Roasted Corn Salsa

Here is an easy and quick summertime recipe for you, roasted corn salsa. This salsa can go with a variety of meals, especially anything cook-out related. If you go the fresh corn route, recommended, you might have to stop at the store. If you go the canned corn route, you probably already have everything you need in your pantry and refrigerator.

When I did this the first time (pictured), I did not roast the corn long enough, but it still turned out wonderful. Since then, I get a little more browning on the corn, but always forget to take a picture. Can’t win them all, right!

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Roasted Corn Salsa (This can easily be doubled or more)

Ingredients:

8 ounces roasted corn (fresh shucked is best, but not a must)

1/2 tomato, diced

1/4 cup red onion, diced

Dash of cayenne

1 tbsp jalapeno, diced (more to taste)

1/4 cup cilantro, diced

1/2 tbsp lime juice

salt to taste

Directions:

If using a cast iron skillet, set skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the corn and roast for 4-6 minutes. Don’t move the corn for 1-2 minutes, allowing it to start to brown. If using non-stick, add just a little bit of EVOO to the pan when turning it on.

Once the corn is browned to your liking, remove from the heat, and add to a bowl with the remainder of the ingredients. Stir well to incorporate. Chill, then serve.

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Chicken Chilaquiles

Chicken Chilaquiles! Don’t ask me how to pronounce it, as I have not the faintest idea! For someone who never had even a bite of Mexican food growing up, I sure have not come to love it! Love it in as it is on the menu at least 2-3 times a week, in some form or fashion. The latest attempt was not only the first time making this dish, it was a first time eating this dish. I had come to notice it more and more on Tex-Mex restaurant menu’s, and while I never ordered it, it definitely intrigued me. And I honestly, the only reason I didn’t order it was it looked so simple, I couldn’t justify spending money to have someone else make it for me.

At the end of the day, it was as easy as it looked, and just as tasty. If you have someone on a gluten free diet in your house, this dish is perfect for you. Many restaurants serve this as a brunch item, but I really cant picture this, especially paired with eggs. We enjoy this at dinner. My wife tops her plate of chilaquiles with sour cream and cut-up avocado.  Enjoy!

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Chicken Chilaquiles

Ingredients

1 28oz can whole tomatoes

1 jalapeno pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons chilies in adobo, chopped

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves, garlic, chopped

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1/2 bag of tortilla chips

1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded (option: switch half of cheddar with Monterey Jack)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large food processor or blender, add in tomatoes, jalapenos, chilies, broth, and salt. Pulse until it is smooth. Set-aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Cook onions until soft and translucent. Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomato mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add cooked chicken pieces and stir in evenly.

Using a 9×13” casserole dish, layer tortilla chips in the bottom until they are even, and fill up approximately half of the dish. Pour sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle cheese over the sauce. Bake until the cheese is melted, approximately 5-8 minutes.

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Chicken Quesadillas

Chicken quesadillas are such as simple, delicious, yet under appreciated dinner. They are absolutely easy to make at home, but most times lacking that special something.

For the longest time, I couldn’t quite grasp how my quesadillas weren’t near as good as ones I order from my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant. But finally I realized, they slather them in butter, generating quite a bit of flavor. I personally can’t bring myself to use as much butter as they do, which is basically sautéing the quesadillas in it. So, after many attempts with different fillings to make up for it, I have finally found the answer, and a quite simple one at that. Diced green chilies. With chilies added along with the cheese and chicken, it gave the quesadillas a special pop, adding tremendous flavor, creating in my mind the most delicious quesadillas I have ever eaten. And to boot, I take the easy way out and buy a small can of green chilies instead of buying hole and doing the dicing, saving some time. And an added benefit to the cans is, you can go mild or hot, depending on your tastes.

The marinade I use on these is simple as well and utterly amazing. It is the same I use on these marinated grilled chicken breasts. The chicken can be grilled (or cooked on the stove) ahead of time, as it will reheat once you are cooking the quesadilla. You can also substitute the chicken for beef. I would recommend flank or skirt steak, with a simple salt and pepper rub verse any additional marinade. I typically serve these with salsa and chips and queso.

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Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Flour tortillas

2 chicken breasts, marinated (marinade recipe below), cooked, and chopped or shredded

2 cups of shredded cheese (I use 50/50 cheddar and Monterey Jack)

1 small can of diced green chilies

Butter

Directions:

Spread a very fine layer of butter on one side of two tortillas. Lay one on a hot skillet, then top with 1/4 cup of cheese, 1/4 cup of chicken, and 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) of chilies. Sprinkle a few more pieces of cheese on top. Place the second tortilla butter side up. Once cheese has started to melt and the bottom tortilla is slightly browned, flip and continue to cook until the second tortilla is browned and the cheese is completely melted. Remove from pan and cut into fourths.

Repeat the above process until you reach the desired amount of quesadillas. Many people choose to do the half-moon method, of adding ingredients to one side of the tortilla and then folding over. This is fine, just adjust the amount of filling accordingly in half for each.

Ingredients for marinade:

¾ cup Mexican beer, such as Dos Equis

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon lime juice

½ tablespoon canola oil

½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1-2 garlic gloves, minced

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Chipotle Chicken Kabobs with an Avocado Cream Sauce

This recipe came from one of my favorite food blogs to read, Annie’s Eats. She has so many great recipes, this being one of my favorites, and I can say we have tried quite a few of them.

It is a simple meal to put together, and besides a little bit of marinating time for the chicken, it whips together pretty fast on a grill due to the small pieces of chicken. And whatever you do, do not forego the Avocado Cream Sauce! It is super easy and super delicious! We make this sauce pretty much anytime we make Mexican food now, whether fajitas, quesadillas, tacos, etc. It is my wife’s favorite dip.

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Dip

The oh-so-good dip!

Plate

We generally serve the chicken with a cilantro-lime rice, but it would be good with refried beans as well.

Enjoy!

Chipotle Chicken Kebabs with an Avocado Cream Sauce

Chicken

Juice of 1 lime

¼ cup canola oil

½ tsp kosher salt

1/8 tsp chili powder

1/8 tsp paprika

¼ tsp cumin

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 ½ tsp light brown sugar

1 ½ tsp minced chipotle in adobo (seeds removed)

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

Avocado Cream Sauce

1 avocado

½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lime

Directions

Whisk together all Chicken ingredients minus chicken. Put marinade in a ziplock bag along with the chicken for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling, flipping halfway.

Heat grill to medium, medium high heat. Thread chicken on to skewers (throwing away any remaining marinade). Cook kebabs on the grill, turning every few minutes until chicken temperature reaches 160 F.

Meanwhile, make the avocado sauce. Split the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh and add to the bowl of a food processor along with the yogurt, garlic, and lime juice. Process until the sauce is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe from Annie’s Eats

Easy Beef Empanadas

If you are a Tex-Mex fan, you will love this recipe. It is from Chef in Training’s website, and very delicious and friendly for all ages. It is a bit of a cheat when it comes to true empanadas as it utilizes Pillsbury pie crusts, verse making your own dough. But these come out just as tasty, and using the premade dough cuts down on the prep time considerably.

One major change I did to the below recipe was only using 2 pie crusts to make 8 empanadas. 8 was more than enough for my family of four. However, I used the below listed amounts for all the filling ingredients. That way, my wife and I would have left over meat mixture not utilized in the empanadas for tostadas, tacos, taco salad, etc. during the week. This worked out Perfect, and the meat can go with so many dishes as a leftover. If you have a small family, I highly recommend this technique. Enjoy!

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The onion, pepper, and beef mixture cooking.

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Fixing to go in the oven.

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Beef Empanadas

Ingredients

2 packages refrigerated Pillsbury Pie Crust (4 rolls of pie crusts all together)

2 tablespoons oil

2 cups chopped and cooked steak (I used a sirloin tip steak cut real thin)

½ cup diced onion

1 medium green bell pepper, diced

1 tablespoon cumin

1 ½ teaspoon garlic, minced

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 ½ teaspoon chili powder

1 cup Mexican shredded cheese

1 egg

Directions

Sauté onion, bell pepper, and garlic together in oil. Add steak, salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Set aside and cool completely.

Divide each pie crust into four balls (you will have a total of 16 balls of dough between the four rolls of pie crust you started with. Roll out to a 5″ disc and place 2 1/2 tablespoons of meat mixture on 1/2 of the pie disc. Top with shredded cheese. Fold other half over top and pinch to seal. Use a fork to make pretty design along edge of empanadas.

Place on a greased or foil lined cookie sheet. Brush with egg. Bake at 375 for 15 – 20 min.

Recipe from Chef in Training

Salsa – Delicious and Easy!

After you make this one, you likely won’t go back to store bought salsa again, we haven’t. I reduced the original recipe this is adapted from in half (as well as two other minor modifications) as it made quite a bit of salsa. This version will make you approximately 20 ounces or so. That is the perfect amount for my family for a week. The double version which I had been making led to too much being thrown away. Salsa does not freeze well if you intend to use it as a dip, and I wouldn’t recommend keeping it in the fridge more than 5 days or so.

Salsa

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Garlic and Jalapeno

Garlic and Jalapeno

The rest of the ingredients added.

The rest of the ingredients added.

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Ingredients

1 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and very coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 large vine-ripened tomato, seeded and chopped
1 (14 0z.) can diced tomato (mostly drained)
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4  tbsp. cumin (is that even a measuring spoon? lol, I eyeballed it!)
¼ (or ¼ cup) sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
2 pinches of sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Juice of one lime
Directions

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the jalapenos and garlic.  Process until finely chopped.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add all other ingredients to the food processor.  Pulse in very brief pulses until the vegetables have reached the size you desire (it does not take many pulses so don’t overdo it).  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend. Do not keep more than 4-5 days.

Adapted from Annie’s Eats