Homemade Chips and Salsa

Chips and salsa are a favorite eating pastime of mine. I’ve known how to make my own salsa for a few years now, but this was my first attempt to make my own chips.

The greatest news about this chip making recipe is that it comes from the Light and Healthy Cookbook, so you can feel a little less guilty about eating a giant bowl of chips and salsa for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Not that I ever do that or anything.

What you’ll need for the salsa

  • 2 pounds of ripe tomatoes (5-6 medium), cored, seeded, and chopped medium
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup of minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder

What you need for the chips

  • 8 (6 inch) corn tortillas, each cut into 6 wedges
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

The fist step in making the salsa is to place the tomatoes in a strainer with a bowl underneath the strainer. Sprinkle salt on top of the tomatoes and let them drain for about 30 minutes. Discard the liquid once the 30 minutes are up.

While the tomatoes are being softened with salt, you can combine the onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and chili powder in a medium bowl.

Side note, if you like things hot like I do, don’t discard the jalapeno seeds. If you’re truly like me, you’ll add another jalapeno as well.

Put one-third of the drained tomatoes in a food processor until smooth. Then add these tomatoes to your onion and chili bowl you created earlier. Then add the chunky tomatoes and mix it all together.

Cover this mixture and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour.

We are now ready to make our chips!

Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat to 350. Place your chips as evenly as possible, spray with vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt.

Bake until they are slightly browned which should be around 8-12 minutes. Flip the chips when this occurs and bake for an additional 8-12 minutes. By this time the chips should be ready to eat, but if they aren’t just tackle on more time in the oven. You want to make sure they are nice and crisp.

Whether you need more time or not, they will need to cool before consumption which should work out with waiting on that delicious salsa you just made.

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Overall, I was happy with this recipe. I prefer salsa that isn’t quite as chunky most of the time, but I like how the chunky tomatoes sort of spritz juice in you mouth. It makes me feel light and refreshed.

My chips were not consistently crisp which was disappointing, but I blame myself. I didn’t bake them long enough and didn’t realize they weren’t really as crisp as they seemed. So be sure to really check those chips out before taking them out of the oven.

I’m sure if I made this again, I’d have more success and as much as I love greasy fried chips, it’s good to have heatlhy alternatives you can make yourself.

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Historically Accurate Beef Fajitas

These beef fajitas come from I Love Spice and are actually called Classic Beef Fajitas, but doesn’t the word classic really just mean from the past?

So I decided to name it historically accurate, but it might not actually be historically accurate come to think of it. I mean I don’t know if this is an authentic recipe. However, it is a recipe from the past that millions of people enjoyed and that’s historically accurate.

At least here in the Americas this is the case.

I think now is a good time to say,

“Rachel assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site. The information contained in this site is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness…”

Just covering my bases…

What you’ll need:

For the fajitas

  •  1 pound of beef skirt steak, cut into strips
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • large pinch of mild chili powder
  • large pinch of paprika
  • large pinch of ground cumin
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1-2 avocados, pitted, chopped, and tossed in lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream

For the pico de gallo salsa

  • 8 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 1-2 fresh green chilies, such as jalapeno or serrano, seeded and chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 5-8 radishes, diced
  • ground cumin

The first step is to combine the beef with the garlic, lime juice, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to your standards, mix, and marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes outside the fridge or overnight in the fridge.

While this is happening, make the salsa by combining the tomatoes, scallions, chilies, cilantro, and radishes in a bowl. Then season with cumin, slat, and pepper.

The cookbook now recommends you warm the tortillas in a skillet and then wrap them in foil to keep warm while you continue to cook.

I recommend you make everyone warm their own tortilla in the skillet right before they eat. It doesn’t take that long and it’s guaranteed tortilla warmth.

Once the meat has been marinated to your liking, you can prepare to cook it by heating vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Stir fry the meat in this pan until browned and slightly tender.

You are  now ready to create your historically accurate and classic fajita masterpiece!

Do this by heating that tortilla, scooping in the meat, and topping with salsa, avocado, and sour cream.

Please note, that my fajita was not historically accurate because I left out the sour cream. I know it’s terrible, but forgive me history snobs.

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Not historically accurate, but good.

If you chose to be historically accurate or not, like all classics it goes without saying that this is an easy, satisfying meal that the whole family can enjoy.

Hamburger of the Chilies

My next recipe comes from I Love Spice, which if you don’t know, I do love spice. I want to marry spice, but I also love cheese and it’s been a real struggle figuring out who I want to settle down with.

Spice can be intense sometimes, but I like the intensity and cheese is nice and comforting, but sometimes I get bored with cheese because all we do is lay around and talk about how much we like pizza.

For this recipe I did manage to get spice and cheese together. So maybe we can all work things out and move to Utah or start a commune somewhere. I have faith in our relationships.

What you’ll need

  • 1 lb 7 oz/650 grams of ground beef
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 small fresh red chilies, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil, plus extra sprigs for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • hamburger buns, of course, unless you’re gluten-free, then maybe not.

The first step is to make your burger patties by combining all the ingredients except the salt, pepper, and the hamburger buns. That would be awkward.

Mix those ingredients so that they are dispersed in the meat evenly and then season with salt and pepper.

The next step is to form burger patties and you do this by invoking your child hood self’s love of play-dough. Don’t get too carried away though.

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You can’t compete with Meatwad anyway

Instead of Abraham Lincoln, you should be making four roundish patties, like so.

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Once you’ve formed your patties, pre-heat a broiler or grill and then cook those puppies for 5-8 minutes on each side or until they have reached the level of doneness you prefer.

Once they are cooked to your liking, you can garnish with basil sprigs and serve on your hamburger bun with all the fixings you like.

You can also add cheese, which I did. I added pepperjack, because obviously it’s my two loves together and why wouldn’t I?

My final result turned out well. I feel like it’s hard to mess up a burger patty. As long as you don’t over or undercook it, it should turn out well.

I loved the kick of the spices and it was juicy and delicious. So, if you love spice or want to try something new for your Labor Day Cookout, go ahead and give this guy a try. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Spicy Chicken Wings

This recipe is fairly self explanatory and comes from I Love Spice. It’s another easy recipe that mostly requires waiting.

I have no good tie-ins today except that the waiting part is the marinating part. Marinating makes me think of how a friend of mine posted on social media recently that he just discovered a pack of hot dogs in his backpack. Apparently they had been there for a few days. I told him it was ok, that he was just marinating them. I’m not sure what he’s got in his backpack, but I bet there’s something in there that would give those hotdogs a nice kick.

Thankfully I marinated my chicken wings in the fridge and it was only overnight.

So what you’ll need is 2 lbs of chicken wings, 11 garlic cloves, finely chopped, juice from 2 limes, juice from 1 orange, 2 tbsp of tequila, 1 tbsp of mild chili powder, 2 dried chipotle chilies that have been soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, drained, and pureed, 2 tbsp of vegetable oil, 1 tsp of sugar, 1/4 tsp of allspice, and pinches of cinnamon, cumin, and oregano.

My first note on this recipe is that if you can’t find dried chipotle chilies, it’s ok to just use the ones that come in cans along with red sauce. It won’t ruin the recipe. I have trouble finding dried chipotle for some reason and have given up the good fight. I’m guessing I should go to a Latin market of some kind, but I felt like for this recipe it wasn’t necessary.

Anyway, what you’re going to do is get a non metallic dish that can hold your chicken and all of these ingredients. Put everything in it, mix it around a bit, cover, and put in the fridge for at least three hours.

Once those three hours are up, you grill the chicken wings. If you don’t own a grill, like myself, you can set your oven to the broil setting. Once it’s heated up, place your chicken wings inside for 15-20 minutes. Be sure to flip the wings halfway through the cooking time as well.

The final result was a success for me. My wings were crisp and juicy. I didn’t think they were spicy, but I have a very high spice threshold so they very well could be for most people.

What I liked best about the taste is the subtle flavor of orange. It’s not overpowering at all, but you can still taste it. It gives the chicken a crisp and light flavor that pairs well with the garlic.

Speaking of pairing, I paired my chicken wings with some leftover friend rice I had made, but feel free to add whatever you wish. Green beans, corn, and mashed potatoes are all staples of barbecue items where I come from.

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Kinda spicy chicken wings

Bread of Corn with Jalapenos

My next recipe is from I love Spice. I lightly complained in my past posts, that so far, this book was not spicy enough for me. However, this cornbread did deliver. Jalapenos always deliver though. I love them so much.

I have to note that I need to be careful about expressing my love of peppers. Apparently pepper is used as a slang in Mexico for male genitalia, more specifically small genitalia. I’ve always been a size isn’t as important, it’s how you use it kind of gal and I can’t say I don’t love peppers. I just don’t want to go around proclaiming it. Also, big peppers are not always as fun and spicy as they look. In my opinion.

So what you’ll need for this spicy cornbread is, 1 cup of cornmeal, 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, 3 tsp baking powder, 1 small finely chopped onion, 1-2 finely chopped jalapenos (you know I used two), 4 tbsp vegetable oil, 4 1/2 ounces of canned creamed corn, 1 cup of sour cream, and 2 beaten eggs.

As always with baking, the first step is pre-heat your oven. For this dish, that will be 350.

The next step is to mix your cornmeal, flour, and baking powder in an appropriately sized bowl. Then mix the onion and jalapenos with it.

Once you’ve accomplished that, heat oil in a large skillet. Be sure to coat the whole skillet too. While the skillet is heating up, make a well in the center of your mixing bowl. If you don’t know what that means, basically you are pushing the flour off to the side to create an open space in the middle of the bowl. In that middle, make well water with the corn, sour cream, eggs, and finally the oil, once it’s heated up. Stir the whole mixture lightly and then pour the mix into your skillet.

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Flour mixture before it’s been baked

The final step is to bake for 35-40 minutes. Yes, you bake it in the skillet. Make sure your skillet doesn’t have anything that will melt, like a plastic handle. Mine was all metal, but I put aluminum foil on my handle anyway. I’ve read somewhere that aluminum helps keep plastic handled skillets from melthing. I’ve never tested this though. If you want to try, I say be careful and skeptical. Cleaning up melted plastic is no bueno.

My corn bread turned out quite well. If you don’t like jalapenos though, I would not recommend this, because it does have a kick. You can taste the jalapeno in there. I personally love that, but not everyone does.

I ended up bringing my cornbread on a trip with some friends. We went to Big Bear Lake in California for Memorial Day. On our way there, we saw a homeless man. This is sadly, a common sight in my neighborhood. One of my friends wanted to give him money, so we stopped the car to give him some. I was holding the corn bread and realized that I could give him food. So I gave him a slice. That man looked so happy. It was truly touching. He looked like a little boy on Christmas Day. As my friend started to drive away, I thought, “Oh crap! What if he freaks out when he eats the jalapeno?!”

So as we were driving off, I yell, “IT HAS JALAPENO!!!!”

If this doesn’t make you laugh. Let me explain. Imagine an SUV driving off into the clear blue skies of Los Angeles and picture a delighted homeless man with a slice of cornbread. Just as he’s about to take a bite, see a blonde haired girl stick her head out of the truck window, screeching loudly that it has jalapeno. Trust me, it was a classic Rachel moment.

My friends laughed right away and teased me mercilessly the rest of the trip.

I haven’t seen that man since, which is shame. I’d really like to get a review from him. My friends had some reviews though. They were mostly positive, but for one of them it was just too damn spicy. She would take a bite, a tear would slowly trickle down her face and as she was breathing heavily from the shock of it, she would say, “IT HAS JALAPENOS!”

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Crumbled style

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Memorial day style

Sweet Potato & Red Curry Soup

My next recipe comes from Isa Does It which is a vegan cookbook. I am not vegan, but so far I’ve enjoyed reading and cooking from this book. I’m still in the soup section and I’m really excited about some of the entrée recipes that are featured in the later chapters. I’d skip to those sections, but my OCD tendencies won’t let me.  Some day though, some day I’ll get to them.

This particular soup was a nice change of pace from all the other soups I’ve made so far. I was happy to not have to blend anything for once. It also features sweet potato, rice, and purple kale. Kale is a big deal here in California. It’s been a heated battle between it and quinoa as the vegetable of the month for the past two years or so.

What you’ll need to make this delicious and healthy soup is, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 small diced yellow onion, 1 teaspoon of salt, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of minced ginger, 3/4 cup of jasmine rice, 6 cups of vegetable broth, 2-3 tablespoons red curry paste, 1 pound of purple kale, 1 large sweet potato, 1 15 ounce can of lite coconut milk 3 tablespoons of lime juice,1 tablespoon of agave syrup, and cilantro and sriracha for serving.

The first step is to preheat your soup pan with the olive oil. Once nice and warmed up you will add your onion and a pinch of salt for sautéing. Do this for 5 minutes and then add garlic and ginger for another minute of cooking.

Then add the rice, broth, and some more salt. Cover the pot and let it boil and then simmer. Once you’ve simmered, you will add the paste, torn bite sized kale pieces, and your quarter sized chunks of sweet potato. Simmer all these things for about 15 minutes. Make sure your sweet potatoes get sweeter and tenderer though.

Once those potatoes are tendered, you will add the coconut milk, lime juice, and agave. Cook that for a bit and you should have a nice and healthy curry soup.

As you can guess, this wasn’t a difficult soup to make at all. My only note is to just buy one bunch of purple kale. I sometimes get too literal with recipes. I bought two bunches to get my one pound worth. Don’t worry about that. One bunch of kale is more than enough.

Other than that, making this soup was simple and painless. If you like spice, you can add even more curry and slather the soup with sriracha too. I did, naturally, and it was quite good.

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Spicy and tasty curry soup

Sassy and Spicy Marinated Olives

This recipe comes from I Love Spice and is another easy and simple recipe to make.

It’s not very labor intensive and most of it is smashing all the ingredients into a mason jar and letting it marinate for a week or two. For this recipe, I had to use two mason jars, so I do recommend reducing the ingredients in half.

The ingredients you’ll need are four garlic cloves, a lemon, 2 tsp of crushed coriander, 1 pound of large green olives, 4 fresh thyme sprigs, 4 fennel stalks, 2 small red chilies, and olive oil.

As far as labor goes, all you do is crush the garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife, cut the lemon into small chunks, and dice the chilies. For the chilies, I used jalapenos, but feel free to use whatever spice you like.

I have to make a note that the fennel I bought was pricey so make sure you have a use for your fennel beyond this recipe too. I plan on stir-frying mine with some eggplant. Stir-frying is one of the best way to use up old ingredients I have to say.

The only other step in making this is to add olive oil until your olives are covered. It has been a week since I made this and I did try them today. The olive oil got a little thick looking, but don’t let that scare you. It still tastes delicious. Re-reading the recipe book for my post made me realize I was supposed to let it get to room temperature before draining the oil and such, but I mean it was fine. I’m guessing that might help with the texture and look of the oil.

Overall I thought this was a good recipe and even though it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to make, I don’t know if it’s worth making again. The price of the fennel is what sways my opinion. Plus, there are olive bars all over nowadays so I feel like you could just buy olives like this for a fair price and then you don’t have to worry about using up your fennel.

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Locked up olives

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Emancipated olives