Tag Archives: Salsa

Lettuce Wraps…with a Mexican twist!

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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!

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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 

Read the rest of this entry

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Peach & Pineapple Salsa

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Peach & Pineapple Salsa

I love love love homemade salsa. It encompasses all the deliciousness of summer in a single bite. I try to eat as many fresh fruits and veggies as possible during the summer because not only is it good for your body but it’s when everything taste the best. Nothing compares to fresh picked produce in my book. I can’t wait to eventually have my own garden instead of growing herbs on my urban windowsill.

Anyhow, I make many variations of salsa (try my traditional Vine Ripened Tomato Salsa or Avocado Mango Salsa) but this is one of my favorites! I think salsa is a great, inexpensive way to entertain. I like to make a few variations and allow guest to sample each kind–it makes a get together a lot less boring having variation. This particular recipe is one of my favorites because it is a great balance between sweet and spicy. The fresh peaches and pineapple provide a sweet and tangy quality to the salsa that balances the heat from the jalapeños peppers. Trust me–you’ll love it.

The Ingredients: 

Equipment needed: Food Processor 

  • 3-4 vine ripened tomatoes
  • 1-2 large ripe Peaches, peeled and diced
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of chopped pineapple
  • 1 small red or sweet onion
  • 2-3 large cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of pickled Jalapeños--depending on your heat preference; I actually use a lot more than I usually do in regular salsa because the heat is balanced nicely by the fresh, sweet fruit
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
  • Small pinch of Oregano
  • Salt & fresh cracked black pepper
How to:
  • Roughly chop the red onion into large pieces–rinse under cold water to get rid of the pungent onion smell/taste
  • Add to food processor and lightly pulse to break it down a bit
  • Roughly chop tomatoes and pineapple and add to food processor
  • Slowly pulse to break down mixture
  • Grate 2-3 large cloves with micro-planer directly into food processor
  • Add desired amount of jalapeños based on your heat preference–I added a little less than a 1/2 cup of pickled jalapeños (considerable less spicy than fresh jalapeños)
  • Pulse to desired consistency
  • Stir in diced peaches and add juice of 1/2 lemon or lime–the citrus juice really helps keep the flavors clean
  • Add salt, pepper, and oregano to taste and serve chilled

Vine Ripened Tomato Salsa

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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

Mango fever! Avocado Mango Salsa & Strawberry Mango Smoothies.

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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.