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Category Archives: Southwestern

Mexican Pork and Tomatillo Chili

Mexican Chili2

I posted this recipe last year and think it would be delicious for the Super bowl coming this weekend. Try it and let me know what you think…

I love Mexican cuisine, especially since it is full of very strong, bold flavors. I make all sorts of preparations including tacos, enchiladas, salsas, guacamole.. the list goes on. I especially love using tomatillos and all the different Mexican chilies out there. For this preparation I used a poblano pepper- which looks like a large jalapeno pepper closer to a regular green pepper. It sometimes has a bit of heat and once its roasted, the sweetness comes out.

I roasted tomatillos, garlic, green onions and the poblano chili with a drizzle of olive oil and salt. I then made a thick sauce by blending all the roasted vegetables and I had a fabulous start to my chili. I had a pork shoulder with bones cut into small flavors for the dish. Any stew meat can be used as long as it can stand up to 2 to 3 hours of cooking. The house smells wonderful while the delicious chili is on the stove. The result is tender, juicy, falling off the bone meat flavored with the most yummy sauce.

I served the chili with corn bread, guacamole and Spanish rice. It was a big hit with everyone, especially since it wasn’t too spicy.
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A Great Leftover Recipe: Ground Turkey (Dahi Keema) Pizza Quesadilla

keema-pizza-quesadillaThis is a great snack or meal idea for when you have leftovers. In this case, I had keema or ground meat cooked in delicious spices. We had a great meal with fresh rotis and some lentils.

It was one of those crazy busy days and I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare a meal. I did have the leftover keema but not enough for another meal.

I decided to use it for another quick meal. Quesadillas and pizzas come to mind when I think of using up leftovers. I had a carton of tomatoes which I roasted simply with olive oil and salt. I put the tomatoes through a food mill (or a processor) and made a quick sauce. I used the sauce as the first layer on a whole wheat tortillas. I then topped it with the keema, cheese and some pickled jalapenos. I topped the ensemble with another tortilla and cooked it till the quesadilla was crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside.

I served it with a salad and some wine- perfect evening…
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Migas Tacos- An Austin, TX Favorite..

Migas Tacos3

I made these tacos for the New York Times, Local a few weeks ago. It was right after my daughter and I returned from our trip to Austin. We go there almost every year to visit family and really enjoy the Mexican food- it tastes a lot more authentic and it is available almost everywhere.

One of the things I really enjoyed was something called migas tacos. Eggs were cooked with onions, jalapenos, tomatoes and topped with cheese. The one ingredient that makes these tacos different are the tortillas chips- yes thats right- crunchy tortillas strips are added to the eggs while cooking. The chips provided a great texture and flavor to the eggs. The cooked eggs are placed on a tortilla and topped with cheese- what could be better than that? Well, how about a roasted poblano and avocado crema…

I made this yummy, creamy sauce to complement the tacos. It was delicious on top of warm, savory tacos.

Overall, the meal was a big success. I made some vegetarian refried beans and roasted potatoes on the side. I made them for dinner and everyone loved them- including my daughter. For her, I skipped the jalapenos and tomatoes. She had some of the beans but doesn’t like potatoes.

Try these tacos for a brunch or dinner – you will love them.
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Mexican Chili Enchiladas-Great way to use leftovers…

Mexican Chili Enchiladas1 I loved making these enchiladas- what a great way to use up my leftovers. I feel like a champion when I come up with a completely different preparation to use up stuff in the fridge.

I had the Mexican pork chili in the fridge and wasn’t in the mood to cook a whole new meal. I always have all kinds of tortillas and cheeses in the fridge. So, I immediately thought of enchiladas. I had enough to make 3 to 4 enchiladas which was perfect for my husband and I. A big salad with the enchiladas was perfect for a healthy, delicious dinner.

I separated the meat from the sauce and then shredded the pork with my fingers. I then placed the sauce in a flat platter so I can dip the tortillas in there to make them soft and pliable. I stuffed the tortillas, placed them in a shallow platter and then topped the whole thing with a mixture of Mexican cheeses- how easy was that!

This method can be used for any kind of leftover. Even if your leftover has no sauce, you can use a jar of your favorite salsa or tomato sauce and bake your enchiladas to perfection.

Dinner was delicious and didn’t look like old, boring leftovers…
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Mushroom and Spinach Quesadilla

Mushroom and Spinach Quesadilla This is a great way to transform your left overs and create a wonderful, quick lunch. I made this for myself with the leftover mushroom mixture from the enchilada dinner.

Smoked salmon is always in my fridge. I try to eat it as much as possible especially since the other two people in my family don’t care for the fish at all.

I wanted to make a substantial yet healthy lunch for myself. I took out the mushroom filling and the salmon. I decided to add some spicy low fat cheese- just a few, very thin slices to add some creaminess to the dish. I also always have whole-wheat tortillas in the fridge- and that was it- a quesadilla was born. I added the mushroom filling, salmon, cheese and baby spinach- also, always in my fridge. It was a well-balanced, quick and delicious lunch. Best of all, I ate it with some delicious homemade salsa.

Try the quesadilla next time you run out of ideas for a healthy lunch…
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Quick Vegetarian Refried Beans

Vegetarian Refried Beans

This is a quick, healthy side dish I came up with while I was cooking the rest of the meal for my friends. I had the enchiladas and rice. I was serving homemade salsa and guacamole with chips before dinner but something was still bothering me. I felt I didn’t have a balanced meal as yet. That is when beans came to mind.

As I started looking for recipe ideas for the refried beans, I realized most recipes called for frying the beans in pork fat or bacon. Normally I would add pancetta or bacon to the mix because as far as I am concerned, everything is better with bacon- but in this case I needed to make the dish vegetarian.

I started by cooking canned pinto beans in water and mashing them but left still them a bit chunky. As I was sauteing them with the onions and garlic, I kept thinking of a flavoring that would mimic the smokey flavor of bacon. Smoked paprika came to mind. That’s it- I thought. It was delicious paired with the creamy pinto beans, the onions and the garlic. In fact I would make this dish the same way again- why add extra calories with the bacon when I can achieve a similar flavor with the paprika?

I topped the dish with cilantro and queso fresco and the meal was well balanced, healthy and delicious!

Try these refried beans and you will never use the canned ones again!
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Green Rice

Green Rice

    I made this rice with the Mexican/Latin entree I was making for a small get together. I had initially thought of making Spanish rice with tomatoes, onions and garlic and lots of lime juice but when I thought of my main entree, I realized the enchiladas were cooked in a red sauce- and I didn’t want to make red rice with it. It would be drab looking. After doing some thinking- I came up with this green rice.
    One of the things I think of when coming up with a menu is presentation. I strive to have a colorful mix when serving any meal. We eat with our eyes first and it is very healthy to have foods of all different colors.
    In this case, I had baby spinach in the fridge- it is one of the staple vegetables you will always find at my house.
    I blended spinach, cilantro, green onions and garlic together and used the paste as the base for rice. It was delicious and paired really well with the enchiladas.
    This side dish is very versatile- serve it with chicken, fish or a steak. Pair it with a quesadilla or serve with some eggs and refried beans for breakfast. Speaking of refried beans- wait till you see how easy they are to make- recipe will be up tomorrow!
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