I love Mexican food. It combines many of my favorite things: tomatoes, avocado, lime, cilantro. Combined they smell like sunshine and good times. When ever we are in the United States we always search out the best Mexican restaurant in town. In the States things taste more authentic because chances are the restaurant is owned and operated by Mexicans...perfect. Of course I loved the food in Mexico once we left our resort, but always a risky undertaking for Canadian tummies.
Even with my deep love of Mexican food the first time I heard of fish tacos I was not at all tempted to try. Sounded pretty gross to me. Of course when I finally gave them a go...loved them. How could I not? They are now a staple on many non-Mexican restaurant menus for good reason. I decided it was time to try these at home, actually my husband did while I helped. Adapted from All Recipes here.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 teaspoon honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
1 pound white fish fillets, cut into chunks
We loaded a whole wheat tortilla shell with tomatoes, avocado, cabbage, cilantro, the grilled fish then drizzled with the dressing. Oh my...I was in heaven. My stomach is rumbling just writing about these! Serve with some fresh salsa and some low sodium tortilla chips and you've got dinner.
It looks like a whole lot of ingredients, but most are spices you probably already have around. You can buy chipotle pepper sauce at Superstore and other grocery stores. It also makes a great dip for yam fries when mixed with a little low fat mayo and sour cream.We used the last of our ling cod out of the freezer, quite sad to see that gone. This recipe makes a great change from the boring (and fatty) ground beef taco with the salt laden taco seasoning pack. It is also perfect for this amazing weather. Get grilling amigos!
I recently taught a class for the Black Creek Community Association. Love teaching classes, I get to talk about food and answer people's questions....perfect. I focused on how to make over favorite recipes and dishes to be more healthful. During the class I was asked to share my recipe for homemade taco seasoning. Why not share here too? I am in the works of offering another class in the fall. Please share any topics you would like to hear about because I would love to see you there.
Regular readers already know that I am particularly fond of Mexican food. I started making my own spice mix a few years ago when I got tired of the cost of the taco seasoning packs and the amount of sodium (even in the reduced sodium). Plus I liked it with a little more heat. This recipe has never failed me.
1/4 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
Combine together in a bowl. Store in an air tight container. Two heaping tablespoons equals the amount in the package. Adapted from here.
Can't get easier than that. I have scaled this recipe up, it makes about 1/2 a cup of seasoning mix. I use 2 generous tablespoons of mix per pound of ground meat (choose ground chicken or turkey instead of beef to reduce saturated fat) and add about a 1/4 cup of water and let it simmer. You can make it more or less spicy by adjusting the crushed chillies or adding some cayenne pepper. I really decreased the amount of salt, it can be adjusted to taste as needed. If you are feeling extra creative a nice dash of fresh cilantro after cooking is excellent.
I also use the mix to season black beans to put in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, etc. A great way to get some extra fiber and have a meatless meal with all the protein. It is also good combined with non-fat Greek yogurt to make a dip or a great addition to a seven layer dip. Don't forget to use it in my Tex Mex shredded chicken recipe too.
The best part: you are in control. You know exactaly what's in it and can adjust based on you own tastes. You will never buy a package again.....
The sun is shining which is the perfect weather for a Mexican feast....don't forget the margaritas!
Today Sawyer is one month old. He made his debut in today's paper as Baby of the Month. My husband and I were watching American Idol a few weeks ago when a contestants mother mentioned he was baby of the week way back when. I thought it was funny. Now I realize that will be me. It's my right as his mother to tell one and all (and probably mention it at his graduation, wedding, etc.).
So now that we have made it through the first month I have re-entered the kitchen. I have been making a few dinners here and there. A big priority is easy and fast recipes. I have had a month to adjust, but double header poopy diapers still take time away from meal prep. When you have a baby that eats as much as Sawyer does (gained a pound in two weeks) there is a lot of poop.
This recipe for Tex-Mex Shredded Chicken could not be any easier. If you can't manage this, there are larger issues. There are only three ingredients, not that you would know given the taste of the end product. This recipe is very popular on Pinterest, but seemed too good to be true. I love being proven wrong.
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups of your favorite jarred salsa
1 envelope low sodium taco seasoning
Combine salsa and seasoning in a slow cooker and stir. Add chicken. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. When done, the chicken should shred easily with two forks. Adapted from here.
With half of the chicken we made soft tacos. I froze the other half, which will probably be used for burritos, or nachos, or taco salad, or tortilla soup...endless possibilities! The chicken was very flavorful and tender. I could of ate it by the forkful. You can control how spicy it is with the salsa you choose. We went mild for our two year old. It passed his picky eater test. To keep it healthy stick with whole wheat tortillas, light sour cream and cheese, and lots of fresh veggie toppings.
Simple and delicious...passes my new mom to two test.
To see more of Erin Wallis' photos from Sawyer's newborn shoot look here.
I knew I would be back to the blog this week. Baby is inching closer to the exit but does not appear to be in a big hurry to get out. I foresee this being the case 30 years from now, but the exit will be from our home. This has given me more opportunity to nest: lots of cooking, baking, cleaning obscure things, etc. I have also been on a photo printing, framing, hanging mission. I hadn't done too much since we moved into our house, so I was sitting on a stockpile of amazing photos. We have a gallery wall in our kitchen/dining room that I finally added to...I cannot even tell you how happy it makes me. We spend a lot of time in those rooms. To be reminded of our wedding, honeymoon, vacations, pregnancies, new baby, growing son, our friends and families, really is the best thing ever. You need to do it. If you need more convincing or ideas check out Erin Wallis' Blog here. That is my non-food related rant/friendly encouragement for the week.
Meatloaf was never in the regular meal rotation when I was growing up, but I know for a lot of others it was. I have made a few attempts over the years at turkey meatloaf. I was never sold on the final product. Until now....welcome to my life Salsa Stuffed Meatloaf, meatloaf with a Mexican flair.
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup drained canned black beans, rinsed
1-1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 pinch salt
1 lb ground turkey, chicken or extra-lean beef
1/2 cup prepared salsa
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In large bowl, combine bread crumbs, onion, garlic, black beans, chili powder, pepper, salt and egg. Mix in turkey. Shape into 12 balls (I used an ice cream scoop). Place each in lightly greased muffin cup.
With spoon, make indentation in centre of each; fill with salsa and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake in 400°F oven until digital rapid-read thermometer inserted in centre of meat reads 160°F, about 15 minutes. Adapted from here.
These little guys have a ton of flavour, a fiber boost from the beans and are low in saturated fat when made with ground chicken or turkey. Because they are baked in a muffin tin the cooking time is a lot faster then a loaf pan, so dinner is on the table faster. I served them with some homemade guacamole and the Mexican rice from a previous post (recipe here). Throw in a quick salad or some cut up veggies and you are done. The kiddos will love them for sure.
Now I am not so sure I will be back next week? I have not yet decided how often I am going to update my blog once baby boy arrives. I think I will take a little break, but I know I am going to miss it. As I have mentioned before I love sitting down to write my weekly entry. We will see how things go. I would also like to thank you all for your labour and delivery well wishes, I really appreciate it.
My son's second birthday is fast approaching, which leads me to another date: July 2, 2003. This was when it was announced that Vancouver had won its bid for the 2010 Olympic Games. I remember being at work, sitting ay my lab bench in Victoria, listening to it all on the radio. My line of thought quickly wondered about 2010: where would I be, with who, doing what? So much could change in seven years.
Change it does. As the games inched closer I met and married my husband, moved to Vancouver, finally finished my post-secondary education, was working as a dietitian and was starting to think about babies. There were many announcements on the radio that the organizers of the Opening Ceremonies were looking for anyone and everyone to audition with whatever talent they had. I thought why not? It would be so much fun to be involved in some way. As an aside: I am a huge Olympics fan. I am not a sports watcher in general, but something about the Olympics captivates me and I will watch any sport at any time of the night or day. My husband also decided to audition. He was grouped under the talent hockey player (?) and I was in the dance group. We both had a lot of fun at our auditions, an experience in itself.
About a month after the audition I found out I was pregnant and due February 11, 2010. The Opening Ceremonies were set for February 12, 2010. My dreams of stardom were dashed. It was an unlikely dream as I was not selected anyways. BUT my husband, the tag along auditioner, talent hockey player, was selected. Not only selected, but chosen to be one of the people who leads a country's athletes into the arena for both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, humf. We discussed at length whether he should commit given the fact I was due to deliver the day before. In the end we decided what are the chances? He took the opportunity.
As baby was getting closer to arrival the rehearsals really started to gear up. It was decided that Braden would be bringing in the athletes from Estonia (of course he was hoping for Canada). As a family member of a performer I got to attend the dress rehearsal on February 8th. It was amazing, unforgettable. I have never cheered so much for Estonia. After all the Skytraining, walking, security checks and excitement of the night my water broke at 1:10 am. Hudson William was born February 10th at 3:56 am.
Braden made it to the Opening Ceremonies, no problem. I watched on my tiny hospital TV, cradling our newborn son...enjoying the moment and realizing this is where I was seven years later.
You can watch Braden's big debut here from the 39:58 point to about 40:35.
Now I am finally getting to a recipe...I am sure you sure thinking get on with it already! Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup...yum.
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 skinless, chicken breasts cut into small pieces
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
2-6 jalapeno peppers, minced (I used 2 as I am feeding a small person, but this is up to your taste)
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, rinsed and drained
1 can tomato paste
1 cup grated monterey jack or cheddar cheese
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
cilantro, chopped for garnish if desired
Tortilla chips, for garnish
Combine all ingredients except cheese and sour cream into a four liter capacity or bigger slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or 3-4 hours on high. Add cheese and sour cream immediately before serving and stir to melt cheese. If desired garnish with cilantro, tortilla chips, a dollop of sour cream and a little cheese. Adapted from here (there are also instructions here a for stove top method).
Perfect for so many reasons: great Mexican flavour, easy in the slow cooker and makes leftovers.
And of course a huge, happy second birthday Hudson.
It has been a whirl wind week, which included lots of working, an excellent visit with my mother-in-law and finding out the gender of our baby. I am not a surprise kind of person. I have no patience when it comes to waiting to know something, if there is a way to know, I will know. There wasn’t even a discussion if we would find out this baby’s sex, it was a given. At the same time I knew that I was going to have another boy. I feel like I could have six babies and they would all be boys. The ultrasound tech barely had to touch the wand on my belly and there were “boy parts” as she described it. It was full screen penis and testicles, full screen boy glory.
I love that I am having another boy and I love that Hudson is going to have a little brother. Is this the end of baby making for us, who knows? I learned long ago that whenever I say I would never do something it turns out that 100% I am. Would I try for the sole purpose of maybe having a girl? No. We still rock dolls to sleep, cook together, have tea parties, put hair spray in our hair and share the sweetest hugs and kisses, what more could any Mommy ask for?
During all this I made some amazing Baked Black Bean Taquitos. I thought taquitos were just deep fried fast food items or only found in the frozen food section of the grocery store. I never thought to make them at home, until I found this recipe on Pintrest (oh time sucking Pintrest). These are fast, healthy and delicious. From what I can gather they are not 100% authentic Mexican originating in San Diego California, but that minor detail is not going to stop me.
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 8 pieces
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 clove garlic
1 small jalapeno (optional)
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup black beans (rinsed)
1/4 cup cilantro
8 corn tortillas
1/2 cup Colby Jack Cheese or low fat cheddar
Canola oil for brushing
Preheat oven to 425˚ and bring a medium/large pot of water to a simmer.
In a pan, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and pepper until onion becomes translucent. Stir in garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and continue to cook for 1-2 more minutes. Add in black beans and cilantro, cooking until beans are heated through- two to three minutes more.
Turn off pot of water. Taking one corn tortilla at a time, dip in hot water for 3-4 seconds. Place on a cutting board and scoop one spoonful of black bean filling and a hefty pinch of cheese on top. Roll tight and place seam side down on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Repeat until all the filling is used. Brush each piece lightly with oil.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until the corn tortilla is a light brown color. Adapted from here.
We had these for dinner, served up with a healthy portion of fresh salsa, guacamole and light sour cream. They would also make a great appetizer as you can pick them up and are eaten easily (which also makes them kid friendly). They have a satisfying crunchy texture and a nice spicy kick. The biggest issue is finding corn tortillas. I have found them in Coombs at The Old Country Market, but here in town Thrifty Foods carries them in the dairy section....YES! You must make these.
We spent that last amazingly sunny, hot weekend in September at a beach house with our close friends and their families. It was perfect, lots of kids to keep each other busy (whether that was playing or fighting), lazy days at the beach and long, relaxing, adult dinners once the kids were in bed. We decided that each family had a night to cook. Works out great. The usual dinners for large groups are lasagna, spaghetti, meat on the grill with some sides. I decided I wanted something that could mostly be prepared ahead of time, therefore vacation time maximized.
I quickly choose chicken and black bean enchiladas with Mexican rice. As I have mentioned here before I love Mexican food. I usually buy canned enchilada sauce in the States. I knew I could make it, but had been too lazy to until I ran out. Now was the time!
Red Enchilada Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup salsa
1 (6 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onion, oregano, chili powder, basil, ground black pepper, cumin, salsa and tomato sauce. Mix together and then stir in the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. More simmering makes it taste better!
Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Ingredients: 1 tsp olive oil
1 green and red pepper diced
1 fresh tomato diced
1 onion chopped (the rest of the onion not used in the sauce)
10 whole wheat tortillas
2 diced chicken breast
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup low fat sour cream
1 cup grated light cheddar cheese
red chili flakes to taste
1/2 cup grated light cheddar cheese to top
Heat oil in a large frying pan, add chicken and cook until almost done. Add onion, tomato and peppers, sauté until onions appear translucent. Transfer into a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients and stir. Pour enough enchilada sauce to cover bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish. Fill each tortilla with about 1/2 to 2/3 of a cup of filling. Roll up, tucking in the ends. Arrange in dish. Pour remaining sauce evenly over enchiladas and top with cheese. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 min, remove foil and bake for another 10 min. Adapted from here.
1 cup brown rice rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, halved
In a medium sauce pan, cook rice in oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Stir in onion, green pepper, jalapeno, and diced tomato. Season cumin, cilantro, and garlic. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 40 minutes. Adapted from here.
It was a hit, fewf. This meal is low in fat and high in fiber because I used beans, whole grain rice , whole wheat tortillas and quite a bit of veg. I made the enchiladas the day before and saved the baking step for the day of. Next time I would double the sauce recipe and freeze the other half for another day. For sure this makes a lot of food. If you are only feeding your family then divide into two pans and freeze one for a quick and easy dinner for another busy night.
All the meals we had were delicious, but the company was truly superb. Until next summer...
Tiffany McFadden, RD