Recipe—Spicy Black Bean Dip

Spicy Black Bean Dip

I might as well take on the title as Queen of Appetizers. It’s just what I do. I personally just love appetizers and finger foods and no party is complete without a nice spread. When it comes to throwing a party a good dip is a must on the appetizer menu. There is no need to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen to come up with something everyone will love. This recipe literally takes five minutes to make and is so easy! You spend more time measuring out the seasonings than anything else. Just toss it all in the blender and voila! You have a delicious bean dip ready to serve!

The flavors in this dip are amazing. It might look sort of blah but then you take one bite and zap, bing, bang! Flavor explosions happening right in your mouth! You have a nice kick from the jalapeños, a little zest from the lime and lots of other great flavors from all the seasonings. The first time I made this I was (no joke) licking it off the rubber spatula. This is great at room temperature, warm, or even right out of the fridge. Talk about diverse! Next time you are throwing or attending a party make this recipe. You will have lots of people asking for the recipe. No need to tell them it took less than five minutes to make. That can be our little secret.

INGREDIENTS

2 large cloves of garlic
1 jalapeño, deseeded, deveined, and chopped
1/2 c fresh cilantro
1 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
water

GARNISHES

cotija cheese, crumbled
a couple of slices of fresh jalapeño

STEPS

  • Place all of the main ingredients except the water into the blender or food processor and blend until well mixed.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of water and continue blending until nice and smooth. If necessary, continue adding water 2 tablespoons at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Transfer to a bowl and garnish with some crumbled cotija cheese and slices of fresh jalapeños.
  • Enjoy with some tortilla chips now or place in fridge until ready to serve.
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Recipe—Fiesta Salad

Fiesta Salad

When most people think of salads they think of a big pile of greens topped with a handful of other veggies and dressing. Well this is not your ordinary salad. It consists of avocados, tomato, cilantro, and a sweet onion all tossed in a lime olive oil dressing. No lettuce here! I always make this with my Rio Grande Spice Rub New York Steaks and Cornbread Muffins. Seriously amazing! I also love this recipe with a nice piece of grilled fish. This simple salad is made up of fresh summer ingredients and is so light, and refreshing. Perfect for those nights you want a quick and easy side dish but just don’t want to fire up the oven.

Fiesta Salad

Note: Since avocados can become mushy and brown quickly, wait to add the avocadoes until right before serving.

INGREDIENTS
2 c cherry tomatoes, cut in half OR 2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
kosher salt to taste
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c lime juice
2 avocados, chopped (see note above)

STEPS

  • In a medium bowl combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, salt, olive oil, and lime juice. Toss to combine.
  • Add the avocado last and gently stir it in.

Recipe—Creamy Tomatillo Chicken

Creamy Tomatillo Chicken

Tomatillos are one of those things that I am just figuring out what to do with. I remember as a kid peeling the husks off them all summer long since my mom grew them in her garden but all I remember her really making was her tomatillo salsa.

Every once in awhile I end up with a small bag of them from a friend or our produce delivery. Never enough to actually make a whole batch of salsa with. But now I can say I have two recipes that use tomatillos. One is my green chicken chili, which I promise to post soon, and the other is this incredible Creamy Tomatillo Chicken recipe.

If you can prepare the sauce the night before it is perfect for a busy workday. Just come home, take the marinated chicken out of the bag, and bake. After marinating for that long you are sure to get a super juicy and flavorful chicken breast. The ranch gives it a nice refreshing quality while the cilantro and lime give it a little zip! While I served this with rice which was awesome, I really want to try the chicken chopped up over some greens with corn, black beans, and some red bell pepper. The sauce would make for an amazing dressing over a little southwest salad!

INGREDIENTS
1 c mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
2 1/2 tsp garlic
1 c cilantro leaves
4 tomatillos, husked and chopped
1 tsp lime juice
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

GARNISHES (Optional)
Lime wedges
Extra cilantro leaves

STEPS

  • Add into a blender the mayonnaise, buttermilk, ranch dressing mix, garlic, cilantro, tomatillos, and lime juice.
    Blend until well combined and transfer about half of the mix to a one-gallon Ziploc Bag.
  • Add the chicken to the bag and seal tightly.
  • Store the chicken in the fridge and marinade anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight.
  • Transfer the remaining marinade in a small bowl, cover, and place in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • When ready to begin cooking preheat the oven to 375º and transfer the chicken breasts to a baking dish.
  • Dispose of the leftover marinade.
  • Bake the chicken for 20–25 minutes or until cooked completely through.
  • Transfer the cooked chicken to the plate and poor the additional sauce over the top.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge and some fresh cilantro leaves.
  • Enjoy! 

Recipe adapted from Creme de la Crumb.

Recipe—Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Summer is approaching and that means its BBQ and party season! Whoop whoop! We seem to attend and host so many great BBQs and parties throughout the summer and I am always jumping at the chance to make something that will really wow people. However, I don’t always have the time to throw together a fancy smancy dish. This black bean and corn salsa has been a go to recipe of mine for years now and people always love it! It is completely different and super easy to make.

I pretty much keep all the canned ingredients in my pantry year round because you never know what will come up and when you may suddenly need an appetizer to bring. And a huge plus is it makes a lot, so I always leave a little extra at home to keep for myself for later on. I’m greedy like that. And if I haven’t already convinced you to try it, another plus is it stays good for at least a week in the fridge.

This salsa goes great just served with some chips but I have also found it is amazing in a baked potato, in a quesadilla, stuffed in an omelet, or even along side some grilled chicken or steak. Seriously, super versatile. Okay, now I am getting hungry and need a reason to go make some of this. Fiesta anyone?

I hope you enjoy this awesome recipe as much as I do!

INGREDIENTS
2 (8 oz) cans of Rotel Tomatoes and Chilies
1 (14 oz) can of Mexicorn (Mexican style corn)
1 (16 oz) can black beans
1 (4 oz) can green chilies
1 c diced sweet onion
1/2 c cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and peppers to taste

STEPS

  • Add all ingredients in a large bowl and stir.
  • Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. (Yes, it is seriously that easy.)

Recipe—Tangy Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle Cream

Tangy Shrimp Tacos

I am a sucker for tacos! I love tacos. Doesn’t matter what you fill them with, it is all good in my book. If there is meat and some sort of fresh produce in the tortilla you really can’t go wrong.

These are some of my favorite tacos during the summer because they are relatively easy to make and they are so light and refreshing! The tangy citrus slaw goes great with the spicy chipotle cream. I have made these when having company over for dinner and served them with my cilantro lime rice and some black beans for an awesome dinner. Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner so be sure to mark this recipe and give them a try. And for the ultimate meal, don’t forget the mango margaritas!

Note: The shrimp can be cooked in a skillet or over the grille. It is personal preference. If you decide to grille just skewer the shrimp on a kabob and cook for 3–5 minutes at 400º.

SHRIMP INGREDIENTS
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 c tequila (I prefer white)
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 lb shrimps, peeled and deveined

COLESLAW INGREDIENTS
1/4 c lime juice
1/4 c orange juice
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp dijon mustard
4 c red cabbage, chopped
salt and pepper

CHIPOTLE CREAM INGREDIENTS
1 c sour cream
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

ADDITIONAL ITEMS
10–12 corn tortillas (I am a huge fan of white corn)
Avocado
Cilantro

STEPS

  • Place the shrimp in a large bowl whisk together the kosher salt, honey, lime juice, tequila, garlic, cumin, chili and powder.
  • Once the marinade is well mixed add the shrimp and toss to coat.
  • Place the bowl of shrimp in the fridge to marinade for 30 minutes.
  • While the shrimp is marinating prepare the coleslaw by whisking together the lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, and mustard.
  • Add the red cabbage to the dressing and mix until well coasted.
  • Season the coleslaw with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place the coleslaw in the fridge.
  • While you are waiting on the shrimp to finish marinating prepare the chipotle cream sauce by placing the sour cream and chipotle peppers into a blender and blend until you have a nice creamy sauce with no chunks. (If you like your food more on the spicy side taste the sauce and add more peppers accordingly.)
  • After the shrimp is done marinating, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the shrimp and all the marinade from the bowl to the hot skillet and cook for 3–5 minutes stirring occasionally until all the shrimp are opaque all the way through and are pink/orange in color.
  • Warm the corn tortillas either one by one in hot skillet or all at once in the microwave.
  • To assemble the tacos place a scoop of the coleslaw and 3–5 shrimp (depends on size) in each tortilla.
  • Top each taco with some of the diced avocado.
  • Finish off each taco by drizzling some of the chipotle cream over the top and topping of with a little of the fresh chopped cilantro.
  • Serve with a lime wedge and enjoy! Tacos up!

Looking for more recipes like this? Maybe you will love these!

Shrimp Tacos

Shrimp Tacos

DivaDiCucina_ShreddedBeefTacos

Crock-Pot Shredded Beef Tacos

DivaDiCucina_ShrimpEnchiladas

Shrimp Enchiladas with Jalapeño Cream Sauce

Recipe—Easiest Beef Enchiladas Ever

Easiest Beef Enchiladas Ever

Over the summer the wonderful people at Del Real sent me a massive party box of all sorts of wonderful goodies to try out. One of the items was a package of seasoned shredded beef (carne deshebrada). As soon as I saw it I thought to myself, “wow, having cooked and seasoned meat all ready to go would make enchiladas a total breeze!”

Del Real Shredded Beef

I decided to try and simplify the usually overly complex enchilada process. The name of this recipe describes it to a “t.” I am a huge fan of enchiladas. I make them fairly regularly but when I do the kitchen ends up in total disarray because of all the work that goes into them. This recipe uses only 5 ingredients but makes enough food to feed a small army.

Note: This recipe makes about 12 enchiladas. Since there are only 2 1/2 people in our household I cooked 4 that night and then put the rest into two 8” x 8” foil containers and froze them. That is 3 nights worth of dinner for about $5 a meal. Who can beat that? Cheap and easy. That is my style.

Easiest Beef Enchiladas Ever

INGREDIENTS
32 oz package Del Read Shredded Beef
12 soft taco sized flour tortillas
2 (28 oz) can Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce (red or green)
4 c jack cheese, shredded
1 c black olives, sliced

STEPS

  • Heat the meat per package instructions.
  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • After the meat is done cooking transfer it to a large bowl and toss with 1 1/2 cups of the enchilada sauce.
  • Spray your baking dish(es) with a non stick spray or lightly grease.
  • Pour enough enchilada sauce in the bottom of your baking dish(es) to cover the bottom.
  • On a large cutting board, lay a tortilla out flat and add a scoop full of meat and sprinkle with cheese and a few of the sliced olives.
  • Roll up the enchilada and place seam side down in your “sauced up” bake dish and repeat until you are out of ingredients.
  • Pour the remaining sauce over the tops of the enchiladas.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese and olives.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove foil and finish off in the oven for another 10–15 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted and just starting to brown.
  • Allow the enchiladas to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Top with sour cream or guacamole if desired.

A huge thank you to Del Real for giving me the opportunity to try out several of your products. I love them all! You guys rock!

Recipe—Crock-Pot Barbacoa Tacos

Crock-Pot Barbacoa Tacos

One of my favorite Mexican restaurants when I need a quick fix has got to be Chipotle. You can get quality flavor packed food in a jiffy. My go to is their carnitas and my husband can’t resist their barbacoa. It is kind of funny, Chipotle’s barabcoa meat literally makes him sweat when he eats it. But he still loves it! I can’t help but laugh as soon as the sweat starts to bead up on his forehead. Does anyone else do this when they eat something with a little kick? I swear it reminds me of something from a cartoon. I love that guy.

I made this recipe and it is without a doubt a near perfect match of Chipotle’s barbacoa meat. It is a tender, juicy, flavor packed meat perfect for burritos, tacos, or even nachos. I personally love it with a side of my Cilantro Lime Rice. Muy bien!

Note: This meat definitely has a bit of heat in it from the chiles in adobo sauce so if you have a member of your household that doesn’t like heat I would either cut back the chiles or leave them out completely.  

INGREDIENTS
3–4 lb beef chuck roast
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 yellow onion
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp, garlic, minced
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2–3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
3/4 c beef stock

SOME FABULOUS GARNISHES

cotija cheese
, crumbled
chopped green lettuce
diced tomatoes
diced onion
guacamole or sliced avocado
sour cream
pico de gallo
chopped cilantro
lime wedges 

STEPS

  • Trim excess fat off of the roast.
  • Spray your crock-pot with cooking spray (this helps a good deal with cleanup).
  • Place roast in crock-pot.
  • Place all of the ingredients, except for the chuck roast, in the blender and puree.
  • Pour the pureed sauce over the roast.
  • Cook on low for 8–10 hours, or high heat for 5–7.
  • When the roast is done cooking, transfer it to a large cutting board.
  • Using a large fork shred the meat and place it back in the crock-pot to soak up some of the tasty sauce.
  • Serve in a warm tortilla with your favorite taco toppings.

Recipe adapted from Unsophpisticook.

Recipe—Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro Lime Rice

Being frequent consumers of Mexican food we eat lots of rice. Rarely do we consume “plain” white rice. My go to recipes are my Mexican red rice (arroz rojo) or this cilantro lime rice. It just depends on what I’m pairing it with. This rice is very light and refreshing, a perfect complement to any spicy meat. If you have been to Chipotle before, you will recognize the flavors instantly as it is very similar to their recipe. Next time you are looking for a way to make your ordinary rice extraordinary, spend a couple extra minutes and give this flavorful rice recipe a try.

INGREDIENTS
1 c basmati rice
1 1/2 c water
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2–1 tsp kosher salt
1 lime
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

STEPS

  • In a 2 quart saucepan combine the rice, water, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and a 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.
  • Bring to a full boil over medium-high heat.
  • Cover and reduce heat to low.
  • Simmer for 16–18 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let rice sit covered for 8–10 minutes.
  • Fluff rice with a fork.
  • Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil and add the juice from the lime and the chopped cilantro.
  • Stir to combine and add additional salt to taste.

Looking for more rice recipes? Maybe you will love these!

Mexican Red Rice

Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo)

DivaDiCucina_MacadamiaRiceTropical Macadamia Nut Rice

DivaDiCucina_RicePilafRice Pilaf

Recipe—Southwest Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

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!

Recipe—Rio Grande Spice Rub New York Steaks with Grilled Red Onions

Rio Grande Spice Rub New York Steaks with Grilled Red Onions

My husband is the grill master. Whenever we are grilling up any kind of meat I let him handle the seasoning of the meat. This steak dinner is the exception. This is a recipe that I like to prepare for him. (He still does the grilling of course. Grills have a way of making the mascara on my eyelashes melt. Grilling is not my thing.) This is actually a recipe I found in one of my many Rachel Ray cookbooks and it is probably my favorite recipe of hers. The spicy rub is out of this world amazing if you like a little heat, and I do mean little, I promise your mouth wont’ be on fire or anything like that. When this tasty steak is paired with the sweet grilled red onions prepare for a party in your mouth. Oh man, tasty goodness! Ladies if you want to impress your man with an out of this world steak then cook him this. You will make his palette and his stomach very happy. So happy, you may even be able to get a nice foot massage out of it. *wink wink*

Grilled Red Onions

INGREDIENTS
4 New York Steaks (10–12 ounces each)
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large red onion, cut into 1/3” thick slices
olive oil
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • In a small bowl combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, kosher slat, and cayenne pepper.
  • Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and run an even amount of the seasoning all over the steaks.
  • Set the steaks aside and allow to rest for a half hour.
  • While the steaks are marinating, drizzle the slices of red onion with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. (I use a toothpick inserted in the sides of the onion slices to help hold them together while on the grille.)
  • Preheat the grill to high heat.
  • Once the grill has reached temperature cook the onions and steaks for about 5–6 minutes on each side flipping once or until the steaks have reached desired temperature.
  • Transfer the steaks to a cutting board or serving dish and allow them to rest for 5 minutes for the juices to redistribute.
  • Garnish each steak with a pile of the grilled red onions.
  • Serve and chow down.

Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray.