mexican rice with cilantro + garlic

if you have been to my house, you might have noticed i have a little problem with too many cookbooks. i will admit it, but i am far from getting into a program to help me quit.

every time i get a new cookbook, i will curl up with it that evening like i would a novel and look through it, reading the introduction, the contents, the entries, marking a few recipes that i want to make soon. i love to get a feel for the food inside of it, scanning the food styling and photographs, and letting my mouth water. so the last time i was at the bookstore, my eyes landed on tacolicious, this gorgeous cookbook by the chef at a popular san francisco eatery of the same name. the book is beautifully photographed and the design of it made me immediately pick it up. i only had to flip through it and see all of its mexican food loveliness and i was sold. or rather it was. to me. i have not had the cookbook very long, but i have already made a ton of recipes from it – and i highly recommend it. their rice recipe is my favorite so far – boldly seasoned and perfectly fluffy, after sautéing and then baking in the oven. comes out perfect every time. this makes quite a bit, so for a family night in, i would halve this recipe. but if you are hosting the neighborhood’s taco tuesday fiesta, you will have plenty.

baked mexican rice with cilantro + garlic
adapted from tacolicious by sara deseran

ingredients

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1 16-oz bag long grain white rice (about 2 cups)

2 1/3 cups water

1 cup canned tomato puree

2 tsp dried cilantro (or oregano)

1 tsp cumin

1 bay leaf

2 tsp coarse sea salt

a few grinds of freshly cracked pepper

directions

1. preheat the oven to 350.

2. heat the oil in a large oven-safe pot, covered, over medium heat. add in the onion and saute for 3-4 minutes. add the garlic and cook another minute more, until onion is translucent. reduce heat to medium-low, then add the rice and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until rice has browned.

3. add the water, tomato puree, cilantro (or oregano), cumin, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. stir to combine and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat. cover, transfer pot to the oven, and bake for 40 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender.

4. remove from the oven and allow to cool, first with the cover on, then remove and let cool a bit more. fluff with a fork and serve warm.

monterey jack & goat cheese queso fundido with hatch green chile vinaigrette

monterey jack & goat cheese queso fundido with hatch green chile vinaigrette | via she likes to eat

these days, life is a little crazy.
we have two little ones and a very busy schedule. somehow we, well i, got away from one of my dearest loves: entertaining/taking care of people in our home. the house is often a mess and  i get stressed over the day and sometimes it’s just too much to handle making dinner and trying to clean the place. all that said, i am working on it. we are making plans and inviting people over to watch basketball games, tidying up as best we can while still knowing a little mess IS OKAY – a daily reminder of one of my favorite mantras, present over perfect (thanks to my friend shauna, who encourages so many with this quote + chapter from the lovely bread & wine).
and it sure makes it easy when i have something yummy ready in the kitchen that i am dying to share with someone.

this recipe is one of those things. although i could have easily taken it out of the oven, grabbed a bag of tortilla chips, walked back to my bedroom, locked the door, and eaten the entire thing all by mineself. and then licked the bowl wholeheartedly.

monterey jack & goat cheese queso fundido with hatch green chile vinaigrette
adapted from bobby flay

ingredients

for the vinaigrette:

one 4 oz can hatch green chiles, drained & chopped

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 tsp agave nectar

1/4 cup sunflower seed or grapeseed oil (or an oil with mild flavor)

for the queso:

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp all purpose flour

1 cup whole milk

4 cups grated monterey jack cheese (about 1 1/2 eight ounce blocks)

5 oz goat cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

sea salt & freshly ground pepper

blue corn tortilla chips, for serving

directions

1. to make the vinaigrette, combine the chiles, vinegar, garlic, agave, and oil, plus a good sized pinch of the cilantro in a blender and puree until smooth. season with salt & pepper.

2. to make the queso: melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. add the flour and cook, constantly whisking, about 1 minute. add the milk and cook, constantly whisking, until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes. remove from heat and whisk in monterey jack, one handful at a time (don’t add the next handful until cheese has completely melted). add a scant 1/4 tsp salt, and a bit of pepper to taste.

3. turn on the broiler. scrape the melted cheese mixture into an 8 inch baking dish. scatter the crumbled goat cheese over the top, covering evenly. broil until golden brown in spots, about 5-7 minutes. remove from the oven and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, to allow the cheese to set. drizzle the vinaigrette over the top* and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. serve warm with tortilla chips.

*i drizzled about 1/2 of the vinaigrette just after it came out of the oven. as we ate, i drizzled more on top.

enjoy!

the famous burrito pie

burrito pie via she likes to eat

if you have heard my husband tell the story, you’ll remember it goes like this: “so when we first got married, i wasn’t sure if my wife could cook. THEN she made this thing called burrito pie. and i HAD FIFTHS Y’ALL.”

of course, during our first year of marriage i had to pull out something big. something serious. something really fancy and high class. burrito pie was it. i mean, what sounds more country club than BURRITO PIE?? i’m pretty sure they serve it at state dinners and probably at buckingham palace for christmas.

all joking aside, i knew no matter what i made, it had to be fairly simple for my new husband who was (and still is) purely a meat-and-potatoes guy. if i had made him something truly out-of-the-box different, he would have walked out the door, driven to taco bell (actually it would have been bojangles – bless it – since we lived in north carolina), ordered himself a meal, and brought it back home.

so it has only taken me 2 years of blogging to finally share this with you, my oldest, most-used, most-asked for recipe. it is super easy and the ingredients are simple. it is a comfort dish, perfect for cold days or lazy weekends around the house. it’s also a good one to take to people who have just had a baby or are just needing a little help with dinner. it has been dubbed “the famous burrito pie” thanks to the lovely lady who posted my recipe inspiration on allrecipes.com back in 2002 – i am forever grateful.

burrito pie
ingredients

2 lbs ground beef

1/2 white onion, chopped fine (or 2 tbsp minced, dried onion)

3 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 tsp jarred minced garlic)

1 can mexican-style rotel*

1 – 16 oz jar taco sauce *

1 – 16 oz cans fat free refried beans*

1 – 16 oz can charro beans*

6-10 flour or corn tortillas

1 – 8 oz bag shredded mexican-style cheese

1 – 2 oz can sliced black olives (optional)

salsa, green onions, sour cream, cholula & tortilla chips – for serving

directions

1. preheat the oven to 350.

2. in a large skillet, brown the ground beef over high heat. when meat is almost no longer pink, add the chopped onion and cook until onion is translucent and fat has cooked off (or you can drain, if desired). add garlic and cook another 45 seconds or so.  mix in the beans and stir to soften & combine. add the rotel, taco sauce, and olives (if using). stir mixture well, making sure everything is incorporated. reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes. stir occasionally. take mixture off heat.

3. spread a thin layer of the meat mixture on the bottom of an ungreased large casserole dish. tear each tortilla in half (to get better coverage) and make a layer of tortillas on top of the meat mixture. follow with another layer of meat mixture, then a layer of cheese. repeat tortilla, meat, cheese pattern until all the meat mixture is used, ending with a layer of meat mixture then cheese.

4. bake for 18-20 minutes, until it’s cooked through and the the cheese is bubbly. top each serving with salsa, cholula, and sour cream and serve hot.

*any ingredient with a star by it is also available in a hot or spicy version.. if you are wanting SPICY, go for the hot versions.

enjoy!

mexican style roasted corn-on-the-cob


i haven’t always been the corn-on-the-cob’s number one fan, you might say. i like my corn to have a little sumthin’ goin’ on, if you know what i mean.
so there i was, looking for a summer corn recipe that would light my fire. then the lights shone down from heaven and lit up this recipe like a shining beacon on my computer screen.
we made this for the party we had in may for the little she’s 2nd birthday and i would like to report that it lit everyone’s fire.
i still dream about them. really.

mexican-style roasted corn

ingredients

8 large ears of corn, husks still attached

1/4 cup (or so) mayonnaise

1 1/2 cups crumbled cotija cheese

1/4 cup minced, fresh cilantro

6 tsp ancho chile powder

freshly ground black pepper

1-2 limes, cut into wedges

directions

1. working with one war of corn at a time, peel back the husks to expose the kernels, leaving the husks attached at the base; remove the silk threads and tie husks together with kitchen twine around the base of the cob to form a handle (this is so helpful when eating!). repeat with remaining ears of corn

2. prepare corn on the grill or in the oven. grill method: heat a gas grill over medium-high heat. transfer corn to grill; cook, turning occasionally, until a bit charred and cooked through, about 20 minutes. oven method: place ears of corn on a cookie sheet and roast at 350 for about 30 minutes, turning after 15 or 20 minutes to make sure all sides are cooked.

3. brush ears of corn with mayonnaise. place cotija cheese on a large plate and roll each ear of corn in the cheese to coat. sprinkle corn evenly with some of the cilantro, chile powder, and pepper, pressing the corn so that the seasonings and cheese will stick to the mayo. serve with lime wedges.

enjoy!

recipe via (photo via)

tex-mex sloppy joes

good lordy, do i love tex-mex.
and i am positive it’s not because i’m from texas.
it is only because it’s AWESOME.

my ever-so-thoughtful little brother came across this a while ago and sent it my way… boy, does he know me well. the original recipe is by the lovely lisa fain, author of the homesick texan blog, a blog that i love & you should go check out.

i have always been a fan of sloppy joes and when i contemplated this delicious epiphany she’d had in making them with a texas twist… MY MIND = BLOWN.
these babies are amazing.

tex-mex sloppy joes
adapted from the homesick texan
(serves 4-6)

ingredients

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1/8 tsp (scant) ground chipotle chile powder

1/2 medium yellow or white onion, diced

1/2 green bell pepper (seeds & stem removed), diced

3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp jarred)

15 oz can tomato sauce

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp allspice

pinch of cayenne

2 tsp worcestershire sauce

6 oz (half a bottle) mexican lager (i use dos equis amber)

2 tbsp ketchup

1/2 cup cilantro, divided

juice from 1/2 a lime

salt & black pepper to taste

4-6 warm buns for serving

guacamole, cilantro, jarred/sliced jalapenos, cotija cheese for serving

directions

1. in a large skillet, cook the meat until almost completely browned, about 5-7 minutes. add the onions and bell pepper and cook over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.

2. add in tomato sauce, chipotle chile powder, oregano, cumin, paprika, allspice, cayenne & worcestershire sauce – mix well. add the beer, ketchup and 1/2 the cilantro. stir until well combined.

3. cook on medium-low heat uncovered for 15-20 minutes and then stir in half of the remaining cilantro and the lime juice. add salt & pepper to taste.

4. on each plate, lay bun halves open-face and slather (yes, slather) each slice with guacamole (this way makes sandwiches, or you can make them open faced – this is how i like them – with just one bun half). top with the sloppy joe mixture, cheese, jalapeno slices, and cilantro.

enjoy!

photo via the homesick texan blog

creamy baked chicken taquitos



for a long time, i was unable to find a really good taquito recipe that did not involve frying. they are always fried (traditionally) and i am just not the frying type.
no thank you.
so i came across this one and was excited to try it, although i was a little skeptical.
but it said “creamy” so i was in.
and i wasn’t disappointed. these are wonderful!
they disappeared pretty fast in my house.
there is an option to freeze extras at the bottom of the recipe. i froze about half of the taquitos and was thinking that they would be perfect for lunch for the next week.
they were gone within 24 hours.

creamy baked chicken taquitos

ingredients

3 oz. cream cheese, softened (reduced fat is fine) – see note at the bottom
1/3 cup salsa verde
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
3 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 tsp jarred minced garlic)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tbsp chopped green onions (i didn’t have these on hand, so i omitted)
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (follow directions or use leftover chicken if you already have some)
1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
8-12 (6 inch) corn tortillas
salt & pepper
cooking spray

directions

to prepare the chicken:
preheat the oven to 375. spread a piece of foil across a baking sheet, and arrange 2 chicken breasts in a single layer in the center. sprinkle both sides with salt & pepper, and season as you wish. fold the foil over the chicken and enclose to form a packet. bake the chicken on the baking sheet 35-45 minutes, or until cooked through.

to make taquitos:
1. preheat the oven to 425 and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. in a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the salsa, lime juice, cumin, chile powder, cayenne, onion powder, garlic, cilantro, scallions, and 1/4 tsp salt. fold in the shredded chicken and cheeses. taste and season with additional salt & pepper if necessary.

3. working 3 tortillas at a time, stack them on a microwave plate or in between 2 paper towels and cook 30 seconds or until the tortillas are soft and pliable. spoon about 2 tbsp of chicken filling onto the lower third of each tortilla and roll tightly. place seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet. repeat with remaining filling & tortillas.

4. spray the taquitos lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with a bit of salt. bake 10-15 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden-brown. serve with salsa, guacamole and/or sour cream (my personal favorite one to dip them in).

**to freeze:
prepare the taquitos, but before baking, place the baking sheet in the fridge until the taquitos are completely cold. wrap 1-4 taquitos in a piece of plastic wrap  and freeze. to bake, unwrap taquitos and cook in a 425-degree oven for about 15 minutes (no need to thaw first).

**another note: i’m pretty sure i wasn’t paying too much attention that night for some reason and i put the whole block of cream cheese in, instead of just the 3 ounces. needless to say, my taquitos ROCKED. so my oops could be your gain. you are welcome.

enjoy!

photo & recipe via

chicken enchiladas – red sauce version



oh, enchiladas!
where would we be in life without enchiladas!?  i would be in a sad, dark place for sure.

now usually you’ll find chicken enchiladas with a verde or tomatillo sauce, which is what i always order at any mexican restaurant. but these are such a lovely departure from the standard. and oh so yummy.

this recipe is a result of two or three different recipes (see bottom for sources) that i used to make it my own. i tweaked it until it was perfect. it is probably the best enchilada plate i have had, maybe ever, and i highly recommend you make it. right now.

chicken enchiladas with red chile sauce

ingredients

1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (you can leave in the seeds if you want some extra heat)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (2 swirls around the pan)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sugar
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 can rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles (do not drain)
4.5 oz. can diced green chiles (do not drain)
1 lb./2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (*or you can use about 2 cups pre-cooked rotisserie chicken)
1 cup extra sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (plus more for garnish)
10-12 corn tortillas
4 oz. sour cream (half of a small container)

directions

1. preheat oven to 400. shred cheeses and toss together in a bowl – set aside. grease a 9×13 baking dish.

2. put oil in a large saucepan on medium/medium-low heat. add in onion, jalapeño, and 1/2 tsp salt. stirring often, cook until the onions & jalapenos have softened, about 5-8 minutes. add garlic and cook about 30-60 seconds, to soften. add chili powder, cumin, and sugar and cook another 30 seconds or so. stir in the tomato sauce, water, rotel, and green chiles. bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. (*if you are using rotisserie chicken, let the sauce cook another 10-15 minutes or so, then move on to #3.) nestle the chicken into the sauce. reduce heat to low, cover & cook 10-12 minutes. flip chicken breasts over, and continue to cook 10-12 minutes more. transfer chicken to a plate and set aside to cool.

3. strain the sauce mixture through a strainer into a medium bowl, pressing onion mixture to extract as much liquid as possible. transfer the onions to a large bowl and set aside. add 4 oz. sour cream to the sauce and whisk until lumps have disappeared.

4. with two forks, shred the cooked chicken breasts. add cooked chicken to the onion mixture, and add 1/3 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup of cheese, and the cilantro. toss to combine. wrap tortillas in a paper towel and soften in the microwave for about 45 seconds. on a clean surface or large plate, spoon 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. tightly roll each enchilada and lay seam-side down in the baking dish. pour sauce evenly on top and then cover with remaining cheese.

5. cover the dish with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. remove foil and cook another 5-7 minutes, until the cheese has browned. remove from the oven and let stand about 10 minutes before digging in. top each serving with freshly chopped cilantro.

enjoy!

recipe via here & here, photo via