salsa

Serve Salsa in a Flash (about 15 min.)

It was the end of the workday and a co-worker and I walked to our cars together. "Hey, do you have a salsa recipe ?" she asked. Before I answered "yes" I thought to myself, "Doesn't everyone have a salsa recipe?" We got in our cars and I called out the ingredients and the process in about sixty seconds. It then occurred to me that all my online friends need to know how quick and easy it is.

Key: 3 to 1

Ingredients

3 tomatoes

1 pepper ( jalapeno/mild, serrano/spicy)

1 clove garlic

1 t. salt

optional

1/4 c. cilantro

1/2 t. ground cumin

Place about 1/2" water in a small saucepan. Add tomatoes, pepper, garlic and turn stove on medium. Cook until tomato skin tears (about 10 min.).

Drain water.

Place veggies and garlic on a plate to cool if you're in a hurry to dip those chips! (about 5 min.) Remove the stem and seeds from the pepper  and throw all this in the blender or food chopper. Add salt and the optional items if you wish. Blend until you have a smooth consistency.

Voila!!! You are done, and all that in about 20 min. This salsa is so tasty I scooped up a bit  before I took the photo and as you can see I'm short about half a chip on the front of the plate.

The Busy Woman's Guide to Healthy Entertaining

By nature, I am definitely a Martha and not a Mary.  In this familiar Bible story, we learn that Martha stayed busy cooking and cleaning to ensure everything was perfect while hosting Jesus in their home.  She became angry with Mary who did not help her and chose to sit with Him and enjoyed his company.    (Luke 10:38-41) If not careful, I can pack so much into one day and stress myself to make everything perfect, especially when it comes to entertaining. There was a time, when I like Martha, would stay in the kitchen preparing everything while my family and guests enjoyed the company of each other.   Stress would sometimes get the best of me as I pondered over having the most delicious menu and providing options for our health conscious guests. I soon realized I had to find a way to enjoy entertaining, which I love to do, and make it work with everything else going on in my life.

When desiring to host a party, I sometimes see two things that can happen to busy women

  • Stress out which can lead to over eating
  • Give up because it feels impossible.

 When you have so many things going on in your life, hosting a party can feel impossible.  I remember early in my marriage when my husband and I wanted to have a party, I thought I had to provide everything and my menu had to be something new and creative every time.  I soon realized that most people want to bring something, even if it is something minor.  Asking for assistance with the minor details allowed me to take things off of my “to do” list.  I also learned that I have a few staple recipes that my friends and family love and look forward to having. There is no need to invent the wheel for every event.

To simply host a party stress free the healthy way, put in a few simple steps.

  • Discover a new technique to manage your stress.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It is no secret that some women tend to overeat or eat things they normally wouldn’t when faced with stressful situations.  Establishing a daily quiet time or exercise routine, is one way to find balance and control and not allow food to be your outlet.  Even if you can’t exercise as much as you normally do during the holiday season, don’t give up completely.  Set yourself a new schedule so that you are able to maintain some kind of sanity.  For example, if you normally exercise 30 minutes a day, change it to at least get in 15 minutes instead of giving up all together.

 

  • Keep your menus simple and semi home made.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 For example, take a ready made salsa and add to it. One of my favorite’s is Walmart’s Peach Pineapple Chipotle salsa, www.walmart.com/ip/Great-Value-Peach-Pineapple-Salsa-26-oz/10324682.   I love to add a can of black beans and corn and serve with Triscuit Thin Crisps for healthier options, www.nabiscoworld.com/Brands/ProductInformation.aspx?BrandKey=ritz&Site=&Product=4400000539. It makes a large quantity and guests love it.  For a quick semi homemade desert, take a store bought brownie mix and make your own icing.  To make it even more delectable, add your favorite       chocolate                    candies into the mix.  Do you have left over Halloween candy?  Freeze them and pull them out when you are ready to bake.  Be sure to have to go boxes ready for your guests so that they are out of your house along with the temptation to over indulge.

 

  •  Stick to familiar recipes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have two or three “signature” recipes that I know will be a crowd pleaser.  I can prepare them with little thought and my guests always look forward to having them. Mindless eating and sampling while cooking quickly add up to unnecessary calories. By sticking to your “staple recipes”, there is no need to sample.

As healthy busy women, we do not have to give up entertaining. With a few simple steps, we can be the “hostess with the mostess” and relax like Mary and enjoy our company.

 

Simple Chocolate Icing

Melt 3TBS of cocoa or 3 squares of Hershey chocolate (left over Halloween candy)  and 1 TBS of butter.  Stir in 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar, a dash of salt ½ tsp of vanilla and 2 TBS of milk.  Mix with Blender and spread on cool brownies.

 

 

Tomatillo: Do It Your Way

Tomatillo is commonly known as a green tomato ( in spanish, tomate verde). It is small and covered by an inedible  paper- textured husk and it's flavor is wonderfully tart. My non-Hispanic friends, like Jennifer and Sheri frequently order Enchiladas Verdes ( enchiladas with a green sauce)  when we eat dine at Mexican restaurants so I thought I would just figure out how to make them myself. I've created a recipe for tomatillo salsa which can be eaten with chips or used as the base for the salsa verde in my rendition of  enchiladas verdes.

Don't blink your eyes or you'll miss the  one and only direction for ...

Simply, Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients

18-20 roasted tomatillos

2 roasted Serrano peppers (seeded)

2 cloves garlic

½ t. sugar

1 t salt

½ c cilantro

2T scallions

Put all ingredients in the food processor and puree. The tomatillo has a muted color and the specks of cilantro are bright. This salsa is great looking because of the contrast.

* You can prepare the sauce on the weekend and keep refrigerated until you're ready to make the enchiladas.

Serve it with chips and watch it disappear or keep on going and treat your family to:

Enchiladas Verdes Esquisitos

(Exquisite Green Enchiladas)

Ingredients

1 doz. corn tortillas

21/2 c  cubed cooked chicken

1/2 c white wine or water

8 oz sour cream

1 T cornstarch

salt

2 c  grated white cheese of your choice (Mozarella, Monterrey Jack, pre-packaged Pizza or Italian Blend)

Reserve 1/2 c cheese

 

Heat tortillas on a hot griddle to make them soft and pliable. Fill each tortilla with 2 T chicken and 1 heaping T of cheese. Roll and line them up in a  9x13 baking dish. Cover and place in oven @ 325 while you prepare the sauce.

                                  

Sauce

Heat tomatillo sauce and add ½ c. white wine or water. When sauce is heated through, add  1 t salt. Place ¼ c  sauce into a small bowl and add 1 T cornstarch. Mix through.  Return to stove and add to saucepan  allowing  sauce to thicken and bubble. Add 8 oz. sour cream and stir until sauce is creamy. Remove from heat when it begins to bubble. Pull enchiladas out of the oven and pour sauce over them. Sprinkle remaining ½ c of cheese and serve immediately.

My family thinks these are dreamy!!

Eat the Heat: Jalapeno, Mango Salsa

Salsa comes in all intensities and there are innumerable ways to prepare a tasty one.They are low in calories, usually contain no fat and  if you eat 1/2 c. of  fresh salsa, you can check one of your daily recommended fruits or veggies off the list. This recipe asks for jalapeno which will make a mild-medium salsa. If you want more of a bite, use serrano peppers and if you live on the edge, use habanero peppers.

 

Ingredients

12 roasted tomatillos

2 medium tomatoes

2 c. fresh mango

3 lg. seeded jalapenos

1/3 c. red onion

2 T. fresh ginger root

1/8 c. lime juice

a handful of fresh mint

salt and pepper to taste

Makes 5 c. ( great for a party)

 

 

                                   

         Salsas are a great playground for a creative mind and they're simple to put together.

 

Directions

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and chop!!

 

 

 

                                                                    That's it!! The salsa is ready!!

                          

This recipe is great with chips, or as an accompaniment for baked or grilled fish or chicken.

 

Spicy Black Bean Dip

As the sunshine shows up again this spring, so are  backyard barbecues . A great hostess is always looking for  yummy appetizers and sides for her guests as they wait for the entree to come off the grill. This black bean dip is the perfect third in a trio with garden salsa and guacamole. All the ingredients are economical and make it a great choice for a gathering in your own home or to carry with you to a potluck. Ingredients

3c.  cooked black beans

1/4t. oregano

2 canned chipotle peppers (in adobo sauce)

11/2 c. chopped onion

1T. balsamic vinegar

1/3 c. chopped cilantro

Blend beans (with liquid), chipotle peppers and balsamic vinegar in the blender and blend until smooth. Add chopped onion and cilantro.

The smokey flavor of chipotle makes this dish fabulous  with chips or raw vegetables. If you like,  use it as a sandwich spread or on your favorite wrap.

If you're concerned about calories, fat grams or carbs, it's also a healthy alternative to a sour cream or mayo based dip.

Chicken Tacos

Coming from El Paso, Texas, I have a special love for Mexican food.  Known for it's varied dishes, spices and flavors, Mexican cuisine is without a doubt my favorite. Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 onions minced
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced into 1/2-inch chunks
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 Serrano pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Tex-Joy* seasoning - to taste
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup water

* Tex-Joy is one of my favorite seasonings and can be used in a myriad ways.  I cook with the salt-free variety which allows my family and guests to add salt at the table, if they prefer.

Method:

  • Heat a medium to large saute pan over medium heat and pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the garlic and onions and cook until soft and nicely caramelized, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • In the meantime, season the chicken with Tex-Joy and pepper.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and toss to coat.
  • Heat another medium to large saute pan over medium-high heat and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Cook the chicken until it is lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Once the onion mixture is caramelized and softened, add the serranos, paprika and Tex-Joy.
  • When the chicken is done, transfer it to the pan with the onions. Pour in water and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce cooks down and  is thick and delicious, approximately 20 minutes.
  • Adjust seasoning with Tex-Joy and pepper.
  • To serve the tacos: Place the toppings and chicken filling in bowls and allow guests to build their own tacos.

Toppings:

  • Chopped romaine lettuce
  • Diced red or yellow onions
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Grated cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Avocado slices or Guacamole
  • 1 to 2 packages corn or flour tortillas

Serve chicken tacos with a salad or go all out by adding rice and beans and your family/friends will sing your praises for days!

It's muy sabroso . . . enjoy!