Four Pepper and Corn Salsa with Baked Chili-Lime Tortilla Chips

First and foremost, I apologize for my week and a day long absence. No, I was not having “I never back-up my computer” problems again. Lesson—no, hard lesson—learned with that incident. Sometimes the creative juices stop flowing and you just need a chance to reboot. I find myself in this predicament every time the weather gets nice like it has been.

Knock on wood. Please don’t rain right after I publish this post!

Does that ever happen to any of you? I hope I am not alone. What are some good ways you guys beat the blahs or a creative slump?

During my week-ish off from writing my blog love letters to all of you, I read food magazines, got addicted to the Divergent book series, and watched way too much Kardashian and Real Housewife. That is what I did to get back in the mood to be a blogging go-getter again. This may not work for everybody. Not all people find it ideal to turn their brain off and watch ten straight hours, including three hour long episodes of super yelly reunions, of reality TV. If that works for you, next time I am wearing my pajamas and haven’t showered for an entire day, you are more than welcome to join me in the recharge.

Right before my blog fell off the face of the earth and I felt like I needed a break, I developed a fun recipe with my girl, who else, Stephie from Eat Your Heart Out. Are you sick of us yet? Sorry.

We wanted to make a simple colorful appetizer for the summer season. We came up with this salsa recipe and these super easy baked tortilla chips. We split these recipes up and are doing a joint blog post. On my blog you will find the salsaaaaa, because people like to say salsa. On Stephie’s blog you will find the tortilla chip recipe. Have fun with this recipe. It is meant to be easy and open to interpretation. It is the perfect thing to dabble with to get you back into the kitchen and cooking again.

By the way, I have a strong urge to try this salsa recipe with all grilled vegetables. Let me know if anybody tries that!

I’m back baby! (Sorry for all the Seinfeld references).

Four Pepper and Corn Salsa with Baked Chili-Lime Tortilla Chips
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 8-10

Ingredients
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 Cob of Corn, boiled and cooled
  • 1 Tomato, seeded and diced
  • ½ Red Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped Cilantro
  • Juice of Half a Lime
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper or Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. Dice all the peppers, the tomato, and the onion. Add the diced vegetables to a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Stand the cob of corn up on one end. Using your knife, cut the kernels off of the cob and add the corn to the bowl.
  3. Add the lime juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne to the bowl. Mix well. Let the flavors combine for at least twenty minutes before serving. Serve either at room temperature or slightly chilled, both are fine.
  4. Serve with Chili-Lime Tortilla Chips.

 

Grilled Avocado and Tomatillo Salsa Two Ways

I’m sorry if this post is a bit short or rushed. As I am writing, I am being hustled out of my own home by my Editor-In-Chief, my husband Mike. He is having a bunch of smelly boys invade our house for the weekend for a bachelor party. [Read more…]

Crockpot Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos

It is around this time every year for the past five years, when the holiday rush is over, in which I have to bite the bullet (and subsequent hit to my wallet) and take Weezer in for his yearly Vet visit. It is also around this time of year when the little creature known as Weezer came into my life.

Before we get into that tale, let me tell you about this chicken. It is the easiest recipe I think I have ever posted! Four ingredients, a crockpot, and of course tortillas! Just pop it in the crockpot and go spend some quality time with your four-legged friend. Trust me, after reading this heartwarming story, you will want to do just that!

Ok, now on to the real reason you came to this blog, Weezer!

When I first bought Weezer, I was the ripe old age of 23. He was the first dog addition to our family. As I have told you before, we were an animal loving family, basically everything except dogs or cats have inhabited my parents’ house.

This is what Weezer looked like when I brought him home. My middle brother Nick, peer-pressured me into following through on the actual purchase of a dog after talking a big game ever since I graduated from college. Blame it on my oldest child ego, but I had to do it.

That’s right. I was living at home. My parents’ did not want a dog. They had actually told us many times that if we wanted a dog we would have to do it when we moved out. I bought a dog, brought it home, and failed to inform my parents. Yep, kind of a dick move.

When Nick and I packed Weezer into the car, he would not stop crying and shivering. I figured he was cold, so we blasted the heat all the way back home. That didn’t seem to help. We got back home and Weezer was crying and whining and shivering. I called Mike and told him, word for word, “Mike! I think I made a huge mistake. I bought a dog! I have to go.” That was all I said. I can only imagine Mike on the other line after.  “Stef? Hello?!?”

My Dad came home first. I really thought that between my mom and dad, my dad was going to be the maddest. Little did I know, I was totally wrong. My dad came in and rolled his eyes and then started playing with the little guy, who was stiiiiillll whining!

In the midst of all this excitement, we failed to hear the garage open. DUN, DUN DUUUNNNN! Mom’s home. And Mom was pissssed! The first words out of her mouth were, “Cute. When is he going back to his home?”

When I informed her that this was his home, she was not happy. You know your mom is mad when she doesn’t yell, she just doesn’t talk to you. That is a kind of mad that cuts you to the core.

But, as time went on, Weezer was accepted into our family. I was making a huge effort to be the one taking care of him all the time, yet I am sure my parents will tell you differently. Then something totally unexpected and tragic happened to my family. My Grandfather was hospitalized and eventually put on hospice and moved into our house. He had nurses and my little brother Zack, who was home on summer vacation there to take care of him.

Some people handle these kinds of things differently. Some step up and are there for their family while others, like me, don’t really know how to handle all of this and kind of retreat. I found myself stepping in as the dinner maker and homemaker of the house. That is how I dealt.

I also took a lot of comfort and distraction in a certain little puppy. I think that a lot of my family took comfort in my cuddly little guy. While this may sound dumb to some of you, those of you that get it, really get it and know what a difference a pet can make in your state of mind.

So, this time of year I really thank God for making that “mistake” and impulse purchasing Weezer five years ago. Even though I am sometimes annoyed by my little friend and loathe taking him for walks in the winter, I always manage to save him a little bit of chicken just for the heck of it.

Crockpot Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Entree – Crockpot
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4 – 6

Ingredients
  • 12 Ounces Jarred Salsa Verde (whichever you prefer)
  • 4 Ounces Canned Green Chiles
  • ½ Cup Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 1 ½ Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Tortillas

Instructions
  1. In a crockpot, mix together salsa, green chiles, and chicken stock. Add in chicken breasts and make sure they are fully submerged.
  2. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
  3. When fully cooked, shred chicken in the pot using two forks. Let sit in crockpot on warm uncovered while you prepare tortillas and toppings. Serve meat on tortillas right away.
  4. Chicken will last in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to a week. Reheat slowly in a pot on the stove.
  5. Note: This is mild chicken recipe. If you like it spicier, add one more can of green chiles.

How can you say no to this guy?

Quinoa Burrito Bowls

The blogiversary giveaway is over, womp womp (BTW Congrats to Lisa for winning). Back to reality. So, where do we go from here? You may think you know a lot about me after one year of my rambles, but we have only scratched the surface of my crazy stories and neuroses.

Five Random Things You Didn’t Know About Me

  • I do not make the bed right when I wake up. I, on the other hand, make the bed right before I get in it to go to sleep. Call me crazy (don’t worry, Mike does all the time) but I just like nice and neat covers to sleep in.
  • Some of my best friends call me Fanie. This is based upon the way you spell my name, with an “F”, not a “ph.” Stefanie. I love this nickname, even if it was the end result of a crazy night of drinking shenanigans.

  • Mike and I have a joint record collection. Every year for Valentine’s Day we give each other a record we think the other person would enjoy.
  • Growing up, from the age of 7 to 23 years old, my parents’ house was home to a total of 2 parakeets, 1 gerbil, 2 hermit crabs, 3 guinea pigs, 3 goldfish, 4 dwarf rabbits, and one dog for a little bit of time. By the way, the goldfish were named Martin, Martin the second, and Martin the third.

  • I feel a weird sense of accomplishment in recreating our favorite fast food. When I made a healthier version of the Chipotle burrito bowl, I swear to God, the neighbors heard me yell “Wahoooo!!!” I like to think, if I could recreate Taco Bell’s chalupa shell, I would never leave the house. Don’t judge.

Quinoa Burrito Bowls
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 3 – 4

Ingredients
  • For the Quinoa:
  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 2 Cups Low-Sodium Vegetable Stock
  • Juice of Half a Lime (About 2 Tablespoons)
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped Cilantro
  • For the Pico de Gallo:
  • 1-2 Tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Shallot
  • 1 Teaspoon Lime Juice
  • Pinch of Fresh Chopped Cilantro
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • For the Corn Salsa:
  • Kernels from 1 Cooked Cob of Corn (about ¾ cup, you can use a drained can of corn to save time)
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Minced Shallot
  • Pinch of Fresh Cilantro
  • Dash of Tabasco
  • 1 Teaspoon Lime Juice
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • For the Guacamole:
  • 2 Semi-Soft Avocados
  • Juice from Half a Lime
  • For the Bowls:
  • Cooked and Cubed Chicken or Steak (or nothing if you want this to be vegetarian)
  • 1 Can Cooked Black Beans, drained
  • 1 Cup Shredded Romaine Lettuce
  • ½ Cup Reduced Fat Shredded Cheese (whichever you prefer)
  • Sour Cream and Salsa or Hot Sauce (optional)

Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the uncooked quinoa and stock. Cover with lid and bring to a simmer over medium/low heat. Simmer covered for 10-12 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa simmers, cook whichever meat you desire.
  3. When the quinoa is done, transfer to a medium bowl. Mix in the cilantro and lime juice. Cover with tin foil while you prepare the other toppings.
  4. In a small saucepan, bring a can of black beans up to a simmer for about three to five minutes. Remove from heat and cover with a lid. Don’t drain the beans until you are ready to serve. When ready to serve, transfer the black beans to a small bowl with a slotted spoon.
  5. To make the pico de gallo, slice a large tomato, remove the seeds, and then dice. Place the tomato into a small bowl along with the shallot and lime juice. Mix well. Set off to the side.
  6. Combine the corn kernels, jalapeno, shallot, cilantro, tabasco, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Mix well and adjust seasoning to taste.
  7. Just before serving, mash the avocado flesh with a fork in a small medium bowl. Mix in the lime juice and serve immediately.
  8. Fill various small bowls with shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, and salsa/hot sauce if you are using them. Start an assembly line. Layer each plate/bowl with a big spoonful of quinoa, a spoonful of black beans, meat, pico, corn salsa, cheese, lettuce, and then guacamole. Eat and enjoy!
  9. Note: This recipe is open for interpretation. Feel free to add in whatever meat or protein you like and make any substitutions you wish.

Thai Mango Salsa

Real life confession: I have never broken up with anybody ever. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I didn’t want that vindicating moment with some of these “winners.” It’s just that they always got to me first!
One gentleman suitor took me to a bar for a date. We were both under 21, so I don’t know how I imagined this date going down differently. His friend passed me back her fake ID and we got into the bar. Phew! One look around the bar, which was filled with gray-haired handlebar mustachioed men, it was clear we had no place there. Two minutes later a “Paddy Wagon” pulled up outside and we all had to run through the kitchen to evade the cops.
My fella made a run for it and did not even bother to look back for me. That is where I should have broken up with him. I waited too long and heard through the grapevine he was dating somebody else. Awesome!
Another great anti-breakup tale happened right before summer vacation my sophomore year of college. If a guy ever tells you to take a hiatus and pick back up when school starts, it is not a good thing. That’s when I should’ve pulled the plug. Instead, after I hadn’t heard from him all summer and was expecting this big reunion, he sent me an IM (Oh yeah, you remember AIM) using a vague Quentin Tarantino film line to break up with me. Then put up an away message and stopped responding.
I have also been broken up with because I was too preppy, too stalkery, too old, too young. Once I had to work a whole summer with an ex and his new girlfriend. That sucked!
Please don’t feel bad for me. I am happily married and even though the moments stung at the time, I can look back and laugh. Not that awkward, nervous laugh either, the full belly laugh kind of laugh!
Now I’m going to get all mushy on you… Without all those stinging experiences, I wouldn’t have the sweet life I have now! Wait! It’s just like this recipe! Just when you think it is too painful from the spice, the sweet mango comes to the rescue! Awww! (Barf!)
Ingredients (Serves 4 as an appetizer 6-8 as a topping)
2 Cups Mango, cubed (about 2 mangos)
¼ Cup Red Onion, diced
1 Red Jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 Serrano Pepper, minced
1 Teaspoon Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Teaspoon Chili Garlic Sauce (if you don’t have chili garlic sauce, substitute a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and one clove of garlic, grated)
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 Teaspoon Honey
1 Teaspoon Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
Juice of 1 Lime
1 Teaspoon Lime Zest
½ Teaspoon Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Let’s start with how to cut a mango into cubes. Mangos have a very large, flat seed, so they cannot be sliced through the center. A mango has two opposing flat sides. Place the mango with one flat side resting on the cutting board. Slice the mango lengthwise along the flat side next to the seed. Turn mango over and repeat on the other side.
Carefully cut a cross-hatch pattern through the mango pulp down to the skin, being careful not to cut through the skin. Then pick up the cross-cut mango half and place your thumbs gently on either side of the mango skin. Place your fingers underneath the center and gently push upwards with your fingers while pressing down with your thumbs, pressing the cubed pieces of mango to the outside.
Then use a small paring knife to carefully cut off each cube of mango. Do the same with the other half.
Combine the cubed mango with the red onion, red jalapeno, and the serrano pepper.
Now, let’s get started on the sauce. Add the cilantro, chili garlic sauce, fish sauce, honey, soy sauce, lime zest, lime juice, pepper, and olive oil to a small mixing bowl. Whisk to evenly combine the sauce. Pour the sauce over the mango salsa and mix.
Enjoy on some tortilla chips or on top of some spicy chicken or fish tacos.
Salsa will last for two days in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
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