Showing posts with label Mexican dish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mexican dish. Show all posts


Tacos Al Pastor with Guacamole Taquero

Don't you love it when you get the scoop on an  off the beaten path not in the guide book  type of restaurant?  Last year, my friend Janis (who lived in Mexico for three years)  told me about her favorite go-to, casual Mexican restaurant.
Chunga's in SLC.

Could it be the same place my teenage son had told me about a couple of years earlier? Saying they had "the best food, EVER!"  Any restaurant that makes burritos the size of your head is a winner in Jake's book. My tendency is to not believe Jake when he gives his stamp of approval on any restaurant, since McDonald's often falls into that category.

I was skeptical, but Janis seemed to be a person with good taste, so I decided to go against my initial impression and give it a try.
Here's my Insta of that day.
Loved it.

The Tacos Al Pastor were my favorite. I remembered my son Stephen talking about Tacos Al Pastor being one of his favorite meals when he lived in Puebla, Mexico.  I'm a sucker for anything savory and sweet, so this dish is right up my alley. It's the only thing I order at Chunga's and one of my favorite go-to places now.

You're going to love this make at home version. I found the recipe on and made a few changes to make the process a bit more simple. We love the combination of flavors in this recipe. Perfect summer dish, no need to heat up the oven, just fire up the grill.
Speaking of summer, it's almost halfway over!

Tacos Al Pastor with Guacamole Taquero (Taco Shop Guac)
Adapted from Epicurious
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1 large white onion
1  fresh ripe pineapple

marinade and meat:
1/2 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed is best
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup guajillo chile powder (or any type of chili powder will work)
3 garlic cloves, halved
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large or 2 small chipotle chiles
2 1/2-to 3-pound boneless pork loin, cut into 1/2-inch slices

Corn tortillas

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped cabbage, optional
remaining chopped onion
Guacamole Taquero  (Taco shop guac- optional) for topping tacos
lime wedges

Early in the morning, or preferably the day before serving:
Coarsely chop 1 onion, divide into two even portions.
Place pineapple on cutting board. Slice the top off and discard. Slice about 1/2 inch off bottom of pineapple as well. Cut off the remaining peel or skin and discard, making sure to remove all bits of outer covering of pineapple. Slice in half, long way. Slice into half again. You should have four, long wedges of pineapple. Remove the core by slicing each wedge length wise down the middle. Remove all of the hard core and discard. Place one of the four wedges on cutting board and chop coarsely. Set other four wedges aside.
Place chopped onion and chopped pineapple in blender. Add orange juice and next 7 ingredients; puree marinade until smooth. Place pork in large resealable plastic bag. Add marinade and seal bag, releasing excess air. Turn to coat. Chill at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.
The following day, or later in the day:
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat).
Grill remaining  wedges of pineapple until warm and slightly charred,  6-8 minutes per side. Remove from heat, set aside.
Grill pork with some marinade still clinging until slightly charred and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Do not over cook.
Transfer pineapple and pork to work surface; chop pineapple into 1/2-inch cubes. Chop pork. Set aside.
Chop remaining onion half and place in medium bowl. Add cilantro; toss to combine. Grill tortillas until warm and slightly charred, about 10 seconds per side.
Serve pork-pineapple mixture with onion-cilantro relish, cabbage (if desired)  Guacamole Taquero, and lime wedges.

-How to make your own guajillo chile powder: finely grind about 6 large dried seeded guajillo chiles in a spice mill to yield about 1/4 cup powder.
-You may serve this dish with a variety of toppings and or salsas. I love grated cabbage on tacos, even when they aren't fish tacos. Sliced cucumbers are a perfect addition, and always served at Chunga's.
-All of the prep- marinating the meat, grilling the pineapple, chopping the onions and cilantro and preparing any sauces served with the tacos may be done ahead. On the day of serving, simply cook the meat and chop. Grill the tortillas and serve.
-Pork loin is easily overcooked. I tried two methods, grilling and cooking in the oven. I preferred the taste of cooking over the grill. A Pork Butt will also work. Since about 1/2 of the butt meat is lost in fat removal, use a 5 lb Boston or Pork Butt. Marinate overnight. Cook on low for about 6 hours, remove fat and serve. Or, cook in 275 oven for about 6 hours. Shred and remove fat.


Southwest Slow Cooker Chicken

Have you heard? We're on a roll at A Bountiful Kitchen. Super simple. Quick and easy.  Last week I posted Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken, and Baked Taco Rollups.  This week, Southwest Slow Cooker Chicken.
It doesn't get easier than this. This is a dump-and-cook-in-the-crockpot recipe. You can serve it over rice, on tortilla chips, on a bed of lettuce, or in a taco (soft or hard shell). We usually eat it rolled up in a soft flour tortilla, with some lettuce and tomato. This is, by far, my favorite slow cooker recipe.
I'm betting it will be yours too.

Southwest Slow Cooker Chicken
A Bountiful Kitchen
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4 frozen chicken breast halves
2-3 cups salsa (red or green) I prefer green
1- 15 oz can black beans, drained
1 small bag of frozen corn or 1-15 oz can corn, drained
salt and pepper
2 cups grated cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, pepper jack if you like it spicy)
4 oz cream cheese (regular or low fat)

Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray.
Place the chicken in the cooker, salt and pepper generously.
Pour the salsa over the chicken.
Pour the drained black beans and corn on top of the chicken and salsa.
Cover with lid and cook on low for about 3 1/2 hours.
When the chicken is done, Spread the grated cheese over the top of the mixture in the slow cooker, and then top with 4 oz of cream cheese. Cover and let cook for another 1/2 hour.
Remove lid and gently break up the chicken. Spoon the mixture over tortilla chips, shredded lettuce or  taco shells.
Serves 6-8

-The cooking time may vary, depending on the size of your slow cooker and how hot it cooks.
-Don't worry about thawing the chicken, it will cook up just fine!


Baked Taco Rollups

Monday, after I posted Slow Cooker Sesame Honey Chicken on my Insta, my friend Robilyn commented  "I'll be making this tomorrow! What else can I make this week?"  Today, I dropped something off at her home, and guess what? There was a yummy smell coming from her kitchen.
The power of Insta! She had the Honey Sesame Chicken in her Slow Cooker. Love it when that happens. Also my young friend Megan made the sesame chicken and posted a pic on Insta of her dinner last night. Meg's the cutest newlywed and she's learning to cook for her new little family (Meg +Tony). So sweet.
In a world filled with fast food, and pre-made pre-packaged  everything, it's a rarity to see people (especially young peeps) cooking dinner. Here's my 2 cents:  It doesn't need to be complicated. Or take a long time. If you haven't cooked in a while (or ever), start small. Make a slow cooker meal. Or try this recipe. It's kid and hubs friendly.

I believe this recipe was originally named "Baked Tacos" and made with hard shells. Grant is a hard shell hater (already told that story here), so I changed the recipe a bit. The filling take just a few minutes to make and the rollup part takes another 5 minutes. Lay out a little taco bar with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, guac and chips.  Let your fam pile the salad or condiments onto a plate. Serve the taco rollup on the side.  It's a fun change from an ordinary taco and if you have little ones, a taco rollup is much easier to grip. Promise they'll love it.
Now you have two dinners in your repertoire!
Watch out Martha.

Baked Taco Rollups
Adapted from Mommy I'm Hungry
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2 lbs extra lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 medium onion diced
1 small can diced green chilies, mild
1 recipe for homemade taco seasoning (below)
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans (regular or fat free)*
2 cups shredded Colby-jack  or cheddar cheese
flour tortillas, small to medium size

Suggested Condiments-
lettuce chopped
tomatoes chopped
sour cream
Sheri's Salsa

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large skillet brown meat and onion over medium-high heat. Drain off any excess liquid. Add chilies, refried beans, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. Mix well and cook for a few minutes until bubbly. Add a little water or tomato juice if the mixture seems dry.
Spoon  about 3 tablespoons of the taco meat mixture onto a tortilla. Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of cheese. Roll up as you would a taquito, not filling the tortilla too full, but rolling fairly tight, so the tortilla will not come undone easily.  Place filled tortillas in a single layer onto a lightly greased baking sheet, seam side down. Bake at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the tacos are heated through.
Remove from the oven and serve with optional condiments.
Makes about 12-15 medium tacos.

Taco Seasoning
1 tablespoon chili powder**
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

In a small bowl, mix all together. If making extra seasoning, store in an airtight container.
This is enough for one recipe of taco rollups above.
**less chili powder if you are serving to those who don't like spice.

-*I used about 3/4 of a 16 oz can of refried beans. We liked the filling with less bean and more meat.
Another option is to add a can of drained pinto beans and smash them with a potato masher into the meat after the meat is cooked. Add about 1 tablespoon of canola oil while mashing beans.
-If serving to young children (who may not eat a whole taco) or using as an appetizer, cut the tacos in half, preferably on a diagonal.
-Heat up leftovers wrapped in a paper towel for about 1 minute in microwave.


Family Favorite Chicken Enchiladas


Years ago my dear friend Tessa gave me her recipe for Chicken Enchiladas.  It's been our family "go-to" recipe since. I promised to post this recipe last year when I made Cream Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas, and I'm just now getting around to it.
I've made these for everything from Sunday dinners to team dinners. One of those tried and true, never disappoint recipes. What makes these different from the hundreds of other enchilada recipes out there? The secret ingredient: coriander. It gives the sauce a distinct, but subtle flavor. Tessa's recipe comes out of the BH&G red checkered cookbook - you have one in your kitchen, right? 
This is a recipe that's sure to become your fam favorite too.
Stay warm and have a great weekend.

Family Favorite Chicken Enchiladas
adapted from Better Homes and Garden cookbook
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8 flour tortillas, regular, not burrito size* at room temperature
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup chopped onion, I like sweet onions such as Walla Walla or Vidalia
1 teaspoon coriander
2 cloves garlic, minced
ground pepper
3 tablespoons flour
8 oz sour cream regular or low or non fat
2 cups chicken broth
1-4 oz can chopped green chilies, not drained
3 cups grated colby-jack cheese, divided
3 cups chopped chicken
olives, mushrooms, tomatoes, green onion optional, for topping enchiladas

Prepare Sauce:
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Place onion and coriander to melted butter and cook for about 5 minutes or until onions are softened. Lower heat to medium and add minced garlic.  Cook for an additional minute until fragrant. Be careful to not burn garlic. Add pepper.
Stir flour into sour cream and add to onion mixture in pan. Stir in broth and green chilies and continue to cook until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup of grated cheese.

Filling and Assembly:
Put about 1/2 cup of sauce into a 9x13 greased pan, using a spatula spread sauce over bottom of pan.
Stir 1/2 cup of sauce into chopped chicken in bowl. Place about 1/4-1/3 cup filling onto each tortilla and spread filling to cover length of tortilla, sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of grated cheese. Roll up tortilla and place in prepared dish, seam side down. After all tortillas are filled and rolled, top with remaining sauce. Cover pan with foil and bake in 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
Remove pan from oven. Remove foil and top with remaining grated cheese.
Bake for about 5-10 additional minutes, or until heated through.
Let sit for 10 minutes before serving to allow cheese and sauce to set up.

-Do not purchase no-fat tortillas. They will not roll well and will break apart in assembly.  It is best to have tortillas at room temperature and not refrigerated for easiest assembly.
-I have made this recipe using non-fat and low-fat sour cream with great results.
-I usually prepare the chicken the day before. I place seasoned (salt and pepper)  chicken breasts in a crock pot on low for 4 hours. Pour a bottle of  green chili salsa (about 8-10 oz) over the chicken before cooking. When I make the sauce for the enchiladas above, I use the juice from the cooked chicken breasts instead of the chicken broth called for in the recipe.
-If you double this recipe, it fits well into a jelly roll pan.
-This recipe also freezes well. Make up to the point of baking and freeze, covered tightly with foil. When ready to bake, do not thaw, bake at 325 for about 1 hour 15 minutes, covered in foil. Proceed with last step of removing foil and covering in additional cheese, bake for 5-10 minutes or until hot and bubbly.


Homemade Green Enchilada Sauce

Here's the recipe I used for enchilada sauce when I made Honey Lime Enchiladas a few weeks back. It takes about 10 minutes to cook up and blend. The comparison to pre-made canned sauce? Let's see. Kind of like the difference between a pop-out-of-the-can biscuit and homemade.
Canned biscuits.
Don't go there.
That's all I'm going to say.

Homemade  Green Enchilada Sauce
A Bountiful Kitchen
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2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1-16 oz jar Salsa Verde
12 oz tomatillos, chopped (about 1lb before husking)
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1-14 oz  chicken or vegetable broth
Salt to taste

Saute chopped onion in olive oil in medium saucepan. Cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for another two minutes. Remove from heat.
Place all of the remaining ingredients in a blender, or use a hand immersion blender, and blend until smooth.
Use in recipes calling for green enchilada sauce.
Yield about 5-6 cups sauce.

-Leftovers may be frozen.


Honey Lime Enchiladas

Just finished watching the Utes get beat by Utah State.
Oh well. Maybe drowning myself in Honey Lime Enchiladas will help.
Think so?
Me neither. But it couldn't hurt.
If you are looking for a twist on the same old enchilada recipe for Sunday dinner, give these a try.
They won't disappoint.
PS-I would double this recipe if I were you. If you don't, you'll wish you would have.

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas
Mel's Kitchen Cafe
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6 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons lime juice (1-2 limes)
1 tablespoons chili powder
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 pound chicken, cooked* and shredded , about 2-3 large chicken breast halves
8-10 medium flour tortillas
1 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded
16 ounces green enchilada sauce**
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup cream

Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken.Place ingredients into a Ziploc bag and let marinate for at least 1 hour, preferably 6-8 hours in refrigerator.
Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a greased 9X13 baking pan.
Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas.
Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with half and half, cream and leftover marinade.
Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top.
Serves 6

* For the chicken, I placed 6 large frozen chicken breast halves in a crock pot on low heat for about 4-5 hours. Salt and pepper generously. Add about 1 cup of water, chicken broth or green chili salsa. Shred when chicken is cooked. It is best to do this early in the day, or the day before you want to use the chicken in a recipe. 
-**I made my own green enchilada sauce here's a link to the recipe.


Black Bean and Corn Salsa

It's the last weekend of summer. I know, summer is not officially over until September 22nd  (Melinda reminded me of this on our morning walk), but it feels like it's over when the kids go back to school.
With the end of summer, comes the end of local fruits and veggies. It was a hot summer here, and the peach crop came on unusually early. Tomatoes have been plentiful. Local corn has been amazing. I've been eating lots of these:


I cooked like a crazy person last week. I tried to keep up with the fresh peaches, tomatoes and corn on my counter before they attracted my personal favorite, fruit flies. What is it about fruit flies??  I have a serious hate relationship with fruit flies and moths. I'll spare you a crazy rant about both :) 
I've been making this Black Bean and Corn Salsa for years. The recipe originally came from a cookbook in my collection. It's simple and can be made anytime of the year, from summer to the dead of winter. In September, it's a crime to use anything but fresh tomatoes and fresh corn. If you haven't ever made black bean salsa, this is the recipe for you. It's foolproof and absolutely delicious. Enjoy your last weekend of summer! 
Next week, two more early harvest recipes: Fresh Peach and Blackberry Slaw  and Mango-Peach Tango. 

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

15 oz can black beans, rinsed with cold water and drained ( I like S&W brand best)
2-3 ears corn, cooked and cut off cob, or half of one small bag of frozen corn, about 1 cup
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro, about 1 cup
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1/2-3/4 cup chopped red or purple onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 fresh medium size tomatoes, chunked or 1/2 can of *Rotel (pureed if desired)
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix gently with a large spoon. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours if possible. Serve with tortilla chips or as a side dish with enchiladas or other Mexican dishes. 

-If you want to make a large amount, this recipe is really easy to double. I often spoon half of the salsa into a mason jar, top it with a screw on lid and share with a friend
-*Rotel is a mixture of tomatoes, spices and green chilies.  


Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa Verde

To celebrate Cinco De Mayo and Stephen's 15 month mark on his mission (read about it here), I made these simple and absolutely delicious grilled Chipotle Shrimp Tacos last week. 
If you love shrimp and a little spice, you are absolutely going to fall in love with this dish. 

                 He looks like a native, right? 
Nobody believes he is Caucasian and a quarter Japanese.

Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa Verde
adapted from Food Network Test Kitchen

Avocado Salsa:
1 small onion, quartered, or 1/2 sweet onion, 1/2 red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 medium tomatillos, (about 8 ounces) husked, rinsed
1 Hass avocado
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoons kosher salt
juice from one lime or about 2-3 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chipotle or blended chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound medium shrimp (about 20), peeled and deveined
12 small yellow or white corn tortillas
2 limes, cut into wedges

Chop all of the salsa ingredients, season with salt.  Juice the lime and pour the juice onto the chopped vegetables, set aside.

Heat a stove top or outdoor grill to medium-high. Mix the olive oil, chipotle or chili powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Grill the shrimp until translucent, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side. Do not over cook, or the shrimp will become tough.

Grill tortillas, until slightly charred and pliable, about 20 seconds per side. (Alternatively, wrap in a damp paper towel and heat in a microwave.) Top  each tortilla with about 3 shrimp and some avocado salsa. Serve with a lime wedge on the side.

-If you don't have the time, or don't have a bbq grill, you may saute the shrimp over medium high heat in a frying pan. Lightly grease the pan or use a non stick pan. 


Cook's Illustrated Beef Tacos

One of my favorite dinners as a kid was tacos. How I loved taco night! It's a favorite at our home too. Well, maybe my favorite, because it's such a quick and easy dinner. My usual taco night ritual includes throwing some lean ground beef into a pan, adding a chopped onion, some V-8 juice and a package of taco spice mix. Lately, I've been on a "make your own mix" kick. I found this recipe from Cook's Illustrated and decided to give it a try. Yum. Loved it. 
Oh, and in case you are super lazy and don't love your family and are thinking "why would I make these when I can jump in the car and pick up 3 tacos for $1 at Taco (fill in the blank) ??"  Read this:

 In a study was found that Taco Bell’s “meat mixture”, which it dubs “seasoned beef” contained less than 35 % beef. If these figures are correct, the product would fail to meet minimum requirements, set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to be labeled as “beef”. The other 65% of the “meat” is made up of water, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, silicon dioxide, anti-dusting agent and modified corn starch (amongst other ingredients more suited to a test tube than a taco). Full article found here.

Yikes! The "meat" is less than 35% meat????  Scary.
Taco Tuesday. 
This one's for you. 

Cooks Illustrated Beef Tacos
Cooks Illustrated
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1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound extra-lean ground beef or ground turkey
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
8 taco shells

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering. 

Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. 
Stir in the garlic, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant about thirty seconds. 
Stir in the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until no longer pink, about five minutes. 
Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, and sugar until thickened, about 10 minutes. 
Season with salt to taste. 


Mexican Couscous

Here's the couscous dish I told you about yesterday. Loved it with the Cream Cheese Enchiladas. Unbelievably simple. And if you were feeling guilty about the cream cheese and sour cream in the enchiladas, this dish has very little fat. Perfect side for the rich enchiladas. Have a great weekend!

Mexican Couscous
adapted from Allrecipes
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1 cup couscous, dry  (equals about 3-4 cups cooked)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
fresh ground pepper
1 1/4 cups boiling water

1 clove garlic, minced
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 cup chopped tomatoes, optional
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
zest from one lime
3-4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste

Combine the couscous, cumin, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in the boiling water and seal bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside for 10 minutes.
After couscous has "cooked" break up with fork so the pieces are not clumped together.  Stir remaining ingredients into couscous. Add more salt and fresh ground pepper if needed. 
May be served hot, cold or at room temperature. 


Cream Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas

 One of our family favorites for dinner is chicken enchiladas. I've been making a tried-and-true recipe for years, but decided to give this recipe I found on Mel's Kitchen Cafe a whirl. The reviews ranged from "best enchiladas you've made" to absolutely no leftovers. The filling is a hard to resist combo of  chicken, cream cheese and black beans. Topped with Jack cheese and cilantro, this recipe includes several of my favorite ingredients.
I served this dish with a fun couscous dish that has a Mexican flair. Jake wasn't crazy about that, but what 15 year old boy loves couscous?

Cream Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas
adapted slightly from: Mel's Kitchen Cafe
print recipe

3 cups cooked, chopped chicken* (about 3 breast halves)
1 (4 oz.) can of green chilies, lightly drained
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese**, cubed
1 can white or black beans, rinsed and drained or small white beans

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can (7 ounce) green chili enchilada sauce
½ cup sour cream**

8-10 ounces (about 2-3 cups) Monterey jack cheese, shredded
8 medium (soft taco size) flour tortillas
chopped fresh cilantro, tomatoes, olives for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and green chiles. Mix well. Add the chicken and black beans. Mix to combine. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk. As you whisk and the mixture cooks, the flour will get less lumpy around the onions and the mixture will become smooth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is bubbling and has thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the enchilada sauce and sour cream.

Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the dish. Fill each tortilla with about ½ cup of the chicken/cream cheese filling. Top with a small handful of shredded cheese, a couple tablespoonfuls for each enchilada. Save at least 1/2 cup cheese for the top of the enchiladas. Roll the tortillas up and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Continue filling enchiladas until the dish is full (I can easily fit 8 enchiladas in one pan).

Pour the sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the enchiladas are bubbling, hot and lightly browned. Just before serving, top with fresh chopped cilantro, tomatoes, olives, etc.

-*You may cook chicken as you usually do for recipes that call for cooked chicken, here is my method: Place  4-6 boneless, skinless, trimmed chicken breast halves into the crock pot for about 4 hours on low. Add about 1/4 cup water, an undrained 4 oz can of chopped green chilies, garlic salt , pepper and a half of a chopped onion.  Or if I'm in a hurry, I season the chicken and dump some prepared green chili salsa over the top (about 1 cup).  If you are using frozen chicken, use the same method, and cook for about 5-6 hours on low. Every crock pot is different, mine cooks at a higher temperature than most, so I adjust the time on the lower side.  I have also used this method cooking in the oven at about 275 for 4 hours. When the chicken is done, shred with fork and add to recipe. I add a little of the juice as well. If you don't use the whole amount of chicken you have cooked, place in Ziplock bags, label and freeze for later use. 

-**On the second go around, I tried this dish using low fat sour cream and low fat cream cheese. The taste result was notably different. The texture of the dish did not change much. I would recommend using both regular sour cream and cream cheese in this dish. 

-Great make ahead dish- Make the filling and sauce the day before or assemble up to two days in advance. Cover dish with foil that has been sprayed with non stick spray on the side facing the enchiladas.  Refrigerate. When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator.  Bake for about 30 minutes at 375 covered, then remove foil and cook for additional 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbly.


Salsa de Pina - Pineapple Salsa

I Pinned this recipe several months ago, and have made it a few times since. Love it.  We usually eat it up so quickly, I forget to take a photo. Perfect with fish tacos, enchiladas, or tortilla chips. It's simple and fresh, and everyone loves it.
Everyone except one 15 year old boy, who will remain nameless.

Salsa de Pina Picante- Pineapple Salsa
adapted slightly from Savuer magazine
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1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
¼ cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 ½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 jalapenos, stemmed and minced
½ small red onion, chopped fine

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients. Serve at room temperature.

-If making this ahead, refrigerate and add red onion just before serving. The acidity of the pineapple may make the red color in the onion bleed onto the fruit if prepared ahead.


Chicken and Cream Cheese Enchiladas with Homemade Corn Crepes

Jo Murdock is one of my favorite people in the world!  Jo met her husband Dave at Disneyland when she was17 on the Carnation dance floor by the castle Move over Cinderella. They were married when she was 18. She is the most devoted mother of 8 children (7 living, one passed at birth).  Her daughter Lindsay once told me, "She's awesome...the bestest friend a girl could ask for. I'm truly blessed to have her as my Mom....and her cooking is AMAZING!!"  I agree with Lindsay.  Besides being a great cook, awesome mom and grandmother, Jo is a great example to me. She's always serving others. A few years ago, she organized a neighborhood cookbook that contains 300 pages of tried and true recipes from some of my dearest friends. This book is a treasure, not only because of all of the great recipes contained in one book, but also all of the memories associated with people who submitted recipes. I pulled the book out a few weeks ago, and tried this recipe from Jo. You know how I love anything that resembles an enchilada. This one is exceptional! Corn Crepes replace the usual tortilla.
Oh. My. Goodness. You have to try these. If you have some leftover turkey sitting around in your fridge, they would be perfect for this recipe. I  subbed pork for the chicken, and the fam inhaled them. Wouldn't this make a fun entree for a Christmas party with a Mexican theme? A little Cranberry Salsa on the side?  Thanks Jo.

Chicken and Cream Cheese Enchiladas with Homemade Corn Crepes
Jo Murdock
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1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups cooked diced or shredded chicken, or pork*, or turkey
6 oz cream cheese, diced
salt and pepper to taste
12 corn crepes (recipe below)
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese
lime wedges for garnish

Separate onions and saute in butter ever medium heat until beginning to brown about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add meat and cream cheese. Mix lightly and season. set aside.
Prepare crepes. Set aside.
To assemble enchiladas:
Divide the filling into 12 equal portions. Spoon each portion into the center of a crepe. Roll up. Place seam side down in greased casserole dish in a single layer. pour Cream down sides of crepes, about 1/2 inch deep. Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted. Serve with garnish of olives and lime wedges. Serves 6.

Corn Crepes:
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup Masa Harina flour, found in specialty section of grocery near Mexican foods
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
3/4 cup milk

Mix all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Heat a 6 inch skillet or crepe pan. Grease the pan with oil or butter. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 cup batter into the pan and swirl batter until it covers the bottom of the pan. Cook until lightly browned, and flip to cook other side. Set in a pan when cooked, and finish cooking rest of crepes. 

-For a do-ahead recipe, you may make the crepes the day before and store in the fridge until ready to assemble. 
-*I had some boneless "Country Style  Pork Ribs" I  wanted to use. I cooked the ribs at 275 degrees for 3 1/2 to 4 hours in a dutch oven. I seasoned the ribs with salt, garlic salt and pepper, and added about 1/2 cup of water to the meat before tightly covering the pan. Before cooking, the ribs weighed about 4-5 lbs. There was enough meat for a double recipe of enchiladas. 


Fresh Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas

We loved this version of veggie enchiladas. Well, Brookie and I did. Not too sure about the boys. They're always looking for the meat. I added onions and fresh mushrooms to the dish to beef up the filing and give it a bit more flavor and interest. The boys like flour over corn tortillas, so I gave in and used flour this time. These kind of reminded me of lasagna because of the ricotta filling. Total prep and cook time- about 40 minutes. Serve it with a salad, chips and Sheri's Salsa. Great for busy fall nights.

Fresh Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas
adapted from Allrecipes
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1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 chopped Anaheim peppers (optional)
3 cups fresh spinach, washed
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sour cream, low fat works
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
10 (6 inch) corn or  small flour tortillas
1 (19 ounce) can enchilada sauce

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook until onions are soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add mushrooms cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add the garlic and Anaheim peppers and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Stir in spinach, and cook for about 3-5 more minutes. Remove from the heat, and mix in ricotta cheese, sour cream, and 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese.
Spoon about 1/4 cup of the spinach mixture onto the center of each tortilla. Roll up, and place seam side down in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour enchilada sauce over the top, and sprinkle with the remaining cup of Monterey Jack.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and cheese is lightly browned at the edges.


Pico de Gallo

Final installment of our "Cafe Rio Style"recipes.
Why is this called Pico de Gallo? In Spanish, Pico means spicy or beak. And gallo means rooster. So Pico de Gallo literally translated, is a spicy rooster, or beak rooster?  Or maybe it's spicy beak of a rooster? Grant (who speaks fluent Spanish)  and I had a discussion about this. He says the words have a double meaning. Still doesn't make sense to me... I'm wondering why tomatoes, jalapeno and onions are (translated) "spicy beak rooster".  Forget the economy, or why Bronco didn't wear the "Band of Brothers" t shirt  to the Utah/BYU game last Saturday, after wearing it to the first two games (what was up with that?) ,  these are the profound questions that keep me up at night.
When making this salad, Pico is like the frosting on a cake. It takes less than five minutes to chop and mix up. Pico + chips = my dinner, two nights in a row. YUM.
Hurry and make some before the fresh tomatoes disappear...

Pico de Gallo
A Bountiful Kitchen
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4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, about 1 cup chopped, white or sweet variety
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, optional
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl.
Best if made at least one hour before serving.
Serve at room temperature.


Cafe Rio Style Black Beans

A few weeks a go, my friend Mel, aka the Dancin' Queen, had to make beans for 250 guests.  Yes, two hundred and fifty.  We talked about how this was going to happen. She gathered ingredients. I showed up with my apron and big bowls. We went to work. About an hour and a half later, we had made four batches of beans (she made a test batch the night before).  Each batch contained enough to serve fifty. Seriously, it was really simple. The hardest, or I should say the most tedious part was opening all of the cans. Why use canned beans- when between the two of us I bet we have 400 lbs of dried beans in our food storage? Don't ask me these questions. I have no idea. Remember, I'm the woman who recently figured out I needed a wheat grinder to grind the wheat in my storage into flour. Ahhhem.
The finished product? Yum.  I'm posting the recipe for 8 and for 50. Depending on how many you are serving, or how much you love beans, or how much you love your hubs after he eats beans- choose the quantity.

Cafe Rio Style Black Beans
adapted from
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2-15 oz cans black beans, (drain one can, don't drain the other)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-11.5 oz can tomato juice
salt ( kosher or sea salt) and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a non stick pan, cook garlic, cumin and olive oil over medium heat until fragrance is released, about one minute. Be careful not to burn garlic.
Add beans, cook down for about 5 minutes until some of the liquid from the beans is absorbed and evaporated. Add can of tomato juice and seasoning to taste.
Stir in chopped cilantro when ready to serve.
Yield 8 servings

Cafe Rio Style Beans for 50
Si and Mel, A Bountiful Kitchen

1/2 cup olive oil
12 cloves garlic, about 1/3 cup chopped garlic
1/4 cup ground cumin
12-15 oz cans of black beans ( drain 6 cans, do not drain 6 cans)
60-70 oz tomato juice (about 1 1/2  46 oz. cans)
2 bunches fresh cilantro, stems removed and chopped
Salt to taste about 1-2 tablespoons

Place oil in large pot. Add garlic and cumin and continue to cook over medium heat until fragrance is released, about  one to two minutes. Add black beans, tomato juice and fresh cilantro. Cook until mixture
is heated through on medium heat, about 20 minutes. When mixture has cooked about 30 minutes, turn off heat and add chopped cilantro. Cool and store in refrigerator until ready to serve. When ready to serve, heat slowly on medium heat, stirring gently to avoid burning beans at bottom of pan.  Add more tomato juice if needed.
This may be made and stored up to five days before serving.

Tips-If you are interested in cooking black beans from the dry bean stage, I Dare You to Eat It has an excellent tutorial.


Cafe Rio-Style Sweet Pork Salad

If you live in the great state of Utah, or have visited here in the past ten years, you know about Cafe Rio. Or Costa Vida. Mexican food with a Southwest flair.
This recipe is a great option for feeding a crowd,  because there's something for everyone. Don't like meat? Have a meatless salad. Don't like meat or salads? Have a tortilla with cheese, rice, dressing, pico  and beans.  Everyone builds their own. It's worked for me when cooking for a crowd of 30-300.
There are loads of copycat recipes on the Internet for Cafe Rio/ Costa :  rice, beans, dressing and the fan favorite/flagship item-Sweet Pork.  I'm posting my family favorite copycat recipes this week. I know I'm a few years behind this trend, but it will save me jumping around from site to site, looking for the recipes, or searching for the crumpled pieces of paper with my scribbles written all over. They'll all be here, in one place.  Ole!

To Build a Cafe Rio style Sweet Pork salad:
print instructions/grocery list

Cafe Rio style Sweet Pork- find it here
Cafe Rio style Black Beans-find it here
Mexican Rice with Cilantro Dressing - find it here
Cafe Rio style Cilantro Dressing- find it here
Pico de Gallo - find it here
Our favorite Chunky Guacamole- find it here

Other items you will  need/want to make a Cafe Rio style salad:
Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
Cheese, Mexican blend and/or Cotija (Mexican cheese) for sprinkling on top, if desired
Flour Tortillas, we like the type found in Costco in the refrigerated section, grill for a few minutes on each side at home, or you may use grilled corn or regular grocery store flour tortillas, warmed
corn tortillas and vegetable oil- cut the corn tortillas into strips, fry over medium high heat, drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt
Sour cream for topping salad
Fresh cilantro to top salad
lime slices, to top each salad
8 or 9" disposable foil tins found in baking section of grocery or the dollar store, or plates work too

Place all items on serving table in this order:
Tins or plates, tortillas, beans, rice, meat, lettuce, cheese, pico, guacamole, dressing, sour cream, tortilla strips, cilantro and lime slices.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork for a crowd
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

For roasting meat:
13.5 lb Pork Shoulder* (yield approx 6 1/2 lbs cooked, fat removed, shredded pork)
2 teaspoon onion salt
fresh ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine or crushed
1 can or approx 12 oz Coke or Dr. Pepper, not Diet (see reader comment below by Bonnie)

For sauce after roasting:
3- 4 oz cans diced (mild to medium) green chilies
1-28 oz can red enchilada sauce
2 cups light brown sugar
2 cans or 24 oz Coke or Dr. Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rack in bottom third of oven.
If making a full recipe and using a piece of meat larger than 6 lbs, cut the meat into at least two or more  pieces to insure meat will be cooked through.
Season the pork with onion salt and ground pepper on all sides.  Rub the top of the pork with crushed garlic cloves.
Place the pork in a large heavy roasting pan or crock pot.  Pour Coke around the sides of roast.
Cover tightly with foil, so no steam escapes. Roast at 350 for 2 1/2 hours. Do not open oven. Turn oven to 200 roast for 2 more hours. Alternately, Place the pork into two large crock pots. Follow directions, except cook on low for about 10-12 hours.
After roasting, remove meat. Let cool for about 15 minutes, or cool enough to handle. Pull meat apart with hands, removing any visible fat remaining on meat. Discard fat and drain remaining liquid from pan.
Place meat back into roasting pan, shred with forks.
Prepare sauce by placing green chilies, enchilada sauce and brown sugar into a blender.  Blend until smooth. Add the Coke, stir with spoon. Pour the sauce over the meat, and heat the meat again before serving. Do not stir too much, this makes the meat a mushy mess. Visualize the icky barbecued meat in the frozen section at the grocery. I prefer to pour sauce on top and leave the meat alone :) Using tongs helps tremendously.
Yield: about 35 servings.

-*Important: Make sure to buy Pork Shoulder or Pork (Boston) Butt.  Pork Roast or Pork Loin does not have enough fat to produce a product that will shred properly. I like Pork Shoulder best for this recipe. A large Pork Shoulder can be found at Costco for approximately $2.00 per pound.
-This recipe may also be used as a taco filling or for burritos.
-If preparing ahead, follow directions until meat has been shredded. Refrigerate or freeze meat at this point. When ready to serve, prepare sauce and pour over meat. Heat up in oven or on stove top at low heat.
-This recipe freezes well. When I have leftovers, I freeze the meat and drain off the sauce. When I want to use the frozen meat, I let it thaw in the fridge overnight; then place the meat in a pan on top of the stove. I make fresh sauce but only prepare 1/3 of the recipe above.
-If the sauce is too thick for your liking, you may add water, 1/4 cup at a time.
-If you are looking for a recipe that is scaled down to 6 servings, read this post at Family Favorite Recipes. The recipes are a bit different than mine, but the quantities are smaller for the pork. Fam Fav Recipes also does a great job of thoroughly explaining the assembly process in making the salad.