Dinners

Recipe—Ground Pork Tacos with Corn Salsa & Cilantro Lime Crema

Okay, here we go, first recipe post of 2020! I feel like it should be something super extreme and mind blowing since you have all been waiting for so long but here we are in the middle of a pandemic and that just seems unrealistic. How are you all doing? Are you cooking at home more than ever? I know I am. I’m trying to use this as an opportunity to eat at home more and save some moolah.

These pork tacos were one of the first meals I made when we went into official “lock down” a couple of weeks ago. When all this really started I did an inventory of what we had in our box freezer and noticed we had TONS of ground pork so I wanted to do something different with that. Ground pork is just not a typical protein to cook with since it has such a different flavor compared to ground beef or ground turkey.

Not to go tooting my own horn or anything, buuuuuut these turned out so freaking good! There are so many great flavors wrapped up in the tortilla. You have the sweet corn salsa, the tangy cilantro lime crema, and then the savory pork cooked in a tomato sauce that has a nice little kick to it thanks to the jalapeño. Nothing too crazy heat wise, my ten-year-old chowed down on them. If you are looking to spice up your typical “Taco Tuesday” give these a try.

Hang in there folks! We are all in this together! Huge virtual hugs (and more recipes) coming your way! xoxox—Diva di Cucina

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CORN SALSA
1 tbsp olive oil
15.25 oz canned corn
2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
1/3 c cilantro, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CILANTRO LIME CREMA
1/3 c sour cream
2 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp water

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PORK
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground pork
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1/4 c red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
6 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp cumin
1/3 c water
salt and pepper

OTHER INGREDIENTS
tortillas (I loved these with white corn tortillas)
cotija cheese
cilantro, chopped

STEPS FOR CORN SALSA

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat and add the corn.
  • Cook the corn for about 5 minutes stirring every minute or so.
  • Transfer the corn to a medium sized bowl and add the remaining corn salsa ingredients.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir and set aside.

STEPS FOR THE CILANTRO LIME CREMA

  • In a small bowl, whisk together all the cilantro lime crema ingredients and set aside.

STEPS FOR THE PORK

  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan the corn was cooked in and turn up to medium-high heat.
  • Add the pork to the skillet and break apart using a spatula.
  • Once the pork has started to brown, add in the jalapeño, red onion, and garlic.
  • Continue to cook until the pork is all brown and cooked through and the onion and peppers are tender.
  • Mix in the tomato paste, cumin, and water and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook for another 2–3 minutes allowing the sauce to thicken up.

TACO ASSEMBLY

  • Warm up your tortillas and top each one with a scoop of the meat, a scoop of the corn salsa, a drizzle of the cream, some cotija cheese crumbles on top, and finish it off with a sprinkling of cilantro.

Enjoy!

Dinners

Recipe—Caribbean Baked Chicken with Mango

While there is nothing quite like being on a tropical island getaway, there are ways you can bring the tropical flavors to your very own kitchen. This easy baked chicken recipe combines some great jerk flavors with the sweetness of mango, refreshing flavor of cilantro, and a little bite of jalapeno. Spicy and sweet are classic flavors in Caribbean dishes. This recipe is flavor packed and light, a dinner perfect for the warm summer months. Get lost in your own little island getaway with this fantastic recipe.

INGREDIENTS
2 jalapenos, deseeded and deveined
1 white onion
1 tbsp garlic minced
1 slice of ginger, 1/2″ thick
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 mango, peeled and chopped
1/4 c red onion, diced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 450º.
  • In a blender or food processor combine the pepper, white onion, garlic, ginger, olive oil, vinegar, thyme, allspice, black pepper, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.
  • Process the ingredients until smooth, adding more olive oil if needed.
  • Spread the blended pepper mixture over both sides of the chicken.
  • Place the chicken in a large greased baking dish and top with any remaining pepper mixture.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Transfer the chicken to plates and top each with some diced mango, red onion, and cilantro.
Appetizers

Recipe—Southwest Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Every couple of months I get together with a fabulous group of ladies for a book club meeting. I don’t know why we really call it a book club meeting because about 20% of the time is spent discussing the book we read and the other 80% is spent drinking fabulous wines, eating delicious foods, and catching up with some good old fashioned girl talk. Maybe wine and food club meeting would be more appropriate? Either way, we always end with an awesome variety of the most wonderful treats. Our last meeting was on a Friday night right around dinnertime so I wanted to bring something filling and yet low carb (I try and cut out carbs from the food when I know I will be consuming plenty in the wine.) These were absolutely wonderful! They were light yet completely filling. The meatballs were packed full of wonderful Mexican flavors and they really complemented the turkey nicely. The refreshing creamy cilantro lime sauce is actually from a recipe I shared a couple months back for shrimp taco cups. I LOVED that sauce and wanted to make it again. I could put that sauce on everything. So tasty!

CREAMY CILANTRO LIME SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1/3 c mayonnaise
1/2 c sour cream
2 tbsp milk
2 oz. canned diced green chilies
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

MEATBALL INGREDIENTS
1.25 lbs lean ground turkey
1 jalapeño, deseeded, deveined, and chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1/4 c panko or breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano
salt and pepper

SAUCE STEPS

  • To make the sauce combine all sauce ingredients except the cilantro in a blender and puree until smooth.
  • Add in cilantro and pulse until combined.
  • Refrigerate sauce until ready to use.

MEATBALL STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • In a large bowl combine all meatball ingredients.
  • Using your hands mix well.
  • Using a large spoon, scoop a spoonful of the meat mixture and shape into 1”–1 1/4” round meatballs.
  • Place the formed meatballs into a greased baking dish making sure they don’t touch.
  • Bake for 16–20 minutes.
  • Serve hot with the cool cilantro lime dipping sauce.
  • Enjoy!
Salads

Recipe—Mango and Bok Choy Salad

My produce box was filled with lots of fabulous goodies this week. I had almost all the makings for a delicious tropical salad, bok choy, mango, and cilantro. Yum! While many recipes that include bok choy have you cook the leafy green it is also great for salads or slaws. Bok choy is light, sweet in flavor, and has a nice crisp texture. The nutritional value is also a huge plus. It’s high in Vitamins A, C, and K as well as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and it is low in calories. The dressing for this salad is sort of a citrusy vinaigrette that keeps the salad light and refreshing. This salad was the perfect cooling component for the spicy prawns I served with it. With all these bright colors I can’t help but think that this is the perfect dish for the coming spring and summer seasons.

Note: You can use a regular head of bok choy or about 4 baby boy choy. Baby book choy has a milder flavor but both will work well with this recipe.

INGREDIENTS
4 c bok choy, mostly greens with some stalks thinly sliced
1 1/2 c red cabbage, thinly sliced
2 mangos, diced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp rice vinegar
4 tbsp limejuice
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt

STEPS

  • Combine the bok choy, cabbage, mango, celery, green onions, and cilantro in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the rice vinegar, limejuice, sugar, olive oil, soy sauce, and salt until most of the sugar and salt are dissolved.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
Dinners

Recipe—Shrimp Tacos

Seafood and Mexican are a match made in heaven. Throw in a margarita or Corona with lime and I am in heaven! For how delicious this recipe is you would think it would take longer to make, but that is not the case. It is relatively easy and comes together very quickly. The shrimp are so good that when I am on a low-carb diet I just eat a bowl of the shrimp with cheese and avocado. This meal is light, refreshing, and yummy in my tummy. Add my mango salsa and it’s a flavor explosion. I hope you enjoy the tacos as much as my family does. Buen provecho!

Note: This recipe is written for tacos but sometimes I use large tortillas filled with black beans and rice for some awesome burritos.

INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp olive oil
1 c white onion, chopped
2–3 serrano chilies, deseeded and thinly sliced
4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp garlic, minced
2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped
kosher salt
tortillas, warmed
2 limes

SOME FABULOUS GARNISHES
shredded  pepper jack cheese
guacamole or sliced avocado
sour cream
mango salsa (see recipe below)
pico de gallo

STEPS

  • Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat.
  • Add onions and chiles and cook stirring frequently until onions are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove vegetables from heat and place in a small dish to the side.
  • Melt butter in the frying pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
  • Add shrimp to pan and cook until bright pink and no longer translucent. (Cooking time will vary based on the size of your shrimp. Cut to test and be sure they are cooked in the middle.)
  • Return cooked vegetables to your pan and stir in with shrimp.
  • Add cilantro, salt, and the juice from one lime.
  • Put shrimp into the tortillas and serve with a slice of lime on the side.

See my mango salsa recipe here for a great pairing with these tacos:
https://divadicucina.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/recipe-mango-salsa/