Chipotle Beef Tostadas

Happy Valentines Day!  I hope you are spending the day celebrating with loved ones and eating just a little too much chocolate.  This is a quick and spicy recipe to put some real food in your belly before you unwrap one more chocolate kiss.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine, June 2012.

No substitutions were made.

chipotle 1

Chipotle Beef Tostadas

2 tblsp vegetable oil
1 lb ground beef chuck
1 large white onion, minced
kosher salt
1 to 1 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
1 10 oz can Mexican-style diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained
1 med zucchini or yellow squash, diced
2 c coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage
freshly ground pepper
8 tostada (flat crisp tortillas) or taco shells
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese

chipotle 2

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add the ground beef, half of the minced onion, 1 tsp salt and the chipotle chile powder; cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned and the onion is tender, about 7 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, beans and zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is just tender, about 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the coleslaw mix, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.

Divide the tostadas among plates and spoon the beef mixture on top.  Top with cheese, slaw and remaining minced onion.  Serve with lime wedges.

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cartoon-strawberry-9I used a heaping tsp of the chipotle chile powder, and it was plenty spicy for us.  It just depends on how spicy you’d like you’re mixture to be.  This is great quick  recipe for a weeknight meal.

Zesty Chicken Enchiladas

I’m searching for the perfect – To. Die. For. enchilada recipe.  Because of this, I’m up to try any enchilada recipe I can find.

This recipe is from Real Simple, May 2009.

Substitution made, noted below.

chick enchilada 1

Zesty Chicken Enchiladas

1 tblsp canola oil
1 lb tomatillos (papery skins removed), chopped
1 onion (preferable white), chopped
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
kosher salt & black pepper
1 c heavy cream
2 to 2 1/2 lb rotisserie chicken, meat shredded
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/4 c grated Monterey Jack (5 oz)
8 6-inch tortillas – I used 10-inch tortillas

chick enchilada 2

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add the tomatillos, onion, poblano, garlic, cumin and 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.  Transfer to a food processor, add the cream and puree.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, tomatoes, 1 c of the cheese, 1/2 c of the tomatillo sauce, and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.

chick enchilada 3

Warm the tortillas according to the package directions.  Spread 1 cup of the remaining sauce in a 9×13 baking dish.  Roll the chicken mixture in the tortillas and place them in the dish, seam-side down.

Top with the remaining sauce and cheese.  Bake until beginning to brown 10 to 15 minutes.

chick enchilada 4

cartoon-strawberry-9I made this for our New Year’s Eve dinner (just a quiet night at home).  I expected it to be much spicier than it was, and there was SO MUCH of the chicken mixture.  I could have rolled two or three more 10-inch tortillas.  I think to bump up the spice, I’d either roast the Poblano, add in a minced Jalapeno, or make the sauce the day before and let the flavors really ripen.  I’d also bump up the cheese to at least a cup and a half.  But all in all, it’s a great flavor and was so much fun to finally cut into a tomatillo!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

I. Miss. Mexican. Food.

Don’t get me wrong, I love living here in Tennessee.  This summer has been beautiful.  We have wonderful friends.  My home is more than I ever dreamed I would have.  But California has some of the best Mexican food on the planet.  I miss it – A LOT.

This recipe is from the Penzey’s catalog, I’m not sure which edition.

Substitutions made, noted below.

sweet potato enchiladas 1

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

5 to 6 large tortillas
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled if desired
1/4 c soy sauce, regular or low sodium
2/3 c apple cider vinegar, divided
2 leeks, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 dried hot chili pepper, crushed – I used chili powder
1 15 oz can black beans
3 c grated sharp cheddar cheese – divided – I used Trader Joes 3 cheese blend
vegetable or corn oil

1/2 lb. chorizo
1 to 2 c salsa
1/2 to 1 c sour cream
1 to 2 tblsp fresh cilantro

enchilada Collage

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and cut the sweet potatoes into bit-sized chunks.  Put the potatoes, soy sauce and 1/3 c of the cider vinegar into a large pot and boil until the potatoes are very soft and the liquid is mostly absorbed, about 30 minutes. – After 30 minutes my potatoes were still somewhat firm and the liquid was absorbed.  I added about a 1/2c of water and covered.  It took another 15ish minutes for the potatoes to soften.

In the meantime, saute the leeks, chorizo (if using) and garlic (if using fresh) over med-high heat in a little oil with the cumin until you can smell it halfway out the door.  Then add the remaining cider vinegar, chili pepper, the black bean and the garlic (if using dry).  Turn the heat down to medium, cover the pan and take a break until the potatoes are done.

When the potatoes are finished, mash them, leaving a fair number of lumps.  Fold the beans and 1 cup of the cheese into the potatoes.  Fill the tortillas with about a handful of filling, roll and pack tightly into a lightly greased 9×13 pan.  Top the enchiladas with the remaining cheese, and bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble.  After it’s finished baking, broil for about 5 minutes, to get the cheese really golden brown and toasty.  – Mine baked and was golden in the 25 minutes flat.  I didn’t need to broil at all.

Serve hot with lots of salsa, sour cream, cilantro and napkins.

sweet potato enchiladas 2

cartoon-strawberry-9This was a little less enchilada and a little more baked flauta.  As you can see from the picture, I used a whole package of tortillas, 11 total; with another scoop or two of filling left over.  The sweet potato and the oniony leeks are a great combo.  The taste had melded much better the next day.  In the future making this exact recipe, I’d make the filling the day before and roll the enchiladas the next day.

What I think I’d do in the future is cut down to 1 large sweet potato, add in a cup to cup and a half of shredded chicken and cover the enchiladas in the ranchero sauce from the Black Bean & Enchilada recipe, then cover with the 2 cups of cheese.

Black Bean & Cheese Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce

I did it again.  Made a new recipe for dinner, didn’t take a single picture.  Made new recipe a second time and took a ton of pictures.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, October 2011.

Substitutions made, noted below.

BB enchiladas 3

Black Bean & Cheese Enchiladas w/ Ranchero Sauce

2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 c water
2 tsp olive oil
1 c shopped yellow onion – I used sweet onion
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 c organic vegetable broth
2 tblsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tblsp no-salt-added tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tblsp fresh lime juice
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 c (8 oz) preshredded Mexican blend cheese, divided – I used cheddar
3 thinly sliced green onions, divided
Cooking Spray
12 (6 inch) corn tortillas
6 tblsp light sour cream

BB enchiladas 1

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Combine chiles and 2 c water in a saucepan; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.  Drain chiles in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1c cooking liquid.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Add onion; sauté 1 minute.  Reduce heat to medium; add garlic and salt. Cook 5 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally.  Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through cumin); cook 8 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Pour onion mixture into a blender; add chiles and reserved liquid.  Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender.  Please a clean towel over opening in lid.  Blend until smooth; stir in lime juice and red pepper.  – I blended this in the pot with my hand held blender.

BB enchiladas 2

Combine the beans, 1 c cheese, and half the green onions in a bowl.  Spread ½ c sauce in the bottom of a 13×9 glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Warm tortillas according to package directions.  Spoon 3 tblsp bean mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up.  Place, seam-side down, in prepared dish.  Pour remaining sauce over filled tortillas.  Top with the remaining cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Sprinkle with remaining green onions; serve with sour cream.

BB enchiladas 5

cartoon-strawberry-9If these hadn’t been good, I wouldn’t have made them twice.  The Ranchero Sauce alone is worth the recipe.  The sauce can been made a day or two ahead of time and refrigerated.  I would have liked the filling to be a little more substantial.  To do this I would add another 1/2 c of cheese and a half or full can of black refried beans.

Oven Roasted Tomato Salsa

My momma is a mild salsa kind of person.  She likes just enough heat to add a little kick, but not one to set your mouth on fire.  So when she decided to take a bite out of a jalapeno pepper, my dad and I watched expectantly, guessing at what was to come.  (I was in Jr.High at the time.)

A big intake of breath, a tinsy bite off the end and then the yelling and dancing commenced.  Daddy and I giggled, then laughed and then tired to help.  To this day, it’s one of those family jokes that can get us laughing to the point of tears.

This recipe is from Super Salsas.

One substitution made – noted below.

salsa 2 Collage

Oven-Roasted Tomato Salsa

12 Roma or plum tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped
6 clvoes peeled garlic
5 serrano chiles, whole – I used jalapeno’s
2 to 3 chipotle chiles, canned
Salt & Pepper to taste
Lime juice to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place tomatoes in a roasting pan, grouped together, and add onion, garlic and chiles.  Cook for 45 minutes, or until tomato skins are blistered.

Let cool and remove stems from chiles, along with the seeds if you’d like a milder salsa.

In a food processor, place ingredients from the roasting pan and chipotles; process until well blended, but not pureed.

Add salt, pepper and lime juice to taste.

salsa 5

cartoon-strawberry-9Woo! This is some spicy salsa!  And I took out ALL  the seeds from the chiles.  In the future?  Add 1 or 2 chipotle chiles, not 3.  Spiciness aside, this is good stuff.  You will keep eating it even though your mouth is on fire and your upper lip is sweating.

Arroz Rojos

So my lesson in life – If you’re not sure how long a new recipe will take, then don’t take on another new recipe at the same time.  I started dinner late and wasn’t sure how the timing of everything would go, so I asked husband to step in and help, which he did.  What a great guy.

This recipe is from Step-by-Step Italian, Mexican & Chinese Recipes.

Substitutions made, noted below.

arroz rojos 1

Arroz Rojos

2 tblsp vegetable oil
1 c raw lon-grain white rice
1/2 c finely chopped white onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
dash chili powder
2 large tomatoes – peeled, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 c chicken broth
1/3 c shelled peas
2 tblsp chopped pimiento – I used corn

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat until hot.  Add rice.  Cook and stir 2 minutes or until rice turns opaque.

Add onion; cook and stir 1 minute.  Stir in garlic, salt, cumin and chili powder.  Add tomatoes; cook and stir 2 minutes.

arroz rojos 2

Stir in broth.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is almost tender.

Stir in peas and chopped pimiento.  Cover and cook 2 to 4 minutes until rice is tender and all liquid has been absorbed.  Rice grains will be slightly firm and separate, rather than soft and sticky.

arroz rojos 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Red rice.  It looks a little “sticker” than the picture in the cookbook, but it was a great compliment to the Creamy Almond Chicken.  In the future I’d add a little bit of tomato paste to bring out the red color and a splash or two of hot sauce to give it some heat.

Creamy Almond Coated Chicken

We’ve been living on a diet heavy with chicken lately since husband’s doctor has asked him to cut out red meat.  It’s challenging me to find new recipes and get a little creative.

This recipe is from Step-by-Step Italian, Mexican & Chinese Recipes.

No substitutions were made.

almond chicken 1

Creamy Almond Coated Chicken

1/2 c blanched almonds
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (approx 6 oz each)
2 to 3 tblsp vegetable oil
1 tblsp butter
1/4 c finely chopped onion
1 fresh Anaheim or poblano chili – roasted, peeled, seeded, deveined and finely chopped
1 sm tomato – seeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c heavy cream

Process almonds, about 1/4c at a time, with a spice grinder to create a fine powder  Place ground almonds on a shallow plate.

Coat chicken with almonds; reserve remaining almonds. – My chicken was a little too wet, so the almonds didn’t stick well.  live and learn.

almond chicken 2

Heat 1 tblsp of oil and butter in a deep, large skillet over medium heat until foam subsides.  Place breasts in a single layer in the skillet without crowding.  Cook 6 minutes or until chicken is light brown, turning once.  Reduce heat if almonds get too dark.  Remove chicken to plate.  Repeat with any remaining chicken, adding oil if needed.

Add 1 tblsp of oil and onion to skillet.  Cook and stir over medium heat 3 minutes or until onion is softened.  Add chili, tomato and garlic.  Cook and stir 1 minute.  Add broth, salt and reserved almonds.  Bring to a boil over high heat.

almond chicken 3

Return chicken to skillet.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes until chicken is tender and juices run clear.  Remove chicken to serving plate; cover and keep warm.

Add cream to broth mixture.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened.  Pour over chicken when serving.

almond chicken 4

cartoon-strawberry-9This chicken was good, but I would want to tweak it a little next time.  I expected the roasted chili to add more heat, so I’m wondering if some cumin or chili powder in the sauce would give it the kick I’m looking for.  But the sauce, Oh My, the sauce.  All I wanted to do was add some cheese and make a queso out of it.

On Wednesday, I’ll be posting about the rice pictured here, Arroz Rojos.

Smoky Chicken Corn Cakes

Sorry y’all for the unintentional break.  Life gets crazy sometimes.

This recipe is from Real Simple Magazine, May 2007.

A few slight substitutions were made, noted below.

smoky chicken corn cakes 2

Smoky Chicken Corn Cakes

Chicken Mixture
1 3.5 to 4 lb rotisserie chicken
1 tblsp choppend canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
3 tlbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp kosher salt
1 small red onion, thinly sliced – I used a white sweet onion
4 Roma (plum) tomaotes, diced – I used grape tomoatoes, halved
1/3 c fresh cilantro leaves – I skipped this

Using a fork or your fingers, shred the chicken meat, discarding the skin and bones.  In a medium bowl, combine the meat, chipotle, line juice, 1/4 tsp of salt, onion, tomatoes and cilantro; set aside.

Husband is not a fan of tomatoes, and I’m not a fan of raw onions.  So – I combined everything but the onion, tomatoes and cilantro.  I then spread the chicken mixture on a large baking sheet and put in a 200 degree oven, just to warm it up.  The onions I sliced and put in a small saute pan on low and left them to caramelize.

smoky chicken corn cakes 1

Corn Cakes
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 large eggs
1 c part-skim ricotta
10 oz frozen corn, thawed
2 tsp canola oil

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and remaining salt.  Stir in the eggs and ricotta until no lumps remain.  Fold in the corn.  Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  For each corn cake, spoon about 1/4 c of the batter onto the skillet and cook until golden brown and set on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the cake and cook 1 minute more.

smoky chicken corn cakes 3

Divide the cakes among individual plates and top with the chicken mixture.  Serve with sour cream if desired.

cartoon-strawberry-9We made these for dinner one night when some friends were visiting, and were enjoyed by all.  And although we had a wonderful dinner, I felt like something was missing.    Whip up a creamy chipotle sauce to go over the top?  Add some cheese and put under the broiler for a minute?  For me, it was a little dry and needed something to push it from good to amazing.

Chipotle Pork Tacos

Oh Mexican food, how I love you so.  Growing up in California, I was surrounded by amazing Mexican food.  There are a couple of favorite spots I will do my best to hit any time I’m home, but living here in the south it’s hard to find really good Mexican food.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, April 2011.

Not substitutions were made.

chipotle pork tacos 2

Chipotle Pork Tacos

1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 1/2 tsp finely grated lime rind
1 tblsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp minced fresh oregano
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce
– this can be found in the international section of your supermarket. I had to buy whole chipotle in adobo, so I ran the chilies and sauce through the food processor, then froze what I didn’t need for this recipe in an ice cube tray – approx 1 tblsp per cube
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
Cooking Spray
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 tsp olive oil
6-inch tortillas
reduced fat sour cream
Chopped cilantro (optional)

Place the pork tenderloin between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4 inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.  Remove plastic wrap.  Cut pork into thin strips.  Combine pork, lime rind and next 6 ingredients (through salt).

Heat a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add shallots to pan; saute for 4 minutes or until tender.  Place shallots in a large bowl.  Add oil to pan.  Add pork; saute for 3 minutes or until no longer pink.  Add pork to shallots.

Warm tortillas according to the package directions.  Spoon 1/3 c pork mixture onto each tortilla, and top each tortilla with sour cream and cilantro (optional).  (It’s so optional that I forgot to put the sour cream on husband’s tacos…)  

chipotle pork tacos 3

cartoon-strawberry-9The lightness of the pork and the spicy of the chipotle was a wonderful mix, and we added some refried black beans – YUMMO!  We enjoyed our tacos and used the leftovers for some amazing nachos the next night!

Scrambled Enchiladas

My sister is the inspiration for this recipe.  She said something about scrambled enchilada’s one time and the below recipe is what came to my mind.  It’s a favorite in our house.

Scrambled Enchiladas

11 oz package corn tortillas
12 oz enchilada sauce
4 oz can diced green chilis
15 oz can balck beans – rinsed
1 – 1 1/2 c shredded cheese, plus more for topping

Options for meat (use only one):
2 c shredded beef – from this recipe
2 13oz cans of diced chicken in water
2 c shredded rotisserie chicken

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the tortillas into small strips and combine with all ingredients in a large bowl.

Transfer mixture to a 13×9 pan.

Sprinkle top with extra cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly.



This recipe is great with either chicken or shredded beef.  This could easily be made into a vegetarian dish with a can of diced tomatoes, a diced onion and a some diced zucchini.