Tag Archives: mexican

Spicy Cantaloupe Margarita

Hey guys! I’d say it has heated up a bit and we’re ready to venture into the cocktails that cool us down poolside!  So yeah, it’s Cocktails with Carly time!

I thought this up while (sweating) in the backyard and dreaming of an ice cold agua fresca from one of those delicious Mexican markets.  You know, where you get a couple pounds of carne asada to grill up later and a couple pound burrito for the now.  So remembering that I had a perfectly ripe cantaloupe on my counter I knew I could make this happen!

Now the only main difference to my homemade agua fresca is that well…. I made it into a margarita! 😉  That’s what happens when you find the tequila next to the blender…..

The Starting Lineup

Cantaloupe Puree

  • 1 cantaloupe, rind removed and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • pinch of salt

Garnish

  • Silver tequila
  • Jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • Limes, quartered
  • Unsweetened coconut

CanteloupeJalapeno1

Time for some easy, yet impressive cocktail hosting friends!  Simply add the ingredients of the cantaloupe puree (cantaloupe, water, sugar, honey, lime and salt) to your blender and blend till smooth, 1-2 minutes.

Now next is not completely necessary, but I like to do this for a ‘smoother’ drink…

Place a fine mesh sieve overtop a large bowl and pour in about 1/3 of the cantaloupe puree.  Using a rubber spatula, press the juices through the strainer leaving a bit of the pulp (scoop out into the trash).  Repeat with the remaining; pour the bowlful back into the blender or a pretty pitcher.  This should make a blender/pitcher full of juice.

Let’s serve them up, it was quick to make right??  Take your drinking glass and coat the rim with fresh lime juice and roll into the shredded coconut.  Fill with ice, 1-2 shots of silver tequila and top with the pureed cantaloupe.  Stir in a few of the fresh jalapeno slices (muddle in there if you’d like) and a lime wedge garnish!  Bottoms up!

CanteloupeJalapeno

 

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!!

Taco Tarts

To be honest with everyone, my family are just a bunch of addicts…and our addiction of choice…tacos.

We seriously eat this most amazing dish at least 2-3 times a week, breakfast tacos anyone??   Also, like most of the country, we love our “Taco Tuesday” and have the full on taco bar and cervezas on ice.  However, this past Tuesday I wanted to change things up just for the heck of it.  I was also thinking of what may be easier to eat for my 3 and 5 year old boys.  

Given I had a couple boxes of pre-made pie dough on hand and my 3-year-old was begging for pop tarts, a genius foodie light bulb hit me!  Combine the pop tart idea with the taco ingredients and you have yourself a Taco Tart!!  Besides the oh so cute name, it can be eaten hand-held, so the lil’s are no longer picking up broken shells and ground beef crumbs!  Easy after dinner cleanup for momma!

*Makes 12

*Feel free to tweak the ingredients to your liking, i.e. ground turkey, corn, braised beef or pork, enchilada sauce (yes please!), jack cheese, etc. etc.

*You can absolutely individually wrap these and freeze them for a quick fix and lunch later on!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 boxes pie dough (i.e. Pillsbury, 4 sheets)
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 can beans, drained (pinto or black beans)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Jalapeños, sliced (optional)
  • 1 egg + 1 Tbsp water
  • Olive oil 

Garnish

  • Salsa (roja and/or verde)
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Pico de gallo


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line to baking sheets with foil or parchment paper.

In a large skillet heat 2 tbsps of olive oil over medium heat.  Add in the onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes, till just translucent.

Next, add the ground beef to the onions and cook through.  Drain the grease from the beef and add in the beans of choice, taco seasoning (plus 1 cup of water according to seasoning directions), tomato, cilantro and the optional jalapeños.  Stir together, bring to a boil and then cover and simmer until combined, about 12 minutes.  Once done, remove from heat and allow to slightly cool.

Meanwhile unroll the pie dough (I lightly flour the surface and thin out just a bit with my rolling pin, but that is optional), and using a pizza cutter, cut into 6 pieces.

Spoon the cooled meat mixture into the middle of each pastry square and add a good helping of shredded cheddar cheese.  Top with another pastry square and crimp the edges with a fork, also pierce the top to allow steam to escape.  Finally, brush the egg wash all over the top and place in the oven to bake till golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.

Once golden brown, remove from the oven and serve immediately alongside a couple of delicious salsas, guac, sour cream and fresh pico de gallo…say hello to the new “Taco Tart Tuesday” ;))  Ole! 


Ancho and Coffee Crusted Steak Tacos w/ Spicy Corn Salsa

I’m not sure if it’s because I lived in Arizona, California and Texas, but I’m pretty sure that tacos are a way of life for ‘us people’.  They range in flavors and toppings galore as you have Sonoran, Baja, Texmex, standard beef and cheese, shredded chicken..I could go on and on and on.  So I will!

I tried to break out of that standard taco fare box and make it a little more refined, perhaps bigger and brighter flavors, and boy did that work out for me!  Hey, I had OVER a pound and a half of steak, plus toppings and my family of two (apparently starving) adults and two lil ones and we ate it ALL.  I won’t even bother you with the details of me just standing haphazardly at the butcher block shoving steak slices in..damn good!

*I also mentioned below, please cook to your desired preference..However, we may or may no longer speak if you choose well-done, but…

The Starting Lineup

  • 1-1 1/2 lbs flat iron steak
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 3 tsp ground coffee
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp canola and 1 Tbsp butter, for the pan) 

Spicy Corn Salsa

  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (I left seeds in, but remove to cut the heat if desired)
  • Juice of 1 ripe lime
  • pinch kosher salt

Garnish

  • Corn tortillas, grilled and warmed
  • Lime wedges
  • Salty cheese (cotija, feta, parmesan)
  • Jalapeños, thinly sliced. 

Lets marinate this steak!  2-3 hours prior to grilling up, you’ll want to begin this.  You could do a longer marinade time, however, marinades can break down the meat too much and it just won’t be quite as good, texture wise.

In a small dish, whisk together all of the spices listed above for the steak.  While using your fingers, coat the steak evenly with the spice blend, cover and place in your refridgerator until ready to grill.  

Next we can prepare that super easy spicy corn salsa!  As always instructed ;), start by rinsing and chopping and dicing the veggies needed.  

In a microwave safe medium-size bowl, pour in the 2 cups of frozen corn.  Pop into your microwave for just about 30 seconds tops.  You do NOT want hot, mushy corn.  On to the other easy part, to that corn add in the prepared red onion, halved tomatoes, green onions, cilantro and diced jalapeños.  Give a good squeeze of fresh lime juice and a hefty pinch of salt.  Toss to coat, cover and like the steak, refridgerate till needed.  

Ok friends..now here come your options and the “blah-blah-blah” of how to cook a steak.  Please follow along.

You can absolutely grill this (quite delish), you can sear in an oven proof pan and pop in the oven to finish or even vice versa, you can place it under the broiler..do what makes your heart sing.  However, if you want it how I made it, then here it goes:

Remove the marinated, dry-rubbed steak from the refridgerator 20 minutes prior to cooking.  I brought my cast iron skillet up to medium/medium-high heat and then added in the 1 Tbsp canola oil and 1 Tbsp butter (never margarine people).

Once the skillet was just slightly smoking, knowing it was hot and ready, I layed the steak into the hot oil and butter.  WALK AWAY.

Let that steak sear and do its thing.  It will of course have a dark outer-edge due to the sugar, coffee and spices creating that great “crust”.  You so, so want that.

I prefer my steak a perfect medium-rare, so for my weight of meat I let each side sear for about 8 minutes on each side…then place on a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.  PLEASE let rest!!  During that time you can get out your choice of salty cheese, the spicy corn salsa AND start to quickly warm and slightly char the corn tortillas!  

*If you have a smaller cut of steak, cook anywhere from 3-5 minutes per side (for medium-rare,  internal temperature of 135 degrees).  Of course you can eat the steak to your liking, so cook it longer if you so desire.

*If you follow the medium-rare advice, but someone in your family is “weird” about that ;), simply take a few of the slices and return back to the pan for just a few seconds.  It WILL cook fast!

Once the steak has had its rest period (keep those juices IN!), slice thinly against the grain..this is sooooo tender and just melts with that fantastic crust.  Drooling….again.  (You can also dice up the slices for small mouths..aka my kiddos).

The time has arrived..assembly time!  Simply take a warm and charred corn tortilla and lay a couple of slices of that beautiful steak on top.  Garnish with a spoonful of the Spicy Corn Salsa, a bit of salty cheese and a few lime wedges..enjoy!!  

BBQ Pulled Pork Enchiladas

Being creative has its perks!  Like when you can’t decide between spicy Mexican food or a warm bbq sandwich for dinner..decisions, decisions!

Now one my think this sounds crazy, but it’s oh so not!  The slightly spicy pulled-pork mimics south of the border carnitas and instead of the flavor of a cornbread side, you’re replacing it with corn tortillas.  Finally, the marriage of enchilada sauce with a slightly tangy and spicy bbq sauce is a winner!  Hell, I know in the near future I’ll be re-concocting this sauce for some barbecue sandwiches!  It has a great flavor that I know no one will be able to pinpoint..unless they read this of course. 😉

*You can use left over pulled pork or even shredded chicken if so inclined. 

*I prefer a thinner, spicy and tangy BBQ sauce here.  Leave the Sweet Baby Rays for your ribs, as these enchiladas need a bit of a kick..NOT sweetness.  My opinion..but believe me!

*When I was planning on preparing  this meal, I knew that I had a busy weekend ahead.  So on Saturday, before we ventured out for a full day of baseball, I slowcooked the pork.  When returning home that evening, I shredded it and placed the meat and the juices in an airtight container in the refridgerator.  The next day for dinner, I simply had to assemble and bake the enchiladas (as pork was cooked) and it took less than an hour to hit the dinner table!

*If you’re not into making your own pulled pork, you can pick up a tub from your favorite restaurant.

The Starting Lineup

Simple Pulled Pork (Slowcooker)

  • 3lb Pork butt/shoulder
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (your choice)
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 rounded tsp of chicken bullion 
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Enchiladas 

  • Corn tortillas
  • Pulled Pork (cooked)
  • 1 red onion, chopped (3/4 for filling/1/4 for garnish)
  • 1 can green chiles
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 3/4 cup bbq sauce (I prefer a thinner, spicy one..not too sweet here folks!)
  • 2-3 cups Mexican-blend cheese
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Garnish (Optional)

  • Red onion, chopped
  • Jalapeños, thinly sliced
  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream 

Alright!  Now, again, you can pre-cook the pulled pork the day before (like I did) so that this is an easy, quickly assembled homemade dinner OR you can just as easily start the slow cooked pork on a Sunday morning and have this on the table by dinner time no problem!

So either way you choose, you’ll always start with the pulled pork..and its simple!  In your non-stick sprayed crockpot, place in the quartered onions followed by that pork butt!  Next, add all of the seasonings and the cup of bbq sauce.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours! (*Once finished, continue on to assemble the enchiladas OR shred and store in an airtight container, remember to ladle in a bit of those juices too!

Enchilada time!!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray.

In a large pan over medium heat, add in the vege oil.  Follow that with the 3/4 cup of chopped red onions, green chiles, cumin and smoked paprika.  Saute for 3-5 minutes.  Then in goes the cooked and shredded pulled pork, cook till mixed throughly together.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the can of enchilada sauce and the bbq sauce.  Make sure to taste as you can add more BBQ sauce if desired..I think I did add a bit more?? Haha. 

Warm the corn tortillas (in a tortilla warmer OR on a plate with a damp paper towel over top for a few seconds.)
One by one, spoon a good amount of the spiced pulled pork onto the middle of each tortilla and roll up.  Place seam side down into your baking dish.  Repeat until full.  *One or two may slightly crack..dont you worry!  They’ll be covered by sauce and cheese and will taste the EXACT same..no one will be the wiser! 😉

Pour the BBQ enchilada sauce evenly over the filled tortillas and top with all that glorious cheese!

 

Place (uncovered) in the oven for 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and edges are browned.  Remove and let sit for a few minutes as the cheese will be molten hot!!

Serve up with the garnishes of your choice and unlike the normal Mexican cerveza you’d enjoy with enchiladas..we’re actually tasting BBQ flavors here!  So we like ours with a cold good ol Texas beer and a shot of bourbon!  Enjoy!!  

YUMMMMMMMM……..

Spicy Shrimp & Guacamole Tostadas

Crunchy and spicy..and healthy!  As usual, I was craving some tasty Mexican food, but just didnt want the heaviness that goes along with cheesy enchiladas, super burritos or chimichangas.  I also didnt have the time to braise a big hunk of meat or use my slow-cooker for a yummy shredded filling.  

Instead, I ran up to my grocer and picked up some of their very tasty, in-house made guacamole, fresh deveined shrimp and quick heat up refried beans.  Heck, if you wanted you could even buy pre-made pico de gallo and tostada shells, but I knew I could tackle those myself. 😉

*To keep with the light & healthy meal, I made a quick Mexican Fruit Salad to go along with it.  Simply cut up some cantaloupe and honey dew melon.  Dust on a bit of chili powder and kosher salt, then topped with a dollop of vanilla greek yogurt, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and its zest!  Yummmm…promise!

The Starting Lineup

  • Corn tortillas
  • 1lb shrimp, tails off
  • 1 cup guacamole
  • 1 cup pico de gallo
  • 1 cup refried beans (I used low-fat)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Mexican hot sauce
  • Lime wedges
  • 2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • Canola or vegetable oil, for frying 

Begin this super quick and flavorful dinner by heating up the cooking oil to fry up your tortillas.  I used my deep fryer, but if you do not have one you can fill a large heavy bottomed pan or dutch oven with a couple inches of oil.

While the oil is heating up, whisk together the spices and toss with the shrimp and extra virgin olive oil.  Cover and set aside.

Using tongs, carefully place 1-2 tortillas into the hot oil and allow to crisp up.  Generally just 2-3 minutes; you can flip over after a minute or two if needed.  Set aside on a paper towel lined plate.  Also, heat up those beans!

Now either on the stove top or hey, even your grill, we’ll cook up those shrimp!!  These go fast, again just 3-4 minutes.

Assembly time!  Quick meal right??  On each tostada shell, spread on a layer of beans followed by a layer of your guacamole.  Next top with a few of the spicy shrimp (the guac helps them to stay on) and the pico de gallo.  I like to serve with some Mexican hot sauce, lime wedges and a cerveza!  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!!!

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