• Poblano Macaroni and Cheese

    Recipe from Cooking Con Claudia.

    Ingredients:

    • 4 poblanos, roasted, skin and seeds removed, chopped
    • 16 oz. elbow macaroni
    • 6 TBSP butter, divided
    • Small onion, diced
    • 8 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tsp. black pepper
    • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
    • 1 tsp. salt to taste
    • 6 TBSP flour
    • 2 c. chicken broth
    • 2 c. milk
    • ½ c. crema
    • 5 oz. cheddar cheese
    • 5 oz. pepper jack cheese
    • 5 oz. mozzarella cheese

    Directions:

    1. Set oven to broil.  On a baking sheet add the poblanos and roast all sides until charred.  Once charred place poblanos in a Ziploc bag and seal the bag.  Let the poblanos steam in the bag for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, remove poblanos and peel the skins, remove the seeds and stems, and chop.
    2. Cook pasta according to box, slightly undercooked.
    3. Heat 3 TBSP butter in large skillet over medium-high heat; then add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes, until translucent.  Add garlic, chopped poblanos, pepper, smoked paprika, and salt and cook for 1 minute.
    4. Create a well in the center of the skillet with the veggies surrounding the well and add the remaining 3 TBSP of butter and melt.  Once melted and the flour and stir until flour is dissolved.  Then add the broth, milk, and crema, and bring to a light boil.
    5. Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the cheeses, and stir until cheese is melted.  Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine.  The macaroni and cheese will thicken as it cools.

    Poblano Macaroni and Cheese:

  • Chipotle Salmon with Mango Salsa

    Recipe adapted from Carlsbad Cravings.

    Ingredients:

    Wet Rub for Salmon:

    • 2-3 lbs. of salmon
    • 2 TBSP butter
    • 2 TBSP honey
    • Zest of 1 lime
    • 2 TBSP lime juice
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. chili powder
    • 1 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp. smoke paprika
    • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 1/2-1 tsp. chipotle powder

    Mango Salsa:

    • 3 mangos, chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper, diced
    • 1/3 red onion, diced
    • 1-3 jalapenos, seeded and minced
    • 1/3 c. cilantro, chopped
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
    • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/8-1/4 tsp. pepper
    • 3 TBSP lime juice
    • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar

    Directions:

    1. Prepare mango salsa: Add all Mango Salsa ingredients to a large bowl. Toss to evenly combine. Taste and add additional jalapenos, salt or lime juice. For best flavor, chill salsa in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
    2. Preheat oven to 400* F.
    3. Line a large jelly roll pan with foil that extends 2” past the pan edge on each long side (so you can fold the sides up). Lightly spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Place salmon in the center of the foil skin side down.
    4. Whisk all the Wet Rub ingredient together in a medium bowl. Pour rub on salmon and evenly rub all over the top. Fold up all the sides of the foil snugly around the salmon (but don’t cover salmon). Let salmon rest 15-30 minutes to come to room temperature (you can make the mango salsa during this time).
    5. Bake salmon uncovered at 400* F for 12-15 minutes (depending salmon thickness), then broil 3 minutes.
    6. Garnish salmon with fresh lime juice and mango salsa. Season with salt to taste.

    Chipotle Salmon with Mango Salsa:

  • Tri-Tip Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

    Recipe from Cafe Sucre Farine.

    Ingredients:

    Chimichurri Sauce:

    • Zest of 1 lemon
    • 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
    • 3 garlic cloves peeled
    • 1 tsp. dried oregano
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
    • 1/2 c. fresh basil packed
    • 1 c. fresh cilantro packed
    • 1 c. fresh parsley packed
    • 1/2 c. olive oil

    Tri-Tip:

    • 1 2-2½ lb. Tri-Tip steak
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. dried rosemary 
    • 1 tsp. pepper
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder

    Directions:

    1. For the Chimichurri Sauce, combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and puree until ingredients are combined and fairly well pureed. Leave just a bit of texture.
    2. Transfer to a bowl and add olive oil. Stir until well combined. If too thick, add a bit more olive oil or lemon juice, to taste.
    3. Sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
    4. For the meat, combine dried rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub mixture between your fingers to crush the rosemary.
    5. Rub mixture onto beef on both sides and place meat on a dinner plate. Cover loosely and allow to come to room temperature for 30-45 minutes.
    6. Heat grill to medium high.
    7. Clean the grill grate thoroughly with a wire grille brush and wipe it with a paper towel soaked with cooking oil. Do this with a long handled tongs.
    8. Place steaks on the grill and cook for 5-7 minutes per side or until meat reaches 120˚F (for rare) or 130˚F (for medium). If meat is deep golden brown on the outside, but has still not reached the desired internal temperature, move meat to indirect heat to finish cooking.
    9. Remove from grill and tent meat with foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. (This allows the juices to return to the meat.)
    10. Slice against the grain and serve with Chimichurri Sauce.

    Tri-Tip with Chimichurri Sauce:

  • Crockpot Ranch Roast

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    Crockpot Ranch Roast is so flavorful.  All but our pickiest eater (who doesn’t each much by the way of red meat) enjoyed this dinner.  I made Corn Casserole to accompany the roast, and it was excellent together.  Steve said it reminded him of a dish he had in Costa Rica and that’s a really good thing.

    Ingredients:

    • 3 lb. beef roast
    • 2 c. water
    • 1 envelope of dry Italian salad dressing mix
    • 1 envelope of dry ranch salad dressing mix
    • 1 envelope of dry brown gravy mix

     Directions:

    1. Mix water through gravy mix in a bowl until thoroughly blended.
    2. Brown roast, if desired (I didn’t).  Add meat to Crockkpot and add mixture over meat.
    3. Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.

    Crockpot Ranch Roast:

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  • Grilled Polenta with Spicy Steak

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    This dish is fantastic!  Definitely tastes like something you would get at a restaurant.  The best part…it’s quick and easy.  Certainly company worthy.

    Recipe is adapted from a recipe in the June 2010 issue of Cooking Light.

    Ingredients:

    • 3 tsp. olive oil
    • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1 1/2 tsp. ground chipotle chile powder (1 dried chipotle, ground)
    • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
    • 1 lb. flank steak or flat-iron steak
    • 1 (18oz) tube of polenta, cut into 8 to 10 slices
    • 1 avocado, sliced
    • 1/4 c. crumbled queso fresco
    • 2 c. pico de gallo (simply mix grape tomatoes, chopped jalapeno, chopped cilantro, garlic, salt and lime juice together)
    • Limes, quartered

    Directions:

    1. Combine 2 tsp. olive oil, salt, cumin chile powder, and pepper; rub evenly over steak.
    2. Heat grill; grill steak until done.
    3. Brush polenta with 1 tsp. olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt.  Place a piece of foil on the grill and add the polenta; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned.
    4. Arrange sliced polenta on a plate; add steak, top with pico, queso fresco, and avocado; then squirt with lime.

    Grilled Polenta with Spicy Steak:

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  • Arepas

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    Arepas are a delicious Colombian treat.  Don’t know what an arepa is, then think gordita/chalupa with a Colombian flare.  Delicious with just about anything, and especially delicious topped with guacamole or an avocado salad.

    This recipe comes Fiesta! A Celebration of Latin Hospitatlity by Anya von Bremzen.  The cookbook is out of print, and the cover of my cookbook is different than the one Amazon has, so I can’t be sure the recipe is actually in there.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 c. milk
    • 4 TBSP butter
    • 1 1/2 c. white or yellow arepa flour (aka masarepa or arepaharina) (we use Goya brand and I prefer yellow)
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 1/2 TBSP sugar
    • 1 c. grated mozzarella cheese

    Directions:

    1. In a small saucepan bring 1 1/2 c. milk to a boil.  Pour boiled milk into a bowl and add the butter.  Let stand.
    2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the arepa flour, salt, sugar and cheese.  Make a well in the center and pour in the hot milk.  Stir the masa and milk together  utnil there are no lumps.  Knead the mixture, sprinkling the remaining 1/2 c. milk, until you have a smooth sticky dough.  This should take about 5 minutes.
    3. Roll the dough into a 1/2 inch thick sheet between two pieces of wax paper.  With a cookie cutter, or the rim of a glass, cut out 3-inch circles.  You should get 8.
    4. You can either fry the arepas in oil or skillte fry them in a nonstick pan with just a bit of oil or cooking spray.
    5. Top with guacomole or whatever you like.

    Arepas:

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  • Southwest Chicken Taco Filling

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    This chicken taco filling is quite good, and it’s made in the crockpot.  It’s important to use a flavorful salsa (I used Arriba! Fire Roasted Mexican Chipotle Salsa), and DO NOT use a mild salsa as there just isn’t enough flavor.

    After the dish is cooked squeeze some fresh lime juice to give the dish a nice bright flavor, and then adjust the seasoning.  Since all salsas are different you may need to add some additional salt.

    Next time I think I’ll try adding some ground cumin to the crockpot.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 bag of frozen corn
    • 2 large frozen chicken breasts
    • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 16 oz jar of medium salsa
    • 1-2 limes, juiced
    • salt to taste
    • Top tacos with: avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese, sour cream guacamole etc.

    Directions:

    1. Spray your crock with cooking spray; then add the frozen corn; then add the frozen chicken breasts; then add the black beans; then top with the salsa.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour and then turn to LOW for 4 hours.
    2. Shred the chicken and then add the lime juice and salt and any other seasonings you like.

    Southwest Chicken Taco Filling:

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  • Mango Jicama Salsa

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    I’m always will to try a great new salsa to top chicken tacos or fish tacos.  This salsa is so summery and refreshing, and it went great as a topper for fish tacos.

    I saw a recipe for jicama salad in the March 2009 issue of Cooking Light, which was the initial inspiration of my mango jicama salsa.
    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 c. jicama, julienne-cut
    • 2-3 mangos, sliced or cubed
    • 1/2 of a small red onion, sliced
    • 1/2 of a red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, sliced
    • 1 to 2 jalapenos, chopped
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 1 tsp. sugar (more or less depending on how ripe the mangos are)
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 c. cilantro, chopped

    Directions:

    1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
    2. Top your tacos, and enjoy.

    Mango Jicama Salsa:

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  • Quick Steak Taco Dinner

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    Here’s a tasty menu for a quick weeknight dinner.  Top tacos with Mango Salsa and serve with Los Tios Mexican Rice.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 flank steak
    • lime juice to marinate
    • salt
    • pepper
    • garlic powder
    • onion powder
    • ground ginger

    Directions:

    1. Combine all ingredients in a dish or zip top bag and marinate for 30 minutes.  Grill until desired doneness.

    Serve:

    Quick Steak Taco Dinner:

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  • Grilled Salmon with Grilled Corn, Tomato, and Basil Relish

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    Our plan was to grill the fish and the corn.  Then part way through grilling the corn, we ran out of gas…change of plans.  We ended up baking the salmon and finishing the corn in a skillet.  Regardless, this is a winner dish…so tasty and summery–especially if you use your grill.

    You could easily use this relish on grilled chicken too.

    Recipe from Bobby Flay’s Grill It!
    Ingredients:

    • 4 ears of corn, grilled and slightly cooled
    • 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
    • 3 TBSP olive oil
    • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
    • 3 TBSP thinly sliced basil leaves

    Directions:

    1. After corn is grilled and cooled, cut corn off the cob.
    2. Combine corn, tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil in a bowl.
    3. Serve over grilled salmon or chicken

    Grilled Corn, Tomato, and Basil Relish:

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