Mexican

PIco De Gallo to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Let’s get this party started! I have several posts for Cinco de Mayo.

First, Cinco de Mayo isn’t, as many people think, Mexico’s Independence Day — that takes place on Sept. 16. Secondly, it isn’t even widely celebrated south of the border, though that’s beginning to change.

What Cinco de Mayo is is a largely American tradition, co-opted by alcohol companies, that’s based on an arguably miraculous military maneuver during the 1862 Battle of Puebla, when a ragtag group of Mexican militiamen defeated the invading French Army. It was a David versus Goliath moment and Mexicans on both sides of the border saw cause for celebration. Cinco de Mayo (Google)

May 5th – Cinco de Mayo – is a big deal in El Paso.  I think it’s an excuse to eat Mexican or Tex-Mex flavored dishes every meal for at least a week.  While enchiladas and tacos are good standbys I like to add those flavors to a regular meal.

I made a grilled pico de gallo and have used it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Very simple to make and it adds a little spice to any meal.

In Mexican cuisine, pico de gallo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpiko ðe ˈɣaʎo], literally rooster‘s beak), also called salsa fresca, is a fresh, uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, white onion, and chilis (typically jalapeños or serranos). Other ingredients may also be added, such as shrimp, avocado, lime juice or apple cider vinegar, fresh cilantro (coriander leaf), cucumber, radish or firm fruit such as mango.  (Wikipedia)

Grilled Pico de Gallo

I like the lime. When the pico de gallo is used with warm dishes you can taste it just a bit. I like the acid. I have used red wine vinegar if I don’t have the fresh limes.

Now it is ready to use and will add such a nice flavor to eggs, veggies, or meats.  Here is one to get you started.

Chicken Fajita Salad

Chicken Fajita Salad

I’m about tired of tasteless lettuce from the market.  I can’t wait for the lettuce seeds in my garden bowl to grow and I will have some fresh greens.  In the meantime, I still needed to come up with something for dinner.

Since Mexican food is always at the top of my list – not the diet’s list – I first chopped a big bowl of lettuce and then put half of it in a zip lock bag for later. (That was entirely too much of a good thing.)  The battle was what to fix with it.  So I came up with a Chicken Fajita salad.  What I did was bury the lettuce with strips of fajita flavored chicken breast, red and yellow peppers and onion.  Then I threw in some sliced baby bellas and drizzled it all with a low fat Ranch dressing.  Not bad for a 20 minute dinner.  Dinner done!

Chicken Fajita Salad

Croque Senor

From BigSister:

It’s grilled cheese month.  Two of my favorite things together:  Bread and Cheese!  I have seen some fabulous ideas from my foodie friends.  Accordingly, I had to stretch my imagination.  One of my favorite memories is eating Croque Monsieurs in Paris.  Sometimes food is better because of the location.  I haven’t had one as good as the ones in Paris before or since.  So, I thought I would try a version that capitalized on the good food in my area and here is where I landed.  (A little of the southwest makes everything better :))

Croque Senor

 

Spice Up for Spring-Green Enchilada Casserole

All the way home from work I was thinking about Mexican food.  I never got over in a lane where I could turn into any place to get it to take home.  So I had to make my own.

For some reason I bought some flour tortillas the other day while I was shopping.  I think I was intending on a chicken taco salad with the shell baked in some new tortilla bowl molds I bought.  (Another day!)  In the pantry I had all the fixings I needed to make my own Mexican flavored dinner.

When I get hungry for the taste of enchiladas nothing else will do.  All I had were flour tortillas.  I could make burritos or enchiladas; however I settled on this little casserole which now has provided plenty of leftovers.  I don’t usually use refried beans, but these also have the flavor or nachos with the beans.  So I have technically taken care of 2 hankerings I might have.

I used to make Nachos Grande on Sunday night.  A little labor intensive, but so well worth the taste.  Tostada chips spread with the beans (individually), topped with browned ground meat, green chiles, onions, tomatoes and cheese.  Broil until the cheese bubbles and eat them fast while they are still warm.  Andy would warm up the leftovers in the microwave.  That didn’t appeal to me.

I like the taste of raw onions on my enchiladas.  If you don’t, you can brown the onions with the ground meat.

Green Enchilada Casserole

Nacho Burger

Someone on Facebook asked, “What are you planning for your Super Bowl eats?” I replied, “A burger and some decadent dip/chip.” Then I started thinking what my choices would be? Nachos are such a good flavor combination to me. Salty chips, cheese, onions, tomatoes, beans and sour cream if you like it. Not my favorite.

When my son lived at home we would have Super Nachos for Sunday supper on occasion. I would spread refried beans on tostado chips, Then brown some ground meat with a taco or fajita seasoning. Drain it and sprinkle it on top of the chips. Load on the grated cheese or jarred queso sauce with onions and tomatoes. They had to be eaten hot out of the broiler. They were so good.

So I have combined my favorite flavors into a burger (without the bun for me). This takes care of a burger and dip/chip choice. Good eats! Good food! Good luck with the team of your choice.

Nacho Burger

Make sure you stop by my Superbowl/Chili party this week to share your ideas and see what others have shared.Tumbleweed Contessa Superbowl and Chili Party

Taco Bowls

I get really hungry for all things Mexican in flavor.  Enchiladas are far too messy to make for one person.  Eating out is not a good idea.  Besides it is too cold to be ducking in and out of the car when I could be home where it is warm.  This little bite of salad has all the good flavor combinations.  Corn tortillas, baked not fried.  Well seasoned taco meat, refried beans, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and hot spicy salsa.  That about covers what I was craving and it didn’t take any longer than going through the takeout line at Taco Bell!  I would have liked some cilantro but not enough to go back to the store.  It does add a delicious flavor.   Give it a try with your favorite toppings.

 

Ingredients

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Ingredients

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Ingredients

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Tex Mex Ravioli…the good old days

I am into full January swing now, cleaning out closets, organizing everything and eating healthy again.  I long for the good old days of November and December when I could eat what I wanted without remorse because, “it’s the holidays!”  Alas…I’ll feel better once this becomes routine.  Its the right thing to do and I’ll feel better and energized for gardening.

In the meantime, I do have my pictures to ramble through now that I am blogging.  Even though I posted a million cookie recipes I did actually cook dinner those months too.  So, now I can share with you and live through the memories of that good food!

I have a not so secret addiction to new kitchen gadgets and while I was out doing my Christmas shopping, I occasionally came across a deal to good to pass up.  Such was the case with my new ravioli stamp.  It was on sale at Sur La Table.  You know they have good stuff there.  So, while I was picking up gifts this fell into my basket.  I had to get home and try it out. Silly thing that I am, I didn’t buy a pasta roller though.  Never you worry, Tyler Florence pasta recipe rolled out great with just a rolling-pin.  I really didn’t want Italian though.  I was more in the mood for enchiladas….and…  VOILA!  Tex Mex Ravioli.  It was delicious!  Hope you enjoy it.

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Low Fat Enchilada Soup

Time to get on those New Year’s Resolutions.  Put the cookie dough away and get back to basics.  I am starting with one of my favorites.   It has been cold and gray and nothing will do right now but soup.  I initially thought of one of my rich and warm chili recipes but that contradicts with any sort of healthy eating.  This soup has all the flavor and very little fat, depending on how much cheese one uses for the top and the kind of tortilla chips added.  You’ll note in the picture that I got a little heavy handed with the cheese, but hey, I didn’t have greasy chili!  Somewhere this started as a Weight Watcher’s recipe that I got from a friend over the phone.  I have made a lot of changes to suit my taste including omitting the chicken.  It isn’t a lot of fat, but if I don’t need or miss it, why not leave it out?  Room for more cheese!

Southwest Stew with Cornbread Boats

The Terlingua chili Cookoff people say, “You don’t know beans about chili if you put beans in your chili.”   – definitely not turkey.  So, this is called Southwest Stew.  The perfect thing for a rainy day with nothing to do.  I love chiles in all their forms and flavors.  This meal is a reflection of that.  Also, I am forbidden to buy more spices until I use the ones I have.  This will make a good dent in that.  I miss my friends at Savory Spice Shop in the Arboretum.

For the stew:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1.5 pounds of turkey
  • 2 tablespoons of Organic Ground Cumin Seeds from Savory Spice
  • 2 tablespoons of Black Canyon chili powder from Savory Spice
  • 1 tablespoon of chipotle chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons of Sweet and Spicy Hungarian Paprika from Savory Spice
  • 1 tablespoon of Montreal steak seasoning
  • 1 10 oz. can of diced tomatoes and jalapenos
  • 2 4 oz. cans of diced Hatch green chiles (I used hot)
  • 2 15 oz. cans of black beans rinsed and strained
  • 64 oz. of low sodium tomato juice

For the cornbread:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup stone ground cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

For stew:

Peel the onions and chop into 8 chunks and place in the food processor.  Chop the tops off of two fresh jalapenos.  If you are afraid of heat….you probably shouldn’t make this, but you can remove the seeds and ribs of  the jalapeños.  Cut in half and place in food processor with the onion.  Peel three cloves of garlic and give a light mince.  Add to food processor.   Pulse until finely chopped.

In a Dutch oven set over medium heat sautee onion, garlic and jalapeños in olive oil until softened.  Add turkey and crumble.  As the turkey browns add the spices one at a time and mix.  Cook and stir until turkey is cooked through and spices are spread evenly.  Add diced tomatoes and green chiles.   Stir to combine.  Add tomato juice and black beans.  Reduce heat to low and get your tasting bowl ready.

Cook over low heat stirring frequently for at least 6 hours if not more.  You could transfer to a crockpot at this point.  After the first hour, taste for seasoning.  If it is too hot add a little sugar or apple cider vinegar one teaspoon at a time up to four or add a square of bakers chocolate.  Continue to taste as flavors will evolve during the cooking time.

For cornbread:

Preheat oven to 450° .

In a large bowl, stir the cornmeal, salt and baking soda together. Stir in the egg, melted butter and buttermilk.

Bake in a mini-loaf or muffin pan for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven when the top of cornbread is brown and it feels firm to the touch.  Immediately turn out to keep from over-drying.

To serve:

Cut out a large wedge or circle from individual muffins.  Fill with stew and set in bowl with a thin layer of stew.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Add a small dollop of sour cream and top with cut out wedge.

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Foodie Friends Friday

Mexican Hamburgers

I grew up in West Texas during the oil boom of the 50’s and 60’s.   The oil flowed like water and everybody who wanted a job had one.  In those days oil field workers worked 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, 365-days a year.  Holidays were hard to squeeze in with family.  We sometimes had Christmas on an alternate day if Daddy was not going to be home.   Wink is 7 miles from Kermit (nothing to do with the frog).  Wink is famous for the “Wink sink hole” and Roy Orbison (He sang Pretty Woman).   We are talking big west Texas oil towns here.  Some of the best tastin’ food I have ever eaten was right there.  Hamburgers as big as a dinner plate at the diner after  football games, Frito pies at the DQ at lunch,  hot dogs and hamburgers at Cook’s store across the street from the elementary school,  soup and a sandwich at the drug store counter at lunch in Jr. High.  Good memories.  I was sick and missed a class reunion.  I guess that’s what got all this started.

Do you know what a Mexican hamburger is?  I (living in El Paso) had never heard of that, but my mother introduced it to us and even took my family to Wink to eat one.  You would have thought they had invented sliced bread.  Those were the talk of the town at afternoon coffee.  I made these more often than grilled burgers for a while.   The little diner where we went to eat these was deserted.  I wasn’t too sure about this, except my mom was a very picky eater and loved good Mexican food.   The plates of food they produced were huge.  Platter size white flour tortillas were spread with refried beans (pinto not black beans) and filled with fajita flavored burgers fried on the flattop griddle, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions and green chilies or jalapeños, and cheese.  These were served with sides of guacamole, cream cheese, and salsa.  These are more or less a folded burrito.   But “drippin’ down your elbows” good food!

I sort of “healthified” these, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.  If my son had been home they wouldn’t have been so healthy.  I made my own refried beans from leftover beans I had cooked by reducing the liquid and mashing them.  I used whole wheat tortillas.  They actually tasted good toasted on the griddle.

Mexican Hamburgers

  • 1 pound ground meat
  • Fajita seasoning blend
  • 1 can refried beans (I made my own from pinto beans I cooked with not so much salt and no lard)
  • grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese
  • lettuce shredded (like for tacos)
  • diced tomatoes
  • chopped Hatch green chiles (roasted, peeled and diced)
  • grilled onions
  • salsa (hot or not to your taste) (I used my home canned salsa)
  • sour cream
  • avocados sliced or guacamole
  • sliced pickled jalapenos
  • large flour tortillas (I had whole wheat)

Form the ground meat into patties about 5” long by 3” wide.  Sprinkle with the dry fajita seasoning blend or seasoning of your choice.  Set aside.

Grate the cheese, dice the tomatoes, prepare the avocados.  Set up a serving station with all the burger toppings and sides in small dishes so everyone can make theirs according to their taste.

Fry the patties and allow to form a good caramelized crust on both sides.  Meanwhile toast the tortillas in a non-stick skillet or on a round griddle.  Toast just until slightly crisp and warmed.

Assembly:

  • A layer of beans spread on the entire surface of the tortilla
  • Meat
  • Grilled onions
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Green chiles
  • Avocado/guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Fold over to make a very large taco
  • Several napkins

This will make 4 very large Mexican hamburgers.

 

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