Category Archives: Mexican

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Don’t you love that moment when your spouse (or kids, friends, you get the idea) eats a dish containing a food that they supposedly “don’t like” and have a food epiphany? As soon as someone tells me that they don’t care for a particular food, I consider it my personal mission to create a dish using that food that will change his/her mind.

My husband used to think he didn’t like tomatillo salsa. He was wrong.

The thing about traditional (uncooked) tomatillo salsas is that it can be rather watery and lackluster when it comes to the flavor… If you like tomatillo salsa, that’s great. I actually like it. And, I often get my own little cup of it when we are chowing down on chips and salsa.  But, I do understand why my hubby never really cared for it. Continue Reading

Chipotle Chicken Stuffed Tomatoes

We’ve had some beautiful tomatoes from our CSA this summer. I haven’t really cooked with them much, though… They seem to get eaten up before I ever have a chance to use them.  So, I was thrilled to have a few tomatoes on hand the other day for lunch – especially on a hot summer day!

I remember having stuffed tomatoes quite a bit when I was younger, and now I understand why. When it’s hot out, I’m not always real keen on heating up the stove or the oven in my kitchen. I can only eat so many salads and sandwiches, so these stuffed tomatoes were a welcome change for me.  The chipotle pepper adds quite a bit of flavor (and some kick), so there’s nothing boring or routine about these stuffed tomatoes!

Chipotle Chicken Stuffed Tomatoes

  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 ear of corn, steamed and kernels cut off of the cob
  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
    (If you don’t like your food spicy, try starting with 1/2 pepper instead)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or lime juice)
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 tomatoes
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

In a mixing bowl, stir together the zucchini, corn, chicken, and cilantro.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the minced chipotle, mayonnaise, sour cream, and lemon juice.  Add the dressing to the chicken mixture.  Season to taste with the salt.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to serve, stuff each tomato with 1/4 of the salad and top with some shredded cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

Turkey Tacos

I first started cooking for myself when I was in college and lived in an on-campus townhouse with 3 other roommates.  Taco night was always a big hit. We would pick up one of those taco kits – you know the ones, with taco shells, salsa, and a taco seasoning packet. All we had to do was add ground beef or ground turkey and assemble a few toppings (lettuce, tomato, cheese).  Then, when I got married (right after graduating from college), my hubby and I still enjoyed taco night.  I don’t remember if I still bought the whole kit, but I know I still relied heavily on the seasoning packets.

Now, over 5 years later, I have since graduated from the seasoning packets. The more I cooked (and the more I began to care about the food that my husband and I were eating), the less interested I was in grabbing a packet of pre-mixed seasonings (with all kinds of other junk in there, too) to add to my dinner.

We still enjoy taco night (although, I don’t think we eat tacos nearly as much as we used to)… Sometimes it’s fun to assemble little bowls with all of our favorite toppings and sit down to a make-your-own-taco dinner. On the surface it may look very much the same, but the taco filling has changed drastically over the years. I tend to throw in whatever vegetables I have on hand and wing it on the spices.  As it turns out, tacos from scratch really are quite easy to make. If you feel like measuring spices is a chore, don’t worry about it. Since I want you to understand the joy that is tacos-from-scratch night, I’ve included easy ways to measure the spices in the palm of your hand.

Take my word for it… Cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult.  Once you learn to relax and wing it in the kitchen, you’ll never want to go back!

Turkey Tacos

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey (93/7)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small bell pepper, diced
  • 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    (about 1 palm full)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    (about 1 palm full)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    (about 2/3 palm full or about 1/3 palm full twice – whichever is easiest)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    (about 1/3 palm full)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Pinch Kosher salt
  • Tortillas or taco shells
  • Favorite toppings (lettuce, tomato, sour cream, etc.)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the turkey and brown in the oil.  Once the turkey has browned, add the onion, garlic, zucchini, bell pepper, and jalapeño.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the onions are translucent.  Add in the tomatoes, spices, and water. Stir to incorporate the spices and water with the meat and vegetable mixture in the skillet. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low.  Simmer for about 10 minutes. Season to taste with the Kosher salt (about a pinch or two).

Transfer the taco filling to a bowl and serve with tortillas or taco shells and your favorite toppings.  Enjoy!

Mexican Chicken Corn Lasagna

When I’m dreaming up my menu for the week, I will often ask my husband if he has any dinner requests for the week.  Last week when I asked, he said “something Mexican with meat.”  I think he was thinking of my Beef Enchiladas (pardon the awful picture… that recipe’s on my remake list), which I haven’t made in a while, but I wanted to make something new.  I also wanted to use up a bunch of the veggies from our CSA and garden… That’s my constant goal in the summer!

So, I just started cooking. I knew I had some tortillas on hand and some shredded chicken, so I figured I could fulfill the “Mexican with meat” request in one way or another.  When all was said and done, this dish turned out to be a bit of a “fusion” dish… A PA Dutch-Mexican fusion dish (yes, it sounds a bit strange, but it worked).

I grew up (and still live) in Central Pennsylvania where Amish/Pennsylvania Dutch cooking is popular.  One of the popular church supper/sale dishes around here is chicken corn soup.  When we were eating my “Mexican lasagna”, both my husband and I noticed its definite chicken corn soup-like flavor…. But with a definite Mexican twist!

Overall, we ended up really enjoying this twist on lasagna, which is why I’m sharing it with you… It was good enough that we enjoyed the leftovers and will happily eat the leftovers that I froze for a busy night dinner in the near future.  It may not be your traditional Mexican lasagna dish (which when you think about it, there’s really nothing traditional at all about Mexican lasagna), but I definitely think it’s worth making again!

Mexican Chicken Corn Lasagna

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small yellow squash, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 2 ears of corn, cooked and cut off of the cob
  • 3 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

To finish the lasagna:

  • Corn or flour tortillas (about 12, will vary depending on the size of your baking dish)
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 8 ounces)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Guacamole (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

To prepare the sauce, heat the olive oil and garlic in a sauce pan over medium heat until the garlic becomes golden and fragrant.  Add the crushed tomatoes and spices, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer while you prepare the filling. Season to taste with the Kosher salt before using the sauce in the lasagna.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling by heating the olive oil in a large skillet (or saute pan) over medium heat. Add in the onion, squash, bell pepper, and jalapeño.  Saute the vegetables until tender. Add in the corn and saute for another minute.  In  separate mixing bowl, combine the shredded chicken and cilantro.  Add in the sauteed vegetables and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the lasagna, spread a layer of sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Top with a layer of tortillas.  On top of the tortillas, spread half of the filling. Top the filling with cheese and another layer of sauce. Repeat the layers of tortillas, filling, cheese, and sauce. Finally, top the lasagna with a final layer of tortillas, sauce, and cheese.

Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until bubbly. Allow the lasagna to rest for at least 10 minutes prior to serving. If desired, serve topped with sour cream and guacamole.

Corn on Foodista

Fresh Cherry Tomato Salsa

During the summer, I love to make fresh salsa. We don’t have fresh tomatoes from our garden yet, and we’ve only had a few tomatoes from the CSA. So, I picked up a pint of organic cherry tomatoes at the store to make some salsa.  I’ve never made salsa with cherry tomatoes before, but it seemed like a good idea to me. I love the sweetness of cherry tomatoes, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong.

This is a really basic salsa recipe, but it is delicious. If you want to jazz it up a bit, it would be great with some roasted corn or black beans. I’m sure I’ll be making other versions throughout the summer and incorporating lots of new ingredients… But for now, here’s my standard recipe. It’s delicious with organic blue corn chips!

Cherry Tomato Salsa

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Kosher salt

Toss the cherry tomatoes, red onion, and jalapeño together in a small mixing bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice over the mixture, and stir in the fresh cilantro. Season to taste with salt.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.