Rotisserie Chicken Is My Go To Food

As a working mom, trying to figure out what to cook for my family for dinner was one of the most stressful things for me. Everyone liked different things, except the youngest who ate everything. We had easy dishes like spaghetti, chili, sandwiches, breakfast for dinner and always pizza. A mother of 5 once suggested her go to meal which quickly became mine, a pound of roast beef from the deli, a package of brown gravy mix, boxed mashed potatoes and broccoli. It was not the healthiest meal, but it was quick and the family loved it.

Then there were basketball, baseball, softball, football, band practice and games, plays and a host of other events the children were involved in. Those events called for fast food dinners.  As the kids grew, they made fast food their staple. Hubby and I ate out all the time because I was never able to cook for just two people.

Fast forward to the almost empty nest when you have the one kid who lives in the backroom and is sometime mistaken for a piece of furniture. You guessed it! In my home, its the same kid who used to eat everything. Now, my dinners consist of anything I can put together with a Rotisserie chicken. My chicken comes from Publix preferably the barbeque or mojo and sometimes Athena’s Greek Restaurant which usually makes it home without the wings.


Publix Rotisserie Chicken

Publix Rotisserie Chicken

Not long ago, I learned from a Jamaican friend of the family how to make jerk chicken with rotisserie chicken. When I tried the jerk chicken my rotisserie chicken menu expanded like Kim Kardashian’s booty. I made rotisserie chicken my go to food.  I make chicken enchiladas, chicken tacos and chicken chili. I make chicken spaghetti, chicken salad and of course chicken soup for anyone who needs something to make them feel better. Ask me when was the last time I bought raw chicken for any of these meals, better yet don’t bother because I don’t know.  

P.S. I have even learned to buy wings and recook them with my choice of flavor.

What is your go to food or what do you use rotisserie chicken for?


black velvet cake

black velvet cake 

Tajirah's Black Velvet

Don’t let the picture fool you.













  • 3 cups of flour
  • 3 teaspoons of cocoa powder
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • ½ cup of canola oil
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 2 ounces black food coloring
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla
  • 2(8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 6 tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 1 pint of whipping cream
  • 2 lbs of confectioners sugar



  1.  preheat oven to 350 degrees F. prepare 2 (9 inch) round cake pans
  2.  sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; set aside
  3.  cream together butter, oil and sugar until fluffy.
  4.  beat in eggs one at a time
  5.  alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter egg and sugar.
  6.  beat in food color and flavor
  7.  spread in pans evenly and bake for 25-30 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
  8.  cool on racks 
Tajirah's Black Velvet Cake

frosting the black velvet cake with a layer of cream cheese frosting on the sides













  1.  in bowl cream together cream cheese and butter
  2.  beat in confectioners sugar until fluffy
  3.  beat in vanilla
  4.  in another bowl pour whipping cream into a cold bowl and beat until thickened
  5.  add confectioners sugar (amount depends on how sweet you want it) and add a little vanilla for some flavor
  6. continue whipping until soft peaks are formed

 frost the layers and spread thin coat of cream cheese frosting over sides.

mix the whipped cream and cream cheese frosting together and spread on top and sides of cake


I made this for my daughter’s birthdays. One wanted a Red Velvet cake and the other wanted an Oreo cake. I made them both happy, but only one wanted to show her smile of joy after eating her cake.

Tajirah's Black Velvet Cake

Black velvet cake teeth




Ackee and Saltfish Recipe for cousin Debbie

ackee saltfish

Ackee and Saltfish served with boiled green bananas and fried dumplings

2 cans of Grace Ackee

1 lb of boneless salted codfish – not sure of the brand but it is wild caught

1 scotch bonnet or if not available 1 habanero pepper*

olive oil

1 sprig of fresh thyme

black pepper

1 large tomato chopped

1 onion chopped

3 or 4 scallions chopped

canola oil to fry dumplings


Disclaimer 1:

 I am not Jamaican. Therefore it may not be “authentic”, but this is how I make and serve Ackee and Saltfish for my JAmerican husband and my children.

Disclaimer 2:

I believe this will serve at least 6 people, but I don’t know because my husband and son do not stop eating until it is gone.


Lets get started….

First I soak the boneless salted codfish overnight. Needless to say, this is usually a weekend dish and not a very often weekend dish.

After soaking the codfish,  I boil the fish at least 30 minutes or until it becomes flaky. I don’t like it when it is too chewy, but I do like some of the salt to remain with the fish.

While the fish is boiling, I wash the green bananas with baking soda and scrub. Then I cut the tops and bottoms off the bananas and cut a small incision down the length.

I boil the bananas for 20 mins. Green bananas do not taste like yellow bananas, but have more of a starchy, potatoey (not really a word) taste.

While the bananas and the fish are cooking I make the dough for the dumplings.

2 cups of flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup warm milk

After combining ingredients, knead and let rest for 15 mins

Green bananas should be done, remove from heat and drain.

Back to the ackee and saltfish…..

Place the ackee in a colander and if you see any black or brown specs remove them.

Drain the fish by pouring the fish water over the ackee into the colander. Flake the pieces of fish and try not to handle the ackee too much to avoid it becoming mushy.

In a large enough pan with lid, heat at least 1/2 cup of olive oil, more if needed.

Add the onions and sauté until wilted. Add the fish and ackee and pepper to taste, the sprig of thyme, tomatoes and a small slice of the scotch bonnet or habanero pepper* stir just to combine. Reduce heat and cover.

Back to the dumplings…

Heat canola oil to fry the dumplings. Form a log with the dough and cut in pieces. Drop in hot oil and watch them expand. Cook until brown on all sides. Remove and place on paper towel to drain.

You should be able to handle the bananas. Peel them.

Serve your ackee and saltfish with the bananas and the dumplings.

*The last time I used the habanero pepper I rubbed my eye after handling it  and thought my eye would burn out of its socket. Cucumber was the only thing that removed the burning. Please be careful when handling the peppers.


Let me know how your ackee and saltfish turns out.




Vacation, Sangria and the Tajirah Glass

When is the last time you went on vacation? I mean a real vacation where you felt a sense of freedom to behave in a way that you would normally not behave and do activities you would normally not do because you are always concerned about what others think of you. Being on vacation is the perfect time to enjoy your surroundings, be yourself and love who you are with.

Guess what? You don’t have to leave your house to take a vacation. This summer take a vacation in your own hometown, backyard or go to the beach and let loose as if you were far away on an island:


Enjoy a summertime refreshment such as:20140701_190428


2 oranges peeled and sliced

1 lemon peeled and sliced

1 lime peeled and sliced

1 pint of strawberries hulled and sliced

1/2 of pineapple cut into chunks

1 bottle of full bodied red wine

1 cup of apricot brandy

1/2 cup of triple sec

chilled  ginger ale

*grape juice

Add all fruit into a pitcher, pour in the brandy and triple sec  and muddle the fruit just a little to release some of the fruit essence. Pour bottle of wine over the fruit mixture and refrigerate over night.

 *For a non-alcoholic version, substitute grape juice for the wine and omit the brandy and triple sec.

The next day strain fruit and pour sangria in your favorite glass and top off with the chilled ginger ale.