Posted on

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!

 

 

Posted on

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!

 

Posted on

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!

Posted on

Shrimp Tacos

DSC_0578 copy

Yesterday was taco Tuesday, most everyone’s favorite night of the week! I love making seafood tacos because they feel a little better for you than using beef or chicken. We recently had the most delicious fried oyster tacos, and I will work on reproducing those this summer!

It’s another really beautiful day here in CT, but man a cold front blew in and the wind is chilly! After today we will be making a slow ascension to more Spring like temperatures, but for some reason the warm weather just won’t stick! We had a really mild winter, but it does seem to be dragging on a bit… And to rub salt in the wound, down in TX, where my family is, it is in the mid 80s! So unfair!

Back to tacos!  The other fun part about taco night is that it is a very easy and fast dinner to get on the table.  Shrimp only take a few min to cook, and the guac and red cabbage slaw take only a few minutes as well.  I cheated on the beans this week and used canned black beans drained and rinsed, so all the more, this dinner was VERY fast to get on the table.

They key to this recipe was the marinade!

DSC_0574 copy

What you need:

  • 1-2lbs peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 guajillo chile (dried and ground up/broken apart – seeds and all)
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, mix together all of your ingredients except the shrimp.

Rinse the shrimp and pat dry before you put them in the marinade.

Add the shrimp and let sit for about 30min – 1 hour.  You don’t need to leave seafood to marinade as long as meat, it can over power the flavor.

In the meantime, heat your grill or grill pan to medium heat.

I used kabob sticks as they make it easier to cook this many shrimp at once, but that is up to you.

DSC_0573 copy

Put your shrimp on the kabob sticks (if using bamboo, make sure to soak in water for at least 30min before using to avoid fire).

Cook shrimp for about 2-3min per side until cooked through.

Remove from the kabobs, and serve with tortillas, guacamole, salad, or whatever other sides you might like.

Buen Provecho!

 

Posted on

Bison and Chicken Fajitas – Taco Tuesday

dsc_0523-copy

Taco Tuesday is a time honored tradition rooted in history from many years ago…. At least it should be! In reality it is not necessarily a centuries old tradition, but for most Mexican American families, there was at least one night a week when we ate tacos. Not always on a Tuesday, in our family we still have Mexican food every Friday, and it is always a day to look forward to.

This week I had the pleasure of going over to a place called Mike’s Organic Delivery in Stamford, CT.  They open to the public every Friday and I went pretty crazy stocking up on meat and veggies. As it says in the name, they deliver locally, but I wanted to check it out myself first before exploring the delivery piece. I even had the pleasure of meeting Mike himself, and he is one great guy!

Getting fresh produce from mostly local farms and other organic farms really makes a difference in flavor. Not all are featured here, but we got avocados, turnips, spinach, a mango and a few other tasty veg, and all have been pretty spectacular. As for the meat, well bison is one of those unique game meats that is insanely lean and full of flavor.  It’s a great alternative to beef when you can find it, and it took to my marinade beautifully!

dsc_0511-copy

What you need:

  • 1/2 lb Bison
  • 1/2 lb chicken breast
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 2-3 limes
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Marinate your chicken and bison in a bag or baking dish.  Mix the Worcestershire, juice of two to three limes, water, and salt and pepper to make the marinade and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour.

Meanwhile, I made a quick salsa following my usual recipe, but without roasting the tomato and jalapeños first.  I do prefer the roasted version, but this was a great solution for a weeknight dinner.

Chop your tomato, one jalapeño, and one garlic clove, and put into a food processor. Add in salt and pepper and pulse until mostly smooth.

You can also make your guacamole now by mashing your avocados, and adding salt, pepper, juice from 1/2 lime, and a tablespoon or two of your fresh salsa. To keep it green keep the pit in the guacamole and using plastic wrap, push the wrap up against the mixture and seal it off, leaving no room for air and refrigerate.

Finally you are ready to cook your fajitas and onion.  Using a cast-iron pan or griddle, start with the onions and cook until translucent, about 8 mins.

Then add on your bison and chicken slicing them up to cook more evenly.

If you are using an outdoor grill, you can keep the chicken and bison whole and slice after, but on a griddle, its a little easier to work with the smaller pieces.

Cook through for about 10min, removing your beef or bison sooner depending on how well you like your meat.

Finally warm your tortillas either in the microwave or over the open flame on your stove and enjoy!

Since you can multi-task while the meat marinates, this dish really is so simple to make for a weeknight family dinner.

Buen provecho!

 

Posted on

Steak Chalupas

DSC_0461 copy.jpg

Happy Friday Y’all! So ready for the weekend and all the festivities involved.  This week and next week (which is a half week for us), are proving to be super busy, so with our festive Friday dinner, tequila cocktails are definitely in order!

We love Mexican food, and more often than not, if we eat it, I make something at home.  Its not easy to find good Mexican food in Connecticut!  I have met a lot of different people from all over latin america here, but surprisingly not many fellow Mexican Americans. There are lots of people here from Europe, Honduras, Guatemala, Columbia, and other places though making it a unique cultural melting pot.

Chalupas are basically giant nachos.  They can be a little messy to eat, but when all of your ingredients are fresh, they are so tasty! We had these for dinner recently and James really enjoyed himself. They are such a great thing to make for groups also as everyone can get involved making their own and adding the toppings they like.

What you need:

Beef Marinade:

  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3lbs of skirt steak or sirloin

Chalupas:

  • 6-8 Chalupa Tostadas
  • 2 cups Refried Beans homemade or store-bought
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 1-2 tomatoes
  • 1-2 jalapeños
  • 3-4 lime wedges to serve

Pre-Heat your oven to 350F.

Mix together your marinade and place beef and mix in a zip lock bag or shallow dish and cover.  Marinate your beef for at least an hour, or overnight if possible.

Once your beef has marinated, cook on grill or grill pan over medium heat until cooked.  My beef was really thick so this took at least 15min for medium rare, but if you have thinner skirt steak, it will cook faster.

Remove cooked beef from the grill and let rest for 2omin.  Slice up the beef in bite sized chunks to assemble your chalupas.

Spread beans over the tostada, and layer on beef and cheese.

Place in the oven for about 10min to heat the beans through and melt the cheese.

Remove from the oven and serve with chopped up lettuce, tomato, jalapeño, and lime wedges.

This is fun to do as a family and let everyone build their own chalupas.

Enjoy with a beer or tequila cocktail and get your weekend kicked off on the right foot!

Posted on

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!

 

Posted on

Tuesday Taco Salad

dsc_0207

Well it is Tuesday, so we all know what that means… TACO TUESDAY!  This week it is a tortilla-less taco Tuesday! Say what?! That’s right, cut out the tortilla for a healthier option – taco salad!

This is a family favorite from childhood.  Mom used to make this probably once a month or so, and it was always a crowd pleaser. There are so many ways to make it and so many ways to eat it, but this one is an ode to my mom’s version.

You may have already guessed, but James also enjoys this a lot! I am sure by now, for those of you that don’t know him, you have figured out he likes pretty much everything! I am so lucky I can make anything I want and he is likely to love it!

dsc_0198

What you need:

  • 1lb ground beef
  • package of taco seasoning
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 3 small tomatoes or 2 large
  • 1 romaine lettuce head
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jalapeño (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chop up your lettuce and two of the three tomatoes for your salad.  Top the salad with the black beans.  If you want, you can also add corn, but we didn’t this time.

Slice half of your onion thinly, saving the other half for another day. Slice your bell pepper thinly. Slice the final tomato into strips, and finally slice your jalapeño thinly.

In a medium pan, put about a teaspoon of canola oil and warm over medium heat.  When the oil is hot add in your onion and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened (about 5 minutes).

Add in your sliced tomato and then your ground beef.  Make sure the break the beef apart. I then add in about half of the package of taco seasoning and season with salt and pepper.  I find the whole package to be overwhelming and too salty. If you want to add more flavor, add in some garlic powder and cumin, that way you don’t have too much salt.

Cook your beef through and remove from the heat.

dsc_0199

Serve your salad with your beef and sliced jalapeños on top.  We like to add in some Mexican rice, but this is optional.

Our family tradition is to dress it with thousand island dressing, and as odd as it may sound, it is seriously delicious! You can use salsa as dressing, lime juice and olive oil, or just about anything else you like, but at least give the thousand island dressing a chance 🙂

Enjoy!