Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

Category Archives: Mexican Dishes

Southwest Quinoa Bites

Happy Friday everyone!  Here’s a fun Friday Quinoa fact for you:

2013 has been declared International Year of Quinoa by the United Nations (thank you Wiki Wiki Wack Wikipedia).  Looks like we were one step ahead of the game with this Quinoa Bite series eh?

Ok, enough jib jab.

One of my favorite things is when you throw a bunch of stuff together, throw it in the oven and keep your fingers crossed that it will come out delicious and it does! That’s just what happened with these Southwest Quinoa Bites.  I love me some southwest flavor, as you’ve seen in recipes like Southwest Chicken Burgers and Mexican Pizza.

So why not share the Southwest wealth with Quinoa Bites?

Southwest Quinoa Bites

INGREDIENTS
*yields 12 regular muffin sized bites

2 cups cooked Quinoa

1 cup shredded, cooked chicken

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 cup cheddar cheese

1/2 cup pepper jack cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup canned corn

1 medium red pepper, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 scallions, chopped small

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

3 eggs, lightly beaten

salt & pepper to taste

ranch dressing for dipping

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Place your Quinoa, bread crumbs, cooked chicken and cheeses in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

3) Heat your olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Once the oil is heated, add your black beans, corn, red pepper, garlic, scallions, cumin and chili powder and saute for 3-5 minutes.  The goal here isn’t to cook the vegetables through, but simply allow the flavor of everything to combine a bit before adding it to the rest of the mixture.

4) Add the veggie/spice mixture to the quinoa/chicken/bread crumbs/cheese and allow it to cool for a few minutes before adding the eggs (about 5 minutes).  You can then add the beaten eggs and combine the mixture.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5) Take a regular sized muffin tin (12 muffins) and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Add about 1/3 cup of the mixture to each muffin slot.

4) Bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Serve with a side of Ranch dressing for dipping!

Since this was dinner, I decided to use a regular sized muffin tin vs. the mini-muffin tin, but these would certainly be great bite sized as well!  Served with a nice side salad, it was a perfect, healthy and scrumptious dinner.  If you wanted to add a little kick to these, you could always toss some crushed red pepper flakes in with the cumin and chili powder! I personally like when my lips aren’t on fire, but to each his own 🙂

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Buffalo Chicken Tacos

It’s been way too long since Buffalo Chicken has showed it’s mug here.  So happy Buffalo Chicken Monday to all!

While most of the Buffalo Chicken recipes on this Blog have been pre-meditated, this one was purely by accident.  Yesterday morning, while still half asleep, I reached my hand in the freezer, did an “eenie, meenie, miney, moe” and pulled out what you could call the ‘pandora’s box’ of the freezer – ground chicken.  For some reason, I continue to buy this at the store, and then when faced with doing something with it, always seem to be left scratching my head.  Last time I was faced with this was back in April, when Southwest Chicken Burgers were born.  And last night, almost 4 months later, a new ground chicken master piece was born, and Buffalo Chicken Tacos was it’s name!  You could use rotissere chicken or shredded chicken breast for this as well.

Buffalo Chicken Tacos

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. ground chicken
(I used the 93/7 mix)

2 stalks of celery, diced small

1 carrot, shredded

1/2 onion, diced small

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce

1/4 cup Ranch dressing (or blue cheese, depending on your preference)
(I used a light version, but you could use full fat or fat free too)

2 tbsp. crumbled blue cheese

6 (or so) corn tortillas

1) Cook celery, carrot, onion and garlic over medium heat in a non-stick skillet until translucent (about 5 minutes)

2) Add ground chicken to vegetables and sautee until cooked through.

3) Take the Frank’s and ranch dressing and whisk together in a small dish, then pour the mixture over the vegetable/chicken mix.  Add blue cheese and stir until melted.

4) Let simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes, until some of the sauce has absorbed.

5) Cook corn tortillas over direct flame until char marks appear, then flip and repeat on the other side.

6) Top with minced celery and carrot and sprinkle some blue cheese and ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Buffalo Chicken Tacos


Greek Guacamole

I know this past weekend was all about celebrating mexican heritage, but what’s wrong with giving a shout out to the Greek culture as well? They have equally as delicious food – greek salad, those grape leave things, gyro’s, which I never pronounce correctly ever.

Firstly, I think avocados are one of the neatest vegtafruits in the world (some say it’s a vegetable – some a fruit – tomato, tomaaaato) I especially love that big pit in the middle.  Perfectly round and brown – I always feel bad throwing it away.  And while I love the fabulous vegtafruit that an avocado is, I only like it in certain things – well scratch that, I only like it in guacamole.  Something about the texture of it on it’s own skeeves me out a little bit.  Dave doesn’t like it at all (he’s so picky for a boy) so when I made this Greek Guacamole, I really had the tough job of eating it all by myself.  The things I do for this blog – oye. I had some version of this last summer, and it’s stuck with me since then.  So to accompany our Brisket Tacos, it was Greek Guacamole.

It really is delicious – doesn’t make a whole lot, so I’d advise doubling the recipe for a bit of a crowd.

Greek Guacamole
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

INGREDIENTS

1 medium to large avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped

2 plum tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

1 clove of garlic, minced

juice of 1/2 a lime

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

1 package fat free feta cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1) In a large mixing bowl, lightly stir together avocado, onion and tomatoes.  Add the lime juice immediately after to prevent the avocado from browning.

2) Add remaining ingredients and gently toss together until combined.

I could eat this until I was blue in the face (or green) – it’s a great summer time snack, and not too bad for you either, besides the avocado (which has the good fat…riiiiight) and the feta.

So enjoy amigos and philias (that’s “friend” in greek and spanish!)

Greek Guacamole


Southwestern Pulled Brisket Tacos

Dave can sometimes be competitive – well let’s say like 99.9999999% of the time anyway.  And sometimes I think it’s a good thing, but sometimes it’s kind of annoying, especially when he does it with silly, everyday things that really don’t warrant being competitive – like when we go to a restaurant, and he proclaims that he can make that dish better than they can – or when we take a leisurely bike ride to get ice cream like a mile down the street from our house, and he rides 50 feet in front of me doing all these fancy bike tricks while I sit back on my Huffy from 7th grade and roll my eyes.  Stuff like that.

So Friday, we decided to try this new place in Allston called Lone Star Taco, being that it was Cinco de Mayo eve.  And it was delicous! A very simple menu, with only 6 types of tacos to choose from, a few other side dishes, and a selection of Tequillas that would make your head spin.  But one of the favorite flavors of taco that we got was the smoked brisket taco.  Yum.  And I made the mistake of saying “Ya know, I bet you could make this at home in the crock pot” and Dave went on to tell me that it was impossible, because smoking meat is completely different than cooking it in the crockpot, and you’d never be able to achieve the same flavor – wah wah wahhhhh.  And so my competitive side came out and I said “I will accept that challenge”.  And accept I did 🙂

Southwestern Pulled Brisket Tacos
*Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

3 pounds beef brisket

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups water

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices

1 tsp red pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup dark Karo syrup
(you could also use brown sugar or molasses)

1) Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat just until beginning to smoke. Add the meat and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker; leave the skillet on the heat.

2) Add garlic, onion, chili powder, coriander, and cumin to drippings in the skillet and stir until fragrant, about one minute. Add vinegar and boil until it’s almost gone, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

3) Stir in water and pour the mixture over the brisket.

4) Crush the tomatoes through your fingers into the slow cooker; add the tomato juices, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, and karo syrup.

5) Cover the cooker, set it on LOW, and cook the brisket until it pulls apart easily with a fork, about 8 to 10 hours (my piece of brisket was only 2.5 lbs, so I did 8 hours)

6) After 8 hours, shred the beef.  Strain the vegetables, etc. from the sauce and return to the crock pot.  Return the shredded beef to the crock pot as well.  Cook on low for another 2 hours or so (this will help the sauce infuse into the meat)

Pickled Red Onions

INGEREDIENTS

1/2 cup red wine vinegar 1/2 cup cold water

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

2 to 3 really good shots hot sauce (I used Frank’s)

1 red onion, sliced into very thin rings

1) In a small bowl, combine red wine vinegar with 1/2 cup of cold tap water.

2) Stir in salt, the sugar and the hot sauce.

Pickled Red Onions

3) Add the sliced onions and let sit for at least one hour.

*As with most things, the longer you let these ‘pickle’ the better!

You’ve waited a long time – GO EAT!  As an added optional step, I took the sauce from the crockpot and let reduce for about 20 minutes over low heat in a saucepan and served the sauce with the tacos in addition to the picked onions.  Just for some extra flavor.

So what’s the verdict you ask? Was my pulled brisket taco better than Lone Star’s? Well, let’s just say, that after 3 tacos, Dave said “we should definitely make that again” which = “Wow Kate, you were right – you CAN make it just as good in the crockpot” – I’m really good at reading minds 🙂

Hope everyone enjoyed their Cinco de Mayo weekend!

 

 


 This Thirsty Thursday is a special one – the 2011 Stanley Cup Champions, the Boston Bruins are playing their first playoff game of the 2012 season in Boston against the Washington Capitals (no need to hyperlink the competition)! Can they do it again? I sure think so!

Dave is a ginormous bruins fan – I think his first words may have been Cam Neely – or maybe 2nd and 3rd words. So last year was really special for he and his family, and me being a fan-by-marriage (or dating at that point). There’s nothing greater than seeing a person relish in such joy for a team that they’ve loved and stuck by for years and years of disappointing losing seasons.

Proud bruins fans with the Stanley Cup! (well, not the real one – but I bet that water cooler jug covered by aluminum foil had you fooled didn’t it???)

So tonight, while Dave was at his hockey game, I cheered the Bruins on from the couch (obviously flipping back and forth to Real Housewives during intermission).  For kicks, I googled “Boston Bruin Cocktails” and found an article from last June in Boston.com and it featured a bunch of restaurants and bars throughout the city that were celebrating the Stanley Cup win with special cocktails honoring the Bruins.  The “Stanley Cup”, featured at Met Back Bay looked particularly interesting to me – and while it listed the ingredients that it consisted of, it did not give the ratio of each, so I was on my own to produce the perfect libation.

And what better to serve with a manly cocktail? A manly pizza! We LOOOOVE making pizza – it’s a once a week meal (sometimes twice) and while we’re usually pretty boring with our selections, tonight I really wanted to shake it up, so I decided that Mexican pizza was going to be the flavor of the night. 

Oooh.  I want these right now….

Boston Bruins ‘Stanley Cup’


INGREDIENTS

1.5 oz (1 shot) Vodka

3 oz. (2 shots) White Cranberry Juice

1.5 oz (1 shot) Domaine de Canton (ginger liquor)

Juice of 1 lime

1) Add vodka, white cranberry juice, Domaine de Canton and juice of 1 lime to a cocktail shaker with a couple of ice cubes.  Shake for about a minute, until foamy.

2) Serve in a chilled glass (perhaps a manly pint glass vs. a girly martini glass).

 Mexican Pizza

INGREDIENTS

1 Ball of pizza dough (HIGHLY recommend this kind – it makes a delicious pizza)

1 cup of pizza sauce

2 cups of black beans

1 cup corn

1 lb 99% fat free chicken tenders

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

juice of 1 lime

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 cups (or so) pizza cheese (mexican blend recommended)

1) Preheat oven to 500 degrees

2)  Roll out pizza dough and place on pizza stone (*note – if you don’t have a pizza stone, GET ONE – it will change your life – or maybe just your pizza)

 

3) Take 1 cup pizza sauce and 1 cup of black beans and puree in a food processor til’ combined.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

4) Chop chicken tenders into small pieces (1/2″-1″) and cook over medium heat in a sauce pan with minced garlic until cooked through.

5)  To the cooked chicken, add the other cup of black beans, cup of corn, cumin, chili powder, and juice of 1 lime.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until all the spices have combined (about 5 minutes or so).

6) Spread the pizza sauce over the dough.  Then add the chicken/black bean/corn mixture to the top of the sauce.  The sprinkle the cheese over the top. 

7)  Cook for about 10 minutes or until you’ve reached desired level of golden-bubbliness.

Mexican Pizza

Even though I had to indulge in this meal alone, it was so delicious.  The Stanley Cup is a light and refreshing drink, reminiscent of a cosmo, but the Domaine de Canton gives it a little more zip – and you know I love zip!  And the Mexican Pizza, while I am not a horn tooter –  SO GOOD! Like a delicious taco on a pizza.  The mixture of the black beans with the pizza sauce just really punches up the flavor of a plain old pizza sauce and mixes so well with the other ingredients.

Dave prides himself on being ‘better’ at making pizza then me, and when he got home at midnight for his hockey game and shoveled 2 pieces down, I felt like I had done him proud 🙂

So cheers to pizza, the ‘stanley cup’ and to the Bruins who won 1-0 in overtime! Wooooo! 

   


Friday – we made it! Congrats everyone!

Friday’s have really morphed over the years.  I remember growing up, Friday was the day that I got to have McDonalds for dinner (Fish and Chips during lent – being the stellar catholic that I am) I’d get my chicken nugget happy meal (and usually a collection of ten of the same toy) but I knew that every Friday, I was gettin’ MacShack, and it helped me get through the tough elementary school week.

In high school, Friday meant a night out at the mall or the movies – getting dropped off and picked up by the parents was a major drag, until finally your first friend got their liscense and we’d jam in the car feeling like rockstars because we could come and go as we wanted, as long as we were home by curfew of course.

In college, Fridays were major – anyone who was anyone was out – and if you weren’t out, you should call the doctor cuz’ something MUST be wrong with you.  It was the official start of the weekend, and it usually was a late one, that entailed ordering pizza at 3am (well, that’s what mine were like anyway.)

Annnnd in 2012, Fridays have changed quite a bit – all day at my desk, I think about my sweatpants just sitting at home, waiting to be put on.  And the highlight of the night for us is deciding if we’re drinking wine or beer, and if we’re going to stick to the usual pizza-Friday routine, or try something different.  And the hottest seat in town is on the couch, and dinner at the coffee table, and if we’re up passed 11pm, there’s probably a full moon.

And this Friday is no different, although instead of pizza, we’re shakin’ it up a bit and making shrimp tacos.  We have a recipe that we absolutely love, for Cilantro Lime shrimp tacos, that is TDF.  But, tonight we’re trying a new spin and making Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream from Life’s Ambrosia.  And to really spice it up, pairing it with Habanero Salsa.  I am starting to aquire a taste for hotness, and if Dave doesn’t have sweat dripping down his forehead, than it’s not ‘really’ hot.

Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

INGREDIENTS

1 lb or so of shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1 tbsp olive oil

Corn Tortillas

Cilantro lime sour cream (recipe underneath)

Habanero Salsa (recipe underneath that recipe)

1)  In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper.  Add in shrimp and toss to coat completely.  Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to give the flavors a chance to marry.

newly married shrimp

2)  Cook shrimp in a skillet or grill pan on medium heat until pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes.

3)  Heat corn tortillas over direct flame, approximately 30 seconds, until char marks begin to appear.

Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup sour cream (we used low fat)

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, chopped fine

1/4 tsp cumin

juice and zest from one lime

salt to taste

1)  Stir ingredients in a bowl and voila!

Habanero Salsa

INGREDIENTS

2 large or 3 medium tomatoes, cut in quarters

1 medium onion

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 habanero, chopped small (can use half if you don’t want it to be super spicy – the whole adds some extra heat, if you can stand it – also would advise using gloves while cutting)

Juice of 1 lime

1 handful of cliantro, chopped fine

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

1)  Place tomatoes in food processor; pulse to desired chunkiness and add to large mixing bowl.  Do the same with the onion (when making salsa I like to layer each ingredient vs. putting them all in the food processor at once)

2) Add minced garlic, chopped habanero, lime juice, cilantro, chilli powder, cumin and salt and pepper and mix together.

3) Let sit for a while, maybe 1/2 hour or so.  I like to let sit at room temperature (cold tomatoes skeeve me out) and the longer it sits, the more the habanero will settle in with the other flavors.

And, when you have all three players ready, layer Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream, Salsa and Shrimp, fold and ENJOY!!!

let’s eat!



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