Mexican Risetti

For Mexican Monday I am happy and proud to share with you one of my original recipes.

Food Network challenge... acceptedIn January of 2011 Food Network magazine had an Iron Chef type challenge using the secret ingredient Spaghetti. I had an idea, I made it, and I submitted my recipe to Food Network. I didn’t win, or at least I don’t think I won, it’s been over two years and I still haven’t seen the winner announced!

I decided to break up the spaghetti and make a mock risotto. To add even more of a twist I opted to use Mexican flavors instead of Italian. I used a Mexican beer in place of white wine, chorizo as my meat, and Mexican blend cheese instead of Parmesan.

Mexican Risetti Steps

An Original Recipe

Mexican Risetti

Makes 2-3 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb spaghetti, broken
  • 2 links Mexican chorizo, casings removed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Spanish onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded
  • 3/4 bottle light Mexican beer
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • handful fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish)
  • 3/4 – 1 C shredded Mexican-blend cheese
  • zest of 1/2 lime

Steps:

  1. In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, brown chorizo in olive oil. When cooked, remove from the pan and set aside on a paper towel lined plate. Leave the drippings in the skillet.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add in the butter. Add garlic once butter is melted. After 30 seconds add in the broken spaghetti. Toast for 2 minutes. Add onion and jalapeno. Saute until onions are translucent.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the beer. Add in oregano. When beer is absorbed, add chicken broth in about four stages, allowing the broth to be absorbed before each addition of liquid.
  4. After pasta is al dente add in diced tomato, cilantro, and the cooked chorizo. Let warm through and melt in the cheese. Garnish with lime zest and cilantro.

Mexican Risetti

Cuban Inspired Pork Tenderloin

Even though I’m not Cuban, this meal was very comforting to me. The flavors of Cuba are very similar to those of the Dominican Republic and I jumped on the opportunity to serve a very Latin meal.

With the pork in the slow cooker, I was able to better multi-task. I made black beans to go atop rice and fried up sliced plantains to serve on the side.

I fed a crowd with this recipe, if you’re making this for a gathering of four halve the recipe.

Cuban Inspired Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:

  • 4 lb pork tenderloin
  • 1 1/4 C orange juice
  • juice of 6 limes
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • S+P
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 6 tbsp flour

Steps:

  1. Place tenderloin in slow cooker.
  2. In bowl combine OJ, lime juice, broth, soy sauce, garlic, oregano, and S+P. Pour over tenderloin.
  3. Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours.
  4. Remove pork. Strain 4 C of the sauce into a sauce pan. Whisk in flour and butter. Cook until reduced to desired consistency, at least 5 minutes.
  5. Slice pork and serve.

* This recipe is adapted from Jo at http://www.jocooks.com/healthy-eating/crockpot-cuban-style-pork-tenderloin/*

Pork Tenderloin 1 Pork Tenderloin 2

This blog post also comes with a bonus recipe for fried plantains!

Fried Plantains

Ingredients:

  • plantains (2 for 3 people), peeled
  • olive oil, for shallow frying
  • salt

Steps:

  1. Slice plantains.
  2. Fry for 5 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  3. Set on paper towel lined plate to absorb the extra grease and sprinkle with salt.

Healthy Chicken Tacos

Mexican Monday has been in need of a healthy make over. This recipe from Cooking Light is very simple, very quick and full of flavor. The chicken gets its smokey warmth from ancho chili powder and is accompanied by a bright, crunchy slaw.

On a side note, I picked up a package of organic free range chicken breasts for this dinner. They were considerably smaller than the chicken breasts I normally pick up – about half the size! These two breasts yielded 5 tacos. If I used the average antibiotic treated chicken I could have gotten 8 tacos. I am tempted to now pay a little more for organic chicken because the difference in taste was like night and day. I was surprised.

Healthy Chicken Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 3/4 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 2 limes, divided use
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 C packaged cole slaw
  • 1/2 C sliced scallions
  • 1/4 C chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • taco sized flour tortillas

Steps:

  1. Season chicken with chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, S+P. In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat cook chicken in olive oil until cooked through.
  2. In a blender, puree sour cream, milk, avocado, zest and juice of 1 lime. Mix until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl toss together slaw, scallion, cilantro, juice of 1 lime, and canola oil. Season with salt to taste.
  4. Assemble tacos and enjoy!

*This recipe is adapted from Maureen at http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/ancho-chicken-tacos-50400000111963/*

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Corn Pepper Salsa Chicken Quesadilla

It amuses me to say that the best quesadilla I ever had was in Hawaii, and it’s even stranger to tell you that that quesadilla was had in the Honolulu airport (at Stinger Ray’s)!

For Mexican Monday I decided to attempt a recreation of this quesadilla. What I loved most about it was a back note of lime and the inclusion of corn in the filling. I didn’t succeed in a perfect copy cat recipe with my first attempt, but it was fun to do more with a quesadilla than stuff it with leftovers!

I marinated the chicken with chipotle and lime, sliced it and cooked it fajita style for extra flavor. I then sauteed the corn, onion, and pepper salsa with chili powder in the same skillet. For a kiss of heat I sliced open a serrano pepper (which Stuart purposefully ate!).

I actually prepared extra chicken and made rice to take to lunch the next day.

Saute Chicken 1Saute Chicken 2Saute Chicken 3Saute Salsa 1Saute Salsa 2Saute Salsa 3Assemble Quesadilla 1Assemble Quesadilla 2Assemble Quesadilla 3

An Original Recipe

Corn Pepper Salsa Chicken Quesadilla

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 tsp corriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced chipotle pepper in adobo
  • 1/3 C olive oil
  • 1 C frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 C diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 serrano pepper, halved
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 2 C shredded Mexican cheese

Steps:

  1. Combine lime, corriander, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, chipotle, S+P, and olive oil. Marinate chicken at least 4 hours.
  2. Slice chicken. Saute chicken over medium-high heat in a large skillet in olive oil until cooked through.
  3. In the same skillet, cook the remaining ingredients. Deglaze the pan with a splash of chicken stock if desired.
  4. In a separate non-stick skillet, place tortilla and cover entire surface with cheese. On one half top with chicken and salsa. Fold the cheese-only half over the chicken. Flip until both sides are lightly golden and crispy. Serve with your favorite salsa and sour cream.

Corn Pepper Salsa Chicken Quesadilla

Key Lime Pie

As I’ve gotten “older” my sweet tooth has gotten smaller. When a craving hits, it’s usually for something salty – like popcorn. But there is one dessert that I can never say no to. And because today is my 25th birthday, I am going to indulge.

Key Lime Pie is my absolute favorite dessert, and Publix (sorry to anyone not in the South!) makes the best one! …. Or so I thought. I am very proud to declare that I now make the best Key Lime Pie. I’m particularly excited for this because I now know that I can have perfect key lime pie even when we leave the land of Publix.

A couple years ago I made a key lime pie for my brother’s fiancé’s birthday as it’s also one of her favorites. (Her favorite is actually pumpkin pie but my brother hates it, and her birthday is in July anyway.) I had actually squeezed the juice out of actual key limes! That pie was unbelievably tart. I don’t even recall which recipe I used.

This time I found Nellie & Joe Key West Lime Juice and happily used that (no funky ingredients involved). I would love to say that this was only my second attempt at key lime pie. But that’d be a lie. I made two pies for my birthday. The first was a complete disaster. My can of sweetened condensed milk had expired. And I didn’t notice it until I was emptying the contents into the egg yolk mixture. I immediately went to the internet and established that I should still be okay to use it. 

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So I carried on. Key lime pie is not naturally green (but if you want it to be by all means add a drop or two of food

coloring), but it’s definitely not supposed to be marigold. 

It’s not supposed to smell overpoweringly like sweetened condensed milk either. I did still taste it – the texture was a little off and it was still just a little too sour. So I went back to the store and back to square one. 

That failed attempt was actually a blessing in disguise because I found the perfect, better-than-Publix recipe! Third time’s the charm. 😉

Key Lime Pie

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 egg white, beaten until frothy
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • zest 1 lime
  • 1/2 C key lime juice
  • 9 in graham cracker pie crust
  • 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Using a hand mixer, beat egg yolks with lime zest and sweetened condensed milk. Add in lime juice. Add the egg white.
  3. Pour pie filling into pie crust. Bake 15 minutes. Allow pie to cool to room temperature for at least an hour before covering and putting in the fridge.
  4. Using a hand mixer, make the whipped cream. Beat the heavy cream until it starts to get thick, then add in the vanilla and sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Top pie with whipped cream right before serving. Note: I don’t like my whipped cream to be too sweet, so feel free to add more sugar/vanilla to taste.

*This recipe is adapted from The Big Cheese at http://www.food.com/recipe/traditional-key-lime-pie-109918*
Key Lime Pie 1

Key Lime Pie 2

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

You’ve probably heard of Taco Tuesdays. In my household, we do Mexican Mondays. It allows for more versatility. It’s a culinary “tradition” that we’ve been doing for over a year and I’m impressed that I’ve been able to keep it fun and interesting. There are a few recipes that have become tried and true favorites and I will and do repeat them, but more often than not I’m finding something new to try.

These Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas are a best seller – we’ll even have them any day of the week! If I’m entertaining family or friends, this is a simple go-to. And I haven’t gotten a single complaint yet! My mom’s cousin claims to hate honey, yet she cleared her plate.

The very first time I made this dish was after a vacation and my fridge and pantry were pretty empty. I did not have green enchilada sauce and knew that without tomatillos I wasn’t going to be able to make my own either. But, I found Emeril’s recipe for red enchilada sauce and had everything on hand to make that. Enchilada sauce is now a pantry staple, so I don’t bother making my own anymore. (But in a pinch I’ll always come back to Emeril’s recipe.)

The second time I made this dish, we had a crowd so I doubled the recipe. Because we loved it with red enchilada sauce, we decided to keep one casserole dish with red and with the other tried the green. I haven’t made it with green since! I’ve noticed that the red (medium heat) enchilada sauce creates a unique flavor profile with the chicken that keeps you coming back for more. But I urge you to try it both ways and see what works best for your family.

The recipe calls for cooked chicken and I have tried just about every preparation of cooked chicken with this dish. Honestly, my favorite is using grilled chicken, the extra flavor you get from the grill rounds out the dish perfectly. My quick go-to method is putting a whole chicken in the slow cooker, but you can easily pick up a rotisserie chicken from the store on your way home!

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cooked shredded chicken
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • Zest 2-3 limes
  • juice 2-3 limes
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce (red or green)
  • 1/4-1/2 C heavy cream
  • 8 oz Mexican-blend shredded cheese
  • 8-10 soft taco sized flour tortillas

Steps

  1. Marinate cooked chicken in honey, lime juice, chili and garlic powders, and salt for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. In a measuring cup, whisk together enchilada sauce and cream. Pour a thin layer of sauce on the bottom a 9×13″ baking dish.
  4. Assemble enchiladas with chicken and cheese (reserving some cheese for the top). Place seam-side down in the baking dish and top with remaining sauce and cheese.
  5. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5 minutes until cheese is golden and sauce is bubbly.

*This recipe is adapted from Danelle at http://www.letsdishrecipes.com/2012/04/honey-lime-chicken-enchiladas.html*

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Be prepared for many more Mexican-style recipes in the future!