Jalapeno Popper Dip

Jalapeno Popper Dip
adapted from THIS recipe

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
2 ounces canned diced jalapeno peppers, drained & chopped
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
chives for garnish

Combine all the ingredients above except for chives and mix thoroughly.
Place in baking dish and bake for 20-23 minutes until warmed and bubbly OR place in mini crockpot to keep warm.
Garnish with chives.
** I made this a day in advance and replenished my mini crockpot as needed.

Green Chile Pork Stew

My Green Chile Pork Stew

Here’s the recipe for my green chile pork stew:

2-3 pounds pork spare ribs, cut up
1 large onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
extra virgin olive oil to coat bottom of pan
1-2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 small cans of diced green chiles
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed
Juice of 1 lime
garnish – chopped cilantro
To taste: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder

In dutch oven, add oil to cover bottom over high heat.
Season pork spareribs with salt & pepper then brown in oil.
Add onions & garlic and stir until softened.
Add chicken broth to deglaze the pan, chiles and tomatoes.
Add cumin and other seasonings to taste.
Lower heat to simmer and allow pork to braise for about an hour or two.
Turn up heat to medium and add rinsed black beans.
Stir and allow beans to heat up.
Before serving, add lime juice & garnish with chopped cilantro.

I serve this with Cilantro Lime Rice.

Love is in the Air Tonight…

So for our 1st wedding anniversary, I prepared a comforting dinner per the request of my loving hubby – pork chops and southern mac & cheese. Of course, I aim to please… but I wanted to spice it up somehow. Tonight, I made a “New Mexican” version of this classic southern meal by making pork chops with a green chile sauce with mac & mexican cheese.
Green chile is perhaps the defining ingredient of New Mexican food compared to neighboring styles, by a heavier use of cilantro and cumin. In the past few years, green chile has grown increasingly more common outside of New Mexico, and it is a popular ingredient in everything from standard Tex-Mex favorites to burgers & bagels.
Here is my recipe for the green chile sauce that I used to spice up the pork chops and compliment the mac & mexican cheese side dish:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 cup canned green chiles
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes w/chiles
1/4 teaspoon cumin
fresh ground peppper & kosher salt to taste

Heat oil in a large pan
Add garlic & onions and cook until softened.
Add green chiles and a can of diced tomatoes with juice.

Add cumin, fresh black pepper, kosher salt to taste.
Bring to a bubble and then simmer for 10 minutes to meld flavors.
Use as a base for enchiladas, green chile stews or to put over cooked meats.

I served this over pork chops,
mac & mexican cheese & sauteed green beans.

Puerto Rican Pleasures

Tonight I made use of my previously cooked pork roast that was roasted with citrus seasoning. One of my favorite pork dishes is Arroz Con Gandules, a Puerto Rican dish.

Puerto Rico’s national dish is called Arroz con Gandules which is a rice-and-pigeon-pea dish nicely seasoned with a sofrito and smoked ham. I substituted the traditional smoked ham with roasted pork.
Other common names for pigeon peas are arhar, red gram, toovar, toor, togari, Kandi (Telugu), gandul, Congo pea, Gungo pea, Gunga pea, and no-eye pea. The cultivation of the pigeon pea goes back at least 3000 years.
Here is my recipe for Arroz con Gandules:

2 cups cubed, cooked pork roast
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 small onions, chopped
cooking oil
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 can pigeon peas or gandules
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
2 cups water
green onions, chopped (optional)

In a pan, coat the bottom with a little oil and saute garlic & onions.
Add cooked pork and brown just a little.
Add rice and stir to coat with oil.
Add can of tomatoes, undrained.
Add can of pigeon peas.
Add water and cover.
Simmer over medium low heat, stirring occassionally.
Season to taste.
Garnish with chopped green onion.

** I did not add any additional seasoning because my pork had a lot of seasoning from roasting it previously.

Mojito Mama..

After a slight break in posts, (since I didn’t have anything blog worthy to add with previous meals), tonight I made dinner at home using a Trader Joe’s simmering sauce called “Cuban Mojito.”
A Mojito is a traditional Cuban cocktail which became popular in the United States during the late 1980s, and has recently seen a resurgence in popularity.

It’s traditionally made of five ingredients: mint, rum, powdered sugar or sugar cane juice, line and club soda. Its combination of sweetness and refreshing citrus and mint flavors are intended to mask the potent kick of the rum, and Trader Joe’s captured it in a simmering sauce. I used this sauce as a marinade rather than a sauce for my chicken to simmer in.
Here’s the recipe for my Cuban Mojito Chicken with cilantro black bean & corn rice:

1/4 cup of Cuban Mojito simmering sauce
1 tablespoon chopped green chilies
2 chicken breasts
2 cups hot cooked rice
1/4 frozen corn, thawed
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
juice of 1/2 lemon

– In a ziploc bag, add chicken breast, simmering sauce and chopped green chilies.
– Allow chicken to marinate for overnight.
– Grill chicken in a grill pan, grill, George Foreman or panini grill until cooked through.
– To make rice, combine hot cooked rice, corn, beans, cilantro and lemon juice.
– Toss until fully incorporated.
– Serve chicken over a bed of the rice.

Shrimp Tacos.. Ole!

The weather has been dreary lately and so I wanted to add some freshness to our dinner tonight. What better way than to bring the flavors of shrimp tacos with a touch of sweet tropical salsa?!
In Mexico, the word taco is a generic term like the English word, sandwich. A taco is simply a tortilla wrapped around a filling. Like a sandwich the filling can be made with almost anything and prepared in many different ways. Tacos also vary according to the geographical region you are eating them.

Seafood tacos with salsa are easy to make and somewhat exotic. Most people associate tacos beef, chicken or pork but the use of seafood is now seen as a healthier alternative. There’s so many ways to make a taco and it’s accompanying salsa, that the possibilities are endless.

Here is the recipe for Soft Shrimp Tacos with a Tropical Salsa, adapted from CookingLight.com:

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon canned chopped green chiles
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges in light syrup, drained
1 (8-ounce) can pineapple tidbits in juice, drained

Cooking spray
1 cup total of yellow, red & green bell pepper strips
1 cup vertically sliced white onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
0% greek yogurt for garnish

– To prepare the salsa, combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill.
– To prepare tacos, place a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot.
РAdd bell pepper, onion, and garlic; saut̩ 2 minutes.
РAdd shrimp, cumin, chili powder; saut̩ 3 minutes or until shrimp are done.
– Stir in cilantro.
– Spoon 1/2 cup shrimp mixture over one half of each tortilla.
– Top with about cheese, salsa and yogurt; fold tortillas in half.