Posole Rojo: a traditional recipe, and a shortcut

Posole Rojo - www.whatlisacooks.com

Posole has been a favorite of mine since I first discovered it. It's warm and comforting and bursting with flavor. If you are not familiar with posole (or pozole), it's a traditional Mexican soup or stew, with hominy and meat (usually pork) in a spiced broth. You dish out the fairly basic soup, and then you top your bowl with lots of fresh garnishes. There are both red and green versions, both are equally good, depending on whether you prefer the deep richness of dark red peppers, or the brighter tanginess of green peppers and tomatillos. 

Traditional posole is, obviously, made completely from scratch. The real recipes have you soaking and pureeing dried chilis to flavor your broth. It gives amazing flavor. It's not particularly difficult to make, but it is time consuming and so usually reserved for special occasions and holidays. It's not generally something that could be an easy weeknight meal unless you've made it ahead. 

With a busy family, I'm all about easy weeknight meals. I love taking a classic recipe and looking and the pieces of it to figure out how I can make it quicker and easier and taste just (or almost) as good. I have a great traditional from scratch recipe that I've made many times which is great to make on a weekend. I've included that one below - I don't know what the original source of this recipe was, I've had it scratched on a piece of paper for years. I highly recommend you make the scratch version at least once. But I also have developed my own cheater version. If you start with good flavorful ingredients, I really think this version is just as good, and it is so much quicker and easier to make. 

Original Pozole Rojo

serves 8-10

Easy Weeknight Posole Recipe | WhatLisaCooks.com
  • 1 bone-in picnic roast (pork shoulder, also called pork butt), about 5 pounds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium-large onions, chopped coarse
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 2 ounces dried ancho chiles (about 3 large)
  • 3 (15 ounce) cans white or yellow hominy, drained and rinsed


  • 2 limes, quartered
  • 1/2 head lettuce, sliced crosswise into thin strips
  • 6 medium radishes, sliced thin
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • chopped fresh oregano or dried mexican oregano
  • 1/4 cup pureed ancho chiles
  • flour or corn tortillas (or I like tortilla chips)


  1. trim skin and excess fat from meat and cut into large pieces of various sizes. dry thoroughly and season generously with salt and pepper

  2. heat oil over medium heat and cook onions and 1/4 tsp salt until onions are softened. stir in garlic

  3. add the meat and stir often until no longer pink on the outside. add tomatoes, oregano, broth, and 1/2 tsp salt. increase heat and bring to a simmer. cover, place in oven and cook until meat is tender, about 2 hours.

  4. meanwhile, bring water to boil. remove stems and seeds from chiles and soak with hot water until soft, about 20 mins. puree chiles and liquid until smooth. pour through a strainer and reserve 1/4 cup for garnish

  5. remove meat and bones from pot. stir in hominy and pureed anchos. cover and return to oven and cook until hominy is hot, about 45 mins.

  6. meanwhile, when meat is cool, shred it. stir shredded meat into the stew. taste to adjust seasonings. ladle into bowls and serve with garnishes.


Lisa's Cheater Posole Rojo:

Posole Rojo - www.whatlisacooks.com
  • 1 can/package of enchilada sauce – mild or spicy, however you like it.
  • 1 quart of chicken broth
  • A large can of hominy, or a couple small cans
  • An onion or two
  • Cooked pork – I use pre-cooked pork carnitas from Trader Joes, Costco has some too. Chicken works great too - Costco and Trader Joe's both have packages of grilled chicken, or get a rotisserie chicken and pick the meat off.  Or just use whatever cooked meat you might have leftover.

Throw it all in a pot and simmer for a little while - the longer the better, but it's still great even if you don't have a lot of time.  You could saute the onions first in some oil, but you don't have to.  It’s even better if you make it a day ahead and let it sit overnight. 

Serve with any/all garnishes:

  • Tortilla chips (break them up and mix them in)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole or diced avocado 
  • Lime
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Cilantro
  • Green onions
Posole Rojo | www.whatlisacooks.com

Really you can put anything you want on this.  Keep it simple with just a little lime and cilantro, or load it up.  It's yummy either way.  Either version of this is great for a party - lay out a beautiful spread of the garnishes and people are very impressed. 

Try a few different enchilada sauces and find one you like. I find it's best with a nice dark rich sauce. I've recently used the Frontera brand and I think it was the best yet - very deep rich flavor without being spicy. 

You can also sort of combine the two versions. I've done it before where I started with a raw piece of pork and sautéed that with the onions as in the first recipe, but then added the broth and enchilada sauce to finish it off. I've also done both versions in the slow cooker. I have a great slow cooker with a metal insert, so you can brown your meat and onions on the stove first, and then put everything else in to slow cook.  

One of these days I'll take a better picture, but it still looks yummy!  Here are two versions - pork on the left, beans on the right. 

You can even make a meatless version! Here are two versions I made once - the one on the left has pork and chicken broth, the one on the right was made for some vegetarian friends, with vegetable broth and a variety of beans. It tasted great too!


~ Lisa


Lisa Marsh

Mom to two sets of twins.

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Pancake muffins

I love a good cooking shortcut - or I guess we call them "hacks" these days. So here is one of my favorite breakfast hacks: muffins made from pancake batter. 

Mini Pancake Muffins | WhatLisaCooks.com

Muffins made from pancake batter? Yes! It totally works.

pancake batter muffins | whatlisacooks.com
pancake batter mini muffins | WhatLisaCooks.com

When I make pancakes I always make extra batter.

If you look at my breakfast for lunch posts, you'll see that we make a lot of lunches with leftover pancakes. Pancakes refrigerate well and freeze great and they are a perfect item to have on hand for quick and easy breakfasts and lunches. 

But sometimes I get about halfway through the batter and I'm just feeling done with standing over the stove and cooking pancakes.

So I take the rest and just make muffins! 

All you do is fill greased (or paper lined) mini muffin pans with the batter and then top as you like.

These work best with mini muffin pans because pancake batter is lighter than regular muffin batter, so bigger muffins fall a little and don't look quite as pretty. But bite sized pancake muffins are perfect. You can make them plain, or you can dress them up.  I like to fill all the spots with batter, and then add stuff to the top.

In this batch you can see that I did three different flavors. I put a couple of blueberries in some, a big frozen raspberry in the middle of some, and the rest I just sprinkled with a little cinnamon sugar.  

They are so good - light and moist and just perfectly sweet enough. They are the perfect size for little hands and small enough to just pop in your mouth, and they make a great portable breakfast. 

pancake muffin bites | whatlisacooks.com

As for the pancake recipe - I make my own. Pancakes are so easy to make from scratch, it's almost silly. You can read my pancake recipe here. You'll note in my recipe that I say that the butter is optional, but I think it's necessary for muffins - it really helps to keep them from sticking. If you don't want to take the time to melt and cool butter, I've substituted vegetable oil for the butter and they still come out great. 

You can totally do this with a store bought pancake mix if you prefer, I would just gently suggest that you try to find one with no artificial ingredients. For extra tasty pancakes, I always add a little maple syrup to the batter. This makes them taste great on their own, which means that for a quick weekday breakfast or lunch you don't need to get out all that sticky syrup. 

Pancake Muffins

Make muffins from pancake batter! www.whatlisacooks.com
  • Mixed pancake batter (be sure to include the butter or oil, and add a little extra sweetener)
  • oil of choice for muffin pans, or muffin cups
  • mini muffin pan
  • toppings / fillings of choice: berries, chocolate chips, cinnamon & sugar, etc.

Preheat oven to 350, or 325 convection. Grease mini muffin pans, or line with muffin papers.

Prepare your pancake batter as usual. Be sure to include the butter or oil called for in the recipe, and add a little extra sweetener. I usually sweeten my pancake batter with maple syrup. My recipe calls for enough syrup to make the batter nicely sweet without needing to add extra syrup when you eat them. But if you're using a different recipe, or a box mix, I would recommend that you add a few tablespoons of extra syrup or sugar. 

Fill your muffin cups about half way with pancake batter. Add toppings as desired - a piece of fruit, a frozen berry, a little sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Bake for about 15 minutes for mini muffins (time will vary depending on your oven temperature).


~ Lisa




Lisa Marsh

Mom to two sets of twins.

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Lazy mom's fish tacos


Taco night is practically a ritual at our house. We take it seriously. But that doesn't mean it has to be a ton of work - it just means it has to be good!

No fancy photos for you in this one - just quick iPhone snaps of a real dinner in process.

This is one of my favorite weeknight dinners, and a super easy way to do taco night just a little different. If you like fish tacos, but feel like you can't have them at home - you need to try this.

Basically, you just find some good quality fish sticks and cook them in the oven according to the package directions. (I like to let them get a little crispy.) We like the fish sticks from Costco, and Trader Joe's has some pretty good ones too. 

And then, you just do all the usual taco stuff - lettuce or cabbage, sour cream, cheese, tomatoes, avocado, green onion... For fish tacos I like to add a squeeze of lime, and some fresh cilantro is really nice if you have it. Basically, anything goes!


Lisa Marsh

Mom to two sets of twins.

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Tips for Packing Lunches ahead of time

Tips for Packing Lunches ahead of time

Packing lunches in advance saves my week. It's one of the single best things I do for myself. Really, for myself. If I take an hour (at the most!) on Sunday to pack lunches for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, then that's free time I've bought myself for each of those very busy those days of the week. Monday afternoon comes, and I think "I've got to make lunches for tomorrow". And then I realize, "heck no! I already did that!", and then again on Tuesday I get to have the same conversation with myself. Or I can get up in the mornings before school and not have to stress about needing to get lunches made, in addition to getting four kids up, and dressed, and fed, and to school on time.  This means a few minutes out of my crazy hectic days that I can take for myself, have another cup of tea, or get a little bit ahead on something else. 

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Not-At-All Spicy Homemade Enchilada Sauce (and easy enchilada casserole)

Not-At-All Spicy Homemade Enchilada Sauce (and easy enchilada casserole)

I rarely buy canned enchilada sauce any more. Honestly it’s not because I’m being a princess about canned foods, but it’s because even ones labeled “mild” are too spicy for my kids. I think I've tried just about every brand of "mild" sauce I can find, and none of them are really all that mild. I love spicy foods, but my kids aren't there yet. So if I want them to enjoy the meal I am making, then I need to figure out ways to remove spice but preserve flavor.

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