Tag Archives: salsa

Chicken Kebabs with Blueberry Salsa

I hope you had a great Fourth of July, full of food, family, fireworks, and fun.

When you hear “barbecue” what do you think of? Smoked meat? Burgers? Grilled meats? I find all of the above come to my mine in different ways.

These kebabs were some of the best “barbecue” I’ve made in a while. I was so busy making and then eating them, I forgot to take a picture. Sorry. I threw some veggies on other kebabs and had dinner ready with very few dishes. Win!

Chicken Kebabs with Blueberry Salsa (Serves 4)

1 clove garlic
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
grated rind of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
1 pint blueberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons finey chopped red onion
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper (or to taste)

1. Combine garlic, parsley, cilatnro, oil, lemon rind, lmeon juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor until well chopped. Combine mixture with chicken in a resealable bag. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Combine ½ of the blueberries, vinegar, and honey in a small pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, occasionally pressing on blueberries with a spoon to break them up. Place in a medium bowl.

3. Place remaining blueberries in a food processor; pulse 5 times. Add to cooked berries along with onion and jalapeno.

4. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Thread chicken pieces onto skewers, not packing them in tightly. Grill for 10 minutes, turning occasioally. Serve with blueberry salsa.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 268
Protein: 31 g
Fat: 10 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 102 mg
Carbohydrates: 15 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 202 mg

Adapted from Cooking Light

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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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Curry Chickpea Nachos with Mango Salsa and Raita

Lunch is a really difficult meal for me. I don’t want to expend much effort, but I want something delicious. Sometimes, a pb&j is that sweet spot. I find on the weekends, however, a simple lunch just won’t cut it. Weekends feel like they should have special, slightly more indulgent meals to me.

These nachos seem like a bit of work, but they come together fairly quickly. And the reward is huge. Most things taste better on a chip with dip, don’t they? Don’t skip the salsa or the “raita” like sauce. Both make this dish even more special.

Enjoy!

Curry Chickpea Nachos with Mango Salsa and “Raita” (Serves 6)

Curry Chickpea Nachos

1 cucumber, grated (peel half of the peel if regular cucumber, can leave peel on if English cucumber)
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
5 tablespoons lime juice, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 mangoes, peeled, pitted, and diced
2 tomatoes, diced, divided
1 red bell pepper, diced, divided
1 red onion, diced, divided
½ cup lightly packed coarsely chopped cilantro, divided
1 avocado, diced (optional)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sriracha or hot sauce
½ large bag baked tortilla chips (basically, enough to make a good layer on a baking sheet)
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1. For the raita, squeeze out and discard the excess liquid from the cucumber. In a bowl, combine the cucumber, yogurt, 2 tablespoons lime juice, and mint. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Can be done up to 24 hours in advance.

2. For the mango salsa, combine mango, ½ the bell pepper, 1 diced tomato, ¼ cup chopped onion, ¼ cup cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice, and avocado if using. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Can be done up to 24 hours in advance.

3. Preheat oven to 375.

4. Heat a olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute remaining onion until translucent. Add beans, remaining pepper, remaining tomato, curry powder, garam masala, and cumin. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from heat. Stir in sriracha, remaining lime juice, and black pepper.

5. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil. Arrange tortilla chips in a single layer on baking sheet. Top with mozzarella, followed by curried beans and feta cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and chips are hot and crisp, about 12-14 minutes. Top with remaining cilantro. Serve with mango salsa and raita.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories:  403
Protein:  21 g
Fat:  15 g
Saturated Fat:  6 g
Cholesterol:  33 mg
Carbohydrates:  51 g
Fiber:  9 g
Sodium:  527 mg

Recipe Notes: I kind of chop all the ingredients at once, and even have made the dips as the beans cook. It works just fine that way, you are just very busy right then. The original recipe called for ground turkey or lamb, which I’ve subbed beans for, but I like going the vegetarian route. It also says to drain all the liquid from the salsa and pour it over the top. I kind of like the liquid in the salsa since I prefer to dip it. Draining the liquid means draining flavor to me, but you can try that if you prefer a “dry” salsa.

Source:  adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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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)

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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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Sweet Potato Fritters

I’m not a big fan of veggie patties as a general rule.  My experience has been they don’t taste like the meat version they are meant to replace, so I’m not satisfied after eating it.  But I recently cut down my family’s meat consumption, leaving me looking for a veggie main dish that isn’t pasta or rice.  This recipe works because it doesn’t try to imitate any meat dish.  The fritters have a unique taste and texture that is delicious and a bit surprising for the critical eater.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Fritters (Makes 4-6 fritters)

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1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, minced (seeds removed, if desired)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder (or more, if desired for heat)
2 cups grated sweet potato
¾ cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 large egg

1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and jalapeño for 3 minutes. Add garlic powder, salt, black pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until spices are fragrant but not burning. Add sweet potato. Saute 2 minutes more.

3. Put sweet potato mixture and remaining ingredients in a food processor. Pulse just until combined. Divide mixture into equal portions, shaping into 4-inch round patties that are about ½ inch thick. Place on prepared backing sheet.

4. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes or until browned and set in the middle. Serve with salsa and guacamole.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Fritter):

Calories: 204
Protein: 8 g
Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 37 mg
Carbohydrates: 31 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 380 mg

Recipe Notes: Grate the potato on a large grater. Pulse it as little as possible in the food processor. If you pulse it too long, everything becomes mush and you lose any sort of texture in the fritter. Feel free to mix up the seasonings, but don’t worry about over doing it. The amounts I have may seem like a lot, but these seem to absorb seasoning and become bland quickly.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Light

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Chips and Dip

Football season is here.  My husband is in heaven for the next few months.  Like all sports, I prefer watching football in person than on the television.  But some good snacks always make me more inclined to watch a game.

Chips and dip are a classic game day snack, but both can be overloaded with fat and salt.  Here are some homemade versions that won’t break your calorie bank.  You can feel good about the veggies in the salsa and guacamole.  And yes, avocados are high in fat.  But the monounsaturated fats in avocados can actually be beneficial to your health – when eaten in moderation and replacing saturated fats.  So eat that guacamole, especially if you are replacing a cheese sauce.

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Baked Tortilla Chips (Serves 5)

5 fajita-size whole-wheat flour tortillas or 10 small corn tortillas
Cooking spray
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Spray both sides of tortillas lightly with cooking spray. Stack tortillas and cut into sixths (flour tortillas) or fourths (corn tortillas). Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle with salt.

3. Bake for 5-7 minutes, watching to make sure they don’t burn. Once they look lightly “toasted”, flip over and bake for 2 minutes more. Serve with chips and salsa.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 132
Protein: 4
Fat: 4.5 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 19 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 241 mg

Source: adapted from online

Easy Pico de Gallo (Serves 4-5)

6 roma tomatoes, diced
¼ medium red onion, diced small
½ jalapeño, membranes and seeds removed, diced small
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Allow to sit in refrigerator for a couple hours for best flavor.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 34
Protein: 1.5 g
Fat: 0 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 8 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 126 mg

Source: adapted from family recipe

Guacamole (Serves 4-5)

3 large avocados, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ cup pico de gallo or salsa
pinch of salt

1. Mash avocados with 1 tablespoon of lime juice. (A pastry blender works well here.) Stir in remaining tablespoon of lime juice, pico de gallo, and salt. Serve immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 195
Protein: 2.5 g
Fat: 18 g
Saturated Fat: 2.6 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 11 g
Fiber: 8 g
Sodium: 44 mg

Source: adapted from family recipe

Recipe Notes: Using flour tortillas provides a little different taste than normal tortilla chips – a cross between tortilla chips and pita chips. Adjust the amount of onion and jalapeño in the pico de gallo to your preference. Raw red onion can become very powerful as it sits, so keep that in mind. You could use raw garlic, but I actually prefer powder here, as it can mix into more of the salsa than chunks of minced garlic.

Low iodine adjustment: Use non-iodized salt. You can make homemade tortillas or use salt-free tortillas.

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