Chicken Nachos

IMG_2656So here’s one for you…this was actually quite a few years ago….Seriously, I bet it was at least 10 or more years…

I was working in my yard on a Saturday… and I knew that I had just a couple of hours left before I had to get ready to go to a party. I promised to bring an appetizer, so I figured that I’d bring chicken nachos, because they’re really easy to throw together, they taste good whether they’re hot or cold…and…everybody loves them. I really wanted to get two sides of my house weeded before I left for the party. You know…those blasted weeds that I complain about all the time. I just cannot seem to keep up with them! But I knew that if I could get the two sides finished, then I’d be halfway there for the next day.

I figured that I had an hour or so to finish the weeding, and then I’d go in and start cooking the nachos, and get cleaned up and changed.

This is why I love these nachos. They take minimal prep, minimal cook time, and minimal ingredients. I knew that I’d have plenty of time to throw them together at home, and then toss them in the oven at my cousin’s house to heat them, and melt the cheese.

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Well, I worked in the yard up until the last possible moment. I ran into the house, cut the chicken, tossed it into the pan with the taco sauce, and ran upstairs to shower quick and put on fresh clothes. I had a new pair of shorts, that I couldn’t wait to wear, because they actually fit and looked decent. So I was feeling pretty confident about going to this party. I had my weeding done, the nachos were just about ready to be thrown together, and I looked cute. Life was good.

IMG_2649I arrived at the party, and settled in to relax for the evening. I was sitting in the chair, enjoying a little drinky-poo of some sort…and sat back in the chair, crossed my legs and looked down…

There was a blade of grass on my knee.
I took a closer look.
Oh Lord.
My knees were dirty.

They were black with a big old blade of grass on the one. Ok, so when I showered, I did the quick version.. I did the important parts, and the knees didn’t even cross my mind.

I uncrossed my legs, set my drink down, flicked the blade of grass off, and slowly leaned forward placing my hands over my knees. Too late. My cousin caught sight of them…

“Pru, is that dirt? Are your knees dirty??!” she asked, a bit too loudly for my comfort.
“Yes…I was working in the yard…” I kind of whispered…hoping that she’d get the hint that I didn’t want this brought to everyone’s attention.

Well, she starts laughing, and not just a chuckle…but a deep belly laugh. Of course, everyone notices…. Yep. Prudy’s knees are dirty. It was a matter of seconds before everyone was laughing at my knees. It’s not bad enough that they’re chubby knees, but it turns out that I had dirty chubby knees! …And….everyone was laughing at them!

What else could I do, but join in the laughter? Luckily I surround myself with the people I love, and those who love me… so there was no judgement… just humor, love and laughter…and dirty knees…

It’s something that I will never forget, and always think about when I’m making chicken nachos!

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I love making these nachos….they never get old. They have been the most requested snack by my kids and their friends for years now (Except Mike. He hates them. I know…surprise, surprise… ). They’re just that easy to make, and they’re that delicious! They’re a great appetizer, and they’re a quick and easy meal!  Pile them on a serving tray and serve them with your favorite salsa and sour cream.

Life is good…it’s a “moral of this story? Never weed until the last possible moment… and the knees should never be overlooked in the shower…and they never have ever since… “ kind of good…

IMG_2659Chicken Nachos

4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 – 16oz bottle Ortega taco sauce (or your favorite taco sauce)
1 lb shredded cheddar
1 large bag tortilla scoops or chips
Salsa
Sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large frying pan, add the chicken and taco sauce. Cook over medium heat until the sauce cooks down, and the chicken is fully cooked.

Spread the tortilla scoops or chips in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Discard Eat the broken pieces. Spoon a couple pieces of cooked chicken onto each tortilla scoop or chip. Top with shredded cheddar.

Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Pile on a serving tray, with bowls of salsa and sour cream on the side.

Enjoy!

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Fontina and Mushroom Polenta Panini

 

panini 6A couple of months ago, my friend Cheryl and I went for a cheese making class.  Cheryl is my quirky friend… you know, the girl who I talked about in my post about my tomato tartlets, when she took me to a quaint little cooking school in the midst of a peach orchard! And then one time went to see Bobby Flay, and we stood outside his exit like a couple of little foodie groupies, hoping to get an autograph from him! Another time she hosted an Iron Chef competition at her house… We have taken quite a few cooking classes together.  I just never know what she has up her sleeve, but it’s pure craziness and I’m always game!

grilled polenta 3This really isn’t about the cheese making class at all, but about the drive to the farm for the class. It was about an hour drive, and she gave me a silly little hat to wear in her convertible…. And she pulls out iced coffees for us to enjoy during the ride… and says: “Oh, and I grabbed a few cookbooks for you to read on the way…”

Seriously… Does that girl know me, or what?

So, while I was flipping through the cookbooks, I was making mental notes of the books that I wanted to order when I got home. There was one in particular that I really liked…. It is called “The Great Big Butter Cookbook” by Diana C. Von Glahn.. First of all, this book doesn’t really even pertain to butter at all…but is filled with some really appealing “comfort” recipes. Ok, recipes that look really good, but I know that I would definitely add my own “comfort” touch.

grilled fontina on polentaI did find that cookbook in used section on Amazon for $3. Yes. Three dollars. Three bucks. Three smackaroos. But I’m not kidding when I tell you that the book arrived within a couple of days… it was brand new! The book was in absolutely perfect condition, but alas, no notes or markings from the previous owner! Bummer.

And now, it sits on my coffee table, with bookmarked pages of all of the recipes that I will be trying in the near future. Like these Polenta Fontina “Paninis” with Mushroom Sauce.

As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew that it was the first one that I would try. But you know, I can’t leave things well enough alone… The original recipe called for sun dried tomatoes…which….I should say would have been delicious….but I thought that it needed something more substantial…something with “oomph”… so I made a caramelized onion and tomato jam that is simply out of this world, and that took the place of the sundried tomatoes. I  sautéed mushrooms instead of a sauce, and I made my own polenta, rather than purchasing a tube.

grilled polenta 2Oh yeah, I made the right choice. The sweet, yet savory jam brought so much “happy” to the dish… it was like an instantaneous friendship with the mild, yet tangy fontina… the earthy mushrooms, and the crisp buttery polenta. They just belonged together.

The paninis are perfect for a brunch… serious…poach an egg and throw it on top. Delicious. They’re perfect for lunch…they’re perfect for appetizers…or would make a lovely light dinner!

And….you can be sure that I’ll be making notes in this book for the next owner….whomever that may be…

Oh yeah, and I’ll be sharing a couple of the things I learned from cheese making very soon!

Life is good. It’s a “One man’s old cookbook, is another man’s treasure” kind of good…

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 Fontina and Mushroom Polenta Panini 
Serves 4
Adapted from the Recipe: “Polenta Fontina “Paninis” with Mushroom Sauce from the cookbook: The Great Big Butter Cookbook by Diana von Glahn

16 Polenta Rounds (Recipe below)
Caramelized tomato and onion jam (Recipe below)
5 oz fontina cheese (1 oz grated, 4 oz sliced into 8 slices)
2 tbsp butter for polenta rounds plus 1 extra tbsp butter for sautéing mushrooms
8 oz whole baby bella mushrooms
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 ground black pepper
A few sprigs fresh thyme for garnish

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large frying pan. Add 8 polenta rounds to the frying pan. Fry until golden browned, and flip. Fry on the other side until browned. Remove from pan, and set aside on a cooling rack. Add the remaining 8 polenta rounds, and repeat the frying until both sides are browned.

Leaving the second batch of polenta rounds in the pan, reduce the heat on the stove, and add about a tablespoon or so of the caramelized tomato and onion jam to the tops of each of the 8 polenta rounds that are still in the frying pan. Place a slice of fontina cheese on top of each of the jam topped rounds. Place the reserved rounds on top, as a sandwich. Sprinkle each sandwich with the grated fontina. Top the pan with a lid, and let sit until the cheese has melted.

In the meantime, in a separate frying pan, melt the 1 tbsp butter. Add the bella mushrooms, salt, pepper, and chopped thyme. Saute for about five minutes, or until the mushrooms are golden brown.

Top each panini with the mushrooms, and garnish with the fresh thyme.

Serve hot.

Quick Polenta Rounds

Makes 16 rounds, 8 panini sandwiches
1 cup quick polenta
3 cups water
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the polenta, simmer for about three minutes, or until the polenta pulls away from the side of the pan. Remove from heat, and stir in the Romano cheese.

Pour into a buttered 9″x11″ pan, and let sit until cooled. Once the polenta has set, cut into 2-1/2″ – 3″ circles. Set aside.

Caramelized Onion and Tomato Jam
Makes One Cup

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1 large onion, sliced thin
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp water
1 pound assorted cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet. Add the onions, and sauté until a dark golden brown. Add the water, cherry tomatoes, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, vinegar, and lemon juice. Cover and simmer until the tomatoes have burst, and using your wooden spoon, gently press down on the tomatoes to break them up. The skins will start to separate from the tomatoes. Remove them if you want, but it’s really not necessary! (the skins on cherry tomatoes are so thin, they will break up when ground in the food processor). So honestly? Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to remove them!

Simmer until all of the juices have caramelized, and the sauce has thickened.  Let cool. Add the cooled tomato and onion mixture to the food processor, and process until smooth. This can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Enjoy!

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Clams Casino

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I have a friend who just will not share her recipes.

She protects them as if they’re classified information….and…. I guess, “classified information” is the perfect description, because she will not, and probably never will, share. Zipped lips. Key thrown away. Top Secret. She knows I’m talking about her right now, because we laugh about this all the time…and she also knows it drives me crazy, because I’m all about sharing recipes.. I always tell her that I would definitely give her the “shout out” if I made one of her recipes to take to a party or wherever, that I won’t take the glory for myself…but nope. She won’t cave.

I couldn’t wrap my brain around this “top secret” business.
Until now.
And I realized that she’s no dummy.
She knows what she’s doing.

There is no doubt that we all love her recipes because they are so top secret, and they’re not readily available to us. We get to enjoy her recipes when she prepares them, which isn’t all that often, because it’s usually a party or get together….so it’s a special treat…

She knows that we’re going to be all excited…

And we are going to rave and gush all over her and her food…
And that makes my friend… and her food…the stars of the show!!

Genius.

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One of my favorite things that she makes is her Clams Casino. What she doesn’t know is that when she would bring them to a gathering, I would dissect…I would study….I would analyze… I would make mental notes…

And after agonizing over these clams… it hit me.
Make your own.
So I did.

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My Clams Casino is nothing like my friends recipe, and that’s ok. It’s just a basic recipe. It’s simple, and it’s delicious in its own way. And it’s mine to share. With all of you.

And in keeping with my theme…it’s so simple to make! You can actually have them made in under an hour! The red pepper with the shallots and garlic blend so well with the bacon and clams…a hint of wine in the background… and wait…is that Romano cheese? Why, yes…yes it is!!! All with that little squeeze of lemon at the end just makes all of those flavors together pop with every single bite you take…

Simple…. Yet complex.

So…I’m bringing my Clams Casino recipe to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, to share with all of you… I hope you stop by Angie’s blog, The Novice Gardener. It’s an awesome blog, so well written, and after reading a couple of her posts, it will be as if you’ve known her all your life! This is the 11th week that Angie has hosted this party, and it just keeps on growing! It is so awesome how many talented and wonderful people have joined in on the fun!

Life is good. It’s a “friends who force me to create my own recipes, but I love them nonetheless, and always will” kind of good…

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Clams Casino
Makes 24 Clams Casino on the Half Shell

Just a quick note: I am far from a pro when it comes to cooking clams….and I admit that when I first started steaming, broiling, grilling, etc..clams, I was very nervous. I was afraid that I would give everyone food poisoning…but following a few tips that I found online really helped… First, Don’t be afraid to be picky when you’re buying the clams from the seafood department. Unless you’re buying a bag of clams, make sure that they’re picking the cream of the crop for you, with no cracks or chips, and that they’re fully closed. Second…if the clam is open a little, tap him…. If he closes back up promptly..then he’s alive…meaning…he’s good. If he stays open, I wouldn’t even take the chance, so discard him. Keep them refrigerated. And once they’re all steamed / broiled/ grilled… if there are any clams that have not opened, discard them.

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14 Cherrystone Clams (Technically 12, but I buy a couple extra in case they don’t open when cooked)
½ pound bacon, diced
2 tbsp reserved bacon grease
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 sweet red pepper, finely diced
3 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
¼ tsp cayenne
½ cup dry white wine
Clam juice from broiling
3 cups fresh soft breadcrumbs
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp Romano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh lemon wedges

Begin by cleaning the cherrystones. Rinse them thoroughly. I’ll usually put them in a large bowl with very cold water, and stick the bowl in the refrigerator. This will give the clams the chance to spit out any sand or grit that may have gotten inside. After about 30 minutes to an hour, drain the bowl of water, and refill with fresh cold water. Refrigerate. After the second soaking, I’ll usually scrub them with a kitchen brush.

Cook the clams with your preferred method. For this particular recipe, I broil them, because I like to use the juice from the clams that is left on the baking sheet after they’ve cooked. Preheat the broiler to high. Place the clams on a large, heavy baking sheet in a single layer. Place under the broiler, and broil for about 10 minutes or so, until the clams have opened completely. Just when you start to wonder if they’re ever going to open, they all start to gracefully pop open….

Remove the baking sheet from the oven… reserving the clam juice that has dripped into the pan. Remove the clam from inside the shell with a spoon. Place on a cutting board and finely chop. Gently twist the clam shell at the hinged side to separate the halves. Clean any remnants of clam from the shell. Set the shells aside aside.

In a large frying pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, and set aside for now. Discard all but two tablespoons of the grease. Add the finely diced red pepper and shallots to the frying pan with the two tablespoons of bacon grease. Sauté until softened; about five minutes or so. Add the garlic; and sauté for another minute or two until softened.

Add the wine to the shallots and garlic mixture, and simmer until it’s reduced to about half…about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the chopped clams, breadcrumbs, ½ of the bacon, the reserved clam juice, melted butter, parsley, white pepper, Old Bay seasoning, cayenne, Romano cheese to the wine reduction. Mix thoroughly. If you think it is a little too crumbly, you can add another tablespoon or so of melted butter until it meets your desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the clam and breadcrumb mixture onto the clam shells. Top with remaining bacon. Put under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the bacon is sizzling and the top is golden brown.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Enjoy!

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I’m Walking on Sunshine!! Open Face Steak Tacos

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It’s amazing what one single day of sunshine can do for the soul….and I find myself humming a lot, and just in a general happy state of mind.

I’m finally beginning to feel like I’m coming out of hibernation, with the winter doldrums quickly melting away!

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I have the strong desire to get outside and get my hands in the dirt… I’m watching my daisies for signs of life, looking for my tulips and worried that the voles just might have won the war this year…and I’m getting excited about planting fresh herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and maybe a lettuce bowl..

I say all of this, understanding that I am a fickle person who does not do well in the heat, and by August, I’ll be wanting the cooler weather and thinking of the days that I can wear sweaters and plan cold weather menus. I think the perfect weather for me would be 70-75 degrees year round. I’ve been told that I should move to San Diego. I probably should, but my fickle-ness would have me longing for some sort of change of season.

But for now, I’m going to embrace the awakening spring and enjoy this sunshine…

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On days like today, I want to make it quick in the kitchen. Sounds crazy coming from a girl who loves to cook and spend time in her kitchen, but our spring and summer months are so short, I want to be able to get outside, and enjoy the sunshine and all of the things I love to do during those months.

I feel myself craving lighter meals, grilled meats and vegetables, and looking forward to the different fruits of the summer season, the perfect ingredients for a light and quick meal, like open face steak tacos.

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I love these tacos because the cooking can be done on the grill, and it’s a matter of slicing up a few vegetables to top them off. The best thing about them is that you can change them up to meet everyone’s liking… make them chicken, shrimp, or veggie tacos with their choice of topping!

I like to throw the tortilla right on the grill until it’s crispy so that I have to eat it as open face, but you can leave it on for a few minutes just to heat it, which would make folding the taco easy to eat.

I’m feeling summer today!!

Life is good… it’s sunshine…it’s a lighter mood, lighter meal, and those little voles think they’ve won, but the war isn’t over yet…kind of good…

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Open Face Steak Tacos

6” corn tortillas

1 lb thin cut strip steak
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup red cabbage, sliced thin
1/2 cup English cucumber, diced
1/2 cup tomato, diced
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
A little minced jalapeño (your desired heat)
1 tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
Juice of one lime
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Avocado, cubed
Caso Blanco
Cilantro for garnish

Grill the steaks to your desired doneness. Thinly slice the steak diagonally against the grain.

Grill the tortillas until crispy and blackened around the edges.

In a medium size bowl, combine the cabbage, cucumber, tomato, black olives, onion, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Layer the cabbage and steak on the grilled tortilla. Top with avocado, Caso Blanco, and garnish with more cliantro. Squeeze some more lime juice over the top.

See? Quick and Easy!!

Enjoy!!

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Fiesta Friday ~ Quesadillas

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It’s Fiesta Friday #6 tonight…and I’d love for you to stop by Angie’s blog, The Novice Gardner, where the online party is going on right now!  You’ll find a ton of wonderful bloggers who have joined in on the party, and have brought with them some pretty AWESOME recipes!  It’s a blast, Angie is a hoot, and did I mention the awesome recipes?!!

This is my second post for Fiesta Friday…well, technically my very first recipe for Fiesta Friday, but Angie was nice enough to let me post my Pretzels last week (I came a little late to the party)…. so this week I’ve prepared some delicious quesadillas to share with everyone tonight!

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I’m so excited, and honored to be a part of this wonderful event, and I truly hope you check it out!  While  you’re there, browse through Angie’s blog.. I can promise you, that you’ll walk away smiling…

You’ll love these quesadillas… they’re quick…they’re easy…and they’re delicious!  I mentioned in last night’s post that I bought two bundles of asparagus a few days ago at my beloved Wegmans, and decided to use the last bundle in the quesadillas.  I have to say, asparagus, chicken, pepper jack cheese, and chipotle crema is a winning combination!  Add fresh pico de gallo and guacamole to the mix and call it a FIESTA!

Life is good… Life is Fiesta Friday good…

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Quesadillas

Serves 2-4

1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 8oz bottle taco sauce

1 large red onion, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 lb asparagus
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

8 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded

1/4 cup sour cream
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (only 1 pepper from the can)

4 burrito size tortillas

In a large frying pan, add the chicken and the taco sauce over low heat. Simmer until chicken is fully cooked, and taco sauce has thickened.

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In a separate frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add the asparagus, balsamic vinegar, salt, and black pepper. Saute until translucent. Remove from oil. Set aside. In that same frying pan, add the asparagus, salt, and black pepper and sauté until tender. About five minutes before the asparagus is fully cooked, add the garlic to the pan.

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In a small food processor, add the sour cream, mayonnaise, and chipotle chile. Process until fully blended and smooth.

Assembling the Quesadillas  
Grease the bottom of a large frying pan with about a teaspoon of olive oil. Add one tortilla to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle about 4 oz of the shredded pepper jack cheese all over the top of the tortilla.

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Spread one half of the chicken over the cheese. Add as many asparagus stalks as you’d like across the top of the chicken. Layer one half of the red onions over the asparagus. Top with chipotle crema. Top with another tortilla. Let heat in the frying pan until the bottom tortilla is golden brown and crispy. With a large spatula, carefully flip the quesadilla over, and heat until the other side is golden brown and crispy.

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Remove from frying pan to a large cutting board, and cut into fourths. Serve with fresh pico de gallo and guacamole.

Pico de Gallo
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2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 medium white onion
1 small jalapeño (I used Hungarian pepper because there isn’t as much heat as a jalapeño)
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, lime, salt, pepper, and cilantro. Mix well. Refrigerate.

Quacamole
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1 Hass avocado
1 small tomato, chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Remove the avocado from the shell, and place in a small bowl. Mash with a fork. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, lime, salt, and pepper. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate.

Serve the Pico de Gallo and Guacamole with the Quesadillas.

Enjoy this Fiesta Friday!

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Appetizers: Beans and Rice & Shrimp with Corn Salsa

IMG_8086When it comes to the Super Bowl, I need to be honest…I’m only in on the action for the commercials and the food. Most likely I’ll be on the computer half reading blogs or whatever, and half watching the game. And for me…most importantly, I won’t be watching the end of the game. It’s way too sad for me. While most people are focusing on the winning team, and the interviews of players as they discuss their upcoming vacations to Disney, I’m focusing on the losing team. Their faces and their tears show the disappointment and devastation of the loss, and it makes me feel sad for them…and then I think of their moms, and how sad they must feel for their sons….and then I feel sad for the moms…..

It’s a vicious circle.

So, while I’m caught up in the hype of the Super Bowl, it’s because I’m planning the menu for that night, and getting really excited to see what the advertising teams have come up for Doritos, Budweiser, Coke, etc… ~And~ the halftime show….looking forward to the conversations at work the next day, as to the singer/band’s success or failure in performance, wardrobe malfunction, or whatever might happen in that very brief time on stage.

I’ve never been sports minded.
I am, however, food minded.

Which brings me to a couple of appetizers that are really great to serve at a Super Bowl party, or any party for that matter. I love to serve both of these appetizers together, as they really complement each other.

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The first one is beans and rice. A mini meal served in mini bowls, with mini spoons. Though I have to say, there is nothing mini about the flavor, with the corn, beans and rice… sweet and savory all in one.

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The next appetizer is shrimp with corn salsa. Like the rice and beans, it has huge flavor, and the corn and the shrimp bring a wonderful sweetness to the tartness of the lime and heat of the pepper.

…. And if you’re in on the Super Bowl action because you actually have a team you’re rooting for, then I hope your team wins…

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Beans and Rice

This is one of those recipes that turned out to be unexpectedly versatile. I love that. I love it when you take that first taste, and realize that the dish can be just about anything you want it to be…

It’s truly a meal in itself… It can be served hot, as beans and rice in a bowl, melted cheese on top, and with a dollop of sour cream. Wrap it in a soft tortilla, or in a hard taco shell. Serve it cold as a corn and bean salad. Make it with rice, or make it without rice. Use it as a baked potato topper. You can serve it hot, or even cold with tortilla chips as an appetizer!

½ cup olive oil
¼ cup cider vinegar
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp black pepper
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
½ sweet red pepper, diced
½ medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 cups cooked rice
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp chives
1 – 15 oz can black beans, drained
1 – 15 oz can kidney beans, drained
1-1/2 cups frozen corn

In a large frying pan, saute the carrots, red pepper, onion, and garlic in the olive oil, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, and black pepper until the carrots are softened. (About 15-20 minutes).

Add the cooked rice, parsley, chives, black beans, kidney beans, and corn. Heat through for about 10-15 minutes.

Serve hot or cold. Garnish with cheddar cheese and sour cream.

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Shrimp with Corn Salsa

Just like the beans and rice, this recipe is just as versatile. I love making shrimp tacos with this. It’s just as delicious with chicken, or even fish!

1 pound medium shrimp, cleaned and deveined
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp chili powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp honey
1 tsp hot sauce
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2  English cucumber, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced (I used a medium heat pepper instead)
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
1 cup mango, diced

Tortilla chips

In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, chili powder, garlic, honey, hot sauce, corn, cucumber, red onion, jalapeno pepper (or your choice pepper), pineapple, and mango.

Refrigerate and let flavors marry for at least an hour.

Avocado Cream
1 cup sour cream
1 avocado, removed from shell
Juice of ½ lime
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

In mini food processor, pulse the sour cream, avocado, lime juice, salt, and pepper until well blended. Move to a small bowl, refrigerate until ready to use.

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To assemble the tortilla chips:
Place a generous spoonful of the corn salsa on each tortilla chip. Arrange one shrimp on top of the salsa, and top with a dollop of avocado cream. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Enjoy!