Category Archives: Mexican

The Salad Only Married (Or Extremely Close) Couples Should Eat


Heed my advice on this one pandas, this salad is covered with cilantro, three types of beans, and grilled onions and jalapeños. Mmmhmmm. Not really the first date type of salad or heck, even the 15th but after almost two years of marriage and a kiddo – who cares! It’s damn good!

This Pinto, Black and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado was insanely yummy and super simple to put together. It doesn’t even have a dressing! The fresh lime juice was just perfect with the almost caramelized onions, spicy jalapeños, sweet corn and buttery avocados. I have to say our veggie only week is going splendidly so far!

Tonight I’m making a watermelon and cucumber salad and yes, a spice-rubbed pork tenderloin – it’s just a little bit of meat, I promise! Stay tuned…

Mexican Chicken Casserole with Charred Tomato Salsa

I had been eyeing this gentle little casserole since the magazine hit my hot little hands and I finally got around to it this week. This is one of Cooking Light’s recipe makeovers and let’s take a look at the “Old Way” vs “Our Way” shall we? 


1,084 calories per serving
28 grams saturated fat
2,075 milligrams sodium
Greasy, processed ground beef
Beans: Fried and fried again
A pound of cheese

331 calories per serving
6.1 grams saturated fat
535 milligrams sodium
Skinless, boneless chicken breast
Veggies: lightly seasoned and sautéed
A hearty sprinkle of Jack cheese and feta

Mexican Chicken Casserole...BAM! (Photo by Randy Mayor)

I always wonder where their “Old Way” inspiration comes from so I can  STEER CLEAR of it. 1,084 calories? That’s just insane and makes my teeth itch. This sucker is chock full of veggies but you don’t really notice it since they are cooked in with the chicken and enchilada sauce. Good one for the kids eh?! The two cheeses are just enough to get your ooey, gooey cheese fix and the flavors all worked well together. One thing I would recommend is either double the amount of homemade salsa you make since there didn’t seem to be enough to include like the recipe calls for or just purchase a store bought fire-roasted salsa and save yourself the time. Overall this is  a good solid dish and awesome as leftovers the next day. I do have to say this Mexican inspired pie recipe, although not as healthy as the above, is still to this day my absolute favorite.

No-Cook Meal Week!

I’m not going to lie, it is HOT here in Austin. Yeah, I know it’s August in Texas so I should not be surprised, but it has registered more than 100 degrees since last week and it doesn’t look like it is letting up anytime soon. Is this why I chose a week of no-cook meals? I must admit the timing is perfect because it is so stinking hot outside, but actually, we are remodeling the kitchen and are in limbo until we get it done. Well you know me lambs, nothing was going to stop me from cooking, er, preparing a healthy meal for dinner so I set out to find recipes to suit our needs. Tah dah! Of course Cooking Light came through with a library of options. This week I’ve chosen:

Now, we do have a new Wolf brand microwave convection oven that makes me look like a kid at an aquarium; I literally stand there and go “ooooooooooohh, ahhhhhhhhhh” while it’s on. Last night for the refried beans (yes in a can!) I put the bacon in the oven and turned it on its “bacon” setting. You know this oven and I are going to be fast friends if it has a bacon setting. Minutes later the bacon came out perfect. Love, love it. I then dropped the bacon in the refried beans, heated up and served with the awesome Chicken and Guacamole Tostadas. The guacamole on this is so flavorful and delicious it truly made the smokey chicken sing with the cilantro, onions and tomatoes. David added some crumbled cotija cheese on top which was a fantastic, no-cook addition. For the cheese win!

I’ll let you know how the rest of our almost no-cook week goes. I have to say I’m kind of digging having a meal on the table in no-time flat with very limited dishes after the fact!

Skillet-Poached Huevos Rancheros

Real Simple, January 2010

Hands-On Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves 4

1 16-ounce jar salsa (2 cups – I used the Frontera brand by Rick Bayless)
1 15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed
4 large eggs
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 scallions, sliced
1/4 cup of cilantro
4 small four tortillas, warmed (I actually used corn)
1/2 cup of sour cream (I used the “light” version)

In a large skillet, combine the salsa and beans and bring to a simmer.

Make 4 small wells in the bean mixture. One at a time, crack each egg into a small bowl and slide it gently into a well. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, covered, over medium heat, 3 to 5 minutes for slightly runny yolks.

Sprinkle with scallions and cilantro. Divide among plates and serve with tortillas and sour cream.

Cuban Sandwiches with Tomato Jam

So after a HUGE and DELICIOUS Thanksgiving meal courtesy of Mama Ingle (thanks Mom!) I really wanted to do something light and healthy, therefore I chose a sandwich jam-packed with Gruyere cheese, grilled onions, jalapenos, prosciutto, pickles, shredded pork and a homemade tomato jam. Yeah, light and healthy just like I said. this Cuban Sandwiches with Tomato Jam recipe from Food and Wine magazine after eating everything in sight the past few days, but alas I did and I’m quite happy about my choice thank you very much.

I don’t know what the heck compelled me to try

This recipe looks more labor-intensive than it really is. It’s actually more “set it and forget it” than lots of steps that make you want to pull your hair out. You let the pork roast for four hours and make the homemade tomato jam that sits for about an hour at a low temperature. After the jam and pork were done, everything else assembled pretty quickly and then you simply grill the foil-wrapped sandwich which made the cheese melty and the bread nice and crispy. This sucker throws a flavor uppercut so prepare to be floored by how yummy everything is once it is grilled. I loved all of these flavors together and honestly was a little surprised that it all worked out as amazingly as it did.


Try making this on a lazy, football Sunday (ha I just came across this video when looking for fitting “Lazy Sunday” images) and you will have a tasty and unique sandwich for the Sunday night game. I served baked chips and fresh mango on the side. Also, I reserved the leftover tomato jam (since it’s just me) for a later use and the remaining pork I will use for lunch to place inside some corn tortillas with some light sour cream and fresh avocado. Love it!

Angel Nachos

You know you know them, and loathe them. The food devil on your left and food angel on your right. As you know from this blog, I love satisfying both, especially if it’s in a dish like NACHOS! I’ve made my love for anything Tex-Mex or Mexican food evident here as well. Enchiladas, tacos, refried beans and chips and salsa make me weak in the knees and fat in the hips. When I was perusing the October issue of Cooking Light, I stopped and beheld this Pork and Pinto Bean Nachos recipe. “How perfect!” I thought to myself, “not only is it College Gameday, a perfect day for nachos, but I can enjoy these and not feel too guilty.”
After watching the number two Texas Longhorns own UTEP on Saturday, and see Colt McCoy FINALLY be the talented quarterback that we all know he is, I floated on my cloud #9 into the kitchen and started on these nachos. First, the juicy pork was a perfect, healthy protein choice for these nachos. Second, the beans, dear goodness. I loved the silky pinto beans with the added spice of the chipotle in adobo sauce, lime juice and bacon…I repeat bacon. Finally, the fresh, delicious salsa of tomatoes, crunchy jicama and creamy avocado was perfect. Obviously, since this is just for one person I paired it down for just me and it was the perfect size and serving for a healthy spin on nachos.
On a side note, my Fellow Foodie Blogger’s Tour (FFBT) fell with a sad ker-plunk due to well, life getting in the way. I was set to test two recipes on my final day, one from my lady in food crime and fellow foodie team member Jodi from Tasty Touring and Nicole from Feast Your Eyes, who I have never met but I love her blog! I will revisit the FFBT soon and I promise to test the recipes I wanted to try toute suite. In the meantime ladies, thanks for the continued inspiration.

The Hot Dog of Guadalajara

So, as you know, I was just in Mexico and Tucson for the last week and while 99.999% of my time was work, work, work, there was one small respite before I got on a plane from Mexico to Arizona…a tortas ahogados. Known as the hot dog of Guadalajara, it’s kismet that I posted a link to this Gourmet story on the city’s food before I left, as I had read about these signature sandwiches last year and read it again before I departed just in case any opportunity arose for me to taste the local food.

After a few long days there was a little bit of time for the team to stop and eat before we got to the Guadalajara airport. Maybe because I had been talking so much about these sandwiches we stopped to shut me up. Check. It. Out.

A tortas ahogados is translated as “drowned sandwich” and drowned it was amigos. These come out in plates covered in plastic, so they can just remove the plastic and reuse the plate….ewwww but what are you going to do? I chose the pork sandwich and they served it with some pickled red onions, a tomato sauce (the drowned part) and a SPICY tomato/red onion sauce. Now I like to think I can handle spicy dishes and this proved me so wrong. Made with Chile de Arbol Peppers, my mouth was on fire but yet I kept drenching the sandwich in more spicy sauce! I’m such a glutton for spicy punishment. At the end of the day, I have to say this was a great local food experience and I really enjoyed the sandwich. It’s so different and delicious and I’m happy I got to have this brief food moment during all the craziness.

More kismetness (yes that’s a word) ensued. While I was waiting on plane after plane this week, I got to menu plan for the next few weeks and I came across Mexican Tortas with Black Beans and Chorizo recipe from the chef I grew up watching on PBS, Rick Bayless. I decided to continue my tortas kick and I’m glad I did. With the goat cheese, avocado, black beans and chorizo this was a stunning little sandwich. It was a little mushy so I did add corn chips to it for crunch.

I’m testing recipes again this week, including one that might be the new diva in my life, Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with Semolina Gnocchi. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Ancho Mama’s Pork Chops

I love Chile Rellenos but I never seem to seek them out in restaurants or I guess don’t see them too much in my recipe search. In fact, the last time I had one was this delicious little beauty we tasted for the National Mango Board. Seriously, this was an awesome spin on the traditional chile relleno. So, when I was flipping through the new Bon Appetit recently and came across this Pork Chops with Chiles Rellenos and Ancho Sauce recipe, I recalled the mango chile relleno and decided to try this one for size.

Fabulous, just fabulous, is the only word I can use for this dish. When I read all of the ingredients and preparation, at first blush I thought this might be too spicy or smokey even for my heat-loving palate but it most certainly was not.

The pork chops sit for two hours at room temperature with a simple blend of salt and ancho chile powder. While that sits you can make the simple ancho chile sauce and chile rellenos. I loved the easy-to-make chile relleno filling that had oregano, cheese, boiled Yukon Gold potatoes and toasted cumin seeds. YUM!

The pork chops were smoky and delicious and the chile relleno (which I cooked-off in the oven at 350 degrees) was amazing, plus the ancho sauce with its sweet, smokey notes drizzled on top of of it all was perfect. Since I was cooking the pork chops inside, my one recommendation is to be sure to turn on the oven vent and open a window, that chile powder is intense.

This is definitely going on the top of my recent favorites and will be a fun and delicious dish to enjoy throughout the year.

Grilled Flank Steak Soft Tacos with Avocado-Lime Salsa

I was looking forward to these tacos all week and after a pretty hectic day with no lunch to speak of, I got home and was starving! These were just what I needed, well that and a glass or 20 of wine (kidding, kidding). The salsa was amazing and instead of adding in hot sauce I put in a Serrano chili. I also served with some Monterrey Jack cheese because well, I needed some cheese.

What I always appreciate about Cooking Light is their Menu Suggestions section in the back of the magazine which are short recipes and sides to serve with a few select dishes to round out a meal. This one had a GREAT side to serve with the tacos, Smoky Refried Beans (recipe below) and I think this may turn into my refried bean staple – yes, we all need one – from now on.
For vegetarians, I could see the refried beans being spread on the tacos and served with the salsa and cabbage to make sure you have crunch. You could remove the bacon and in its place put it a little cumin or chili powder to give the beans a smoky flavor? I pulled that out of thin air!
Smoky Refried Beans
Cook 2 slices applewood-smoked bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserve drippings. Crumble bacon, set aside. Add 1/2 cup chopped onion and 2 minced garlic cloves to drippings in pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth 1 (15-ounce) can drained and rinsed pinto beans; mash with potato masher to desired consistency. Cook until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with bacon and 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro.

Me Oh My, Tortilla Pie and the Best Salsa You’ve Ever Tasted

I came across this super simple Tortilla Pie with Chicken in the new Everyday Food and for some reason I love trying versions of this dish because it’s usually so easy to make and full of flavor. This recipe was easy to assemble and I, of course, love the short ingredient list.

I decided to not use one of the salsa recipes they recommended and instead use my favorite salsa recipe in the world. Thanks to the gentle souls over at We Heart Food they have the delicious recipe from the restaurant Luna de Noche in Dallas posted on their blog. Note to those who do not like cilantro: this sucker contains five bunches of cilantro, yes five bunches, so if you are one of those people who think cilantro taste like soap then this may not be for you. For everyone else, you will find that whenever a recipe ever calls for salsa you can whip this up in no time and have a delicious tasting salsa for your dish and the rest of the week.
To round out the meal I made a simple salad of fresh mango and pineapple with red onions, a little olive oil and distilled white vinegar with cracked black pepper. It was a fresh complement to the tortilla pie and the two gallons of salsa I consumed.