Tostaditas with Black Bean & Scallop Ceviche

Tostaditas with Black Bean & Scallop Ceviche
(sadly, no picture available since we ate it all up!)


For the black bean spread:

original Joelen recipe
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
2 tablespoons finely minced cilantro
3 tablespoons light sour cream
salt & pepper to taste

In a bowl, mash black beans to paste, leaving it slightly chunky for texture.
Add remaining ingredients and fold in until combined and incorporated; set aside.

For the ceviche:
adapted ceviche recipe courtesy of Food Network
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cilantro
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 pound fresh diver-harvested sea scallops or any other fresh scallop of high quality
1/4 cup diced red or yellow onion
1/2 minced, seeded jalapeno
1 plum tomato, seeded, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine lime zest, juice, and spices. Set mixture aside. Clean and wash the scallops, then cut each 1 in 1/2 lengthwise. Add scallops to lime juice mixture, stir well and set aside in cooler. Add the vegetables and cilantro to the scallop mixture. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and chill at least 3 hours.

To prepare & assemble the Tostaditas:
prepared black bean spread
prepared scallop ceviche above
tortilla chips
1/2 cup sour cream
1-2 tablespoons water

Spread black bean spread on a tortilla chip.
Top with scallop ceviche.
Combine sour cream and water in a small bowl and drizzle over the top of the tostadita.
Serve immediately or have guests make them as they eat.

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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.

Wild for Wildfire Salad!

One of my favorite salads comes from a regional restaurant chain, Wildfire. It’s a restaurant where I’ve celebrated some memorable occassions such as past birthdays of mine, family members and friends, and even our engagement party. In fact the last time I went to Wildfire was 2 years ago, which was when we had our engagement party. But back to the salad… Wildfire has an amazing chopped salad. The citrus lime vinaigrette is what completes this salad for me and I remember several years ago, I even called the local restaurant requesting to speak to the chef in hopes of getting the recipe for the vinaigrette. But no such luck.

Forwarding to present day, I was reminded of the restaurant by a friend and all the memories of this salad came flooding back. I checked out their website to see if any changes have been made to their menu. Little did I know that since the last time I’ve been to Wildfire, they began bottling the citrus lime vinaigrette. I loved so much!

That same day, I made a stop at Wildfire on the way home and picked up 2 bottles of this prized vinaigrette. Tonight, I used it and recreated the Wildfire Chopped Salad… and boy, it definitely hit the spot.
Here’s the recipe for Wildfire’s Signature Chopped Salad
(which is also printed on the bottled dressing label)

1 bag of mixed greens or chopped romaine lettuce
1 cup chopped roasted chicken
1 avocado diced
1 tomato, seeded & diced
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup cooked bacon, crumbled
1 scallon, sliced thinly
1/2 cup super sweet corn
fried corn tortilla strips, for garnish
1-2 tablespoons Wildfire Citrus Lime Vinaigrette

Toss all ingredients in a large salad bowl.
Serve immediately.

Leftover Lasagna Fiesta!

Finally, the cooler weather has set in! I’ve dug up some leftovers from my freezer and found a chicken & black bean filling waiting to be used up. This filling was initially made for my previous Calzone/Ravioli party a few weeks ago. It includes shredded chicken, sliced bell peppers (green, red & yellow), onions, garlic, black beans and green chilies. With my leftover filling, I decided to make a chicken mexican lasagna.Here is my recipe for Chicken Mexican Lasagna

1 lb chicken breast or thighs, boiled & deboned
salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder to taste
1 can black beans
1/2 cup each sliced bell peppers – green, red & yellow
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 jar salsa
1 bag mexican blend cheese
18 corn tortillas

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except salsa, cheese & tortillas.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a 9×13 baking dish, spray the bottom & sides with cooking spray.
Place 6 tortillas in the dish to cover the bottom.
Add half the chicken mixture over the tortilla layer.
Sprinkle with 1/3 bag of cheese.
Place another layer of tortillas over the cheese.
Add the remaining chicken mixture over the tortilla layer.
Sprinkle with 1/3 bag of cheese.
Place another layer of tortillas over the cheese.
Pour jar of salsa over the tortillas.
Sprinke with remaining cheese.
Cover with foil & bake for 45 minutes – one hour.

I served this with sour cream and extra salsa.

Latin Love for Eggplant

After flipping through a new cookbook I received from last night’s Cookbook Swap, I was inspired to give our dinner a Latin twist today. Another task I had at hand was to reintroduce eggplant to my husband. He doesn’t like eggplant but I’ve asked him to give it another try. Apparently he last had eggplant as a child… so tonight I needed to be creative and successful in my attempts.

Combining both latin flavors and eggplant was the mission and here’s what I decided on for dinner – roasted eggplant, tomato & goat cheese quesadillas, accompanied by a tex-mex chopped salad with spicy oven roasted chicken. The verdict? He loved the quesadillas!Here’s my recipe for roasted eggplant, tomato & goat cheese quesadillas:
1 medium eggplant
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ripe tomato
olive oil
3 oz goat cheese
1/2 cup chopped italian parsley
3-5 large flour tortillas (10″ size)

Seasonings: 1 teaspoon of each
salt
black pepper
cumin
chili powder
onion powder
garlic powder
paprika
sazon seasoning w/cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all seasonings in a small bowl and mix.
Cut eggplant in 1/2 inch circles.
Brush slices with olive oil & sprinkle seasoning mix on both sides.
In a saute pan, pan roast eggplant until brown.
Transfer slices to a baking sheet.
After eggplant slices have been browned, add onions and garlic in pan with some olive oil.
Cook until onions are translucent.
Add chopped tomatoes and remaining seasoning left.
Saute until warmed through and place onion tomato mixture over eggplant slices.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Place cooled eggplant/tomato mixture into a bowl.
Cut goat cheese in chunks and place in bowl.
Combine gently with chopped parsley.
Fill tortillas with this filling and begin making the quesadillas.
To make the quesadillas, fill half the tortilla with the filling.
Fold over the tortilla to create a half circle.
You can either grill or pan fry quesadillas until tortilla is warmed through.
Tonight I baked them in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
Serve with sour cream and your favorite quesadilla condiments.

Spicy Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas

Spicy mexican inspired food pairs really nicely with Sauvignon Blanc. I made these quesadillas for my Sauvignon Blanc Wine & Dine event so that everyone can taste how spicy food reactives with the wine.

Spicy Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas

2 lbs chicken breast, diced

1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon lime zest

2-3 cloves minced garlic

1 medium onion, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 cup sliced green onions

1-2 diced jalepeno peppers

6 burrito sized flour tortillas

olive oil for cooking
cooking oil spray

In a pan, brown chicken in some olive oil.
Add all the seasonings, garlic and onion.

Add lime zest and juice.

Allow the chicken to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 400.
To prepare the quesadillas, spray cooking spray on one side of tortilla.

Place sprayed side down on a baking sheet.

Fold tortilla in half.

Open up the folded tortilla like a book and add chicken to lightly cover one half.

Sprinkle cheese over the chicken.

Sprinkle with sliced green onions.
Close tortilla.
Repeat with other tortillas.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 7-10 minutes or until browned.

Enchiladas with Sweet Surprises

After having leftovers and boring hot dogs the past couple days, today I made dinner using a unique recipe shared by my friend Cara. She introduced me to the idea of using sweet potatoes and black beans as fillings for burritos. Well, I felt adventurous and made pork filled enchiladas using sweet potatoes and black beans.
Popular in the American South, these yellow or orange sweet potatoes are elongated with ends that taper to a point and are of two dominant types. The paler-skinned sweet potato has a thin, light yellow skin with pale yellow flesh which is not sweet and has a dry, crumbly texture similar to a white baking potato. The darker-skinned variety (which is most often called “yam” in error) has a thicker, dark orange to reddish skin with a vivid orange, sweet flesh and a moist texture.
Here is my recipe for Pork, Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas:

1 can peeled, cubed sweet potatoes
1 can cooked black beans
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. ground cumin
4 tsp. ground coriander
1 1/2 cup roasted, shredded pork
12 eight-inch soft corn tortillas
tomato salsa, sour cream, and cheese for topping

- Preheat oven to 350.
- Rinse sweet potatoes with water in a colander to wash
away any light syrup it was packed in.
- Rinse black beans with water as well.
- Combine potatoes, beans, garlic, onion and lemon juice
and process in food processor.
- Place sweet potato mixture in a bowl and add seasonings.
- Add shredded pork and fold into mixture.
- Spray with nonstick spray a large baking dish.
- Spoon about 2/3 to 3/4 C. of the filling into center of
each tortilla, roll closed, and place seam side down
in baking dish.
- Cover tightly with foil & bake 30 min or until hot.
- Serve topped with salsa, yogurt and cheese...
or any of your fave toppings.
I topped my enchiladas with Fage greek yogurt
and shredded cheese, along side of a
sweet corn, black bean and tomato salad.