Archives for category: Mexican

Today is Taco Tuesday! As everyone knows, it’s one of our family’s favorite meals of the week since tortillas and cheese are involved. This posed a dilemma during meal prep though since we altered our cooking for low carbohydrate options. Never fear, I dug deep and decided to make Stuffed Bell Peppers with a Mexican Twist.

This recipe is ground beef with onions, garlic, mushrooms, zucchini and Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies, Mexican shredded cheese seasoned with basil, cumin, oregano and chili powder. Then, it is packed nicely into a bell pepper and topped with MORE cheese.

Stuffed Bell Peppers with a Mexican Twist

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 medium onion, chopped

4 gloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced

2/3 cups mushrooms, chopped

1/2 medium zucchini, chopped fine

14.5 ounces Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Green Chili (I only used half and saved the rest for another use)

1 TBSP dried basil

1 TBSP dried oregano

1 TBSP cumin

2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Salt and ground pepper to taste

6 bell peppers, any color (your preference)

1 1/2 cups Mexican shredded cheese or Monterey Jack (your preference)

Chopped cilantro (this is optional — you can substitute with parsley)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Brown the ground beef in a large fry pan or Dutch oven over medium high heat for 6-7 minutes until almost cooked through. Drain the meat in a colander to remove any fat. Set aside.
  3. Add the onions and garlic to the same pan and cook about 6 minutes over medium heat until translucent. Then, add the mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes and all the seasonings. Mix together until thoroughly combined, and cook another 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the meat back to into the pan with the other ingredients and stir to combine. Continue cooking about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and add 1 cup shredded cheese to the pan. Stir to combine. Set aside to cool.
  5. Cut off the tops of the bell peppers and clean out the cavity to remove the ribs and seeds. Lightly sprinkle the inside of the peppers with salt and pepper.
  6. Neatly arrange the bell peppers in an 8×8 baking dish or casserole pan. Add about 1/4 cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Place in the oven and let cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  7. Carefully, fill the peppers with the ground beef, vegetable and cheese mixture. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes more or until the peppers are knife tender and the cheese is melted and browned.
  8. Serve with chopped cilantro.

Note: This recipe is designed for Keto but stuffed bell peppers are completely versatile. You can add anything you choose such as fresh or frozen corn and/or cooked white or brown rice. You can also swap out the ground beef for chicken or remove the meat entirely for a Vegetarian dish!

Enjoy! XOXO Jill

In 1992, I was a journalism major and as a school assignment queried a magazine to write a story about tamales. It wasn’t about me making them or my recipe but my mother-in-law who would have an assembly line of family and friends making over 250 tamales every Christmas Eve. She was from El Paso, TX and grew-up making these from scratch. It was a fabulous, fun tradition that I knew would be a great food magazine article. To my surprise, the magazine agreed (which gave me an awesome grade!).

The following year a story about our Christmas Eve tradition and my mother-in-law’s menu and recipe for Chicken Tamales with Red Chile Sauce was published. (Ping me and I’ll let you know the magazine and date it was published.) Obviously, I was super proud and have never forgotten the recipe and tradition even though my mother-in-law has since passed and life changed tremendously.

The following is my rendition of that recipe that I’m happy to share to keep this wonderful Christmas Eve tradition alive!

Chicken Tamales with Red Chile Sauce

Ingredients:

1 package dried corn husks, soaked in water to cover overnight

1 — 4 pound chicken

Red Chile Sauce:

10 dried New Mexico Chiles

2 dried Pasilla Chiles

2 tsp minced garlic

2 1/2 cups chicken broth (from the poached chicken)

2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/4 tsp cumin

Filling:

1 TBSP vegetable oil

1 cup finely chopped onions

4 cups shredded poached chicken

1 cup Red Chile Sauce

1 tsp salt

Masa Harina Dough (if you’re unable to purchase 3 1/4 pounds of masa from a Mexican market this is the recipe to make the dough)

1 1/3 cups vegetable shortening

4 cups masa harina

2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

2 2/3 cups warm chicken broth (from the poached chicken)

Directions:

  1. Soak the corn husks in water to cover overnight.
  2. In a stockpot, add the whole chicken and cover with water. Add a pinch or two of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate to cook. Reserve the chicken broth for the Red Chile Sauce and Masa Harina.
  3. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove chicken meat and shred for the filing (should be about 4 cups).
  4. Red Chile Sauce — Soak chiles in hot tap water to cover for 15-60 minutes, until softened. (The time variance depends on the dryness of the chiles.) Discard the stems and seeds. Transfer the chiles to a blender with 3/4 cup of hot water; cover tightly and puree. Repeat with the remaining chiles. Add garlic and puree 10 seconds more. Strain mixture through a sieve into a medium saucepan. Stir in chicken broth, salt, pepper and cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. (The sauce can be made 24 hours ahead, covered and refrigerated until needed.) Makes about 4 cups.
  5. Filing — Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of shredded chicken, 1 cup of the Red Chile Sauce and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally until liquid is almost evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 4 cups.
  6. Masa Harina Dough — Beat shortening, masa harina, salt and baking powder in mixer bowl to combine. Gradually beat in warm broth. Cover with a damp towel.
  7. Rinse corn husks and dry. Open 1 large husk on a work surface (if corn husks are small, overlap two). Spread 1/4 cup dough in center of husk to 5×4″ rectangle on the husk. Spoon 2 TBSP filing down center of rectangle. Fold up sides of husk, then fold ends over to make a packet. Secure with strips from the corn husk or actual string. Repeat with the remaining husks, dough and filing to make 24 tamales.
  8. Arrange tamales upright on steamer rack in Dutch oven over simmering water. Cover and steam 2 hours, adding more boiling water as needed.

Serve tamales with remaining Red Chile Sauce on the side. We also included Margarita’s, Mexican Rice, Refried Beans, Guacamole and Salsa for a true Fiesta!

Enjoy! XOXO Jill

It’s Taco Tuesday and the perfect day to get adventurous! I know…I know…tacos are a major food group for many of us and a thing of edible beauty but every once in awhile we need variety. Today, instead of tacos, we’re making Cheesy Mexican Tortilla Pizza.

Almost forgot to take a pic before it was all gone!

I found this recipe on @thesoccermomblog.com and it’s easy and fantastic. It changes things up for a family that loves pizza. What could be better than cheese, beans, taco meat and enchilada sauce on a super large tortilla? I include Mexican Rice or Cilantro Rice on the side and serve with extra toppings of shredded cheese, guacamole, salsa, sour cream and chips to round out the meal.

This is my version of the recipe!

Cheesy Mexican Tortilla Pizza

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

1 package taco seasoning (any brand such as McCormick or Lawry’s)

2 12″ Grande Tortillas for 1 pizza (such as Guerrero other brand of extra large tortillas)

1 cup refried beans (any brand such as Rosarita or Old El Paso)

2 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

1/4 to 1/2 cup red enchilada sauce (such as El Pato, Las Palmas, Rosarita or Old El Paso)

1/4 cup Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, drained (you can use Mild, Medium or Hot) or salsa

Extra cheese, olives, sour cream, guacamole, salsa for garnish (your choice)

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet cook ground beef until browned. Drain grease and return to the pan. Add taco seasoning, 2 TBSP water and mix completely. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Heat the tortillas side-by-side on a baking sheet in the oven at 375 degrees for 4 minutes on each side. You want to crisp and brown the tortillas slightly. Remove from the oven to begin building your Cheesy Mexican Tortilla Pizza.
  3. Place one tortilla on a round pizza stone/pan or baking sheet and frost with the refried beans. You’ll want to smooth the beans over the tortilla to 1/8″ of the edge. Next, top the beans with a nice layer of shredded cheese and then add the ground beef smoothing it over the cheese layer.
  4. Add another tortilla on top and press down. Then, spread enchilada sauce on top with a pastry brush leaving 1/4″ space from the edge. Top with the remaining shredded cheese.
  5. Broil the pizza for about 4-6 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through and checking to make sure it doesn’t burn and the cheese is completely melted. Your oven may cook quicker so pay attention!
  6. Remove from the oven and add some (not too much) drained diced tomatoes or salsa on top. Use a pizza cutter and divide in equal parts like you would a pie. Serve with any toppings or sides you choose.

You will find most ingredients in the Mexican food isle of your local grocery store. For a family of 5, we make 2 of these Cheesy Mexican Tortilla Pizzas and serve with rice for a super, easy, alternative Taco Tuesday Dinner!

Enjoy! XOXO Jill

Taco Tuesday is one of our favorite days of the week for dinner! The choices are endless from a variety of different types of tacos, burritos, enchiladas, flautas, chili rellenos, pozole, nachos, Mexican rice, refried beans and on and on.

An easy recipe for a busy family is a Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole. It can be made ahead (and even frozen) and then baked when you’re ready to eat!

Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole

Ingredients:

1 TBSP oil (I use Wesson, Mazola or Star Canola)

1/2 onion chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 garlic cloves

1 lb. ground beef

salt and pepper to taste

3 TBSP taco seasoning (Lawry’s Taco Seasoning or your favorite)

1 1/2 cups salsa (made fresh or your choice)

2 TBSP tomato paste

1 cup corn (fresh, frozen or Del Monte or Green Giant canned corn)

1 16 oz. can black or pinto beans (S&W, Bush’s or any generic brand)

1 4 oz. green chilies (Ortega mild, medium or hot — your choice)

1 cup long grained white rice, uncooked

2 cups beef broth (Swanson, Pacific or O Organics)

2 cups shredded Mexican Blend (Kraft, Tillamook or Lucerne cheddar or Monterey Jack)

Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet (I use a Dutch Oven) over medium heat cook the chopped onion and bell pepper for 5 minutes or until translucent and soft
  2. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute
  3. Add the ground beef and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. The beef needs to be browned and then drained of the grease
  4. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the cooked beef and stir to incorporate
  5. Add the corn (draining liquid if you use canned), beans, salsa, tomato paste and green chilies. Stir until all ingredients are combined thoroughly
  6. Add the uncooked rice and beef broth
  7. Cover and bring the rice mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes
  8. Sprinkle shredded Mexican cheese over the casserole. Cover with a lid for 3 to 5 minutes until the cheese melts
  9. Garnish with chopped tomatoes, green onions and cilantro.

Serve with your choice of sour cream, salsa, guacamole, tortillas, tortilla chips or corn chips.

Enjoy! XOXO Jill