Category Archives: Mexican Dishes

Keto Taco Zucchini Boats

These really do not have to be labelled as KETO, they are just plain great for everyone, especially kids. I served them with a dollop of sour cream. You could also add guacamole as a garnish. My zucchini were medium size, hence I ended up with 4 halves. If you are using larger zucchini, you could get along with ONE half and a salad alongside.

*In lieu of the cumin, chili powder and salt, I used my homemade taco seasoning.

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Keto Taco Zucchini Boats

Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 4 Zucchini depending on how many people…
  • 1-pound Ground beef
  • ½ cup Bell Peppers mixed Red & Yellow, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 8 ounces Cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup Salsa

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F

Prepare your zucchini by trimming off the stem end. To do this I just gently round the end of the zucchini with a knife, removing the stem. Then cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a measuring spoon (teaspoon)or melon ball scoop, to hollow out the zucchini forming a boat.

Place the zucchini boats in a greased baking dish and sprinkle a small amount of salt over them.

In a skillet over medium high heat brown the ground beef.

Add bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, salt, and ¼ cup of water to the ground beef. Continue to cook until vegetables are softened and water has been absorbed.

Once the beef mixture is ready fill each zucchini boat with the beef and vegetable mixture.

Top the zucchini boats with cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until zucchini has softened and cheese is melted.

Pour salsa over boats before serving. Optional sour cream and guacamole?

Nutrition

Serving: 1boat | Calories: 242 kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 482mg | Potassium: 301mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5400IU | Vitamin C: 38.8mg | Calcium: 2180mg | Iron: 1.4mg

Brown Sugar Carnitas

Carnitas, literally meaning “little meats”, is a dish of Mexican cuisine that originated in the state of Michoacán. Carnitas are made by braising or simmering pork in oil or preferably lard until tender. The process takes three to four hours, and the result is very tender and juicy meat, which is then typically served with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro), diced onion, salsa, guacamole, tortillas, and refried beans (frijoles refritos).

Pork carnitas are traditionally made using the heavily marbled, rich boston butt or picnic ham cuts of pork. The 6–16 lb (3–7 kg) sections are usually cut down to a workable (6–10 lb) size and seasoned heavily before slow braising or deep frying.

The traditional way to cook carnitas is in a copper pot (or any thick-bottomed pot), which disperses the heat evenly in a process similar to confit. Lard is used to cover the dish in proportion to the amount of meat being cooked. Once the lard has melted, pork and flavorings are added (usually salt, chili, cumin, oregano or Mexican oregano, marjoram, thyme, bay leaf, and crushed garlic cloves). Traditional carnitas are then made by a process of simmering the meat in the lard until tender over a very low heat. Once appropriate tenderness is achieved, the heat is turned up and the outside of the pork begins to crisp. At this stage, the collagen in the meat has broken down sufficiently to allow it to be pulled apart by hand or fork or chopped with a cleaver. (WIKIPEDIA)

Having read that, you are probably thinking TOO MUCH WORK! Indeed, my spouse made carnitas the traditional way, complete with the copper pan we bought in Quiroga when we visited that area of Mexico. It took hours and was incredible BUT….too time consuming and messy!

One of my favorite Mexican TV cooks is Pati Jinich, who has a program on PBS and on YouTube (Pati’s Mexican Table). The following recipe is her version and done on the stovetop in a Dutch oven. It was PERFECT and a lot less onerous.

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Brown Sugar Carnitas

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lard, vegetable shortening, or oil (I used oil)
  • 3 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt, fat on, cut into 3” chunks
  • 4 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or brown sugar substitute.

Heat the lard in a large Dutch oven or heavy casserole over medium-high heat. Season the meat with 2 teaspoons of the salt and the black pepper. Once the lard has melted, add the meat, brown on all sides, stirring and flipping as it does, for about 10 to 12 minutes.

In the jar of a blender, pour 1 ½ cups of the milk and add the garlic, onion and remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Puree until smooth. Pour over the meat and let it come to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low, drop in the bay leaves, and cover. Cook covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes, flipping the chunks of meat a couple times in between.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ½ cup milk with the sugar. Pour over the carnitas, stir, and let them continue to cook, uncovered, for another 4 to 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat.

With a slotted spoon, remove the meat and place in a bowl. Shred with a couple forks, add a couple tablespoons of the seasoned fat remaining in the casserole and toss.

This is normally eaten in  tacos with toppings like sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo salsa, etc. As you can see we skipped the tacos/tortillas and simply plated it with some rice and green beans.

Mexican Chicken Mole (mollay)

If you have ever eaten in a Mexican restaurant, then this dish was certainly on the menu! This particular mole sauce is made with chicken as the base and is loaded with different kinds of chilies, nuts, seeds, spices, dried fruit, and chocolate. The taste is best described as somewhat spicy, and bittersweet with earthy undertones. In fact, there are at least seven different types of mole depending on what state you are visiting. Personally, I prefer Oaxacan moles. Starting from scratch can take hours to perfect these sauces. The simplest way to enjoy mole is using a packaged sauce under the Dona Maria brand.  A small box is enough to try the first time, by following the directions below. Once your sauce is ready, pour it over your  boiled chicken.

Chicken Mole

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. chicken pieces (boiled)
  • 1 box Mole sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 6 to 8 pieces bay leaves
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Place chicken and onion in a large pot and add enough water to cover the chicken. Bring it to a boil.

After the water comes to a boil and the release the scum, remove the scum with a ladle.

Add bay leaves and salt. Cover and let cook for 30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.

To prepare the Mole sauce, open the can carefully as the mole will stain your clothes. Use a sharp knife to cut a ‘X’ into the mole so that you can get the mole out easily. Sometimes, the mole can be rather hard.

Cut up the mole into smaller pieces.

Add water or chicken stock (from pot where the chicken is cooking) to the mole in the ratio of 4 parts of liquid to 1 part of mole. If you intend to store the mole in the refrigerator for a few days, then you should just use water.

Use a potato masher to mash the mole so that it dissolves in the liquid.

Once the mole has dissolved completely, add the peanut butter and mix well. The addition of peanut butter is Rosa’s twist in the recipe. The peanut butter makes the sauce nuttier and thicker. Place the sauce on the stove and cook on medium heat until the sauce thickens. You have to constantly stir the sauce while cooking to prevent burning.

Serve the sauce over the chicken with Spanish rice.

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Salsa Verde (Mexican)

Where have I been? Since mid January we have had the fortune of having many guests with us here in Yucatan. Between touring, etc. there has been little time to add to the blog. As a matter of fact we just got back from 5 days in Mexico City… talk about great food!

For many years now I have been following Pati Jinich on PBS. She is originally from Mexico but now lives in Washington, D.C. Her TV program is called Pati’s Mexican Table. Her cookbook, available on Amazon, is incredible if you are interested in Mexican cooking.

Recently we were invited to a Canadian friend’s home her in Yucatan where we enjoyed some great chicken enchiladas. She was unable to find the real sauce but managed to prepare an adequate salsa verde to serve with her recipe. This led me to Pati’s cookbook to see how she prepared her sauce. FYI…this sauce is served on almost everything in Mexico in one version or another. Enchilada recipes are widely available, but take the time to serve it with Pati’s version  of the salsa –

Pati Jinich’s Salsa Verde

Ingredients

  • 1-pound tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed (little green tomatoes)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and top part of stems
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable oil

Place the tomatillos, garlic, and chiles in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the tomatillos change from bright green to pale green and are soft but not falling apart, about 10 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatillos, garlic, and one of the chiles to a blender or food processor. Add the onion, cilantro, and salt and purée until smooth. Taste for heat, and add more chile if necessary until you have the desired amount of heat.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Pour the salsa into the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

The sauce will keep a week in your refrigerator.

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

What to do when you buy a Costco or grocery store rotisserie chicken and have leftovers? SOUP.

DSC_0003-2  This will easily feed 4 to 6 people as a main course. The ingredients list seems long, but it can be simplified by making the changes noted in red.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Rotisserie chicken (half chicken is enough)
  • 1 15-ounce can Black beans (drained)
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Celery stalks
  • 3 tbsp Cilantro, fresh
  • 2 cups Corn, frozen (1 small can or corn or more)
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Lime, wedges
  • 1 cups Peas, frozen (1 small can of peas)
  • 1 Poblano peppers (Optional)
  • 1 Red onion
  • 1 Reserved red onion
  • 28-ounce can Tomatoes
  • 4 cups Chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp Taco seasoning (see elsewhere o the blog for homemade taco seasoning)
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil, extra-virgin
  • Crispy tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, and sauté until the vegetables start to become tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the Poblano peppers and cook until the vegetables are very tender, 6 to 7 minutes more. Add the jalapeño and garlic, and continue to cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.
  2. Season the vegetables with the taco seasoning, then stir in the tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until a good flavor develops, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chicken, black beans, corn and peas. Return the soup to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla strips and just maybe, a touch of sour cream.

Low Carb Crustless Taco Pie

Until recently, soft shell tacos were very hard to find here. Yeah, we could have used tortillas which are everywhere!!! It seems lots of people are on low carb diets these days and I was able to find this GREAT recipe on Pinterest. Who needs a crust? The result was awesome, so much so that we couldn’t believe we ate the WHOLE thing at one sitting.

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FYI…. you will notice in the recipe Taco Seasoning. It’s quite simple to make and cheaper. I have included the recipe I use for taco seasoning at the end of the Pie recipe…

 Low Carb Crustless Taco Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef 
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (see recipe below)
  • 3 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup salsa (I like La Costena brand with added chipotle)
  • 1 cup Mexican blend cheese finely shredded, quantity divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • OPTIONAL – a layer of refried beans on the bottom of the pie shell!

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9″ pie pan by greasing with butter or spraying with coconut oil.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. If your ground beef is low in fat or if your skillet is not well seasoned, you may want to spray the pan with coconut oil to prevent sticking. When skillet is hot, add ground beef, breaking up into small pieces with a spoon or spatula. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Drain beef and add taco seasoning and cook according to package instructions. Set aside and allow to cool while continuing with the next step.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and heavy cream. Stir in the green onions, salsa, 3/4 cup of the cheese, and the salt.
  4. Stir prepared taco meat into the egg mixture. Pour this mixture into the prepared pie pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. 
  5. Bake pie in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until the top is brown and the pie is set. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with your favorite taco toppings such as salsa, sour cream, guacamole, sliced green onions, or whatever else you like! Maybe add a few sliced radishes…

Taco Seasoning (enough for this recipe)

1/4 tsp Garlic powder

1/4 tsp Onion powder

1/4 tsp Oregano, dried

1 tsp Black pepper

1 tbsp Chili powder

1/2 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Salt

1 1/2 tsp Cumin, ground

 

Traditional Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

Happy New Year Bloggers! I am going to try something different this year now that so many of you are really setting the bar high with your wonderful blogs. This old dog is not that techie…LOL…but like John Glenn I can take small steps. Hence my New Years resolution to use actual photos of the recipes when I cook them.

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I thought the cocktail looked quite nice in the ice cream dishes we got from our friends one Christmas. Here is the recipe –

Traditional Mexican Shrimp Cocktail (food.com)

Ingredients 

  • 1 (48 ounce) can V8 vegetable juice (spicy if desired)
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • 2 cucumbers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 12 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled, de-veined and steamed or just buy frozen cooked and thaw
  • 2 limes, quartered
  • 4 dashes Tabasco sauce

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a large nonreactive container.

Chill and serve with limes and Tabasco sauce.

Do not over-cook the shrimp, as they will become tough!

Be careful when steaming the shrimp; you do not want it tough.

AND here is a BONUS..ta dah…if you do not use all of the mixture, put it into a blender and make…GAZPACHO…refrigerate for tomorrows meal!

 

Corn and Black Bean Dip x 2

Bonus day today as I have two similar recipes, one of which originated from our “sister” Jean in Peterborough, Ontario. She served it while we were visiting for her sons wedding in August. It has a great fresh taste when served with tortilla chips.

The second I ran across while waiting for Jeans recipe to arrive. The ingredients are very similar, with the exception of the avocado and the dressing.

  1. Corn and Black Bean Dip from Jean Johnston

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2cup olive oil
1 tbsp water

1 can lentils
1 can corn
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup each celery, green pepper and green onion
Jar of pimento ( I used red pepper because I didn’t have any pimento)
I added a few fresh spices. Her daughter suggested adding fresh cilantro which makes sense.

Mix all together and soak for at least 3 hours.  Drain and serve.

2. Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Dip

Prep time: 15 minutes Yield: 20 servings Serving size: 1/4 cup

Ingredients

  • 15 oz can black beans, drained + rinsed
  • 15 oz can yellow corn, drained + rinsed
  • 2 avocados, cut in half, pitted + cubed
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • juice of one lime
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium size bowl and mix until combined.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Let me know if you try either of these at your next event…

 

Coconut Chicken (pollo al coco)

Here is a straightforward recipe for a quick meal. I came across it in our local Costco magazine this month and decided to give it a try. My suggested changes are in red as always.

Pollo al Coco (Chicken with Coconut)

  1. MIX together –

1 teaspoon cumin. 1 teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon cilantro

  1. BLEND into –

4 pieces of chicken cut into cubes ( I used thighs)

  1. COOK in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 8 to 10 minutes until cooked through
  2. ADD –

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1 small chopped onion

1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger

2 jalapeno chilies minced without seeds (can be omitted)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

SAUTE to blend the spices with the chicken

  1. ADD –

1 can cubed tomatoes

  1. SIMMER 7 to 10 minutes, stirring very frequently.
  2. ADD –

400 ml of coconut milk (next time I would use coconut cream to make a thicker sauce)

  1. HEAT through…

SERVE over rice…sprinkle with chopped parsley

 

Filetes a la Veracruzana (Fish Fillets in the style of Veracruz)

Lee was asking for some fish dishes a while back. Today and next week, I will post two excellent fish dishes which never fail….here’s my first favourite… you can also search here for salmon…

 

Filetes de pescado a la Veracruzana (Fish Fillets Braised with Tomatoes, Capers, Olives & Herbs)
No matter where fish is served, you can be sure that pescado a la Veracruzana will be on the menu. It’s a delicious blend of Old and New World ingredients: Capers, olives, herbs, and garlic weave their way through two of America’s greatest contributions to Mediterranean cuisine – tomatoes and chilies. Though practically any firm, white-fleshed fish would work well, when the dish is made with fresh Gulf snapper – as it often is in Veracruz – it’s a revelation.

This is a company favourite in Mexico….well worth the prep time!
Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can of chopped tomatoes)
• 1 cup sliced pitted manzanilla (or green) olives, divided
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/4 cup capers, divided
• 1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapeño peppers, divided * (optional)
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon salt, divided
• 6 (6-ounce) red snapper or other firm white fish fillets
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• Flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional)
Preparation
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup olives, water, 2 tablespoons capers, 2 tablespoons jalapeños*, parsley, oregano, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until reduced to 6 cups. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Discard bay leaves.
Arrange fish in a single layer in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish; drizzle with lime juice, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes; discard marinade.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spoon sauce over fish. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup olives, 2 tablespoons capers, and 2 tablespoons jalapeños*. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.