We love Mexican flavors and Southwest cuisine, and I love pressure cooking, so here is my version of a spicy taco bowl. It’s faster than messing with taco shells and making filling, so it’s a hasty and tasty meal for taco night. Enjoy.
Chicken Taco Bowl
Makes 5 – 6 servings
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (frozen or thawed)
- 1 cup dried black beans (not soaked)
- 1 cup brown long grain rice
- 12 ounces salsa or 1 regular size can Rotel® diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 2½ cups chicken broth or water
- 1 ounce chili or taco seasoning mix
- 8 ounce block Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
- (optional) fresh cilantro sprigs
- In the pot of a pressure cooker, place chicken, beans, and rice. Pour salsa and broth over them. Add 1 ounce chili seasoning mix.
- Seal and bring to pressure. Cook 18 minutes (stovetop) or 23 minutes (electric).
- Remove from heat (or hit “cancel”) and allow pressure to drop on its own. Natural depressurization takes approximately 15 minutes.
- Carefully open cooker and stir. Chicken should easily shred, or you may remove it, shred it separately, and stir it into the rice and beans mixture. Top with cheese and cover. Do not return to heat.
- After a minute or two, the residual heat will melt the cheese and the taco bowl is ready to serve with optional garnish.
Variation: add 1 cup frozen corn kernels before adding the cheese.
Thanks to Olé, we can enjoy healthier Mexican fare as we celebrate today. Here is a hasty tasty chicken fajita recipe:
- 2 OLE brand High Fiber Low Carb tortillas
- 8 oz. chicken breasts, cubed or shredded
- 1 Tbsp. Chili or Fajita seasoning blend
- 1 Tbsp. peanut or canola oil
- 1 cup julienne-cut bell peppers (I mix green, red, and yellow)
- 1 cup sliced onions
- 2-3 Tbsp. prepared salsa
- 1 spring cilantro (optional)
- Slowly simmer chicken with the seasoning blend in a dry, covered pan.
- Prepare peppers and onions.
- After chicken is fully cooked, remove from the skillet. Add oil and return skillet to medium heat.
- Saute onions over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add peppers and stir-fry together until peppers are firm-tender. Remove skillet from heat.
- Warm tortillas for 10 seconds in microwave oven. Add salsa to the center of each.
- Divide the chicken between the two tortillas. Cover each with half the peppers/onions.
- Serve with chopped fresh cilantro if desired. Fold, eat, and enjoy!
Butternut squash has vitamin A, vitamin C and beta-carotene . It is a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. I realize butternut squash is healthful, but it was a hard sell to my family. I finally developed a recipe even they will eat. I know by putting a southwest spin on a dish, my family will eat almost anything. Including my newest recipe, Southwestern Butternut Squash Soup. Enjoy!
• 1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into equal size chunks
• 1 Tbsp. safflower oil (or spray generously with Pam®)
• ½ cup onion, sliced
• ¼ cup sweet pepper, chopped (I used an orange pepper to preserve that lovely orange color)
• 1 tsp. Kosher salt or pink Himalayan salt
• 1 Tbsp. Chili seasoning mix (I use Bloemer’s brand)
• 1 quart vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
• 1 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice
• (optional) Cilantro for garnish
• (optional) sour cream for garnish
1. Heat the oil in the bottom of a 4 quart pot.
2. Add onions and peppers. Cook for 1 minute over medium heat.
3. Add squash to the pot. Salt.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and steam until squash is fork-tender* (approximately 30 minutes)
5. Remove from heat. Stir in half of the stock and deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula.
6. Ladle the squash into a Vitamix (or food processor). Puree until smooth. Don’t overfill container. If necessary, process in batches.
7. Return squash puree to the pot, add the chili seasoning mix1, and stir.
8. Return the pot to medium heat and add the remaining stock. Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally to combine. For a thicker soup, simmer until soup reduces.
9. Remove pot from heat. Stir in the lime juice and serve with a sour cream and cilantro garnish with tortilla chips on the side.
Kick up the heat level by adding a seeded and thinly sliced jalapeño pepper garnish.
1Vitamix users: During the pureeing of the squash, add the chili seasoning. Then to rinse the container, Add the rest of the stock to the container, run just enough to remove the stuck on squash, then pour into the pot.
*If your cookware isn’t waterless, add one cup of the vegetable stock to steam the squash.
I’ve posted in the past about making salsa in my Vitamix. Today I have a special guest who offers a flavorful twist to salsa. As soon as I pick up a fresh bunch of cilantro, I’m making this recipe. I grow my own jalapeño peppers and herbs but fail miserably at keeping cilantro alive. 😦
Today’s recipe is a guest post by Kristin, a writer for PAM and other ConAgra brands. She resides in Chicago, IL and enjoys trying new recipes on the weekends. Her favorite dishes include poached eggs in the morning, throw-whatever-is-in-the-fridge salads for lunch, and vegetable-heavy stir fries for dinner. She’s always on the hunt for unexpected yet delicious food combinations. Please welcome food blogger Kristin Kruk:
August is the Sunday of summer. Friends and family are making the most out of their last few weeks of sunshine and blue skies before fall kicks in. When you get an invitation to that last minute summer barbeque, come prepared with a zesty appetizer to surprise everyone’s taste buds. Bring a bowl of grilled tomato salsa with a bag of your favorite tortilla chips as an appetizer to the party.
On a time crunch? Don’t worry about grilling outside. A cast iron pan will do the trick because it gets hot and retains heat.
How to grill inside:
- Evenly spray PAM Grilling Spray on the cast iron pan.
- Place pan on stove top on medium-high.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low once the pan gets hot.
Now you’re on your way to a quick grilled tomato salsa!
- PAM Grilling Spray
- 1½-2 pounds of tomatoes (try an assortment), sliced in half
- 1 jalapeño , sliced in half
- 5 green (or red) onions, chopped
- ¼ cup of cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- Optional ingredients: ½ can of black beans or corn kernels
- In a medium bowl, mix cumin, garlic salt, onions and cilantro. If optional ingredients were used, combine as well. Set aside.
- See “How to grill inside” instructions above.
- Once the burner is set to medium-low, grill tomato and jalapeño slices.
- Rotate so each side is grilled for 3 minutes. When each side is slightly blackened, remove from grill.
- Chop tomato and jalapeño slices into cubes. Dump into the medium bowl (Step 1).
- Refrigerate until ready for use.
This quick and simple appetizer complements any picnic or outdoor outing at the end of summer. Enjoy!
(Cheryl note: I do all my indoor grilling on a Lodge cast iron grill pan (sprayed with PAM). It’s affordable, retains heat, and leaves nice grill marks on food–just like an outdoor grill but without the mess!)
Nothing beats fresh produce when it comes to healthy and quick meals. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cook over low heat in a covered skillet while carrots and green beans steam in a covered sauce pan. A pat of butter, and a pinch of salt and pepper season the vegetables; fresh clipped herbs and a dash of BBQ sauce garnish the chicken. Corn on the cob cooked 4 minutes in its husks in the microwave comes out clean and ready to eat. No salt or butter necessary. Yum!
There is a growing trend of going meatless on Mondays. I’m no vegetarian or vegan, but I certainly see the advantages to “Meatless Mondays.” Choosing one day a week to enjoy meals without meat, seafood, or poultry gives me the opportunity to stretch my creative cooking muscles. I look for ways to boost fiber and nutrition while saving a buck (meatless meals almost always cost less). Black Bean Chili is my contribution to this week’s “Meatless Monday.” If you make this chili, don’t skip the fresh herbs. Chopped fresh cilantro (or if you prefer, parsley) brightens the flavors. You won’t miss the meat!
BLACK BEAN CHILI
There’s no need to presoak beans if you’re using a pressure cooker. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, substitute a large (15.5 oz.) can of black beans for the dried in the recipe. Cook over low heat in a covered saucepan for an hour.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 onion
- 2 – 4 cloves garlic
- 2 cups (1 pound) dried black beans
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies
- 1 quart + 1 cup liquid (broth, water, beer—your choice)
- 1 cup fresh chopped cilantro or parsley
- Salt and pepper (optional—taste before adding)
- Juice of one lemon (optional)
- Spray the inside of a 6-quart pressure cooker with the nonstick cooking spray.
- Chop the onion and garlic (I use the Vitamix).
- Over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic. Add the chili powder.
- Rinse beans and remove any hulls. Add beans to the pressure cooker pot.
- Add tomatoes and green chilies, stir to combine, then pour in all the liquid.
- Secure lid to the pressure cooker and bring to pressure.
- Cook under pressure for 35 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and allow pressure to drop on its own for 5 minutes.
- Carefully release pressure and open pot according to your manufacturer’s instruction.
- (Optional step) Scoop out a cup of the beans and puree then stir in to thicken chili.
- Stir in chopped cilantro (or parsley), the juice of a lemon (optional but good!), and then serve topped with a tablespoon of your favorite topping, such as sour cream, shredded cheese, or salsa.
Yield: 6 1-cup servings
If you prefer chili that’s more soup-like in consistency, increase the liquid to 1½ quarts. Vary the recipe with different kinds of beans and flavorings. Caution: Do not decrease the liquids as they are necessary to pressure cooking safety.
Delicious and spicy, the jalapeño patty melt burger!
We love burgers, but we limit our red meat to one serving per week. Consequently, I look for alternatives to the juicy beef burger. (Boca Burgers and MorningStar Farms aren’t an option for me right now because they contain soy, which interferes with medication I take; however, veggie burgers are a good alternative if your doctor agrees)
I buy lean ground turkey for making my own sausage, pasta sauce, etc. and I’ve experimented with ways to make it more palatable as a burger. The problem is the taste. Turkey has a tendency to be bland, so it’s necessary to bump up the flavors. One solution is my recipe that’s a knock off of a popular beef burger at a fast food chain, the jalapeño patty melt burger. It has a kick, especially if the salsa is hot. If you aren’t a fan of spicy hot food, you can vary the recipe with milder cheese, salsa, and peppers.
- ½ pound lean ground turkey
- dash of salt and pepper
- 1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. salsa, divided
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 ounces pepperjack cheese, divided in fourths
- 2 whole wheat burger buns
- Preheat a cast iron grill pan, outdoor grill, or contact grill.
- Combine ground turkey with the salsa, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper. Do not overwork the meat.
- Form turkey mixture into two equal patties (make a bit thinner in the centers to prevent burger bulge)
- Cook for five minutes on hot grill or grill pan, turn, and cook opposite sides of burgers five minutes.
- While burgers cook, separate the bottoms and tops of the buns. Place on fourth of the cheese on each bottom.
- Remove burgers from heat and place on the cheese on the bottom portions of the buns. Add a fourth of the pepperjack cheese, and the jalapeño slices.
- Place burger, bun and all, back in the grill pan or on the grill. Weight the burger down and cook one minute or until cheese melts. (If using a contact grill, no weight is necessary)
- Carefully remove jalapeño patty melt burger from the grill and serve.
Yield: 2 burgers
Variations: Mix the salsa with 1 Tbsp. sour cream and spread on each bun before adding the cheese.