Creamy Poblano Pasta

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Roasted Poblano peppers are one of my favorite ingredients to use when preparing Latin inspired dishes. This recipe is easy to make, delicious, and perfect for feeding a large group by simply doubling or tripling the recipe. To roast poblano peppers, place on griddle or grill and roast until charred. Once charred, remove skin and stems. Run under water to remove seeds.

Ingredients:

4 large roasted, peeled and deseeded Poblano peppers

1/4 small white onion

2 small garlic cloves

1 can yellow corn kernels

1 lb. (454g.) uncooked fettuccine pasta

6 oz. heavy whipping cream

2-3 tbsp. chicken bouillon according to taste

parmesan cheese for topping

In a large blender or food processor, blend Poblano peppers, onion, garlic, and heavy whipping cream until smooth

Place sauce in a large pot and heat

Stir for 10-15 minutes on medium heat (if sauce is too thick, add more heavy cream until you reach the desired consistency)

Stir in corn kernels

Add chicken bouillon according to taste (you can replace chicken bouillon with salt, however, Poblano peppers can sometimes taste a bit bitter and I find that adding bouillon, which has a slight sweetness to it, balances the flavors in the sauce).

In a separate pot, cook pasta according to instructions on package

Drain pasta and add Poblano sauce. Stir.

Serve and top with parmesan cheese

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tinga

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Tinga is a chicken dish that originated in Puebla, Mexico. It’s perfect for tacos, tostadas, salads, or even as a topping for nachos. There are various ways to prepare this dish but the recipe below is simple and easy to prepare and it contains all of the main ingredients that make this dish so popular. This recipe can easily feed a group of six so adjust the ingredients according to the number of guests you are entertaining.

Makes 12-14 tacos

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (you will need 3 cups of shredded chicken, white and brown meat combined)

12-14 corn tortillas or corn tostadas

5 Roma tomatoes

1/4 small white onion

4 garlic cloves

2-5 canned chipotle peppers in adobo (adjust amount according to the level of spiciness you prefer)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

1 cup water

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. each garlic and onion powder

1 tbsp. dried oregano, finely crumbled

1 bay leaf

2 tbsp. chicken bouillon (adjust according to taste)

4 avocados

2 cups crumbled queso fresco

Lime wedges

– In a blender, add tomatoes, garlic, onion, chipotle peppers and water. Blend until smooth.

– Transfer contents into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add all seasonings and bay leaf. Stir and continue cooking for 20 minutes on medium heat.

– Remove pay leaf.

– Add the shredded chicken into the sauce and stir well.

– Stir in cilantro.

– Taste and adjust seasoning according to taste. The chicken bouillon is enough to salt the dish but feel free to add regular table salt if you prefer.

– Assemble tacos or tostadas by placing 3-4 tbsp. of chicken tinga and top with avocado slices and queso fresco. Serve with lemon wedges.

Provecho!

One last thing… Tinga leftovers are awesome! You can make a variety of dishes with any leftover chicken Tinga like these below:

Chicken Tinga soup: Place Chicken Tinga into a medium pot, add vegetables of choice, broth, and extra seasonings. Top with avocado slices and queso fresco.

Chicken Tinga “chopped” salad: Heat Chicken Tinga on the stove or microwave and set aside. Assemble your vegetables of choice and top with Tinga and creamy dressing. I used cabbage salad mix and added cucumbers.

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Buñuelos

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Buñuelos, a traditional Mexican dessert popular during the holiday season, are crispy, flaky, and topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. They are also very easy to make. Give them a try!

Here is what you will need:

-Makes about 26 buñuelos

1 kg. of white flour or 2.2 lb. (approx. 7 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup vegetable oil for dough and 1 cup for frying

2 1/4 cups warm water

pinch of salt

white sugar and ground cinnamon for topping

– Combine flour, oil, water, and salt.

– Knead dough until all ingredients are well incorporated.

– Cover dough and let sit for about 10 minutes

– Divide dough into 26-28 pieces and form into small balls

– Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough balls until you get a very thin tortilla. You should be able to almost see through the dough. This is very important in order to achieve the flaky texture. Do not make them too thick.

– Using a fork, poke a few holes on the top surface of each tortilla

– Add cooking oil to a deep frying pan and heat. Once oil is hot, place one pastry in at a time (use tongs)

– You will begin to see bubbles on the surface after about 30 seconds. Fry pastry on each side until both sides are golden brown. Do not leave unattended; pastry burns rather quickly if left in oil too long.

– Drain excess oil and place on paper towel covered dish

– Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon according to your taste. Repeat process with the rest.

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Chicken in Adobo Sauce

If you’re a fan of chipotle peppers then this dish is for you. If you are entertaining a large crowd, it can be made ahead of time and stored refrigerated until it is time to eat.

Ingredients:

Serves 2

2 medium chicken breasts, diced

1/2 white onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves. minced

1 tomato, diced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

3 tbsp, fresh oregano

1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped,  plus 1 tbsp. of adobo sauce

1/4 cups dry, white wine

2 tbsp. cooking oil

salt and pepper to taste

Serve over white rice

Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large frying pan, add 2 tbsp of cooking oil and add chicken. Cook 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add onion, garlic, and tomato and saute until chicken has cooked and vegetables are soft

Deglaze pan with the 1/4 cup of wine and simmer until reduced by half

Add chopped chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and cilantro. Stir and bring to a simmer.

Stir in fresh oregano

Add salt if needed

You can find corn gorditas on the menu of practically every Mexican restaurant walk into. They can be stuffed with chile colorado, beans with cheese, and just about anything else your heart desires! These taste just like the ones I ate growing up at the street festivals in Mexico. Hope you try them.

Makes 12 gorditas

Dough:

4 cups corn flour

1 tbsp salt

warm water ( 2 cups more or less)

– In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt.  Add water, a little at a time, and begin to work the dough with your hands. The dough should be firm so you might not use all two cups of water. Knead dough and separate into 12 portions. Roll portions into balls. Place a ball between the palms of your hands and press gently. Form into a patty about half an inch thick.

– In a large frying pan, add a good amount of cooking oil, enough to cover half the patties. Heat oil and carefully place patties into pan. Flip patties after about 3-5 minutes. Flip and cook other side until slightly golden.

– Remove from oil and place on paper towels to soak extra oil. Once cooled, take a slicing knife and cut a slid on one side of the patty, but stop before you reach the other side.  In other words, make a pocket big enough for 2-3 tbsp. of filling. Set aside.

Filling:

1 lb. ground beef

2 russet potatoes

1 tbsp ground black pepper

1/2 tbsp garlic salt

1 tbsp. ground cumin

salt to taste

– Peel and chop two potatoes into very small cubes. In a greased pan, cook potatoes until soft but do not crisp!

– Add ground beef to the potatoes and season with salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic salt.  Add chopped onion if desired.

– Once meat has browned, take a potato masher and smash potatoes and ground beef together until well combined.

Toppings:

Shredded cheese

lettuce

tomatoes

salsa

To top off our gorditas, I made a delicious and simple to make jalapeno salsa. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

6 -8 jalapenos – Cut off stem and remove seeds

In a small frying pan, add 4-6 tbsp of cooking oil ( do not use olive oil) and fry jalapenos until soft, 5-8 minutes.

Add jalapenos and oil into blender. Add 1 tbsp. of chicken bouillon or as desired for taste. Add a small handful of fresh cilantro. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add a tablespoon of water if needed. This salsa is great too if you add 1 avocado.

 

Not only will this flavorful stuffing complement your holiday turkey, but it will also leave you begging for leftovers! This stuffing will taste just as delicious the next day; just top it off with an over-easy egg and ta-da! Breakfast! Enjoy it.

Happy Holidays!

Prep time: 15 min.

Bake time: 20 min.

Temp. 400 degrees

Serves 10-12

2 large, red potatoes, cubed

8 oz. smoked sausage, cubed

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

½ white union, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

11 oz. seasoned croutons

3 cups chicken broth

1 quart water

1 tbsp. chicken bouillon

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. dried Italian herb seasoning

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Bring water to a boil in a medium size pot. Add cubed potatoes, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, sauté garlic, onions, and bell peppers until onions are translucent and peppers are soft.

Add chicken broth, bouillon, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Stir and simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Add sausage. Stir for another minute.

Drain potatoes and add to the sausage and broth mixture. Turn heat off and remove from stove.

Slowly, add croutons. Stir gently until broth has been absorbed.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Transfer stuffing into a deep, oven-proof dish.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees or until top layer of croutons are golden brown.

 

 

Ingredients:

2 medium russet potatoes

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella or any type white cheese

3 tbsp. chopped, green onion, optional

3 eggs, yolks and whites separated

2 cups water

olive or vegetable oil for frying

salt, pepper to taste

– Scrub, peel, and cube potatoes. In a small pot, boil potatoes in water until soft.

– Add cheese, onions, salt and pepper to taste.  Mix and press with potato masher.

– Make golf ball-sized portions out of mashed potato mixture and press between your pals making an oval-shaped patty

– In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until they begin to fluff. Add yolks and continue to beat on high until obtaining a frothy mixture ( mixture does not need to form stiff peaks as long as it is frothy and thick)

– Heat oil in large frying pan

Dip potato patties into batter and coat evenly

– Place them in hot pan and fry both sides until golden brown. About 1 min. each side

Sauce:

1 8 oz. can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

5 tbsp mayonnaise

salt, pepper to taste

– Blend all ingredients until sauce is thick and smooth

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These baby sweet peppers are stuffed with shrimp sautéed with garlic, onions, tomato, chipotle peppers and cream cheese. A sprinkle of panko bread crumbs and a few seconds in the broiler give these flavorful peppers a little bit of crunch. They make for a light and delicious appetizer year-round!

Ingredients

12 small sweet peppers (cut out about 1 inch of each pepper and reserve the pieces to use in the filling)

10-12 medium shrimp, deveined, tail removed, and chopped into small pieces

1 Roma tomato, chopped

1/4 small yellow onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 chipotle pepper in adobo, finely chopped (adjust amount according to taste)

3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro

3 tbsp. cream cheese

salt according to taste

1/4 cup panko brad crumbs

olive oil

In a medium pan, add 1/2 tbsp. olive oil and heat. Add chopped onions, garlic, and tomato. Chop the pieces removed from each pepper and add into the pan with the other ingredients.

Introduce shrimp into the pan (If using uncooked shrimp, stir until shrimp turns pink) Add chipotle pepper and cream cheese. Season with salt and stir until all ingredients are well combined. Remove from heat and fold in cilantro.

Stuff each pepper with shrimp mixture and place on a baking sheet.Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

Remove peppers from oven and sprinkle with panko bread crumbs. Broil peppers on high for 15-30 seconds.

 

 

 

 

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Steak Salad with Chimichurri

This is officially one of my favorite salads of the summer. Chimichurri is a popular topping throughout Central and South America most commonly used to complement  grilled meat. The salad dressing is simple –  a concoction of only a few ingredients that will not overpower the taste of the grilled steak. And believe me, the chimichurri topping packs enough flavor!

 

Recipe serves 4

Chimichurri Topping Ingredients

1/2 cup finely shopped parsley

4-5 garlic cloves finely minced

1/2 tbsp. dried oregano

1/2 tbsp. paprika

1/2 tbsp. red chili pepper flakes (adjust according to the level of spiciness you desire)

1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 cup olive oil (adjust amount according to your desired consistency)

pinch of salt

pinch of fresh ground pepper

  • In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Taste and adjust ingredients according to taste. Set aside.

Tomato and Onion Topping

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1/2 purple onion, chopped

3 tbsp. liquid aminos

  • Combine ingredients and set aside

Salad Dressing 

Juice of 4-6 limes

1/2 cup olive oil

pinch of salt

pinch of fresh ground pepper

  • Combine all ingredients and whisk until well incorporated

Additional Ingredients

1 cup sweet yellow corn kernels

1 cup black beans

Spring salad mix

4 steaks grilled according to your preference

  • To assemble salads, prepare each individual plate by serving the spring salad mix. Top with tomato mixture, corn, and black beans. Top with slices of grilled steak and chimichurri. Serve the salad dressing on the side.

Provecho!

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This recipe is perfect if you are looking for a dish that is light yet flavorful. The creamy hot pepper sauce adds the perfect touch of richness and spice without being overwhelming. You can substitute the shrimp for chicken or even make this into a vegetarian meal by replacing any animal protein with more of your favorite vegetables. I personally prefer making these with shrimp and it’s the perfect recipe for this time of year served as an appetizer or as an entrée with a side of white rice or salad. I hope you enjoy this recipe. Provecho!

Serves 6 (6 squash/12 halves)

6 medium Mexican squash washed, ends removed, and sliced longways

2 cups uncooked peeled and deveined large shrimp, tails removed and roughly chopped

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 yellow pepper, finely chopped

2 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh button mushrooms finely chopped

1/2 white onion finely chopped

3 small garlic cloves, minced

handful fresh cilantro leaves with stems, finely chopped

coking oil

salt and pepper according to taste

Hot Pepper Cream 

6-8  fresh chile gueros, stems removed and deseeded (They are also knows as “white chiles,” or “yellow chiles,” and they look exactly like jalapeños but they are a pale yellow almost white. See photo below.)

1/4 small white onion, roughly chopped

2 small garlic cloves

2 oz. cream cheese

2-4 tbsp. sour cream (optional)

chicken bouillon, about 1/2 tsp. or adjust according to taste

cooking oil

Chile Guero

 

  • In a medium pan, add 1-2 tbsp. cooking oil and heat.
  • Add peppers, onion and garlic and sauté on medium heat, stirring for approx. 4-6 minutes
  • remove from heat and let cool
  • Once cool, add ingredients into a blender.
  • Add cream cheese and bullion and blend until smooth
  • Taste and adjust flavor by adding more chicken bouillon if needed
  • Place contents into a bowl and fold in sour cream. Set aside.

Mexican Squash and Shrimp

  • In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp. cooking oil
  • Add bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add tomatoes and mushrooms and cook for 3-5 more minutes until vegetables are soft.
  • Season shrimp lightly with salt
  • Add shrimp into the pan and cook until shrimp begins to turn pink
  • Turn heat off and stir in the cilantro
  • Season with salt and pepper according to taste
  • Scoop out the center of the squash to make room for the filling, about 3/4 of an inch deep (you can reserve this part of the vegetable to make squash soup the next day!)
  • Place the squash halves on a foil lined cooking dish or tray. Lightly drizzle each one with olive oil
  • Scoop 3-4 tbsp. of shrimp filling into each half
  • Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the squash are soft. test with fork.
  •  Serve with a drizzle of hot pepper sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mexican Ceviche Tostadas

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Made with simple and fresh ingredients, Mexican Cod Ceviche is another recipe that is perfect for this time of year. Various regions throughout Mexico prepare ceviche differently and there are many other variation throughout South America as well. This is one of the most common recipes you’ll find served in restaurants and food stands.

*To keep the tostadas from turning soggy, serve the ceviche in a large bowl and the tostadas on the side – that way your guests can prepare and eat their portion one at a time.

Makes 6-8 tostadas

1 lb wild-caught Cod fillets

juice of 15 limes or enough to cover the fish while marinating

small handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1/4 white onion finely chopped

2 Roma tomatoes diced into small pieces

2 firm avocados, diced into small pieces

1 jalapeno, deseeded, core removed, and chopped small (adjust amount according to taste)

1 tsp. finely ground dry oregano

1/4 tsp. ground pepper

salt to taste

6-8 tostadas

Chop Cod fillets into small cubes and place in a bowl. Add the lemon juice making sure the fish is completely covered. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 20-40 minutes depending on how well done you prefer your Cod. I marinade it for 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. When the Cod is done “cooking,” introduce the fish along with the lemon juice into the bowl with the other ingredients. Combine and season with salt according to your preference.

Serve immediately.

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Peruvian Fish Ceviche

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There are a few differences between Mexican and Peruvian Ceviche. Peruvian ceviche is made with aji limo, a hot chile pepper popular in Peruvian cuisine. The dish is also prepared by adding a dash of evaporated milk and served on a bed of lettuce with a side of poached sweet potato slices and corn on the cob.

To view the recipe for Mexican Ceviche Tostadas Mexican Ceviche Tostadas

If you have a difficult time locating aji limo chile peppers, you can use Habanero peppers instead.

Serves 4

1 lb. Cod fish fillet (or any other white fish)

juice of 15 limes or enough to cover fish while it marinades

1/2 purple onion finely sliced

small handful cilantro finely chopped

1/4 cup finely minced celery

1 large garlic clove

1/2 inch piece of fresh peeled ginger

1-2 aji limo (or Habanero peppers) adjust amount according to taste

1/2 cup evaporated milk

salt and pepper according to taste

4 large pieces of lettuce for serving

4 small pieces of corn on the cob

2 sweet potatoes, peeled, poached, and sliced into thick pieces

Cover sliced onions with water and set aside.

Cut the Cod fillets into 1 inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Cover fish with lime juice and marinade in the refrigerator for 20-40 minutes according to how well done you prefer your fish. I marinade it for 20-25 minutes.

Once fish has “cooked” remove from refrigerator. Drain the lime juice marinade into a blender. Add garlic, ginger, and half of a hot pepper. Blend until smooth.

Transfer this mixture into the bowl with the Cod. Add drained onions, cilantro, celery and the remainder of the hot pepper, minced (the minced pepper is optional).

Add evaporated milk.

Season with salt and pepper according to taste

Mix and serve immediately over lettuce and company ceviche with corn on the cob and sweet potato slices.

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Words cannot express how much I love Mexican street corn! You can find it in every food stand/cart and restaurant throughout Mexico and every region has their own way of preparing this popular snack. I grew up eating corn in a cup prepared with butter, lime juice, grated cheese and hot sauce but as I grew older my craving for corn on the cob grew especially when fire roasted. This recipe for chipotle mayonnaise is one of my favorite toppings and it is highly addictive, I must warn. It is also perfect for summer cookouts and  camping trips to the lake so if you like your corn on the cob with a little kick, give this recipe a try.

Recipe serves 4-6

6 tbsp mayonnaise

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

2 small garlic cloves

handful fresh cilantro with stems

juice of 1 lime

pinch of sea salt (adjust according to taste)

1 tbsp cotija cheese plus 1/4 cup more for serving

In a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients until well incorporated. The thickness of the sauce is up to you; I personally prefer it on the chunky side. If you find the sauce is too thick, add 1 tbsp. of water.

Spread a layer of the chipotle topping on each cob and sprinkle cotija cheese. Serve while hot.

 

 

 

Cactus Tacos: Tacos de Nopal

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Tacos de Nopal are very popular throughout Mexico during the spring. There are various ways to prepare them and this is one of my favorites. You might be able to find cactus, or prickly pear, cleaned, sliced and ready to cook at your grocery store. If not, cleaning the cactus pads is fairly simple; just follow the instructions bellow.

Makes 6-8 tacos

2-3 prickly pear pads or 3 cups sliced cactus

6-8 corn tortillas

4 Roma tomatoes, chopped

2 fresh jalapeños, chopped (optional)

1/4 white onion, chopped

handful of fresh, chopped cilantro

juice of 2 limes

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

salt, pepper to taste

Toppings: Avocado, salsa, and queso fresco or your favorite crumbly white cheese

*When handling prickly pear pads, use rubber gloves and/or tongs to avoid getting the spines or thorns into your skin.

Place the cactus pad flat down and using a knife, going against the grain, scrape off the top surface of the cactus removing the knobs and small thorns.  Flip over and do the same to the other side. After both sides have been scraped, slice around the edge of the cactus removing the end pieces. Rinse under cold water. Make sure you have removed all the thorns.

On a clean surface, slice cactus into thin pieces. Place in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 4o minutes on high heat. After 40 minutes, remove from heat and drain water. Rinse under cold water for about 2 minutes and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine chopped tomatoes, jalapeños, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and cumin.

Add sliced cactus. Add salt and pepper according to taste.

Warm the corn tortillas on the stove. Top with cactus mixture and top with avocado, salsa, and crumbly cheese.

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