Tag Archives: cilantro

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!!

Mexican Breakfast Bowls

I love Mexican food.  Seriously, truer words have never been spoken.   So, like every morning, I woke up craving just that!  Now instead of the usual breakfast burrito, the typical Texas breakfast taco or the fancier heuvos ranchero and chilaquiles, I thought “what about a taco salad??? But a breakfast version??!!”  Genius..Ill let you say it.  I know I did.

What’s also fun about this is it’s so customizable for everyone!   Say you’re hosting a brunch, you can make just about all of it in advance and warm when ready.  Set out the baked tortilla shells to fill with a multitude of different toppings!  Or even make healthy version with low-sodium black beans, scrambled egg whites, fresh sautéed veggies and salsa!  I could go on and on and on…

*I did not put exact amounts for the ingredients, as it depends how many bowls you are making.  I made 4 bowls with the below pictured ingredients.

**Pico de Gallo: Diced tomato, white onion, jalapeño, cilantro, fresh lime juice and a pinch of salt.

The Starting Lineup

  • Flour tortillas
  • Breakfast sausage or chorizo
  • Refried beans
  • Russet potatoes, cubed
  • Eggs, scrambled
  • Cooking spray
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Salt & pepper

Garnish (optional)

  • Pico de gallo, homemade or store-bought **
  • Jalapeño slices
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Avocado slices
  • Hot sauce/Salsa 

To make perfect restaurant style breakfast potatoes/home fries:  Either bake the potato first OR quarter each potato and add to a large pot of salted water.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer.  Once just fork tender (not too soft here), remove from the pot and allow to cool slightly.  Once cool enough to touch, cube up!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place mason jars upside down on a baking sheet or large crumpled balls of foil, etc.  Microwave the tortillas for 30 seconds to make pliable and drape over the mason jar.  Lightly coat in cooking spray and sprinkle on the cumin and chili powder for a nice flavor and color!  Bake the tortillas for 8-10 minutes, watch closely as not to burn, but I like a few “charred” edges myself..rustic!  Allow to cool for a few minutes, pull off the jar and get ready to fill!

Meanwhile…..Heat a tbsp or two of vegetable or canola oil on medium heat in two separate pans.  In one, add the sausage.  Cook through and set aside.  (If I’m not using chorizo, I like to doctor up my breakfast sausage with Mexican seasonings)>

In the other pan, add the par-cooked, cubed potatoes in an even layer.  Let them cook people!  Do not keep stirring around, this allows them to build that golden brown restaurant crust on them!  After so many minutes, flip to get the other sides of the potatoes nice and crispy! 

Once the potatoes and sausage are about finished, beat the eggs with a bit of milk, salt & pepper.  Cook, scrambled, with a tbsp of butter.

Assembly time!  Super simple here folks…take your baked tortilla bowl and fill away!    I like to go this route:  beans, potatoes, sausage and then eggs!  Top with some fresh pico de gallo, avocado slices, jalapeño slices and a few dashes of hot sauce!  Enjoy!! 

Mexican White Bean Tuna Salad

Those who know me well, know that I’m not a huge fan of mayonnaise.  Like, at all.  I’m not going to be annoying and not eat a sandwich when a friend makes one for me (who am I kidding…that never happens), but mayo is a huge reason I never opt for the tuna salad at most places.  *and yes, I cook with it when necessary, just not in abundance. 

Now THIS!!! THIS I can do!!  It has a bit of tang, a bit of heat, a real freshness and zero of that creamy mayo!  Sold!!!  It’s a much lighter take on the traditional version that you can still eat between sliced bread, a pita or a tortilla..or simply eat it on its own as the ‘salad’ that it is!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 packets/cans tuna, drained
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained AND rinsed
  • 1/2-1 calabacita (Mexican squash), halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4″
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds & pith removed, finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup cilantro, rough chop 
  • 1/8 cup green onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil, drizzle (1 Tbsp/ optional)
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper, to taste 

This really can’t be any easier…per usual, prep all of the veggies and protein. 

Next, in a large bowl, combine ALL of the above ingredients and toss together.  Yeah…super easy, right??  *you can cover and refridgerate or eat right away!  

I like to serve ours with sliced and seasoned tomatoes, lemon and lime wedges, pita bread or tortillas….and maybe a margarita or two.  Enjoy!!!

Coconut ‘Fried’ Chicken

This is the perfect weeknight dinner!!  It’s flavorful, fun, and on the table in under 30 minutes…did I mention it’s healthy too??!!  A definite win-win friends!

Now I like to marinate the chicken (2 simple ingredients!) for 6-8 hours..before you head in to work.  However, if you’re worried you’ll forget to quickly prepare this in the busy AM, then you can do this the night before!  So now you just wake up & go!!…After work you can pop in the oven and have dinner in minutes!

This lean chicken has a great savory crunch to it with the added hint of sweetness.  Kids LOVE it!!  …and parents don’t have to feel guilty 😉

*Can be prepared Gluten-Free as well 

*Dipping Sauce:  I make by eye considering the persons taste buds.  Sweeter (more honey), Hotter (more sriracha), etc..  But a basic recipe is below.

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 lbs chicken tenders (or Breasts cut into strips)
  • 1 cup honey mustard
  • 1 cup mayonaisse 
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs (or Gluten Free bread crumbs)
  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • Pinch of kosher salt & pepper

Dipping Sauce (optional)

  • Honey mustard (1/4 cup)
  • Honey (1 tbsp)
  • Sriracha (1-2 tsp)
  • Rice wine vinegar (SMALL splash)

Garnish (optional)

  • Shredded sweetened coconut
  • Cilantro, chopped  

Easy!!!  The night before OR before you head out for work, marinate the chicken in the cup of honey mustard and cup of mayonnaise mixture.  Cover and place in the fridge.

Now let us imagine that you’re already home and ready for dinner!!  So here you’ll simply preheat your oven to 425 degrees and take the chicken out of the refridgerator.  Prepare a baking sheet with either foil or a silpat sheet and if you’d like, you can add a grate atop.  *Remember to spray the grate and/or foil with non-stick spray, however, the silpat liner will be fine with out spray. 

 Have a shallow dish prepared with the panko (or gluten free breadcrumbs), coconut and salt & pepper.  Next, one-by-one, coat the honey mustard/mayo’d chicken into the coconut-bread crumbs and lay onto the baking sheet.  Repeat until finished. 

   Pop the tray into the preheated oven for 25 minutes and then remove to rest and cool for a couple of minutes.  It’s hot!!!…

I like to serve this healthy and easy meal topped with a bit of extra shredded coconut & cilantro along with a side of rice and dipping sauce!  Enjoy!! 

 

Baja Fish Tacos (w/ Cilantro Slaw & Avocado Cream Sauce)

There’s not a thing I miss more from my days in San Diego than some baja-style fish tacos!!  Now don’t get me wrong, I love just about every taco I can get my hands on, but that fresh fish flavor and crisp acidic slaw may just have my heart…

My recipe below is sure to put you in the mood for the sound of the ocean…or maybe just a bit of Sublime on the stereo and a shot of tequila in the meantime ! 😉

**Gluten Free

The Starting Lineup

Fish Tacos

  • Corn tortillas (homemade or store bought, warmed)
  • 1.5 lbs Mahi-Mahi fillets
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp each: garlic powder, onion powder and paprika 
  • Canola oil (to fill 1/4 up a pan/not fully cover the fish)

Cilantro Slaw

  • 1 bag shredded cabbage (sometimes I don’t use this entire bag for this, fyi)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup Red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • Juice of 1 ripe lime
  • 1/4 cup mayonaisse (to taste)
  • 2 tsp Apple cider vinegar (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Avocado Cream Sauce

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and skinned
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and rough chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Pinch of salt
  • **if too thick, slowly add in 1/4-1/2 cup of water and blend

Let us begin this fiesta!!  Here I like to start with the Cilantro Slaw, followed by the sauce, so that the flavors meld together well..

Slaw

 This is super simple friends!  Start by rinsing the veggies and then get to a slicin’ and a dicin’!  

In a large bowl, combine all of the ‘Cilantro Slaw‘ ingredients and toss together.  Make sure to give it a taste test for seasoning, etc and then cover with plastic wrap.  Set aside in the refridgerator and we’re on to our sauce! 

   Sauce

 Begin by taking out your blender and prepping the cilantro and jalapeño.  

Now just like the above slaw, add all of the ‘Avocado Cream Sauce‘ ingredients to your blender and pulse till smooth.  If it’s too thick for your liking/hard to blend (always is for me..) then slowly add in a little bit of water at a time till the creamy, smooth consisitancy is achieved! 

   Pour into an airtight container and set aside in the refridgerator till dinner time.  **If you have a squeeze bottle (kind of like those old school ketchup and mustard bottles), those work great!

Fish Tacos

 Bring a saute pan with the canola oil up to temp (350 degrees-about medium heat).

In a shallow dish sprinkle the over the Mahi-Mahi.

In another shallow dish, add in the rice flour (along with the cumin, cayenne, salt, garlic & onion powder and paprika).  Whisk together.

 Finally, dredge each fish piece in the rice flour, shaking off any excess and transfer to a plate.  Once all your seasoned fish has been dredged, gently lay 2-3 pieces at a time into the hot oil.  **Do not overcrowd the pan..it would then ‘steam’, oil temp would drop and you can kiss your crunchy fish buh-bye! 

 Allow each side to cook appx 2 minutes, until a golden brown and transfer to a paper towel lined plate while you finish the rest. 

 **Meanwhile, I am making corn tortillas and keeping them warm.  For store-bought, still place each tortilla onto a HOT NON-oiled pan for about 20 seconds or so each side to slightly char and keep warm. 

  Assembly time!!!  Place a crunchy piece of mahi-mahi onto each warmed, corn tortilla.  Next top with a good helping of the Cilantro Slaw and a healthy drizzle of the Avocado Cream Sauce…and in true “me” fashion, I always add a few thinly sliced jalapeños for added kick!  Mmmmm…enjoy!!  **margarita optional 😉 

 

Texas Taco Joes

This is another FUN meal that the entire family will love!!  A spin on the classic “Sloppy Joe” with an open-face, TexMex twist!  

The meat topping can be made to your desired heat level (or use ground turkey, pork or chicken if you’re not a beef fan) and then the toppings can range to what I listed below or can go waayyyy beyond that!!

*If your grocer doesn’t carry “Texas Toast” in the bread aisle…move.  

… Just kidding 😂, you may check the freezer section OR buy a large bread loaf in the bakery and just slice it at least a good 1-1/2″ thick!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, chopped 
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes, “Mexican Style lime & cilantro” (don’t drain)
  • 1 can green chilis
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Texas toast 

Garnish (optional)

  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Chopped onion
  • Diced tomatoes 
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado slices
  • Black olives    

Heat a pan up to medium with the ground beef and the chopped onion *add about 2Tbsp of EVOO if using a very lean meat.  Cook until the onions are translucent and the meat is browned. 

 In that same pan (draining grease IF necessary), add in the taco seasoning along with the can of Rotel tomatoes, green chili’s and water.  Stir, bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer.   Cover the mixture and walk away till thickened *about 15 minutes. 

     While the meat mixture is thickening, we’ll toast those fat slices of bread.  Aka “Texas Toast”.  Now you can do this as you wish, oven or toaster, but I layed a bunch of slices down on a baking sheet and popped it under the broiler of my oven for just a minute till toasted!

The fun part has arrived!!  Preparing your own Texas Taco Joe with the toppings of your choice!  I’m a fan of “the works” and add everything but the kitchen sink to mine, but to each their own!!  Enjoy! 

 

Chilaquiles con Huevos with Roasted Verde Sauce

Wow!  I’m almost bilingual with this recipe!  It may definitely be ‘Spanglish’, BUT it IS authentic and delicious!!  

Roasting the vegetables gives the verde sauce such a great depth of flavor and frying the corn tortillas makes for such a better chip!  Please don’t use store bought chips here…scratch frying really holds up to that spicy green sauce and never turns into a soupy mess.  

Now you can eat this sans the egg and it’s just as good, but for breakfast in my house, my boys must have the huevos!  This is also fantastic with a side of potatoes and beans…oh, maybe a cerveza too!!!  Assuming, it’s your day off of course 😉

The Starting Lineup

Verde Sauce

  • 1lb tomatillos (about 12), husked, rinsed & halved
  • 2 serrano peppers
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 white onion, rough chopped (reserve a couple thin slices)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chicken broth, depending how thick/thin you like it
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro 
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander 

Tortilla Chips

  • 10-12 corn tortillas, cut into triangles
  • Canola or Vegetable oil (about 1/2+ cups)

Garnish

  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • Mexican crema (or sour cream)
  • White onion, thinly sliced 

Huevos

  • 1-2 eggs per person, fried -over hard or runny yolk      

To begin this easier than sounding recipe, preheat your oven to 500 degrees.  *Typically takes about 15 minutes.

While the oven is warming, rinse all of the peppers, cilantro and husked tomatillos (they can be kind of sticky).  

On a foil lined baking sheet, lay the 3 peppers, the sliced and husked tomatillos, the garlic (still in skin) and the roughly chopped onion (I still leave skin on here too).  Drizzle a bit of EVOO overtop and sprinkle on the the salt & pepper. 

 Place this on the oven’s top rack (now turn to broil with oven door slightly opened), and let the vegetables char for about 5-7 minutes.  You may need to turn them occasionally during this time.  Once they’ve finished and have that lovely ‘burnt’ look to them, remove the baking sheet and turn off the oven. 

 While those are just slightly cooling, heat up the canola oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Once the oil is ready, start frying up the cut up corn tortillas in 2-3 batches.  *Try to lay them in the hot oil almost one by one (but quickly) so that they don’t stick together.  This will only take a couple of minutes.  Once finished, transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle the hot chips lightly with salt. 

   Meanwhile, in a seperate pan, cook your huevos (aka eggs ;)) to your taste. 

Also, finish up that verde sauce!  In a blender combine 1/2 cup of cilantro (stems & all), the chicken broth, the roasted tomatillos, peppers (stems cut off), onion (outter ‘skin’ removed) and push the roasted garlic out of its ‘skin’ as well.  Top this off with a tsp each of the coriander and cumin.  Place the lid onto the blender along with a hand towel (hot liquids and blenders..keep safe!) and blend till smooth! 

     Remove the oil from the tortilla chip pan and carefully wipe clean..Over low heat, add in most (or all) of the verde sauce and bring to a simmer.  Toss in the freshly fried tortilla chips and cook for just 3-5 minutes as you don’t want them “mushy”,… bleh… 

 Spoon the warm tortilla-verde-sauce mixture into individual serving bowls.  Top each with the crumbled queso fresco cheese, a drizzle of the Mexican crema, thinly sliced white onion and fresh cilantro…oh and don’t forget the huevos!!!  Enjoy! 

 

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