Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pico de Gallo

This is a very simple salsa to make. By making it fresh instead of buying it you will add so much more flavor to your dishes. It does yield a lot of juice if it sits, so you can drain the juice and add it to a marinade, which is exactly what I plan to do today! I'm making my salsa early and will make a marinade for some beef that I will cook tonight. This afternoon, I'll drain the excess juices of the salsa into the marinade for more flavor.


1/2 white onion, finely chopped

2 vine ripened tomatoes, chopped

1 jalepeno without the seeds and ribs, finely minced

1 bunch of cilantro leaves, finely minced

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients and let sit at least half an hour to test the seasoning. Salsas always need more salt than you think, but I let the flavors marinate before tasting for salt.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe is so easy to make and is so delicious that it will become a favorite. As this yields six portions, feel free to double it as desired. It’s also good to freeze it for a last minute weeknight dinner.


Breast of one rotisserie chicken, skinned and shredded
1 Jar of your favorite tomatillo salsa
6 corn tortillas
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Olives, onions, or avocado to garnish

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 casserole dish with vegetable or olive oil spray. Spread a small layer of the salsa on the bottom of the casserole dish. Heat the tortillas in a non-stick pan until heated through. Add ½ of the remaining salsa and ½ of the cheese to the chicken and mix together. Take 1/6 of the chicken mixture and place inside the tortilla. Roll the tortilla and place seam side in the pan. Continue with the tortillas until all six are done. Add the remaining salsa on top and the remaining cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes until the top is brown and the mixture is hot and bubbling.

Remove from oven and let stand at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes. Carefully remove the enchiladas one at a time and garnish as desired.

Note, never bake the olives on top of the enchiladas. They will turn to a rubbery consistency if you bake them. Rather, add them on top after you have removed them from the oven.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Beef Fajitas

I developed this recipe for my husband who loves the idea of fajitas, but likes his vegetables cooked until they are soft, not crisp. If you prefer crisp vegetables, omit the steps about steaming them. However, I have cooked this recipe many times throughout the years as it is a particular favorite of Paul’s, and when I have shared the food with guests or leftovers at work, everyone raves about it. The leftovers are great in quesidillas, or on a pizza!

The Ingredients:

1 Pound Lean Beef (I prefer Tenderloin, but use your favorite cut such as Sirloin or Flank) cut into ¾” pieces

1 Red Bell Pepper, cored and cut into 1” pieces

1 Bunch of Green Onions, cut off the ends and cut on a bias into ½” pieces (keep the white part separated from the green part)

1 Bunch of Cilantro, washed, stemmed and minced

2 Limes, Quartered

Olive Oil


The Seasonings:

2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin Seed
¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
½ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
½ Teaspoon Salt (more can be added later to taste)
Combine all the Seasonings in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.

The Vegetables:

Heat a large pan and add 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil. Add the Red Pepper and Toss until they start to carmelize (and smell incredibly good!). Add the white part of the onions and toss until they start to carmelize. Add ½ cup good white wine (any kind you like to drink) and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting. Cover with foil and steam. Check on periodically, if the wine cooks out too fast, add some water and continue to steam until fork tender (if there is still moisture in the pan, that is okay). Add the remaining green onions and stir to incorporate. Remove from heat and cover pan with foil.

The Meat:

Heat another pan and add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the meat with some salt and pepper. Add a layer of meat to the heated pan, but don’t overcrowd and try not to let the meat touch each other. You want to brown the meat, not steam it. Overcrowding can cause the meat to steam and look gray, not brown and delicious. Don’t touch the meat until you check one to see if it is brown. When it is brown on one side, turn over. The second side will cook very quickly so as soon as you get all the pieces turned over, give it a quick stir and remove to a bowl. You may need to cook the meat in batches, depending on the size of your pan. After all the meat is cooked, add ½ cup of white wine to the pan to deglaze the pan. Using a spatula (I use a wooden one), scrape up all the bits from the cooked meat. When all is scraped up, pour the wine and meat juices into the pan with the vegetables.

The Assembly:

Return the vegetables to heat and add all the meat. Stir to combine. Add the spices (if you don’t like things too spicy, add about half, incorporate and taste. You can always add more). Stir to combine and give the mixture a taste for salt and pepper adjustments. The liquid in the mixture will quickly absorb the spices. Add the cilantro all at once and squeeze in half of your limes. Stir to combine and serve immediately.


I serve in a warm flour tortilla with my favorite Chipolte Salsa (or whatever Salsa you like, such as Pico de Gallo, etc.), and some fresh grated Extra Sharp Canadian Cheddar (use your favorite cheese such as any cheddar, Mexican Cheese or Jack). Serve the lime wedges on the side.