous, but no lumps of sugar.

  • Spread icing over Crescents and serve.

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos with Avocado Crema

Claudia Sandoval


1 large cauliflower head 

1/2 tablespoon California chile powder

2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt

1 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil

12-18 corn tortillas


Avocado Crema

2 avocados

1/2 cup sour cream

1 large lime, juice only

salt, to taste


1 jalapeño, thinly sliced

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

edible flowers

limes, cut into wedges


Serves 4 to 6



Preheat oven to 400F

1) Begin by breaking apart cauliflower florets into equal pieces. If florets are too large cut into halves or quarters. 

2) Place florets in a large bowl and coat with oil. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and chile powder and toss to coat evenly. 

3) Place coated cauliflower florets in a shallow baking dish or cookie sheet and place in preheated oven. Roast cauliflower for 30-45 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, blend ingredients for avocado crema until smooth. Put into a bowl or squeeze bottle.

5) Preheat a skillet or comal to warm tortillas on medium-high heat. Heat each tortilla for 30-40 seconds on each side or until pliable and cooked through. Place in a kitchen towel or tortilla warmer to keep warm until ready to serve. 


Place 2-3 pieces of cauliflower on each tortilla and top with avocado crema, edible flowers, sliced red onion and sliced jalapeño.

Cinnamon Panna Cotta - Got Milk Partnership

Claudia Sandoval

I developed this recipe for a partnership and Dinner I did with Got Milk?

I hope you and your family love this easy and simple recipe that will remind you of horchata!




1 1/2 cups whole milk

3 teaspoons granulated gelatin

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups light or heavy cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/16 teaspoon of salt (pinch)


Makes 8 (4 oz. servings)




1.    In a small bowl or cup, pour ½ cup of MILK and add granulated gelatin on top, let sit and soften for 5 minutes.

2.    Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan on low heat, heat remaining milk, sugar, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, whisk in gelatin mixture thoroughly.

3.    Divide equally pouring ½ cup in ramekins or cups. Allow to cool for 10-20 minutes on counter, then transfer to refrigerator and chill for 2 hours minimum.

4.    Serve with fresh fruit coulis or chopped fresh fruit. Enjoy

Kitchen Sink Lentil Soup

Claudia Sandoval

I created this recipe after cleaning out my fridge. So i decided to call it the Kitchen Sink Lentil Soup, well because it has everything except for the kitchen sink! I hope you love it as much as I do! xo-CS


  • 6 oz. turkey bacon, chopped
  • ½ cup onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 liters chicken/veg stock
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Makes 8 Servings


1)    In a 4 qt. pot, begin by heating oil at medium high heat and turkey bacon and crisp up. Add onions and celery and sauté for 1-2 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute.

2)    Add tomatoes and continue sautéing until softened, about 3 minutes. Add oregano and tomato sauce and stir for 1-2 minutes until aromatic. Add 2 liters of stock and bring to a boil covered.

3)    Reduce heat to low and add 1 cup of lentils. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

4)    Add Cauliflower and Kale and simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until lentils are soft but not falling apart. Remove from heat.

5)    Season with Salt and Pepper to taste and sprinkle in Cilantro. Serve.

Squash Blossom Crema

Claudia Sandoval

40 squash blossom flowers, pistils removed and then cut only 36 flowers (reserve 4)
8 oz. queso fresco, cubed
1 liter of chicken broth
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 chopped white onion
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Makes 8 servings


-Begin by placing a saucepan over medium heat and add oil to the pan. Add onion, garlic and cut pumpkin flowers. Let cook for 2 minutes. Then add chicken broth and bring to a boil.

-Use an immersion blender or an independent blender, blend until it is liquid and smooth. Season with salt and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to low and add heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat.

Serve placing a squash blossom petals in the bottom of the bowl and place pieces of cubed cheese. Pour the cream soup into the bowls until cheese is hidden at the bottom of the bowl. Enjoy!

Provecho ~ Chef Claudia

Zucchini and Poblano Colache

Claudia Sandoval



2 medium zucchini, cubed medium

1 medium chayote, cubed small  

6 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, without seeds and in slices

4 Roma tomatoes, cubed

½ onion, sliced in half moon

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

12 oz. corn frozen or canned

1 lb. Queso Fresco, medium cubes

½ lb. Oaxaca cheese, small cubes

1 ½  cup vegetable/chicken stock or water

1 tablespoon vegetable Oil

Salt & Pepper




1.    In a large sauté pan on medium heat, add sliced onion and sauté for 1 minute, or until transparent. Add garlic and continue sautéing for 1 minute. Add Zucchini and Chayote squash and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add cubed tomato to pan and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.

2.    To this pan, add 1 ½ cups of stock or water, add corn to pan, stir to mix, cover pan and reduce heat to low. Simmer on low for 5 minutes.

3.    Remove cover from pan and add poblano slices to simmering mixture. Cover and simmer for 3 more minutes. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste. Remove from heat and allow to rest 5 minutes.

4.    Two minutes before serving, add cheese, stir gently to incorporate. Cover and allow to rest final 2 minutes.

5.    Serve with rice, boiled beans or on its own.






Mexican Spicy Fried Chicken

Claudia Sandoval

Makes 10 Drumsticks/Thighs


  • 2 Chipotle Peppers
  • 2 oranges, juice
  • 1 tablespoon achiote powder
  • 1 tablespoon chile california powder or chili 
  • 2 tablespoons of salt


  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle adobo


  • 1 lb (800 g) all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoon granulated garlic


  • Preheat oil to 350°F (175°C).


  • In a blender place all ingredients. Blend until smooth.
  • In a large plastic bag place chicken drums or thighs and smother with marinade. Seal and place in refrigerator for 2-12 hours (overnight).


  • In a medium bowl or dish, whisk the ingredients together until homogenous. Make sure your bowl is large enough to hold your pieces of chicken as you will be using this same receptacle to dredge. 


  • In a large shallow bowl or baking dish mix your dry ingredients together until completely mixed through. 


  •  Begin by removing the chicken from the marinade. Removing as much extra marinade as possible by shaking chicken. Do not towel dry. 
  • Place chicken into dry dredge coating chicken completely. Remove from dry dredge and shake to remove excess flour. Place on a plate or sheet pan. 
  • Place chicken into egg dredge, coating chicken completely. Place into dry dredge again shaking off any excess flour. Do one piece at a time for this step. 
  • Ensure that your hot oil is to temp (350F degrees). When you add chicken, oil temp will go down. Make sure it stays between 300-325 degrees. Oil should be softly simmering. 
  • Using a meat thermometer check chicken thighs and drums until they reach an internal temperature of 165F. Remove Chicken from oil, place on a paper towl lined receptacle and continue frying until a chicken has been fried. 


Mexican Coffee Flan

Claudia Sandoval

RECIPE: Mexican Coffee Flan (Flan Café De Olla)

The following recipe is from Claudia’s Cocina by Claudia Sandoval, winner of season 6 of Masterchef!


Certain smells have always been nostalgic to me. Coffee reminds me so much of my abuelito Rogelio. When my mom would take us to visit our abuelos (grandparents) in Tijuana, we would get up early and pile into the car.

I can still smell the wafting scent of coffee as we crossed the threshold of their front door. Abuelito Rogelio sat in his usual corner right by the china cabinet and next to the back door. Newspaper in hand, he would peek over and give us the warmest smile in the world. My abuelita might have been grumbling about something in the kitchen, but when we saw my grandfather, his whole face lit up, and there was his coffee, sitting right in front of him. I dedicate this recipe to my abuelo, who loved his coffee and whom I sorely miss. I think of him every time I make it.

Serves 8


  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar


  • ¼ cup (30 g) Nescafe Café De Olla instant coffee powder
  • 1 (12-ounce/340-g) can evaporated milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1 (14-ounce/400-g) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican vanilla extract
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).


  • In a medium saucepan, bring ½ cup (120 ml) water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the sugar and swirl the pan to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until a medium-brown caramel forms, about 12 minutes, occasionally swirling the pan to color the caramel evenly. Remove it from the heat and divide the caramel among eight (6-ounce/180-ml) ramekins or silicone molds, swirling to make sure the bottoms and parts of the sides are fully coated.
  • Bring a kettle of water to a boil.


  • In a small bowl, whisk the coffee powder into the evaporated milk. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the coffee-flavored evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla and whisk to incorporate. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a large pitcher (this removes air bubbles).
  • Very slowly fill each ramekin about two-thirds full with the custard mixture. Place the ramekins in a shallow baking pan and place it in the oven. Carefully pour the boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for about 40 minutes, until the custards are just set and tremble in the center a little when shaken. Use tongs to carefully remove the custards from the water bath and place them on a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes. Cover each one with plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 4 hours to chill (you can prepare the flans a day or two ahead).
  • To unmold the flans, place the molds in a pan with 1 inch (2.5 cm) of warm water for 5 minutes. Loosen the custard by running a sharp, thin knife around the inside of the ramekins and place a rimmed plate upside down on top of each. Invert the plates, carefully lift the ramekins off to remove them and reveal the caramel, and serve.

Mexican Scrambled Eggs

Claudia Sandoval


  • 4 large Eggs
  • 1/2 Onion, minced
  • 1 Fresh Serrano/Jalapeño, minced
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oil 
  • salt 

Makes 4 servings


  1. In a non-stick sauté pan, on medium heat, add oil, onion and fresh minced chile. Sauté for 1-3 minutes or until just browning. 
  2. Add Tomato to pan and sauté until tomatoes begin to release juices, approximately 2 minutes. 
  3. Add eggs whole and using a rubber spatula begin to scramble eggs slowly. 
  4. After 30 seconds of scrambling Remove from heat and continue scrambling for 30 seconds. Return to heat for 15 seconds, continously scrambling gently. Turn off heat and give eggs one final scramble and allow eggs to continue to set with residual heat. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Plate with 1/4 of an avocado, garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve with a warm flour or corn tortilla. 


Ensenada Style Fish Tacos- Claudia's Cocina

Claudia Sandoval

Ensenada-Style Fish Tacos

Tacos de Pescado Estilo Ensenada


You can get fish tacos at most places in Southern California. However, I know that they aren’t as common across the rest of the United States and abroad, so I decided to share a little bit of Baja California with you through this recipe for Ensenada-style fish tacos.

What makes these tacos Ensenada-style is their unique sour cream sauce, a tangy mix of mayo and sour cream that they make in this port town on the Pacific Ocean. Crack open a beer, squeeze some fresh lime, and get transported to your own Baja vacation.


Makes 16 tacos


Canola oil


For the Ensenada-style sour cream:

1/2 cup (120 ml) sour cream

1/3 cup (75 ml) mayonnaise

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon cold water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the dry dredge:

2/3 cup (80 g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon granulated garlic


For the fish batter:

2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

2 large eggs

2 1/2 cups (600 ml) cold Mexican beer, plus more if needed


For the tacos:

2 pounds (910 g) skinless red snapper fillets

16 (6-inch/15-cm) corn tortillas

2 cups (190 g) shredded cabbage

Lime wedges (optional)


Fill a deep fryer with xx inches (xx cm) canola oil and heat it to 375°F (190°C).


To make the sour cream: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, and water until completely incorporated and a little runny but not watery. If it’s too runny, add little more sour cream and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.


To make the dry dredge: In a shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic to incorporate.


To make the fish batter: In large shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and granulated garlic. Whisk in the eggs and beer. The mixture should be the consistency of pancake batter. If it is too thick, add a little more beer to thin it out.


To fry the fish: Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet to drain any residual fat (if you don’t have a cooling rack, paper towels set over a flat plate will work too).

One at a time, add the red snapper fillets to the dry dredge and toss to coat. Transfer them to a plate or baking sheet. Working in batches, dredge the fish into the wet batter, letting any excess drip off, and carefully place them in the deep fryer. Fry for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown on both sides, flipping them once the underside is browned. Remove them to the wire rack to drain and immediately sprinkle with salt.


To heat the tortillas: While the fish is frying, preheat a skillet or comal over high heat to get it nice and hot. Reduce the heat to low and warm the tortillas for about 1 minute on each side, until malleable, placing each in a kitchen towel as they are heated to keep them warm.


To serve: Place a piece of fried fish on each tortilla, top with shredded cabbage and Ensenada-style sour cream, and serve with lime wedges alongside if you like.  


Salsa Verde - Tomatillo Salsa

Claudia Sandoval


Tomatillo Salsa

Salsa Verde


It’s no secret that we Mexicans are known for our salsas. While the most common salsas are tomato-based red salsas, there is nothing in the world quite like a tart and spicy salsa verde (green salsa). Salsa verde and tomatillo salsa are actually the same thing, as the green color comes from the green skin and flesh of the tomatillo.

This is our family’s recipe for salsa verde. I use it in a number of dishes, from Braised Pork  to Chilaquiles or as a topping for tacos. You can adjust the heat level by reducing or increasing the number of chiles you include. But cuidado (careful)—the spiciness of the serranos and chiles de árbol may have you looking for the closest ice-cold beverage.


Makes about 3 cups (720 ml)


12 ounces (340 g) fresh tomatillos

1 to 2 whole serrano chiles, stemmed

½ medium yellow onion, peeled

2 to 3 small garlic cloves, peeled

5 to 6 whole chiles de árbol, stemmed



Peel the husks off the tomatillos and rinse them thoroughly under lukewarm water until their skin is smooth and they are no longer tacky or sticky.

Place the tomatillos, serrano chiles, and onion in a large saucepan and add enough hot water to cover. Place over medium-high heat, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the tomatillos change color and just start to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove the ingredients from the pan using a slotted spoon and place them in blender along with the garlic. Reserve the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet or comal over low heat. Add the chiles de árbol, and toast for 1 to 2 minutes, turning often, until they darken in color but don’t burn. The seeds will come out as you toast the chiles—you can use them or not depending on your heat preference.. What you are looking for is a darker, almost black, red color. Keep your windows open as you toast the chiles, as the fumes from the chiles can affect the strangest parts of your throat and cause cough attacks for the family . . . ahhh, the memories.

Add the toasted chiles de árbol and seeds to the blender, pour in ¼ cup (60 ml) of the reserved tomatillo cooking liquid, and blend on medium-low speed until your desired consistency has been reached (see Notes). If your salsa is too thick, add more of the tomatillo cooking liquid.

Pour the salsa into a bowl and season with salt, starting with about 1 teaspoon and adjusting the amount as needed to balance the tartness of your tomatillos.



The consistency of salsa verde varies depending on the dish you use it in. For Chilaquiles, make it a bit more on the liquidy side so your tortillas can soak up the salsa. For tacos, stick to a coarser and chunkier consistency to avoid a runny mess.

Keep in mind that chiles can vary in spice depending on the season, so you may want to cut off the edge of one of your chiles and taste it for heat. If it’s too hot for your liking, remove the seeds and veins to turn the heat down. To turn up the heat, add more chiles.

 Make sure not to touch your eyes after handling spicy chiles or to wear gloves when working with them to protect your hands. The last thing you want is to start crying like a novela (soap opera) star.

Mexican Sweet Bread Conchas

Claudia Sandoval


Conchas are a signature type of Mexican sweet bread, known for their seashell-like scores on a sweet crumb coating. If you have never had Mexican sweet bread, you are in for a treat. Conchas have the texture of a soft dinner roll, but with an irresistible sugar topping that will make you want to double the batch the next time around! This recipe gives you the option to make both standard white and chocolate conchas. Try both, and then decide on your favorite.

Makes twelve 4-inch (10-cm) conchas  

For the conchas:

3 ½ cups (440 g) all-purpose flour, plus more if needed

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons active dry yeast

2/3 cup (135 g) granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1 cup (2 sticks/225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Vegetable oil, as needed


For the topping:

½ cup (65 g) all-purpose flour

½ cup (65 g) unsifted confectioners’ sugar

½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, softened, cut into walnut-size pieces

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder


To make the conchas: Clean a work surface large enough for kneading your dough. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and pour it onto your work area in a mound. Create a well in the center.

Heat ½ cup (120 ml) water in a small saucepan over low heat until warm but not boiling. Pour the water into a nonmetallic bowl, add the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar, and stir to combine. The sugar will help to activate the yeast. Set it aside until the yeast mixture doubles in volume, about 5 minutes.

Pour the yeast mixture into the well in the center of the flour. Add the eggs and mix using your hands until they are incorporated into the flour. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, incorporating each addition into the dough before adding the next. Add the remaining sugar and continue to knead the dough until incorporated. Your dough will be soft and sticky. If it’s too sticky, give it a little more flour to help it take shape, but do not add more than ½ cup (65 g) of additional flour.

Knead the dough for 15 to 30 minutes to develop the gluten and form a very soft but cohesive ball. Place the dough in a greased glass or nonmetallic bowl. Add a bit of oil to the dough, if necessary, and cover it with plastic wrap to make sure it does not develop a skin. Place it near your oven or in a warm spot so the heat will help the yeast to rise. Allow the dough to rise for 2 hours.


Meanwhile, make the topping: Sift the flour and confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl. Add the butter and knead just until it is fully incorporated, so the heat of your hands won’t continue to melt the butter. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Take one half of the dough and add the cocoa powder. Mix until the cocoa is well blended and the color is uniform. Wrap each portion of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate them until ready to use.


To form the conchas: After the dough has risen for 2 hours, remove it from the bowl. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a large baguette shape. Cut the dough into three equal pieces, then cut each of those into four equal pieces to make twelve equal pieces of dough.

On a lightly floured surface, form and roll each piece into a ball. Drizzle a bit of oil on your hands, if needed, and continue to roll the ball between your hands until it is smooth and uniform. Using only your fingers, flatten the ball of dough into a patty shape that is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Place the dough patty on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough balls, allowing at least 2 inches (5 cm) between each patty. Cover with plastic wrap and set them in a warm, draft-free location to rise for an additional 30 minutes.

Pull your topping from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature while you wait, about 10 minutes. Do not set it by the oven.

As the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

To assemble the conchas: Line two baking sheets with plastic wrap. Cut both the chocolate and traditional white toppings into six equal pieces to make twelve pieces. Shape the pieces into balls and lay six balls onto each prepared baking sheet, leaving an equal amount of space between them. Cover with another layer of plastic wrap, (so you’re placing the balls of topping between two sheets of plastic wrap). Using a tortilla press or the flat bottom of a plate, press the balls flat until they are big enough to cover the top of the dough. Carefully peel back the plastic wrap from each side of the topping. If the topping gets too soft, refrigerate it for 5 minutes and proceed again. Place the topping directly onto the dough and repeat until all twelve breads have been covered.

Using a thin fillet or paring knife, score the surface of the topping. Begin at one edge and score outward, as if you were drawing claws, to create a shell-like design.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the conchas to rest for about 3 minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


This recipe can also be made in a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment.  Follow the general instructions for the manual method, but let the mixer do the elbow work for you! Start mixing on low speed until the dry and wet ingredients are combined, then increase the mixer speed to high as you slowly add the butter. Continue to mix on high speed for 15 to 20 minutes, until the gluten in the dough is developed.


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