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Posts Tagged ‘Mexican’

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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by Sarah Steimer

Don't make this if you're very, very hungry - like we did. Not that it won't fill you up, it will. It just takes a little longer to prepare than you would expect and the fantastic smells will kill you.

  • 4 flour tortillas*
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 12 ounces beer (this is the average bottle size – choose a milder beer like an amber ale or lager)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers (or another vegetable of  your choice, or just more corn)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces shredded cheese – we went with Monterey Jack

    Neither corn nor peppers are in season where I live - BUT this was the perfect time to whip out the veggies I blanched and froze at the end of last summer!

Spray a springform pan with oil, or apply oil with a paper towel. Place one tortilla in the bottom of the pan, trimming the edges if necessary.

In a pan with oil, add the onions, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until onions have softened.

Add the beans and the beer, bringing the liquid to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow the liquid to almost completely evaporate. The recipe said this should take 8-12 minutes but I think that was a complete lie. It felt more like 15-20 or so. But we were also wildly hungry so it may not have taken that long.

Add the peppers, corn and scallions until heated through. Remove from the heat.

Layer about 1/2 cup or so of the mixture onto the tortilla in the pan, followed by a handful of cheese and top with another tortilla. Repeat and finish with the last tortilla on top, sprinkling some extra cheese on this.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts and starts to brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting.

Makes about four servings.

*I don’t have a springform pan and, instead, used an 8-inch cake round and smaller tortillas. Because the sides of my pan were not very high, we were only able to layer four tortillas and had about two cups of the black bean mixture left.

Recipe adapted from: Elly Says Opa!

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by Sarah Steimer

I used acorn squash, but would suggest using a less-stringly squash like butternut or delicata.

For the squash

  • 1 pound winter squash OR you can substitute sweet potatoes (probably awesome)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus some greasing for the pan
  • 1 or 2 canned chipotle chiles, chopped, with 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (this comes in the same can, if you’re new to the chipotle scene)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon honey

    I actually could have gone for a little extra glaze on on my squash - might make more next time around.

  • Salt and black pepper

In a small bowl – or with a mortal and pestle – combine the olive oil, chiles, adobo sauce, garlic and honey. Toss the cubed squash in the mixture, or use brush to coat the squash. Either way, place the squash on a lightly oiled cooking sheet or glass dish. Roast at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, or until you can easily insert a knife into the squash.

For the black beans

  • 1 can black beans (drain only SOME of the juices)
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/3 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Sauté the onions and garlic on medium heat in the olive oil until soft. Add the cumin to the pan and combine. Add half the can of black beans to the pan, including the juices. Rinse the rest of the beans and add to the pan. Simmer the beans for 7-10 minutes (adding water if it seems to get too dry). Mash 1/3 or 1/2 the beans with a fork. Add the roasted red pepper, salt and pepper.

For the rice

  • 2 cups cooked rice (I’m a big fan of basmati rice – which comes white or brown)
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • loose 1/3 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

Once the rice is cooked, add the butter, lime juice and cilantro.

Layer – in order – the rice, beans and top with the glazed squash. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

Makes about 2 or 3 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Cookie + Kate

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by Sarah Steimer

Admittedly, I already had leftover chipotle peppers from another recipe, and I just bought a jar of honey that I've been crazy about from our winter farmer's market - so this recipe sort of fell into place.

  • 1 pound (16 ounces) Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2/3 cup beer
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Possible dippers

  • carrots
  • steamed or raw broccoli
  • red pepper strips
  • crisp tortilla strips or tortilla chips
  • apples (as usual)

Toss the cheese in the corn starch to coat. Set aside.

In a saucepan, bring the beer to a boil. Lower the heat and slowly add the cheese, stirring constantly. Once the cheese is a smooth consistency, add the garlic, honey, chipotle pepper and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Add more beer if the fondue seems too thick.

Serve immediately – and keep stirring! This is definitely a good recipe if you have an actual fondue pot that you can keep over heat. Otherwise place the fondue in a bowl inside of a larger bowl that is well insulated. And like I said – keep stirring!

Makes four servings.

Recipe adapted from: Honey.com

*Throughout February we’ll post fondue recipes as part of our Fond of You guide (get the Valentine’s Day reference?). You can find all of our fondue recipes here.

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by Sarah Steimer

Mexican food is sort of fun to take into the winter. Because peppers and corn are no longer in season, you can replace them with sweet potatoes and beans.

  •  1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 16-ounce jar prepared medium salsa (or make your own, of course)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded jack cheese (we used pepper jack), plus more for topping
  • 8 large tortillas

Wash the sweet potatoes and pierce with a fork all over. Bake in the oven in a glass or tin dish at 400 degrees until soft – about 30 to 40 minutes.

In a sauce pan, combine the tomato sauce, broth, chili powder, cumin, cilantro and 1 teaspoon of the minced garlic. Keep at a low simmer until heated through then cover until ready to use.

You can also experiment with totally different flavors just by switching up what type of salsa you use. (P.S. We halved this recipe when we made it - in case you're counting the enchiladas in this picture)

Once the potatoes are ready and have cooled to touch, peel the skins off (this happens very easily). Mash the potato with a fork or masher. Saute the onion until translucent in a pan with olive oil; add the sweet potato, diced tomatoes, drained black beans, salsa, jalapeno and the remainder of the garlic. Once well combined, add the cheese.

Brush the bottom a 9-by-13 glass baking dish with olive oil. Spread about 1/2 cup (or so) of the tomato sauce mixture on the bottom. Fill each tortilla with the black bean and sweet potato mixture. Roll the enchilada up and place in the pan (width-wise), seam side down. Continue until the pan is filled and all the enchiladas feel snug. Top with remaining tomato sauce and a sprinkle of cheese.

Bake in an oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until bubbly. You can also pop the enchiladas under the broiler for the last 5 minutes – or ignore this step if you can’t figure out the boiler on your oven like me.

Makes 8 enchiladas.

Recipe adapted from: Vegetarian Times

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by Sarah Steimer

This was the result of having some fresh veggies and needing a simple dinner idea for my family when they came to visit.

  • 1 green zucchini, small to medium
  • 1 yellow squash, small to medium
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 cup corn, fresh or canned
  • 1/3 red onion
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (pepper jack is great)
  • 8 soft tortillas

    Using both yellow and green zucchini with the red pepper really pops some color into an otherwise bland-looking quesadilla.

Dice the onions and pepper. Thinly slice the zucchini to about a 1/4-inch thick or less. In a medium saucepan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and add your vegetables. Saute over medium heat, adding salt and pepper, until tender.

Place half the cheese on four of the tortillas, then evenly distribute your vegetables on top. Add cilantro and more cheese – this way the lid will stick. Place another tortilla on top.

Cook the quesadillas in a pan, on a grill OR (I found this to be the easiest) in a sandwich-maker. Cut the quesadillas into quarters before you cook them, so the flipping process isn’t easier and you don’t drive yourself nuts trying to keep all the veggies inside.

Serve with plain, low-fat yogurt (healthier than sour cream!) and salsa.

Makes four quesadillas.

Recipe: Sarah Steimer

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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by Caitlin Saniga

This recipe is a throwback to one of my favorite Mexican-style, local-fresh restaurants in the world: Taco Tanto's in Kent, Ohio. These tacos were my go-to meal if Sarah and I didn't have time to cook.

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup mixed greens, roughly chopped
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons Italian dressing, divided
  • 6 6-inch flour tortillas
  • 6-8 grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese (more is good, too)
  • hot sauce and lime wedges, to pass alongside

Steam sweet potatoes in a small pot until a fork prick glides cleanly through the potatoes.

Meanwhile, mix greens and cilantro in a small bowl. Combine black beans and 1 tablespoon Italian dressing in another small bowl.

Mash steamed sweet potatoes with the back of a fork in another small bowl, incorporating the remaining 1 tablespoon Italian dressing.

Assemble tacos by topping tortillas with layers of sweet potato mixture, bean mixture, greens mixture, tomatoes and cheese. Squeeze fresh lime juice over and sprinkle with hot sauce, if desired.

Makes 6 tacos.

Recipe: Caitlin Saniga

Photos: Caitlin Saniga

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