I’ve had some really good salsas lately that were fire roasted, so I decided to try making some. The key to making a fire roasted salsa is to roast the vegetables on the grill. The “fire” from the grill gives the salsa a delectable smoky flavor. (Okay, it’s really smoke from the coals that adds the smoky flavor, not fire, but “smoke roasted salsa” just doesn’t have the right ring to it …)
It’s very simple to do, really, but it makes for such a delightful-tasting salsa. So the next time you fire up the grill, I suggest tossing some peppers, tomatoes and onions on there and make up a fire roasted salsa. It’s the perfect healthy, delicious condiment to go with a good quesadilla (like this chipotle black bean quesadilla with avocado cream I made the other day), tacos, eggs, and so much more … I really love a good salsa and always have some homemade salsa in my fridge. This fire roasted salsa has totally won my heart. Strangely, it’s the simpler red one that I love the most, although the hearty Adobo salsa with cilantro and white beans is also lovely in its own chunky way. They each have their own personality, so to speak, just like sisters.
Rojo Fuego Salsa (Red Fire Salsa)
For this salsa, I peeled the tomatoes and peppers after grilling them, resulting in a brilliant fire-red colored salsa.
- 4 whole hot chili peppers (use more or less depending on how hot your peppers are and how hot you like your salsa. Mine were super-hot and a brilliant red color!)
- 4 large garden fresh tomatoes
- 1 onion, cut in fourths (skin on!)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat up the grill and put the chili peppers, tomatoes, and onion directly over the heat to roast. Turn as they cook so all sides are roasted. The skins on the peppers should turn black and charred on all sides, the tomatoes should be soft with the skins cracked, and the onion should be lightly brown.
- Once they are cooked on all sides, remove from the grill and let the vegies cool off until they are cool enough to touch. Pull the skins off the tomato and peppers and onion and discard the skins.
- Put the peeled vegies into a blender or food processor and pulse till everything is very finely chopped and mixed well. If you want a smoother salsa, puree in the blender/food processor to your liking. Store in a covered container in the fridge.
Adobo Fuego Salsa (Adobo Fire Salsa)
When I made this salsa, I didn’t peel the peppers after roasting. The charred bits of skin add a bit of extra smoky flavor to the salsa.
- 2 large garden tomatoes
- 2 – 7 jalapeno peppers (adjust the number of peppers for how hot you want your salsa … if you want a very mild salsa, use bell pepper in place of the jalapeno)
- 1/2 onion
- 2 -3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup cooked white beans
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
- A few sprigs of cilantro (just the leaves, not the stems)
- Heat up the grill and put the jalapenos, onion and tomato directly over the heat to roast. Turn as they cook so all sides are roasted. The skins on the peppers should turn black and charred on all sides, the tomatoes should be soft with the skins cracked, and the onion should be lightly brown.
- Once they are cooked on all sides, remove from the grill. Do NOT peel the peppers, but do pull the peel off the tomato and onion.
- Put the tomato, jalapeno, and onion into a blender or food processor with the rest of the ingredients and pulse till everything is very finely chopped and mixed well. Store in a covered container in the fridge.
Tortilla soup is one of the most marvelous things in life. It’s got everything going for it: the lovely crunch of the tortilla chips, the oozy melted cheese, tasty Mexican flavors, the soothing comfort of a hot bowl of soup. Plus it’s great for your sinuses and your health and it’s so easy to make. It’s such a versatile soup too: it can be a nice vegetarian meal or starter, or you can add meat or seafood to it for a heartier soup. The other thing I like about tortilla soup is it helps use up those chips on the bottom of the bag that aren’t big enough for other uses (like dipping).
I made this simple soup without any meat, allowing the flavors of the tomato and the peppers to really shine through, but you can add meat if you like. I listed a whole bunch of things you could add to this soup if you want to change things up a bit.
Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 of a large onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 fresh garden tomatoes, peeled and cored (about 1 lb or 2 cups after they are pureed) … canned tomatoes work too
- 3 jalapenos, chopped (use more or less depending on how spicy you want your soup … you can substitute other peppers for the jalapenos too … use bell pepper for a milder soup, or a different hot chile pepper to vary the flavor)
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
- Baked or fried tortilla chips (or strips)
- Shredded Mexican and/or queso fresco crumbles
- Cilantro leaves
- Optional add-ins:
- sautee with the onion/garlic: celery, carrots, zucchini or other veggies
- add with the tomatoes/peppers: chicken, pork, shrimp, crab, avocado, lime juice, cooked corn, cooked beans, hominy
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and swirl it around, then the chopped onion and garlic. Sautee until the onion is very soft and translucent.
- Pour the tomatoes (with juices) into a blender and blend till smooth. Add them to the pot along with the jalapenos, broth, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Reduce heat slightly and allow the soup to simmer for about 15 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the peppers to cook and the flavors to meld.
- To serve: pour the hot soup into bowls, sprinkle with tortilla chips and cheese, then cilantro and avocado (if you like).
This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Cast Party Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Kitchen Fun Friday, Weekend Potluck, Lifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and All my Bloggy Friends.
My yoga friend brought me a little bag of tamatillos from her garden, but they weren’t that intense tart green like you think of when you see tamatillos–several of them had turned a light yellow color. She mentioned to me that she had cooked hers down and they were really sweet. That made me think of this tomato jam that Melissa over at ChinDeep had posted. In just an instant, I knew what I was going to do with the tamatillos.
I thought about making tamatillo jam, but I only had a few tamatillos and I have a huge box full of tomatoes from my Mom’s garden … so the tomatoes and tamatillos partied together in this spicy sweet jam. It’s a unique condiment … sort of almost like ketchup, but sweeter and spicier. Melissa suggests lots of wonderful ways to use it:
“Slather some on a toasted garlic bagel with cream cheese, dip your french fries in it, spread it on a thick slice of sourdough bread and top with gooey soft boiled eggs, place a little dish of it next to a cheese and cracker tray, use it as a sandwich topping with ham or turkey and fried onions, use it as a glaze for fish, chicken or pork. Top rosemary scones with a bit of chevre, tomato jam and crumbled bacon for a standing ovation.”
The only way I’ve tried this jam so far is on crackers with some cream cheese. That was wonderful. I have so many more things yet to try …
Spicy Hot Tomato Tamatillo Jam
This is a cross between two of Melissa’s recipes: tomato jam and spicy summer garden jam. I did cut the amount of sugar considerably because the tamatillos really were quite sweet, and the tomatoes were too.
- 7 tomatillos (about 0.425 lb), outer shell and the stem core removed, then chopped
- 6 medium tomatoes, peeled and cored (about 1.7 lb after they are peeled and cored), then chopped
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 3 jalapenos, chopped fine (use more or less depending on how spicy hot you want your jam)
- 1/2 cup sugar (or more, depending on how sweet your tomatoes and tamatillos are … )
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Chop the tomatoes and tamatillos and put them in a saucepan.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently until the jam is thickened to your liking. I cooked it for about an hour and by then it was plenty thick.
- I pureed about 1/3 of the jam in the blender, then stirred it back into the jam. Store in a covered container in the fridge. Melissa tells me it will keep in the fridge for two weeks.
My friend gave me some cooked bulgur when we went camping together … in a way, I wonder if she gave it to me just so she could see what I would do with it. I brought it home. It sat in the fridge till I was nearly sure it must have gone bad already … and then, suddenly, I was craving Mexican food. Something with black beans and jalapenos and tomatoes and cilantro and onions. And then it occurred to me what to do with the bulgur: give it a KICK! I made this salad one day last week and munched, munched, munched all afternoon.
Last weekend my friend came up to my parents’ place for the first time EVER, with her hubby and youngest son. We ate antelope & venison that my dad cooked on the grill, dad’s garden potatoes mixed with peppers, spices and cheese and my tarragon roasted vegetables. Then the next day we munched on Dad’s fabulous fresh garden melons. I fed them caramel peach bread pudding, chocolate zucchini cake, and sandwiches made from the roasted veggies and grilled meat (yes, in that order).
And after we had eaten all of that, I remembered the bulgur salad. Everyone was stuffed, but I made my friend taste a bite of it anyway, since she had given me the bulgur. She loved it, so I sent it home with her.
I played around a little with stuffing a couple tomatoes with the salad for a pretty presentation … what do you think? (Vegies in the background are stray bounty from my mom & dad’s garden … it’s everywhere!)
Bulgur Black Bean Salad with Fresh Tomato & Avocado
This is a hearty, spicy, flavorful salad that you could serve as a meal all by itself.
- 1 1/2 cups cooked bulgur
- 3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
- 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 or 2 medium fresh garden tomatoes, chopped
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/2 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- Fresh cilantro or parsley
- 1 Tablespoon chopped jalapeno (use more or less jalapeno according to how hot & spicy you like it)
- 1/2 – 1 whole avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped (I only had about 1/2 an avocado, but I think the salad would be tastier with more!)
- Garnish: cilantro or parsley leaves and a slice of fresh lime
- Toss together the cooked bulgur, onion, black beans, and tomatoes in a bowl and set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, honey, and cilantro (or parsley) until well blended. Gently fold the avocado pieces into the dressing to coat. (This will help keep the avocado from turning black.)
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to mix. Garnish with a twisted slice of lime and some cilantro (or parsley) just before serving.
This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Friday.
with smoked Gouda and bacon
So what do you do with leftover cornbread? My kids both love it, but they will only eat it when it’s fresh. Of course it’s best when it’s fresh and hot, but it’s still good later! … especially when it’s grilled cornbread. I opened up the container that I stored it in and I could smell that smoky grilled taste all over again … ah! It made a wonderful breakfast.
But still I am only one person … and I tire of the same thing over and over … what if we just work a little bread pudding magic on it?
Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding
- 2 cups cubed cornbread (the pudding will have a smokier flavor if the cornbread was cooked on the grill)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapenos (more or less to taste … you can substitute other peppers for the jalapeno if you prefer)
- 3/4 cup corn (I thawed out some frozen corn, but you could use fresh corn)
- 1/4 cup smoked gouda cheese, cut into small cubes (or shredded)
- About 1 Tablespoon bacon, cooked crisp, and crumbled
- Chopped chives, basil, baby spinach, garlic scapes or other herbs of your choosing (about 1/2 cupful total? I just went out to my garden and started picking random things … my spinach is pathetic … only a few baby leaves to be had, but there are plenty of chives and basil and garlic!)
- 2 eggs
- Spray a small casserole dish or large oven-safe bowl with cooking spray, and put the cornbread in the bowl. Pour the milk over the bread and let it soak for 15 minutes, stirring a couple times to make sure all the bread gets soaked.
- Sitr the jalapenos, corn, cheese, bacon, and herbs into the cornbread mixture.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth, then fold them into the cornbread mixture.
- Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes or until the pudding is “set” (springs back when you touch it lightly right in the center). Let set for just a few minutes, then serve while it’s still hot.
This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck.
My dad gave me some fresh fish he had caught when I visited last weekend, and he told me I must either cook them up by Monday or freeze them. Fish is SO much better when it’s fresh, so I cooked it up. My daughter loooooves fresh fish, but she wasn’t very hungry Monday night and we ended up with quite a stack of leftover cooked fish, part catfish, part Northern Pike.
So what do you do with a stack of leftover fish? Well, I often make fish tacos, but this time I wanted to do something a little different … why not a fish quesadilla? I tried it once. Pretty good, but not great. So I tried it a different slant on it … much better! … you are going to be so glad I waited to blog this because these Fish Quesadillas are SO good! The white beans and greek yogurt take them to a level beyond tasty. (That’s my own personal opinion.) I’m wanting another one already … gonna have to get some more tortillas!
Fish & White Bean Quesadillas with Pineapple Salsa
- 1 cup cooked white beans (Great Northern or Cannellini)
- 1/4 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon of liquid from the beans
- 1 Tablespoon goat cheese
- Green onion (I used two)
- Garlic scapes (I used two)
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno (use more or less according to how spicy you want it)
- A few cilantro leaves
- 1 cup finely shredded Mexican blend of cheeses
- Cooked fish fillets
- Flour tortillas (whole grain is good!)
- Pineapple salsa (recipe below)
- First, make the pineapple salsa and set aside to allow the flavors to blend.
- In a food processor or handi chopper, blend the white beans, yogurt, goat cheese, and a bit of cooking liquid from the beans till smooth. Add snipped green onion, garlic scapes, jalapeno, and cilantro and stir (or chop if you like), then blend in the shredded cheese.
- Heat a skillet pan to medium low heat and spray with cooking spray. While it’s warming, spread a tortilla with the cheese/bean mixture, then put flakes of fish all over half the tortilla. Fold it in half so the cheesy mixture completely covers the fish flakes. (If you want to make a big full round quesadilla, spread two tortillas with a thin layer of the cheesy mixture, top one of them with flaked fish, then carefully put the other tortilla on top (cheesy mixture down).)
- Put the tortilla in the pan, cover and cook briefly. Check often and when it is brown on the bottom, flip the tortilla over to brown the other side. When both sides are brown and the cheese is nicely melted, slide the quesadilla out of the pan onto a cutting board, cut into pieces, and serve immediately with the fresh pineapple salsa.
Fresh Pineapple Salsa
- 2/3 cup pineapple cut into small chunks
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped, peeled orange
- 1/2 cup chopped green & red bell pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped fine
- 3 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno (use more or less depending on how spicy you want it)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons tequila
- Juice of 1/4 of a lime
- A small bunch of cilantro leaves, chopped
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Let sit for a bit to allow the flavors to blend. Store any remaining salsa in a covered container in the fridge.
I love popcorn … I love nachos. I had this really weird idea today … why couldn’t you combine the two? Who says you need chips to make nachos?
Well you can. The only “catch” is you don’t want them to get too wet because popcorn gets soggy easily, so things like tomatoes and salsa are probably not the best options for this kind of nachos.
I started simple. Just popcorn, cheese, and jalapenos. Then I added taco meat. Now I’m thinking about adding onions and what else could I add? Hmmm …
This is really simple. Make some popcorn. I usually use my air popper, but today I just popped my popcorn in a paper bag. Have you heard about that trick? Just put 1/4 cup of popcorn in a plain paper bag, fold over the top several times, and microwave it for 2 minutes. Quick perfect popcorn without fat, butter, added chemicals or preservatives or salt! It’s so much healthier and easier on your pocketbook than buying that pre-packaged microwave popcorn, and you can even reuse the bag, so it’s eco-friendly too.
Spread a layer of popcorn on an oven-safe plate or pan. Chop your jalapenos fine and dab them with a clean towel to soak up any excess moisture. Heat up your taco meat (and also dab that with a towel if the meat seems a little moist).
Sprinkle the popcorn with a light layer of shredded cheese, taco meat, and jalapenos. Try not to go overboard on the cheese or meat or you’ll overwhelm your popcorn. Sprinkle with Red Robin seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt. Add another layer of popcorn if you like, then top with more meat, cheese, and jalapenos and another sprinkling of seasoning.
Bake at 350 for 5 – 7 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
The other day, I woke craving Huevos Rancheros. From my favorite restaurant in Albuquerque: Charlie’s Front Door. Oh Charlie’s how I miss you! … but of course I’m not there, I”m here.
I can’t make Huevos like Charlie’s Front Door does. They have this green chile sauce they smother it in that is just flipping amazing. I am not even going to try to replicate that … I just want to tell you, if you happen to get to Albuquerque, please stop in and visit Charlie’s Front Door … they have so many dishes there I would almost kill just to taste them one more time … the Jocoque and the Indian tacos are ooooh so good …
Don’t get me wrong! I CAN make a pretty mean Huevos Rancheros. AND it’s a healthy, filling Mexican meal you can make in minutes, so it’s doable even on a busy workday. And the awesome advantage of these is you can have them just about anywhere, anytime. All you need is tortillas, eggs, cheese, and a few basic Mexican toppings.
- 1 small tortilla (corn or flour … whole wheat is good … I didn’t have any corn so had to use flour)
- Refried beans (or whole beans … I just happened to have some very tasty spicy chipotle refried beans on hand)
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 or 2 eggs (how much space do you have on your tortilla? how much protein do you want?)
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
- Toppings: Salsa, chopped onion, avocado, tomato, jalapenos, green chile sauce, cilantro … (did I miss anything? what else could you use?)
Heat a skillet pan (or cast iron skillet) over medium heat and spray it with cooking spray. Put a tortilla in the pan and let it toast until it’s golden brown on the bottom. Flip it over.
Slide it out of the pan briefly and on the toasted side, spread it with refried beans and sprinkle with a bit of sharp cheddar cheese. Put it back in the pan with the un-toasted side down. Crack an egg (or two) over top.
Now cover, and cook on medium low heat until the egg white is cooked and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Check it periodically to make sure it isn’t burning the tortilla on the bottom. (If your egg covers the cheese and beans, you can even flip it to cook the egg “over easy” … I wouldn’t recommend that approach if you have any cheese sticking out, though.)
Slide your lovely cheesy egg tortilla onto a plate and garnish with your choice of toppings. The bottom of mine was a little crunchy. That’s totally okay in my book. I love crunchy! … by the way, I added a big, messy slather of my sister’s salsa after I took the pictures …
Now, if you’ll excuse me, things are starting to get a little messy over here …
Post #5 of 5 in my Five Favorite Things for my Five Thousand Foodie Friends series …
I made my daughter a plain cheese one and she ate the WHOLE thing. Holey moley girl! I think she’s going through a growth spurt again because I could only eat about half of mine. She eats like crazy when she’s growing.
First I got the dough started in the bread machine. I used my beer pizza dough, the same one I used in the thai chicken pizza. Recipe for the crust is here.
Then I got to work on the sauce.
Homemade Pizza / Pasta Sauce, Two Ways
- 2 small onions
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup of red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
- 1 quart of canned tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped roasted eggplant (I know what you’re thinking: Eggplant? Trust me … it thickens the sauce and gives it a nice buttery taste. Spray with cooking spray or brush with olive oil and roast in the oven at 400 for about 5 – 10 minutes or until it’s soft. Use the tender little ones if you can find them. If you have a big one, peel it first before you roast it. I had some that I froze last summer so I used that.)
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- Salt & pepper & fresh herbs to taste (I didn’t use anything but the Italian seasoning and my daughter said it was delicious just like that!)
- 2 – 4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (to your taste)
- Fresh basil & oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- Salt & pepper to taste
Peel the onion and garlic, chop the onion into large hunks and put in a food processor or handi chopper with the garlic to chop it finely. (Or chop it the old fashioned way, with a knife.)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet pan over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and sautee for about 5 – 10 minutes until the onion is very soft and starting to sweeten/caramelize. Add the wine and cook until the liquid from the wine has mostly evaporated.
Add the tomatoes and eggplant and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes, or until the liquid from the tomatoes has cooked down and the sauce is getting to be about the consistency of a tomato sauce. You don’t have to stand over it stirring the whole time, but you do want to make sure you stir it fairly often.
Put the sauce into a blender and blend till smooth. It will turn out this lovely orangey red color.
Now you have a choice. You can make one or both of the sauces. I divided mine up in half so I could make my daughter her Italian cheese pizza and me my spicy Cajun one.
So for the Italian sauce, I added Italian seasoning and asked my girl to taste it. She said it was perfect just like that (and I agreed).
For the cajun version, I added cajun seasoning, some fresh basil and oregano, some smoked paprika, and then just to kick it up a little more, some cayenne and a bit of salt.
Now it’s time to assemble the ‘za!
Cajun Shrimp & Andouille Sausage Jambalaya Pizza
- Pizza crust, pre-made or fresh (I used my beer pizza crust and made this on the grill … see this grilled thai pizza post for the crust recipe and grilling instructions)
- Tiny shrimps … I thawed some frozen ones
- Andouille sausage, sliced thin
- Bell pepper, chopped (or sliced)
- Red onion, sliced or chopped
- Jalapeno pepper, sliced (optional … if you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a pepper-head … I like things VERY spicy)
- Smoked gouda cheese, shredded
- Italian blend of shredded cheese
- Oregano leaves, for garnish … I think some chopped green onions would go well on top too.
Slather the crust with the cajun sauce, then sprinkle with the toppings and top with cheese. Cook the pizza in the oven or the grill till the cheese is melted and bubbly, then top with fresh oregano leaves and … it’s time to EAT!
I’m thinking some of this Cajun Lemonade from La Belle Cuisine would be fabulous with this spicy pizza …
Taco Bell has this thing they call a Crunchwrap Supreme. It’s sort of like a tostada, with Nacho cheese sauce, wrapped in a tortilla, then “toasted” in a pan. It’s really a pretty good idea, but I’ve never actually tried one. Because whenever I saw one, I always thought, “I would have done it a little differently.”
So when Happy Little Tomato posted a Crunchwrap Supreme recipe, I thought, “hey, I could do that” … and then wondered, “hey, why haven’t I?”
And so, I did. Twice now. The first time with taco meat, and then the second time I made a vegetarian version. Both were delicious, and I’m certain they were WAY more nutritious than Taco Bell’s version.
So this is my thinking. It needs refried beans. And more vegies, especially jalapenos. I left out the “nacho cheese” sauce. How about if we just use REAL cheese? Yeah. Let’s do that. And why would you put lettuce INSIDE the crunchwrap? Then it’s gonna get cooked … ew. Let’s keep the lettuce on the outside, along with the salsa. Now you’re talkin’ …
Mexican Crunchwrap Supreme, My Way
Adapted from Happy Little Tomato
- Large, burrito-sized tortillas or “wraps” (I used some uber-healthy whole wheat, high-fiber ones.)
- Refried beans
- Taco meat (optional … I included it on one, but not on the other, and I really couldn’t much tell the difference)
- Chopped onion, green onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, tomato or other favorite “taco-style” vegies (maybe some corn?)
- Tostado or taco shells or crushed tortilla chips (I found a whole grain taco shell I really like that I used here …)
- Shredded sharp cheddar or mexican blend of cheeses
- Condiments: salsa, lettuce, and greek yogurt
Warm up your refried beans (and taco meat, if you’re using it). I just put them together in a little bowl and microwaved them.
Spread some of that hot bean mixture in the middle of your gargantuan tortilla. Top with some cheese. Put it in the microwave and melt it a bit if you want.
Now top that with a bunch of your vegies of choice. I used onion, jalapeno, and bell pepper. Then top that with some tortilla chips or a tostada shell, or, like I did here, you can take a taco shell and break it in half.
At this point, you can add more vegies and a little more cheese if you want. Then you bend up the edges, sort of origami style, like this. I had to break the edges of my taco shell a bit to get it to fold nicely.
Now heat up a skillet pan to medium heat and spray it with cooking spray. Set your crunchwrap in the hot pan. You might get a little tired of holding those folds in place (I did!) …
So I covered it with a flat lid from one of my saucepans:
Test the bottom of the crunchwrap by lifting it a little with a spatula and when it is golden brown, use a spatula to flip it over and “toast” the other side.
When it’s nice and brown and toasty on the other side, it’s ready! I served mine on a bed of lettuce, with a bit of salsa and greek yogurt on top.
I love the round shape of this bread and the lovely brown color, the heat of the hot pepper, and the oozing cheese … and how quick and simple it was to make.
I really love the idea of adding the cheese in hunks to the bread instead of shredding it because then you hit spots of melted cheese in your bread if you eat it hot out of the oven. Some of the cheese slips out the side a bit while the bread is baking, too, and makes a little cheesey crust at the bottom edge of the bread too that I just loved.
Choose a beer that you like because even with the hot peppers and the cheese, the taste of the beer does shine through. I chose a Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown beer for this bread. I wish they would make this beer year-round because it’s a smooth nutty brown beer that I really love the taste of. You might think this odd, but I like a nut brown ale when I want a lighter beer. I didn’t get to drink any of this beer, though, because the recipe calls for the entire bottle. Good thing it’s early in the morning or I might have had to be sad!
Hoppin’ Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread
Slightly adapted from The Carolina Sauce Company
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 Tbs sugar
- 1 Tbs baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tablespoons to 1/2 cup finely chopped jalapenos or other hot pepper of your choice (I used 1/2 cup but adjust the amount according to what your taste buds can handle)
- 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
- 1 12-oz bottle beer
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten, for brushing on top of the bread
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
- Stir in the cheese and chopped chiles, then pour in the beer and stir until just combined (the dough will be somewhat stiff and dry-looking).
- Turn dough onto a very lightly floured surface and knead for several turns, then shape the bread into a nice ball shape.
- Place on a greased baking sheet and brush the top with the beaten egg.
- Bake at 375° F for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Test the bread for done-ness with a knife or toothpick … if it comes out clean, it’s ALMOST done. Bake for about 5 minutes longer, then take it out and enjoy! (They say to let it rest a few minutes, but I cut it right away and it was just fine.)
I love salsa. The heat of it. The variety. The fun ways you can use it. You can put so many things in a salsa. I had some tomatoes that were begging me to make them into salsa, but I wanted to do something a little different this time …
I’ve heard of mango salsa, but I’ve never seen or tried kiwi in a salsa. Or pomegranate seeds. I threw those in just for fun … I don’t know that the pomegranate seeds added a lot to the flavor or even the look because the background of the salsa is already red … but they are so pretty. Like little jewels. Why not have jewels in your salsa?
So I put the kiwis and the pomegranate in and still it needed something. There were three mangoes sitting there in my fruit bowl, so I decided to toss one of them in the salsa too. And then I thought: this needs something … so I added some of the flavors of a jerk seasoning. There! That is it. That is exactly what my funky fruity salsa needed. Honestly I think I might add some more jalapeno now because I am craving something so hot it almost hurts but really, this version is quite awesome just like it is. Add more jalapeno if you want it to hurt. Use less if you like a milder salsa.
Funky Bejeweled Kiwi, Mango, and Kumquat Salsa
- 1 medium sized onion
- 2 cups canned tomatoes (or 1 15-oz. can)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno (adjust this amount to more or less, depending on how hot you like your salsa)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- about 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 kumquats (my kumquats were about 2 inches long, but I have seen some that are MUCH smaller … if you have smaller kumquats, use more!) … one goes into the blender, chop the other one into little chunks.
- 2 kiwis, peeled & chopped into small pieces
- 1 mango, peeled & chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- In a blender or food processor, blend the tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, 1 of the kumquats and the salt and other spices.
- You can pour the salsa into a bowl or just stir in the rest of the ingredients right in the blender. Don’t blend it up, though, because it will ruin those beautiful hunks of fruit!
I tried the salsa with baked vegie and corn tortilla chips, but it would also be lovely with nachos, burritos, or over fish or chicken or pork or … well, salsa is just such a fun thing to have around. Especially a funky salsa like this.
This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Talent Show Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesdays, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Tastetastic Thursday, Katherine Martinelli’s Mango Bloghop and Full Plate Thursday.
A nearly wordless Wednesday post …
“Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don’t catch steak hanging around when you’re poor and sick, do you?”
~ Judith Martin (Miss Manners)
Cajun Andouille Sausage & Vegetable Stew
A hearty, healthy, and spicy soup to warm your bones
- 1 – 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 7 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped (about 2/3 cup chopped), with leaves removed and set aside
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes in juices, with the tomatoes chopped into small bits
- 1 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1 cup sweet corn (frozen, thawed)
- 1 cup chickpeas (or other beans)
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno (optional–add more or less depending on how spicy you want your soup)
- 1 Tablespoon cajun seasoning (more or less to taste)
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup chopped Andouille sausage
- 1/2 cup uncooked jasmine rice (or basmati or whatever kind you prefer)
- 1 cup water (or more to get the desired “soupiness”)
- About 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- About 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
- Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- Chop the vegies, removing the leaves from the celery and setting them aside for later.
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, garlic, onion, and celery and sautee until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add tomato, bay leaf, bell pepper, corn, chickpeas, jalapeno, cajun seasoning, broth, sausage, rice and water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer the soup for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
- Right before serving, chop the basil and celery leaves and add the herbs and celery leaves to the soup. Garnish with fresh basil and/or oregano leaves as desired.
This cheesecake doesn’t get eaten like a cake … it is really a dip. A spicy, creamy, avocado dip. Perfect for a party. I know, New Year’s is over and everyone is done partying and onto their New Year’s Resolutions (which often somehow don’t seem like very much fun). Well, for me, January is a party month because it’s my birthday month. So I hope you will pardon me while I continue the celebration of life …
You see, when the crust from my sweet avocado cheesecake made enough for two cheesecakes (a larger one and a smaller one), but the filling only filled the larger one, I remembered this: when I was mentioning the avocado cheesecake to my foodie friends on facebook, a couple thought maybe it would be a savory cheesecake. I embraced that savory cheesecake idea and consulted my friend Google to find me one. It wasn’t long till I found a recipe and with the help of my sister’s blender, in just a few minutes, the 2nd cheesecake was in the oven.
Spicy Mexican Avocado Cheesecake (Appetizer)
Adapted from Frugal Foodie Family
Makes 1 small 5-inch cheesecake. If you want a larger cheesecake, make a double batch of the filling.
For the crust, remember that mini-crust from my sweet avocado cheesecake? I used that crust for this … I thought the sweet with the hot spicy filling would go well, but honestly it was a little too sweet for this savory filling. I think it would work better if you cut out the sugar and use a salty or cheese cracker in place of the graham crackers. Or try the tortilla crust from Frugal Foodie Family. Cut the recipe in half to make this smaller cheesecake.
- 4 oz. fat-free cream cheese
- 4 oz. light cream cheese
- 1 reduced fat cheddar cheese stick (or a bit of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese)
- 1 ripe avocado, pitted
- 1/4 cup lowfat greek yogurt
- 1 egg and 1 egg white
- 1 jalapeno
- For topping: greek yogurt, shredded cheese, salsa, onion, bacon, olives, tomato, lettuce, corn, black beans … basically anything Mexican! I threw together a few things I could find in my sister’s kitchen
- Crackers or tortilla chips for dipping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust. Crust options:
- Use 1/2 the batch of the walnut crust except cut out all the sugar and use salty or cheese crackers in place of the graham crackers.
- Use 1/2 a batch of the tortilla crust from Frugal Foodie Family
- In a blender or food processor, combine all the filling ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture over crust and spread evenly. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake about 20 minutes or until set.
- Cool to room temperature and chill.
- Top with your desired toppings. I spread the top with greek yogurt, then a layer of salsa, then shredded cheese, lettuce, onion, and corn.
- Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.
My friend had an antelope roast to cook, and I suggested we make a cranberry roast, remembering one my sister made years ago for a Christmas dinner, but of course I didn’t have the recipe she used. So I googled it, found one I thought would be good, and emailed it to her. She cooked the roast for dinner on Friday night–we were invited to join them.
I noticed at the end of the recipe I had sent her, it said “serve with cranberry chutney” … hmm, cranberry chutney. And I happen to have some habanero jelly my other friend gave me … hmm … this sounds good.
This chutney was just perfect with the cranberry roast. I think it would also go well with beef, venison or pork. It’s also yummy spread on hot, fresh bread.
Cranberry Habanero Chutney
Adapted from Closet Cooking
- 1 onion (peeled and chopped)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup candied ginger
- 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
- 1 apple (peeled, cored and diced)
- 1/4 cup habanero jelly (or other pepper jelly)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 jalapeno pepper (finely diced–optional. Depends on how hot you like it! You may want to see how hot it is with the pepper jelly first, than add jalapeno to taste.)
- 1/2 cup cranberry-raspberry vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- Put onion, garlic, and candied ginger in a handi chopper or food processor and chop into tiny bits.
- Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan, add remaining ingredients and cook on medium high heat for about 20 – 30 minutes or until thickened.
- Store in the refrigerator.
I suppose it might seem a little odd to be posting a watermelon salsa on December 1st, but believe it or not, I still have some watermelon to use up from my dad’s garden. He had such a huge crop of yellow watermelon this year that they actually donated a trailerfull of them to the local school so they could serve it to the children for lunch! Isn’t that amazing? And then there were still a bunch left! They didn’t have room for all of them in the fridge so they were storing them in the shed. Luckily the weather cooperated and brought cool but not overly chilly temperatures. Last time they came down to visit they brought me 10 watermelon! Each one is small … but still, how do you use 10 watermelon?
I gave six of them away, I made watermelon sorbet, I made some watermelon tequila, and then I made salsa. We are down to half a watermelon which I think will get eaten without any special preparations.
First I made a “plain” watermelon salsa. I think this salsa would be delicious over chicken, fish or pork. It’s fruity, with a light sweetness, spicy, fun. It makes your body feel good inside the same way that a cool watermelon does on a hot summer day. And the colors are just so fantastic too!
Then I remembered how much our friends loved the black bean salsa I made a while back and I thought perhaps I should add some black beans. This black bean watermelon salsa has a bit more substance. The beans add protein and a really nice flavor and texture contrast to the sweet, crunchy watermelon. This black bean version would be great with chips or in a salad. I am also thinking melted cheese on chips with this black bean watermelon salsa spooned over would be such an amazing snack.
Watermelon Salsa Two Ways
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 of a red onion
- 1 1/2 bell peppers
- 2 jalapenos (for a milder salsa, use a smaller amount of jalapeno, or leave it out altogether)
- 2 c. seeded watermelon, cut into very small chunks (I used yellow watermelon, but you can use red)
- 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- a few sprigs of fresh basil, chopped
- a few sprigs of fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
- juice of half a lime
- 2nd Way: add 2/3 cup or so of black beans
Toss the garlic, onion, and peppers into a handi chopper or food processor and process till finely chopped (or chop them finely with a knife). In a medium bowl, combine the pepper mixture with the watermelon, tomatoes, salt, herbs and lime juice.
If you want a “meatier”, more substantial salsa, stir in the black beans.
I bottled some of the black bean watermelon salsa up to give to our TaeKwonDo instructors. They really love black bean salsa and I think they’re going to LOVE this one.
I often put green chile powder and granulated garlic in the butter for my popcorn, but today I wanted a little more flavor, something extra special you could even give as a gift to your chile-head friends. Baking it in the oven takes out the juiciness from the lime, but leaves in the lime flavor and makes the popcorn extra-crunchy.
If you want a flavorful popcorn with less heat, just leave out the jalapeno.
I am a bit of a popcorn fanatic, so for me to say I could eat a big bowl of this for dinner is not all that unusual, but this popcorn has such a great crunch, kick and flavor, I did eat the whole bowl for a mid-afternoon snack. All by myself. And I am really wishing it wasn’t all gone … Sorry friends! I’m gonna have to make a new batch for you … good thing it’s so easy!
Chile Lime Spiced Popcorn
For a fun holiday gift, package this spicy popcorn in a Mason jar or decorated tin, along with a few good Mexican beers (or favorite non-alcoholic drinks) nestled in a colorful basket or bowl.
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Robin seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt
- Juice of 1/2 of a lime
- 10 – 12 cups of popped popcorn (I used an air popper for popping my popcorn)
- Put all the ingredients except for the lime juice and popcorn in a small microwaveable cup or bowl. I usually cover the butter to prevent it from splattering all over the place. Microwave the butter-spice mix on medium for about 2 minutes or until the butter is fully melted.
- Add the lime juice to the spiced butter and stir well.
- Prepare a bowl of popcorn (I use an air popper to make mine), and spread the popcorn in a large flat pan at least 1 inch deep. With a spoon, drizzle the chile lime butter all over the popcorn, then stir lightly. Sprinkle lightly with Red Robin Seasoning or salt.
- Bake at 300 degrees F. for about 5 to 7 minutes or longer … until the popcorn is good and crispy! Sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt to taste.
- Serve warm!–or store in an airtight container or mason jar to give to your popcorn-loving friends. If you give it as a gift, you can tell your friends if they want the popcorn hot to warm it in the oven at 300 for 3 – 5 minutes before eating.
with lowfat Garlicky Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dip (for chasing the vampires away!)
It’s Halloween and FINALLY the last day of October. I am breathing a sigh of relief because I took a challenge to blog about connections through food every day in October. I did it! Perhaps I didn’t do as well talking about connections every day as I would have liked to, but I actually blogged every single day this month. I have made a lot of new friends this month and we’ve shared a lot of recipes, jokes, stories, ideas, and thoughts about food. I feel very close to all my foodie friends.
It was a good month, but honestly I think I cooked a little TOO much. Not all the food that I made got eaten. I had a few recipe failures that I didn’t share, so I had to make something new to blog about. I don’t like to waste food.
In order to make my goal, I started making food, photographing it, and waiting to blog about it until I needed a post on my blog. I discovered I don’t like to blog about something long after I’ve made and eaten it. I want to blog about it in the moment, share it right then. I still have a few things to post that I prepared and photographed, but didn’t get posted yet. I promise you I will post them because they are really good.
But from now on, I am not going to pressure myself to blog every single day.
Here’s a Halloween appetizer you could really enjoy anytime of year. I know they don’t look very scary, but watch out. They definitely have a BITE to them. And the garlicky dip will help fend off vampires.
Blue Devil Bacon Jalapeno Poppers (Baked!)
- About 15 jalapenos
- 1 egg + 1 egg white (you can also use eggbeaters or all egg whites)
- 5 oz. light cream cheese
- 1 – 2 T. blue cheese crumbles
- 1/3 c. chopped onion
- 1/3 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 – 2 T. bacon crumbles
- 1 c. bread crumbs (whole grain bread is fine! I used crumbs from my dad’s whole wheat yogurt bread)
- 1 c. cheese cracker crumbs (I recommend using healthy, lowfat, whole grain crackers and whirring them in your handi chopper or food processor till finely ground)
- 1 t. Red Robin Seasoning
- 1/2 t. onion powder
- 1/2 t. garlic powder
- You probably want to make the dip first so it has time for the flavors to blend. So scroll down to the end of this post to whip up the dip.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray.
- Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and membrane. You may want to wear gloves to protect your hands, eyes and other body parts from the spicy jalapeno juice.
- Combine cheesy filling ingredients in a bowl until well mixed.
- Using a spoon or knife, fill the halved jalapenos with the cheesy filling.
- In a separate bowl, combine breading ingredients until well mixed.
- In another bowl, whisk the eggs & egg white until frothy.
- Dip each cheese-filled jalapeno half in the egg, then set it in the breading and cover. I found it worked best when I used my left hand ONLY in the egg bowl and my right hand ONLY to coat the jalapeno with breading.
- As you finish them, set each jalapeno on a cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. When you’ve finished breading all the jalapenos, spray them with cooking spray.
- Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until golden. The cheese might ooze out in some cases, that’s quite all right!
- Dip and enjoy! (These can be made ahead of time, kept in the fridge until serving time, then re-heated briefly in a 350 degree oven.)
Garlicky Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dip (to scare the Vampires away)
- 1/3 c. light mayonnaise
- 1/3 c. buttermilk
- 1/4 c. greek yogurt
- 2 big fresh cloves of garlic
- A handful of fresh basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- Several fresh parsley leaves or ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- A few fresh dill twigs or ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper
Whir all the ingredients in a handy chopper or food processor until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.
I just made the best taco pizza I have ever tasted. This one goes completely over the top. The picture is a little wild and messy I know … my herbs were all over the place. But that is exactly what I love about it!
Taco pizzas are very basic right? You smear some refried beans on a pizza crust, add some meat and cheese, then bake till the cheese is melted and add chopped lettuce. Simple!
I just discovered if you add a couple more things, you can elevate your taco pizza to the sublime.
I’ve got to stop making pizzas like this … they are too dang good! I ate the whole thing myself.
Here’s a more civilized photo (before I cut it).
Wild Taco Pizza with Goat Cheese, Cilantro, Parsley and Oregano
- Whole wheat pita bread or pizza crust
- Refried beans
- Taco Meat (you could skip the meat if you’re going meatless!)
- Chopped onion & jalapeno
- Shredded Mexican blend of cheeses
- Chopped tomato
- Goat cheese crumbles
- Mixed organic greens
- Fresh cilantro leaves (& flowers if they are starting to go to seed! I think the cilantro flowers made this pizza intensely wild and lovely.)
- Fresh oregano leaves
- Fresh parsley leaves
- I toasted a whole wheat pita for this, but you could certainly use your favorite pizza crust! If you use a pita, toast it a bit in a 400 degree F. oven (or toaster oven) to give it a bit of crunch.
- Shmear on the refried beans.
- Sprinkle on the taco meat, then the onion and jalapeno.
- Now top all that with your shredded Mexican cheese.
- Arrange the tomato pieces around on top of the shredded cheese, then sprinkle with goat cheese.
- Bake at 400 degrees for about 12 – 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Top with greens and herbs and serve!
I have a lot of fresh corn still and have already frozen plenty for the year. I really love hot, spicy salsas and I thought it would be fun to try a corn salsa. I just tinkered with it till I came up with a flavor combination that worked.
This works. The jalapenos give it a great bite. The sweetness of the corn balances with the hearty black beans, then the onion, garlic, peppers, cumin and cilantro round out the taste. It’s all the freshness and kick of summer in one little spicy bowl.
This might just be my new go-to summer salsa.
Spicy Corn & Black Bean Salsa
- 1 1/2 c. corn (about 3 cobs)
- 1 – 3 jalapenos (I used 3, but I like it really spicy-adjust to your heat tolerance!), finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 - 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 c. black beans
- 2 c. chopped tomato
- A bunch of fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 t. cumin
- 1 t. Red Robin seasoning (or seasoned salt)
- 1/2 t. salt
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Let sit for an hour or so to let the flavors blend. Keep any leftover salsa in the fridge.
It’s great with chips.
Or you can use it to transform an egg and tortilla into a lovely breakfast burrito.
This recipe was shared at Recipe of the Week: Superbowl Snacks.