Cinco de Mayo

Mexican isn’t my favorite cuisine but there are a few dishes that I make in this category that we both love.  We haven’t had chicken fajitas in a while and I love the fact that the marinade was made last night so the chicken could sit in it overnight and the leftover chicken will be delicious on Caesar Salad on Thursday.  It looked like rain was imminent so I cooked the vegetables inside.  Here is the recipe:

Chicken Fajitas

  • bone in chicken breasts (we feel that they stay juicier when grilled)
  • 6 TB olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
Combine all marinade ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.  Pour over chicken and marinate overnight.  Grill for 5 minutes with the skin side down over direct heat and then 15 minutes other side over indirect.  Bring inside and cover with aluminum foil for a few minutes and they will be perfect.
  • 2 red peppers, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow onion, thick slices
  • canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried chipotle pepper
Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat.  Add canola oil and when oil is hot add vegetables and spices.  Cook, stirring regularly while the chicken cooks.  Don’t they look pretty?
Fajita veggies

Fajita veggies

  • Tortilla shells (1 -2 per person depending upon appetite)
  • sour cream (I use lowfat)
  • salsa
  • guacamole (optional – either store bought or see recipe previously blogged)
  • refried beans (optional)
Heat tortilla shells.  Distribute chicken, peppers and onions in shells and roll up.  Top with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.  Serve with refried beans as a side if desired.  (Also good with rice.)
Here are a few other Mexican options that are good for Cinqo de Mayo or any other time:

Steak Fajitas

  • 1 flank steak or skirt steak
  • 1/3 cup tequila
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients (except steak) and whisk together.  Pour over steak and marinate (at least 4 hours but up to overnight).

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  (This is the part of cooking where toddlers excel!).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Chicken Quesadillas

  • bone in chicken breasts, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 375 for about 40 -45 minutes.  Cooled and meat chopped
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped (I keep a jar of these in the fridge)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 – 2 TB red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • spinach
  • tomato, chopped
  • 6 ” tortillas
  • cheese (I’ve found a four cheese Mexican blend that is awesome)

In a heavy sauce pan heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add pepper, garlic and onion and saute until soft, 2- 4 minutes.  Add spinach and tomatoes and cook another 2 minutes.  Add chicken meat and cook until chicken is warm, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and combine with cheese in a glass bowl.  Spread filling over tortillas and top with another tortilla.  Brush with olive oil and bake at 425 for about 10 minutes until browned and hot.  Top with sour cream, salsa and avocado and enjoy.

Chipotle shrimp and black bean quesadilla

  • 3/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined and cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1  – 2 tsp pureed chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (if you are making for the first time, start with 1 tsp until you see how much heat you like)
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 6″ flour tortillas (or 2 larger ones and then cut the whole thing in half)
  • 1 additional TB of olive oil
  • sour cream (I use reduced fat)
  • salsa
  • 1 avocado, chopped

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil, butter, garlic and pureed chipotle.  Stir to combine for 1 minute.  Add shrimp and cook until just done.  Pour in beans and combine.  Remove from heat to a bowl and stir in cheese so it partially melts.

Divide filling between tortillas.  Top each with another tortilla and brush with olive oil.  Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes until top is golden brown and crispy.  Top with a dollop each of sour cream, salsa and chopped avocado (or guacamole).

Seviche

  • 1 1/2 lbs of shrimp, peeled and deveined and chopped into 5 pieces each
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 TB orange juice
  • 1 large garlic clove pressed
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 yellow pepper, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 TB minced red onion
  • 1 mango, peeled and finely chopped
Put shrimp in a large bowl with juices and garlic.  Add olive oil, peppers, cilantro and onion and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Add mango and refrigerate.  Serve with tortilla chips and plenty of napkins!

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, bone in
  • olive oil
  • 2 chopped yellow onions
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 quarts of chicken stock (I have homemade in the freezer and will use 1 container of store bought to stretch mine)
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seed and chopped fine
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 6 corn tortillas (6 inch size)
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese

Optional:

  • chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.  Roast for 45 minutes or until done.  Let cool.  Remove skin and bones and chop meat.  Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat 3 TBs of olive oil.  Add chopped onions, celery and carrots and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.  Add garlic and stir in with veggies.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and cilantro (if desired).  Cut tortillas into strips and add.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add chicken and check seasonings – add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips (if desired).

New neighbor party

Last year we were lucky enough to get two nice new families as neighbors.  That has provided Samantha with hours of fun playing with four adorable little boys.  Sometimes it is tough being the only girl so we are thrilled that we have two more nice new families who have moved into the neighborhood and each of them has a little girl (in addition to two more little boys.)  At least that will reduce the testosterone a little bit!

We wanted to welcome our neighbors with a party so tonight we have a mix of old and new neighbors (20 adults and 12 children) coming for dinner.  Annie is bringing an appetizer, April and Marcie both offered a dessert so we are supplying Fajitas and the fixings.  Here are the recipes:

Chicken Fajitas

  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts (we are doing both chicken and beef so I bought 4 1/2 pounds of chicken and tripled the ingredients below)
  • 6 TB olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
Combine all marinade ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.  Pour over chicken and marinate overnight.  Grill until done 10 – 15 minutes.

Steak Fajitas

  • 1 flank steak or skirt steak (I bought 3 flank steaks and tripled the ingredients below)
  • 1/3 cup tequila
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients (except steak) and whisk together.  Pour over steak and marinate (at least 4 hours but up to overnight).
Fajita vegetables
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 red peppers, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow onion, thick slices
  • vegetable oil
Whisk together first 5 ingredients.  Toss with sliced vegetables and refrigerate until ready to cook.  Cook in a large saute pan (since we’re increasing quantities we used the big wok) until soft and caramelized.
Fajita Accessories
  • Tortilla shells (1 -2 per person depending upon appetite)
  • sour cream (I use lowfat)
  • salsa
  • guacamole (optional – either store bought or see recipe below)
  • Quesa Fresco
  • refried beans (optional)
Heat tortilla shells.  Distribute chicken, peppers and onions in shells and roll up.  Top with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.  Serve with refried beans as a side if desired.  (Also good with rice.)

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  (This is the part of cooking where toddlers excel!).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Spanish Rice

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 TB vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • pinch saffron

Heat oil.  Stir in onion and garlic and wilt.  Add rice and cook uncovered over medium heat until rice is translucent.  Add seasonings and broth.  Bake at 300 for 30 minutes covered.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Add peppers and tomatoes.  Can be made ahead.

I’ll post a review and some pictures tomorrow!

Cinco de Mayo (plus one)

We are having an old friend of mine and her family over for dinner tonight.  We decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo a day late and go with a Mexican theme.  Here is the menu:

Shrimp Ceviche

Chicken and Steak Fajitas with grilled vegetables, sour cream, salsa and guacamole; Spanish rice and refried beans

Kahlua Brownies

We’ll serve the entree buffet style so everyone will have their choice of chicken or steak, veggies and toppings and sides.  (My husband loves refried beans but I am not a fan.)  Here are the recipes:

Shrimp Ceviche

  •  1 1/2 lbs of shrimp, peeled and deveined and chopped into 5 pieces each
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 TB orange juice
  • 1 large garlic clove pressed
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 yellow pepper, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 TB minced red onion
  • 1 mango, peeled and finely chopped
Put shrimp in a large bowl with juices and garlic.  Add olive oil, peppers, cilantro and onion and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Add mango and refrigerate.  Serve with tortilla chips and plenty of napkins!

Chicken Fajitas

  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 per person or extra if you want leftovers)
  • 6 TB olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
Combine all marinade ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.  Pour over chicken and marinate overnight.  Grill until done 10 – 15 minutes.

Steak Fajitas

  • 1 flank steak or skirt steak
  • 1/3 cup tequila
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients (except steak) and whisk together.  Pour over steak and marinate (at least 4 hours but up to overnight).
Fajita vegetables
  • 2 red peppers, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow onion, thick slices
  • Pam cooking spray
Spray vegetables with Pam.  Grill in a basket 15 – 10 minutes.
Fajita Accessories
  • Tortilla shells (1 -2 per person depending upon appetite)
  • sour cream (I use lowfat)
  • salsa
  • guacamole (optional – either store bought or see recipe below)
  • refried beans (optional)
Heat tortilla shells.  Distribute chicken, peppers and onions in shells and roll up.  Top with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.  Serve with refried beans as a side if desired.  (Also good with rice.)

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  (This is the part of cooking where toddlers excel!).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Spanish Rice

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 TB vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • pinch saffron

Heat oil.  Stir in onion and garlic and wilt.  Add rice and cook uncovered over medium heat until rice is translucent.  Add seasonings and broth.  Bake at 300 for 30 minutes covered.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Add peppers and tomatoes.  Can be made ahead.

Kahlua Brownies

These are the same brownies that I usually make with a little Kahlua added in.

  • 2 squares Baker’s Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 TB Kahlua

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt chocolate, butter and sugar over low heat.  Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.  Stir in flour, eggs and vanilla.  Transfer to a  baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 22 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit in pan for at least an hour before cutting.  Here they are cooling:

Planning ahead for steak fajitas

I made the marinade tonight for tomorrow night’s steak fajitas.  Tomorrow it’s just grilling the steak and veggies and assembling.

Steak Fajitas

  • 1 flank steak or skirt steak
  • 1/3 cup tequila
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients (except steak) and whisk together.  Pour over steak and marinate (at least 4 hours but up to overnight).
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 red peppers, sliced into rings 1/2 thick
  • Pam
  • 1 – 2 flour tortillas per person
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • avocados or guacamole
When ready, grill steak until done.  Slice thinly.  Spray vegetables with Pam and grill in a basket until cooked through.  Put out all ingredients and have each person assemble their own fajitas to order.  You can also serve with refried beans.  As noted in Sunday’s entry – grilling everything and having it available gives a lot of flexibility on those nights when everyone has a different schedule.