Corn & Jalapeño Saute

This simple side dish was included in one of my eMeals Simple Gourmet dinners months ago. It became an instant favorite and is now one of my go-to side dishes for Mexican food.

Ingredients:

16 oz bag of frozen corn

1 -2 jalapeños, stem and seeds removed, diced

2 TBSP butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Defrost corn in the microwave.
  2. Add butter and chopped jalapeno to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the pepper pieces are tender.
  3. Add corn and cook for several minutes until excess moisture is evaporated and corn kernels begin to brown.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.
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Mexican Cabbage Salad

mexican cabbage salad

I’m calling this dish Mexican cabbage Salad because I don’t know what the real name is (if there is one). When Paul and I lived in the San Joaquin Valley of California (in the center of the state, away from the coast) the Mexican restaurants there would serve this type of dish. It’s normally served in a little bowl in addition to the salsa for dipping with chips. We never see it here on the Central Coast. We did a little experimenting and came up with a mixture that comes pretty close.

This cabbage mix is great as a dip for chips, a topping on carne asada tacos, or filling in burritos. It’s best to allow the mixture to chill at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the full flavor to develop.

Ingredients

1 small cabbage, finely chopped or grated

1-2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

1-2 jalapenos, finely chopped

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Chop or grate cabbage (I like to use the food processor with the grater blade) into fine pieces.
  2. Add chopped tomato, jalapeno, lime juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Mix well to combine and allow to chill 30 minutes before serving. Leftovers will keep a short time (1-2 days) in the refrigerator.

Spicy Picked Carrots & Peppers

spicy pickled carrots

This is a recipe for my husband. He was craving spicy carrots so we found a recipe and made them together. Personally, I am a wimp when it comes to spicy foods, so I never would have made this without his suggestion.

Ingredients:

2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced

2 TBSP vegetable oil

5 cloves garlic, diced

2 cups white vinegar

2 cups water

6 bay leaves

1 tsp. salt

12 whole peppercorns

8-12 oz jarred sliced jalapeño peppers (the more, the hotter your end result)

Directions:

  1. Peel carrots and slice into stick or cut on bias into 1/4 inch pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a large (10-12″) skillet on medium heat.
  3. Add garlic and carrots. Saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Add vinegar, peppercorns, salt, bay leaves. Bring to a simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Add water and jalapeños (with liquid from jar). Return to a simmer and cook 5 minutes.
  6. Remove bay leaves.
  7. Place in air-tight container including liquid and refrigerate overnight.
  8. To serve remove carrot and jalapeño pieces with a slotted spoon.

Makes 2 quarts of carrots and liquid.

This recipe is adapted from About.com’s Mexican Food Section

Guacamole

chip and guacamole

Avocados are in season in California from June through October. Now is a great time to mix up a batch of guacamole!

I prefer Hass variety avocados over the green-skinned kind. Hass are the smaller, dark green fruit with bumpy skin that turns black when ripe. Hass have a higher oil content making them creamier and richer than other varieties.

 

Green-skin (Zutano variety) on the left, Hass on the right

 

For this batch of guacamole I’m using both because that’s what I was given. Hey, never turn down free avocados!

INGREDIENTS:

For a party-size batch of guacamole:

5-6 avocados, pit and peel removed

1-2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

2 TBSP minced onion

2 cloves minced garlic

2 TBSP lemon or lime juice

1 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro

Salt & Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Smash avocados mix in lemon or lime juice
  2. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Serve immediately or chill with plastic wrap pressed to surface of guacamole up to 2 hours.

Alternate Prep (QUICK & EASY)

3 ripe avocados, pit and peel removed

2 TBSP prepared salsa

Mash the avocados and mix in salsa for instant guacamole!

Restaurant Style Salsa

smooth homemade salsaThis is my new favorite thing to make! I love the smooth, spicy salsa that’s served in most Mexican restaurants in our area. It’s a lot different from the jarred salsa that lines the grocery store shelves.

Most of this recipe is pantry staples, so it’s easy to throw this together – just need a little fresh cilantro. I would call the heat  “medium to hot” based on using the original Rotel. Try the mild Rotel for less heat, or if you like it extra spicy add some fresh jalapeno. Here is the recipe, adapted from Mountain Mama Cooks.

1 can RO*TEL Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies

1 can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup diced yellow onion

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp of sugar or honey

2 TBSP lime juice (fresh preferred)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cumin

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.  Taste and adjust spices if needed. That’s it. You should try this, it’s so good! And for a special treat, make some fresh oven-baked tortilla chips to go with it.

What’s For Dinner: Enchiladas & Mexican Rice

Today’s assignment for the What’s For Dinner Solution Blogger Challenge is to post about a favorite family recipe. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite that I haven’t already blogged about!

Being from California, we eat a lot of Mexican food. Sometimes it’s the more “Americanized” Mexican food, but still, it’s tasty and fast.  Tonight I made chicken enchiladas with all the leftover chicken meat from Monday night.  The recipe is over HERE.

I knew the enchiladas would be a snap to put together so I started on my side dish first: Mexican rice.

Everybody has their own version of Mexican rice. It’s kind of like spaghetti sauce – lots of variations and most are great. I usually just wing it and it always turns out good.  I’ll try to approximate the measurements for those who would like to give it a try:

MEXICAN RICE

2 TBSP vegetable oil

2 c. white rice

1 medium onion, diced

1 TBSP fresh minced garlic

4 c. water

1 (8 oz.) can of tomato sauce

1 tsp  Better Than Bouillon

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

 

In a 12″ skillet heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring until lightly browned. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook for one minute. Add the water.  Mix in tomato sauce and seasonings. Cover and simmer on low for 20-30 minutes. Do not stir. Remove from heat and stir to fluff up the rice.

Here are some photos to help:

Brown the rice in oil

 

Add onion and garlic

 

Add the water. CAUTION: It will boil and have a lot of steam.

 

Add tomato sauce and seasonings. You could substitute some canned diced tomatoes with juice.

Cooking is complete.

Finished fluffy Mexican rice.

 

Chile Verde Pork

I bought a beautiful large (5 lb) boneless port shoulder roast a few weeks ago.  It was on sale so I grabbed it and threw it in the freezer, not knowing what I would make with it. I took it out of the freezer four days ago to defrost.

This morning I finally decided to make chile verde.  I’d never made it before, but that didn’t stop me from trying.  In fact, I’ve become more adventurous with my cooking lately, trying lots of new recipes and creating some of my own for the first time.

I browsed several recipes online to get some ideas of how to make the green sauce. This is what I came up with, which is an adaptation of Chile Verde on Simply Recipes.

5 lb. Boneless Pork Shoulder (pork butt roast)

12 tomatillos

1-2 Anaheim chilies, or jalapenos

3 TBSP fresh cilantro

2 TBSP Olive oil

Salt & pepper

1 small onion, chopped

1 TBSP minced garlic

Directions:

  1. Remove husks from tomatillos. Slice in half crosswise and place on a baking sheet, cut side down.  Roast under the broiler for up to 10 minutes, as long as necessary for them to start turning brown.

    Roasted Tomatillos

  2. While the tomatillos are broiling, roast Anaheim chilies over an open flame. Place roasted chilies in a plastic bag and seal.  After a few minutes the blackened skin will peel off easily.  Remove stem and seeds.
  3. Place tomatillos, chilies and cilantro in the blender.  Pulse a few times to blend the ingredients into a sauce.

    Blended Green Sauce

  4. Cut pork into 1-2 inch pieces. Remove excess fat when possible.
  5. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and brown pork in batches.  Season the meat with salt and pepper.

    Browning Adds Flavor

  6. Place cooked pork in crock pot. Pour in green sauce.
  7. Saute the chopped onion and garlic in the pan used to brown the pork.

    Saute Onion & Garlic

  8. Add sautéed onion and garlic to the crock pot.

    Place meat, sauce & veggies in cooker.

  9. Add 1 cup of water. Stir and set to on LOW for 7-8 hours.

This recipe will make a large batch-serves 8 or more people.  I used a 7 quart slow cooker for this large amount of meat.  To fewer servings use less meat – about 3 lbs and omit decrease water to 1/2 cup.  

Serve with warm tortillas, sour cream, guacamole and Mexican rice.