Enjoy holiday preparations with a Mexican Roast with Tomatillo & Chipotle Sauce

Are you getting ready for Christmas? As stressful as they may be, I always look forward to gathering with friends and family. I also enjoy with anticipation all the yummy meals and making them together with those we love! The best times are when we are all laughing and chatting and eating in the kitchen. I bet you can relate.

Spoon Roast on bed of Black Bean Sauce, with Asadero cheese and Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa

I just made this roast the other day (on a week day!) to pamper my family. I used Spoon Roast (from The Meat House in Avon), which is a more affordable and less fatty roast than a more festive and special Rib Roast, but you can use any roast you like.Then I prepared it with a Mexican touch. For me, Mexican food is a way to say “I’m home” and that is why I make it all the time. This one was easy!  To make Spoon Roast:

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

On a stove top grill, sear roast on all sides on high heat. Use your favorite rub. I like to sprinkle salt, pepper, cumin and paprika. Once it’s seared….

Place roast covered with foil,  in oven at 350F, roast for 8 minutes per pound for a medium rare finish, 10 for medium. Once it’s almost ready, uncover and let if finish roasting uncovered. When roast is done, take out of oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing it.

Once it was cooked, I sliced it, made a bed of refried black beans (to make beans less thick just blend one can with 1/2 cup of water) and then added the cheese ( I like El Viajero brand, find it at Big Y) and salsa (recipe at bottom) on top of each slice of roast. It was fantastic! I served it with rice, yet it also goes great with roasted cactus pads, which are amazingly good for you.

Grilled cactus padAlso known as “nopales” The cactus pad has great amounts of fiber, protein, calcium, vitamins an other minerals. The best way to eat it is fresh, althought it can be found canned or in vinegar. I find them at C-town in New Britain. To cook them, just take out the prickly torns and grill them to slightly golden (see picture). Or cut in pieces, boil and use it in a salad mixing it with diced onion, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, cilantro and queso blanco. Always delicious!

Tomatillo & Chipotle Salsa

6 tomatillos

1 jalapeno pepper

1-2 tsps of chipotle pepper (out of can)

1 cup cilantro

Salt

Boil tomatillos and jalapeno pepper until tomatillos change color to opaque green.

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Simmer salsa for 5 minutes so it has a longer life.

Enjoy this month of celebration with your loved ones!

 

 

 

Grilling this Summer, Mexican Style

The Meat House in AvonDo you have a favorite steak? Take it up to the next level for amazing flavor by adding some salsa on the side and other fresh Mexican sides to make your experience even more fabulous! Grilling season is in full swing, so let’s talk about how adding a touch of Mexican flavor will give your favorite grilled meats an exciting and flavorful twist!

Grilling brings out the best flavors in your proteins, you just need to be careful with your timing to avoid over cooking. Whether it is beef or chicken you want to sear on high first, then cook over medium or low fire to keep the moisture in. Steak usually takes 3-4 minutes per side (depending on thickness) to a medium-rare level. Everyone has their own preference for the way to cook their steak, but I think steak is the most enjoyable when you cook it to medium rare, pink center, keeps the moisture and tenderness of this juicy steak to its best.

My favorite place to buy steaks is the Meat House in Avon. Their quality of meats is always outstanding and their customer service is amazing. I love to see them at my kid’s baseball games or school events, we can never get enough of their steak on a stick!

At the Meat House, you can buy, for example, Sirloin Jr steak or their famous Steak Tips and bring them home to create an amazing meal (see sides below), full of flavor, nutrients, and totally guilt free.

I season steaks with Sea Salt, Pepper, a little Worcester Sauce and a bit of Goya Adobo seasoning.

Then come the sides! The roasted salsa roja molcajete, featured in a previous blog is one of my favorite compliments to steak. The roasted tomatoes and chiles are just the perfect touch to this wonderful meat.

For sides, how about a salad with Avocado & Jalapeño vinaigrette and a side of cilantro potatoes?

Salad

Mix romaine lettuce, sliced mini cucumbers, quarter cherry tomatoes, very thinly sliced white onion, cut hearts of palm, shredded carrots.

Avocado and Jalapeño vinaigrette

1 cup canola oil

1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded

1 lime ( the juice of)

1/2 avocado

Salt and pepper

Blend all ingredients with a hand blender until smooth.

Potatoes & cilantro

1lb of creamer potatoes ( yukon gold or red)

1 handful of cilantro

1 tbsp of butter (the real thing!)

Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes until almost soft, add butter, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper to taste mix well and let simmer until soft.

If cooking them on the grill, place potatoes in a sheet of aluminum foil with just the butter. Close it up and place in the grill on medium high heat for about 20 mins. Open the package, add cilantro salt and pepper, close it up and let it simmer for another 5-10 mins.

Steak Tips

Salsa Verde with Chile de Arbol

This salsa goes great with the steak kabobs featured above by the Meat House.

12 tomatillos

2 serrano pepper ( or jalapeno)

1 handful of cilantro

4 chiles de arbol (found in dried pepper section)

Boil the tomatillos and all peppers until tomatillos turn pale green.

Blend with cilantro and a tbsp of salt.

Add one tsp of olive or canola oil to a pot, and cook blended salsa until it boils.

Let it cool to room temp and serve over steak tips

Tomato & Avocado Salad with Queso fresco

Slice beefsteak tomatoes into thick slices.

Slice avocado on top of the tomatoes.

Crumble Queso Fresco. Do not use Feta, although might look similar, the flavor is different. If you do not have queso fresco, use Panela or Oaxaca cheese or other mexican cheese. If none of these are at hand, you might use shredded mozzarella ( only in case of emergency!)

Sprinkle Queso Fresco over them.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Add cilantro vinaigrette.

Vinagrette:

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp pepper

1/3 cup cilantro

½ cup olive oil

Blend until smooth.

Enjoy the rest of your summer! Keep on grilling!

 

Sports night dinner solutions

In a hurry? If you have kids in grade school, you are probably spending many of your evenings driving to sports events, school performances, etc. In many occasions you have dinner at the game or while waiting for a rehearsal. For those hectic nights, you do not need to buy fast food, which has much more fat content and less nutritional value. You can still have a great dinner, if you get smart and plan ahead, use your left overs and get creative! Mexican food can be made simply and the taste is always fabulous!

Here I will present you with some ideas for a quick to go dinner.

Molletes

Molletes, or "Mexican Bruschetta"

Some people call this dish the “Mexican bruschetta”. In Mexico we call them Molletes. This is the fastest meal you can make, with great flavor and very portable! Not to mention it needs very few, affordable ingredients. Just remember to add the salsa until you are ready to eat them (pack it on the side).

Ingredients:

1 French bagette

1 can of black refried beans

1 or 2 cups of shredded Mexican cheese blend

Cut the bagette in medium slices.

Spread refried beans on each slice.

Add shredded cheese.

Broil in the oven for 5-7 minutes, depending on your preference for crispness.

Serve with Salsa Molcajete (see Popular Recipes: http://www.rociosmexicankitchen.com/10Recipes.html) on top of each Mollete or Pico de Gallo.

Carne Asada Burritos

 

I make these all the time! If you grilled some steak and have some left overs, please use them here! Works great with pork carnitas too. Check out my website (http://rociosmexicankitchen.com/Salsas.html) to add salsa verde to your burrito (make it ahead of time, once you cook the salsa, it will last 2 weeks refrigerated).

Ingredients:

Flour tortillas, burrito size

1 avocado

1 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup shredded mexican cheese mix, or queso oaxaca

Grilled steak (can be skirt steak, sirloin tips, hanger steak) chopped

Warm the tortillas in a griddle.

Grill steak to your taste, or warm it up in a skillet

In the tortilla, place slices of avocado, add steak, sprinkle some chopped onion and cilantro, shredded cheese.

Roll it up and wrap in aluminum foil.

Add Salsa Verde or enjoy your burrito by itself!

Shrimp Cocktail

This is a great fresh dinner for a sports night. Make it before you leave, pack it in a cooler and bring enough disposable cups and spoons because you will have to share! I brought this to my son’s baseball game the other night and it was a huge hit.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 cups of cooked salad shrimp (small)

1 seedless cucumber, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded, chopped

1/4 red onion, chopped

1 roma tomato, chooped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, peeled, cut in small cubes

juice of 8 limes

1 cup of ketchup

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a big bowl, chill it and enjoy! I serve it in cups and eat it with a spoon and saltines on the side.You will find its taste really refreshing!

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do!!! Have fun wherever you go!

 

 

 

 

Mexican breakfast: Start your day right!

We all have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I know, from personal experience, and having to deal with low blood sugar in the past, that I need to start my day with protein, plus I am usually hungry!  Breakfast shouldn’t be a chore, it is meant to be a pleasure! Take the challenge, have breakfast for the next few weeks and you will notice the difference! You will feel more energy, will be able to concentrate better for longer periods of time and you will have something fun to share with your family, friends or co-workers!

Some people say that they don’t have time for breakfast. Well, I have timed myself and it really doesn’t take more than 5-7 minutes to make Huevos a la Mexicana, which is a very easy to make scrambled egg dish. Today you will learn how a Mexican breakfast adds fun to your morning without taking much of your time.

Huevos a la Mexicana

Huevos a la Mexicana

1 roma tomato

1/8 white onion

1 jalapeno pepper

2 eggs

Beat the eggs. Some of us add a bit of milk when beating eggs, it’s up to you.

Chop the other ingredients ahead of time if you are short of time in the morning. If not, it really takes less than 5 minutes.

On a pan, add one tsp of canola oil and fry the onion and jalapeno pepper.

Add beaten eggs.

When turning them, add tomato.

Cook until done. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you are trying to cut carbs, eat them by themselves. If not, you can have them with corn tortillas and make tacos. Corn tortillas have more fiber and less carbs than white bread. If you feel like you can “indulge” a little bit, warm a flour tortilla on a pan or griddle, add Mexican Shredded Mix cheese and let it melt. Then put the “Huevos a la Mexicana” in your tortilla and fold it to make a burrito. It is delicious!!!

Serve some papaya on the side to add fruit to your morning. Papaya is a great fruit, has lots of good enzymes for your stomach and is packed with vitamin C, A and K. Sprinkle some lime juice and sugar over your papaya and it will be even more delicious!

Huevos con Chorizo

Huevos con Chorizo

This is a breakfast for a lazy Saturday morning.  Fry some chorizo (I like the brand “El Popular”). Add beaten eggs to frying pan. Incorporate eggs and chorizo, cook thoroughly. Enjoy with tortillas!!!

I have foiund a new brand of tortillas here in New England that combine wheat flour and corn flour. They are really good! The brand is: La Tortilla Factory. They are soft and the flavor is awesome!

Just adding salsa (check my website for recipes www.rociosmexicankitchen.com) to any scrambbled eggs makes it more enjoyable and adds a little spark to your morning!

So make a new habit of having a good Mexican Breakfast, whether on a busy day or on a weekend, it will brighten your day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salsas! The best (and most fun!) way to add amazing flavor and nutrition to your meals

Hello everyone!  Are you looking to reduce calories, or fat, or carbs without compromising flavor? You have come to the right place! One thing I am crazy for is salsa. Any kind. Every day. On anything. Of course, I am talking about real, fresh made, with real veggies salsas. The real thing, the best. Enough said. That’s how much I love salsa.

Salsas add amazing flavor to your meals without adding many calories. There are so many different kinds of salsas I could go on for years! But let’s divide them in 3: fresh salsas, cooked salsas, and salsas (sauce) for cooking. Today we are going to focus on fresh and cooked salsas. Fresh salsas are made with fresh veggies, so you are getting all the nutrients from these raw veggies and the spectacular flavor that comes out of mixing them. We won’t cover all of them here, but if you want to try different kinds of salsa, just visit my website: http://www.rociosmexicankitchen.com/Salsas.html I will keep adding salsa recipes and you will see how they can be used.

Salsa Verde Fresca

This salsa is particularly great for grilled skirt steak or sirloin tips. I love the tangy flavor of the tomatillos, plus the cilantro and then the kick of jalapeno, just makes my mouth water! As always, you can make it as mild or as hot as you want. My recipes are guides but you can customize to your taste.

8-10 tomatillos

1 jalapeno pepper

1 cup cilantro

1 tsp of salt

Take husk off the tomatillos and wash them.

Blend all ingredients to desired consistency.

Enjoy! Either with chips, grilled steak or chicken.

 

Salsa Roja Molcajete

6 plum tomatoes

1 jalapeno or serrano pepper

1/4 white onion

1 handful of cilantro

Salt to taste

Roast in a flat pan or  griddle, the tomatoes, peppers and onion to get several black patches on the  skin. Keep turning for uniform roasting.

Blend ingredients to desired chunkiness with the cilantro and salt. If you are using it for  enchiladas, it should be smoother and cooked. When tomatoes are not at their peak, you can add 1 tsp of tomato paste for color, but if you have juicy, red tomatoes, you are all set.

Simmer in a pot with a  tsp of oil for 5 to 10 minutes.You can skip this step to use it fresh but if you want it to last longer, cook it and keep it in the fridge for up to a week.

This  salsa is great to add to any grilled lean steak (sirloin, rib eye, tenderloin).

Pico de Gallo and all its varieties

2 roma tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup chopped white onion

1 chile serrano or jalapeno, seeded, chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Mix all ingredients, add salt to taste an enjoy!

Pico de Gallo (basic) Grilled or pan seared chicken, fish or beef (skirt steak, sirloin   tips, flank steak)
Pico de Gallo with Mango or Pinnaple Grilled or pan seared fish (tilapia – pictured, haddock, halibut)or seafood
Pico de Gallo with Avocado Grilled or pan seared chicken, fish or beef (skirt steak, sirloin   tips, flank steak)
Pico de Gallo with Cucumbers and extra lime juice Grilled or pan seared fish or seafood

 

 

Enfrijoladas!!! = Enchiladas in Black Bean Sauce

Hello everyone! The other day I made one of my favorite Mexican recipes, an easy dinner recipe that never gets old… Enfrijoladas! I know the name might be hard to pronounce (en-free-hole-a-das) but this dish is basically a different kind of enchiladas covered in Black Bean Sauce. And they are delicious!

I make Enfrijoladas using 2 cheeses, Oaxaca o Manchego for the filling inside the tortillas and Queso Fresco for the finishing touch. If you cannot find Oaxaca or Manchego cheese, do not panic, just use the Mexican Shredded Mix, you won’t be offending anyone and the flavor is still pretty good. This dish is great if you are vegetarian because you don’t need meat inside, although if you are not vegetarian and would like to add shredded chicken inside the tortilla, it’s good too! But the way I like them the most  is just with cheese.

This is also also a very affordable dish that is full of flavor and nutrients. I use canned beans for this recipe because it’s fast and easy, but if you prefer to cook your own beans, that would make this dish even healthier as it would reduce the sodium significantly.

The best way to serve Enfrijoladas is with Pico de Gallo as a topping. The crisp and crunchy texture of the fresh ingredients in the Pico de Gallo are the perfect contrast with the softness of the tortillas covered in the rich black bean sauce. The only trick to this dish is that you have to serve and eat imediatly to enjoy it at it’s best.

For side dish, I like to serve a plate of jicama in julienne sprinkled with lime juice and Tajin, my favorite spice. I love Tajin so much I have a full shelf dedicated to it. I serve it in popcorn, cucumbers, oranges, mango, you name it, it goes perfect!

Enfrijoladas

Serves 4

1 can Black Refried Beans (I like brands like La Costena, Goya)

16 corn tortillas (recommended brands: Ole, Mi Pueblito, Shop Rite)

1 Oaxaca Cheese shredded or buy Mexican Shredded Cheese Mix

2 cups of Queso Fresco, shredded

In the blender, blend the beans with 1 cup of water until it reaches a thick sauce consistency.

In a sauce pan, simmer the bean sauce and keep in low heat until ready to serve.

In a small frying pan, add 1 tbsp of canola oil. When hot, quickly pass the tortilla through the oil, drain the excess, and place in plate.

Add cheese into tortilla and fold it in half. Repeat these steps with all tortillas.You can also fold it twice to give it a fun, different shape, be creative and do what you enjoy the most!

When ready to serve, cover the tortillas in the warm Black Bean Sauce.

Sprinkle the shredded Queso Fresco over the Enfrijoladas.

Add Pico de Gallo on top (as much as you’d like)

Serve immediatly and enjoy!

 

Pico de Gallo

2 roma tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup chopped white onion

1 chile serrano or jalapeno, seeded, chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Mix all ingredients, add salt to taste an enjoy!

 

Jicama with Tajin

With a good, sharp knife (I have a thing for knives, love to use the best and most sharp and put them up to challenges like jicama!), peel the outer skin of the jicama.

Slice jicama in julienne.

Squeeze the the juice of 2 limes (depending on the limes you might to use more).

Sprinkle Tajin all over.

You will love the freshness of this very simple side dish! I have this as a snack all the time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen!

Hello!!! Would you like to learn to cook authentic Mexican everyday recipes that are delicious and enjoyable for all your family? Easy to make? You have come to the right blog!

Welcome to Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen blog! Here you will find simple Mexican recipes for the busy household with the occasional festive, more elaborate dishes varying with the seasons. You will learn that cooking Mexican is tasty, easy, healthy and not always spicy!

I was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico, and my mom was a great cook! I learned so much by helping her in the kitchen and tasting all the flavorful recipes she made. After college I moved to Mexico City, where I grew to appreciate the vast variety that central Mexico has to offer in culinary terms. Every region has its own flavors and the same dish can be made differently from place to place. Through my husband’s family I also have learned many amazing recipes that quickly became my favorites.

Now living with my husband and 2 kids in Connecticut, my passion is to share recipes that busy families can enjoy and make any time, making meals that are fun, taste amazing, and are healthy for the whole family.

My recipes are all easy and flexible; you can add more of what you like the most and adjust to your preferences or availability of ingredients.

I will post what I cook during the week and how sometimes I use leftovers to make something new and delicious! Also, the recipes will share some of the same ingredients so your list doesn’t get too long.

Below is a list of ingredients I suggest you keep at hand in your pantry or fridge, they will help you when you are in a hurry:

  • Tortillas
  • Tostadas
  • Canned refried beans (My favorite brands are Costena and Goya)
  • Rice (I like to use jasmine)
  • Queso fresco or Panela if you find it in your area
  • Flour or Corn Tortillas

I will also post what I make for busy nights, whether something “to go” for those fun sports nights or something quick before leaving for another commitment.

And if you have picky eaters (any age applies!) you will see here how to “personalize” the meal to keep everyone happy! This applies also to the heat (or spicy level) in your dishes. I usually add the spicy factor at the end after separating a batch for my children.

For  this week with the temperatures getting colder, I decided to make chicken & rice soup, “caldo de pollo con arroz”. This is a great comfort soup, filled with awesome nutrients and tons of flavor! My son doesn’t like rice in his soup, so when I was making the chicken broth, I separated some for him, and I boiled some noodles in another pot, when the noodles were ready I added the broth (with chicken pieces and veggies) and there you go, he had chicken noodle soup and I had my favorite, delicious “caldo de pollo con arroz”. You might wonder, what makes this soup different from a regular chicken & rice soup? The ingredients you add to finish it! This soup is very “customizable” because even though it is very tasty as it is served, at the table you have extra toppings that make it authentically Mexican, nutritious and flavorful. These are: avocado in small cubes, queso fresco (Mexican cheese), pork rinds, chopped fresh cilantro, and optional chopped jalapenos (seeded).

We had this soup and also pulled beef chipotle burritos. The filling is so easy to make in your slow cook pot and is sure to be liked by everyone! To complete our dinner, I made a very simple salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado in cubes, sprinkled with lime juice and salt.

In summary, our menu was:

  • Caldo de pollo con arroz
  • Pulled beef chipotle burritos
  • Cucumber/Tomato/Avocado salad

For dessert, my kids love strawberries with honey and whipped cream. Crazy combo, but healthy!

The next day I had some delicious bread and with bread goes… a cream of chicken! This is another great way to convert my big batch of caldo de pollo into a creamy delicacy! So, in the blender goes the caldo with the rice, veggies and chicken, with a cup of heavy cream or whole milk if you prefer. Blend until completely smooth. The rice in the caldo adds thickness so you do not need to add any thickeners.  In a pot, put two tablespoons of butter (yes, use the real thing!), add a teaspoon of chicken bouillon and let it simmer for about 15 mins. It still has all the nutrients and full flavor, but in a very different presentation.

Caldo de pollo con arroz

 

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast with bones and skin (adding other chicken pieces is ok)
1 cup of jasmine rice
1 zuccinni, sliced in rounds
2 carrots, sliced in rounds
1 cup of white potato, in small cubes
¼ white onion
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp of chicken bouillon

For the additional toppings:

1 avocado in cubes
1 bowl of pork rinds
1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup of chopped jalapeno (seeded)
1 bowl of queso fresco in cubes (can substitute with oaxaca cheese or panela)

  • Boil the chicken breast and rice in a pot with 6qts of water with all the vegetables, bay leaf and chicken bouillon.
  • When cooked, shred the chicken breast and return to pot (without the skin and the bones).
  • Simmer, serve and enjoy!

 

Pulled chipotle beef burritos

Ingredients:

1 lb of beef eye round roast
1 can – refried black beans (you can make your own, and I will post the recipe for that, but this was a busy night, so I used canned beans. My favorite brands are: La Costena or Goya)
2 avocados
1 cup shredded queso fresco
1 Chipotle pepper (canned)
½ white onion
½ cup beef broth
3 crushed plum tomatoes
1 clove of garlic

In a crock pot (slow cook), place the onion, garlic, meat, tomatoes, chipotle and beef broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 4 hrs in high. If you have kids that wouldn’t like the chipotle, hold it until the end, you can separate some and add the chipotle to that batch.

Take the beef out and shred it. Return it to pot and stir with the rest of ingredients until it is all well mixed.

Take beans out of can and warm them in a pot.

Warm the flour tortillas in a skillet. Spread a tbsp of refried beans. Add a couple of tbsp of chipotle shredded beef. Add avocado slices and queso fresco. Roll it up and enjoy warm. If you don’t have flour tortillas, or want to try something different, you can also eat this as “torta”(that is a type of sandwich bread in spanish), using a bread roll instead of tortilla.