Tag Archives: tex-mex

Chilaquiles With Homemade Tortilla Chips

Do you ever make something so delicious that you can’t wait to spread the news but wind up with lousy photos of the outcome?  That’s what happened with my chilaquiles.  But they were so enjoyable to eat and as much fun to say once I learned to pronounce the word (say it: chee/lah/KEE/lehs) that I just couldn’t keep it to myself forever, regardless of my poorly lit photo documentation.

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I made this dish for my brother and sister when they stopped in for a rest on their drive back home from a road trip to Texas.  My brother regaled us with stories of the interesting towns they visited and people they met including the Mexican songster who keeps a tin can on the US side of the border then sits across the river to serenade passersby, coaxing them to drop a coin in the tin.  Or the little girl who twisted colored wires into a peacock for my brother to bring to us as a souvenir. My sister mostly just enjoyed a little bit of space after being stuck in a van with my brother for two weeks.  Ah, siblings.

I don’t travel much these days but hearing my brother’s stories and seeing his photos helped me to see a glimpse into another world and made me long to travel.  It’s so easy to forget that we are all just such a tiny part of such a big world.  I listen to state and national news every day and feel like I know what’s going on but all I really hear are a finely curated selection of stories.  Traveling forces you out of your sliver of the world and into the lives of others.  It forces connection. I get so wrapped up in going through the motions to make sure I meet all of my responsibilities at home and at work that I forget that everyone else in the great beyond is doing the same thing…just trying to navigate this world, find happiness, and make sure their basic needs are met. We are all looking for connection, for similarities, for synergy.  We are all looking for someone to look inside and understand us and love us for who we are.  When I remind myself of that, I feel so much more connected, a whole lot more tolerant, and a little bit silly for being so focused on my teeny corner of this world.

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Back to chilaquiles…one thing that helps me to feel more connected is trying new dishes from places I’d like to visit.  While I couldn’t drop everything and go on a road trip to Texas, as much as I’d have liked to, I could try a new recipe that would transport me there in my imagination.

A few notes:  first, the sauce is a touch spicy so adjust accordingly.  Second, the sauce recipe makes a fair amount so plan on using the leftovers for round two of this great dish. Third, there are more chilaquile recipes than can be counted.  Different regions and even different families have their own recipes for chilaquiles.  If this recipe doesn’t do it for you, try with tomatillo sauce or a mole sauce instead or pour the sauce on at the end, keeping the tortillas crispy for a nacho-esque dish instead. This recipe is from Bon Appetit (apart from the method for the tortilla chips) and is an excellent choice for your first go-round with chilaquiles.

And finally, you may use bagged tortilla chips for this recipe but if you don’t have any on hand, making your own tortilla chips is easy, satisfying, and makes for a heartier dish with a little less salt (this is also an excellent way to use up stale tortillas).  We always have tortillas on hand but don’t often have snack foods so it’s nice to have the homemade tortilla trick up my sleeve when the need arises.  See below for a few photos of the process.  Very easy and very worth it!

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Chilaquiles With Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips

Ingredients

  • 7 dried guajillo or New Mexico chiles
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, with seeds, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked or Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • Olive or vegetable oil to brush tortillas.
  • 9 6-inch corn tortillas or 36 large tortilla chips
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled queso fresco or mild feta
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar
  • 4 large eggs
  • Finely chopped white onion
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Red Chile Sauce: Place chiles in a medium bowl; cover with 2 cups boiling water. Let chiles soak until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid. Discard stems and seeds; place chiles in a blender. Add tomatoes, next 4 ingredients, and 1 cup reserved soaking liquid; purée until smooth.
  2. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add purée (it will splatter) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes (add more reserved soaking liquid if too thick). Stir in honey and season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm before using.
  3. Tortilla Chips: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a pastry brush, brush one side of each corn tortilla with a light layer of olive oil. Stack one on top of the other with oil side up - the un-oiled side will become oiled from the tortilla it is set upon. Cut the stacked tortillas into 8 wedges. Place tortilla pieces on a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned.
  4. Preheat broiler. Toss chips and 1 cup sauce in a large bowl. Transfer half of chips to a large ovenproof platter or skillet. Scatter half of cheeses over chips. Top with remaining chips and cheeses, along with 1/2 cup more sauce. Broil until cheese is golden and melted, 4–5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, pour oil into a nonstick skillet to lightly coat. Heat over medium heat. Add eggs and fry until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes.
  6. Top chilaquiles with chopped onion, radishes, cilantro, and lime wedges. Top with fried eggs and serve with remaining sauce alongside.
http://dinnerwithaura.com/chilaquiles-with-homemade-tortilla-chips/

Turkey Posole With Toasted Guajillo Pepper Salsa

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Ummm….hi.  It’s been a while.  A looong while.  In August I thought I was going to get back in the swing of blogging and it just never happened.  It’s not that I haven’t been cooking…but while I was pregnant my priorities shifted.  First, the focus shifted to just getting food in my mouth, not pausing to take a photo and write a recipe.  As I neared the end of my pregnancy, my focus shifted to making large batches of soups, stews, and easy-to-freeze dishes like manicotti to get me through the early weeks of motherhood.  We were also in the midst of frantically working on a major home project…the baby’s room.  What started with a simple home improvement project (putting down new flooring and painting the walls) ended up turning into a major project, replacing windows, tearing the room down to the studs, and working on the roof.

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My work life became very busy as I worked toward having a couple of months off of leave.  And when it came down to it, my blog fell by the wayside.  After all, the most important thing I had to cook was this little guy.  River Wilder Nelson was born four weeks ago and my life has become consumed with feeding, diapering, and staring at my sweet baby.  Can you blame me?

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I’m just now getting my bearings enough to consider blogging again.  Let’s hope this time it sticks…

As a way to cope with all of the busyness and life changes, I have become a very practical cook in recent months.  This recipe I’m about to share is about as practical as it gets.  It is my take on one of Cooking Light’s most popular dishes, Toasted Guajillo and Pork Posole.  It’s a great way to use up Thanksgiving turkey leftovers and can easily be adapted if you have leftover pork or chicken.  It’s a refreshing change after eating turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes until they come out of your ears.  Not to mention, it’s very budget friendly and healthy to boot.

I flavor my posole with toasted guajillo salsa, which has been a staple in my house for the last several months.  It is SO good.  We use it as a flavor booster in soups, as a salsa with chips, on top of tacos and enchiladas, and with my baked eggs with kale and mushroom skillet on weekend mornings.  It freezes well so I make a double batch.  I’m even thinking about giving it away at Christmas with a jar of tomatillo salsa (red and green for Christmas!).  So I highly recommend you make a batch and use some of it in this posole.  If you aren’t into making some of this salsa, see my note at the bottom of the recipe for another way to use chiles in this recipe.

Treat this like chili when thinking choosing your toppings.  I like radishes, cilantro, sour cream, and avocado on mine.  Crumbled tortilla chips are also a nice addition.  Whatever you like!  I hope you enjoy.  It’s good to be back!

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Turkey Posole With Guajillo Peppers; adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 pound leftover turkey, chicken, or pork, cut or torn in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp toasted guajillo chili salsa (recipe here) or see note below
  • 1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 (29-ounce) can hominy, rinsed and drained

Instructions

  1. Add oil to dutch oven/large soup pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion to pot and stir frequently for five minutes, until onions and garlic are softened and lightly browned.
  2. Add half of the broth, cumin, cloves, salt, and pepper.
  3. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, pour contents into a blender and blend until smooth, then pour back into the pot.
  4. Add remaining chicken stock and water.
  5. Add guajillo chili salsa and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce; reserve the chipotle chiles from can and remaining sauce for another use (I freeze mine in small quantities).
  6. Stir in hominy and turkey, chicken, or pork.
  7. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. *Note: If you don't feel up for making a batch of guajillo chili salsa, you can use the following method:  put 3 chiles on a baking sheet, bake at 400° for 4 minutes or until dark. Cool; remove stems and seeds.  Place in a blender with 1 cup of liquid from soup pot and puree.  Add to soup.
http://dinnerwithaura.com/turkey-posole-with-guajillo-peppers/

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili with Chipotle

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili with Chipotle

Some things from my childhood have stuck with me and a love of chili with cornbread is one of those things.  I fondly remember the big pots of chili my step dad would make when I was a kid.  The soup was always served with a skillet of cornbread and it was always nice and spicy.  When I commented/complained about the heat, my step dad ribbed me, telling me that the heat would burn the germs from my intestines.  It’s a disturbing image but it was the start of my love affair with spicy foods, if not for the medicinal qualities, then for the taste.  

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Butternut Squash, Black Bean and Charred Red Onion Tacos

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I’ve always envied those that are able to do what they love for their livelihood.  Although there are certainly downsides to it (as most authors, musicians, and artists know), there is great appeal to this lifestyle.  My sweetie is able to do what he loves, playing music and building instruments, and usually makes ends meet with the modest income that comes in.  It may not be all roses all the time, but there is something to be said about being able to have the time to spend on developing specialized skills and enjoying one’s passion.

Over the last few weeks Drew has been working long hours in the woodshop building a gourd banjo.  As a luthier (a beautiful way to say “builder of stringed instruments”) and newly learned clawhammer banjo player, he was intrigued when he heard Bob Lucas play a gourd banjo at a symposium called Common Ground on the Hill earlier this summer.  A couple of months later, he began to study plans of existing gourd banjos and set about building one himself.  After hours (and hours..and hours) of reading, planning and ordering supplies, and just a few weeks after the inaugural cutting of one large gourd, shipped from California, he sits playing his beautiful gourd banjo in the kitchen.

I am amazed that building a gourd banjo went from an idea of his to now, a few weeks later, a reality.  I do not have the skills required to build a musical instrument or the passion to do so myself but I most certainly am in awe of this beautiful instrument created by his hands.

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I do like my job and find excitement and satisfaction from it at times.  But as grateful for it as I am (and grateful for steady employment that affords us a comfortable home and meets all of our basic needs) I cannot honestly say it is my life’s passion.  Luckily, I get to spend time with my true passion from time to time and sometimes I even get to share it with others.  Tonight I volunteer taught a cooking class at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids (a wonderful cancer and grief support clubhouse) and I got that feeling that I think Drew must feel when he is working on building a banjo or a guitar.  I felt like I was doing something that I could do forever.  I was completely relaxed, had fun, and felt so passionate about sharing my love for cooking with a great group of women.

Because I cook so much (daily), I sometimes take for granted the skills that I’ve acquired in the kitchen.  I’m just a simple home cook when it comes down to it but I am surprised when I show a class how to do something and they are excited and delighted by it.  Tonight I showed the women how to make a Mexican meal using butternut squash and black beans.  We made butternut squash and black bean chili and these butternut squash, black bean, and charred onion tacos.  At various points in the class I became animated and excited to show random little tips as they popped into my head.  How to slice an avocado in its peel.  How to peel and cut a butternut squash.  That you can eat the skin of a delicata squash.  That you can boil apple cider down into a glaze.  That you can warm and char a tortilla directly on the flame of a gas stove.  That you don’t have to measure everything exactly.  That a little chocolate in chili adds depth and richness.  Usually these little joys of the kitchen stay with me.  I am usually pretty quiet in the kitchen at home, choosing silence over music, focusing on the meditative act of chopping vegetables and washing dishes.  I usually take the little aha moments with cooking for granted or I assume that they will not delight anyone other than myself.  It was brilliant fun tonight to not only share my love for cooking but to have fourteen women clap, smile, and say mmmmmm along with me while I cooked, learned (yup–still learning!), and dished up samples of our fall fiesta.

I do hope you try these tacos.  They are a unique way to use my favorite fall vegetable, butternut squash.  They are filling and hearty, aromatic and flavorful.  It’s really a compliment when someone who loves meat tacos deems these an A++ (thanks, hon!).  Needless to say, if I ever have a restaurant, these are making the menu.

And whatever your passion, I hope you get to spend a few moments with it today.

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Butternut Squash Tacos with Charred Red Onion and Black Beans (and a bunch of yummy toppings!)

Tacos:

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup black beans, dried and cooked, or canned is fine too—be sure to drain well
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 12 corn tortillas

For topping:

  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, washed and stems removed
  • ½ cup queso fresco (Mexican crumbling cheese)
  • ½ cup lowfat sour cream
  • 1 scallion (green onion), thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
  • Sriracha (garlic-chili hot sauce, a.k.a. “Rooster Sauce”)
  1.  Preheat oven to 375°.  Lightly oil a baking sheet with 1 teaspoon oil.
  2. Prepare the squash:  Cut the bottom off of the butternut squash to create a flat surface and stand squash on its end.  Cut the squash down the middle, lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard (or…as reader Natashia suggests, you can clean and roast them, spreading out on a baking sheet as if you were roasting pumpkin seeds–takes about 20 minutes).  Peel the outside of the squash with a knife, taking care to always have a flat surface for stability.  Slice the squash into ½ inch slices.  Cut the slices into ½ inch diameter matchsticks, about 5 inches long.
  3. Place the squash sticks onto the oiled baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Don’t crowd the pan—use two pans if needed.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes.  Poke with a  fork to test for doneness—the fork should easily pierce the squash and the squash should still hold its shape.  Remove from the oven when done.
  4. In the meantime, heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil on medium high in a cast iron skillet or other heavy skillet and add the onions and garlic along with a sprinkle of salt.  Cook for about five minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions have browned and softened slightly.  Add the beans to the pan along with the cumin and stir for a moment until heated through.
  5. Heat a small skillet over high heat and add tortillas to the pan, one at a time, turning until they are heated and a little crisp.  Once all tortillas are heated, add a few sticks of squash to each, a large spoonful of the onion and bean mixture, and any toppings you like (from the toppings listed above).  Squeeze a wedge of lime over each and serve with Sriracha or another hot sauce on the side.

Makes 12 tacos

Migas Breakfast Tacos

Oh migas!  Where had you been all my life?  I’m about to let you in on one of the best breakfasts. Ever.

Migas Breakfast Tacos

My boyfriend spent a few weeks on the road recently and about two weeks of it was spent in Austin, TX.  I tried to contain my jealousy as he told me about his daily breakfast fix of migas tacos from Maria’s Taco X-Press.  Up until recently, I had enjoyed migas only once or twice.  A deli in Kalamazoo, MI serves it as side dish and it is quite yummy but nothing in comparison to this Tex-Mex version, cooked up with eggs and cheese and served in warm corn tortillas.

After listening to my sweetie lament the loss of his new favorite breakfast, and being a good little foodist, I suggested my best solution…make them ourselves!  A quick search found a recipe from none other than Maria’s Taco X-Press and we set about whipping up our first of many migas breakfasts.  The only differences?  A little bit of cheese (I hear they are heavy-handed with it down in Austin–everything is bigger in Texas!) and instead of wearing tee-shirts and sunglasses in Austin we were bundled up in sweaters, leg warmers, flannel, and shearling boots to brave the frigid January-in-Michigan temps.  Maybe in July we’ll get that Austin feeling as we tuck into our probably fiftieth migas breakfast.  At about 3 or 4 times a week, we are establishing  a lifelong habit!  And I’m alright with that.

Migas Breakfast Tacos

First, add the onions, tortilla chips, and peppers to a hot pan with one teaspoon of oil:

Cooking Tortilla Chips, Onions, and Peppers

Add tomatoes and cook over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes or just until onion is translucent.

Cooking Migas...Tortilla Chips, Tomatoes, Onions, Cilantro, Peppers

Add eggs to skillet, and cook, without stirring, 1 to 2 minutes or until eggs begin to set on bottom…the full recipe is below!

Adding the eggs to the Migas

Served with my homemade Habanero hot sauce…..yes, ma’am!

Migas breakfast tacos with habanero hot sauce

Migas Breakfast Tacos; adapted recipe from My Recipes, as shared by Maria’s Taco X-Press in Austin, TX

    • 1/3 cup lightly crushed tortilla chips
    • 1/4 cup chopped onion
    • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes (during the winter months, use canned chopped tomatoes, strained)
    • 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeño peppers (for a less spicy version add green bell pepper instead).  I also add a couple tablespoons of hot salsa verde sometimes.
    • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
    • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    • Pinch of salt and pepper
    • 2 (8-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
    • 1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded 2% reduced-fat Mexican four-cheese blend
  1. Sauté tortilla chips, onions, tomatoes, and peppers in hot oil in a medium-size non-stick skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes or just until onion is translucent.
  2. Whisk together eggs, salt, and pepper. Add to skillet, and cook, without stirring, 1 to 2 minutes or until eggs begin to set on bottom. Gently draw cooked edges away from sides of pan to form large pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes or until eggs are thickened and moist. (Do not over stir.) Spoon egg mixture into warm tortillas, and sprinkle with cheese; serve immediately folded into corn tortillas with sliced avocado and plenty of hot sauce.  I love mine with my homemade Habanero hot sauce but Valentino or Topatio are also fantastic!