• Grilled Polenta with Spicy Steak


    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.


    • 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


    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:


  • Arepas


    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 Hospitality 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.


    • 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


    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 until 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 skillet fry them in a nonstick pan with just a bit of oil or cooking spray.
    5. Top with guacamole or whatever you like.



  • Southwest Chicken Taco Filling


    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.


    • 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.


    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:


  • Mango Jicama Salsa


    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.

    • 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


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

    Mango Jicama Salsa:


  • Quick Steak Taco Dinner


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


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


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


    Quick Steak Taco Dinner:


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


    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!

    • 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


    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:


  • Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast with Watermelon-Jalapeno Salsa


    This recipe comes from the August 2007 issue of Cooking Light. It was delicious. The chicken tasted great, and the marinade would be great for a fajita marinade. The Watermelon-Jalapeno salsa was also delicious and the kiddos even ate it! Excellent summer dish!


    • 1 TBSP chopped fresh oregano
    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • 1 tsp. chili powder
    • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    • Cooking spray
    • 2 c. (1/2-inch) cubed seeded watermelon
    • 1 c. (1/2-inch) cubed peeled ripe mango
    • 1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
    • 1/2 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
    • 2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • 1/2 tsp. sugar
    • 1/4 tsp. salt


    1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator up to 4 hours, turning bag occasionally. Prepare grill.
    2. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 5 minutes on each side or until done. Combine watermelon and remaining ingredients. Serve watermelon mixture with chicken.

    Marinated Chicken Breasts with Watermelon-Jalapeno Salsa:


  • Mango Salsa


    This is one of our summertime go to dishes. The salsa is delicious over grilled chicken, and you can make it as spicy or mild as you like depending on how much hot peppers you add. It’s super easy to make and always a crowd pleaser.


    • 2 mangoes, diced
    • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    • 1/4 c. cilantro, minced
    • 1 small serrano pepper, minced (seeded and deveined)
    • Juice of 1 or 2 limes
    • Salt to taste


    1. Combine everything and serve over grilled chicken.

    Mango Salsa:


  • Buffalo Chicken Salad with Cilantro-Cotija Dressing


    Buffalo wings are delicious, so why not make a salad around those familiar flavors? We created this Latin-inspired take on the traditional combination of buffalo wings and blue cheese dressing. The parsley and blue cheese of the traditional dressing are replaced with cilantro and cotija cheese, a crumbly cheese often used to top Mexican dishes, and it’s absolutely delicious. Everyone we’ve ever served this to has raved about it.

    Buffalo Chicken:

    • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 12-oz bottle of buffalo wing sauce
    • 4 TBSP butter
    • 1/4 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce, such as Tabasco


    1. Combine chicken and buffalo wing sauce in a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Marinate for 1 hour.
    2. Melt butter in a small pot, whisk in hot sauce to combine. Grill chicken over medium-high heat until the internal temperature reaches 170°F. Brush the butter and hot sauce mixture over the chicken during cooking.


    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
    • 1 to 2 TBSP lemon juice
    • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 6 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Crushed red pepper to taste
    • 6 oz cotija cheese


    1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. If necessary, water can be added to thin the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.


    • Grilled chicken, sliced
    • 1 head iceberg lettuce
    • 2 c. grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1 yellow or red bell pepper
    • 1 c. corn, roasted or grilled
    • 2 oz. cotija cheese, for garnish


    1. Mix together all of the ingredients, except for the cotija cheese, in a large bow. Toss with the dressing, plate and top with cotija cheese.

    Buffalo Chicken Salad with Cilantro-Cotija Dressing:


  • Arroz Con Coco Blanco/Coconut Rice


    This coconut rice recipe comes from Secrets of Columbian Cooking. It was delicious! I had no idea Columbian cuisine used coconut milk. We made an Asian flank steak to accompany the rice, and the combo was delicious. Any grilled meat or Asian inspired marinade or sauce would be great with this rice. Just delicious!


    • 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
    • 1 c. rice
    • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 2 c. coconut milk (I used 1 can plus a little extra water)


    1. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat.
    2. Add the rice, sugar, and salt, and stir for 2 minutes.
    3. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil.
    4. After about 7 minutes, or as soon as you see the rice on the surface and most of the liquid has evaporated, cover the pot; reduce to minimum heat and cook covered for 20 minutes.

    Coconut Rice: