Tag Archives: mexican food

Homemade Taco Seasoning and Avocado Salsa

Original Post: 4/8/2013

I love tacos! They’re so fast and so fun to eat. Everyone loves them and they work with fish, shrimp  ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken… EVERYTHING!

What I do not love about tacos is the packaged taco seasoning. It has too much sodium and it leaves me feeling bloated and sad.

I have always thrown together my own mix of spices for tacos and I thought I’d share it with you. I rarely ever measure what I add to my meat so the measurements below are “guesstimates.” Depending on your palate, add more or less of any of the ingredients to suit your taste. The amounts below were for three ground chicken breasts. I think it was just about a pound of meat.

Taco Seasoning
1/2 tsp + cumin
1/2 tsp + chili powder
1/4 tsp + cayenne pepper
2 or more cloves of garlic, crushed

1. Throw all the spices in a pan with the meat of our choice. Cook until done.
2. Serve on your choice of taco shell with cheese, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, salsa or whatever else you have.

I used ground chicken for my taco in the picture. And I was so lucky to get avocado that was perfectly ripe so I could throw together a side of Avocado Salsa. Here’s how that shaped up:

Avocado Salsa
2 avocados, cut in cubes
1 Roma tomato, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
a dash of cayenne pepper
juice of 1/2 a lime

1. Cut everything up and put it in a bowl.
2. Toss it around gently so the avocado stays in cubes.
3. Squeeze the lime juice over the top and gently toss again.

You can add black beans  and corn to this, too and you will have a wonderful vegetarian filling for your tacos.

Since it’s going to be so lovely out this week, I recommend you make some tacos and enjoy a meal on the patio.


Chicken Enchilada Verde Pie

cevpMy little corner of Central Maryland is about to get another big snow. I shouldn’t be surprised. We get a big snow at this time of year just about every year. But like many of you, I’m a little sick of winter. I would like to experience some sun that warms my body and bronzes my skin. I want to sit at the pool with my friends. Sigh.

I may not be able to have actual summer, but thanks to an excellent produce section at the local market, I can have the tastes of summer, like the ones that come together in this…

Chicken Enchilada Verde Pie
1 1/2 lbs chicken, ground or chopped into small pieces and cooked
1 Poblano Pepper
4 Tomatillos
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 cup queso cheese or mozzarella plus more for the top.
1 pie crust

1. Chop the poblano and tomatillos and process in food processor or high power blender until coarsely chopped. Set aside.
2. In a medium sauce pan on medium heat, cook chicken, onions and garlic until the chicken is completely cooked. Drain any excess liquid.
3. Add the poblano and tomatillo mixture and heat through.
4. If the mixture is watery, you can add some flour to thicken it. Start with about 1/4 cup. You shouldn’t need much more than that.
5. Mix in the cheese.
6. Transfer to a pie plate which you’ve lined with one pie crust.
7. Top with another handful of cheese.
8. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

You can serve this topped with some light sour cream and a side of yellow rice.

I was inspired to make this by my brother who is a really fantastic cook. He is not intimidated by the most intricate recipes and follows them to the letter. I admire his patience when he cooks and the really incredibly wonderful results.  I visited him last week and while I was there, he made a really delicious Chicken Enchilada casserole. I planned to make the same thing when I got home, but I forgot to get tortillas at the store, so I turned it into a pie instead. It was still quite good.

While you’re at the store, picking up your TPMB (toilet paper, milk and bread), add some poblano peppers, tomatillos and chicken to your list. Then, when the snow is flying, crank the heat and pretend you are in the tropics! Stay safe and warm, everyone!


Zesty Tomato Soup

While it’s not terribly cold right now in Central Maryland, it is January and that means cold weather in most parts of the country. Personally, I think cold weather is best faced with a piping hot bowl of tomato soup. And a Zesty Tomato Soup is even better for chasing away the chill. And with a veggie broth, this is a VEGAN soup!

Zesty Tomato Soup
2 quarts broth of choice
1 – 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 – 12 oz can tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Dash of cayenne
Dash of chili powder

Combine all ingredients in a soup kettle. Stir until the tomato paste has been completely incorporated through the broth.  Heat for 30-60 minutes.

I topped this soup with shredded sharp cheddar and served it with a quesadilla; a tiny bit of an update to the classic tomato soup and grilled cheese.

If you’re looking to jazz this up even more you can add any or all of the following ingredients:

Crumbled bacon or sausage
Diced chili peppers
Spinach (cooked and drained)
Black Beans
Diced chicken

Add everything except the bacon/sausage and spinach, top with crumbled tortilla chips and you have a very fast Chicken Tortilla Soup!