Category Archives: tortillas

Healthy Mexican Pizza

Standard

I love taking my fast food favorites and lightening them up. It takes the guilt out of the equation for me while I can indulge in something that used I used to feel guilty eating. This is a knock off of Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza, something I used to eat all of the time, but the Taco bell version was so full of fat and calories it was insane!! So I gave it up and figured I would never be able to enjoy one again. Then I decided to start picking some of my old fast food favorites and challenging myself to “healthify” them. So not only I, but everyone else could enjoy them without feeling like we needed to eat them in a closet somewhere! I did that with my Healthy Chicken Taco Bowls and to everyone’s surprise here at home they were a huge hit. So when I announced I was again making a healthy version of a fast food fave I wasn’t met with much resistance.

I have become a big fan of black beans and they are one of the things that lighten this dish up and make it healthy. Trust me, you will not miss those fattening re-fried beans at all, which is a huge things for me to say because I used to be addicted to re-fried bean and cheese burritos!! I also use lean ground turkey in place of that greasy beef taco meat they use. Reduced fat cheese, baked tortillas instead of fried, and fresh veggies make this a fantastic tasty fast food at home dish. You can of course add low fat or fat free sour cream if you like as well.
Bye bye Taco Bell, hello healthy and tasty food!!
Healthy Mexican Pizza 
recipe is for 2 pizzas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound lean ground turkey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1 tablespoon Mexican chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
Salt and pepper 
1 15-ounce can of black beans with jalapeno (Recommend Bush’s Beans)
4 soft taco size flour tortillas
1/2 cup chunky salsa (Recommend Pace Garden Pepper Salsa)
1 cup low fat cheddar or cheddar jack cheese, grated
4 green onions, chopped
1 vine ripened tomato, diced
Sliced black olives
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Heat olive oil in a skillet, over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Add the ground turkey, chili powder, cumin, and coriander. Breaking the turkey up with a wooden spoon, cook until meat is no longer pink. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
In a sauce pot heat the black beans over medium heat. Using a potato masher or fork, mash half of the beans to make them thicker. Once warm remove from heat.
Spray the bottom of two shallow baking dishes or pie plates with non stick spray. Place a tortilla in each one. Top the tortillas with the beans and then the meat mixture. Place another tortilla on top and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the cheese, green onion, tomato, and black olives. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melted. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing pizza into pieces.
ENJOY!!

Healthy Chicken Taco Bowls

Standard

I have been trying to lighten things up a bit around here. With the warm weather we of course are wearing less clothing which makes it a bit obvious that the cool sweater weather we have around here 8 months a year has allowed us to hide a multitude of sins! So I am trying to “sneak” in healthier versions of foods we love without making it stand out too much. I mean I don’t want a flashing light above the dinner table saying “Healthy Food Here” it might just make everyone run and hide. Really though to me it is a bit of a challenge. I like to see their faces and hear what they think about the food before I tell them it is healthy. I just don’t want them to get it in their heads that they wont like it before they even try it. Why does healthy = tasteless or inedible to some people?

What started the whole idea for this meal was a commercial I saw on TV for a pan that you can bake tortilla shells in to make healthier taco salads. I liked it, but I hate to buy all of those “gadgets”. If I bought every one that peeked my interest I would need a whole storage for just my kitchen stuff!! So I of course turned to my trusty internet for ideas. I saw one that used upside down jumbo muffin tins, but the tortillas wouldn’t stay tucked in the right way, so back I went for more ideas. 
That’s when I found this fantastic idea at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. It is brilliant! I knew I had canning jars in my pantry so I was set and ready to go with it. I was so excited about this meal. I made Avocado Hot Sauce to substitute for guacamole and sour cream and a can of black beans with jalapeno already in my pantry!
You can see here how perfect the canning jars work for this process. I used the soft taco size flour tortillas so the bowls were small  I only ate one for dinner but the guys ate two plus I think Seth made a soft taco later. Hungry boy!
The jars are the pint jars by Ball but any oven safe glass or cup would work for this too. I think they came out so good, crispy without the guilt of frying them in oil!
Healthy Chicken Taco Bowls
6 soft taco sized flour tortilla shells
Olive oil
1 pound chicken tenders
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 15 ounce can of black beans with jalapeno (I used Bush’s)
6 green onions, chopped
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 head of lettuce, shredded or chopped
Mexican blend shredded cheese
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F
Combine the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt in a small bowl. Place chicken tenders on a baking sheet an drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the cumin mixture on both sides of each chicken tender. Reserve excess mixture. Bake tenders for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Turn oven up to 400 degrees
Meanwhile place jars upside down on a rimmed baking sheet and spray them with non-stick spray. Heat tortillas (I did 2 at a time) in the microwave for about 30 seconds, just enough to make them soft so you can form them over the jars. Using your fingers, rub a bit of olive oil on each tortilla, just enough so it will crisp up and to help keep it from sticking. Press the sides of the tortillas down gently to form the “bowls” around the jars.
Shred cooled chicken with two forks, set aside. Place the can of black beans in a small sauce pot and heat.
Carefully transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes depending on your oven. Just check them to make sure they crisp but don’t burn. Remove from heat and carefully remove each shell from the jars. 
Assemble each taco bowl by adding black beans, then the chicken, green onions, lettuce, tomatoes, a sprinkling of cheese, and top with the Avocado Hot Sauce.
ENJOY!!

Fantastic Fish Tacos

Standard

Fish taco’s became very popular in Ensenada, Mexico in the late 60’s. Being from San Diego, CA, fish tacos became one of my favorite things to eat. I will admit at first I thought they sounded a bit strange, but I was a teenager, what did I know? I knew I loved tacos I just wasn’t real sure about the fish part of the equation. When a friend of mine told me how much she loved them, I broke down and gave them a try. Boy was I HAPPY I did (This was the same friend that talked me into trying sushi…..she had great taste I am so glad I listened!)!

Fish tacos bring back a lot of memories for me. Growing up in a coastal community I spent quite a bit of my time at the beach. They have since built up the area that used to be my old stomping grounds, but the little taco shop on the corner is still there. It was so fun to spend the day swimming and sunning with friends and then be able to just walk over to the taco shop in our bathing suits and get our lunch. Beach towns are the greatest!

The original fish tacos are fried fish fillets with a white sauce, cabbage and cheese and of course hot sauce if you wanted it.  The sauce in this recipe gives you a little bit of that hot sauce kick without making things super hot. Like I have said in the past, we love heat in this house, well 3/4’s of us love heat at least. Jessi, Miss Picky, loved, Loved, LOVED, these tacos. She even saved the left over sauce because SHE said it was too good to waste…WOW color me shocked! I actually ran out of fish because everyone wanted to eat so many. Next time I will make sure to buy extra.

For anyone that hasn’t tried fish tacos let me say this. If you love fish, and a bit of Mexican flavors, you will love these tacos.

After I rubbed the fish with the spice mixture, I placed them in a screaming hot cast iron skillet coated with a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil.

After about 3 to four minutes (you will see the fish beginning to turn opaque) I flipped them with a metal spatula. Be careful that the fish doesn’t come apart on you. I slid the spatula under very slowly kind of scraping the pan as I went. You don’t want to lose that yummy spiced crust!

This picture could have been better. This one was my  boyfriends and he loved the sauce so much you really can’t see the fish. But trust me, it looked good and tasted GREAT!

Fantastic Fish Tacos


Ingredients


For the fish you will need:
1 heaping tablespoon ground cumin
a good pinch of coarse salt
1 heaping tablespoon ground coriander
1 heaping tablespoon chili powder (preferably a Mexican chili powder if you can find it)
4 – 6 oz firm white fish fillets (I used halibut but cod can be used as well)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil ( a couple turns around the pan)
12 corn tortillas
6 oz Queso Fresco cheese or Cotija crumbled (or as much as you like, we like LOTS of cheese here)
shredded cabbage ( I used cabbage for coleslaw with the carrots but you can buy a small green cabbage and slice it thinly)
2 vine ripened tomatoes, diced

For the sauce:
1/3 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
coarse salt to taste
2 oz canned diced green chiles
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
(to reduce calories you can use light mayo and sour cream)

Into a food processor place the mayo, sour cream, lime juice, and cumin, puree. Once the sauce is smooth add the cilantro leaves and blend until combined. Set aside.

Set oven on the lowest setting and wrap the corn tortillas in foil. Place them in the oven

Remove fish from the refrigerator and pat dry on both sides. In a bowl combine the cumin, salt, coriander, and chili powder. Rub the spice mixture on both sides of the fish making sure to coat evenly.

Heat a large skillet or grill pan over high heat. Add the fish and cook on both sides until the fish is opaque approx 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish fillet.

Remove fish to a platter or plate and flake it into nice large “planks” of meat.

Remove tortillas from the oven and fill them with the fish, cabbage, sauce, cheese, and tomatoes.

ENJOY

Makes 12 tacos

based on a recipe by Cookin’ Canuck


Grilled Fish Soft Tacos

Spicy Chicken Tacos

Standard
I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner and started thinking about the fact that Cinco De Mayo is coming up. I am a HUGE fan of Mexican food! I grew up in Southern California and Mexican food is a staple there. I probably ate Mexican food, be it in just the form of a burrito at home, to a sit down dinner at a restaurant, 3 to 4 times a week. Living here in Western Washington I miss good Mexican food. I decided to make some chicken tacos, but like many other foods in my house, they had to be spicy chicken tacos. I am not talking, blow the top of your head off or melt your tongue spicy. But these babies pack some heat. Your mouth will feel nice and warm. If you want to dial the heat back you can remove the ribs and seeds from the peppers, or substitute poblano for the anaheim chilis.
This recipe also uses one of my favorite ingredients, boneless skinless chicken thighs. You can get so much chicken flavor very quickly out of the thighs vs breasts. I buy my chicken thighs in multi packs from Costco. You get several packages of thighs in vacuum sealed plastic, so you can pop them in a sink full of warm water to thaw out quickly if you forget to plan something for dinner. Not like I have ever done that or anything. HA I am the QUEEN of forgetting to plan ahead!
Spicy Chicken Tacos

Ingredients

1 1/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 fresno chilies, chopped
1 anahiem chili or 1 poblano pepper, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided
1/4 white onion, finely chopped
8 corn or taco sized flour tortillas
sour cream for garnish
Liberally salt and pepper chicken. Preheat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil and chicken. Let the chicken cook for 5 minutes, stirring to make sure all sides get browned. Push chicken to the edges of the pan and add the chilies, garlic, and onion to the pan. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add chili powder, cumin, and coriander, stir to make sure all of the chicken and veggies are coated well. Reduce heat to medium and cover the pan. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and reduce heat to low, add 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro leaves, let cook on low while you prepare the tortillas.
Place tortillas in a damp paper towel and heat in the microwave for 45 seconds. Remove the tortillas from the paper towel and fill each tortilla with the chicken taco mixture. Top with sour cream (if wanted) and sprinkle some of the remaining cilantro leaves and finely chopped white onion.
Serve with refried beans.
Serves 4