Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

Tag 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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Short Rib Tacos

Not only did a Hurricane blow through this week, but so did Halloween! Luckily, Sandy swept in and out just in time for a cool, fall night for the kiddos to do some trick or treating.  And this guy got to hand out lots of candy…Short Rib Tacos

the before….
Short Rib Tacos

…and after

I was trying to find the perfect Halloween dinner (hot dogs were off limits) and I went through lots of pumpkin/squash/fally’ type entrees.  But then, for some reason, short ribs popped into my head, followed by tacos. So boom – Short Rib Tacos it was!  I investigated a variety of different recipes, but this one from So Tasty, So Yummy sounded like the best flavor combination to me.  I took the base of it, added a little of this and a little of that, and I don’t often throw rose petals at myself, but Halloween night, it was a shower of rose petals, because man were these good! We paired them with those delicious Pickled Red Onions from the Southwestern Pulled Brisket Taco recipe, some cilantro and fresh homemade salsa, and oooh it was a Halloween dinner to remember!

Short Rib Tacos
*Adapted from So Tasty, So Yummy

INGREDIENTS

8-10 short ribs (bone in or boneless)

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp pepper

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

2 small cans of black beans

1 – 14.5 oz can tomatoes w/ green chilis

1 – 14.5 oz can regular diced tomatoes
(I used the basil flavored but I don’t think it matters – if you wanted to kick up the heat, you could probably use 2 cans of the tomatoes w/ chilis)

4 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves minced

1/2 – 1 tsp red chilli flakes

juice of 2 limes

3 cups beef broth

*corn or flour tortillas

*queso fresco

*fresh salsa

*chopped cilantro

1) Mix the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder in a bowl.  Rub each short rib in the spice mixture and place them in a large ziplock bag.  Let marinade in the fridge for at least an hour (obviously, the longer the better! I think I did mine for about an hour and a half)

2) In a food processor, take the 2 cans of black beans and the 2 cans of diced tomatoes and puree together.  Set aside.

3) In a large dutch oven (or heavy pot) heat 4 tbsp. olive oil.  Brown each short rib on both sides and then set aside on a plate.

4) To the same dutch oven, add the chopped onions and saute until translucent (about 3-4 minutes). Then add the garlic and chili flakes and saute another minute, or until fragrant.

5) Add the beef broth, lime juice and black bean/tomato puree to the garlic and onion mixture, scraping the brown bits from the short ribs.  Return the browned short ribs to the dutch oven in a single layer and let come to a boil.

6) Reduce heat to low and cook the short ribs on low heat for up to 4 hours, depending on how much time you have (the longer cooked, the more tender the meat).  After about an hour and a half, shred the short ribs and return the shredded meat back to the sauce to soak in the flavor.  If they’re on a bone, the meat can be removed from the bone and shredded, or if they’re boneless, you can just shred the meat.

7) Be sure to reserve some of the sauce from the short ribs and reduce it for 10-15 minutes before serving.  It’s a great little accompaniment to the tacos!

Serve the short ribs on corn or flour tortillas with the reduced sauce, some salsa, queso fresco and cilantro. Mmmmmmm.

Hope everyone had a happy and safe Halloween!


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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