Tag Archives: mexican

Oven Baked Tacos

The holiday season is upon us. We are all very busy and stressed. Easy dinners are the order of the day, yes? These oven baked tacos are a win on that score. They can be put on the table in about 30 minutes and are delicious. And there isn’t a big mess afterwards. I hope these help ease a little of the December stress in your life.

Oven Baked Tacos (Makes 12 tacos)

Oven Baked Tacos

12 hard shell taco shells
½ tablespoon canola oil
1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
½ jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed if desired, diced small
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tomato, diced
½ cup salsa
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
2 tablespoons water
½ cup shredded cheese (your preference)
Shredded lettuce
Chopped green onion
Chopped tomatoes
Sour cream
Shredded cheese (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400. Line taco shalls in 9×13 baking dish.

2. Heat a medium to large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and ground meat. While it begins to brown, chop vegetables. Add onion, peppers, and garlic once meat is mostly browned. Saute, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and pepper soft. Add tomato, salsa, taco seasoning, and water. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until thickened and combined.

3. Spoon meat mixture into the taco shells. Top evenly with shredded cheese.

4. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve with desired toppings.

Nutritional Information (Amount per taco):

Calories: 158
Protein: 10 g
Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 32 mg
Carbohydrates: 12 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 277 mg

Recipe notes: Don’t worry if your shells crack a bit trying to get them in the pan. Once you put the filling and cheese in, you can patch them back together. I would start checking the tacos at 5 minutes. The longer they are in the oven, the softer the shells become. Mine were in 8 minutes (convection oven) and the bottoms of the shells were almost too soft/soggy. The nutritional analysis uses ground turkey and doesn’t include in toppings. Refried black beans are a great side dish to serve with this.

Source: Adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff

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Black-eyed Pea Salsa

My mom’s family is from the South. According to her, you always eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s for luck in the upcoming year. More black-eyed peas meant more luck. That was the only time of year we ever ate these beans (why they are named peas, I don’t know), and I distinctly remember hating them. The only part I liked was trying to steal one or two of the okra my mom would cook in the beans.

But for some reason, it is stuck in my mind that you eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s. Last year, I found this salsa and really liked it. It’s really tasty, different enough to be interesting but not weird, and really fast to throw together. I was done within 15 minutes, including “help” from my lovely small assistants. And I think there might be something to what my mom said. I ate a lot of this salsa last New Year’s, and it was a pretty great year. Lots of things went my way. If you are looking to have a good 2016, you might want to throw some black-eyed peas in your mix!

Enjoy!

Black-eyed Pea Salsa (Serves 8)

Black-eyed Pea Salsa

1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed well and drained
5 roma tomatoes, chopped
½ jalapeno, diced small (seeds and membranes removed per preference)
⅓ medium red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1-2 tablespoons lime juice

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir to distribute evenly. Refrigerate if not serving immediately.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 45
Protein: 3 g
Fat: less than 1 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 9 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 135 mg

Recipe notes: You can use any tomato you like. I just like a ratio of equal parts tomato to beans, so add tomato until you get there. This is basically a recipe for pico de gallo with some black-eyed peas thrown in. You can adjust any ingredient to you preferred level. I have been a bit skimpy on the red onion, because I find them quite strong when raw. The original recipe called for a poblano pepper. It was yummy when I did that, but either pepper works well. You might want a pinch of salt. Just depends on how well you rinse the black-eyed peas, since there is a lot of salt in the can liquid.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light

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MexiMac

Tomorrow is National Macaroni and Cheese Day!  I love food holidays, the more ridiculous the better.  Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite foods, so this holiday is especially important on my calendar.  But let’s celebrate with flair.  No box.  No plain Jane noodles.  Add some spice and some veggies with this MexiMac to have an extra special holiday.

Enjoy!

MexiMac (Serves 6-8)

MexiMac

1 box (13.25 ounce) whole wheat macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced small (seeds and membranes removed per preference)
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
2 tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup flour
2 ½ cups skim milk
1½-2 cups grated colby jack cheese
2 green onions, chopped small

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add macaroni and cook until just al dente – the minimum time on the box or even a minute less. Drain.

3. While macaroni cooks, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño to pan. Saute 3-5 minutes, until slightly softened. Add garlic and taco seasoning; cook 1 minute more. Add tomatoes. Cook until softened and most of the liquid is gone.

4. Add in black pepper and flour. Stir constantly, cooking for 1-2 minutes until just beginning to brown. Whisk/stir in milk, stirring constantly. Cook until sauce thickens, stirring frequently to prevent lumps, about 5 minutes.

5. Remove sauce from heat. Stir in cheese until melted and smooth. Add in drained pasta. Stir until well combined. Pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle green onions over the top.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until casserole is bubbling.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 446
Protein: 21 g
Fat: 14 g
Saturated Fat: 8 g
Cholesterol: 39 mg
Carbohydrates: 63 g
Fiber: 7 g
Sodium: 429 mg

Recipe notes: You could easily add some chicken or pork to this.

Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman

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Grilled Corn

Holidays often have food traditions.  These can be widely acknowledged – such turkey at Thanksgiving – or be more individual – like my family ate scrambled eggs every Christmas Eve dinner.  Fourth of July is somewhere in between.  I think most of us associate outdoor eating with the Fourth, but whether this is a picnic or grilling is fairly individual.

Either way, this grilled corn is a great addition to your Fourth menu. If you are eating at a cookout, it is a fast easy, side dish that is sure to please all ages. (I love watching small children chow down on a whole ear of corn.) If you are taking a picnic somewhere, you could prepare these ahead of time very easily to pack with you. Enjoy!

Grilled Corn (Serves 4)

Grilled Corn

4 ears of corn
4 teaspoons nonfat sour cream (optional)
1 tablespoon lime juice (optional)
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Option 1:

1. Peel back husks, leaving them attached at the bottom. Remove as much of the corn silk as possible. Fold husks back up.

2. Place corn in a sink or large bowl or large bag. Cover with cold water. Let soak for 30-45 minutes.

3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Remove corn from water, shaking slightly to remove excess water. Place on grill. Cook, turning every 5 or so minutes. Corn should be done in about 20 minutes. Keep grilling until corn looks bright and tender.

Option 2:

1. Remove husks and silk from corn.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place corn on grill. Cook, turning every 5 or so minutes, as each side chars slightly. Corn should be bright and tender with a slight char all around.

For either option:

1. You can serve as is and enjoy.

2. Lightly coat each ear with 1 teaspoon of sour cream. Drizzle lime juice over all the ears. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top. Enjoy.

Nutritional Information (Amount per ear):

Calories: 102
Protein: 4
Fat: 2 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 2.5 mg
Carbohydrates: 20 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 67 mg

Recipe Notes: I think I prefer the first method for cooking the corn. As I’ve tried it, the corn doesn’t char that well. But I also don’t have a very large grill, so it may just not get hot enough for that. If transporting, you can wrap the ears in foil to keep them warm.

Source: original method for option 1, adapted from online for option 2 and topping

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Black Bean Tacos

A couple years ago, our family was at a bit of a crossroads. My husband was having a hard time finding a permanent job. We were beginning to feel the stress of what to do with our lives when a job offer came that totally reset the trajectory of his career. To celebrate, we went out to eat at a fun Mexican restaurant in Chicago. As I was pregnant, I was being extra careful to try and eat “healthy”. So I ordered the vegetarian burrito. I love that restaurant, but that burrito was disgusting.

I often find that the case with Mexican vegetarian dishes when I go out to eat. I’ve actually become very wary of them. They just don’t taste right to me. My guess is because they throw in strong flavored veggies that just don’t blend in well (like tons of broccoli in the burrito mentioned above). If you have found some places with good options, let me know. I’d love to try them.

In response, I have made it my mission to make awesome vegetarian versions of Mexican dishes at home. These black bean tacos were pretty great. I didn’t miss the meat, although I’m sure my husband did. I tried to focus on vegetables that made sense or at least had very mild flavors. Enjoy!

Black Bean Tacos (Serves about 4)

Black Bean Tacos

½ tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, diced small (seeds and membranes removed per preference)
1 zucchini, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tablespoon cumin
½ tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 cans low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup frozen corn
4 whole wheat tortillas
½ cup shredded cheese
sour cream (optional)
guacamole (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño. Saute for 5-7 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add zucchini; cook for 3 minutes more.

2. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Saute 1 minute, or until beginning to be fragrant, stirring frequently.

3. Add tomatoes, beans, and corn. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5 or so minutes, until everything is heated through and combined well.

4. Serve in tortillas with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, or your favorite taco toppings.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 427
Protein: 21 g
Fat: 12 g
Saturated Fat: 5 g
Cholesterol: 14 mg
Carbohydrates: 63 g
Fiber: 20 g
Sodium: 732 mg

Recipe Notes: I recently have been subbing pinto beans in many recipes for black beans with great success. Sometimes, I almost like the pinto version better. While I haven’t tried it with these yet, feel free to mix up the beans. Maybe a mix of black and pinto. Or garbanzo beans would also be tasty here.

Source: original recipe

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Crockpot Stuffed Peppers

Right after I got married, I got my first real job. I actually needed to cook dinner consistently for the first time AND didn’t have a lot of time to cook. I found myself turning to my slow cooker a lot. But we could only eat so many meals doused in cream of chicken or mushroom soup, so I began to look around for other ideas.

The great thing about these peppers is that they are very adaptable. Change up the ingredients as much as you’d like – corn, different beans, olives, different peppers, etc. The only downside I have found is the timing. If you leave these to cook for a long time, they kind of fall apart. They still taste great, but the presentation leaves something to be desired. I do think these taste better than peppers in the oven though, since they have more of a sauce.

Enjoy!

Crockpot Stuffed Peppers (Serves 6)

crockpot stuffed peppers

6 bell peppers (any mix of colors)
½ yellow onion, diced
1 can of low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 jalapeño, seeds and membranes removed per preference, diced
½ cup shredded colby jack cheese
1 cup brown rice
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
¾ cup salsa

1. Cut tops off peppers and remove seeds, stems, and cores. Dice pepper tops and place in a medium bowl.

2. To pepper tops, add onion, beans, corn, jalapeño, cheese, rice, taco seasoning, and half the can of tomatoes. Stuff peppers with mixture. Place peppers in crockpot. If you have an filling left over, pour it over the peppers in the crockpot.

3. Combine remaining tomatoes and salsa. Pour over stuffed peppers. Put lid on crockpot. Cook for 4-6 hours on low.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 263
Protein: 10 g
Fat: 5 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 9 mg
Carbohydrates: 47 g
Fiber: 9 g
Sodium: 436 mg

Recipe Notes: You can use any color of bell peppers. I tend to prefer the flavor of red or yellow peppers, but green are usually cheaper. The recipe originally had ground beef instead of beans. It was tasty that way, but I like the vegetarian version. You could also split the cheese in half, mixing half in the stuffing and sprinkling half on top. I have found the cheese on top often gets lost when you are serving, so I don’t bother. Also, I ALWAYS have extra stuffing. If you could fit an extra pepper or so in your crockpot, you might want to use them.

Source: Adapted from Semi-Homemade Cooking 2

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Grilled Fish Tacos with Spicy Slaw

On a recent trip to California, a couple family members and I branched out from the crowd going to the traditional chain restaurant. We found this little taco shack a few doors down that was phenomenal. They only served tacos and shakes, but they did both of those things incredibly well. We tried several different varieties, but my favorite was the fish taco.

I was so inspired that I came home and made some. While maybe not on the same level as the restaurant, these tacos were killer. I ate the leftovers for days as tacos, salads, quesadillas, etc. The slaw could really be served as a side on its own. The salsa you may recognize from my polenta poblanos; it is my favorite. Go fire up your grill and make these tacos. You won’t regret it.

Enjoy!

Grilled Fish Tacos with Spicy Slaw (Serves 4-6)

IMG_6420label

1 pound white fish (I used tilapia)
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¾ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (cayenne if you don’t have chipotle)
8-16 corn tortillas

1. Dry fish with a paper towel.

2. Combine paprika through chipotle chili powder in a small bowl. Rub evenly over fish. Let marinate for 15 minutes (optional.

3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place fish onto hot grill. Grill for 4 minutes on the first side. Flip. Cook on second side until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. Remove from grill and let rest.

4. Grill tortillas until warmed on each side.

5. Flake fish into large chunks. Serve in warmed tortillas with slaw and salsa.

Spicy Slaw
¼ cup fat free sour cream
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (seeds and membranes removed per preference)
½ tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water, if needed
½ head of green cabbage, shredded or sliced thin
1 cup grated carrots
½ cup sliced red onion

1. Combine sour cream, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, lime juice, jalapeño, and sugar in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth, adding water in small amounts as needed to thin to desired consistency.

2. Combine cabbage, carrots, onion, and remaining cilantro in a large bowl. Toss with dressing until well coated. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Fresh Salsa
8 roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 jalapeño pepper, halved lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed (to your heat preference)
1 large red onion, cut into wedges (sixths or eighths should work)
½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup cilantro
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1. Toss tomatoes, jalapeño, and red onion in olive oil. Grill on hot grill for 5-10 minutes per side, until nicely charred.

2. Puree tomatoes, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, salt, and garlic powder until desired salsa consistency. Chill before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 288
Protein: 28 g
Fat: 5 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 56 mg
Carbohydrates: 36 g
Fiber: 7 g
Sodium: 334 mg

Recipe Notes: The cook times for the fish anticipate a thinner fish fillet. If your fillets are thick or frozen, you will want to increase the time on the first side. Just check your temperature. The amount of tortillas you need depends on your preference and the durability of your tortillas. I find corn tortillas, even when warmed, to be a bit brittle. I served mine doubled up to help prevent taco breakdown. Be warned that this slaw really can get spicy, especially the longer that it sits. Also, it will seem like it doesn’t have enough dressing, compared to traditional slaw. You want a crunchy slaw on top of you taco, so slightly underdressing is good. Also, it will soften more the longer it sits. The slaw recipe will also make way more than 4-6 servings for tacos. If only used for tacos, it would probably serve 8-10. Enjoy it as a side dish on another day. Same with the salsa.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Light, Bobby Flay, Real Simple, and LoveOneToday.com

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