Tex-Mex chicken burrito (bowl)

Adapted from Mexican Please and My Latina Table

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup pico de gallo or fresh salsa (I chopped a Roma tomato and Vidalia onion to make one quick)
  • 1 14-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6-7 chicken thighs, seasoned, baked, shredded
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 burrito-size flour tortillas
  • 1 1/3 cups cooked white rice, warmed
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese (I used mozzarella and cheddar)
  • Guacamole, for serving (whenever possible)
  • sour cream

For the Guajillo Salsa:

  • 3 Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Onion (white)
  • 2 cloves garlic (large)
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 cup Chicken Stock
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika

For the baked Mexican chicken:

  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 juice of 1 lime (about 3 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 white onion, sliced (substituted from jalapeno — baby can’t handle too spicy)
  • 6-7 chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (I used peanut oil)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup pico de gallo and peppers if you have on hand (we didn’t); cook until the mixture starts to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add the beans and 3/4 cup water; bring to a low boil, then stir in the chicken and cook until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt.
  2. Heat the tortillas as the label directs. Arrange the rice horizontally in the lower half of each tortilla, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border on all sides. Top evenly with the cheese, chicken mixture, sour cream and the remaining pico de gallo.
  3. Fold the bottom edge of each tortilla snugly over the filling, tuck in the sides and roll up tightly. Cut the burritos in half and serve with guacamole.

For the Guajillo Salsa:

  1. Roast the tomatoes, onions, and garlic together on a frying pan until slightly browned. 
  2. Put the tomatoes, onions, and garlic into a blender with the spices, the chicken stock, and the whipping cream and blend until smooth. (No blender, hence the orange sauce with tomato and onion you see in the photo — great topping for leftovers!)

For the baked Mexican chicken:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, dried oregano, paprika, garlic powder, lime juice, olive oil, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, cilantro and sliced onions.
  2. Place chicken thighs in the bowl and toss marinade over thighs. Mix well together. Let the chicken marinade in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or overnight. (We did it promptly.)
  3. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Heat coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken thighs skin side down and cook until skin begins to get crispy and slightly light brown, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Flip thighs over, transfer skillet to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper to taste and garnish with more cilantro and onion slices if desired.

My sister Jennifer likes easy to make meals, as a mother of two. She had some chicken thighs defrosting in the fridge, ready to go, so I tried to go extra authentic Mexican on this Tex-Mex favorite. I used the spice mixture from Isabel Eats to bake the chicken 35 minutes. Next time I’ll make the arroz rojo properly. To make the Goya black beans, I followed the back of the can recipe. So really this was three separate recipes: the baked Mexican chicken, the Guajillo salsa, and the black beans. Not bad for Spring Break full on meal.

~Jessica

Fried salmon with fresh tomato and avocado salsa

Adapted from My Colombian Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound salmon
  • 1 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Drizzle olive oil over the salmon. Coat completely. Combine cumin, salt, and pepper and sprinkle mixture over the fish.
  2. When the pan is hot, place fish, skin side down. Cover and cook for about 4 minutes. Carefully turn the salmon, cover and grill an additional 3-4 minutes, more or less, depending on your taste. When the fish is cooked to your liking, remove from the pan and top with the avocado salsa.
  3. To make the salsa: Combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and avocado. Squeeze the lime juice over the salsa and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Set the salsa aside until serving.

I picked up an avocado at the corner green grocer. Had diced white onions and no fresh lime (not the season), and leftover (Whole Foods organic) cilantro from last time. I bought some local cherry tomatoes of different shapes and colors from Whole Foods, splurge! I forgot and used 1/2 lemon instead of the 1/2 lime still in the fridge (it was very dry though). I steamed a broccoli crown (over cooked a little bit more than the 4 minutes I should have done) for extra vegetable. And served over a bed of 1/2 organic brown, 1/2 Chinese white rice.

~Jessica

Avocado salsa

Adapted from Food 52

Ingredients

  • clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • ripe avocado, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 jalapeño, (omitted because I don’t handle spice)
  • 1/2 tomatillo, roughly chopped
  • scallion, roughly chopped
  • handful cilantro, roughly chopped
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Fold everything gently together in a large bowl. Some of the avocado will mash naturally, but most of it should keep its shape, which tastes divine. Do the garlic and lime juice first, letting them mellow out while you chop up the rest of the ingredients. Serve fresh.

I first read about this in my Google News feed, on Salon. Took way more than five minutes to prep though. Served atop of my crispy pan-seared salmon on vegetable pasta.

~Jessica

Huevos rancheros

IMG_2664Adapted from smitten kitchen

black beans (Deb used a can of Black Bean Soup — will try next time)
tomatoes
cilantro
salt
lime juice
poblano pepper
red onion
fresh Mexican sour cream
flour tortilla
Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg

Dice the tomatoes, peppers, onion small. Mix this with salt, lime, and a few sprigs of cilantro. Set aside. Heat your griddle/pan. Toast both sides of the tortilla before adding the grated cheese. Crack one egg on top. Wait a little while, then flip to cook the rest of the egg. Remove to serving plate. (Here I heated some black bean-red bean-corn from quesadillas night). Add the salsa fresca, beans, and a dollop of sour cream on top/the side of your cheesy egg tortilla, whichever you prefer. Serve immediately.

~Jessica

Quesadillas

Adapted from smitten kitchen‘s taco torte recipe

vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
1 clove garlic, minced
1 fresh jalapeno/habanero/serrano pepper, chopped small (optional)
ground cumin, chili powder to taste
1 can chopped tomatoes, drained, with 1/3 cup juice reserved
2 cans black, red and/or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can corn, drained
rough-chopped spinach leaves
6 flour tortillas (I like the corn ones, cause you can’t find them in Germany)
shredded cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lime juice (only had lemon juice)
Chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or salsa for garnish (optional)
2 radishes, sliced thin (didn’t have)
1 avocado, sliced (not ripe)

Saute onion, garlic, poblano pepper (and I threw in celery) in pan over medium heat until fragrant. Add the spices. Add the tomatoes and drained beans. Season with salt and pepper. Add the corn. I could have added mushrooms, but decided against it after having had mushroom risotto last night.

How to decide between authentic Mexican street foods (antojitos)? There are burritos, gringas, enchiladas, nachos, panuchos, salbutes, tacos, taquitos/flautas, tlayudas — all original Mexican dishes made with tortillas. Flour tortillas are often used for burritos and quesadillas, while corn tortillas are used for the rest. Lesson learned: Fajitas are Tex-Mex!

~Jessica

Chole

aka Chana masala. Adapted from Padma Lakshmi, a repeat from an earlier recipe.

2 onions, quartered
1 bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped (I used red)
6 large firm, ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
Salt, to taste
2 (15-ounce) cans chick peas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, or to taste

Chop finely the onions, bell pepper, tomatoes and ginger root. In a pot set over medium heat, warm the (I used coconut) oil until hot. Add the onions and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and peppers and cook for 20 minutes. Add the Garam Masala and chili powder and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes. Add the salt and chick peas and cook, stirring, until heated through. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro. Serve the curry over rice.

~Jessica

P.S. I also threw in some green and yellow squash for extra vegetables, and we threw in a dollop of peanut butter for added creaminess!

Jianbing

jiānbǐng (traditional Chinese: 煎餅; literally: “fried pancake”) is a traditional Chinese street food similar to crepes. The main ingredients are a batter of wheat and grain flour, eggs and sauce. I forgot to put in the eggs and used wheat tortillas to wrap them instead.

tortilla
1 clove of garlic, minced
meat of your choice (we used pork)
red wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce
pepper, garlic powder
vegetables of your choice, julienned
scallions and cilantro
chili sauce or hoisin sauce

Marinate the meat in red wine, black pepper, garlic powder, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Set aside. Julienne the vegetables. Pan fry the garlic in oil, then add the meat, then the vegetables. Fry until done. Let cool (don’t let it get too wet). Add scallions and cilantro, chili sauce or hoisin sauce to taste. Serve in a tortilla and fold like a burrito.

I would probably leave out the carrots, cabbage, and celery next time (I just used what was in the fridge, but cabbage is too wet for the filling). Next time I would put in tomatoes, potatoes, rice, bell peppers, eggs, mushrooms and chopped onions instead.

~Kai-ling

Bun Chay

Bún Chay (Vietnamese Noodle Salad). Adapted from smitten kitchen and Cooking with a Wallflower

4-8 ounces dried rice sticks or vermicelli
12-18 large shrimp
peanut oil

Sauce
1 lime, the juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
4 cloves garlic, minced
ginger, finely grated
6 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
Chili pepper/chili paste, miso, Asian fish sauce, mirin (rice vinegar, if you can find it)

Greens
mixed greens
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
2 small cucumbers, thinly sliced
handful of mixed herbs, coarsely chopped or torn (basil, mint, cilantro)

Garnish
2 tablespoons peanuts, roasted and chopped
Small Thai or Serrano chiles, thinly sliced, to taste
scallions
toasted sesame oil
Lime wedges (to serve)

Make the dipping sauce: Whisk ingredients in a small serving bowl, dissolve the sugar. Leave for 15 minutes. Refrigerate extras and use within a few days.

Cook the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; check for doneness by tasting.) Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well.

Toss vegetables with 1 spoon dipping sauce in a small bowl. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 – 6 bowls. Top each bowl equally with vegetable mixture and chopped marinated protein. Toss each bowl with 2 teaspoons of each the dipping sauce and dressing, or more to taste. Add the herbs, peanuts and scallions to each bowl and serve with additional dressing and dipping sauce on the side.

Yam lentil curry

Curried Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard, Adapted from smitten kitchen from The New York Times.

coconut oil + butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
fresh ginger root, grated
garam masala, curry powder, paprika
1 jalapeño pepper, minced (I had red pepper flakes)
1 L vegetable broth, or as needed
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
300 g dried lentils
1 bay leaf
380 mL canned tomatoes
125 g frozen spinach
salt + black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime

Saute onions, garlic, and ginger in fat until fragrant. Add the pepper and spices. Add the broth and bay leaf. I added canned tomatoes here, cause I like a tomato-based curry. Boil lentils and potatoes in this for 20-30 minutes. Stir in greens if you have any, and lime juice. Taste. Add more water if lentils need more time. Season to taste. Garnish with cilantro.

~Jessica

Guacamole en molcajete

IMG_20190424_173705

Adapted from ROSA MEXICANO. Makes 4 servings

Chile Paste Ingredients:

  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • cilantro, freshly chopped
  • 1/4 jalapeño, finely chopped
  • salt as needed

Guacamole Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe but firm Hass avocados
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • cilantro, chopped fresh
  • 1/4 white onion, finely chopped
  • salt, if necessary
  • splash of lime juice
  • Tortilla chips and/or fresh corn tortillas

Directions:

  1. Make the chile paste: Grind the onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and salt together in a mortar until all the ingredients are finely ground. Alternatively, I used a fork to mash all the ingredients to a paste in a wide bowl.
  2. Cut each avocado in half. Twist the halves to separate them and flick out the pit. Rest an avocado half cut side up on a folded dishtowel in your palm. Make 3 lengthwise cuts through the avocado flesh down to the skin, without cutting through it. Make 4 crosswise cuts in the same way. Scoop the diced avocado flesh into the mortar. Mix all, serve immediately with the tortilla.

We made this for an easy appetizer before hosting dinner for six + 2 toddlers who ran around more than they ate anything.

~Jessica