Posts Tagged ‘mexican’

Meatless Monday: Chipotle Bean Burritos

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

We’ve been doing this Meatless Monday thing for several weeks, and it’s going pretty well. We’re typically pretty happy with the meals, though I can’t say I’ve gotten to the point where I wouldn’t rather have meat. As I said before, we’ve tried quite a few things. I think all of them have been either Italian-flavored or some variation on Tex-Mex, probably because these are cuisines that are more likely to include vegetables in the first place, and because the bold, fresh flavors help to make-up for the lack of meat. That’s meant plenty of pasta, panini, chili, and one of the first things we tried, these Chipotle Bean Burritos from January’s issue of Cooking Light.

I liked this recipe, in general. The beans had a really good flavor, even though chipotle is not usually my favorite seasoning. The beans were spicy, but not hot. We used a delicious Chipotle Chile & Peppers flavored tortilla, which I think added to the dish. The tortilla is made by Tumaro’s, soon to be available at Amazon, and is one of the best healthy tortillas I’ve ever tasted. Again, a hint of spicy flavor, but not hot. We used them for quesadillas this week, and will continue to buy them, I’m sure.

If meatless meals are your thing, you’ll definitely like these burritos. They were tasty and filling, and the recipe was a quick one. For those of us that lean towards the carnivore side of things, they were good, but not great. We all would’ve liked a little chicken or steak or some additional protein in there.

Cooking Light’s Chipotle Bean Burritos

  • 1  tablespoon  canola oil
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2  teaspoon  chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/3  cup  water
  • 1  (15-ounce) can organic black beans, drained
  • 1  (15-ounce) can organic kidney beans, drained
  • 3  tablespoons  refrigerated fresh salsa
  • 6  (10-inch) reduced-fat flour tortillas
  • 1  cup  (4 ounces) preshredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 1/2  cups  chopped plum tomato (about 3)
  • 1 1/2  cups  shredded romaine lettuce
  • 6  tablespoons  thinly sliced green onions
  • 6  tablespoons  light sour cream

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in chile powder and salt; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/3 cup water and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in salsa. Partially mash bean mixture with a fork.

2. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon about 1/3 cup bean mixture into center of each tortilla. Top each serving with about 2 1/2 tablespoons cheese, 1/4 cup tomato, 1/4 cup lettuce, 1 tablespoon onions, and 1 tablespoon sour cream; roll up.

Potato & Chorizo Taquitos

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Taquitos are something that I’d never considered making or even as a real food until I saw this recipe in Everyday with Rachael Ray. The only way I’d ever seen taquitos was in a box from the freezer. The recipe looked manageable enough, and I was excited to try it.

I’m glad I did. They were easier than you’d think to make, and delicious. So much more crispy and fresh-tasting than the kind that come from a box.  We had these for dinner, but they’d make an awesome appetizer. Just serve with some salsa and sour cream.

Potato and Chorizo Taquitos
Adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray

Ingredients:

  • 1 baking potato, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • 7 ounces Mexican chorizo (about 2 links), casings discarded
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jarred roasted red pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons diced green chiles from a can
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 18 corn tortillas

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, add the potato and enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender, about 20 minutes; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, breaking it up, until browned, about 3 minutes; mash into the potatoes. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet along with the onion, tomato, roasted pepper and chile; season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Stir into the potato mixture along with the cheese and cilantro.
  3. Fill a large, deep skillet with enough oil to reach a depth of 3/4 inch and heat over medium-high heat. Microwave the tortillas in a sealed plastic bag for 25 seconds. Roll up 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture in each tortilla. Add to the oil seam side down; repeat until the pan is full. Fry, turning once, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes; drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

Chorizo Tacos

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

This might be the closest thing I have to a “secret family recipe” to share with you all. There are plenty of meals that I make just like I grew up with, but I don’t necessarily think that they involve secrets or tips that other people don’t already use. Chorizo is a great ingredient, and I don’t think enough people are using it.

The chorizo that I’m talking about here is the mexican kind. (There’s also Spanish chorizo out there–it’s hard, like salami or pepperoni) The mexican chorizo, on the other hand, is soft and crumbly, a spicy pork sausage that you can find at nearly every grocery store, near the bratwurst and other sausages. I like to mix it with equal parts ground beef, ground pork, or ground turkey to make tacos–it adds a whole new level of flavor. It’s more than just heat, though chorizo-based tacos are spicier. The chorizo imparts this intense mexican flavor. Once you try tacos like these, you won’t want to go back!

taco

Chorizo Tacos

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound chorizo mexican sausage
  • 1 packet taco seasoning mix
  • tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, or whatever you like on your tacos!
  • taco shells (soft shells or hard shells, whichever you like)

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the chorizo. It will be very crumbly and will render lots of fat. That’s okay. Once the chorizo is mostly cooked, about 10 minutes or so, add the ground beef and continue cooking until browned.

2. In the meantime, prepare your taco shells and other fixings. Hard shells require several minutes in the oven, so don’t forget to preheat.

3. When the meat is cooked through, drain the mixture thoroughly. You want to get as much of the extra fat out as you can, or the tacos will be way too greasy. I don’t like to go so far as to rinse the meat, because you rinse flavor away with the extra grease, but I do use a paper towel to soak up as much as I can. Return to the skillet and follow the directions for your taco seasoning. Even though you’ll have about 2 pounds of meat at this point, you only want to use enough taco seasoning for one pound. Remember: the chorizo half of the meat brought it’s own flavor.

4. When the meat is finished cooking, you’re done. Let everyone assemble their own delicious tacos. Dig in!

Note: It’s worth saying that while the chorizo is quite a bit fattier than using just ground beef, there are some things you can do to lighten the dish, while still getting tasty tacos. 1) I’ve substituted Soyrizo successfully–barely noticed a difference. You’ve probably noticed we’re not much for vegetarian dishes around here. I wouldn’t recommend the Soyrizo if it wasn’t good. 2) The chorizo brings plenty of fat to the mix, which will let you use a lighter ground meat without risking a dry meat mixture. Feel free to use the leanest ground beef you have, or even ground turkey or ground chicken. 3) Even 1/2 pound of chorizo to a full pound of turkey or lean beef makes a difference in the flavor. Feel free to experiment to find your favorite combination.

Chicken Tamale Casserole

Monday, September 14th, 2009

I’ve been playing with the idea of making tamales, but I know how much work they really are. Well, I know how much work they are on paper. I’ve never tried to make them before–and honestly, I imagine they’re even more work than I’ve heard.

That is why the idea of a Chicken Tamale Casserole appealed to me.

It was good, but not great. The good news is, I know what went “wrong” and have some solid ideas of how to fix it. I definitely plan to try this one again sometime.

Chicken Tamale Casserole

Chicken Tamale Casserole
Serves 8 – From Cooking Light

1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Martha White)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
Cooking spray
1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce (such as Old El Paso)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream.

Note (Or what I would change for next time): First of all, I used Jiffy cornbread mix, which is usually pretty satisfying, as far as corn bread mixes go, but for this recipe, a little too sweet. A less-sweet southern style cornbread mix would have worked better. This recipe came from Cooking Light magazine, but if I wasn’t as concerned about the health aspects of the dish, I probably would have used more cheese. Even trying to keep it light, using reduced fat cheese (there are lots of great 2% blends these days!) would’ve kept the nutritionals the same for a bit more cheese. I think it would’ve made a difference. Finally, I should mention that a handful of crushed corn chips sprinkled over the top was delicious. That one was Cara’s idea.

Cinco De Mayo Fajitas & Guacamole

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

In honor of cinco de mayo, David and I had steak fajitas for dinner. Fajitas have long been one of David’s very favorite foods, especially when we were eating out. These days, I think he prefers the ones we make at home. As we do so often, we borrowed this fajita recipe from Alton Brown. We’ve used this recipe many times without fail.

fajitas

Alton Brown’s Skirt Steak Recipe (Steak Fajitas)
Adapted from the Good Eats Episode “Raising The Steaks

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 4 scallions, washed and cut in 1/2
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar or Mexican brown sugar
  • 2 pounds inside skirt steak, cut into 3 equal pieces
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 green peppers, sliced

1. In a blender, put in oil, soy sauce, scallions, garlic, lime juice, red pepper, cumin, and sugar and puree. In a large heavy duty, zip top bag, put pieces of skirt steak and pour in marinade. Seal bag, removing as much air as possible. Allow steak to marinate for 1 hour in refrigerator.

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2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. Add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the bottom of the pan. Remove steak from bag and pat dry with paper towels. Cook the steak pieces for about 3-4 minutes per side, until cooked to desired doneness. Remove from the pan to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil while the meat is allowed to rest for at least 10 minutes.

3. While meat is resting, add sliced onions and green peppers to the skillet and cook until tender.

4. When steak has rested for at least 10 minutes, slice thinly across the grain of the meat.  Serve with grilled peppers and onions, tortillas, beans, cheese, sour cream–whatever you like.

Note: We also had chips and guacamole. You will not be surprised to learn that we often use Alton Brown’s recipe for guacamole. I know you will not be surprised to hear that. We’ve made it many times, and it always turns out delicious–and much better than anything you’ll find pre-made at your grocery store. Definitely worth the extra trouble. I’ve included the recipe below, because if you want to make guacamole 100% from scratch, this is an excellent place to start.

Alton Brown’s Guacamole

  • 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

That being said…

I also want to mention our favorite substitute for “from scratch” guacamole, because it’s another excellent alternative to the pre-made tubs at your grocery store: Frontera Grill Guacamole Mix. This blend of tomatillos, tomatoes, chiles, garlic, and spices comes in a jar, and it couldn’t be easier to turn it into tasty guacamole—just mash 3 avocados with the contents of the jar. It’s a nice work-around if you find yourself in a hurry to make fresh guacamole. We’ve bought three packs of the mix at Costco, but you can also buy individual jars at your grocery store.

guacamolemix

Double Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

David and I got married last summer, and everyone threw us a couples’ shower last spring. The day was beautiful, and everyone had a good time. Not surprisingly, a huge portion of  the gifts were for the kitchen, and we still use them all the time. Even the Chop ‘N Scoops.

The shower was centered around the fact that Dave and I like to cook. One game involved having people identify different fresh herb plants, and another stocked our spice cabinet by having people bring the spice that represented them the most and then make their case (the winner was my good friend Becky from high school—for as long as I’ve known her, she’s been obsessed with the color orange, and for the spice game, she brought a jar of dried orange peel. Case closed!).

The other really cool thing that the bridesmaids did was to collect recipes from everybody and compile them into a cookbook. We look through it often, and I finally got the chance to try one last week: Chicken Enchiladas.

I wouldn’t call this dish authentic. It’s not meant to be. But between you and me, I’ve made more authentic enchiladas, and I’ve eaten authentic enchiladas, and I’m pretty sure I liked these the best. I liked them with chicken, but I bet they’d be just as good with ground beef, shredded beef, or even chorizo.

chicken-enchiladas

Double Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

  • 1 lb cooked chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 16 ounce jar of salsa con queso
  • 16 ounce container sour cream (I used reduced fat; I usually do)
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheese, divided (I used Tillamook medium cheddar, but sharp cheddar or jack, or even a combination, would be good), divided.
  • 1 small can enchilada sauce, mild
  • 3 Tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 10-12 small corn tortillas
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Cover the bottom of the dish with a thin, even layer of enchilada sauce.
  2. In a large bowl, combine salsa con queso,  sour cream, and 1 & 1/2 cups shredded cheese. Add chicken and taco seasoning, and stir to combine.
  3. Fill each tortilla with a 1/4 cup of the chicken & cheese mixture, roll up, and place seam-side down in prepared baking dish. Repeat, until the dish is full of tortillas. You should have at least 1 cup of the chicken/cheese mixture leftover.
  4. Pour a layer of enchilada sauce over the tortillas in the baking dish. Carefully spread with the remaining chicken/cheese mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cup of shredded cheese and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until heated all the way through. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Note: I prefer the corningware dish for this casserole, instead of something like Pyrex, because the corningware doesn’t stick very much and is easier to clean. It’s also a little deeper.

I like the top layer of cheese to get crunchy at the edges, but if you don’t, just cover this with foil. Even though there’s sour cream in this dish, we used extra sour cream when we ate it. I enjoyed scooping up these enchiladas with thick, crunchy tortilla chips.

Spicy Taco Burgers with Pico de Gallo

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

The idea for this burger came to me during a discussion about Mexican Risotto and Chorizo. Aside from the Mexican Risotto, my family uses Chorizo as the basis for our taco meat, and has for years. It adds a heat and a flavor that you won’t find in any spice packet. I was trying to think of something new I could make, and that’s when the idea of the taco burger came to me. The burger is made with a combination of Chorizo and ground beef. We topped these burgers with homemade pico de gallo, cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, and a little bit of sour cream in place of the traditional ketchup/mustard/pickles. And the results were pretty tasty.

Taco Burgers

For burgers:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb mexican Chorizo
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 1/2 inch chunks of sharp cheddar cheese.

For toppings:

1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the first four ingredients and then season with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until the ground beef and chorizo have thoroughly mixed. Let rest for about 15 minutes, to let the flavors meld. (I used this time to prepare the pico de gallo and other toppings)

2. Cut a portion of the cheese into 1/2 inch thick chunks, about the size of two postage stamps across.

3. Begin to form patties from the hamburger mixture, pressing a chunk of cheese into the center of each patty and then molding the patty around it so that the cheese forms the center of the burger.

4. Divide the meat mixture into 8 equal sized patties and cook the burgers. These could be grilled, if you use clean, oiled grill grates to avoid sticking, but here in Chicago, in January, I cooked these on the stove, using our grill pan. (Similar to the one you see here). It took about 8 minutes on each side to cook these burgers thoroughly. I lightly oiled the grill pan, to avoid sticking. Remember, the Chorizo is pork, and needs to be cooked through completely–longer than you might cook your burgers normally. You won’t overcook the beef, though. The spicy pork sausage brings plenty of moisture to the burger.

5. Serve on toasted buns with pico de gallo or salsa, shredded lettuce, cheese, and sour cream.

Note: These flavors were really, really good. I had a little bit of a problem with the burgers holding together in the cooking process. I believe I could fix that next time by using something to bind them–right now, I’m imagining a little bit of egg and tortilla chips crushed to crumbs in the food processor instead of bread crumbs. Even with the burgers threatening to crumble at the edges, they were still delicious and pretty simple to make. I’ll definitely be trying these again.

P.S. I know I’ve used it here before, but remember, Chorizo is a spicy mexican sausage. You can get it in most regular grocery stores, usually in the meat case with other sausages. It brings a salty flavor to the dish, so go easy on the salt. Spanish style chorizo is also available at some stores, but for this, you want the mexican style. The Spanish Chorizo is cured and smoked, and has a pepperoni-like texture. Mexican Chorizo is an entirely different thing.

“Recipe” for Pico de Gallo

The word “recipe” is in quotes because this is more of a method than a true recipe. Pico is one of those things that can be “right” twelve different ways, and is really dependent on how you want it to taste. So here’s what I did, and feel free to make adjustments to the amount of ingredients as you go.

  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced and seeded
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1-2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine tomatoes, onion, and 1/2 of the jalapeno in a small mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of lime juice and fresh cilantro. Mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for about 3-5 minutes to let the flavors meld, and then taste again. Add more lime juice, cilantro, or jalapeno, as desired. Sometimes, a pinch of sugar (1/4 teaspoon) can help to tone down the acidity of winter tomatoes.

Note: I skipped the jalapeno. If you like spicy, add as much as you like.

Mexican Risotto

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

David and I have been making risotto for a long time. It’s one of those things that impresses non-cooking people, just by the sound of it, but it’s really not that hard to make at all. It just requires a little bit of attention. We make a more basic risotto that is delicious, with the traditional Parmesan cheese, but I’ve also developed a few variations on that theme, and this is one of them.

This risotto is just as creamy as the traditional kind, with added bite from the sharp cheddar cheese and added spice from the spicy mexican sausage. I put a little sour cream on mine, but that’s not necessary, I suppose (David skips it). This really turns out to be a like spicy Mexican Macaroni and Cheese. Yum.

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Mexican Risotto

  • 3.5 Cups Chicken Stock or Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 C. white wine
  • 1 Cup of sharp cheddar cheese (I prefer Tillamook’s Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar, it’s not hard for us to go through a pound a week of this stuff!).
  • 1/2 Pound Mexican Chorizo Sausage
  • 1 Cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine chicken stock and white wine and bring to a boil.
  2. Saute chorizo with garlic in a medium skillet, until cooked through, about 7-8 minutes. Drain and put aside, reserving about a tablespoon of the chorizo drippings in the skillet.
  3. In the same skillet, add arborio rice and cook over medium high heat until grains start to turn translucent and shiny at the edges. The chorizo drippings will give everything kind of an orange tinge. You want to make sure that all of the grains of rice get coated, so if there’s not enough fat from the chorizo (and there should be), you can always add a teaspoon or so of extra virgin olive oil, or just save a little more of the drippings from the fried sausage. Don’t add too much–coating the rice is good, but extra grease will make the final dish extra greasy.
  4. Begin to add chicken stock mixture, one or two ladles at a time, until the rice will no longer absorb the liquid. The rice should have a creamy texture and be tender, with a little bit of bite to it (just slightly al dente).
  5. When rice is finished cooking, remove from heat, and stir in cheese and cooked sausage. Serve immediately, with sour cream if desired.
Note: Try this one, you won’t be disappointed. It does come out a bit spicy though, from the chorizo, so if spicy isn’t your thing (Sarah), I don’t recommend this. It’s a subtle heat, though, so as long as you don’t hate spicy things, you’ll be able to handle it.
Chorizo, if you aren’t familiar, is a spicy mexican sausage. You can get it in most regular grocery stores, usually in the meat case with other sausages like bratwurst and italian sausage. It’s made from pork, and we also use it in our taco meat, combining it with ground beef. Cut it out of the casings and brown it just like you would ground beef, just know that it takes a little longer than ground beef would to cook through. It brings a salty flavor to the dish, so go easy on the salt until you’ve tasted things. Spanish style chorizo is also available at some stores, but for this, you want the mexican style. The Spanish chorizo is cured and smoked, and has a pepperoni-like texture. Mexican chorizo is an entirely different thing.
We serve this as a main dish, but if you cut down on the meat, it could probably be a side dish just as easily.