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Posts Tagged ‘Mexican’

by guest blogger Chase Purdy

spicy carne molida taco

Mas Tacos’ menu certainly doesn’t lack options. Chase tried the spicy carne molida taco and a glass of zanaranta (carrot + orange juice).

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by Sarah Steimer

For such a spicy, deep soup, it sure is a dull color. I whipped out one of my favorite Southwest-style platters and garnished the soups. Not all food looks gorgeous, but sometimes they just make great canvases.

For such a spicy, deep-flavored soup, it sure is a dull color. I whipped out one of my favorite Southwest-style platters and garnished the soups with chips and salsa. Not all food looks gorgeous, but sometimes they just make great canvases.


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We’ve decided to participate in a nationwide event today, called Food Bloggers Against Hunger. In this post, Caitlin has put together a delicious low-cost recipe, followed by a call to action from Sarah. Please read and enjoy both, and we look forward to a conversation with you in the comments section.

— C & S

Cheesy red beans and greens quesadillas

by Caitlin Saniga

Cheesy red beans and greens quesadillas

These quesadillas definitely come in under the $4 daily budget, and they’re full of flavor and are fun to eat. If you’re not a fan of kidney beans, try black beans, edamame or olives.

  • olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • salt
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 8 6-inch tortillas (Corn or wheat is fine. I used corn.)
  • 1 cup torn spinach or arugula

In a medium pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the beans and cook until the skins start to burst, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the cumin, season with salt and toss to coat.

Assemble the quesadillas by sprinkling a thin layer of cheese on half of each tortilla. Top with a small scoop of beans, greens and another thin layer of cheese. Fold the tortilla over the fillings, and grill the quesadillas two at a time, pressing down on them with a spatula, about 1 minute on each side. Cook the remaining quesadillas this way, slice in half with a pizza cutter and arrange on a serving platter. Serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

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A letter from the editors (OK, bloggers)FBAH

by Sarah Steimer

Two articles were published exactly one year and one day apart that illustrate an irony for my generation (born between 1980 and 2000, we’re considered “Millenials”). In the New York Magazine article from 2012, the writer describes a “young foodie culture” among my age group. These young, mostly urban people pride themselves on trying new restaurants and often documenting their experience. In addition to eating out, I know from informal surveys that many of my peers have been to at least one farmer’s market and enjoy preparing healthy meals for themselves. Appreciation for good food! Not a bad idenity to have.

But then there’s the irony.

“For the first time in modern memory, a whole generation might not prove wealthier than the one that preceded it,” the more recent New York Times article reported. Bring these two concepts together and you’re left with a clear issue: We want to eat good food, but we may not be able to afford it.

According to statistics from the No Kid Hungry campaign, 17.2 million households in the U.S. are considered “food insecure,” defined as having the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food. Couple this with the knowledge that my generation isn’t likely to make more money than our parents, and it’s pretty obvious that our food insecurity problem is bound to get worse before it gets better.

The problem of food insecurity goes beyond simply being hungry. Not having the money to eat properly often snowballs into issues such as obesity and poor performance at school for children. The cheapest foods available are often those lacking nutritious qualities, which explains the link between low income and obesity (Hey America! Malnutrition is NOT just the skin-and-bones child in Africa, it’s also the overweight and out of breath child in Alabama! Malnutrition has many faces.). Children are often most affected by poor food habits, and even a short period of time without necessary vitamins and minerals can hinder brain development and affect their ability to focus.

We are not a poor country. Nutritious food is available, but we are not putting it within reach. The average daily food stamp benefit is about $4 per person per day. If you’ve priced fresh fruits and vegetables lately, you understand how unavailable those foods would be on current government assistance.

But let’s roll back to my first point, but Millennials’ appreciation for good food. As the adage goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way! My generation has proven its will, now let me present to you the way:

We’re urging you to write to your representative in Congress so he or she may support federal nutrition programs (think of the kids!).  Every generation loves to prove its older counterparts wrong, and I’d like to think that despite the (somewhat unnerving) economic road ahead, we can be the generation that stops hunger in America.

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by Caitlin Saniga

Carne asada lettuce wraps with guacamole and red cabbage

There’s a little Mexican restaurant in downtown Roanoke called Alejandro’s that serves what the menu calls “Shorty Tacos” (Stay tuned. There may be a $6 Snack review of those delicious tacos yet!), which are tiny corn tortillas filled with chili-lime marinated steak, pico de gallo and guacamole. It’s one of mine and Eddie’s favorite dishes in Roanoke. So for his birthday, I decided to do a spin on our beloved shorty tacos by making them fresh at home — and turning them into lettuce wraps! I set out all of the ingredients in separate bowls, and we had so much fun trying different variations at the table. What a happy memory!

Carne asada:

  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from 3 or 4 small limes)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 sweet onion cut into small chunks
  • 1 2-pound beef rump roast
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Lettuce wraps:

  • 1 large head Bibb or Boston lettuce, leaves removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • chopped Roma tomatoes
  • shredded red cabbage
  • chopped cilantro
  • sour cream
  • guacamole
  • lime wedges, for garnish

In small bowl, beat lime juice, oil, vinegar, cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Place the chopped onion in the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the beef over onion. Pour the lime juice mixture over the beef. Sprinkle the garlic over top.

Cover and cook on Low heat for 8 to 9 hours.

Using 2 forks, shred the beef. Stir well to mix the beef with the sauce.

Place all lettuce wrap ingredients on separate serving dishes so everyone can customize their wraps. Generally, though, place a small amount of beef in the center of a lettuce leaf. Add various toppings, roll the leaf around the toppings and eat.

Serves 8.

Carne asada recipe adapted from: Betty Crocker

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by Sarah Steimer

I know we say the we love the flavors in many of our dishes, but I have to say that these are truly tastes that sing to me. Fall is my favorite season, especially for produce — plus I’m a sucker for Mexican food. You couldn’t make a more Sarah-centric meal, although I would accept challengers.

  • 1 chicken breast, poached and shredded/cubed
  • 1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled and sliced
  • 1 acorn squash (try to find a small one)
  • 1 red onion, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 4-ounce log goat cheese
  • 4 soft corn tortillas, about 8 inches or so in diameter
  • 1/2 cup – 2/3 cup salsa verde (if you would like to make your own, try our recipe from last summer)

Cut the acorn squash in half and roast at 400 degrees, skin side down, for 40-50 minutes, or until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork.

You could do a lot of variations on these enchiladas. Shrimp or steak instead of chicken (or no meat at all for a vegetarian version). You could also go with a milder roasted bell pepper if poblanos are too spicy for your taste.

In the meantime, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-sized sauté pan. Add the onions to the pan and cook until caramelized, occasionally de-glazing the pan with a little water when necessary. Set aside.

When the squash has cooked, scoop the flesh out of the skin and mash with the cumin, salt and pepper.

Set up an assembly line of ingredients to build the enchiladas. If your corn tortillas seem a bit dry and may break as you work with them, microwave them for a few seconds while covered with a moist paper towel.

Working down the center of the tortilla, layer a line of squash, onion, pepper, chicken and feta. Roll the enchilada up and place seam-side down in an 8-by-8-inch or 9-by-9-inch baking pan. Continue with the remaining ingredients so the four enchiladas fit snuggly in the pan.

The enchiladas may be refrigerated at this point if you are preparing them in advance!

By the way – BE CAREFUL when peeling/cutting poblanos. Mine were especially hot this time around and, four hours later, my fingers are still burning. Wear gloves when working with any hot pepper!

Before cooking, top the enchiladas with the salsa and sprinkle with any remaining goat cheese. Cook for about 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Makes 2-4 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Brit + Co.

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by Sarah Steimer

Grilling fish is not easy, it stuck to the grate a lot even though I brushed it with olive oil first. I’m sure baking the fish instead of grilling it would give you nearly the same effect.

For the corn salsa:

  • 1 cup corn (fresh, frozen or rinsed from a can)
  • 2/3 cup black beans
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced (de-seed if it’s a very hot pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper (again, lessen if this is too hot for you)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour so the flavors can combine well.

The salsa is great just with chips as well.

For the fish

  • 3 tilapia fillets
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 small corn tortillas

Brush both sides of the tilapia with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill (or bake) until the fish is cooked through, which should mean it should be firm when you touch it in the center.

Remove the fish from the grill (or oven) and flake with a fork. Grill the corn tortillas and serve the fish with the salsa, along with additional tomato salsa and sour cream, if you please.

Makes three servings.

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by Sarah Steimer

I am not even remotely exaggerating when I say I’ve eaten this guacamole at least once a week for the last two months. This dip has turned guac nonbelievers into believers. So kudos to Bill – he doesn’t know how to make many dishes, but he has mastered his small repertoire.

  • 2 avocados, pitted
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • juice from 1/2 lemon or lime
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeno hot sauce
  • 1 serrano pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes (we probably use way more than this)
  • salt, to taste

Mash the avocados with a fork or potato masher. Mix in the tomato, garlic, lemon juice, onion and red pepper flakes. Add the salt and adjust to taste.

Refrigerate in a well-sealed container if you are not eating it right away. Anything less than well-sealed will cause the avocado to brown.

Serves 6-8? Maybe more? Maybe less? Not sure, Bill and I usually just tackle it between the two of us.

Recipe from: Bill Harris

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