Mango Salsa

I made the following recipe for our annual Holiday Party where our menu highlighted Floribbean cuisine. This is great all year round if you can find frozen mango chunks (Trader Joe’s carries it as a staple item.) How can I have a tropical food theme and not include mangoes? This is a different salsa recipe from what I used for my brie appetizer. I like this because of the chunky texture and everyone gets a nice bite of mango.

Mango & Pineapple Salsa
recipe adapted from SimplyRecipes.com

1-2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and diced (about 2 cups)
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 Jalapeño chile, minced (include ribs and seeds for a hotter taste if desired)
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups finely diced & slightly mashed tomatoes
1 cup crushed pineapple

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the salsa ends up being a little too hot or acidic for your taste, you can temper it by adding some diced avocado.

Spicy vegetarian chili

This soup was made for my Soup & Sandwich Swap event, which you can read about HERE for more recipes and pictures.

Betsy’s spicy vegetarian chili

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups black beans, cooked
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup salsa, medium
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup canned corn niblet

Heat oil in a large pot, saute onions, peppers and garilc for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add remaining ingredients except corn.
Increase heat to high to bring to a boil.
Decrease heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in corn, simmer until heated through.
Makes about 10 cups or 6-7 servings of 1 1/2 cups.

Salsa verde, citrus & lime chicken filling

The following recipe was prepared for my Tamales cooking class. You can read about my class and get other links to recipes HERE.

Salsa verde, citrus & lime chicken filling

1 whole roasted chicken, shredded
1 jar of salsa verde
2-4 tablespoons citrus seasoning
1/4 cup lime juice

Place cooked & shredded chicken in a bowl and add remaining ingredients.
Stir until throughly combined, cover and chill until ready to fill tamales.

Black Bean & Mandarin Orange Salsa

The following recipe was shared at my Caribbean dinner event. You can read about it and get additional Caribbean recipes from the event HERE.

Black Bean & Mandarin Orange Salsa
shared at the event by Betsy
recipe HERE


1 (11-ounce) can mandarin orange sections, undrained
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 commercially roasted sweet red pepper, sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Drain orange sections, reserving 1/3 cup juice.

Combine orange sections, beans, red pepper, and cilantro in a large bowl.

Whisk together reserved orange juice, olive oil, and next 3 ingredients; pour over orange mixture, tossing well.

Salads Get No Respect

This weekend was pretty full of good food, but I feel like my body needs to go into detox. I didn’t splurge much at all with the dinner events I hosted over the weekend but I was craving some fresh veggies. So today for lunch, I made a salad.

Don’t you hate the rep salads get? Some folks think salads are lame, boring and too healthy to taste good. I’ll admit, I had that same thinking until I started being creative with salads. They are a blank canvas to capture flavors, textures, colors… only healthier!

Today my salad consisted of a baked boneless, skinless chicken breast that was marinated in southwest seasoning. I also made a quick mango salsa (fresh mangoes, chopped bell pepper, garlic, red onion, salt & pepper, green onion) to offset the spicy chicken with some sweetness. For texture, I added some slivered almonds. Lastly, all my salads involve a little bit of cheese so I added a pinch of gorgonzola for a bit of tang.
Love and embrace salads… they’re good for you!

Killing Two Birds with One Salsa!

Salsa is quite a popular condiment and in fact, I believe it’s even more popular than ketchup! Today I wanted to try making a variation of the traditional tomato salsa and to use it as a way to kick up the flavor in other dishes. I found a Tomatillo Salsa Verde recipe from Simply Recipes and it worked out beautifully. After I made the salsa, I used it to make Salsa Verde Chicken Quesadillas.

Here’s my adapted version of Simply Recipe’s Tomatillo Salsa Verde:

1 1/2 lb tomatillos
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 Jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
Salt to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic

Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well. Cut in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin.

Place tomatillos, lime juice, onions, cilantro, Jalapeño peppers, sugar, garlic & red pepper flakes in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until all ingredients are coarsely chopped and mixed. (You can process it finer to your preference but because I planned on using it further, I chose to do it coarsely.) Season to taste with salt. Cool in refrigerator. Serve with chips or as a salsa accompaniment to Mexican dishes. Makes 3 cups.

Using the recipe above, here’s my recipe for Salsa Verde Chicken Quesadillas:

1 1/2 cup prepared salsa verde
2-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
stack of flour tortillas
1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
cooking spray
sour cream, salsa verde, chopped tomatoes for garnish

In a freezer bag, place salsa verde with chicken breasts. Allow it to marinate for 30 mins.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place marinated chicken on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 mins.
Remove chicken from oven and cool. When cooled, chop up.
Place chopped chicken in a large bowl.
Add cheese and a tablespoon of prepared salsa verde.
Use chicken mixture as a filling for quesadillas.
Spray one side of flour tortilla with cooking spray and lay sprayed side on hot skillet over medium high heat.
Add 1-2 tablespoons chicken filling on top pof the flour tortilla and place another tortilla on top.
Spray the top of flour tortilla with cooking spray and flip in skillet when bottom is lightly browned.
Continue cooking until filling is melted and quesadilla is lightly browned on both sides.
Service with sour cream, additional salsa verde and chopped tomatoes.

Just Grill It!

It’s a gorgeous Saturday here in Chicago and we’re taking advantage of our grill. For lunch, I made this Dijon Tarragon Grilled Chicken which used up some random ingredients I had on hand. I served this with a portabello mushroom & spinach pilaf too!
Here’s the recipe for Dijon Tarragon Grilled Chicken:

1/3 cup chopped fresh (or dried) tarragon
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Chicken pieces or boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine first 5 ingredients in processor. Process until smooth. Place chicken pieces in 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Pour tarragon-mustard mixture over chicken; toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour or refrigerate 2 to 4 hours, turning occasionally.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Place chicken on barbecue. Cover and grill until chicken is almost cooked through, turning every 5 minutes and basting with marinade, about 30 minutes. Grill without basting until chicken is cooked through, about 7 minutes longer. Serve chicken hot, warm, or at room temperature.

I’m also submitting this to the Eat Healthy: Protein Rich blogging event, hosted by Sangeeth. Check out her blog for some great recipes too!

The hubby is off to work this afternoon so I’m flying solo for dinner. Since it’s just me, rather than having a full meal I’m snacking. One of my favorite snacks are nachos… or anything crunchy & salty that I can dip into something preferably cheesy.

I had some leftover ingredients from yesterday’s corn & black bean salad, as well as a package of Trader Joe’s guacamole. In my pantry I had a tub of On The Border Cheese. My random snack/dinner? A five layer dip w/chips!

3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup guacamole
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup shredded cheese or prepared nacho cheese
1/4 cup pico de gallo salsa

In a pie plate, layer the above ingredients in order, with the sour cream on the bottom.
Enjoy with tortilla chips & a margarita!