Chicken with Salsa Verde

Salsa verde is the easiest thing ever. Made fresh on your stovetop in 45 minutes (including the meat), you’ll never buy the sodium-laden jars again.

Make tacos, enchiladas, burritos…or dip tortilla chips in it!

If you don’t like heat, leave the jalapeño out, because it does make the sauce spicy. Add in green bell pepper as a replacement.

As always, corn tortillas are traditional. Flour tortillas will work fine, but because they’re larger, you’ll get fewer tacos.

Garnish how you like…cilantro, lime wedges, radish slices, queso blanco…or sour cream. Or queso dip. Or all of the above. So delicious.

Chicken with Salsa Verde

Yield 10-12 tacos or enchiladas.

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken cuts (such as breast or thigh)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound tomatillos, papery shells removed, cut into small wedges
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced into rounds (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt to taste

garnish with:

  • chopped cilantro
  • radish slices
  • queso blanco
  • sour cream
  • hot sauce
  • lime wedges

Heat oil in a large fry pan (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat; generously salt and pepper chicken, and add to pan. Brown meat 5 minutes per side. Remove from pan to a plate.

Add chicken broth and scrape up the brown bits in the pan. When broth is simmering, stir in tomatillos, jalapeño, onion, and garlic. Simmer on medium-high heat 15-20 minutes, or until tomatillos soften. Using a potato masher or a wooden spoon, crush the tomatillos.

Add the chicken back and simmer 10-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and cut into slices; squeeze lime into sauce and season with salt if needed.

For enchiladas: heat tortillas, covered with a damp paper towel, in the microwave a few at a time, 15-20 seconds. Fill middle with a few slices of chicken, roll and place seam side down on a plate. Spoon verde sauce over the top. If desired, top with cheese and place under broiler for a few minutes to melt cheese. Finish with desired toppings.

For tacos: heat a dry skillet over high heat and lightly brown tortillas (corn only- heat flour tortillas using the microwave method above) until firm. Lay flat on a plate and add chicken, sauce and toppings as desired.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Bon Appétit’s Chicken with Salsa Verde

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Spicy Beef Chili

I have about a zillion chili recipes – this is Mike’s favorite! It is also super easy and doesn’t have to sit on the stove all day if you’re in a rush.

It is quite spicy (but we love that). It is naturally gluten free, and very healthy – I always use low or no sodium canned vegetables. The bacon fat is worth the splurge for a little flavor!

As the picture shows, I was really bad and put it on a cheese biscuit (delicious). But a nice, big bowl over some brown rice is just as good.

We like to top this chili with cheese, jalapeno slices, sour cream, cilantro, chives…take your pick. A fried egg on top might send me over the edge.

Spicy Beef Chili

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean (90/10) ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat (or use oil)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped
  • 15.5 ounce can spicy chili beans
  • 10 can mild or Original Ro-Tel tomatoes and chiles
  • 15 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1-2 cups broth (beef, chicken or vegetable will work)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon terragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2+ teaspoons salt (to taste)

In a large pot, melt bacon fat over medium heat. Add garlic and onions; simmer 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Turn heat to medium-high and add ground beef, cooking until no longer pink.

Add chili beans, Ro-Tel, corn, beans, and zucchini to pot, then add enough broth to barely cover. Stir in seasonings. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low, simmering 45 minutes to 3 hours, stirring every half hour or so. Season with salt to taste at the end. Enjoy!


Cuban-Style Enchiladas

I have this amazing cookbook called Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America.

Contained in its nearly 900 pages is the life’s work of chef and restaurateur Maricel Presilla, the result of a 30 years long trip that took her to the kitchens of families all over Latin America. I have learned so much from these recipes, and occasionally make one my own. The book got the James Beard Award, for heaven’s sake.

This recipe is my take on a Cuban enchilado recipe in Gran Cocina Latina originally meant for seafood. Certainly this would be great with shrimp or fish – I used chicken in this example. The sauce is very much like making a Spanish sofrito but I use a few shortcuts and omit or add some ingredients. The seafood and sauce is eaten over rice but I thought it would make great enchiladas!

It is mildly spicy, very garlicky and deliciously savory. This sauce over steamed mussels would be absolutely divine.

But today, let’s make enchiladas!

By the way, you could certainly take the extra step of pureeing the sauce with a stick blender until smooth so it looks more like enchilada sauce.

Cuban Style Enchiladas (sauce pureed)

 

Cuban-Style Enchiladas

Adapted from “Cuban-Style Shrimp in Enchilado Sauce”, Gran Cocina Latina cookbook

  • 1 pound chicken, cut into strips
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • juice of 1/4 lime

 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes and chiles, mild or original
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch

 

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded colby or Mexican 4-cheese blend
  • fresh cilantro and sour cream, for garnish
  • 8-10 corn tortillas

In a zip-top bag, combine the chicken, 4 chopped garlic cloves, salt, and lime. Seal, toss to coat, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (I allowed 2 hours).

When the chicken is ready, take it out and clean it so no garlic is left. In a large saucepan with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes or until soft.

Add the rest of ingredients except cornstarch and add a little salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Measure cornstarch out one teaspoon at a time, adding slowly and whisking to combine.

Put chicken in the sauce mixture, and spoon more over the tops to cover. Cover pan and let simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes, turning once.

Preheat your broiler on high.

Remove chicken to a plate and shred with 2 forks (if it doesn’t shred easily, it isn’t ready). Add a few tablespoons of the sauce to the shredded chicken and toss. Set aside.

Heat the stack of tortillas wrapped in a damp paper towel in the microwave until warm, 15-30 seconds.

One at a time, put about 1/4 cup chicken down the center of the tortilla; roll up and place seam-side down in a shallow baking dish. Repeat until all the filling is gone, pushing enchiladas snug up against each other as you go.

(Puree the sauce now, if desired.)

Now pour the pan’s contents over the enchiladas; top with shredded cheese.

Broil 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve with fresh cilantro, sour cream, and maybe some Cholula hot sauce! Enjoy!

Cuban Style Enchiladas


Easy, Spicy Adobo Chicken “Pollo Adobado”

Here’s an easy way to make adobo marinade – buy the chiles in adobo sauce and add your own ingredients to liven it up!

Most grocery stores have chiles in adobo sauce in the international foods aisle.  The brand I found – San Marcos – is smoky and spicy.   I thought I might add more smoked paprika but once I opened the can I decided it didn’t need it.

You’ll only need half (about 1 cup) of the sauce, so refrigerate the rest for up to a week.  Try it on shredded chicken for exciting enchiladas!

I had 3 chicken breasts that were about 8 ounces each; to make them easier to marinate (and cook), I cut them in half lengthwise to end up with 6 thinner breast halves.

Let the chicken marinate for as long as you can.  Overnight is best!

Easy, Spicy Adobo Chicken, Pollo Adobado

Yield 2 cups of adobo sauce, to marinate up to 4 pounds of chicken.

  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts (or your favorite pieces, bone removed)
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided

for the adobo:

  • 7.5 ounce can chili peppers in adobo sauce (such as San Marcos)
  • 2 whole cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, optional
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 tablespoons white or cider vinegar (or lime or orange juice)

In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients for the adobo and puree until smooth.  You’ll only need half the marinade for up to 2 pounds of chicken; refrigerate the rest up to a week.  Set the other cup of adobo aside.

Cut chicken in half lengthwise to form 2 thinner pieces.  ​Put chicken in a zip top or vacuum-sealable bag, pour adobo over the top, seal and refrigerate 2 hours or up to overnight.

Remove chicken from fridge, and slice onion.  Heat a tablespoon of butter in a large pan and cook onions over medium-high heat until browned and soft.  Set onions aside.

In same pan, add last tablespoon of butter.  Cook chicken in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan, until chicken is browned, excess sauce is evaporated and chicken is firm when poked; about 10 minutes.  Serve over rice (try my fiesta rice recipe here) and topped with onions, or make enchiladas using extra adobo, quesadillas or tacos.  Enjoy!


Five Layer Bean Dip

I wasn’t going to post this recipe, but it looked so pretty! So I figured I’d show you my version of the simple five-layer bean dip.

You can even buy the guacamole and salsa already made and throw everything together in five minutes!

We like some (a lot) of spice, so I include Cholula hot sauce and a fresh sliced jalapeno.  I also prefer to use black beans instead of regular refried beans.

Cholula isn’t very spicy, and is thicker than most hot sauces. Look for it in your grocery store next to the ketchup and hot sauces, or in the International Foods aisle.

I love to mix cilantro and lettuce together for more flavor, too!

This is an easy, no-cook appetizer.  Change it up how you like!  See another version here.

bean dip 4

Five Layer Bean Dip

Yield about 5 cups.

  • 1 can refried black beans (such as Old El Paso)
  • 8 ounce reduced fat sour cream
  • 2/3 – 3/4 cup guacamole (enough to make a layer; see a simple guac recipe here)
  • 2/3 – 3/4 cup salsa (enough to make a layer; see my version here)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (we like Cheddar or a Mexican blend)
  • Cholula hot sauce (optional)
  • chopped lettuce and cilantro
  • diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 whole fresh jalapeno, sliced into thin rounds

In a 1.75 to 2 quart deep dish, layer beans in the bottom.  Top with the sour cream, and drizzle Cholula over the top.  Then layer the guacamole, salsa, and top with the shredded cheese.

Chop up the lettuce and cilantro and mix together.  Garnish the top of the dip with the greens, chopped tomatoes if desired, and the sliced jalapeno.  Serve with tortilla chips.  Enjoy!


Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken Wings

Happy Birthday America!  In honor of your day, I made an American favorite…chicken wings!  I’ve made these many times before and to help control calories, I bake them for crisp skin.  No one ever cares that they’re not fried. Men will still eat these while watching football!

But I learned another secret that is the real key to tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone wings: parboiling.  This means you semi-cook the wings in boiling water first.  It makes all the difference!

First – a little advice.  Don’t do what I did, and go buy the wings the day before the holiday…supermarkets mark them up double or more – ugh.  Buy ’em super cheap and freeze ’em until you need them.

You’ll never know they aren’t fried!

2014-09-27 16.43.19

these wings are blackened; see the recipe for instructions.

Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken Wings

Sauce will coat up to 4 pounds of wings.

  • chicken wings, up to 4 pounds
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon mustard powder
  • few dashes of Worchestershire sauce
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon

for the blackened seasoning, as pictured, add the following to everything above:

  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground pepper

Melt the butter in a large bowl, and add the other ingredients.  Whisk to combine.

In a large pot filled halfway with boiling salted water, boil the wings for 10 minutes.  Remove onto paper towels and pat dry.

Toss the wings in the butter/hot sauce mixture, and lay in a single layer on a broiling pan.

Bake with convection at 400 degrees (or 425 without convection) for 20 minutes.  Flip wings over and continue cooking another 10 minutes or until wings are brown with the edges just starting to burn.

Serve with ranch dip (contains MSG):

  • 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dip mix
  • 8 ounces low fat sour cream
  • 8 ounces fat-free Greek yogurt

Serve immediately with carrots and celery.  Enjoy!