Category Archives: salsa

Fajitas

Healthy Mexican: Fajitas

You can use frozen veggies to make this dish, but it’s summer. Take advantage of the colorful bell peppers and Vidalia onions to make fajitas. Bonus: Cook this dish in a cast iron skillet and add iron to an already healthy meal. A slideshow follows the recipe.

RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. peanut oil (or canola oil)
  • 8 ounces chicken, pork, steak, or shrimp
  • 4 large or 6 small whole-wheat tortillas
  • 2 cups julienne-cut bell peppers (assorted colors)
  • 2 cups julienne-cut onions
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning (or chili seasoning mix)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • (optional) fresh cilantro sprigs

Directions:

  1. Preheat skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add oil.
  3. Cut meat into bite-size pieces and add to the skillet. (If using shrimp, wait to add until vegetables are cooked)
  4. Cook meat for 5 minutes. Stir.
  5. Add onions and peppers in batches to keep the skillet hot. Toss frequently with cooking tongs to cook evenly. (The vegetables will cook down and make room for more)
  6. Cook for 10 minutes or until peppers and onions are cooked yet firm.
  7. Add jalapeño pepper, garlic, seasoning, salt, pepper (and shrimp, if making shrimp fajitas). Toss with the peppers and onions for one minute.
  8. Meanwhile, warm the fajitas in a damp towel in the oven or microwave oven.
  9. Remove skillet from heat and serve directly from the skillet. Make each fajita by spooning salsa on a tortilla, adding chopped fresh cilantro (optional), filling from the skillet, and folding burrito style.

Yield: Makes 2 servings

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Filed under Cilantro, Healthful Eating, Mexican, Recipes, salsa

Salsa Reloaded

Salsa has become the #1 favorite condiment in American households, and no wonder! It’s delicious, healthful, and versatile. I get a lot of e-mail about salsa, and there are many varieties.

Homemade salsa is so much better than jarred, even if you use canned tomatoes as I did in an earlier post. It’s easy to make it fresh, especially if you use a Vita-mix. Here’s another salsa recipe:


RECIPE
Ingredients:
4 ripe plum (or Roma) tomatoes, cut in half
½ sweet onion (Vidalia if available), cut in half
1 clove garlic
½ jalapeño pepper, seeded*
 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp. sweetener
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
½  cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in the Vita-mix container and pulse on low (setting 3 or 4) just until blended. Use the tamper to push food into the blades. The process takes only a few seconds. Don’t overblend unless you prefer picante sauce instead of chunky salsa.

Refrigerate. Keeps for 4-5 days.

*If you like hot salsa, use the entire jalapeño pepper, seeds and all. For mild salsa, substitute a milder pepper for the jalapeño. Be sure to wear plastic or rubber gloves when removing the seeds and membranes of a jalapeño (or any hot) pepper.

 

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I typically add cilantro but didn’t have any the day I made these photos. Tasted just as good, so I now declare cilantro “Optional.”

©2011 Cheryl Norman

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Filed under Cilantro, Healthful Eating, Recipes, salsa, tomatoes

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

I’ve said it before: At my house, anytime is chili time, with or without beans. With Cinco de Mayo comes another excuse for a week’s worth of Mexican-themed dishes, starting with turkey chili:

RECIPE

Tasty Turkey Chili

Serves 4-6*

Ingredients:

1.3 pounds ground turkey breast
1 yellow onion, diced
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes and green chilies

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 oz. chili powder (I use Bloemer’s®)
1 small can chili beans (optional)
1 can or bottle beer, any kind
Redneck Pepper® Jalapeño (to taste)
¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves (optional)

Directions:

Brown ground turkey and onion over medium-low heat in a covered 4-quart pan. Gradually add the remaining ingredients except for the cilantro. Bring to a boil, then cook, uncovered until the liquid reduces and chili is thick. Don’t rush it. This reduction can take from 20-45 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in fresh cilantro and serve.

Store leftovers in a covered container or freeze in an airtight bag or container.

Products to make great chili

Products to make great chili

These aren’t paid endorsements, just my favorites. Bloemer’s® is a product out of Louisville, Kentucky, my hometown, and I order their chili powder by the case via the Internet; Redneck Pepper® is in Lake City, Florida, not far from where I live. Each company makes a great product, so I hope you’ll give each a try.

RECIPE

Enchiladas Suizas Bake

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey breast or lean ground turkey
1 small onion, diced
1 16 oz. jar salsa verde or tomatillo salsa
4 oz. sour cream
8 oz. skim milk
½ cup shredded 2% or low-fat swiss cheese
1 cup shredded 2% or low-fat Mexican blend or Colby-Jack cheese
8 whole wheat tortillas (approx. 8″)
8 oz. frozen corn kernels (or fresh if available)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brown ground turkey and onion over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Meanwhile, combine the sour cream, milk, and salsa verde (Green Salsa) and blend, either by hand or with a blender.

Pour approximately ¼ cup of the sauce into the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish. Spread to coat lightly. Arrange half the tortillas in the bottom of the dish, overlapping or cutting as needed to fit. Add half the browned ground turkey, half the corn kernels, and 1/2 cup of the combined cheeses. Drizzle one cup of the sauce over the whole layer, then repeat by layering remaining tortillas, turkey, corn, 1/2 cup cheese, and remaining sauce. Finally, sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for thirty minutes. Makes six servings. (In our case this will last a couple days because the leftovers are great, too!)

When it comes to appetizers, I prefer quesadillas because I can use whole wheat tortillas (More fiber and complex carbohydrates). Empanadas are made with a dough, and tostadas use corn tortillas. Also, quesadillas are quick. You can make two servings in a matter of minutes in your skillet or on your grill or griddle.

RECIPE

Easy Chicken Quesadilla

This is a lightened version of a favorite.

Ingredients:

Nonstick cooking spray
2 whole wheat tortillas, approximately 8″ in diameter.
¼ cup chunky salsa, either jarred or homemade
2 oz. cooked chicken (or any leftover meat) shredded
¼ cup shredded 2% or low-fat Mexican blend cheese

Directions:

Preheat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Meanwhile, spread the salsa over one tortilla. Sprinkle chicken or meat, covering well. Sprinkle the cheese over the chicken. Top with the second tortilla. Carefully place stacked tortillas on the griddle or into the skillet. Press slightly. After three minutes, carefully turn using a large spatula. Again, press the stacked tortillas and cook two additional minutes.

Using a large spatula, move the quesadilla to a cutting board and cut into fourths using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter. Each serving is two pieces. Or for an appetizer, cut into sixths.

Chicken Quesadilla

Chicken Quesadilla

Enjoy these recipes this week or anytime for a hasty tasty Mexican meal!

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Filed under Burritos, casseroles, chicken, Chili and Stew, Cilantro, Healthful Eating, Quesadillas, Recipes, salsa, Tostados, turkey

Olé for Salsa

Homemade salsa is so much better than jarred, but it can get expensive, especially if tomato prices are high. Here is a compromise. Try it. You’ll like it!

 
RECIPE
Ingredients:

1 15-oz can stewed tomatoes (Reduced Sodium), drained
½ (or to taste) cup fresh cilantro leaves
juice of one lime
1 sweet onion (Vidalia if available), quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
½ jalapeño pepper, seeded*
pinch of salt
 

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender (I use the Vita-mix) and pulse until blended. Don’t overblend or you’ll have picante sauce. 🙂 Refrigerate. Keeps for 4-5 days.
 

*If you like mild salsa, substitute a milder pepper for the jalapeño. Be sure to wear plastic or rubber gloves when removing the seeds and membranes of a jalapeño (or any hot) pepper, a lesson I learned the hard way!

 

Don’t underestimate canned tomatoes. They are a bargain and come in many varieties. Try to find the cans marked “Low Sodium” if possible. Then you control the salt in your recipes.

©2011 Cheryl Norman

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Filed under Cilantro, Healthful Eating, Recipes, salsa, tomatoes