Category Archives: Mexican

Quick Chicken Verde Enchiladas

Quick Chicken Verde Enchiladas

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Quick Chicken Verde Enchiladas
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Jill was gone all week attending a conference where she had long days and nights. She let me know she would be getting home all week and said she was ready to be home and wanted to eat at home. I didn’t have time to marinate or do anything that took much time, so I thought comfort=mexican. We also generally go out to a mexican restaurant most Friday nights to kick off our weekend.

Without a recipe in hand, I took off for the store and picked up a rotisserie chicken. Picked up some corn tortillas, verde sauce, cilantro, pico de gallo, sour cream and some cheeses. Whipped up some margaritas and had it all done in minutes.

Ingredients:
Rotisserie Chicken
Store bought Pico de Gallo
Cilantro
Small Sour cream
Cheddar cheese block
Monterrey Jack block
1 can Verde enchilada sauce
Corn tortillas

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350. In a large sauce pan or skillet add the pico de gallo and sweat out the onions for about 10minutes. Oil as needed.
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2. In a skillet on medium low heat pour in your enchilada sauce to heat just beyond warm.

3. In a large bowl add your sauteed pico. Shred your chicken and add to the bowl. Spoon in some sour cream until the consistency you like. I then added fresh shredded cheese but saved most for the top. I put about a quarter cup of the verde sauce and fresh Cilantro. Set aside. IMG_9891

4. Since it was two of us I used small pan. Take your corn tortillas and add two at a time to the sauce to soften them up. I use my hands for this because tongs always seem to murder my tortillas. When soft pull them out and spoon in the chicken mixture. Roll them up and place them seam side down in the glass dish. Pour the remaining verda sauce evenly across the top of the enchiladas. Top with cheese, cover with foil and cook until the cheese melts. (remember everything is cooked ) IMG_9896

5. When you are about 10minutes out from serving. Put your oven on broil, remove the foil and let that cheese brown up. Serve with cilantro, margarita, rice, beans or whatever else tickles your fancy.
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“California” Ground Beef Tacos

California Beef Tacos

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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California Ground Beef Tacos
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Growing up, taco night right up there with the rare mythical pizza night. Back then, it was the simple hard shell ground beef taco topped with cheddar cheese. Today my taco aperture is fully widened. To adapt a JBJ lyric … “I’ve seen a million tacos and I’ve rocked them all” or something close.

A few decades ago on a visit to the the mother in law, she made us some “California” tacos. At this stage in my game, I had soft and hard shells but not oiled ones. It’s the same basic taco set up but she would take the corn tortillas and softened them in a heated and oiled skillet. Kind of what you might do to an enchilada in sauce.

Between us, I am not sure that single act of hot oil made them “Californian.” My hunch is someone, not from California, made them for her whilst she was living out there in her post college days. To me the California taco is a proper fish taco or some street barbacoa or carne asada tacos. The only reason I point that out is out to calm down any Californian who might read this and feel the need to educate me. I get it. The name is more about my MIL vs the state.

For my beef filling I like to really concentrate and reduce the sauce to a deep, spicy, rich salty mixture. I also like a fine cut of my ground beef while adding beans too. For the flavor, I will play around with my mixture by adding, beer, tomato sauce, green sauce or salsa etc.. This batch I went heavier on the tomato sauce but will use the typical amount in my base recipe.

Ingredients:
1 lbs ground beef (chopped further before browning)
corn tortillas
1 onion
8 oz of tomato sauce
8 oz of beer
4 oz of beef stock
Shredded cheddar for topping
1 green pepper (seeded and spined)
1 jalapeno (seeded and spined)
1 can of jalapeno pinto beans (rinsed)

Spices
2 tbs chili powder
2 tbs ancho chili powder
2 tbs of Penzey’s taco seasoning
1 tbs of cumin
1 tbs of paprika
1 tsp of coriander
1 tsp of cayenne

Directions:
1. Take your ground beef and chop it on a cutting board. Add to a medium heated skillet to brown. Drain some of the fat.

2. Mince your onion, jalapeno, green pepper and add to the mixture and cook for about 5-6 minutes. Now add your spices and let them bloom for 5 minutes more.

3. Add the wet ingredients and simmer until it is really reduced and tight. You can cheat with cornstarch if you are in a hurry. Just put a 1tbs in a little water and then add and stir. IMG_9850IMG_9860

4. I add my beans towards the end and kind of mash it up a bit.

5. For the tortillas I take about a tablespoon of peanut or vegetable oil in a non-stick pan and heat it up. I use my hand so be careful of burning your self. Tongs tend to rip them. Since I cooked 4 tacos I put all 4 tortillas in the skillet. I flip all four and then take the top two, flip them and then flip all four. The point is each one needs to have contact with oil and heat. This is a one to two minute ordeal. Pull from heat and let them rest on a paper towel to soak up some of the oil.

6. Fill the tortillas with beef, cheese and anything else you want. I also made a simple salad and used avocado, lime juice and oil and blended it until smooth. I smashed a few chips to top.
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Drunken Pork Sandwich (Tortas Ahogadas)

Drunken Pork Sandwich

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: medium
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Drunken Pork Sandwich
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One of my favorite shows is Diners, Drive-ins and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri on the FoodNetwork. Those are the places I like to try when I am traveling. What I like about it is that most of those places do a few dishes really well or they put a unique spin on their version. We go to Cabo yearly and like to try various places. We almost have a full slate of places we like, so it’s hard to fit in new ones.

On Guy’s Big Bite he and Jonathan Waxman made this sandwich called Tortas Ahogadas which I think translates to Drunken Sandwich. Guy got the idea from a little shack he went to while filming an episode of Triple D in Cabo San Lucas. Sad to say the little stand is now gone, but tried to keep it alive with his own spin on it. The way he talked about this sandwich made it a must try for me.

This thing is pretty awesome. It does take a while to make given several steps but it’s not too crazy. Soft and spicy pork butt shredded on a simple roll, smothered in this spicy tomato sauce topped with pickled onions and pico. You get smoky, tangy, sweet, spicy all in one bite. It’s fabulously messy with juices dripping off your hands. And I get to have it for lunch for the next two days.

Ingredients:
Sandwich:
Rolls
Butter for the rolls
Dukes Mayo
Cilantro
Pickled Onions (ingredients below)
Tomato Sauce (ingredients below)
Braised Pork Butt:
2 tbs chili powder
2 tbs ground cumin
2 tbs granulated garlic
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbs kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 1/2 pounds boneless pork butt, fat trimmed, cut into 3 or 4 large pieces
1/4 cup canola oil
2 bottles of Mexican beer

Tomato Sauce:
6 to 8 dried chile de arbol (soaked in warm water)
2 tbs oil
1 white onion (diced)
1 jalapeno (seeded and diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
One 28-ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup of Mexican Beer
Kosher salt and black pepper

Pickled Red Onions:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion (sliced into long strips)
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp of cayenne
2 tbs of honey
pinch of cinnamon
1/ cup of red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf

Directions
This has four parts… the pork butt, the tomato sauce, pickled onions and pico de gallo.

1. Start with the Pork butt. Trim a lot of the big fat parts off the butt. Then cut it into 3 or 4 big chunks because you want to maximize the sear but also allow it to be covered in the beer. Mix your rub and apply it to the pieces of pork butt until well coated. Preheat your oven to 375 or Crock pot. In large cast iron skilled on medium high heat, add some high heat oil like canola or grapeseed and sear the meat on each side. Takes about 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and de-glaze with the beer. If you use the oven make sure the meat is covered with beer and then wrap in foil and put it into the oven for 4 or 5 hours. Let it cool and shred with a fork.
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2. Pickled onions: Cut your onion into ribbons. In a medium heated pan add some oil and then the onions to soften.
Add the spices, honey, and vinegar and bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 1 minute and remove from the heat. Let it cool and then put it in the fridge until ready to use. IMG_9606
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3. Tomato sauce will take about 70 mins. Start by soaking your dried chilies in warm water for about 20 minutes. I microwaved some water for two and half minutes then added the chilies and put another measuring cup on top to ensure they are submerged. (see below)
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Take a large pot and put it on medium heat. Add some canola oil. Dice your onions and add them to the pot to sweat for 5 minutes. Next add your minced garlic, jalapenos and chilies. Let those also sweat for about 4 minutes.
Then add your spices and liquids and let this simmer for 50 minutes.
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Use an immersion blender or carefully pour your tomato sauce into a blender and blend until smooth.

4. Pico: I took four tomatoes, one onion, one jalapeno and a handful of cilantro and diced it all up. I then squeezed the juice of 1.5 limes and salted and peppered to taste.

5. Assembly. Butterfly your roll and butter each side. Place it in your oven on broil until brown and crispy.
Add you shredded pork. Top with your tomato sauce and then add your pickled onions and pico and cilantro. Lastly slather a little Dukes on the top side of the roll. Grab three or four napkins and a beer or cocktail and enjoy.

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J Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Enchiladas

J Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Enchiladas

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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J Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Enchiladas
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Chuy’s is one of the TexMex favorites that started in Austin and now has exploded throughout the south. They do everything fresh daily from the beans to the sauces and even the tortillas. They have great salsa that’s tart, tangy and spicy. Jalapeno Ranch (which I have a recipe for) is to die for. Lastly, their chicka chicka boom boom enchiladas.

They used to serve these on Wednesday’s before the became a permanent feature on their menu. When I was in Austin for work I always made sure I scheduled my trip around Wednesday so I could get my Chicka Chicka itch scratched. Thankfully they expanded their locations and as I said they made it a permanent fixture on their menu.

The Boom Boom sauce is made from hatch peppers, tomatillos, onions and of course melting cheese like American. One tweak I made is that they just use chicken on the inside of their enchiladas but I like a little more “stuff” in the middle of my enchiladas so I combined a little sour cream and Monterrey Jack cheese with the roasted chicken breasts. IMG_9452

Ingredients:
1 Roasted Chicken (shredded)
Flour tortillas
Fresh shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese
1 lbs of American cheese (big chunk cut from deli)
2 tbs of sour cream
1 bunch of cilantro
1 bunch of green onions
5-6 Tomatillos
2 yellow peppers
1 jalapeno (for more heat you can add a serrano pepper or two)
2 Poblano peppers (use Hatch if you can)
1/2 cup of vegetable stock
1/4 beer or water

Directions:
1. Fire up a cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Put your peppers, tomatillos and green onions in the pan to char them. Remove the tomatillos, yellow peppers and onions and set aside. Finish the jalapeno and poblano directly over the fire like below. Put those peppers in a covered bowl to let them sweat.
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2. Take your peppers and slough off the skins and remove the spines and seeds. Cut the roots off the onions. Put the peppers, tomatillos, cilantro, vegetable stock in the blender and blend until smooth. If using beer add and blend slowly. If using water you can put it in at the start with the stock.

3. Pour that sauce into a non stick pan and cook on medium heat. Let it reduce a little. While that mixture is cooking down turn on your oven to 375 degrees. Also take your roasted chicken and shred it in a bowl. Add the sour cream and some mont jack cheese to the chicken. Combine well with your hands. Pinch of salt and pepper.
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4. Back to your Boom Boom sauce. Add american cheese in small chunks and mix it in until it melts with the peppers. Taste and continue to add cheese to your liking. I used about 1 pound.

5. Assemble your enchiladas by spooning in the chicken mixture and rolling them up. Put them seam side down into a glass baking dish. Once you have them all snuggled into the pan top with a little boom boom sauce and mont jack cheese. Put this into the oven uncovered to let everything heat up and the cheese to melt properly. Going into the oven remember everything is already cooked so you are just heating it up. You could put it covered for longer if you needed to. IMG_9446

6. In classic form serve with mexican rice and barracho or refried beans. Top with jalapenos and or cilantro.
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Mexican Chicken Rice and Bean Soup

Mexican Chicken Rice and Bean Soup

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Mexican Chicken Rice and Bean Soup
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Tonight it is chilly, overcast with humidity that despite the actual temperature if just feels bone chilly. I love going to the the pantry and fridge and just making up recipes based upon what I have on hand. A bowl of hearty and spicy soup fit the bill. I opened the fridge and looked in my cabinet baskets to see what I had on the shelf. (tomatoes, leeks, rainbow carrots, celery, cilantro, jalapenos and poblanos)

The result was a kick ass bowl of mexican chicken and rice soup that was savory, spicy and hearty. As best I recall, this is how I made it.
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Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts (trimmed and cubed)
1 bunch of cilantro (tops torn off)
3 poblano peppers (scorched, peeled, seeded)
3 jalapeno peppers (scorched, peeled, seeded)
2 leeks (just the whites and light green parts)
2 cloves of garlic
3 tomatoes diced (because I had them)
1 stalk of celery
1 cup of sliced Rainbow carrots (because I had them)
1 can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes
Uncle Bens Rice 90 second Rice (optional)
4-6 cups of Chicken broth
3 tsp Cumin
1 tbs Chili powder
3 tbs Ancho Chili powder

Top with Avocado (sliced and covered with lime juice),
You can also top with fresh shredded cheese, jalapenos, cilantro, tortilla chips.
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Directions:
1. Blister your peppers on a fire/burner or in your oven on broil. Point is high heat and to make them black. Put them in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or in a paper bag if you have one. Let it sweat and steam so that the skin can be removed easily.
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2. Take you skinned and seeded peppers and put them in the blender along with top torn cilantro, celery, sliced and washed leeks (whites and light green parts), rough chopped garlic. Blend it up until smooth.
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3. In a large pot on medium heat pour this blended mixture into it and stir for about 5 minutes. Add in 3 cups of chicken broth and the diced tomatoes and bring it all to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer. Add in about half of your seasonings and stir and taste. When you get a nice base then add your diced cut chicken. Let this simmer about 20-30mins.

4. Now drain and rinse your pinto beans and add them to the pot with your sliced carrots and the rice.

Served and topped with sliced avocado and a few tortilla chips.
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Self Loathing Nachos

Self Loathing Nachos
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I am really blessed that I have a wife who shares my love for good sport watching like football, playoff hockey, softball, march madness, playoff basketball. We also really enjoy hanging at home during the weekends. So Jill often asks me to make my hot dogs or nachos while we watch sporting events. They are super great but while we indulge we know our waistlines bulge. You never feel very good about yourself after easting these babies.

But if you are having a party they really are good. These are part turkey sausage queso and part bean and jalapeno nachos. Chili Con Nacho or Queschos.
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Ingredients:
Favorite Corn Tortilla Chips
1 small brick of Velveeta (the little one)
1 package of lean turkey breakfast sausage
1/2 cup Hell on the Red Salsa http://www.hellontheredinc.com/
1 can of Pinto Beans with Jalapenos
1/2 cup of Pickled Jalapenos
1 cup of Fresh shredded Cheddar Cheese
Cilantro
Sour Cream

Directions:
1. Make your queso concoction by putting turkey sausage on medium heat until browned. Drain and then add the small brick of velveeta. Break it up into chucks. Stir until melted. Add your salsa or rotel slowly until you get the consistence you want. You want it thick.

2. Rip some foil and put your chips in one layer and spoon blobs of the queso mixture followed by the beans (drained and washed). Add a few more chips and then top with Cheddar.

3. Put them into the oven heated at 350 until the cheese melts and the chips show some browning.

Top with Cilantro, Sour cream or anything you like.
Enjoy the high of one of the best football foods around and then ready yourself for the guilt and self loathing that follows about 30minutes after you finish them.

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Tailgate Queso

Tailgate Queso

  • Servings: small army
  • Difficulty: easy
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Tailgate Queso
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If ever I am on death row, queso will be on my last meal menu. I love the stuff. In Texas our Mexican restaurants are plentiful and they deliver the nectar with their unique touch. El Arroyo silky white, Uncle Julio’s and Pappasitos serve theirs with homemade warm tortillas, Matt’s and Mattito’s hide guacamole,sour cream and taco meat under theirs, and finally Chuy’s & Hula Hut with thin chips and a side jalapeno ranch dressing.

I have tried the Bechamel route and played with American cheeses (white/yellow), Mont jack, Pepper jack etc… Sadly the fake orange brick of mystery “cheese’ just melts the best. So I surrender to it when in a pinch or need to deliver a fail proof queso. I also doctor mine up to save my dignity from the two ingredient recipe on the can of Rotel.

Ingredients:
Brick of Velvetta
Block of pepper jack cheese
1 can of Rotel
1 package of Turkey breakfast sausage (pork works too)
5 jalapenos (seeded and diced)
1 small diced onion (sweated)
5 Roasted Hatch Chilies (seeded and skinned)
(milk if needed to thin it)

Directions:
1. Roast your peppers (put it covered bowl to sweat) Remove the skins and seeds. Dice em up.
2. Cook your sausage on medium until browned. Drain.
3. Shred your pepper jack and cube your velvetta.
4. Add everything into a crock and cook until melted. (20-30mins). Put on warm to prevent burning.

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Salsa Verde Turkey Meatballs

Salsa Verde Turkey Meatballs

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Salsa Verde Turkey Meatballs
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This is a great gluten free, low carb and possible paleo recipe. We looking for an easy and not too heavy dinner and I was thinking meatballs but decided with a twist. These have a Mexican flavor profile but I didn’t go too heavy with the spice level since we were eating them solo. Had I paired them with noodles or spaghetti squash I would have added some more spice. If you were having a Mexican themed party these would make a good appetizer. We actually had them the next day on a sandwich with some mayo, lettuce, cilantro.
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Ingredients:
Package of Organic Ground Turkey
Handful of Cilantro
2 cloves of garlic
5 Green onions
1 tbs of Cumin
1 tbs Coriander
2 tbs of Kosher Salt
1 tbs Black Pepper
1/4 cup Almond Flour

Salsa Verde
Cotija Cheese
Cilantro
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Directions:
1. Put everything but the last three ingredients into a food processor and combine well. Roll into balls. I use a cookie scoop to stay consistent.
2. In a medium heated cast iron skillet you will want to brown the meatballs on all sides. I huddle them to one side to help get the sides. See below.
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3. In a medium sauce pan add your salsa verde and warm up.

Plate and stop with warm Salsa Verde and cilantro.
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Lettuce have Fish Tacos

Spicy Fish Tacos
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Most often when you think of fish tacos you can picture a chewy tortilla, some cheese and often battered fried fish with some lovely sauce. This isn’t that type of fish taco. No dairy, no tortilla and no batter. I probably went a little too spicy on the fish so I will back it down from burnt hell for this post.
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Ingredients:
Fresh Fish (cod, snapper, tilapia)
Dusting of chili powder, salt, cumin and Slap Ya Mama
Green onions (whites and light greens)
2 cloves of garlic
splash of white wine

Avocado
Tajin seasoning
cliantro
2 tsp of lime juice

Shredded carrots
Green Onions (green parts)
Happy Tomato Salsa
Bibb or Butter lettuce

Directions
Prepare your lettuce, carrots, and guacamole. For the guacamole mash up your avocado with lime juice, cilantro, and Tajin spice with a touch of Salt. Taste and adjust accordingly.

For the fish dust with seasoning. In a medium heated pan add a pat of butter with green onions and then your fish. Press a garlic clove or two on top of the fish and on the turn add a splash of white wine. Cut into pieces for serving.
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Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup

Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup

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Today was the first chilly day of the fall with a docket of great college football games. A spicy soup seemed like the natural choice. Now I just make this up and don’t measure so I’ll do my best to recall how I made it. I will say, I love this stuff and ended up eating it several times over the weekend. It is GF, DF, Paleo but does contain some brown rice (optional).

Ingredients:

Package of Organic Chicken Tenderloins
2 containers of Organic Chicken Broth
2 carrots diced
2 stalks of celery
1 Red Pepper
1 Green Pepper
2 Jalapenos
1 Yellow onion (diced)
3 garlic cloves (pressed)
handful of cherry tomatoes
1/2 avocado topping
1 cup brown rice
2 tbs of Ancho Chili Powder
2 tsp of Paprika
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 tbs of Mexican Oregano
2 tbs of Happy Tomato Salsa
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Go ahead and dice up all your veggies. For the jalapenos I use have as is and then I remove the seeds and spines of the larger half (stem to mid pepper).

2. In a oiled (olive oil and coconut oil) medium-high heated large pot sweat your onions, celery and carrots until the onion is soft and translucent. Add your peppers and garlic and stir carefully ensuring your garlic doesn’t burn.

3. Add your spices and stir for one minute and then add your broth and bring to boil and turn down to a simmer.

4. Cube your chicken and rice and let it simmer for an hour. Add some cherry tomatoes and Happy Tomato Salsa let it simmer for another 30mins. Finally serve with avocado.

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