Welcome to MJ’s Kitchen, a spicy kitchen in New Mexico. For well over 30 years I’ve been cooking up a variety recipes – classics, New Mexico classics and originals – for family and friends.  A few years after we were married, Bobby gave me a journal so I could start writing down my recipes.  This was long before homes had personal computers so through the years I have filled that journal and a couple more.  Finally, a PC landed on my desk and writing down recipes became so much easier.  In MJ’s Kitchen I share some of these recipes and more with you.  I also hope to show you how easy it is to cook and create your own dishes if you don’t do so already.


The Peach

Besides being my favorite fruit, there’s a story behind the peach.  When Bobby and I moved from Louisiana to New Mexico in the 70’s our starter home was a 900 square foot house on a tiny lot with 10 mature fruit trees:  6 peach, 2 plum, 1 apple and an apricot.  All of the trees were quite prolific keeping us very, very busy from spring to fall.  With six peach trees, I had more peaches than I could handle so I was giving them away to anyone who would take them.  When friends or family dropped by, I made them peach daiquiris or a peach cobbler or gave them homemade peach jam or spiced peaches, and of course, sent them home with a bag of juicy, picked ripe peaches.   It didn’t take long for me to acquire the title – “The Peach Lady”, a name that has stayed with me for years – and thus – the peach.

The Recipes

The recipes that you find in MJ’s Kitchen are mostly my own creations that reflect my love of New Mexico cuisine and ingredients.  Every once in a while you’ll see some of my southern upbringing thrown in to the mix – like grits and green chile. Most of my recipes are simple, with only a few ingredients that can be cooked any day of the week in less than an hour, and in many cases, 30 minutes.  Cooking almost every night, I try to make dishes that are fast and simple.  I also apply what I learned from my mother – be frugal and use what’s in the refrigerator before going back to the grocery store.  Don’t throw anything away!

The ingredients for my recipes are pretty common and found in most every grocery store worldwide.  However, there are a few ingredients that are more common in the southern or the southwestern United States – like grits, New Mexico red chile and green chile, and chile powder.  However, do not be discouraged when you see a recipe with New Mexico green chiles.  With the internet right at our fingertips, one can pretty much order whatever ingredients are needed.  In addition – there is usually something that you can use as a substitute; therefore, always be sure to read the Kitchen Notes for every recipe.

A comment about serving size – the serving size that I state in my recipes is NOT based on FDA or any official organization.  It’s based on how many servings I get when I fix a dish for me and Bobby.  I try to keep my serving size to what is recommended while Bobby just eats what he wants (and can!).

About MJ (Yes – the Peach Lady is a little older now)

In addition to loving to cook and eat, I have been working my dream job in adult education since I was 24.  I’ve taught everything from mathematics to nanotechnology, so now it’s time to go light.  Starting this food blog just seems like a natural thing to do at this time in my life.


I hope you enjoy it here and that you make MJ’s Kitchen one of your favorite places.  I look forward to meeting you.

Credits and Acknowledgements

Photography – MJ Willis and Bob Willis
Peach illustration – Junifer Nez
A special thanks to
Holly for her willingness to test as many recipes as I can throw her way and to
Kylene for her invaluable assistance with dishes and accessories for the photos as well as a wealth of information on food styling.

Website Copyrights

All content (e.g., recipes, images) of the MJ’s Kitchen website is copyrighted by MJ and Bob Willis.  Any use of this content requires written permission.  Thank you for respecting this copyright.

71 Responses to “About”

  1. Daphne March 14, 2014 at 3:43 am #

    Good Morning MJ, It is lovely to meet you. I found your blog after visiting Carole’s Chatter and saw your recipe for Macaroni Cheese.
    It was interesting to read how you started your blog, because I was encouraged to do the same for my two daughters. When my Grandmother Ivy died, a lot of her recipes went with her, because she kept them in her head. I started writing recipes in a book for each of my daughters, but like you, I found the book filled very quickly. Natasha, my eldest daughter gently coaxed me for 2 years or so to start a blog and I remember nervously pressing the publish key for my first post and I have not looked back.
    I am now going to enjoy reading your other recipes. I have really enjoyed my visit, so I have become a new follower with Google +
    Have a lovely day.
    Best Wishes

    • mj March 16, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      Thanks so much Daphne for stopping by and introducing yourself! The way I feel, when someone coaxes you into starting a food blog, then you must be a great cook! :) Good for your daughter. I look forward to sharing recipes with you! Cheers, MJ

  2. Tamara Andersen February 5, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Hi MJ! I did a search to see if other food bloggers were creating recipes for Hatch green chile, and I found you. I am just getting started with a food blog – 3 months – and while I love green chile and cheese enchiladas with a runny egg, I’m a fitness nut and into healthy cooking. I found a good many recipes using “chili” written by people in NY, but not many using our wonderful green chile from NM. I just wanted to say “hi”, and I’ve enjoyed looking around your blog. I did subscribe also.

    • mj February 6, 2014 at 8:27 am #

      Tamara, thanks so much for dropping by and leaving a comment!!! I, too, try to make my NM recipes a little healthier than the traditional recipes, but I have to stop at eliminating the egg. :) Welcome to the blogging world! Headed over to check out your blog!

  3. Maggie November 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

    I found out your site after you comment on my blog. What a lovely discovery! I fall in love with this site immediately! I like the simple design and beautiful photos, especially the various ideas of daily cooking.
    My boyfriend’s family lives in Georgia and they like southern food a lot. I will definitely come back and learn more about southern cooking.

    • mj November 4, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

      Thanks so much Maggie for dropping by and leaving such a nice comment! I enjoyed visiting your blog as well and will be back.

  4. Anthony L September 28, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    Hi reading some of your recipes and added to my favorites .
    I am a New Mexico native and have lived in China for the last 4 years. Everyone loves NM food. My gf says I should open a restaurant …hheeh
    This weekend I will make green chili stew and calabacitas.
    Last week I made carne adovada burritos and tacos

    • mj September 29, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      Anthony, Thanks so much for commenting!!!! New Mexico food is definitely food that one misses when they can’t have it. When my hubby and I go on vacation, the first thing we do upon returning home is to go down to El Patio by the university and get something smothered in chile. I’ve had some pretty spicy Chinese food, so I have to agree with your gf – a New Mexico restaurant in China sounds like a pretty good idea. :) I hope you enjoy the stew and calabacitas! What kind of green chile do you get in China? Bet it’s not as good as here. Thanks again and I hope to hear from you again!

  5. Jessica September 3, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    I just wanted to let you know how excited I was to find your website! I was born in New Mexico and moved away when I was 12, but I still miss the food so much and love visiting and eating green chile until my heart wants to burst. No one “gets it” unless they’ve eaten true New Mexico cuisine!

    I’m glad to have found your recipes now that I am cooking for my little family! We just got a small batch of Hatch green chiles, and I’m about to roast them so I can make your sauce recipe – the husband really needs to experience it. Thanks again!

    • mj September 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

      Jessica, Thanks so much for stopping to say hello! It’s always good to hear from my readers! I’m so glad I can bring a little of New Mexico into your home. It sounds like you are doing a great job of it yourself. I can smell those chiles roasting now. :) I hope you and your husband enjoyed the chiles and the chile sauce. I made a batch the other night for some calabacita enchiladas. Those have become our favorite, right next to the red chile enchiladas. :) I hope to hear from you again! Cheers, MJ

  6. Amber @ The Cook's Sister July 31, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    Hi MJ — I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award (http://bit.ly/12Gwfc6)! I love your blog, creative recipes, and friendly and approachable writing style. I truly appreciate you as one of my blogger friends, I always look forward to your comments and feedback.

    • mj August 1, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

      Thank you SO much Amber! You’re the sweetheart!!!

  7. Jimmy McKnight June 2, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    Karen told me about your web site. Must be nice being the peach lady. Lol. I hope life has been good to you and Bob.

    • mj June 4, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

      Omg! Is that really you!? Thanks so much for saying hi! Life has been really good here in NM. Hope life has been good to you as well. Hope to see you again someday.

  8. Ann@Anncoo Journal May 1, 2013 at 3:21 am #

    Hi MJ, Thank you very much for coming to my site. You have a nice blog with great recipes that I’d love to learn from you.Wish I’m your neighbor too so I can get your homemade jam and fresh peaches :D

    • mj May 1, 2013 at 10:06 am #

      Thanks Ann!!! You know – you can make your own jam. I have a few recipes where you can make one jar at a time with just a little fruit. :) Hope to see you again.

  9. Carmen April 28, 2013 at 4:06 am #

    Very glad to have found your site. I have already made some of your recipes and I find them extraordinary.

    • mj April 28, 2013 at 11:44 am #

      Carmen – thanks so much for your nice comment! It’s great to hear that you have tried my recipes. I’m definitely having a good day now. :) Hope to hear from you again. Oh – and please share my site with your friends. Thanks again!

  10. thebestdressup April 1, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    ciao! luvFAB blog.

I love hearing from my visitors, so please leave a comment. Thanks for dropping by!