Monthly Archives: February 2017

Bang Bang Popcorn Shrimp Tacos

Bang-Bang Sauce:  It is traditionally a spicy, creamy sauce that accompanies street vender chicken in the Szechwan region of China.  Here in the states though, myself and a few notable restaurants serve it with chicken OR shrimp and consume it in taco form.  Tacos make everything delicious right?  They sure make my world go ’round!  (Tip: on a low-carb mission??  Make lettuce wraps with these bad boys!)

Also, let me make this clear…frozen products can be your friend and make your life so, so much easier!  (Did you know that unless you’re buying your seafood from a real deal fish monger, it’s packaged frozen before being sent to your favorite grocer?  Is it fresh?  Of course..I hope..but it’s still like the frozen section, just now thawed.).

That PSA being said (public service announcement for those not in the know), just go with me on this recipe and it’s ingredients.  I for one may skip our traditional Mexican fare this next “Taco Tuesday” and once again tantalize my loved ones taste buds with this sweet-heat, crunchy version!
The Starting Lineup

  • 1 package frozen popcorn shrimp (I.e. Gorton’s)
  • Corn tortillas, warmed
  • Green onions, sliced

Slaw

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded red & green cabbage
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar 
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus zest
  • Pinch of salt

Bang Bang Sauce

  • 1/4 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Sriracha
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise 
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • Pinch of salt



Preheat the oven to package directions and line a baking sheet with foil.

In a medium size bowl, combine all of the slaw ingredients and toss to combine.  *Give a taste..does it need more salt?  Need more vinegar for tang?  You know your family’s taste buds.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside (place in the refrigerator if you’re making it in advance).


In a small bowl, whisk together all of the “Bang Bang Sauce” ingredients.  As I stated above, if you like more heat (like myself) add a bit more sriracha.  More sweet?  A tsp more honey.  Cover and set aside.


By now the oven should be hot and ready! Place the baking sheet of popcorn shrimp into the oven and bake according to package directions. While the shrimp is baking, heat the corn tortillas on a NON-oiled pan and keep warm.

Assembly time!!  On your warmed and slightly charred tortilla, place about 4-5 pieces of shrimp down the center and top with the slaw, a hefty drizzle of the Bang Bang Sauce and the chopped green onions.  *We like to serve ours alongside cilantro & lime coconut rice, a perfect compliment!

Mexican Street Corn & Chicken Chowder

It’s one of those weird weather times of year…Is it hot out?  Is it cold??  Will it be both of those in just one single day?  Yep!  Yep!  Yep!

So while in the daytime I am craving my favorite warm, grilled spicy Mexican corn on the cob, I’m not about to go stand out in the cool evening rain to attempt it.  What’s my solution?  This simple recipe of course!

As I stated just above, I’m all about Mexican street corn.  I’ll take it on the cob (elote) or in a cup (esquites) and now I’ll take it out of my slowcooker in chowder form!  The added shredded chicken in my recipe helps to hearty up this meal and the garnishment of queso fresco, lime, cilantro and chili powder make this legit!  You can’t eat just one bowl, promise!!

*Vegetarian?  Simply omit the chicken and prepare as written.

*The sautéing of the onions/garlic and roasting of the corn is optional, as you can add straight to the slowcooker.  However, you’ll REALLY enhance the flavors of the chowder by doing this one extra step.   The 5 minutes it takes is worth it friends!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 lbs chicken breasts or thighs
  • 2 cans sweet cream corn
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen sweet corn
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth (low-sodium)
  • 2 cups half & half (16oz)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I.e. Mexican, Colby, jack)
  • 1 can green chiles, undrained 
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning (low-sodium)
  • 1 tbsp evoo

Garnish

  • Crumbled queso fresco
  • Cilantro
  • Chili powder
  • Mexican crema (like a thinned sour cream)
  • Jalapeños 
  • Lime wedges
  • Mexican hot sauce (i.e. Tapatio)


If you read the opening paragraph to this recipe, you would have noticed the key words ‘simple‘ and ‘easy‘.   So follow along closely 😉 ….

Heat a the extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add in the onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes, till slightly soft and translucent.  Add in garlic and cook for 30-60 sceconds.  Pour the onion/garlic mix into your slow cooker sprayed with a bit of non-stick spray.

In that same pan, crank up the heat a bit and pour in the cup of frozen corn.  Toss and allow to blacken just slightly and then also add to the slow cooker.

Next, add all the remaining ingredients (except the garnishes) to the slow-cooker and stir to just combine.  Cover and set on low for 6-7 hours.  When finished cooking, remove the lid and shred the chicken with two forks.


Ladle into bowls and top with the crumbled cheese, cilantro, chili powder and a squeeze of lime.  Enjoy!!

Turkey and Brie Quesadillas w/ a Roasted Apple Pico de Gallo

Whether you’re hosting a ladies brunch, a dinner party or would just like to elevate your weeknight dinner with an EASY, yet impressive meal…this recipe will do the trick!  

The sweet and savory flavors are just outstanding!  You also have creaminess from the brie, sweetness from the roasted grapes and cranberries, freshness from the spinach and a nice crunch from the apples, pecans and browned tortilla.  Flavor sensation bliss!

…And don’t you dare say that you “cannot cook” or it sounds “too hard” or “too fancy”.  You can and it’s neither!  This entire recipe will take less than an hour to prepare whether you use it for a meal or an hors d’oeuvre.p at your next get together…and who can’t slap together a flipping quesadilla, because that’s exactly what it is!

*the Pico de Gallo can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until use.

*I recommend the best, quality deli roasted turkey.  My local grocer here in Texas, HEB, actually rotisserie’s whole turkeys and I have them slice up one pound on a number 2 setting.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb quality deli turkey, sliced thin
  • 8 oz wheel brie cheese, sliced
  • 4 10″ flour tortillas 
  • 1 1/2 cups Spinach leaves, fresh
  • 2 sweet onions, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Butter, 1 /2 stick, divided

Roasted Apple Pico de Gallo

  • 1 large honey crisp apple, sliced and chopped
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes
  • 1/2 cup cranberries, fresh (frozen is fine)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp honey, divided 1:1
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, divided

Begin this simple, but oh so fancy tasting recipe by preparing the sweet pico de gallo…preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a small baking sheet with foil.

While the oven is preheating you’ll begin to caramelize the onions.  In a sauté pan over medium low heat, place the sliced onions and 3 tbsp butter (plus a pinch of salt and sugar) and allow to cook down till soft and that beautiful caramel color.  Meanwhile….


In a large bowl, gently fold together the grapes, cranberries (again, completely frozen here is just fine), 1 tablespoon of the honey,  1 Tbsp melted butter and 1/4 tsp of the cinnamon.  Pour onto the baking sheet in a single layer.  Place in the oven and allow to roast for 20 minutes.

Once finished, pour the roasted grapes and cranberries, plus juices, back into the large bowl and allow to cool.  Remember, you’re still cooking down those onions…

To the cooled, roasted fruit:  add the apples (I like to chop right before to avoid browning), green onions, pecans, jalapeño (optional) and remaining 1 Tbsp of honey and 1 tsp of cinnamon.  Toss gently to coat together. 


In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard and the honey.

Assembly time!!  Preheat a large skillet to medium heat and add 1 tbsp of butter to melt.  On each tortilla, spread 1 Tbsp of the Dijon-honey mixture on one side and lay (uncoated side down) into the hot pan.  Top half of the tortilla with the sliced turkey, spinach, brie slices and the caramelized onions.  Fold in half and allow to brown; flip to brown the other side.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Makes 4 filling quesadillas.

Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes and using a pizza cutter, slice each browned quesadilla into 4 triangles.  Place the slices on a large platter along with a bowl of the Roasted Apple Pico de Gallo for garnishing…enjoy!!  

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