I really wanted to make 7 layer dip, but none of the recipes I found were really doing it for me. I decided to just throw what I was in the mood for all together and hope for the best. It worked out perfectly!
I had intended to include guacamole in this dip as well, but only one of my avocados was ripe. I mashed up the avocado with a little Kosher salt and some lime juice and spread it out as best I could. I also decided to dress up my diced tomatoes a bit by making pico de gallo. Simplest salsa ever. Tomatoes, diced white onion, cilantro, lime juice, kosher salt, done. I also like to include a bit of garlic (minced or powder) and freshly ground pepper to make it even tastier.
Cheesy Bean Dip
2 cans of refried beans
1-4 ounce can of diced chiles
1 cup of shredded cheese, divided (I would recommend sharp cheddar or a Mexican blend)
1-2 avocados, chopped, or guacamole
2-3 tomatoes, chopped, or pico de gallo
1/2 of a red onion, diced
3-4 green onions, sliced
mix of green and black olives, sliced
Preheat oven to 375F/190C. In a small bowl, mix the beans, chiles and 1/2 cup of cheese together. Spread on the bottom of a large baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove dish from oven and spread remaining cheese over beans. Return to oven and bake for another 5 minutes until cheese on top is melted.
Remove dish from oven and top with remaining ingredients or anything else that makes you happy.
I first had this salmon at a Mexican restaurant in Budapest. Yeah, I know what you are thinking, ‘Fish? At a Mexican place? In a landlocked country?’. Yes, I am aware I am lucky to have lived to tell the tale. But trust me, all misgivings aside, this is truly a delicious meal. I have been dreaming of re-creating it for well over a year and now that I have I think this might be entering into regular meal rotation. This salmon was so good, I’m not even going to apologize for the crappy iPhone picture.
I used frozen, skinless Coho salmon from Trader Joe’s, but fresh is perfect as well. If you want to make this recipe even easier to make, you can buy pre-made fresh mango salsa. It’s fairly easy to find around here, but that could just be a Southern California thing. Regardless, it’s very easy to make. Chopping the mangoes is the most difficult part.
For the salmon, I flavored it with garlic powder and Chile con Limon, which is a Mexican seasoning. Again, it’s something really easy to find in Southern California, but if you don’t live in these parts, it is super simple to make at home. I cooked my salmon in a grill pan on the stove, but a real barbecue grill or a regular pan would work just fine. Just make sure that what ever you are cooking on is HOT.
2 salmon fillets
Chile con Limon seasoning*
Olive oil spray
Fresh lemon to squeeze/serve
Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Season salmon with chile con limon and garlic powder on both sides.
When pan is hot, spray with olive oil. Lightly spray salmon with olive oil spray. Place salmon on pan and cook 5 minutes each side. Squeeze lemon over salmon just before removing from pan.
Chile con Limon Seasoning
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon citric acid powder (available on Amazon or in bulk grocery sections)
Combine ingredients together. Sprinkle over fish, meat, chicken, vegetables as seasoning.
1-2 Mangoes, peeled and diced
4 green onions, chopped
1 red onion, finely diced
1 Jalapeño, finely diced (add seeds according to desired heat level)
1 red bell pepper or tomato, diced
1 small cucumber, peeled and diced
4 tablespoons lime juice
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Arroz Verde (From a whole bunch of different recipes)
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro sprigs
1 cup tightly packed fresh stemmed spinach leaves
1 1/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 1/4 cups non-fat milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1/2 cup finely minced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
Put the cilantro, spinach, and broth in a blender and blend until the vegetables are puréed. Add the milk and salt and blend a bit more until well combined.
In a medium heavy-based saucepan (with a lid) over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add the rice and sauté, stirring about every 30 seconds, until it just begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the contents of the blender, stir well, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, turn the heat to very low, and cook for 20 minutes. Stir the rice carefully to avoid crushing it, cover, and cook another 5 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and let the rice steam in the covered pot for 10 minutes (be sure to remove from hot burner completely, otherwise the bottom of the rice will burn). Serve hot.
So my grand plans of an epic Fiesta week full of recipes kinda puttered out. Mainly because I was busy having fun. The first couple days of fiesta were wonderful. Lots of good food, margaritas, cascarones and friends. It was a lot of fun. The last couple days… let’s just agree to not talk about it.
On Friday for lunch we went to one of the Mercados for food. It might have been because I was starving and my left thumb was beginning to look tasty, but I swear these were the most amazing chicken tacos I have ever had. The red salsa they had to put on them was delicious. I may or may not have attempted to steal with bottle of salsa, but the guy running the both caught on to me pretty quickly. I also got an awesome fresh squeezed lemonade which I consumed too quickly to get a picture of. But the most exciting part of the day was getting to play skeeball! I am obsessed with skeeball.
Friday night I had some friends I’ve known forever and a day over and we had a great time catching up over margaritas and my favorite salsa. I also made up a batch of guacamole, which was gone approximately 5 seconds after I put it down on the table. It was delicious! And obviously a crowd pleaser. I’ve only recently come to appreciate guacamole. I still hate the concept of avocados. They are weird, plus my dogs used to eat them when I was really little, so in my head I think they just kind of became associated dog food, thus making them gross. But this guacamole is pretty spectacular. I really think the extra lime and the chipotle powder give it just that little extra something that takes it from good to amazing.
My Favorite Guacamole Recipe
3 avocados – peeled, pitted, and mashed
1 1/2 limes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh ground pepper (be generous)
1/2 cup diced red or white onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic (garlic powder can be used in a pinch)
1 pinch ground chipotle or cayenne pepper powder (optional)
In a bowl, add the avocados, salt, pepper and garlic. Juice the lime over these ingredients and mash together (a potato masher is perfect for this). Mix in onion, cilantro, and tomatoes. Stir in chipotle/cayenne pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!
I recently discovered the convenience of the crockpot. Despite my original misgivings about it, I’ve become slightly enamored with it. It’s so easy and fast. There’s hardly any clean up and it doesn’t make the house even warmer during the summer like the oven does. After experimenting with the crockpot a couple of times, I was reasonably confident I could just throw some things I liked together and it would turn out fairly well. Turns out I was right. By no means is salsa chicken original, but it certainly is fast, easy and tasty.
Crockpot Salsa Chicken
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup salsa of choice
1 cup low sodium broth
1/2 onion, diced
Prepare chicken and sprinkle with taco seasoning on each side. Place in crockpot. Add salsa, broth and onion to crockpot. Cook chicken on high for 3 hours. When chicken is done, shred with fork and serve or store for future meals.
Salsa Chicken Tostadas (for 2 with lots leftovers or 4 )
4 flat corn tostada shells
1 can refried beans
1/2 onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
4-6 green onions, chopped
shredded Mexican cheese
sour cream or greek yogurt
Heat oven to 250 and heat tostadas in oven for a few minutes 5-10-ish depending on how crispy/warm you enjoy your shells. Warm beans. I added a pinch of cheese, 1/2 a diced onion and a couple of dashes of hot sauce to my beans and then heated them up in the microwave. When the tostadas are warm, spread a few spoonfuls of beans on the shells. Top the beans with chicken, tomato, green onion, salsa, cheese, sour cream, hot sauce or other toppings of choice. Serve and enjoy!
This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. It kinda changes a little bit every time I make it, but luckily, it’s one of those things you can’t mess up regardless of what you do. It’s fast, simple and super tasty. It works as a great salsa, by itself as a bean salad or on top of a green salad.
Black Bean and Corn Salsa
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of frozen corn, rinsed and defrosted
1 large tomato, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 can diced chiles, drained
garlic, fresh or powdered, to taste
fresh cilantro, chopped
hot sauce, to taste (I prefer Cholula)
In a big bowl combine beans, corn, tomato, onion, chiles and cilantro. Sprinkle garlic on top. Add in the hot sauce to taste. Squeeze lime juice and mix everything together. Cover with plastic wrap and put the bowl in the fridge for about 30 minutes. You can serve it right away, but I like to give it a little time to marinate all together.
I love the 4th of July. It’s my second favorite holiday of all time (Thanksgiving is number 1, duh). There is just something about America, summer days and bbqs that gets me all excited and happy. Mama and Papa CC moved to America 30 years ago this year and I will never be able to put into words how grateful I am that they decided to come to this amazing country and work their asses off to provide me with the life and opportunities I have had. I really think most Americans don’t realize how lucky they are. Being an American is such an amazing thing. Traveling around the world and living in former Communist countries will help you realize all this quite fast; hence my proclivity for American national holidays.
I’ve spent the last couple years celebrating the 4th of July and Thanksgiving overseas. Celebrating national holidays overseas, regardless of your home country, brings a whole different sense of national pride. Today was not my typical 4th of July celebration, I was back in America and the threat of work was looming large… I, fortunately, did not have to go into work, unfortunately my boss did. We were hoping to get in a quick lunch BBQ today, but the threat of holiday traffic meant that my dad headed back down to LA much earlier than expected and me and Mama CC were left to fend for ourselves.
The day ended up comprising of a lot of this…
Some of this…
A whole lot of these…
And a lot of this type of thing…
It was pretty much an awesome day.
There will be some appetizer and cocktail recipes up shortly. I have a grill and some tuna to attend to in the mean time.
It’s July apparently. If someone could please explain how that happened I would be forever grateful. This past week has been hectic. In this past week I have somehow managed to acquire a ‘job’ and moved to LA, kinda. It’s complicated, it’s just until the end of the year, we’ll have to figure it all out again then, and I’m just going to leave it at that. The best thing to come out of all of this is all of the LA adventures that shall shortly ensue. Get excited.