Spam Musubi

Spam Musubi by Maggie Estrada
Videography and Production by John Estrada

Maggie Estrada prepares a dish of Spam Musubi. She describes the dish in a brief breakdown, and recollects her experience with cooking and baking.


  • 2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) container fully cooked luncheon meat (e.g. Spam)
  • 5 sheets sushi nori (dry seaweed)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


The first step is to soak uncooked rice until moist; drain and rinse

Next, In a saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in rice vinegar, and set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, stir together soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved. Slice luncheon meat lengthwise into 10 slices, or to desired thickness, and marinate in sauce for 5 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Cook slices for 2 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Cut nori sheets in half and lay on a flat work surface. Place a rice press in the center of the sheet, and press rice tightly inside. Top with a slice of luncheon meat, and remove press. Wrap nori around rice mold, sealing edges with a small amount of water. (Rice may also be formed by hand in the shape of the meat slices, 1 inch thick.) Musubi may be served warm or chilled. Enjoy the Musubi!

Carne Guisada

Carne Guisada by Anna Alicia Padilla

Videography and Production by Renée Padilla

Anna Padilla, a mother of a St. Mary’s student, demonstrates how to cook carne guisada, a classic Mexican dish. She also explains how she learned to cook from her mother and elder sister.


• 1 lbs cut up beef (either stew meat or pot roast meat)

• 1 can tomato sauce

• 1/2 tsp onion powder

• 1/2 tsp garlic powder

• 1/2 tsp cumin powder

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 1/2 tsp pepper

• 4 cups water


First, brown cut-up beef in pot until seared. Then add all other ingredients and stir as needed. Cover the pot with a lid and let the meat simmer for 45 minutes or until tender. Ingredients and cooking time may vary depending on taste and cooking process.

Banana Bread

Banana Bread: Isabela Vazquez

Videography and Production: Victoria Valle

Isabela Vazquez, senior English major at St. Mary’s University, prepares banana bread. The recipe is an old family favorite passed down from her grandmother.


  • 2-3 Bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • Half a cup of sugar
  • Half a cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1/3 cup of butter (melted)
  • Loaf pan (and butter for loaf pan)


Preheat oven to 350º F. Mash bananas in medium sized mixing bowl. Add melted butter, beaten egg, and vanilla. Mix in flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Pour batter into buttered loaf pan. Butter the pan well to prevent sticking. Sprinkle brown sugar on top of batter and bake for 45-60 minutes.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu by Anuar Duran
Videography and Production by Alexis Z

Anuar Duran, Junior computer science major at St. Mary’s University, demonstrates how to cook his favorite dish, Chicken Cordon Bleu.  After learning from a friend how to prepare the dish, Anuar follows suit by teaching his friends how to cook the dish.


  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • 1 container of Bread crumbs
  • 4 slices of Prosciutto
  • 1 package of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 slices of muenster cheese
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp basil
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp season salt
  • water
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs

Begin by preheating the oven to 150 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine water, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, season salt in a large bowl and brine the chicken for 15 minutes.  After 30 minutes, dip the chicken breasts into the flour, egg wash, and breadcrumbs in that order.
Once the chicken is breaded, stuff each breast with 1 slice of Muenster cheese, 1 handful of mozzarella, 1 slice of prosciutto and close with toothpicks.  Once the oven is preheated, place the chicken breasts onto a greased baking sheet and allow to bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Rosemary Chicken

Rosemary Chicken by Vanessa Benavides
Videography and Production by Analissa Cantu


St. Mary’s University alumna Vanessa Benavides, Spring 2013, shows us how to cook a simple, yet elegant dinner of Rosemary Chicken. She also tells us why Rosemary Chicken is a convenient dish that can impress anyone, and why she loves to cook so much.


Rosemary Chicken – Serves 2 – 3 

  • 1 lb. of Chicken Breast
  • 5 Small Red Potatoes
  • 1 tsp. of Salt
  • 1 tsp. of Minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp. of Rubbed Sage
  • 1/4 tsp. of Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp. of Olive Oil


First, defrost the chicken breast in a sink and wash all red potatoes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix all of the powders together in a large bowl, then mix in the olive oil in the bowl. Then, slice the red potatoes in either chunks or slices, whichever you prefer.

Set the potatoes aside, and dip the defrosted chicken breasts in the bowl of spices and olive oil, make sure they are covered with all of the spices, then place them in a lined pan. After all of the chicken breasts are placed in pan, dip the potatoes in the bowl of spices and olive oil and place them around the chicken in the lined pan. With the oven preheated at 425 degrees, let the chicken and potatoes cook for 20 – 25 minutes.

While they are cooking, occasionally turn the potatoes around so that they do not burn. Then, voila! Take the chicken and potatoes out, let them cool, and serve. Make sure to check the chicken to see if it is cooked fully. If it looks like there is some red when you cut the chicken, make sure it’s not the spices bleeding into the chicken.

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

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Hecha Con Amor, “Made With Love”
Story and photographs by Rachel Grahmann (Magazine selected as the 2012 Professionals’ Choice Award Winner)

Not many people are able to say that they would be willing to eat one meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day; with no uncertainty or hesitation, Kristina Garcia definitely would.

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, a dish often overlooked on Italian restaurant menus around the world, is an unconditional favorite for this St. Mary’s psychology major. She loves her school, especially the family atmosphere, and has come to call its 135 acres home.

A third-year student from Laredo, Texas, Garcia intends to graduate in May 2014 and attend graduate school to pursue a career as a school psychologist.

Garcia isn’t what anyone would call an avid chef. She doesn’t cook often, and prefers it that way, but has made sure to learn how to prepare her beloved meal—and, on that note, those who sample her dish will attest that she has learned to make it very well.

Any restaurant around San Antonio would likely have a hard time comparing their Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo to hers, yet no matter where she goes to eat, if it is on the menu, it won’t take many guesses to figure out what she’ll be ordering.

Her one tip for cooking Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo is to make it with love.

“Any meal tastes better that way,” she says. If this is the only secret ingredient that makes her dish so amazing, love needs to be bottled and sold in grocery stores everywhere.

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo


  • 5 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 6 T butter, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1 T Italian seasoning
  • 1 lb fettuccine pasta
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/3 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 T salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 3 c milk
  • 1 c half-and-half
  • 3/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz shredded Colby-Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 c sour cream

Serves 6-8


Place a large skillet on the stove over medium heat. Place 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet and swirl with a fork to melt. Place the chicken thighs in the skillet and sprinkle Italian seasoning on top. Drop the chopped garlic between and on top of the cooking chicken. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Remove from skillet and set aside to be cut.

Fill a large pot halfway with hot water. Place on stove over high heat and salt lightly. Cover. When water begins to boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente, or for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the water and set the pasta aside.

In the same skillet used for the chicken, melt 4 tablespoons of butter, swirling around the garlic. Add chopped onion, 2 more cloves of garlic and sauté. Once the onions are almost transparent, add the flour and stir, add the salt and pepper, and stir in milk and half-and-half until the mixture is well blended. Add the sour cream, Parmesan and Monterrey Jack cheeses and stir until melted.

Slice the cooked chicken and slowly add it to the sauce mixture.

Serve over the cooked fettuccine pasta.


Grilled Chicken Breast topped with Mango Salsa

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Grilled Chicken Breast topped with Mango Salsa
Story and Photos by Cassandra M. Vara

Sometimes it’s hard to retain your savor for flavor when you’re trying to lead a healthy lifestyle.

After all, how can people spice up their dinner without packing on the pounds?

Well, put down those nachos and get up off the couch!

Join Ashley Nicole Reyes, senior Marketing major at St. Mary’s University, as she shows how to turn up the heat while still whittling down the midsection.

Reyes, a San Antonio native and former contender for Miss Fiesta San Antonio, loves exercising, reading, shopping and showing support for her favorite athletic team–the San Antonio Spurs.

Reyes says she chose St. Mary’s as her choice for higher education because of the student-to-faculty ratio, friendly atmosphere and small classroom size.

“The small classroom environment allows for more in-depth conversations and a better overall understanding of the course subject,” she says.

When she’s not studying or cheering in the front row at a Spurs game, Reyes loves to cook because it allows her to explore her creativity.

“Cooking is an art form,” she says. “I love that I can be very expressive with just food.”

Her favorite foods include anything Italian, good steak and fresh sushi.

Exploring her creativity wasn’t the only reason why she discovered her love of cuisine.

Reyes explains that she also began cooking out of necessity. “I love eating healthy and sometimes my family and I just don’t want to eat the same thing.”

Reyes says she sometimes cooks her own dinner since her family’s idea of a healthy meal doesn’t always meet her expectations.

Reyes considers this her favorite dish because “it is quick, easy, and a healthy option that’s still full of flavor.”

She adds that if the dish too spicy, leave out the jalapeño for less intensity.

Or, as Reyes jokingly says when asked for her opinion on the spice factor‚”If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen!”


  • 2 chicken breast
  • olive oil (roughly 2 oz.)
  • 4 limes
  • 2 mangoes
  • 1 pack of cherub tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • small bushel of cilantro
  • 1 small jalapeño
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 package of jasmine rice


Wash chicken breasts and pat dry. Set stove to medium heat. Coat pan with olive oil. Season chicken pieces on each side with black pepper, garlic powder and lime juice. With a knife, carve small, diagonal slits into chicken breasts to intensify spices and to help cook quickly. Place chicken breasts in pan and grill for 20 minutes. Turn occasionally and add lime juice as desired. While chicken cooks, prepare package of jasmine rice and mango salsa separately. Dice mangos, tomatoes, jalapeño, cilantro and red onion and place in large bowl, adding juice from two whole limes to the mix. When rice is done and chicken is coated in an even, brown color, assemble the meal. Place a bed of rice on a plate with the chicken breasts along the sides. Take the mango salsa and coat chicken with about four heaping. Slice an avocado and add as garnish on the rice. Makes 1-3 servings.

No-Bake Strawberry Frosted Cheesecake

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No-Bake Strawberry Frosted Cheesecake
Story and Photos by Amanda Cano

With a crust made of graham crackers and a filling made from the heart, an aspiring baker prepares a No-Bake Strawberry Vanilla Cheesecake for her boyfriend.

With limited resources while living on-campus and a desire to bake for special occasions, graduating English-communication arts senior Denice Hernandez finds a way to bake in the comfort of her own room.

After living on-campus for the past three years, Hernandez found a way to practice her baking skills without a kitchen.

“This no-bake recipe is really great because I didn’t need a kitchen, and it was a lot more simple too,” she says.

“I just love how diverse cheesecake can be, and I think this is a recipe that anyone can experiment with and personalize. So I recommend taking this recipe and adding your own special ingredients.”

Although Hernandez enjoys perfecting recipes she knows her boyfriend will love, her determination does not end when the timer rings.

Her passion lingers in other areas just like the scent of her sweet treats.

She is graduating a semester early and has been published in three established newspapers including the San Antonio Express News.

“I don’t think my  ‘dream job’ is just one thing in one place; I think I am going to have a lot of different dreams, and it is just a matter of me fulfilling them all,” she says.

“My ultimate goal is to wake up happy everyday and love what I do for a living.”

Hernandez currently finds herself happiest when her boyfriend is around.

She realizes that baking is most enjoyable when she is does it for others.

“For me, it is more meaningful to take the time and bake something than to just go out and buy it,” Hernandez says with a smile on her face.

“And this way, I get to become a better baker and he gets to eat all the great things I make! It’s a win-win situation.”


Graham Cracker Crust

• 1 1/2 c of graham cracker crumbs
• 2 T granulated white sugar
• 6 T unsalted melted butter Cheesecake Filling
• one 8 oz cream cheese
• 1/4 c granulated white sugar
• 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1 c heavy whipping cream Topping
• Fresh Strawberries


Graham Cracker Crust

First, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in large bowl. Press the mixture into a nine inch pie pan and spread evenly.  Place crust mixture in refrigerator to chill while preparing the filling.

Cheesecake Filling

In a bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla extract to the cream cheese. In separate bowl, beat whipping cream with  a whisk until it becomes fluffy in texture. Fold the fluffy whipped cream into the cream cheese. Pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust.  Let cheesecake chill overnight. Top with your strawberries, or other fresh fruits. Makes 6-8 servings.

Breakfast Sandwich

Breakfast Sandwich by Rene Solis
Videography and Production by Ashley Behabetz 

Sophomore Baseball player Rene Solis cooks with eggs to ensure he has substantial amounts of protein to support him both in the classroom and on the mound. Here he displays how to whip together a nutritious and simple breakfast sandwich that will prepare any athlete for a great day.


  • Eggs (2-3)
  • White bread (2 slices)
  • Milk (1/2 cup)
  • Salt and Pepper (add to taste)
  • Butter (Just enough to spread on bread)
  • Bacon (3-4 slices)
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese (1/3 cup)
  • Tabasco (optional)

First heat stove top, medium to high heat. Then place bacon strips on pan and flip every 45 seconds or so or until cooked to a crisp. Remove from pan and place on paper towel to remove excess grease. Then crack eggs into a small bowl, add milk, salt and pepper. Whisk until blended. Pour egg mixture into same pan used to cook bacon. Let cook for a minute then use spatula to mix eggs in pan. While eggs are cooking, place bread in toaster. After toasting, spread a thin layer of butter on each slice. When the eggs are solid and no longer runny remove from heat. Place cooked bacon on bread, then add scrambled eggs and top with cheese. “Smush together” and enjoy.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash by Erika Rendon

Video and Audio Production by Cassandra M. Vara

Erika Rendon, senior double major in Corporate Finance/Financial Services and Risk Management, shares a fun and healthy recipe she calls “Spaghetti Squash.” After discovering the recipe on YouTube, Rendon decided to put her own spin on the quirky dish. Using a large squash instead of noodles, Rendon creates a “pasta” dish filled with delicious vegetables.


• 1 large squash
• 1 bell pepper
• 5-10 regular mushrooms
• 2 large portabella mushrooms
• 3 tomatoes
• 1 T of vegetable oil


Using a knife, carefully puncture the large squash, creating about 5 slits. Pour about 1/2 cup of water into the a microwaveable container and place the squash inside. Microwave the squash for ten to fifteen minutes, dependent on the size of the squash. While that is cooking, dice the tomatoes, mushrooms, and pepper. Coat a pan with the tablespoon of vegetable oil and toss in your diced veggies. Cook on high and occasionally stir the vegetables to ensure even cooking. Once the squash is done, remove it from the microwave (wearing gloves as it will be extremely hot). Let it rest for a couple of minutes before cutting it open. After cutting open, remove the seeds and fibrous inner strands from the squash. Using a fork, scrape the insides of the squash until the flesh becomes pasta-like. Put your spaghetti squash in a bowl and mix in the cooked vegetables. Enjoy your healthy meal! Serves 3-4.