Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup by Shalimar Dominguez
Videography and Production by Alondra Garcia

Shalimar Dominguez, a senior, psychology major makes her mom’s special and unique vegetarian tortilla soup. When Dominguez was a sophomore, she was a vegetarian and her brother was vegan. Since both of them still wanted to eat their homemade recipe, Mrs. Dominguez created her own version of a vegetarian tortilla soup.


•1/2 gallon of water
•2 cans of tomate sauces
•2 cans of whole tomatoes
•2 cans of drained corn
•teaspoon of cumin
•teaspoon of garlic
As wanted:
•queso fresco
•pre-made rice
•chopped green onions
•tortilla chips


Start by heating a 1/2 gallon of water in a large pot. Pour the two cans of tomato sauce, two cans of whole tomatoes and two cans of corn into the pot and heat it to a boil. Once at a boil lower heat to let it simmer. Add cumin and garlic spices along with fresh cilantro to the pot. In a serving bowl add a mound of queso fresco, rice, chopped green onion, avocado and tortilla chips as wanted.

Serve and enjoy!

Mahi Mahi Ceviche

Mahi Mahi Ceviche by Marisol Melara

Videograohy and Production by Clarissa M. Yanar

Marisol Melara is an International St. Mary’s senior from Honduras. She has spent most of her life in the tropical areas of her home country eating fresh fish and fruit. Making this dish for her is like going back home for a while!


• 1 Whole Cucumber
• ½ Red Onion
• 4 Medium Jalapenos
• 1 ½ Celery Sticks
• ¼ Cup of finely chopped Cilantro
• 1 Avocado
• ¼ Cup Orange Juice
• ¼ Cup Ketchup
• ½ Cup Tomato Juice
• 8 Limes
• ¼ Cup Jugo Magi
• Salt and Pepper
• 1lb. Mahi Mahi


Cut Mahi Mahi into small squares (about 1.5 cm). Place Mahi Mahi in a bowl and pour the juice of the 8 limes over it. Make sure it is completely covered. Leave Mahi Mahi sitting in lime juice for an hour. After washing them, finely chop all vegetables into tiny squares. Finely chop cilantro. Make sure to take seeds out of jalapenos and cucumbers. When Mahi Mahi has been cooked through with the lime juice, drain all lime juice from the bowl. Be sure to get it all out so no fishy residue taste is left behind. Mix in all vegetables and cilantro in with the fish. Add orange and tomato juice to the mix. Stir in the ketchup to the mix. Pour in the Jugo Magi. Add salt in pepper to your liking. Stir everthing together and try not to completely destroy the avocado. Serve over a tostada or saltine crackers. Add lime and hot sauce to your liking. Enjoy

Thirst Quenching Watermelon Cake

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Thirst Quenching Watermelon Cake by Beatriz Quesada
Story and photos by Jessica Valles

“I’m trying to stretch summer out as much as possible,” says St. Mary’s University alumna, Beatriz Quesada, about the recipe she chose. Quesada graduated May 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science.

“I’ve always enjoyed the small community feeling and the Marianist values here at St. Mary’s,” says Quesada as she takes a watermelon half her size out of the refrigerator at the apartment she shares with her two younger brothers.

“But I also have always loved big cities!” says Quesada, who just moved back to San Antonio from New York City where she was attending the physical therapy program at New York University.

“New York was a little too much for me, but I think I’ll like Miami better.” She plans on getting her doctorate in physical therapy at Miami University.

Before New York, Quesada participated in a study abroad program in London and before that she studied at St. Mary’s sister school, Chaminade University in Honolulu in Hawaii.

“London was great, I ate a lot of tuna sandwiches!” jokes Quesada as she talks about how expensive it was to live in the city. However, she did not mind because tuna happens to be one of her favorite foods.

Quesada, who originally is from, Mexico City, enjoys spicy food. Though the recipe she shares is anything but spicy.

(Although, like all the cities Quesada has called home, this recipe is big and surprising.)

With an eventful weekend ahead of her and the summer soon ending, Quesada decided to enjoy one last summer favorite–watermelon.

“We’re celebrating my friend’s birthday this weekend, so I want to make her a special cake.”

Says Quesada as she starts nonchalantly carving a Three Tier Thirst Quenching Cake out of the melon like the recipe describes.


  • One large watermelon
  • An 8oz container of whipped cream
  • One 14oz bag of Bakers shredded coconut
  • One kiwi
  • A few black berries and raspberries


Make sure all the ingredients are cool so they are easier to work with, especially the watermelon, so everything sticks together nicely without being runny. Slice the top and bottom of the watermelon so that it has two flat sides, making one of the slices larger than the other. Start carving the remaining skin off of the melon slowly to leave as much melon intact as possible. Shape out a second tier by cutting from the topsides of the melon. Using the larger slice and cutting from the ends of the melon, cut out a third tier by inserting a glass into the left over melon. Carefully pull the cylinder out and place it on top of the second tier with toothpicks to make sure it stays in place. Pat dry the cake shaped melon with paper towels and cover it with whipped cream. Brown the coconut in the oven for fifteen minutes and coat the whipped cream with it. Decorate the sides and top of the cake with slices of kiwi and berries. Makes fifteen slices.

Remastering a Classic with Love

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Spaghetti and Meatballs by Kathleen Benavides
Story and Photos by Pablo Cruz Jr.

Many people enjoy Italian food for the taste and the love that goes behind every dish, this is the same love Kathleen Benavides puts into her spaghetti and meatballs.

Spaghetti and meatballs, with its perfect combination of harmonious flavors from simple ingredients, is a favorite for Kathleen, a Computer Information Systems graduate and St. Mary’s University Alumna.

Benavides graduated in May of 2013 and enjoyed her years at St. Mary’s, calling it, “home away from home.” Her major allowed her to learn plenty in the field of technology but cooking has always been a part of her life, even in college. While Kathleen doesn’t consider herself a top-tier chef, her dishes have earned the approval of second servings from friends and family.

Her Mexican heritage influenced her choices of favorite dishes like late night tacos, good morning migas, and family dinner enchiladas. However, she found a love for one Italian dish. “Growing up I would always see spaghetti and meatballs in my favorite cartoons as the main dish served for dinner. I always had the desire to learn how to make it. So I did my research and accepted the challenge,” she recalls.  When preparing this dish, Benavides advises, “ Truth be told, anyone can make it, you just need a little love. That’s the secret.”, she concludes.


Fresh Tomato Sauce

  • 10 to 12 fresh plum tomatoes (approximately 2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 4 ounces extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional extra-virgin olive oil, optional
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or blended.
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped or blended.
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly chopped parsley leaves


  • 2 tablespoons, plus 1 cup pure olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 lb ground chuck
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs.

Barilla Spaghetti Noodles (Store Bought)


Tomato Sauce Directions

Cut the bottom of each tomato in a cross form with a sharp knife (do not cut too deep). Then, place tomatoes onto a baking pan and roast for about 2 hours. Remove tomatoes and let them cool. Then peel and blend tomatoes.Heat olive oil in a saucepan. When hot, add garlic and crushed red pepper. Saute until garlic turns slightly golden. Add chopped onion and saute an additional 2 1/2 minutes.Add 2 cups of water to pan. Add tomatoes and cook approximately 5 minutes. Add salt to taste. Add chopped parsley and extra virgin olive oil if desired.

Meatballs Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, about 1½ minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.Whisk together the eggs, 3 tablespoons cold water, sautéed garlic, parsley, cheese and salt and pepper in a large bowl until combined. Add the chuck and gently mix together until combined. Begin adding bread crumbs a few tablespoons at a time until the mixture just holds together.
Form the meat into 1½-inch balls. Heat the remaining 1 cup of oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the meatballs and fry until golden brown on all sides.

Noodles Directions

Fill a medium sized pot with cold water. Place it on the stove on high heat. Bring to a boil.
Reduce water to a simmer. Place the spaghetti into the hot water, making sure the spaghetti is completely covered with water. You may need to break the spaghetti in half.Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes. Spaghetti should be completely soft when finished. Test a strand of pasta to make sure it is finished before turning off the stove. If the center is still hard, allow to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.Remove pot from heat. Drain the pasta using a colander, then transfer pasta to a plate. Serve immediately.If spaghetti is dry, drizzle with olive oil or butter.

Chocolate Chip Treasure Cookies

Chocolate Chip Treasure Cookies by Breanne Pardo
Videography and Production by Bianca Pardo

Breanne Pardo, a junior English-Communications Arts major at St. Mary’s University,enjoys baking Chocolate Chip Treasure Cookies. She loves all the different flavors within the cookie. Pardo demonstrates how to make this flavorful cookie.


•1.5 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs

•1.5 cups of all-purpose flour
•2 teaspoons of Clabber Girl baking powder
•1 14 ounce can of Eagle Brand Sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
•.5 margarine, softened
•1 3.5 ounce can flaked coconut (1.5 cups)
•1 12 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
•1 cup chopped Diamond walnuts


Heat the oven to 375 degrease. In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, flower, and baking powder. In a mixer bowl, beat the sweetened condensed milk and margarine until it is smooth.

Then add the crumb mixture and mix well. Stir the coconut, chips, and walnuts. Drop the tablespoons of cookie dough onto lightly greased cookie sheets.

Next, bake the cookies 9 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool the cookies 2 to 3 minutes and remove from the cookie sheets. Store the cookies loosely covered at room temperature.

Basic Omelete

Basic Omelete by Tim Paiz
Videography and Production by Nick Canedo

Tim Paiz, a senior international business major and golfer on the men’s team at St. Mary’s University, discusses breakfast and demonstrates how to make a simple dish to start the day—an omelete.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes


• 2 eggs
• 2 Tbsp. whole milk
• 2 Tbsp clarified butter or whole butter
• Salt and ground white pepper, to taste
• Any additional fillings the cook desires


Crack the eggs into a glass mixing bowl and beat them until they turn a pale yellow color. Heat a heavy-bottomed nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the butter and let it melt. Add the milk to the eggs and season to taste with salt and white pepper. Then, grab your whisk and whisk like crazy. beating as much air as possible into the eggs. When the butter in the pan is hot enough to make a drop of water hiss, pour in the eggs, but don’t stir. Let the eggs cook for up to a minute or until the bottom starts to set. With a heat-resistant rubber spatula, gently push one edge of the egg into the center of the pan, while tilting the pan to allow the still liquid egg to flow in underneath. Repeat with the other edges, until there’s no liquid left. Your eggs should now resemble a bright yellow pancake, which should easily slide around on the nonstick surface. If it sticks at all, loosen it with your spatula. Gently flip the egg pancake over, using your spatula to ease it over if necessary. Cook for another few seconds, or until there is no uncooked egg left. If you’re adding any other fillings, now’s the time to do it. Spoon your filling across the center of the egg in straight line. With your spatula, lift one edge of the egg and fold it across and over, so that the edges line up. Cook for another minute or so, but don’t overcook or allow the egg to turn brown. If necessary, you can flip the entire omelete over to cook the top for 30 seconds or so. Just don’t let it get brown. Gently transfer the finished omelete to a plate. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs if desired.

Baked Meatball Parmesan

Baked Meatball Parmesan by David Wilkins                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Videography and Production by William W. Gilbert

Chef David Wilkins is an Engineering major. Here, he shows us how to make Baked Parmesan Meatballs. The recipe has been passed down through his family.

Ingredient List
• 1 lb. ground beef
• ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
• ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
• 1 egg
• 1 clove garlic, minced


Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. While the oven is warming, mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Using your hands, form mix into 12- 2″ meatballs. Place in a greased, foil-lined, 15x10x1-inch pan, then, bake for 25 min. or until done (160°F).

Serving Suggestion

Try serving with your favorite hot cooked pasta and sauce, and a quick-bagged salad tossed with your favorite dressing.
Substitute 1 Tbsp. parsley flakes for the chopped fresh parsley.
Prepare using 1 pkg. (16 oz.) ground turkey.


Bizcochuelo con Durazno

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A Little Taste of the Sweet and Simple from South America
By Dana Lynn Traugott

Chanell Beatrice Champion-Garcia, an ambitious native of San Antonio, Texas, has big plans for the future. As a graduating double major in Biology and Psychology at St. Mary’s in May 2013, she plans to continue her studies and obtain a post-doctorate in clinical neuropsychology.

With such action-packed majors, one has to wonder how she gets it all done!

“St. Mary’s has a small, intimate campus and it’s easy to get involved one-on-one with things. There’s always something to keep you busy even if you’re a commuter,” she says.

Aside from hitting the books almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week, she fits in time to cook and eat. “I like all Asian food. I’m an epicurious person!” she says. Her favorite type of Asian food is Pad Thai, which consists of rice noodles tossed in tamarind sauce, fresh red chilies, oyster and fish sauce, soy sauce, scallions, chicken, beef, chopped cabbage, peanuts, and bean sprouts. She explains that “something about the flavor is so unique.”

So, when it comes to the actual preparation, what does she enjoy cooking the most? “I cook whatever I’m in the mood for! Specifically, I like cooking poultry because you can season it in multiple ways and have it taste differently,” she says. However, for this event, she decided to branch away from the familiar, and offer a little taste of Uruguay with Bizcochuelo con Durazno.

“It’s something I prepared back in high school. I haven’t done it in a long time and it’s an easy dish to replicate. It’s something exotic that anyone can make!” she explains. “Plus, I don’t know about you, but I like sugar!”

She decided to showcase this particular dish, “since St. Mary’s is a Hispanic-serving institution, and some students would familiarize with this dish because it is the embodiment of Hispanic culture,” she says.

For this dish, “Baking is a precise science. But, don’t be afraid to add things on – that’s how new recipes are born!” Chanell says. “Be careful with the Dulce de Leche! That’s the hardest part about this dish. If you stop stirring, you’ll burn it!”



  • 6 eggs
  • 1 large can of peaches or 2 fresh peaches (optional 1 tsp peach liqueur)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ c butter (lightly salted)
  • ¼ c water
  • 1 c flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 c condensed milk
  • Cool whip or whip cream
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar


Chanell says first separate the eggs. Secondly, beat the egg yolks until they’re all yellow and add sugar in while mixing, gradually. Them, add water, lemon zest, peach juice (or liqueur), and flour into the mixture.

After those steps are completed, beat the egg whites separately, until they’re fluffy. Then, add a cup of cream of tartar and salt in, and continue until stiffness peaks (but make sure it’s not too dry!)

Then, put the mixture into an ungreased, nine or ten inch pan, and place it in the oven. Bake it at 325°F for one hour.

For the final steps, add condensed milk into a double boiler and stir continuously for 30 minutes until it’s thick and caramel-colored. When the cake is done and cooled, pour the condensed milk (now called Dulce de Leche) and spread.

Finally, slice the peaches (or use canned) and top the cake. Add dollop of cool whip or whipped cream on top and decorate if you so desire!

Seven Layer Dip

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Seven Layer Dip
Story and Photos by Bailey Philman 

What is best part of every party? The Seven Layer Dip of course!

At least that is what Mallory Unger, a current graduate student at St. Mary’s University, thinks of her famous dish.

“This dip is definitely special. It’s always the first dish finished at every party. Everyone loves it and it’s perfect for not just parties but for snacks and even lunch,” Unger says.

Her love for food and entertaining came from being born to a military family, where traveling the country and moving every few years was expected.

“I learned from a young age to try everything once. That is what my Dad has always taught me. Plus, I have lived in so many different places and the food is always different everywhere I go,” says Unger.

Food may be an adventure for her but everyone has a favorite. A staple in Unger’s refrigerator is Italian food–pasta and meatballs are her favorite.

Unger may have travelled the country, but the small campus of St. Mary’s in San Antonio caught her eye.

She says that she loves St. Mary’s for its tight-knit community and how friendly everyone is here.

Her love of meeting new people led her to pursue a master’s degree in communication studies at St. Mary’s and eventually work for an advertising agency in the future.

So what’s the best advice she can offer to new students and cooks in the kitchen?

“When you make Seven Layer Dip, be sure to use a clear dish so people can see exactly what is in the dish. It’s also important to plan ahead and try your best to multitask,” Unger says.

And, of course, “Work hard, play hard!”


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
  • 4 c shredded Cheddar-Monterey Jack cheese blend
  • 1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
  • 1 c guacamole
  • 1 c salsa
  • 1/2 c chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 c chopped green onions


In a large skillet, brown ground beef. Set aside and let it cool to room temperature. Be sure to drain before adding to the dip. Spread the beans into the bottom of a clear bowl or serving tray that is at least 5 inches deep. Sprinkle 2 cups of shredded cheese on top of beans. Sprinkle beef on top of cheese. Spread sour cream very slowly on top of beef. Spread guacamole on top of sour cream. Pour salsa over guacamole and spread evenly. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese. Sprinkle tomatoes and green onions on top as garnish. You can serve this dish immediately, or refrigerate it over night and serve cold. I think it tastes better at room temperature. Makes 10 servings.

Doritos Casserole

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Doritos Casserole
Story and Photos by Fernando Armendariz 

It’s a cold winter day in London.

Feeling homesick, St. Mary’s International Relations Major Juls Forbus decides to Skype with her mother; however she stops as she smells the cooking of her flat mates.

Curiously, she enters the kitchen expecting to find a gourmet meal.

To her surprise, she discovers only Doritos and other ingredients.

Forbus, originally from Houston, presently lives in a residence hall on campus and will graduate in December 2011 with her bachelor of arts degree.

While at St. Mary’s, she was extremely active in the Tri-Sigma Sorority, Organization for Conflict Diplomacy and participated in the London Study Abroad Program in fall 2010.

After receiving her degree, she hopes to return to London and study for a master’s degree in international relations; ultimately, she hopes to practice family law.

Forbus chose to attend St. Mary’s due to the funding she was awarded, student-teacher ratio and the sense of community she felt.

“What I like most about St. Mary’s are the deep connections I’ve developed with my peers, teachers and the immense opportunities I’ve been given such as studying abroad,” Forbus says.

After learning about the dish while studying abroad in London, Forbus returned to the U.S., tried the recipe and was pleasantly surprised with its taste and ease of preparation; it quickly became one of her favorites.

When preparing this dish, Forbus suggests, “You can never have too much cheese!”


  • 2 large handfuls of Doritos chips
  • 1/2 c of Hormel pre-made, microwaveable chili meat
  • 1 1/2 c shredded cheese of your preference
  • 1 small sized tomato
  • diced onions (optional)
  • dollop of sour cream (optional)
  • sliced jalapeños (optional)

Warm up Hormel, pre-made, microwaveable chili meat for one minute and let cool. Dice tomato. Lay out the chips so that they completely cover a microwavable plate (may overlap in some areas). Spread chili-meat over the Doritos, creating an even layer. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the chili meat and Doritos. Add the diced vegetables (and optional onions) on top of the cheese. Warm nachos in microwave for two minutes or until cheese is melted thoroughly. Add a dollop of sour cream (optional) and serve the nachos while warm. Makes one serving.