About

Welcome to MJ’s Kitchen, a spicy little New Mexico kitchen. For well over 30 years I’ve been cooking up a variety recipes – classics, New Mexico classics, variations of the classics, and MJ originals.  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 with you and more.  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.  Shorted after Bobby and I got married back in the 70s, we bought our starter home which 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 love of southern cuisine thrown in to the mix as well – 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 market.  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 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 micro and 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.

75 Responses to “About”

  1. Jan Grevas July 21, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    While googling red enchilada sauce, I found your blog. Your was the first one to pop up and can’t wait to peruse your recipes. I lived in Farmington, NM from 1993 to 2004 and fell in love with green chiles. Since moving back to the Midwest, few people understand my obsession. I miss them soooo much, nothing compares. One of the big chain grocery stores carry them in the fall for a limited time. But, it’s just not the same! Again, excited to try some of your recipes! Thanks!

    Thanks, Jan

    • mj July 21, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

      Jan, Thanks so much for your comments! I’m so glad you found me too and glad to read that mine was the first one to pop up. :) Green chile is definitely an addiction so I do understand how you miss them since you lived here as long as you did. There are several suppliers here in New Mexico that will ship them and fresh chile season is just a few weeks away. :) I hope you continue to enjoy what you see here. Feel free to drop a line any time to say hello or for a question or request. Again, thanks for dropping by!

  2. kathy May 30, 2014 at 3:02 am #

    Hi, I’m from Sydney, Australia and love your site. Thank you for helping me feed my 4 Aussie boys great tasting food. All the best to you and your family. Just about to go and make garlic infused oil. Wish me luck.

    • mj May 30, 2014 at 8:06 am #

      Good luck Kathy! :) I hope you and your family enjoy the garlic oil and roasted garlic! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a wonderful comment! It is always good to hear from readers that are actually cooking my recipes. I’m thrilled to know that it’s being enjoyed by you and your boys! You made my day. :)

  3. 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
    Daphne

    • 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

  4. 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!

  5. 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.
    Cheers!

    • 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.

  6. 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.
    Anthony
    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!

  7. 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

  8. 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!!!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

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

    ciao! luvFAB blog.
    thebestdressup

  13. Keri Olsen February 23, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    MJ… kuddos to you and thank you. I have really enjoyed your recipes over the last few months. It started out needing comfort while working. Simply viewing your recipes was comforting. I now am trying them. I love the ease of ingredients and time. Fabulous. Thank you for sharing some “home comfort” with my family and I.

    • mj February 23, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      Keri – Thank you SO much for such a nice comment! You certainly made my day! I’m glad to see that you have started to cook my recipes. Please let me know if you have any questions. Your feedback is always appreciated! Thanks again Darlin!!

  14. Miriam Hamsa December 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    Cooking up pink beans with chico’s tonight. Out in California, pink beans are as close as i can come to bolitas. Fond memories on NNM!

    • mj December 10, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

      Miriam – thanks for the comment! I’ve never cooked with pink beans, but I have seen them and, yep – I agree – close enough to bolitas!

  15. peggy November 7, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    i am making tamales sunday 11-11-12 (putting all together) how many days will my red chili sauce (made from dried pods and pureed) stay in the fridge? i made a batch today (tues) and making more on (weds) do i need to freeze it until sat nite? or will it stay in the fridge?
    thanks
    peg

    • mj November 8, 2012 at 7:51 am #

      Peg, As long as you only use water and not meat based stock in your chile sauce it will actually last a couple of weeks in the fridge before you need to freeze it. Have fun making tamales and thanks for contacting me!!!

  16. Bill September 27, 2012 at 4:51 am #

    Hi MJ,

    Thanks for the comments on my blog! I’ll be following yours regularly. Congratulations on your soon-to-be new kitchen. We did a major reno on our house last year. My kitchen was big enough for one person before and I’m loving the large kitchen we added on to the back of the house. I’m sure you’ll enjoy yours. Thanks again and look forward to seeing more MJ recipes.

  17. Sharon | Chinese Soup Pot September 10, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    How wonderful that you had such a good variety of fresh fruits from your own backyard! I have always wanted to try growing some veggies and fruits because I love eating fresh, natural foods. But unfortunately, I don’t have a yard. I hope some day I will have a big yard to grow my own fresh produce in! Good luck with your kitchen renovation! =)

    • mj September 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

      Sharon – I hope you do get a backyard some day. There is nothing like growing your own food! I haven’t been able to have a garden for several years now, but hope to change that come the spring. Thanks for your nice comments!

  18. Allen@Cook! Bake! Share! July 29, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Hello!

    I have nominated you for the “very Inspiring Blogger” Award
    because MJ’s Kitchen is one of my favorites!

    http://cookbakeshare.com/very-inspiring-blogger-award

    • mj September 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

      Thanks so much Allen!

  19. Choc Chip Uru July 7, 2012 at 3:53 am #

    Happpy Awarding my friend :D
    You have been given two awards – check this post out: http://gobakeyourself.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/a-classic/

    Congrats :)
    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • mj September 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

      Thanks so much Uru!

  20. Debby June 6, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    I’m so pleased to find your blog over on the Real Food Forager Mj. I love your story and your nickname. My daughter’s is nicknamed Peaches too. I’m not sure where it came from and I always call her pumpkin…but she is a peach!

    Like you I have lots of hand written recipe books compiled over twenty seven years of marriage…( I can’t believe it’s that long!) and also hate wasting food.

    Oh well now I’ve said hello I can’t wait to go and read the rest of your blog.

    Happy baking,
    Deb

    • mj September 10, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

      That’s cute – her nickname is Peaches but you call her pumpkin. My mom called me pumpkin as well. :) Thanks for stopping by Debby! Hope to get to know you more!

  21. The Better Baker May 25, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    Great write up of your life…very interesting. I’m tickled to see your initials…mine are
    also MJ…Marsha Joy (King) Baker. Thanks for sharing your lovely dishes. I’m all about simple, delicious and quick too.

    • mj May 25, 2012 at 9:02 am #

      Thanks MJ! So very nice to meet you! Hope to see you again!

  22. RecipeNewZ May 11, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    Hello MJ,

    I just discovered your site through Foodbuzz. I love your recipes, photography, writing style – everything about your blog! So sincere and beautiful :-). I am definitely going to stop by often to try some of your creations!

    Now that I am here, I would also like to invite you to share some of your reicpes on a new photo based recipe sharing network that launched only this Monday. The idea is simple: recipe photographs are published within minutes of submission. No rejections, no reviews. The most popular images get promoted to the top of the gallery. And, of course, the images link back to the author’s site.

    It’s called RecipeNewZ (with Z) – http://recipenewz.com.

    I hope you get a chance to visit and to share some of your delicious posts with our viewers :-)

    • mj May 25, 2012 at 9:01 am #

      Thank you so much for the nice comments and for dropping by! I have joined RecipeNewZ! Thanks for setting up such a great site for us foodies!

  23. Beth May 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    I just found your website searching for a massaged kale recipe–I loved your recipe and I love what you do!
    Looking forward to trying out more!

    • mj May 25, 2012 at 9:04 am #

      Beth, Thanks so much for the comment and stopping by! Hope to see you again!

  24. CJ at Food Stories May 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    I found your site through another food blog and thought I would stop by to check yours out. I just subscribed to your blog feed and can’t wait to see what your next post will be!

  25. Peter Block April 19, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    Thank you for the welcome to the blogging world and the kind mention on my blog. I love the essence of your blog. Happy blogging to my new foodie friend.

    • mj May 2, 2012 at 10:59 am #

      Thanks for dropping by Peter! Look forward to sharing with you!

  26. Doris Oppenheimer March 2, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    Thanks for your ristra chile sauce recipe. It is spot on.

    • mj March 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

      So cool! Glad you enjoyed it. It’s a staple in this house! Thanks for letting me know!!!

  27. Michi February 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    Hello, MJ! Thank you for stopping by! I LOVE your recipes, and how wonderfully simple, delicious, and diverse they are. They’ll be keeping me busy in my little kitchen, that’s for sure! ;)

  28. Deeps @ Naughty Curry January 29, 2012 at 3:05 am #

    what a beautiful intro, loved reading it! ‘the peach lady’ is such a cute name, im so J of all the fresh fruits u must be flodded with during season… bookmarked quite a few of ur recipe’s, esp the herb bread thats on top of my list :) keep cooking

  29. Christine January 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    Hi MJ!

    Greetings from Malaysia!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog and I love your Peach trees! I can go crazy harvesting them! You are so lucky!

    Christine

  30. Sanjeeta kk December 10, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    MJ..read your about page, am in owe with that Peach tree of yours. Wish I could come to your garden fill a bag full with those fresh fruits…and just munch..munch. Thanks for being a wonderful friend, love and hugs.

  31. michael atwood December 10, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    I saw a picture of the red chille enchiladas. , now I’m hooked. Can’t wait to try. I would love to see more. So until later your new friend and follower .

    • mj December 10, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

      Welcome Michael! I’m so glad you stopped by and look forward to seeing you again!

  32. Ramona December 3, 2011 at 5:48 am #

    MJ… I’m so glad I came over to check out your “about” from your strawberry jam post! I really enjoyed reading about your life and I love that picture of you in front of the peach trees. Wow.. 6 peach trees… how did you manage!? It’s also so sweet that your husband helps take the pictures. You two sound like a great team. I’m going to spend some more time coming over here and checking out your older recipes. I realize now how much I have missed. Thanks for sharing these wonderful recipes with us. PS… tell your hubby fantastic photography. I am trying to improve my picture taking (Foodgawker hates my photos). I think it’s my camera and lighting… so I’m looking for any hints, tricks and camera recommendations. Thanks!! Ramona

    • mj December 3, 2011 at 11:39 am #

      Ramona, Thanks for visiting my About page and my older posts! I appreciate everyone of yours and everyone’s comments! As far as the photography goes, I think all of those food porn sites want you to blow out your exposures – everything is so white sometimes. :) I love color so we have more of our pics turned down, than published. The decisions those sites make are very subjective, so we don’t take pics for Foodgawker or any of the others. We take pictures for us and what we like. I will pass your sweet comments on to Bobby. Thanks again!

      • Ramona December 11, 2011 at 5:32 am #

        Thanks MJ… I will keep plugging away taking pictures my way. :) I like my pictures for the most part. :) Your food and pictures are stunning. Now I’m off to check out some older posts after drooling over your cranberry bread. :)

  33. Mama's World November 17, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    Hi Mj!!

    Itchy potato or arbi as we Indians call it… is actually called taro(root)

    google search link below
    http://www.google.co.in/search?gcx=w&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=Taro+(root)

  34. Sawsan@chef in disguise September 14, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Hello Mj
    thank you for the friend request on foodbuzz
    you have a wonderful blog here with amazing recipes and stunning pictures
    glad I found it

  35. Ann August 30, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    What a fun introduction! I enjoyed your site very much and look forward to seeing many more of your delicious recipes!

    • mj August 30, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

      Thanks for the nice comments! I do hope to see you again!

  36. Danny May 14, 2011 at 7:40 am #

    I’m really enjoying this! And Bob’s photos are great!

    • mj May 17, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

      Hope this helps you eat your fruit and vegetables. -:) Thanks Danny.

  37. Susie Kraft May 10, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    Bless your (and Bobby’s) hearts! You two ROCK!!! What an awesome brainchild…Compliments to all involved in this fun adventure :)

    I absolutely LOVE your website and look forward to more of your yummy-looking recipes to try.
    Like Shelley, I can hardly wait to try your calzone recipe(s) with the variations you
    offered up; I also like the jam recipe and the fact you’ve made it so easy for the rest of us!
    (Final note: I’m thinking “the hubby” will be cooking up your sausage/vegetables recipe).
    Kudos!!!

  38. Marguerite May 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    I love peaches and once had three very “giving tree” peach trees. I am anxious to read and try your recipes!

  39. mj April 19, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    Thanks Everyone!!!!! This is going to be fun!

  40. Danny April 18, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    I hope now, when I come over, I’m not told to fix it yourself!
    Having known Bob and MJ for a while I can probably vouch for all the recipes forth coming!!!

  41. Shelley Ensz April 18, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    MJ, count me in, I’m a fan! I love your recipes, photography, and the whole website. It’s a delight to the eyes and, I’m sure, to the taste buds as well. I’m going to try your hack on Calzones, first of all. Congratulations and many warm hugs!

  42. Kathy April 18, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    How generous of you to share your culinary talents with us! The comments which accompany each recipe are entertaining and educational, and the photos are absolutely beautiful. I look forward to spending time in MJ’s Kitchen.

  43. Sarah April 17, 2011 at 11:56 pm #

    MJ – amazing website!!!!!! I am sooooo happy to see the “fruits” of your labor come out to play!!!!!! Always a fan of your cooking I now have your recipes at my fingertips!!! I have thoroughly enjoyed all of your recipes that have come across mama’s table over the years – especially lately! Congratulations and I love you!!!

  44. Dale Green April 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    I can’t wait to look through the whole book! You go gurl!, love Dale and Cindy

  45. Barbara J April 17, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    WOW! Maybe I can learn to cook now?! :-)))

  46. Jenny April 17, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    MJ- I’m so glad you are doing this site. I’m so excited to see the recipes that are to come! Love you

  47. Barb March 25, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    WOW! I can’t wait to try all of these recipes. They look FABULOUS!

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