Tag Archives: Mexican

Lettuce Wraps…with a Mexican twist!


Phew! Finals are over and I have a few weeks off before resuming classes. I am looking forward to getting back into the kitchen over break and trying all the recipes I’ve been stockpiling during my study breaks (aka periods of pure procrastination!) It is finally feeling a little bit more like the Holiday season now that I’ve caught up on sleep and feel like a real member of society again. I am in the preliminary stages of my Holiday shopping and have already brainstormed a few really great gift ideas. One of my gift ideas is actually a little bit of an at home project, so I look forward to sharing that after the Holidays! It seems like a great project and I can’t wait to get it started tomorrow morning. I’ll be sure to share after the Holidays when all of my gifts have been dispersed! I love giving personalized gifts because I feel that it really shows people just how much you care. I am also excited about creating all my favorite Holiday recipes! A particular favorite of mine is my candied almonds! I’m planning on making them this week and will be sure to share the recipe. They are to die for!


On to today’s recipe:)  On a quick trip to Whole Foods I saw that Bibb lettuce was on sale for $1.99, avocados were on sale for $1.00, and ground chicken was also ridiculously on sale. I couldn’t resist any of these items and because of my underlying love of lettuce cups I knew I had all the makings of a very quick and healthy meal. If you know me at all, you know that I love all things spicy food. So naturally, I knew these ingredients would lend themselves very well to creating a twist on the traditional Asian inspired lettuce cup. It was undoubtedly a success and I’m not certain I’ll ever transition back to using taco shells after coming up with this recipe redo. One can’t beat tasty and healthy! Plus cutting the calories from the taco shells allows me to feel a little less guilty about having a small scoop of my homemade vanilla ice cream in the freezer (recipe to follow soon!).

I made a very simple guacamole to add on top. I used one avocado, a 1/4 cup of sweet onion which I rinsed under water to get rid of the pungent onion taste/smell, and a small handful of pickled jalapeños which I minced. I added a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper and mashed it all together with a fork. I let it hang out in the fridge while I prepared to the rest of the meal.

The Ingredients: 

  • 1 head Bibb Lettuce, pre-washed and leaves separated
  • 1 pound ground chicken, turkey, or beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

To a small bowl, add:

  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cumin
  • A liberal pinch of Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2-1 tsp Sriracha or hot sauce
  • Fresh cracked black pepper 

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Individual Taco Cups

Individual Taco Cups

I feel like every time I log onto Pinterest, I see a new recipe converting old faithfuls into individual muffin pan recipes (maybe I’ll start seeing my recipe too! if you all pin me:). Muffin pan meatloaves. Muffin pan breakfast sandwiches. I’ll tell you from seeing all of them, I felt a little inspired to see what else I could come up with. I often make individual cheesecakes in the muffin tin but I wanted to think a little further outside the box. I’ve made egg and potato breakfast tarts for years but was desiring something I had never seen done before. And then it hit me! Tacos! These little cuties exceeded my expectations! Not only did they taste fantastic but these little morsels are perfect for feeding a crowd.

I’m thinking that these will definitely make the rotation for football Sundays (Go Pats!) and any other big get togethers that occur this Fall. I really like to serve foods that are able to be picked up at get togethers because I feel like it really relaxes the mood of any dinner get together AND these could be served using napkins instead of plates–also a huge bonus when serving a crowd. I loved that I didn’t have to heat up the crunchy taco shells in the oven. For whatever reason I hate that step in making tacos. Plus another bonus was that it was essentially a one pan meal! All you have to do is cook the taco meat and then layer each individual cup. I know that your family will love them as much as we do. I used ground turkey and refried beans for the filling but this recipe is very versatile though. You could definitely use black beans instead or even add rice to the taco cups. This recipe is probably on the easiest to turn into a vegetarian friendly meal. I look forward to making them again in the near future.

The Ingredients

Necessary equipment: muffin pan 

  • Wonton Wrappers
  • 1 lb Ground meat–I used ground turkey
  • 1/2 medium onion diced–optional, I always add onion to my taco/ground meat filling 
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Taco Seasoning– my homemade recipe located here
  • Beans– I used refried beans
  • Taco cheese
  • Taco toppings: sour cream, salsa, lettuce etc.

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Chicken Fajita Soup & A Vegetarian Version

Chicken Fajita Soup & A Vegetarian Version

We love all foods that are Mexican in our house. Tacos. Fajitas. Enchiladas. All of it. Sometimes it gets a little monotonous eating the same foods though–and that’s why I like to come up with what I refer to as recipe redos. If you are tired of making the go to dishes, like tacos and burritos, you’ll love giving this dish a try. I not only love Mexican food but am obsessed with soup. I literally could eat soup every day and not get tired of it. Matt on the other hand, refuses to eat soup in scorching weather, so it has been awhile since I’ve made any. Now that the weather is cooling down a bit, it was my free pass to make one of our favorites. This recipe for Chicken Fajita soup is definitely one of my favorite recipe redos. This recipe is also very vegetarian friendly–omit the chicken and add another can of black beans, and you have yourself a high protein meal with a lot of veggies. I like to serve my soup over crushed tortilla chips and cheese as opposed to sprinkling them on top. I like that the chips get soft and they actually help to thicken the soup. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do–it’s the best on cold Fall evenings–plus it can definitely feed a crowd and it’s a one pot meal. Bonus.

The Ingredients:

  • 1 box (32 oz) of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 red peppers–sliced to uniform thickness
  • 1 large red or sweet onion–sliced to uniform thickness
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can condensed chicken soup
  • 1 can black beans-rinsed and drained
  • 2-3 cloves of cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 can enchilada sauce–mine was the medium heat level
  • 1 lb of chicken breast–precooked, I cooked mine in the slow cooker earlier in the day
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pickled jalapeños chopped–or less if they are fresh/based on your heat preference
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of frozen corn (optional)
  • Cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, & avocado for garnish
  • A squeeze of lime juice over each bowl served (optional)

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Pulled Chicken Tacos with Homemade Taco Seasoning

Pulled Chicken Tacos with Homemade Taco Seasoning

Since I already made yummy salsa, I thought it was only appropriate to make Pulled Chicken Tacos for dinner!

I had already shopped for the necessary essentials for a divine Mexican meal. Thanks to my crockpot chicken it was going to be able to be pulled together in less than 15 minutes with minimal clean-up. Success. I even make my own taco seasoning! It’s so easy to do and much better for you because the sodium content in the pre-made packages can easily exceed your recommended daily allowance. Plus you can make a large batch if you want to because it stores great! Once you try it, you’ll never eat the other stuff!

It’s a mouthwatering recipe…give it a try!

The Ingredients: Taco Seasoning 

Recipe makes enough seasoning for 1lb of meat

  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • Cayenne pepper–based on your heat preference 
  • Dried Oregano–Oregano is one of those spices that people love or hate–so add to taste or omit it
  • Small pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt & fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic
  • Pre-cooked chicken
  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Taco fixings: black beans, spinach, cheese, avocado, & salsa

Vine Ripened Tomato Salsa

Vine Ripened Tomato Salsa

If you know me at all…you’ll know that I am not a big fan of tomatoes. Matt on the other hand can eat them like apples–all he needs is a little salt and he bites right into them. Eeeek. I’ve been warming up to them in the past couple of years though–as long as I squeeze out all the gooey seeds before eating them. Randomly enough, I do love two tomato products: ketchup & salsa (if you’re wondering I’m a strictly butter only on pasta–unless it’s homemade sauce). Since salsa encompasses all the gooey stuff in tomatoes I am sometimes surprised myself that I love it so much. I put it on a lot of foods too–ranging from scrambled eggs to traditional tacos.

At the grocery store, the tomatoes looked particularly fresh. I’m a sucker for buying produce if they’re unloading the shipment fresh, so I decided to grab a few of the vine ripened tomatoes. Avocados were on sale too & Matt is always asking for a taco night (we used to do Taco Tuesday’s ever week but somehow we’ve strayed from that tradition), so I figured I could surprise him with a Mexican night. Something about homemade salsa in the summer is particularly magical. What a healthy, quick treat. I make a lot of versions of homemade salsa–peach salsa, mango-pinapple salsa–but today I decided to go the more traditional route. It was fantastic.

The Ingredients: 

Equipment needed: Food Processor 

  • 3-4 vine ripened tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2-3 large cloves of fresh garlic
  • Jalapeños-I used pickled because I forgot to pick up some fresh ones 
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime 
  • Dried oregano 
  • Salt & fresh cracked black pepper

Easy Baked Chicken Empanadas

Easy Baked Chicken Empanadas

Since I have been on my crockpot chicken kick I have been experimenting with quite a few recipes! And judging by the posts so far…it’s been a Mexican kick as well! Anyhow, I made this recipe a few weeks ago before kitchen anatomy was even manifested. I shared the recipe via my Facebook page and it generated some interest, so I thought I’d add it here too! Luckily I had the foresight to take pictures.

This recipe kind of came about because I was on grocery store strike again and when Matt travels it’s often hard to convince myself to cook anything that requires more than 15 minutes effort…and that’s pushing it! Anyhow, I was scouring the contents of my refrigerator and saw that I had some refrigerated Pie Crust. It’s not a typical item I purchase and quite honestly I had forgotten all about it!

SO. There were a few things I knew:

  • I had pre-cooked shredded chicken to use
  • Refrigerated pie crust at my disposal
  • & because of my recent trip to Produce Junction (seriously if you are a PA or NJ resident, find the closest one near you NOW! I am so obsessed), I had 2lbs–I know seems like a lot, BUT they were only $2! pure amazingness!– of Poblano peppers to use

Next I checked my cheese draw. We always have an over abundance of cheese on hand….and jackpot! I found some Queso Fresco from the last Mexican adventure I whipped up in the kitchen. I gathered my ingredients and put them on the counter to formulate my game plan. I started to reflect on the flavors and channeled a breakfast frittata I had tried previously at one of my favorite Philly restaurants, Continental (delicious! try the TANG martinis! it’s a blast from the past with an adult kick!).

The flavors were really making sense to me and I was excited to create something new in my kitchen. Then it hit me–I was missing one thing to bring it all together, sweet corn. I was hitting all the flavors: salty from the queso fresco, sweet from the corn, and a bit spicy from the poblanos. They were little bite sized pieces of heaven! They’ll make a great appetizer for any party (they are good cold too–don’t judge me for hitting the fridge for leftovers later that night!) Next, I’ll work on a dipping sauce to bring to the party, but until then these little pockets of deliciousness can stand on their own.

The Ingredients:

  • Precooked chicken–to spice it up sprinkle with cayenne pepper, chili pepper, & cumin (perhaps some dried oregano if you have it!)
  • Refrigerated pie crust
  • Poblano peppers (or your fav)
  • Sweet onion
  • Corn–fresh, frozen–whatever you’ve got
  • Queso Fresco–or whatever is your preference for your tacos

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Mango fever! Avocado Mango Salsa & Strawberry Mango Smoothies.

Mango fever! Avocado Mango Salsa & Strawberry Mango Smoothies.

I had never been a huge fan a mangos but after dining at Cuba Libre in Old City (fantastic food!) and sampling their Avocado-Mango Salsa I quickly realized that I was missing out! The next time I hit Produce Junction (located in PA & NJ…a land of amazingness! think whole sale fruit & veggies…CHEAP!) I grabbed a few. They weren’t ripe initially and since I was craving them ASAP, I popped them into a paper bag with an apple for two days. Heard of this before? All I remember from my years of chemistry is that apples produce a gas that acts as an accelerant to help ripen other fruits! Thank you chemistry for the practical lesson for once! Anyhow, I created a few yummy things to share!

Avocado-Mango Salsa:

Matt & I are obsessed with guacamole so I knew after we sampled the salsa at Cube Libre I would have to figure out how to recreate it. Please forgive me! I forgot to take a picture! Next time for sure…that is if I can abstain from stuffing my face! ha!

The Ingredients:  

  • 1 ripe mango
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup red onion (a little or a lot…you call the shots)
  • jalapeños (optional)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • small pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper
How to:
  • Dice the mango–a great how to located here: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_cut_a_mango
  • Follow the same rules with the avocado–I love dicing them in similar sizes because it really helps the ingredients to mesh & do their delicious things!
  • Add the 1/4 cup of diced red onion to the mix–if you aren’t a huge fan of red onions, give them a rinse with cold water! it realllly helps to take the bite out of the onion and mellow them out (seriously, try it!)
  • Dice the jalapeños…as few or as many as you like depending on your preference
  • Give the lime a roll on the counter or pop it in the microwave to “really get the juices flowing”–name that chef!
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Mash it around with a fork to help really bring the ingredients together
Refrigerate until chilled and serve with tortilla chips–homemade or store bought. As you can tell it’s definitely just a recipe you can throw together. It’s super refreshing and perfect for summer.
Not to mention the great health benefits of avocado and mangos! Seriously good food for your body. It’s a win win snack! Tasty and great for you.

Chicken Enchilada Pizza…best of both worlds?

Chicken Enchilada Pizza…best of both worlds?

Qualifying my husband, Matt, as a fan of Mexican pizza wouldn’t be accurate. He is OBSESSED with the stuff. I–however, never was sold on the idea of mixing two perfect food genres. Mexican and Italian…it just seemed like it was messing with perfection! We just celebrated being together for 5 years on June 30th and tonight was the first time I gave in and made him one–well a variation of one…and boy was I wrong! It turned out to be a fantastic combination!

Lately I have been doing a lot of “pantry shopping” trying hard to avoid going to the grocery store. I reorganized my pantry over the weekend and saw that I had some enchilada sauce on hand. I didn’t think much of it at the time but when I went to Whole Foods today, I saw some pre-made pizza dough. I knew that Matt was flying in from a business trip today, so I threw 2 containers in my basket. I perused the cheese isle and saw a great sale on a bag of organic Monterey Jack cheese. From there the idea of a chicken enchilada pizza was born!

The Ingredients: 

Enchilada sauce–we had the medium-hot variation on hand

Organic black beans

Vegetarian refried beans

Diced chicken –from the never fail crock pot recipe on the previous post! Check it out! Rotisserie chicken will also work well here–but I really like to be able to control the amount of salt we ingest

Monterey Jack Cheese–or whatever you’ve got! who doesn’t love melty, yummy cheese!


Pre-made pizza dough— I often make homemade dough, but I’ve been hitting the books hard lately and was looking for a quick meal

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