Tag Archives: Mexican

Seven Layer Dip

Seven Layer Dip

We are going old-school today, with a seven layer dip straight out of the 80’s. Sometimes the classics are worth a revisit.

I like the spiciness turned up a notch, so I use spicy refried beans mixed with diced canned chiles. But since there are a lot of flavors going on in here, I stick with a simple guacamole: avocados, lime juice, and salt.

Technically, there are more than 7 ingredient layers in this chilled dip, but the olives, green onions, and diced jalapenos aren’t really distinct layers  so I count them all as one layer.

This makes an easy appetizer to assemble ahead of time and then pull out for the big game!

RECIPE: Continue reading

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Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

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Chicken fajitas are always a kid favorite. Roasting the chicken and vegetables in a sheet pan makes for a quick and easy clean-up. Now everyone’s happy.

Great for eating traditionally in warm flour tortillas, topping a crispy corn tortilla, or on a bed of lettuce for those watching their carb intake.

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I serve these Fajitas with Instant Pot Chipotle Beans and Green Chili Cilantro Rice (recipe below).

Chipotle Black Beans 2

Green Chili Cilantro Rice

RECIPES:

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas 1

2-3 lb boneless, skinless chicken, diced
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
4 Tbs lime juice
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs Italian salad dressing
1 Tbs chili powder
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 red/yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced
1-2 jalapenos, thinly sliced or minced

Flour or corn tortillas, warmed
Shredded cheese
Guacamole
Sour cream
Tomatoes, chopped
Lettuce, chopped

In a Ziploc bag, combine chicken, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, soy sauce, Italian dressing, chili powder, garlic and 2 Tbs cilantro. Marinate at room temperature 30 minutes, or in the refrigerator as long as overnight.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large sheet pan with foil; spray or brush lightly with olive oil.

Drain excess marinade from the chicken and spread into an even layer in prepared pan. Add sliced onions and peppers to the pan. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt.

Roast in oven for 10 minutes. Pour off any liquid in the pan. Set oven to broil and cook until chicken and peppers just begin to char. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbs cilantro.

Serve with warm tortillas and desired condiments.

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Green Chili Cilantro Rice

Green Chili Cilantro Rice

1 can (1 ¾ cup) chicken broth
1 can (4 oz) diced mild green chilies, undrained
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs olive oil
½ tsp salt
1 cup Basmati rice (or other long grain variety rice)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine broth, green chilies, garlic, olive oil, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in rice, cover, and simmer over low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until rice is cooked. Stir in chopped cilantro.

This can also be cooked in a rice cooker: combine all ingredients except cilantro in rice cooker and cook according to directions; stir in cilantro.

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Creamy Cilantro Coleslaw

Creamy Cilantro Coleslaw 1

A light and creamy summer salad perfect for serving with grilled or barbecued meats. Flavored with lime juice and fresh jalapenos, the dressing on this coleslaw is tangy and slightly spicy, not sweet like a traditional coleslaw.

And if you have some dressing left over, it is great as a sauce for grilled meat, or refrigerated and used later as a salad dressing.

RECIPE:

Creamy Cilantro Coleslaw

Creamy Cilantro Coleslaw 1

3-4 cups shredded cabbage
4 green onions, sliced
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Dressing:
½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
3 green onions
1 fresh jalapeno
¼ cup fresh cilantro
2 Tbs diced mild green chilies (about ½ of a 4 oz can)
2 Tbs fresh squeezed lime juice
½ – 1 tsp Sriracha chili sauce (adjust to taste)
½ tsp kosher salt

Prepare dressing: Place all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Place cabbage, green onions, and chopped cilantro in a large bowl. Add the dressing a little at a time, stirring until cabbage is coated, but not drowning in dressing.** Refrigerate coleslaw for about one hour before serving.

**Any extra dressing can be served as a sauce for grilled meat, or refrigerated and used later as a salad dressing.

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Beef Enchiladas

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Beef Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce. These are a definite kid pleaser, and so much better than the frozen variety.

These are also perfect for make-ahead dinners. Prepare the individual enchiladas and freeze on a baking sheet. Put the frozen enchiladas into a Ziploc bag and return to the freezer. Then pull out as many as you want to cook on a busy night and bake them frozen (no thawing needed).

Beef Enchiladas 1

RECIPE:

Beef Enchiladas

Beef Enchiladas 2

1 ½ lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 ½ Tbs homemade taco seasoning (recipe below)
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt (omit if taco seasoning is very salty)
8 flour or 12 corn tortillas (heat or fry corn tortillas to soften)
3 cups shredded cheddar or cheddar Jack cheese (save 1 cup for top)
Enchilada Sauce (recipe below)
Toppings: Diced avocado, sour cream, salsa, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13” baking dish with nonstick spray.

Prepare Enchilada Sauce.

Brown ground beef and onion in a large skillet until cooked through. Stir in taco seasoning, garlic powder, salt and ½ cup of the prepared Enchilada Sauce. Cook for 5-6 minutes over low heat.

Spread about ½ cup of Enchilada Sauce on bottom of baking dish. Place about 1/3 cup (for corn tortillas) – ½ cup (for flour tortillas) down the center of each tortilla. Top with shredded cheese. Wrap the tortilla around the filling and place seam-side down in the baking pan. Pour remaining Enchilada Sauce over filled enchiladas.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Top with additional 1 cup cheese and bake 5 minutes more, or until cheese is melted.

**TO FREEZE: Prepare filled enchiladas, but do not top with sauce. Place enchiladas, not touching, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, then place in Ziploc bags. Freeze sauce separately in a Ziploc bag. Enchiladas do not need to be thawed before cooking.

Enchilada Sauce
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbs flour
1 Tbs chili powder
1-1 ½ Tbs Homemade Taco Seasoning (recipe below), or use substitution below
1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) can chicken broth
½ Tbs brown sugar
½ tsp salt

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and stir constantly until flour just begins to brown. Whisk in chili powder and taco seasoning. Whisk for 1 minute and then stir in tomato sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar and salt. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

Taco Seasoning Substitution: 1 Tbs chili powder, ¼ tsp each: ground cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
1 ½ cups chili powder
4 Tbs paprika (Spanish smoked or regular)
2 Tbs coarse kosher salt
2 Tbs black pepper
2 Tbs garlic powder
2 Tbs onion powder
2 Tbs ground cumin
2 Tbs dried oregano
1 Tbs Ancho chili pepper
1 Tbs crushed red pepper flakes
½ Tbs ground cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients and store at room temperature in an airtight container. Use about 2 Tbs of seasoning per pound of meat. Makes about 2 ½ cups.

Note: Adjust amount of crushed red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper to make milder or spicier

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Taco Cornbread Pie

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Our Little J is a Mexican food junkie. When she doesn’t like what I serve for dinner, she makes her way to the spice drawer and returns with her jar of “Taco Magic” (known to the rest of the world as chili powder). She then proceeds to turn any meal into tacos. Meatloaf, meatballs, any roasted or baked chicken dish: instant tacos. A generous sprinkle into most soups: taco soup.

So when she hears that I am actually making a “real” Mexican-flavored dish, she is giddy with excitement, and during dinner the Taco Magic jar stays in the spice drawer where it belongs.

If you have an oven safe dish that can also go on the stovetop (like a dutch oven, cast iron skillet, or skillet with oven-safe handles), this is an easy one pot meal. I always love cutting down on dishes.

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Taco Pie is the Mexican version of a Shepherd’s Pie or Pot Pie. The filling is a taco flavored combination of ground beef, black beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers, green chilies. All of the great ingredients of tacos without 600 little bowls to wash. The crust is a cheese-topped cornbread that bakes in the oven on top of the filling.

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(Please ignore that cheese-less wedge. How anyone could dislike cheese and end up in my family is beyond me)

RECIPE:

Taco Cornbread Pie

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Taco filling:
2 lb ground beef
1 red pepper, chopped
1-2 hot peppers, finely chopped (adjust to taste)
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 can chili-seasoned tomatoes
1 small can diced green chiles, undrained
1 small can sliced black olives, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can black or kidney beans, drained & rinsed

Cornbread topping:
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
2 eggs
2 cups shredded cheese

Optional garnishes:
Salsa, sour cream, diced avocados (or guacamole)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Brown the ground beef in an oven safe skillet.** Drain fat. Add peppers and onions to the skillet. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until onions just begin to soften. Stir in tomatoes, canned chilies, olives, corn and beans. Simmer mixture over low heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Taste and add additional salt, if needed.

Cornbread topping: In a mixing bowl, stir together melted butter, yogurt or sour cream and eggs. Stir in corn muffin mix with a rubber spatula until just mixed.

Spread the cornbread batter over the hot filling in the skillet. Bake at 375°F for about 30 minutes, or until cornbread is cooked through and lightly browned. (Exact cooking time will depend on the diameter of your baking dish. If the top of the cornbread is brown, but center is not set, cover with foil and continue to cook until set). Top with cheese. Cook 5 additional minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with sour cream, avocados, and/or salsa, if desired.

**NOTE: If you don’t have an oven safe skillet (or dutch oven), then cook meat mixture in a regular skillet, and transfer to a large baking dish.

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Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Dressing

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I wish I could say that fish tacos are a favorite meal in our house. Unfortunately, I have a few fish-haters who refuse to like any kind of seafood. Even when, as in this case, the fish is extremely mild, “unfishy” and full of flavors they already enjoy. But I love them, so I continue to cook them for those of us who appreciate a change from your standard ground beef taco. The others eat the beans and cabbage drowned in the delicious cilantro dressing.

In the summer, I would add fresh homegrown tomatoes to these tacos. After growing my own tomatoes, however, I have a real aversion to grocery store tomatoes. They are always mushy or mealy, regardless of how red and beautiful they appear. So I will wait for summer to add them.

I like to use Cotija cheese in these tacos. Cotija is a firm mild cheese with a texture similar to feta, but without the saltiness. It crumbles easily with your fingers. Cabbage is also a must in fish tacos. The crunchiness of the cabbage makes a great contrast to the soft texture of the fish.

I serve these with a creamy cilantro dressing. It is full of cilantro, and just barely spicy. You can adjust the heat by varying the amount of jalapeno and Sriracha sauce in the dressing. I often make a double batch of the dressing and use it later as a salad dressing or raw vegetable dip.

RECIPE:

Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Dressing

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4 firm white fish fillets (halibut, cod, snapper)
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp Ancho chili powder
1/8 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 Tbs oil

Corn or Flour tortillas
Shredded green cabbage (about 2 cups)
Tomatoes, diced
Cotija cheese, crumbled
1 can black beans, drained and mixed with 1 Tbs lime juice

Cilantro Dressing:
½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
3 green onions
1 fresh jalapeno
¼ cup fresh cilantro
2 Tbs diced mild green chilies (about ½ of a 4 oz can)
2 Tbs fresh squeezed lime juice
½ – 1 tsp Sriracha chili sauce (adjust to taste)
½ tsp kosher salt


Prepare cilantro dressing: Place all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for about one hour. Use any leftover lime juice to mix with a can of drained and rinsed black beans.

Remove fish from refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking. Mix dry spices in a small bowl. Pat fish fillets dry and rub spices onto both sides of fish fillets.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place fish fillets in the hot skillet and sear until cooked through (do not crowd pan; cook in 2 batches if necessary). Depending on the thickness and variety of fish, it should take about 3 minutes per side. Check for doneness with a fork: fish should flake easily, but not fall apart. Remove from pan and let fish rest for 2-3 minutes. Use a fork to separate fish into 2-3 pieces.

Serve fish strips in warm tortillas with shredded cabbage, tomatoes, Cotija cheese, black beans and cilantro dressing.

Makes 8-10 tacos

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