Veggie Packed Chicken Quesadillas

DSC_0726 copy

I want to start first by apologizing for being so bad about posting over the summer.  We’ve had so much going on here, and with the launch of the salsa, it’s been pretty non-stop. August is on track to be the same pace, but I can’t complain about being busy can I?!

As I’ve said before, I have been so lucky with the women I’ve met in Greenwich, and can honestly say that almost every one of my friends is self employed and running their own company. It’s awesome to be around such incredible women, and just last week I had the chance to collaborate with one.  Jordan Rhodes is a really cool local blogger and travel expert.  She has an app called Glimpse Guides where she publishes city guides geared for luxury travel with kids. It’s such a unique app, and something I think a lot of people will find useful!

Jordan has 3 gorgeous children, and can attest to how picky they can be. Most kids are not really into eating their veggies, and some are so picky that they only eat a few things! So when Jordan asked me to come up with a few recipes for her followers to have that are easy, kid approved, and sneak in veggies – I jumped at the opportunity. Kids are always the toughest critics, so if I please them, I am doing something right!

All in, I made 4 recipes and will share them over the next few days/week. The first, and favorite were the veggie packed chicken quesadillas. Her 5 yr old daughter, who is a known picky eater, ate almost a whole quesadilla on her own on top of the other dishes I made.  This was a true home run!

What you need:

  • 1 lb chicken tenders
  • 1 jar tomatillo salsa (Pure Cocina)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups kale or spinach, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup shredded mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chives, finely chopped
  • 8 corn tortillas

Marinate your chicken tenders in about 1 cup of the tomatillo salsa for about 30min

In the meantime, put your cheese, kale, mushrooms, and chives into a food processor and pulse until well mixed

Over medium heat, cook chicken in a nonstick pan in the tomatillo salsa marinade for about 10 minutes

Remove chicken from the heat and and use two forks to shred it

Assemble your quesadillas with the chicken and cheese mixture

Melt the cheese in an oven or on the griddle

Serve with salsa, guacamole, or any other dip you’d like

Between the cheese and the really flavorful chicken, your kids will have no idea that what they are eating is healthy!  All they see is green looking cheese, and you can be happy they’re eating something that is good for them!

You can easily make the same recipe with shrimp or even roasted cauliflower if you really want to get your kids eating more veggies!

Give this one a try, and I promise, the kids will love it!

Buen Provecho!

 

 

Shrimp Quinoa Bowls

DSC_0699 copy

Well it is taco Tuesday, but today we are thinking outside the tortilla! I talk a lot on Instagram Stories about certain pantry staples.  Things I always have in the pantry, fridge, and freezer that allow me to make last minute meals without running to the store.

This meal is the perfect example of a pantry dinner. I always have sausage, chicken, ground beef, and shrimp in the freezer.  This allows me to make spaghetti, burgers, salad, tacos, and a number of other things at the last minute. I also always have onions, tomatoes, butter, milk, lemons and limes, lettuce, wine, and beer in the fridge which help create a base for a number of dishes.

Finally in the pantry itself, I always have, olive oil, chicken stock, quinoa, rice, dried pasta, beans, corn, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, flour, baking soda and powder, various vinegars (balsamic, red wine, white wine, sherry), and of course Pure Cocina Salsa.

There are infinite possibilities with all of these staples, and if you keep your pantry and fridge stocked with all of these things, you can always make a tasty and healthy last minute meal. These quinoa bowls are packed with flavor, and pretty guilt free. I thought James was going to lick his plate when I made this dish he enjoyed it so much. Bowls are also a fun way to get your kids to participate.  Let them build their own and get their hands on everything, I promise they will become less picky eaters this way.

DSC_0698 copy

What you need:

  • 1lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 large vine tomato
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup of quinoa, farro, rice, or barley
  • 1 cup of tomatillo salsa
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 375F.

Marinate your shrimp in your tomatillo salsa for about 30min.

Meanwhile, cook your quinoa or grain of choice in either water or chicken stock for added flavor.

Dice your tomato and your avocado.  Squeeze some lime over these so the avocado doesn’t turn brown.

Drains your black beans and rinse them off.  The liquid in the bean can is full of salt and fat, and doesn’t really add much flavor.

Cook your shrimp for about 7-10min depending on size of shrimp.

Assemble your bowl however you’d like and top with some extra salsa, sour cream, and some fresh lime juice!

Enjoy!

 

Pure Cocina

DSC_0685 copy

I am super excited to announce the launch of Pure Cocina Salsa! These salsas are the real deal! Organic, preservative free, small batch, and delicious! Getting these babies out there has been quite an experience, but we have officially launched.

Go check out the new page on our site, and find out where you can get it!

These salsas are full of flavor, made from old family recipes with some modern updates, and carry on the tradition of what Mexican salsas should be like. So many product these days have lots of filler, artificial colors or flavorings, but these are pure and simple.

Over the next few weeks I will add on some new recipes that incorporate the salsas, but for now, find some inspiration from our old recipes, and feel free to add them to anything you like!

DSC_0578 copy

Shrimp Tacos go beautifully with any of these salsas, but particularly the tomatillo flavor!

dsc_0552-copy

Chipotle Lime Salmon is super easy to make, but if you are in a bind, buy pre-cooked salmon and add on our chipotle salsa and a squeeze of fresh lime!

dsc_0523-copy

Any fajita night is incomplete without salsa, here you can choose any flavor your like to compliment your meats. Also, a great tip for guacamole: add some of our mild, picante, or tomatillo to your smashed avocado before adding in salt, pepper, and lime juice for a fool proof, absolutely amazing guacamole!

dsc_0461-copy

Finally, chalupas are another great vehicle for our salsas.  Again you can choose your favorite flavor for these, but with steak chalupas I recommend chipotle or picante!

I hope you are all inspired in time for your Memorial Day barbecues! And anyway, the best part about salsa is that it is delicious all on its own! If you’re local, pick up a Pure Cocina salsa today and be ready to find your new favorite!

Buen Provecho!

Feliz Cinco De Mayo

dsc_0465-copy

Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Now many of you may or may not know, but Cinco de Mayo is not a widely celebrated holiday in Mexico.  However, it has become a large holiday in the US for people to celebrate Mexican culture and drink lots of tequila! So today I am going to take a look back at some our favorite Mexican recipes from the past year.

Tonight I will be attending a charity gala for Sound Waters organization in Stamford, CT, so instead of throwing my own fiesta, I will be celebrating with friends for a good cause.

Obviously we love and eat a lot of Mexican food in our house, so below are just a few of our favorites. This summer I will add in some Enchiladas both verdes and with red sauce and lots of other yummy things, but for now these are all very easy dinners to throw together for any celebrations tonight or through the weekend!

Our go to for Mexican food night with ease is simple tacos.  We have fajitas, fish, shrimp, you name it. The best part about tacos is that the only piece you need to cook are the meat or veggies you are putting inside. If you serve with beans or slaw or guacamole, those are easy things you can throw together or reheat. One of my favorite tacos this year was the shrimp tacos with red cabbage slaw, guacamole and black beans.

DSC_0578 copy

These wen’t down very well, and the recipe could be used on fish or chicken as easily as it was with shrimp.  Now with a dinner that tasty, you need to wash it down with an equally delicious cocktail.  My crowd favorite this year was the ginger jalapeño margarita I made for several parties we hosted. It is spicy, sweet, and just the right amount of strong!

dsc_0464-copy

Another great recipe that would really impress your guests, but is actually so easy, is the shrimp and chorizo chile relleno. Stuffed peppers make for such a beautiful presentation for your guests and are a great way to portion out the perfect dish for your family. These are so packed with flavor, and if you are lucky enough to have any leftover, make the perfect lunch the next day!

dsc_0343-copy

Now if you live in the North East, you might be experiencing rain like us today! It is truly a terrible weather day, and sadly it is meant to rain ALL DAY! This does not need to hinder your celebrations and instead of making summery fish or shrimp tacos, you can try out this salsa verde chicken chili! It is a great new way to make chili, and it will warm you up from the inside out on this dreary day.

dsc_0176

And finally, for the morning after celebrations, many of you will need a good hearty breakfast to absorb the alcohol and fill up your stomach after a rough night. Enter chilaquiles! This is one of the most delicious breakfasts, and everything about it is satisfying. You get a little crunch from your chips, some spice from the salsa, and the healing power of eggs after a big night out.  You cannot go wrong with this one!

Chilaquiles plated

Celebrate responsibly friends, but to honor Mexican culture, make sure you have a great time! I will make sure to toast all of you this evening with a good strong margarita and some dancing to mariachis!

Olé!

Chipotle Lime Salmon

dsc_0552-copy

We try to eat fish about twice a week because we love it and because its good for you.  We like salmon, but it isn’t our favorite type of fish.  I usually use white fish like cod, haddock, pollock, hake, or others.  We also like to make seared tuna sometimes to switch things up, but every now and again salmon just sounds good!

Last night James flew to the UK for a stag weekend.  James absolutely refuses to miss out on fun, so even though he has a lot going on with work, he always makes time to see his friends and participate in a good stag weekend! For those that don’t know, a stag weekend is the UK version of a bachelor party.  It’s bigger, longer, and crazier than a traditional American bachelor weekend!

Anyway, his flight was not until 9:30pm, so he made time to come home and eat dinner with me before heading to the airport. For those of you that have taken any red-eye flights, you will know that eating a heavy meal before getting on a plane is really unpleasant! So I thought making fish would be a good, light option.  Plus James is about to have, or given the time difference, is in the process of having a rather unhealthy weekend, so a light meal was doubly beneficial!

dsc_0548-copy

What you need:

  • 1-2 lbs of salmon filets
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • 1-2 chipotle chilies in adobo (depending on the amount of heat you want)
  • 2-4 tsp adobo sauce (see above)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 400F.

Pat your salmon dry and season with salt and pepper.

In a blender or food processor mix together your lime juice, half of the zest, olive oil, cumin, chipotles and sauce, cumin, and the grated garlic clove. Blend until mostly smooth.

Place your salmon on a baking sheet and cover it with the chipotle sauce.

Cook for 10-12min and remove from the oven.

Use the second half of the zest to garnish your fish for a prettier presentation 🙂

I served ours with half an avocado, charro beans, and some warmed corn tortillas, but you could do this with roasted veggies, rice, or anything else you might like!

This recipe is so easy, and packed with flavor; I highly recommend it for your next Mexican night!

Buen Provecho!

 

 

Mexican Chicken Casserole

dsc_0377

Most of you have heard of King Ranch Chicken. It’s a delicious, creamy dish with chicken, corn tortillas, creamy soup, tomatoes, and cheese. It is such a great thing to make ahead and freeze, and an especially great thing to give to friends over the holidays. We cook non-stop during the holiday season, whether it’s baking or just marathon making of side dishes and appetizers, it feels like it never ends.

We have a lot of family in Texas that are unable to get around very much, and this is such a great dish to make as a fresh delivery for a warm winter meal. You can assemble it and freeze it or assemble it and refrigerate it, and your family or friends can just pop it in the oven for a warm, gooey, flavor filled dish.

In my version of King Ranch Chicken, I have reduced the amount of cream soup in half and have added in the tomatillo salsa. This makes it so much lighter, but maintains all of the flavor you are looking for!

P.S. This is also a great option to make with that leftover turkey!

dsc_0374

What you need:

  • 1 whole chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatillo salsa
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 28oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can chopped green chilies (can substitute these two ingredients with two cans of Rotel chopped tomatoes with green chilies)
  • 1-2 cups of shredded cheese, (cheddar or Mexican blend)
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.

In a large saucepan over medium heat mix together your soup, tomatillo salsa, and 3/4 of your tomatoes. It is a bit of a funky color, but I promise it is delicious!

In a disposable foil tin or a glass baking dish lightly oiled, start layering your tortillas.  Pro-Tip: cut the edges of your tortillas to make more of a square shape for an easier fit in the pan.

Follow the tortilla layer with a layer of shredded chicken and green chilies.

Then spoon over the sauce and sprinkle with cheese.

Repeat this layering process until your dish is full and you have used all of your sauce, chicken, chilies, and cheese.

Bake in the oven for 35-40min and enjoy warm and melty!

 

Corn Avocado Salad

dsc_0311-copy

Corn avocado salad is the perfect compliment to so many different dishes.  It goes really well with fish tacos, grilled shrimp, and as a topper for a Mexican rice bowl.  James can eat this salad by the bowl full, and luckily it is pretty good for you!

This week we made brown rice bowls with grilled shrimp, but this salad is the real show stopper. We eat it on its own a lot, so I thought it would be more fun to feature it alone. Sadly avocados are getting out of season, but we can get them green and let them ripen at home. This requires way more organization to make it happen, but I love avocados, so its worth it!

dsc_0308

What you need:

  • 2 cans of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 limes
  • 2 jalapeños (or less if you don’t like spicy)
  • 1-2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, add your corn, cherry tomatoes, and squeeze over the lime juice from both limes.

Halve your avocados and cube them.

Finely chop your jalapeños.

Add the avocado and jalapeño into the town with the corn and add the garlic powder and season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle over the olive oil and give the salad a good toss.

If you really love cilantro or red onion, you can add these in, but the flavor of this salad alone is really nice and balanced so I have left these out.

Enjoy over brown rice and top with grilled shrimp, or with fish tacos, or grilled chicken! It’s really tasty!

Chicken Tomatillo Chili

dsc_0176

It is officially chili season.  We have been very lucky to have some beautiful weather in the 70s during the day and 50s in the morning, but slowly but surely the temp is dropping. This weekend we had a ton of rain and a cold front that blew in, so I decided it was time to make my first chili of the season.

Chili is such a fun dish.  You can make it anyway you want.  You pick your protein, your base, your liquid, your veggies, and any combination of things can work! Traditional chili is beef based, but you see it now with turkey, all beans, chicken, etc…

Enchiladas Verdes with chicken are probably James and my favorite thing! We love burgers and a lot of other foods, but Enchiladas Verdes are number one! This chili is inspired by our favorite dish made into a soup. Oh and for you parents out there, chili is an awesome way to sneak in some leafy greens!

What you will need:

  • 3 large chicken breasts, cubed and seasoned (ancho chili, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper)
  • 1 white onion finely chopped
  • 1 can white beans drained and rinsed
  • 12-16 oz tomatillo salsa (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2-3 cups of chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 bunch swiss chard
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot or dutch oven heat a tablespoon of canola oil over medium heat.  Add your chopped onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until softened. Add in your minced garlic and cook for a further minute until fragrant.

Add your seasoned chicken cubes to the pot and cook through. It is very important your chicken is fully cooked before you get to the next steps.

dsc_0168

Add your white beans, your tomatillo salsa, and your chicken stock and stir to mix them all together.

Now you can relax, let the chili stew on low for about an hour stirring every now and again so the flavors can merge and really come together.

Just before you take it off the heat, remove the chard from the stems and chop the leaves roughly.  Add them to the pot and stir. The fresh green adds some brightness and freshness to the chili.

Finally top your chili with whatever you want!  We did some shredded Oaxaca cheese, chopped avocado, Mexican crema, and tortilla chips.

We were warmed from the inside out! This dish was so delicious, and this recipe is enough for 4 people, so if you have a smaller family, you get leftovers!!!

Hot Hot Hot…

Salsa Intro

Did you ever hear that saying as a kid, “If you can’t beat them, join them,”? Well I had an epiphany this week with regards to this heat wave gripping the country.  If I can’t beat the heat, then I will join it!  Today’s post is all about SALSA!! OLE!

As a native Texan of Mexican decent,  salsa is quite an integral part of life.  It is added to almost any recipe for flavor and kick! Its such a versatile condiment, that in fact, there are hundreds of different iterations and possibilities.

Today, you get an introduction to three of my favorites: traditional tomato salsa, tomatillo salsa, and sweet and spicy mango salsa! Traditional tomato salsa is my husband, James, favorite – but alas variety is the spice of life (pun most definitely intended)!

DSC_0489

Mango Salsa is probably the easiest of the three.  It requires no cooking, only chopping, and it’s ready to go.

  • 1 mango
  • 1-2 tbsp red onion
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1-2 tbsp cilantro
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove

Finely chop the onion, jalapeño, mango, cilantro, garlic and avocado and put in a bowl together.

Season with salt and pepper and squeeze the lime over it. Its up to you if you want more onion, cilantro, or jalapeño, but I find this is the best balance of flavors.

Enjoy with fish tacos or tortilla chips as an appetizer.

DSC_0493

Now for the tomato and tomatillo salsas you do need to roast the tomatoes, peppers, and onion.  This helps get some of the liquid out of the tomatoes so your salsa isn’t too watery.  It also gives the salsa a really nice flavor! Take care to not roast the garlic cloves as the roasted garlic can overpower the flavor.

Tomato Salsa

  • 1lb Roma or Plum tomatoes
  • 2-5 jalapeños
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Tomatillo Salsa

  • 1lb of tomatillos
  • 1-4 serrano peppers
  • 1/3 white onion
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Remove the husks from the tomatillos and thoroughly wash all vegetables before using them.

For both salsas, roast the ingredients minus the garlic cloves in a 400F oven for 20-25minutes until the tomatoes blister and start to brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.  If you are really eager to have salsa, you can blend these when they’re hot, but you need to make sure to break apart the tomatoes and peppers to avoid a salsa explosion all over your kitchen! I may or may not have learned this the hard way…

DSC_0495

Blend each salsa’s ingredients separately adding peppers in one at a time to temper the heat.  Taste as you go to get your desired level of heat. Every now and again you get some seriously spicy jalapeños and serranos that will make a grown man cry!

Finally, enjoy! These salsas are delicious with fish, meat, eggs, avocado, chips, beans… you get the point.  Enjoy salsa however you want, the possibilities are truly endless!

Buen Provecho!

DSC_0498