Category Archives: Cinco de Mayo

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I’m sorry. I’ve been a bad blogger lately. I do have excuses, and they are valid. One is that I’ve started working full-time. I’ve been having trouble finding the balance between work life and family/home life. Another thing was daylight savings time. When I work and then go run my errands, come home and help the kiddo with homework then start cooking, we don’t eat until later and pictures really do NOT look good in artificial light. But I’m going to try to do better, I promise.

Today’s recipe was definitely a keeper. I realize it’s starting to get warmer out but some people like me enjoy a good soup anyway. I did take a few shortcuts, but we were really impressed with the depth of flavor. I’ve tinkered with a few different chicken tortilla soups and this is the first that I’ve really liked. And it reheated well too. :)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:
2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp. olive oil (another one)
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Rotel
32 oz. chicken stock
3 tbsp. tomato paste
4 cups hot water
2 cans black beans, rinsed well and drained
3 tbsp. cornmeal
1 bag tortilla strips (usually in the salad topping section)
desired garnishes: sour cream, diced avocado, diced red onion, salsa, cheese, cilantro

Method:
Preheat oven to 375. Mix the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and salt together in a small bowl. Drizzle 1 tbsp. olive oil on the chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small bit of the mixed seasonings over the chicken, reserving the rest for later. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the juices of the chicken run clear. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then shred using two forks. Set the shredded chicken aside.

In a large pot, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil. Add the vegetables, stirring to combine. Cook until tender, adding the rest of the seasoning mix. Add the shredded chicken and stir. Add the can of Rotel, chicken stock, water, tomato paste an beans. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a low simmer. Cook 45 minutes, uncovered.

In a small dish, mix the cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup and stir well, simmer another 30 minutes. Taste for seasonings. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes before serving. Serve with the tortilla strips and desired garnishes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Easy Slow-Cooker Mexi-Chicken

A while back I wasn’t feeling well and my sweet friend Jen brought over some food so I wouldn’t have to cook. One of the things she brought was this crockpot chicken. She said you could either eat it like a taco, as her husband does, or do like she does and have it on nachos. I opted for the nachos and it was SO good!

I think I’ve made and posted something similar before, but this recipe blows that one (just chicken breasts and salsa) out of the water. It is incredibly easy to prepare, in fact I made it one morning when I was running really late and it didn’t set me back too badly time wise! You can even use frozen chicken breasts, without defrosting. Do yourself a favor and make it soon, you’ll love it too!

Easy Slow-Cooker Mexi-Chicken

Easy Slow-Cooker Mexi-Chicken

Easy Slow-Cooker Mexi-Chicken
Recipe by Jennifer D.

Ingredients:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen ok)
1 jar favorite salsa (I used one with corn & black beans in it)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
1 packet taco seasoning
1 block cream cheese

Method:

Spray crockpot bowl with nonstick spray. Place chicken breasts in the bottom (it is fine if they are frozen). In a bowl, mix together the salsa and taco seasoning. Pour the rinsed and drained black beans over the chicken, then pour the salsa mixture over that. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours. When only 30 minutes remain, add the cream cheese. When done, shred the chicken with forks and stir to mix everything together well. Serve as tacos or nachos (or whatever other way you want!).

Quick and Easy Salsa

I love chips and dip, it’s one of my favorite snacks.  Every time I would go to my friend Kelly’s house, she would have this super yummy salsa.  Finally I asked her to send me the recipe and it was a link to a blog.  I made it.  And the next day I made it again.

This recipe really IS quick and easy.  The ingredients are inexpensive, something you can keep in your pantry to pull out for a last-minute appetizer.  It takes literally minutes to make.  And it’s quite tasty.  It says it’s a copycat recipe for the Chili’s salsa, and it may be.  I don’t eat there often enough these days to compare, but I do love this one!  Thanks for sharing, Kelly!

Quick and Easy Salsa

Quick and Easy Salsa
Recipe from:  Six Sisters Stuff

Ingredients:
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes, drained
1 small can (4 oz.) diced jalapenos
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp salt (or 1/2, depending on taste)
1 tsp cumin
juice from 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp sugar

Method:

Add all ingredients to a medium-sized bowl.  Using an immersion blender, puree until the consistency is to your liking.  Alternately, you could put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it is to your liking.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Enchilada Casserole with Spicy Black Beans

Well it’s that time of year again.  Everyone is health conscious, everywhere you look are ads for weight loss items and the gym parking lot is full.  New Years Resolutions.  Every year my goal is to lose weight, and as I’m getting older the desire is much stronger.  And it’s much harder.

It’s extra hard since I love to cook and I love food.  Luckily these days there are many tasty recipes that are on the lower-cal side of the spectrum.  One of my favorite sources for tasty healthier recipes is Cooking Light.  Almost everything I’ve ever cooked from that magazine has been delicious and this recipe is no different.  It really doesn’t even TASTE like it’s lighter.  The portions were large also, so it didn’t leave you hungry.  If you’re a fan of Mexican food you’re sure to love this.

Enchilada Casserole with Spicy Black Beans
Recipe from Cooking Light magazine, January/February 2012
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 lb lean ground beef (ground turkey would work fine too)
1 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp minced garlic
1.5 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup lower- sodium beef broth
1 tbsp taco seasoning (it called for less-sodium but I used spicy)
1 (8 oz) can salt-free tomato sauce
4 (8-inch) whole-grain flour tortillas
1/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, brown beef and crumble with your spoon.  Add onion and cook until tender.
  • In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add the garlic, saute for a minute then sprinkle with flour and cook an additional thirty seconds, stirring constantly.  Add in the broth, taco seasoning and tomato sauce and stir in well.  Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally for two minutes.  Add 1.5 cups of this mixture to the browned beef, reserving 1/2 cup of the tomato mixture for later use.
  • Spray a pie plate with nonstick spray and place one tortilla in the bottom.  Top with one cup of beef mixture, then repeat the layers, ending with a tortilla.  Spread the reserved tomato mixture over the top, then sprinkle on the cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Cool slightly and cut into four wedges.

Spicy Black Beans

Ingredients:
2 tsp canola oil
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 minced jalapeno pepper
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro

Instructions:

  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the oil and swirl to coat the pan.
  • Add the red bell pepper and jalapeno pepper and saute for four minutes.  Add the lime juice, salt and beans and cook until heated through, about three minutes.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Calories:
Enchilada Casserole – 377
Spicy Black Beans – 83

Enchilada Casserole with Spicy Black Beans

Avocado and Mushroom Enchiladas

I loooove avocados.  I could sit and eat avocados all day but that wouldn’t be good.  Well it would, but it wouldn’t, know what I mean??  I was so excited when I saw a recipe for avocado enchiladas on a blog recently and it didn’t take me long at all to add them to my menu for the week.

These were very simple to make.  The recipe called for corn tortillas but I don’t care much for those, so I used flour.  Also, instead of just putting salsa verde on top, I used the salsa verde sour cream sauce from my other favorite enchilada recipe.  They were incredible!  I was also really surprised at how filling they were, despite having no meat.  It would be a great meal during Lent.  Just a thought.  We served ours with Mexican Rice.

Avocado and Mushroom Enchiladas
Recipe adapted from:  Meals in a Madhouse

Ingredients
2 avocados
1 onion, chopped
1 pkg mushrooms, sliced
extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
10 flour tortillas
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp butter or oil
14 oz. salsa verde
8 oz. sour cream
1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth if going vegetarian)
1.5 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
shredded pepper-jack cheese

Method:

Preheat oven to 400.

In a small skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter and cook chopped onions and sliced mushrooms until soft, lightly salting as it cooks.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tbsp butter/oil and add the flour, stirring constantly for two minutes.  Add the chicken broth and stir well so the flour mixes in well.  Add the salsa verde, sour cream and seasonings and cook for 5 minutes, then set aside.

Spray a 9×13 casserole with nonstick spray.  Fill each tortilla with some of the diced avocado, onion/mushroom mixture and shredded cheddar cheese.  Roll and place in the casserole, seam side down.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.  Once all are filled and in the dish, spoon the salsa verde sour cream sauce over it so it’s evenly covered.   You don’t have to use all the sauce.  Top with shredded pepper-jack cheese and bake 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Avocado and Mushroom Enchiladas

Chicken Enchilada Ring

I first had an enchilada ring at my friend Angie’s house.  It was so delicious!  I absolutely love crescent rolls so this was right up my alley.  I had sort of forgotten about it until visiting my parents, my mom said she wanted to try making one.  Then she clarified that she wanted  ME to try making one while she played with my super-cute baby girl!  No problem!

This was pretty easy to make and it really makes a nice presentation.  You’ll have to forgive my picture, the lighting wasn’t good.  I’ll have to make another one soon.  A note about reheating:  If you have some left, don’t reheat in the microwave.  The bread just gets too soft and soggy, reheat in the oven.I think black beans (drained and rinsed well) would be a great addition.

Chicken Enchilada Ring
Recipe from:  Pampered Chef

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into pieces
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1 cup salsa
1 small can chopped green chilis, undrained
1 lime
1/4 cup chopped black olives
2 cans Pillsbury crescent rolls
2 tbsp taco seasoning
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack/Cheddar cheese blend
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup crushed corn or tortilla chips, divided

Method:

Preheat oven to 375.

Put chicken in a food processor and chop until fine (but not pureed).  Put in a large bowl.  Add the chopped olives, green chilis, mayo,  seasoning and garlic.  Slice lime in half and squeeze the juice of half the lime into the mixture, reserve the remaining half for garnish.  Add the chopped tomato and all but 3 tbsp of the crushed chops to the mixture and mix well. 

On a large board, sprinkle the 3 tbsp chips.  Unroll the cans of rolls and press them down onto the chips, then separate into triangles.  Arrange the triangles in a circle with the wide ends overlapping and the long piece pointing outwards.  Scoop the chicken mixture onto the dough, then pull the points over, tucking under in the center.  They won’t cover the whole thing, you’ll see some chicken mixture.  Bake 20-25 minutes until golden.  Serve wedges with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

Chicken Enchilada Ring

Baked Creamy Chicken and Bean Taquitos

It seems like there is always an “it” recipe going around the blogging world.  For a while it was white chicken chili, then creamy taco mac (both are delicious) and now it seems to be creamy chicken taquitos.  I’ve heard enough people rave about it so I finally gave it a try.

The recipe called for corn tortillas.  I did use them and really was not a fan.  I generally do not like corn tortillas, just not big on the texture.  Plus they were hideous, they all split down the middle.  But the flavor of the filling was great and I had a little leftover so I tried the rest of it in flour tortillas and it was GREAT!  I also added a can of black beans just because I like them.  I’ve heard people say it’s a great recipe to double up on and freeze the extras (before baking) so next time I will definitely do that!

Creamy Chicken and Bean Taquitos
Recipe adapted from:  Pink Parsley, originally from Our Best Bites

Ingredients:
3 oz. softened cream cheese
1/3 cup salsa verde (I used the small can found with the Mexican food)
juice of half a lime
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tbsp green onions, chopped
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed well
1/2 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (I used Cabot brand)
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
small flour tortillas
Salt and black pepper to taste
Optional side dips:  Salsa, sour cream, quick guacamole (need 1 avocado and the rest of the can of salsa verde)

Method:

Preheat oven to 425.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients (except for the tortillas) and mix until well-incorporated.

Place some filling along the lower third of the tortilla and roll tightly.  Place seam side down in a baking pan (you may want to spray it with nonstick spray).  Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.  Bake (watching closely) until turning brown, about ten minutes.  Remove and serve with your dips of choice.

To make Pink Parsley’s quick guacamole simply mash the pulp of one avocado and mix in some of the remaining salsa verde, to taste.

Creamy Chicken and Bean Taquitos

Tomatillo-Avocado Dip

There was a Mexican restaurant here in my town that had the best “green dip” that was offered complimentary to the customers.  I think the whole town went into mourning when the restaurant closed down.  I get a little sad every time I pass it and miss this dip and the amazing burger they had.

My husband decided we should try to make our own dip, so he brought home a bunch of tomatillos and told me to look up some recipes.  I found one that I thought sounded like it would taste similar to theirs and I was right.  It is so delicious!  The only thing I’ll do differently next time is I think I’ll just use about a cup of tomatillo salsa instead of fresh ones.  These had a slightly tart taste, I’m not sure if they were really ready to be used yet.  And using a pre-made salsa would cut down on a lot of dirty dishes (See Note about premade salsa at the bottom)!  I think it’d be great on fish or shrimp tacos, also!

Tomatillo-Avocado Dip
Recipe adapted from:  Epicurious.com

Ingredients:
1 lb. tomatillos, husked
2 large avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into chunks (Sams has great ones!)
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
5 garlic cloves
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1.5 medium jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and chopped
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 + 1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder

Method:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add tomatillos and cook until soft but still whole, about three minutes.  Drain and place in a large bowl and refrigerate until cold, about an hour.

Place tomatillos in food processor.  Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until cold.

Note:  If you use the pre-made salsa, just start it at the food processor part!  Also, don’t add the lime juice or jalapenos if you use salsa verde, it won’t need those ingredients!

Tomatillo-Avocado Dip

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

For those that know me well, you know I’m a chip and dip addict.  So it should not come as a great shock to you that I decided to have two dips for Cinco de Mayo.  I happened to have all of the ingredients for this corn and black bean salsa on hand, so why not?  This was great, it was really fresh and tasted sort of “good for you.”  I increased the measurements in some cases, so the recipe will reflect that.  If you like homemade salsa but don’t want to put a lot of work into it, this is the recipe for you.  It was really easy to put together and a sure crowd pleaser!

Corn and Black Bean Salsa
Adapted from:  Jaime Cooks

Ingredients:
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained (I used 365 brand organic spicy)
1 cup corn (I used Green Giant Chipotle White Corn)
1/2 jar red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
small handful cilantro, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
 2 tbsp honey
juice of one lime
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, refrigerate for at least one hour.  Serve cold with tortilla chips.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Spicy Salsa

I know I already did a post on spicy salsa, but I really wasn’t super in love with it.  I had a ton of  tomatoes (well like four) from going to the farmer’s market so I wanted to make more salsa with them.  I decided to go the roasted route.  The results were fantastic!  This made a good bit of salsa and after our small Cinco de Mayo party last night, it’s almost all gone!  HIGHLY recommend it!

Spicy Salsa
Source:  Me

Ingredients:
4 tomatoes, whole
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper (I bought the kind in a jar and used half the jar)
3 cloves garlic, skin on
1 jalapeno pepper, cut in half and seeded
about 10 sliced jalapeno peppers (like nacho style)
1 tbsp garlic salt
dash cumin
other seasonings to taste:  salt, pepper, hot sauce, garlic and onion powders

Method:

Preheat oven to 450.  Line a metal baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.  Place the tomatoes, garlic, red peppers and jalapeno pepper (skin side up) on the pan and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bake about 20-30 minutes or until the skins are browning.  Remove and set aside a few minutes to cool.

Remove the cores from the tomatoes and squeeze the garlic from their skins.  Place the tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, jalapeno and nacho jalapenos in a food processor and pulse 10 times.  You want it still a bit chunky.  Empty into a large bowl and stir in the chopped red onion and seasonings.  Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.  Refrigerate a few hours then serve cold.

Spicy Salsa