Tag Archives: Mexican Food

Avocado Mango Salad, a Cinco de Mayo Must!

This light and refreshing Avocado Mango Salad rounds out my Cinco de Mayo dishes for the week.

What a way to finish!

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I promise, it tastes as good as it looks! The sweet mango and creamy avocado combined with the richness of the chili powder and the deep flavor of cumin give this light salad just the right amount of punch. It is a flavor party perfect for Cinco de Mayo.

Avocado Mango Salad

adapted from Avocado Salad, Quick & Easy Mexican Cooking, Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 ripe avocados, cubed
  • 2 ripe mangos, cubed
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

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Whew! That’s a lot of chopping. And a little messy.

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But so, so worth it!

Directions

Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.

In a separate bowl, combine the avocados, mangos, tomatoes, onion and cilantro.

Add the dressing, toss carefully (don’t mush your mangos or avocados) and serve immediately.

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Add it to a main dish of Tequila Lime Chicken, a delicious side of Grilled Corn Salad , blue corn tortilla chips with your favorite salsa and a Blackberry Margarita and you have the perfect menu for a delicious Cinco de Mayo Celebration.

This is the chance I’ve been waiting for to try out The Pioneer Woman’s Blackberry Margaritas that she featured on her show a few weeks back. Oh my did they look good! Lime.Salted.Rims. I’ll let you know how they turn out!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

remember to celebrate responsibly (but eat all the Avocado Mango Salad you want) and

Enjoy!

Pioneer Woman’s Tequila Lime Chicken

My day is starting to get away from me and I promised to tell you about Tequila Lime Chicken. I must tell you about Tequila Lime Chicken because you must know! Especially with Cinco de Mayo right around the corner!

This recipe comes from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. And is in her Food From My Frontier Cookbook. I love the Pioneer Woman almost as much as I love The Barefoot Contessa – maybe it’s their sassy nick-names? Okay, fantastic recipes, talented personalities and sassy nick-names. Whatever it is, they’re my girls – even though they have absolutely no idea that they’re my girls.

Pioneer Woman’s Tequila Lime Chicken

Just click the linked recipe title above and it will take you right to the recipe.

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The first time I tried this chicken, I was completely blown away. There is something truly magical that happens to chicken breasts when they luxuriate for several hours in this tequila based marinade. I’m pretty sure luxuriate is a word. Sometimes a word sounds good in my head, I type it and then I doubt. Luxuriate. Yup, it’s a word and the only word that seems to fit here.

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Limes, avocados, jalapeno … oh, my! You know only good things can come of this.

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Good things do not always come of this but when you soak chicken in it; it’s a good thing.

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          You will need your food processor or blender to make the marinade for the chicken. Limes, garlic cloves, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, olive oil, tequila …

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yes, good things are about to happen.

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Once all of the marinade ingredients are combined, place your boneless skinless chicken breasts in a large plastic zip-lock type bag and pour the marinade in. Zip it up and let it marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or over night. The longer the better, a few hours just isn’t enough; you really want the chicken and the tequila to have some time together.

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Oh, and don’t get a few chicken breasts in the bag and then decide you’d rather use the tongs that are on the counter behind you than your hands, forcing you to let go of the bag that you think is balanced on the counter because the bag could collapse and some of your precious (and messy) marinade could end up on the floor.

Or so I’ve heard.

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After there has been enough luxuriation (now that is not a word but I still like it), just grill the chicken breasts and serve with your favorite festive sides. I served mine with Grilled Corn Salad (which I shared with you yesterday) and a refreshing Avocado Mango Salad that I will share with you tomorrow.

In fact I think I’ll run to the store and get some mangos and make it again tomorrow for lunch. Purely in the interest of quality control and one last test run of course.

Enjoy!

 

Grilled Corn Salad

It is starting to warm up around here and my mind is quickly heading in the direction of Summer. Maybe it is heading that direction because my children only have a few weeks of school left and I am madly planning their Summer activities.

Bored kids can be unpleasant.

Moms with bored kids can be unpleasant.

Aside from the occasional bout of unpleasantness, I really love summer; and I particularly love summer cooking. To me, summer food is light and fresh and most often grilled and nothing beats dining al fresco.

If you hadn’t heard, Arizona Summers are HOT and the last thing anyone wants to do is turn on the stove or the oven. Instead we stand outside, 116 degrees, gentle breeze blowing – as if straight from a hair dryer – and grill. Truthfully, we grill all year-long and probably should be cooking inside in the air conditioning but that just isn’t very summerish now is it?

Besides, there is nothing quite like grilling in a fabulous outdoor kitchen. Would you like to see my fabulous outdoor kitchen?New-BBQ

So would I.

I promise, I’m not poking fun at my hard-workin’ committed DIYer husband who hasn’t had the time yet to move beyond the dry stacking stage. He is way more than capable of building the best outdoor kitchen ever … if only there were about six more hours in a day.

If anyone knows a good (reasonably priced) stone mason in the area you would be my new best friend and my husband would have the best Father’s Day gift ever.

For now, we make do with Old Bessie – I totally just made that up, we don’t really call our ancient gas grill Old Bessie but maybe now we will.

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She’s not pretty but she get’s the job done.

I apologize to anyone with the name Bessie.

Back to the grilled corn salad. Crunchy refreshing salads are the best and I was very excited to give this new one a try. My way, of course.

Grilled Corn Salad

Adapted from “Festive Corn Salad”, Quick and Easy Mexican Cooking by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee

Grilled-Corn

Ingredients

  • 2 cups grilled corn kernels (cut from 3 cobs of corn depending on size)
  • 1 grilled zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 ripe tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions

I wanted to try this recipe right away but sadly, I was a little early for really good fresh corn. As I couldn’t find any still in the husk, I decided to settled for the only fresh corn that I could find …

Fresh-Corn

To grill them start to finish, they really need to be in the husks (we’ll talk about that when the good stuff starts showing up at the Farmer’s Market) so I had to improvise.

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For corn on the cob, I bring a pot of water to a boil, put the corn in, bring it back to a boil, cover and boil for five minutes.

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To get the grilled look and flavor I was after, I then misted the corn with a little olive oil and put them on a very hot grill. If you don’t have an oil mister, get one. Today. Trust me.

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The grill needs to be hot because you want the char marks and flavor but you want them quickly so the corn doesn’t overcook and dry out.

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Halve the zucchini, mist it with olive oil and season it with salt and pepper and then put it on the grill with the corn – just for a few minutes you don’t want it over cooked and mushy.

Grilled-Veggies

Perfect. Now to put the salad together.

Side note on grilled zucchini, it is a great kid veggie as it is the perfect soft texture for them to practice cutting with a knife and fork. I have a set of kid silverware with very safe knives. I start ’em early cutting soft fruits too. They love it!

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This is NOT a kid safe knife but my kid is holding it for me so that I can hold the corn and the camera. Now that is trust; but I just had to show you my favorite trick for cutting corn off of the cob. Besides, he’s almost nine and is pretty handy to have around.

Just turn a small bowl upside down in a larger bowl, balance the flat end of the corn on the smaller bowl and slice down with a sharp knife. If you are not trying to photograph the process, two hands should be enough.

The corn kernels fall off into the larger bowl. No mess.

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Genius.

I wish I could say I thought of it but I picked it up somewhere on the Food Network.

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Next, chop and add the zucchini, bell pepper, tomato, cilantro, onion and jalapeno.

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When a fine dice or mince are called for, just cut small strips (julienne) and then make perfect little pieces.

Diced-Jalapeno-Peppers

With jalapeno or other hot peppers, most of the heat is in the veins and seeds so remove those with a paring knife before you dice the pepper. I don’t mind the heat but I don’t want the little seeds in my salad.

Next add the olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper and mix well.

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Serve at room temperature or chilled from the fridge.

You can make it a day ahead and it will keep fine.

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I have made this salad a few times now and served it above with tequila lime chicken.

Oh, I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

And that, over there on the side, peeking over the chicken, that is an avocado salad; watch for that one too.

When I made corn salad last weekend to take to a luncheon, I did it a little differently. I didn’t have time to grill the corn or zucchini so I used 2 cans of corn (drained) and sautéed them and the diced zucchini in a few tablespoons of butter for five minutes. As a last-minute add, I also diced up two mangos and tossed those in the salad for a sweet touch that was very well received.

Play around with your favorite ingredients. Make it your own and enjoy!

Family Dinner Favorite: Taco Soup

Installment #3 in the Family Dinner Favorites category comes from my little sister, Rachel and is pretty new to my family but is an absolute favorite of hers; and she has some P.I.C.K.Y. eaters. I’m not sure how this recipe came to her originally, but I am sure glad it did.

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Taco Soup is a cross between a soup and a chili or a “Stoup” as Rachael Ray would call it – oh wait, that is stew and soup. Oh well, you get the idea. However you want to classify it, the great thing about this quick, simple and nutritious dinner (actually, those are all pretty great things) is that the most difficult thing about it is opening the cans. Low fat and packed with fiber (lots of beans) and the kids will love it. You can’t go wrong.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • 2 pounds of lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Can Corn
  • 1 Can  Creamed Corn
  • 1 Can Pinto Beans
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes (or Rotel with Green Chilies)
  • 2 Packages Taco Seasoning
  • 1 Package Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
  • 1 Can Whole Black Olives, drained (Optional but Awesome)

One of the really cool things about this recipe is that the liquid from the corn, tomatoes and beans is what makes the liquid in the soup. No additional water or stock.

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It is also a great “kids in the kitchen” recipe – they LOVE dumping the cans into the pot. And, if you are weird like us, while you chop the onions you can have a who can stand the onion fumes the longest contest with your eight year old. He won. I was cryin’ like a baby.

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Now that the onion contest is over, brown them with the ground beef.

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Have your helper start dumping in the canned ingredients and stir until combined.

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Add the taco seasoning packets and the ranch dressing packet (I know it sounds strange, but somehow it works).

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Give it a good stir and simmer for at least 20 minutes to heat through and give the flavors a little time to develop.

Serve with corn tortilla chips and your favorite toppings:

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Topping Ideas:

  • Sour Cream
  • Avocado Chunks
  • Grated Cheese
  • Sliced Green Onions
  • Jalapeno Pepper Rings
  • Pico de gallo or chopped tomatoes

That’s it. This is also a great crock-pot meal. Brown your meat and onions and the put it all together in the crock-pot – everything but the black olives that is – and let it simmer on low for 6-8 hours; add in the olives, sprinkle with your favorite toppings and have a little mid-week fiesta!Taco-Soup-15

Family Dinner Favorite: Chili Stacks

Installment #2 of Family Dinner Favorites – and believe me, this one is a F.A.V.O.R.I.T.E. !!

Chili Stacks

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My mom made this dish all the time when I was a kid and now my kids love it too! Okay, Nathan doesn’t love it but Nathan is, well, Nathan and he’s five and refuses even to try it because there is not a noodle with “white sauce”, meatball or hot dog anywhere to be found. Let me just tell you, he is missing out.

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Corn tortillas and cheese, not a bad start, right? Oh, it gets better!

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See, I told you. Here’s how to make ’em …

Ingredients for one stack (my advice, double it and make two)

  • 5 corn tortillas
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 – 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 – 15 ounce can small red kidney beans
  • 1 Cup grated cheddar cheese (a guideline really, you’ll need to grate more)

Directions

Brown ground beef, onion and salt. Drain fat. Add chili powder, oregano, basil, tomato sauce and kidney beans. Mix well and simmer for 10 minutes.

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Now you are ready to start stacking. Start with a little bit of chili and then place one corn tortilla in a baking dish, or two if you are doubling the recipe – you really should double the recipe.

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 and top with a little of the chili and cheese and just keep stacking.

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Be sure to finish with cheese.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

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Admittedly, not the prettiest dish ever but just you wait!

Cut each stack in quarters – one stack should feed four …

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but these are REALLY good so … make two stacks!

I like to serve Chili Stacks with a big green salad and Mexican style corn. Enjoy!