Tag Archives: Mexican

D’Noche – Chicago, IL

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Last week I went to visit my boyfriend in Illinois (I realize normally you go somewhere warm for spring break, but surprisingly enough my trip to the mid-west meant I missed a DC snow storm).  I flew into O’Hare and he took me out to a surprise dinner in Chicago.  We ended up at D’Noche (because he knows my never ending love for Mexican food).  The restaurant had all kinds of delicious Latin American food, it was the perfect meal!

dnoche menu

We started things out with a sangria blanca (because white wine sangria is one of my favorite things, and who doesn’t need a drink after a flight?) and guacamole (because you don’t need a reason for guacamole).

sangria blanca

We also ordered the trio de empanadas (very reminiscent of my time in Argentina).  An order came with a beef, shrimp, and chicken empanada along with a variety of different sauces (one of them being chimichurri, which is the best I’ve had since getting back from Argentina) that went well with all of the empanadas and the guacamole as well.

empanadas

empanada halves

For dinner I got chiles rellenos (pobalano peppers stuffed with cheese, and covered in salsa Ranchera) which came with beans and rice.  The cheese was melty and rich and delicious and the side orders were great too.

chiles rellenos

Luke opted for the tacos de camaron (shrimp tacos) with green rice which he let me try (because I would have stolen some anyway…) and they were quite yummy as well, the goat cheese went surprisingly well with the shrimp (I never really thought of putting shrimp and cheese together, but then again cheese goes with pretty much everything).

tacos de camaron

It was an absolutely delicious start to a wonderful trip!  I’ll be telling you all about my visit to Urbabna-Champaign in an upcoming post, so keep your eyes open for it!

Mexican Lasagna

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Mexican Lasagna

Every Wednesday my friends and I get together to cook dinner and watch American Horror Story (I just started watching this season, if you haven’t seen it you’re missing out!).  This week we decided to make Mexican Lasagna and I’m super glad we did because it was fantastically delicious!  Now, you may be asking, “what exactly is Mexican Lasagna, that sounds strange”.  Well, let me tell you, you take the concept of lasagna, ya know, layered pasta, sauce, and cheese, and give it a twist with Mexican ingredients and flavors.  You end up with a spicy, cheesy, vegetable, beef filling with salsa and corn tortillas that will blow your mind!

mexican lasanga

First start by cooking some onion, garlic, and ground beef.  Then drain the grease, add a can of crushed tomatoes, belle peppers, and taco seasoning (I don’t have a picture of the first two steps because I was starving and forgot… oops).  After that cooks for a minutes stir in some corn and black beans.

beef/veggie mix for Mexican lasagna

Meanwhile, spread a thin layer of corn meal into the bottom of a baking dish.

corn meal layer

Put some corn tortillas on top.

corn tortilla layer

Scoop half of the beef/veggie mix on top.

beef and veggie layer

Add half of the salsa and shredded cheese.

salsa and cheese layer

And another layer of tortillas.

Second layer

Followed by more beef/veggies, salsa, and cheese.

Mexican lasagna pre-oven

Pop it in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly and amazing.

Pan of Mexican Lasagna

Let it sit for a few minutes (warning: this is a feat requiring enormous amounts of self control), then slice it and serve with sour cream as desired.

Mexican Lasagna

 

Recipe

Mexican Lasagna

Makes 1 – 13 x 9″ baking dish (serves ~12)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 medium sweet onion – chopped

2 lbs ground beef

2 cloves garlic – minced

2 bell peppers – chopped

2 packets taco seasoning (or mix of cumin, chile powder, paprika)

15 oz can diced tomatos with green chiles

15 oz can black beans

8 oz frozen corn

1/4 cup corn meal

12 corn tortillas

4 cups shredded Mexican cheese

16 oz salsa

sour cream – optional for serving

– Preheat oven to 350°

– Cook the onion in a pan with oil for 5 minutes or until translucent

– Add the ground beef and garlic and cook until the beef is no longer pink, then drain the grease and return to the heat

– Add the pepper, canned tomatoes, and taco seasoning to the pan, and stir

– Stir in the black beans and corn

– Meanwhile sprinkle the corn meal into the bottom of a 9 x 13″ pan

Space out 6 tortillas on top of the corn meal

Layer the beef/veggie mix, salsa, and cheese

Repeat the layers of tortilla, beef/veggie mix, salsa, and cheese

Place in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted

– Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes

Cut and serve with sour cream as desired

 

 

Zucchini Nachos

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Zucchini Nachos

It’s no secret that I have a major obsession with Mexican food.  I’m always trying to think up new ways to make Mexican food so when I saw this recipe for Grilled Zucchini Nachos from one of my favorite food blogs, Two Peas and Their Pod, I knew I had to try to make my own version.  They were cheesy, spicy, delicious, and even healthy!  I highly recommend you pick up some zucchini (from your garden, your local farm stand, the grocery store, anywhere will do!) and make these zucchini nachos this weekend!

zucchini nachoStart by slicing the zucchini.

zuchhini slices

Then grill it!  I used a George Foreman Grill but any old grill will do.

Grilled zucchini

Spread them on baking sheet and cover with cheese.  I used some spicy pepper jack but you can use anything you have on hand.

zucchini and pepper jack

Add some shredded chicken, corn, and more cheese (after all, nachos without cheese are an oxymoron, I used Monterey Jack for the top layer).  If I had had any black beans when I made these I would have thrown them on too.

zucchini nachos pre oven

Bake them in the oven until the cheese is melted.

baked zucchini nachos

Top with lots of fresh salsa and cilantro and squeeze some lime juice over the top (the flavor kind of reminds me of hint of lime chips, which are some of my favorite).

zucchini nachos with toppings

Serve up with some sour cream and guacamole as desired.

Zucchini Nachos

Enjoy!

Zucchini Nachos 2

 

 

Recipe

Zucchini Nachos

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 zucchinis – sliced 1/4″ thick

8 oz pepper jack cheese (or a mix of pepper jack and monterey jack) – shredded

1 chicken breast – shredded (I used this recipe)

1 ear of corn – cut off the cob

1 cup fresh salsa

fresh cilantro – for serving

sour cream (optional for serving)

guacamole (optional for serving – try this recipe)

– Grill the zucchini until tender then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet

– Sprinkle with shredded cheese, chicken, and corn

– Place under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is melted

– Top with fresh salsa and serve with sour cream and guacamole as desired

Huevos Rancheros

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Huevos Rancheros

Two of my favorite food genres (yes I describe food in genres) are Mexican food and breakfast food, so Mexican breakfast food is pretty much the perfect food combination in my mind.  A few months ago I had a craving for Mexican breakfast food so I looked around the cupboards and my house to see what I could make.  I came up with these super easy huevos rancheros that turned out to be a delicious combination of slightly crispy tortilla chips, tangy salsa, melty cheese, and hot eggs, they’re now a regular on my breakfast menu!

Huevos Rancheros

I started by making some microwave nachos, I used to make these all the time as an after school snack.  Spread some tortilla chips on a plate, top with salsa and shredded cheese, and pop them in the microwave.  You can use any kind of salsa you want, I like to use jarred southwest salsa since it has black beans in and and the jarred salsa tends to have more juice than fresh salsa.

microwave nachos

Then you fry some eggs to your liking, I usually go with over easy to over medium.  Place the eggs on top of the nachos.

nachos with eggs

Top the eggs with more salsa, then shred some cheese on top, cover with a pan lid and let sit until the cheese melts.

huevos rancheros melted

Serve with guacamole as you like.

Huevos Rancheros

Enjoy a delicious breakfast!

Huevos Rancheros bite

 

 

Recipe

Huevos Rancheros

Serves 2

Ingredients

corn tortilla chips  (about 20)

1 cup southwest salsa

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

4 eggs

salt & pepper

guacamole (optional for serving – try this recipe)

– Place a layer of tortilla chips (about 10) on a plate, cover with salsa and shredded cheese, microwave for 30 seconds or until cheese is melted, repeat with another plate

– Fry the eggs with a little salt & pepper according to your preference (I like mine over easy to over medium)

– Place 2 eggs on each plate on top of the nachos, top with more salsa and shredded cheese, cover the plate with a pan lid and let the cheese melt

– Top the eggs with guacamole as desired and serve

 

 

Guacamole

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Guacamole

Guacamole is one of my all time favorite snacks (although if I’m being honest I could easily eat enough to make it a meal).  If I have guacamole in hand you can bet that I’ll incorporate into just about any food I’m eating, eggs, burgers, sandwiches, salads, most things can be improved with some guac!  I love making homemade guacamole, it’s soooo simple and it tastes about a thousand times better than store bought, try it, I’m sure you’ll agree!

guacamole on plate

Make sure you have ripe avocados (they should be brown and should give a little when you squeeze them) and cut them in half.

avocados

Remove the pits (they should come out easily if the avocados are ripe) and cut the flesh into chunks while it’s in the skin.

chunked in skin

Scoop the flesh into a bowl (I use a tupperware container so I don’t have to transfer it for storage) using a spoon and mash with a potato masher (you can use a fork if you don’t have a potato masher).

potato masher

Add some lime zest and juice and mix it all up with the potato masher.

add lime juice and zest

Stir in some fresh salsa (I use store bought but if you’re feeling ambitious knock yourself out and make your own).

fresh salsa

And some grated garlic.

grated garlic

And some spices: fresh cilantro (I’ve used dried cilantro in a pinch, but fresh really is better for this), cumin, and chili powder.  Then stir it all up until it’s well combined.

stir guac

Serve it up with some chips.

guacamole

So delicious.

Guac on chip

Really, words cannot properly express how much I love guacamole, I guess it’s a good thing a picture is worth a thousand words.

guacamole on plate

And here’s another thousand, that’s how much yummy this is!

chip dipped in guacamole

Recipe

Guacamole

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

3 ripe Haas avocados

2 limes – zest and juice (if your limes are really large or juicy use the juice from 1 1/2)

1/2 cup fresh salsa

2 cloves garlic – grated

3 tablespoons fresh cilantro – chopped

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

– Halve the avocados and remove the pits

– Cut into chunks in the skin then scoop the flesh into a bowl using a spoon

– Slightly mash the avocado chunks with a potato masher

– Add the lime zest and juice to the avocado and mash with the potato masher until you reach your desired consistency

– Add the salsa and garlic and stir to combine

– Stir in the spices

– Serve with tortilla chips or assorted vegetables

 

New Apartment Mates and Chicken Tacos with Black Beans and Corn

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New Apartment Mates and Chicken Tacos with Black Beans and Corn

First thing’s first, we now have 2 new apartment mates, meet Bruce and Sunshine (I know the picture isn’t very good, but they weren’t being very cooperative)!  Our friend Andrew is moving to South Carolina and couldn’t take his fish with him, so we volunteered to take care of them, I think they’ll be a great addition to the apartment, so thanks again Andrew!

Fish tank

Now, onto the matter of the delicious and easy recipe I have for you.  I love love love love love Mexican food.  It is by far my favorite genre of food (can you describe food in genres???).  I could absolutely eat it every day and never get sick of it.  We’ve had Mexican food at least once a week since we moved into the apartment and these chicken tacos have made several appearances, they’re one of my favorites.  This week I decided to jazz them up a bit by adding black beans and corn, they were pretty delicious if I do say so myself.

chicken tacos

First sprinkle some spices (cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper) on the chicken.  Then bake it in the oven.

raw chicken for tacos

While the chicken bakes make the beans and corn.  Drain and rinse the beans and combine them in a pan with some frozen corn.  Add some lime zest, lime juice, cumin, garlic powder, and salt & pepper.  Let them cook for a few minutes, then stir in some fresh copped cilantro.

black beans and corn

When the chicken is done let it cool for a few minutes and shred it, add some lime zest and the squeeze some fresh lime juice over top and stir it around.

lime and chicken

Serve the chicken and beans and corn on warmed tortillas topped with salsa, cheese, sour cream, and fresh cilantro as desired.

finished chicken tacos

Leftovers also make delicious salads for lunch the next day.  I layer lettuce, red belle peppers, chicken, black beans and corn, salsa, and shredded cheese in a container, and bring along tortilla chips and of course, sour cream.

chicken taco salad

Recipe

Chicken Tacos  with Black Beans and Corn

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

     2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

     2 teaspoons ground cumin

     1 teaspoon paprika

     1 teaspoon chili powder

     1 teaspoon garlic powder

     salt & pepper to taste

     1 lime – juice and zest

For the black beans and corn:

     1-15 oz can black beans

     8 oz frozen corn

     1 lime – juice and zest

     2 teaspoons cumin

     1 teaspoon garlic powder

     salt & pepper to taste

     3 tablespoons fresh cilantro

8-12 tortillas

salsa (for serving)

sour cream (for serving)

shredded cheese (for serving)

cilantro (for serving)

 

For the chicken: 

     – Preheat the oven to 400 ºF

     – Sprinkle each side of the chicken breasts with the spices

     – Bake for 25-30 minutes

     – Allow the chicken to cool for a few minutes, then shred it

     – Zest the lime and squeeze the juice over top of the chicken and stir

 

For the black beans and corn:

     – Drain and rinse the black beans and combine them with the corn in a pot

     – Add the spices and lime, and stir

     – Cook for a few minutes until the corn and beans are cooked

     Then stir in the cilantro and cook for a few more minutes

 

Serve the chicken with the black beans and corn on tortillas, topping with salsa, sour cream, cheese, and cilantro as desired

 

 

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Because it’s freezing outside and according to the weatherman it will continue to be freezing for the foreseeable future I have another soup recipe for you. This time I bring you a recipe that I just came up with and made for the first time yesterday: chicken tortilla soup.  I’ve always loved chicken tortilla soup (I mean, what’s not to love, chicken, veggies, spices, fried tortillas, sour cream, and avocado, yum!) but I had never made it until yesterday.  This recipe is so easy and delicious that I’ll definitely be making it again soon!

chicken tortilla soup

You’ll need the following ingredients: chicken, olive oil, onion, garlic, peppers, salt & pepper cumin, paprika, chili powder, ancho chili powder, chipotle chile powder, black beans, frozen corn, diced tomatoes (which aren’t in the picture because I’m a dork and I forgot about them), chicken stock, lime, cilantro, tortillas, avocado, sour cream, and shredded cheese.

cts ingredients

First you’ll need to roast your chicken, then shred it once it’s cool.  Then put some olive oil in a big pot, add the onion, peppers, and garlic, and cook until tender.

onion, pepper, garlic

Add the dried spices: cumin, paprika, chili powder, ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder, and salt & pepper.

pog with spices

Next add black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, chicken, and the broth, followed by lime juice, zest, and cilantro.

soup in pot

lime into soup

Bring everything to a boil and let simmer for 10-20 minutes.

cts soup in pot

While your soup is cooking fill the bottom of a pan with some canola oil and  fry up some tortilla slices.

slicing tortillas

tortillas frying

fried tortillas

Finally, serve everything up in a bowl, and garnish with tortilla strips, avocado, sour cream, and cheese, delicious!

soup in bowl

bite of cts soup

Recipe

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serves 8 – 10

Ingredients:

2 lbs. chicken (you can use all white meat or a combination of breast and thigh meat)

extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic – minced

1 medium sweet onion – chopped

5 sweet peppers or 2 bell peppers – chopped

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

12 cups chicken stock (I used 4 cups from the roasted chicken and 8 cups store bought)

31 oz canned black beans, drained

16 oz frozen corn

14 oz can diced tomatoes

10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles

3 tablespoons fresh cilantro – chopped

1 lime, juice and zest

3 flour tortillas – cut into thin strips

canola oil for frying

avocado (optional for serving)

sour cream (optional for serving)

shredded cheese (optional for serving)

Place chicken in roasting plan, season with salt & pepper, fill with water to approximately half way up the chicken, roast at 350 °F for about 2 hours

Cook garlic, onion, and peppers in olive oil over medium-high heat until tender (about 7 minutes)

– Add the dried spices to the pan and stir

– Add black beans, corn, tomatoes, chicken, and stock, stir, cover pot and  bring to a boil, stirring occasionally

– Add the cilantro, lime juice, and lime zest

– Simmer for about 10 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally

– While soup simmers put 1 inch of canola oil in a pan, fry tortilla strips in batches until crisp, remove to plate (if you don’t want to fry the tortillas you can just serve the soup with regular non-fried tortillas, but I like the crunch from the fried tortillas)

Serve soup, garnishing with tortilla strips, avocado, sour cream, and shredded cheese as desired