Category Archives: peppers

Hawaiian Jalapeno Chicken with Peach Salsa Rice

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I know today is supposed to be Food Star Friday but I am still a bit off kilter from the BlogHer Food conference last weekend. It was such a whirlwind and that seemed to carry over to this whole week. I promise Manic Monday and Food Star Friday will be back next week.

On to the food right? OK, here goes. This recipe is what happened when I was scrambling to come up with dinner. Like I said, this week has been crazy for me and cooking was no different. I am usually completely organized when it comes to my meals (hahaha NOT)! Why do you think I have Manic Monday? Because a lot of the time the manic one is ME. But this meal was actually a reward for being unorganized!

A while back my son brought me home some pepper jelly from Rose City Pepperheads in Oregon.

Now that I have tried their jelly I want to try all of them! SO much flavor with a wonderful balance of sweet and heatt. I am wondering what the Holy Habanero tastes like, I am feeling pretty brave lately so I will have to order that and give it a try.

This is a super simple recipe with a ton of flavor. Again we are outside on the grill, or rather Kevin is on the grill. But this can be done on a grill pan in kitchen, or even in the oven. Anyway you cook it I highly recommend you give this a try!!

Hawaiian Jalapeno Chicken with Peach Salsa Rice
2 pounds chicken legs or thighs
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
Ground ginger
Jalapeno pepper jelly
2 cups rice
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 lime, zested and juiced
1/4 cup (a good handful) of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup Peach Salsa (or store bought peach or mango salsa) 
Lay out your chicken and season both sides with a sprinkling of salt, pepper, and ground ginger. Fire up your grill to medium-high. Once it is hot, place the chicken on the grill and cook for approx 8 to 12 minutes per side (times vary depending on grill type and size of chicken). 
Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, add the rice and chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Once at a boil reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Remove lid and fluff rice with a fork. Stir in the lime zest, juice, cilantro, and salsa.
Dish up a nice scoop of rice with a couple pieces of chicken and you have a fabulous meal for 4!

Salmon with Avocado Salsa

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I was cruising around Pintrest one day, oh well let’s be serious I cruise Pintrest EVERYDAY, and found some recipes for salmon. Since we have some wonderfully fresh salmon around here right now I knew I wanted to find a new salmon recipe. It was Memorial Day weekend and we already had plans to make ribs with baked beans and potato salad (recipes will be posted for those soon) so I wanted to make something light and summery. When I found this recipe it all but leaped off the screen and smacked me in the face screaming “Make me, make me!!”. It was from a blogger I had never read before. Her blog is called Laylita’s Recipes and she has some seriously good stuff there! 

I am a huge avocado fan as well. I mean I have been known to slice up an avocado with a bit of salt and lime juice and make a lunch out of it! I have so many avocado recipes pinned, I could make an avocado dish every night for 2 weeks I think. So yes, I was a happy camper to find this. When I first told everyone what I was making I got some strange looks. Everyone here tends to be a bit of a “purist” when it comes to salmon. Grill it, or bake it with minimal seasoning so the flavor of the salmon is number one. I agreed with this idea to a certain extent but like I said, this recipe begged me to be made so I ignored that idea and set off to the store to pick up everything I needed. I bought my salmon and it looked so gorgeous and was so fresh I almost sliced off a bit and had a little salmon sashimi snack, but I fought off the urge and got down to the business of prepping everything.
I had wanted to grill the salmon on a cedar plank but couldn’t find any so we opted for a bit of tin foil to keep it from sticking to the grill because I wanted to cook the filet whole instead of cutting it into individual portions. I prefer it whole and feel that it makes it easier to cook the fish without drying it out. Could just be my weird thing, which wouldn’t be new, but it is how I like to do it.
The verdict? Let’s see, there were a lot of OhhEmmmGeee’s flying around. I was afraid fingers would get bitten as everyone went back for more before it was all gone. My son’s friend Avin was here, as well as my “adopted son” Ryan who was visiting from San Diego. So of the 5 people eating it, EVERYONE loved it. A couple “this is the best salmon I have ever had”‘s were heard as well. With Grilled Veggies with Garlic Balsamic Reduction along side, I will guarantee you that this is a meal I will be making again soon! 

Salmon with Avocado Salsa
based on a recipe by Laylita’s Recipes
2 1/2 to 3 pound salmon fillet
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons roasted ground cumin (used McCormick’s new gourmet collection but regular cumin is fine)
2 teaspoons roasted ground coriander (again McCormick)
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons black pepper 
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 red onion thinly sliced
1 avocado, pitted and cut into cubes
3 jalapenos, ribs and seeds removed and finely chopped (can use less if you don’t want it spicy or use Fresno peppers)
Zest from 1 lime, and juice from 2 limes
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (a good handful), chopped
Salt to taste
Mix salt, cumin, coriander, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper in a small bowl. Drizzle the salmon with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and then rub it with the seasoning blend. You don’t have to use it all if you don’t want it just depends on the size of your filet. 
In a medium bowl combine the onion, lime zest, avocado, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Stir to combine, season with salt to taste. Place in the refrigerator until ready to be used.
Place tin foil over a baking sheet and lay your salmon on top. Curl the edges to make a little “tray” out of the foil. Cook the salmon on the grill over medium heat (about 200 degrees F) We cook it until the white fat comes to the surface.
Remove from the heat and top with the avocado salsa. 

Food Star Friday – Chicken Nachos with Green Chili Cheese

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This week for Food Star Friday I was able to combine a recipe for something I have wanted to make for quite some time, with one of my favorite things to do on the weekend. Today’s post is Tyler’s Ultimate Chicken Nachos! I mean what could possibly go better together than a big plate of spicy nachos and a night time NASCAR race? On top of that we had my Watermelon Blackberry Jargaritas to wash it all down!

Tyler Florence is one of my favorite Food Network stars. Yes, the fact that he is pretty dang cute doesn’t hurt but I really do like his food. I have made several of his recipes for Food Star Friday. They never disappoint.

This weekend was a strange one. Lately I have been just flying by the seat of my pants when it comes down to what we are eating. Not knowing how many I am cooking for, or what time they will be here, and honestly being a bit burnt out from the week, has just caused me to slack off a bit. For some reason I decided to jump on the ball and get a menu plan going!

I knew I had to come up with a drink for Tipsy Tuesday, and with my son (the bartender of all bartenders) being out of town, I knew I had to really plan something good to drink. I guess that got my creative juices flowing and away I went! I still have a few things left on the plan, including a couple of desserts! I know, I am so excited!! I never make dessert, so this will be a true treat.

Now on to the nachos. These were very very good. It takes a little bit of work but not a whole lot. I had preshredded my chicken when I brought it home from the store. I bought two rotisserie chickens because the recipe called for a 3 pound chicken, and the ones at my store were just a little over 1 1/2 pounds. By shredding it as soon as I got home it saved sooooo much time when I got down to the nitty gritty of making this recipe. I plan on doing that will all of my chicken that needs to be shredded. Just do it when you are already in the shopping/organizing/putting away mood.

These didn’t last very long. I would love to have some more right now with one of those jargaritas!!

Chicken Nachos with Green Chili Cheese
  • 4 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 2 jalapenos, stemmed
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock, at room temperature
  • 4 cups shredded Jack cheese
  • 1 (1-pound) bag salted corn tortilla chips
  • 1 (3-pound) whole roasted chicken, meat finely shredded, skin and bones discarded

Quick Salsa:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 2 handfuls fresh cilantro leaves, hand shredded
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour cream and guacamole, for serving

Bring a pot of water to a boil; add the tomatillos, jalapenos, onion, and garlic. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tomatillos are soft. Drain and cool slightly, then put them in a blender. Add the cilantro, lime juice, and cumin. Puree for a few seconds to blend, and then pour in about a 1/4 cup of water and process to a coarse puree; taste and season with a generous pinch of salt. You should have about 2 cups of this salsa verde.
Make a roux by melting the butter over medium-low heat in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Just as the foam subsides, sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk to prevent lumps. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to remove the starchy taste from the flour; don’t allow it to brown. Gradually whisk in the chicken stock and simmer for 8 minutes to thicken. Once you have a good base, fold in 2 cups of the shredded Jack cheese; mix until completely melted into a sauce. Stir in the prepared salsa verde until incorporated; remove the green chili cheese sauce from the heat.
Make a quick salsa by combining the cherry tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl; season with salt and pepper, tossing to combine.
To build these awesome nachos: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Get a very large oven-proof platter and cover it with a few handfuls of tortilla chips, follow with a portion of the shredded chicken, a coating of the cheese sauce, and a nice sprinkle of the remaining shredded jack. Make 3 or 4 layers of the nachos, depending on the size of the platter. Bake the nachos until they are all hot and gooey, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Spoon the tomato salsa over the top of the nachos and serve with the sour cream on the side.

Grilled Thai Chicken Pizza

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Grilled pizza? Yes you heard me right. I am sure it is not an foreign idea to many of you, but in my house it was. You should have seen Kevin’s face when I said I wanted to grill a pizza. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous, especially with his reaction to the idea. But I do love a challenge so away I went!

This recipe is taken from a recipe posted by a friend of mine, Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls. She posted her grilled pizza recipe and I immediately pinned it and knew I wanted to give it a try, I just had to wait for the right time. I mean who wants to grill in the rain? So I was patient and when we finally had a few days of lovely weather I ran to the store and purchased all of the goodies needed for my grilling adventure. I was even planning on making homemade pizza dough! For those that know me, my last try at baking something with yeast was an epic fail! So I figured, what the heck, I am already nervous let’s go for broke!! 

I will admit, this does take a bit of time to put the whole meal together, but with 5 tasters all giving me 2 thumbs up on the final product, I think it is well worth it!! My only regret? I didn’t make two!! I only ended up with one little piece for myself. I will post the recipe to make two pizzas.



Grilled Thai Chicken Pizza

For the chicken
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup buttermilk
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredient in a shallow dish and add the chicken. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Overnight would be better if possible.

For the pizza crust 
based on Garlic Bread Pizza Crust from How Sweet it is
1 1/8 cup warm water
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in 2 1/2 cups flour, salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and dried basil, stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but it still sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and work the additional 1/2 cup flour (you don’t need to use all if it is not needed) in to the dough, kneading it on a floured surface for a few minutes. Rub the same bowl with olive oil then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and place it back on the floured surface. Using a roll pin or your hands, form it into your desired shape. Place the towel back over the dough and let sit in the warm place for 10 minutes. While the dough is rising again, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Mix it with the last teaspoon of garlic powder and 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.

Bring the dough back out and using a spoon or pastry brush, apply the butter and garlic mixture to the outside edges of the crust.


For the sauce
adapted from recipe by Sumptuous Spoonfulls
1 15-ounce can of light coconut milk
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons red curry paste
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce, plus more for drizzling 

In a small sauce pan whisk the ingredients over medium heat simmering for 5 minutes making sure to stir often to avoid the sauce sticking to the pan.


Pizza toppings
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 bunch green onions, chopped whites and greens
a good sized handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 bag finely shredded mozzarella cheese


Heat the grill to medium high heat. Grill the chicken breasts until done, let cool for a bit and then shred the breasts. Turn one side of the grill off so you can turn the pizza dough over onto indirect heat to heat the toppings. Oil the grates of the grill and place the pizza dough on the grill. Cover and grill checking occasionally until the dough begins to bubble and the bottom is brown and crusty.

Turn the crust over and place on the cool side of the grill. Brush the crust with the spicy peanut sauce (I used quite a bit), top with half of the chicken, and half of all of the veggies, reserving the cilantro until the pizza comes off the grill. Cover and grill until topping are warm and the cheese has melted. Check the crust occasionally but be patient this took a little while.

Remove pizza from grill and top with half of the chopped cilantro. Drizzle with more Sriracha sauce if desired.

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup

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I am a tomato soup lover, well OK I am a soup lover period but tomato soup is a comfort food that takes me all the way back to my childhood. Tomato soup and grilled cheese, how many people grew up with that? I passed that love on to my children. In our household you better not make a pot of tomato soup with out a grilled cheese to go along side for dunking. I did exactly that for this meal, but I will post the recipe for the mozzarella, pesto, and tomato paninis I made tomorrow.

Back to this soup. I was very excited to see fresh roma tomatoes on sale at my local grocery store. As soon as I saw them I knew what I wanted to do with them, SOUP!! This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Melissa d’arabian. I loved the idea of roasting the tomatoes before using them but I knew I wanted to add my own spin on this recipe. As I have said in the past, we all love a bit of spice here in my household and this recipe begged for some in my opinion. If you are not a lover of heat like we are you can use a pepper with less heat like a cubanelle. I actually think the next time I will try a poblano in place of the jalapeno but that would just be me tinkering again with a recipe that everyone thought was perfect to begin with.

The toughest part of this recipe is being patient. It takes anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours to roast the tomatoes. Once that is done it is a breeze to whip it all together. But the roasting gives this soup such a depth of flavor. You will never go back to canned soup again after you try this. I also suggest making a big batch like this even if you are only feeding a couple of people. Soups freeze so well and make for a very quick meal on nights that you don’t feel like putting that much work into dinner.

An added bonus to this soup is that it is a healthy way to make creamy soup minus the cream. Trust me, you will  never miss it!!

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup
  • 16 Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •  tablespoon water
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (we actually used 2 but that is a lot of heat)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbes de provence
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • Sour cream or olive oil, for garnish, (optional)

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the tomatoes, cut side down, on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle 2 tablespoons water over the tomatoes. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
Remove from the oven. Carefully peel off the skins and discard. Flip the tomatoes over so they’re cut side up, and place back in the oven until the tomatoes are shriveled but not dry, another 30 to 60 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Coat the pepper with olive oil and roast on a grill, over the eye of a gas stove, or in a broiler, turning occasionally to blacken it on all sides. Once the pepper is roasted place it in a bowland cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool slightly. Once cooled peel the blackened skin from the outside of the pepper (it is OK to still have some black remaining it gives more of the smoky roasted flavor to the soup), remove the ribs and seeds.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute the onion in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over low heat until very soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and herbes de provence and cook until fragrant, another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cup of white wine and allow the alcohol to cook off, a couple of minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes. 
In a blender, puree the tomatoes (including any cooking liquid on the baking sheet), pepper, and stock mixture until very smooth. You may need to work in batches (or add blended tomatoes and pepper to the pot and use an immersion blender to get to the desired consistency, which is what I used). If using a blender, pour the soup back into the saucepan, season with salt and pepper, and heat gently. To serve, ladle into cups or bowls and top with either a swirl of olive oil or a little sour cream, if desired.

Beef and Asparagus Curry

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Hello my dear friends! I am preparing for a move soon (and I absolutely hate moving) so my cooking duties have been replaced somewhat by dinners out or, I am sad to admit, fast food. On the positive side of things, when I do get a chance to cook a meal I am sooooo excited!! Not that I wasn’t excited when I was cooking everyday, but I miss it and appreciate it much more than I did.

Last night I made Beef and Asparagus Curry from a recipe I found in Everyday Food. I love asparagus and was so excited to find a recipe that featured it. I am not a big red meat lover but Kevin is, so I figured this would be a “best of both worlds” recipe. The recipe was a good one but I would have done a few things different. First of all I think this would be a fantastic recipe for chicken too. With that said I wil tell you the things I will do differently with beef.

The recipe calls for you to cook the beef in the broth at the very end of the cooking process. The next time I make this I will season the beef with salt and pepper and then sear it in the wok first (just briefly) to lock in the flavor. Then remove it from the wok/skillet and reserve it on a plate covered with foil to return to the finished meal just long enough to warm the beef back up, at the most 1 minute would be required. I also will add more curry paste than it asks for. In a chicken curry I make I add the entire jar of the red curry paste (approx 1/2 cup) this called for 1/4 cup and I think it needed a bit more zing. Another thing that I think would add another layer of flavor would be to toss the finished rice noodles with a small (and I mean very small) amount of sesame oil, or cook the noodles to al dente and toss them in the curry for a bit to finish the cook process and allow them to soak up more of the curry flavor.

Ok with that said, this is an enjoyable meal, it is just that I like to tinker with recipes to try and maximize the flavors. I would love for you to give this a try, either the original recipe or my variation, and let me know what you think.

Beef and Asparagus Curry

1 can unsweetened coconut milk, shaken well
1/4 cup red curry paste
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound sirloin steak, thinly sliced against the grain
Salt and pepper
Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (optional garnish)
Lime wedges (optional)
In a large wok or skillet, heat 1/2 cup coconut milk over medium-high, stirring until shiny and thick, about 2 minutes. Add curry paste, stirring until fragrant, 1 minute. Add remaining coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, and brown sugar and bring to a simmer. Add bell pepper and asparagus and cook for 5 minutes. Add steak and cook, stirring, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over cooked rice noodles with cilantro and lime wedges.

Halibut Soup or just call it Epic Yumminess in a bowl!!

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I was sooooo excited to find this recipe! Halibut is one of my all time faves PLUS it was on sale (thank goodness) this week, so my pound and a half didn’t cost me an arm and a leg.

The first time I made this soup was back when I had my blog “Rachael Ray and Bobbi Renee”. I was new to the whole blogging thing and got so carried away with how good the food came out I forgot to take a picture. I also forgot to completely read the recipe so when I got ready to make the soup WHOOPS not all the ingredients were there. I used to do that a lot. Luckily I have gotten much better.

This soup could be made with cod just as easily, and much cheaper, but I do love halibut so much and again it was on sale so I have no guilt about it.

I can’t say enough about how awesome this soup is!! With the andouille sausage and poblano pepper it gives you just enough heat to make it tasty but not blow the top of your head off. Oh and don’t forget the crusty bread to mop up all of that yummy broth!!!

Halibut Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound andouille sausage
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled then sliced in half and cut into half moons
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
6 cups chicken stock
1 15-ounce can of hominy (white or yellow)
1 1/2 pounds halibut cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium zucchini, cut in half and then cut into half moons
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 loaf of crusty bread
Preheat a large soup pot over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Remove the sausage casings and slice it thinly. Add the sliced sausage to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add the onions, carrot, poblano, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the veggies are tender. Add the white wine and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring the soup up to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the hominy, and zucchini and let cook on a slow simmer for 5 minutes. Slide the fish into the soup and turn the heat of. Cover the pot and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the fish to poach. This will prevent overcooking the fish. Uncover and stir in the parsley, cilantro, and lime juice. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with crusty bread for sopping. 

Halibut Ceviche

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Hello my wonderful friends out there in Foodieland! I know I have been absent for a long time (it feels like forever for me). Lots going on in my life and unfortunately cooking took a backseat to most of it. I finally buckled down and decided I needed to get back in the saddle so I sat down to create a menu for the week. I had glanced over the store fliers and saw that my local Albertson’s had fresh halibut for $15.99 a pound! I know that seems like a lot even on sale, but halibut can be upwards of $28.00 a pound later in the season, and seeing as it is my all time FAVORITE fish you know I was jumping up and down like a little kid that just found the toy they want in the Toys R Us catalog!!

I finished up my weekly menu (which includes another halibut dish aside from this one) and hurried off to the store to purchase all of my goodies. I wandered through the store for about an hour getting other ideas as I saw the fresh meat and produce they had available. WOW I didn’t realize how MUCH I missed being in my kitchen! Then rushed home to get everything put safely away.

Last night I actually made two recipes.Carne Asada and the Halibut Ceviche. I will post the Carne Asada tomorrow. So the first thing I had to do was get the marinade going for the meat. You don’t want to get your ceviche going until it is about 3 to 4 hours away from meal time. Even though the fish only “cooks” in the citrus juices, it can over cook and be kind of rubbery.

A side note, I discovered ceviche on a trip to Puerto Vallarta many many years ago. They made it with a white fish and served it on little mini tostada shells (it was heavenly!!). So you can make this with any firm fleshed white fish you would like. I think cod would be nice. Since I can’t find mini tostada shells here in Western Washington, we usually eat it with tortilla chips, but stay tuned for Thursday’s post because I will let you know the fun way we mixed it up this time!

Halibut Ceviche

  • 2 pounds very fresh (sushi-grade) white-fleshed ocean fish
  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 6 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 6 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 1 or 2 serrano peppers,  finely diced (I used 3 small ones for a nice spicy batch)
  • 1/4 yellow bell pepper,  finely diced
  • 1/4 red bell pepper,  finely diced
  • 1/4 tablespoons red onion,  minced
  • 3 cloves garlic,  minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves,  chopped
  • 1 tablespoon good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Tortilla chips (appetizer) or tostada shells (for a main dish)
Cut the fish into 1/4-inch dice. Place in a glass dish with the lime juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, peppers, onions, and garlic, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
Add the cilantro, olive oil, and salt. Fold gently to mix. You can serve the ceviche in martini glasses for a nice appetizer.

Makes about appetizer sized servings

Puffy Chicken Tacos

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I was so excited to try my hand at making these tacos. They looked so crunchy and yummy when I saw them at the restaurant that I just wanted to run home and get into my kitchen! Do you ever do that? I am sure I drive my family crazy with it. We will order a meal and when it comes to the table I of course have to talk about how the food looks, then how it tastes, then how I can figure out what is in it and recreate it at home. They all look at me like “Really? Can we please just eat our food?” *sigh* the hazards of living with a food blogger I guess. So this was one of those moments. Although they weren’t complaining when I made it….HA!!

I will have to admit, I struggled with the tortillas. I don’t know if the dough was too moist or too dry but I just couldn’t get it to stay together. So I had to use my back up plan and fry regular white corn tortillas until they were puffy. They were great but I will conquer the elusive homemade puffy corn tortilla, I swear!! In case you posses better tortilla skills than me, I will post the recipe for how to make the tortillas below.

The other thing I like about this recipe is that I made two dishes using ingredients from this one recipe PLUS I used my Roasted Tomato Salsa Roja. I will be posting the recipe for my Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup tomorrow so make sure and hang on to the broth that you cook your chicken in tonight!!

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Puffy Chicken Tacos
¼ cup olive oil

2½ lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
3 cups chicken stock
1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and mashed
2 cloves garlic, minced 
Juice of 1 lime 
Canola oil, for frying
3 cups masa harina (corn flour)
1½ tbsp. unsalted butter, softened 
Shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomato, and shredded cheddar cheese, to garnish
Heat oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and add to pan, skin side down; cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; set aside. Add garlic, onion, celery, carrot, and bell pepper; cook, stirring, until soft, about 20 minutes. Add stock and tomatoes, and return chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until chicken is very tender, about 1½ hours. Remove chicken from sauce, and let cool (Make sure to reserve sauce for Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup). Discard skin and bones, and shred chicken; set aside. Meanwhile, combine avocados, garlic, lime juice, and salt and pepper in a bowl; chill guacamole until ready to use, covering to avoid browning.
Pour oil to a depth of 2″ in a 6-qt. Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 375°. Stir together masa, butter, and 2¼ cups warm water in a bowl until dough forms; divide dough into 12 pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Using a tortilla press or rolling pin, flatten each ball into a 6½″ disk. Place 1 disk in oil. When it begins to puff, press the end of a metal spatula into the middle of the tortilla so that tortilla bends into a taco shape; hold spatula within tortilla until taco is golden brown and crisp, about 1½ minutes. Transfer taco to paper towels to drain; repeat with remaining tortillas. Divide chicken and guacamole among tacos; top with lettuce, tomato, and cheese.

Slow Cooker Carne Guisada

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If you are anything like me you read the name of this recipe and said “Carne what?”

Carne Guisada is a very popular dish in Texas. It is a Tex-Mex favorite. It actually translates into “stewed meat”. The most popular meat used is beef and YAY that was what I had to work with. There are many options with this recipe. You could really do like I did and make it however you want to with the different variations out there. Some use potato, some no tomatoes. It is just like a regular beef stew, all up to the taste of the person preparing the meal.

You can use whatever peppers you want in this recipe. I used 1 poblano, 1 Anaheim, and 2 Fresno’s. But you could use any mix you like, from Serrano to sweet bell peppers, depending on the heat level you want. With the mix I used there was a nice heat but not TOO hot. Especially after you add the masa paste. We actually discussed making it spicier next time to please the pepper lovers in this house.

This would even make a great Super Bowl meal. Rev up your slow cooker and by it is time to eat you have a nice hearty healthy stew. Of course I topped mine with sour cream and used tortillas to dip, but even with that it really isn’t too far off the “healthy” path and we ALL love slow cooker recipes right?

Heads up, this recipe requires you to taste at every step and adjust your salt and pepper to taste.

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Slow Cooker Carne Guisada 
2 tablespoon olive oil
3 pounds chuck roast cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and diced
2 Fresno peppers, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups beef stock
1/4 cup masa (corn flour)
Hot water
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream (optional)
Cilantro (optional)
Flour tortillas (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. In a bowl add the flour, salt, and pepper, combine and dredge the beef in the flour. Shake off the excess flour and brown the pieces in the dutch oven. Once brown place into the slow cooker. Add the peppers, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Add the canned tomatoes, with their liquid, to the slow cooker and break the tomatoes up with your fingers (I give them a squeeze but, make sure you aren’t wearing a shirt you don’t want messy). Add your beef stock just until the meat is covered. If you need more you can add water.

Cook on low for 8 hours. Mix the masa with enough hot water to make a thin paste. Stir the masa mix into the stew and simmer on low for another 30 minutes or so.

Ladle into bowls and top with cheese, sour cream, chopped cilantro, and serve with warm flour tortillas.