Tag Archives: mexican

Adobo Chicken Tacos


All tacos all the time!

I think ours would be happy household if we made this every day. The words, “I don’t think I feel like tacos tonight” have never been uttered under our roof. That is partially due to these awesome Adobo Chicken Tacos.

Veggie tacos used to be our jam. Step 1. Go to the latin grocery store around the corner. Step 2. Buy lots of jalapenos and other veggies for nearly zero dollars. Step 3. Cook with spices and insert in tortilla. Step 4. Enjoy. It was a nearly perfect process. Cheap and easy, fast and delicious. But that process was ruined – RUINED – when we received the  June 2012 Bon Appetit.

The June 2012 Bon Appetit is a very special Bon Appetit. It is the one with the salmon on the cover, but inside the is a huge TACO SECTION. There are pork tacos, beef tacos, chicken tacos, poblano tacos (which will require their own post at a later date) and SHRIMP TACOS!

(If you know me at all, you know that this is all highly suspect. I don’t eat anything that ever lived in the sea… so a Salmon Bon Appetit and Shrimp taco recipe should be an immediate turn off.)

So these Shrimp Tacos were cooked in an Adobo sauce. Obviously, the shrimp had to go, but the sauce looked so fantastic, we had to try it.

Long story short, (too late!) this sauce is awesome. And you should use it on your shrimp tacos, chicken tacos, sparingly on your veggie tacos, or on other non-taco-centric food-related ventures.


The whole process starts with Ancho chiles. I took a special picture of these chiles because sometimes it is hard to identify dried chiles once you’re at the market. Obviously, these are easier to find at your local Latin grocery store. If you don’t have one, you can still check at your regular grocery store, but you’ll probably have better luck at grocery stores with more elaborate “ethnic” sections.

If you have a bunch of dried chiles that aren’t Ancho chiles, or only a few Anchos and a bunch of other chiles, GO FOR IT! It’s fun to see what happens when you mix them. It might turn out very spicy though, so be careful!

Many chile sauces start with this same process, so once you have it down, you can experiment with just about everything. Go crazy! Use chicken stock instead of water! Add some spices! It will probably turn out very yummy.


This also requires a blender and/or food processor. If you don’t have one of these, GET ONE. It’s an awesome investment and your taste buds will thank you. Mmmmm just looking at this awful photo makes me want tacos.


This is just a picture of the shishito peppers I got at the farmer’s market. (Did I mention lately how much I love our CSA??) If you’ve never had them, you should try them. I just put them in here because I was snacking on them while making these tacos. All you have to do is char them and salt them and you have a really yummy snack!

Happy Taco Time!

Adobo Sauce
(adapted from Bon Appetit’s Shrimp in Adobo Sauce from June 2012.)

  • 6 dried ancho chiles, stemmed
  • 4 garlic cloves (peeled and smashed)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

1. Toast the dried chiles in a hot skillet until fragrant and slightly softened, about 1 minute.

For a spicier version: remove the stems but reserve the seeds. Cut the chiles into strips with a scissor
For a less spicy version: remove the stems and seeds. Cut the chiles into strips with a scissor
2. Put the strips of chiles into a bowl and pour 1 cup of hot water over. Let them steep in the hot water (turning and stirring if necessary to get everything wet) for 10 minutes. [The original recipe suggested 1/2 cup water. This makes the sauce more paste-y. This is fine, but if you’ll be cooking it in a skillet, much of the water will eventually evaporate anyways. You can also substitute chicken broth for the water, if desired.]
3. Add chiles, water, garlic, vinegar, salt, oregano, cumin and sugar (along with reserved seeds, if using) to the bowl of a blender or food processor. Process into a thick paste/sauce.
The best way to cook taco chicken in the adobo sauce is to cut the chicken into cubes, marinate the raw chicken in the sauce for half an hour, and then cook it up in a skillet until the chicken is fully cooked. You can use a simliar method for shrimp or other meats. This sauce is powerful, so use sparingly with veggie tacos.
Taco Toppings!
Our favorite taco toppings are:
– Queso Quesadilla
– Sour Cream
– Pickled Red onions (see quick recipe here) or diced raw onions
– Lettuce or whatever greens are in the fridge
– Cilantro
And here’s one more picture of that awesome taco!
p.s. Have you seen this recipe on Spoon Fork Bacon (aka my favorite guilty pleasure food blog and thus my favorite food blog)!?

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Corn and Bean Sriracha Baked Tacos

IMG_2473Rather than our usual taco dinner, we decided to make these baked tacos (sort of a cross between taquitos and enchiladas) because it is so much easier to make them all at once than prepare them one-at-a-time at the table. These would be a great dinner or lunch while watching the game and drinking a beer, and they’re perfect for a crowd. We used up leftover ham and cheddar cheese that we had in the fridge along with refried beans, corn salsa and chopped tomatoes, but you can use a variety of different fillings (ground meat, bell peppers, queso blanco, etc). We also chopped up some iceberg lettuce and made some guacamole to go on the side. We used small corn tortillas, but you can use flour, wheat, or large tortillas… they will all do the job. If you want more of a sauce, add a can of crushed tomatoes or mild salsa on top before sprinkling the cheese on and baking.

Corn and Bean Sriracha Baked Tacos

Small corn tortillas

Ham, cut into strips

Cheddar cheese, cut into strips

Refried pinto beans

Tomatoes, chopped

Corn salsa (combine corn, onions, sugar, chilies, and cider vinegar)

Shredded Mexican cheese, or cheddar and mozzarella


Iceberg lettuce (optional)

Avocados for guacamole (optional)

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease a large deep baking pan with cooking spray, or use butter for added flavor.


Assemble tacos by filling tortillas with corn salsa, beans, cheese, ham and tomatoes and rolling up. Place them in baking pan with edges down. Pack them close together so fillings do not spill out.



When the pan us full, sprinkle tacos with cheese and drizzle with Sriracha. Bake for 15-20 minutes until slightly brown at the edges and  cheese is beginning to bubble.



Let cool slightly and serve with chopped lettuce, guacamole, and your favorite beer.




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More Chiles Rellenos

Hi Karla,

So I haven’t posted in forever! But it’s because this is a crazy time. I had six people staying at our house this weekend, and everything has been nuts. I’ve had very little time for cooking, so I’ll do a little bit of a throwback post.

I saw that you made Chiles Rellenos! This is hilarious because Bill and I totally make Chiles Rellenos all the time. We use a fantastic recipe that I got from Bon Appetit a looong time ago, and I made this chili sauce from scratch with dried chilies that I smoke and then rehydrate. It’s stellar and the flavors are really complex.

Here’s a photo from the first time we made it that I found on my phone. This is from April 4, 2011!

We also made a tomato-mozzarella-caper-olive pasta salad that night. I remember that being very good too!

(I’m going to put all the recipes at the end. So, scroll down for those.)

It’s finally summer in Chicago, which means I’m sitting outside every day to eat my lunch. Right after mom visited a few weeks ago, I took the remainder of our arepas-with-corn-salsa breakfast to work with me and ate it in the park.

One real perk of working in a museum is that everything is so beautiful all the time!

Since I last posted, I also had some fun with veggie tacos, aka the easiest, cheapest meal around. Just toast a few little tortillas, add some veggies sautéed in your favorite taco seasonings, and top with lime soaked tomatoes, queso fresco, avocado and/or sour cream! Luckily at our nearby grocery store, this meal costs about $4, and you can pick everything up fresh on the way home. Bill and I definitely make these a lot. The ones in the picture are straight up portabella mushroom and onion tacos. It was what I had on hand. Yum!

I also went to Chinatown with Golosá. This time we went to a new Restaurant called Lao Yunan, which features the cuisine of the Yunan province. The food was incredible! Among the dishes below are Yunan Mushrooms (so flavorful!), a whole plate of Bitter Melon, the spiciest Ma Po Tofu you’ve ever had (it has that chili-spice in it that Dad talks about from the Szechuan province that makes your tongue numb. It’s phenomenal!) and lots of other stuff. It was really a treat. AND we got to meet the famous Tony Hu in person! If you don’t know him: check it out! (Tony is on the list of 100 most powerful Chicagoans!)

Goat Cheese and Mushroom Chiles Rellenos with Red Chili Sauce

(from Bon Appetit, June 2010)

* 8 large fresh Anaheim chiles
* 2 Tbsp butter
* 1/4 cup minced shallot
* 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
* 6 cups assorted sliced mushrooms (such as cremini and stemmed shiitake)
* 1/4 cup dry sherry
* 4 oz soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
* 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
* 8 (4×1/4×1/4) inch pieces of Monterey Jack cheese
* vegetable oil
* 3 Tbsp AP flour
* 3 Tbsp cornstarch
* 1 large egg white
* Red Chile Sauce (see recipe below)
* Sour Cream/sliced avocado/crumbled Cojito cheese (optional for on the side)

Char chiles directly over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in plastic bag and let steam for 10 minutes. Using small knife, scrape off blackened skin, taking care not to tear chiles. Carefully cut slit in each chile, from stem end to tip. Remove seeds, keeping chile intact.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and thyme; saute until shallot is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until mushrooms are browned, about 7 minutes. Add Sherry; stir until almost dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Refrigerate mixture 10 minutes. Add goat cheese and cilantro; stir to incorporate.

Place 1 piece Monterey Jack cheese lengthwise inside each chile. Divide mushroom mixture among chiles; press openings to seal. (Do ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Generously brush rimmed baking sheet with oil. Whisk flour and cornstarch in shallow bowl. Brush chiles with egg white; roll in flour mixture to coat. Transfer to prepared sheet.

Bake chiles until browned and Jack cheese melts, about 8 minutes per side. Ladle 1/4 cup Red Chile Sauce onto each plate.

Chili Sauce


* 3 large dried ancho chiles
* 2 large dried New Mexico chiles
* 2 large dried Anaheim chiles
* 2 cups water
* 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
* 1 Tbsp olive oil
* 3/4 cup chopped onion
* 2 small garlic cloves, peeled, sliced
* 1 tsp dried oregano
* 1 cup chicken broth, divided
* 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
* 1 Tbsp packed, dark brown sugar

Stem and seed chiles; tear into 1-inch pieces. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add chiles to dry skillet and toast until beginning to smoke, stirring occasionally, 5 to 6 minutes. Add 2 cups water; bring to boil. Remove from heat and let stand 20 minutes to soften. Drain.

Stir cumin seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until slightly darker and aromatic, 3 to 4 minutes. Cool. Transfer to spice mill; process until finely ground.

Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; saute until golden, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and ground cumin. Add drained chiles and 1/2 cup broth; sprinkle with salt. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Add 1/2 cup broth.

Working in batches, puree sauce in blender until smooth. Add vinegar and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. (Do ahead: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.)

View of Chicago from the University of Chicago’s new Logan Arts Center, where Golosá performed a few weeks ago.

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Chiles Rellenos

Hey L,

I was walking the the outdoor emporium yesterday to pick out Dennis’ birthday gift and pick up some supplies (pants, garden gloves, etc) for my internship this summer. We walked through the international district on the way back, which has some of the most amazing little shops selling everything from steamed pork dumplings and sticky almond cakes to herbal remedies and buddhist garden art. My favorite places to wander into, when I have the time, are usually the ones selling miscellaneous stuff like bamboo place mats, pots and dinnerware, and asian artifacts, because I always find cool and unusual things for truly unusual prices. I used to come down here every week for my internship at Community Alliance for Global Justice, who had a hole-in-the-wall office a couple years ago and has now upgraded to a bigger place.. so I know my way around. But anyway, back on track, I stopped in one of my favorite asian markets on the way home and bought a huge bag of fresh bok choy and tofu to make a stir fry, mangoes, some kind of greens (the ones in the picture), basil, and poblano peppers to make these chiles rellenos. And it all cost me less than six bucks! This reminds me of the great deals you get at your little Mexican market. Horayy for inexpensive, healthy produce! 

Chiles rellenos are by far my favorite Mexican entree. They melt in your mouth and have so much flavor! I’ve had many different kinds, probably because I’m always ordering them if they are on the menu, and the ones I like best aren’t overloaded with cheese and have a rice-based filling. Since I had some cooked quinoa on hand, I swapped out the rice for quinoa (which I think is even better because it packs down well) and added refried beans, yellow onion, and an uncooked egg to the filling. I also tried two different cheeses; mexican blend and goat. Both were good. These turned out to be SO tasty!! I didn’t add meat to mine, but I’m guessing some ground meat would be great in these too.. or in the sauce. Allow about an hour to make these.

Chiles Rellenos with Quinoa

(Serves 2)

2-4 Poblano Peppers, depending on size

1 tbsp Olive oil

1/4 cup yellow onion, diced

2 cups Cooked quinoa

3/4 cup refried pinto or black beans, heated

1 egg

Cheese, as much as you want (mexican cheddar blend, goat, mozzarella, or queso fresco are all good choices)

4 cups Rich tomato sauce, low-salt or homemade

Green olives (optional)

Cooked ground meat (optional)


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees

2. Rinse poblanos well and cut close to rim of stem to remove inside seeds and stem. Spoon and rinse out all seeds. Set aside.

3. Heat olive oil in frying pan and saute onions until translucent. Add to a bowl with the cooked quinoa, heated refried beans, and egg. Mix well. The result will look mushy and soggy- that’s good. Lightly stir in cheese. [Meat can also be added at this time or later as part of the sauce]

4. Stuff peppers with quinoa/cheese mixture to rim and place on baking sheet with tin foil and non-stick spray. Bake for about 40 min covered with tin foil or until soft and blackened (see pic).

5. Take peppers out of the oven to peel skins off (they can cause indigestion). Flip them onto their other side in pan. Pour tomato sauce on top with olives, meat, or any other extras. Top with extra cheese. Return to oven for 5 more minutes, uncovered.

6. Take them out of oven and let rest while preparing plates. Mangoes and yogurt/sour cream pair great with this, cutting the richness of the sauce. Spoon sauce onto plate and carefully place poblanos on top. Top with more sauce, step back and take a picture, and dig in— with others of course. : )

These are a great meal all by themselves. Beer or margaritas would go nicely, as would chips and guacamole. Buen provecho!



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Healthy Classics


My mouth is watering after looking at your pictures—chicken soup, barbecue, and giant doughnuts! Delish. It’s been a busy week and I havn’t been in much of a mood to make a whole lot. When we had our visitor over the weekend I made some elaborate spreads with cheeses, meats, dips, and breads. My current favorite is pairing rye bread & hummus and brie & bosc pears. The pate, comte, and prosciutto from Trader Joe’s are good staples too. For dinner over the weekend I made pesto-chicken pasta with pine nuts and roasted tomatoes (we threw a keg party on Friday so carbs and fat was on the menu). This week I’ve made the switch to healthier meals.. in preparation for another weekend full of parties and late-night burger runs. I created a muffin recipe with handfuls of fresh zucchini, made a veggie-packed taco dinner, prepared a vibrant quinoa salad, and cooked up a delicious strawberry rose petal compote to go on top of ice cream and greek yogurt. Check out the recipes and how-to pictures below…

(Chocolate) Zucchini Loaf

2 eggs

1/3 cup brown sugar or evaporated cane juice

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups fresh zucchini, grated or shredded in food processor

1/2 cup light sour cream or greek yogurt (optional)

1/2 cup canola oil 

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup chopped pecans 

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini, canola oil, sour cream, baking soda, and salt. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk the flours with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir well. Then stir in the pecans, raisins and chocolate chips. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups or loaf pan and bake for 20 minutes (muffins) and 50 minutes (loaf). It’s best to take out when still a tiny bit gooey on the inside. Cool and freeze whatever you won’t eat in the next day or two.

Eat for breakfast, with tea and coffee, or for dessert with a dollop of yogurt and honey!

Strawberry Rose Petal Compote

Handful pink or red edible rose petals (very fragrant & pesticide-free!)

Ripe, sweet strawberries (preferably organic)

Sugar, evaporated can juice, maple syrup, or agave syrup

Lemon juice


Vanilla extract

Do ahead: Rinse rose petals thoroughly and drain. Clip off bitter white base and place rose petals in a small bowl, sprinkle with sugar to coat, and let sit overnight. 

Rinse strawberries thoroughly, cut into quarters, and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar (or other sweetener) and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Toss to coat. Meanwhile, place a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add strawberries and stir until it starts to liquify (The strawberries should have enough water to create their own sauce). Add rose petals and a bit of vanilla extract and cinnamon to taste, and simmer for 20-30 minutes more, or until sauce starts to thicken. Taste and add more sugar, vanilla, or lemon if it needs it. Refrigerate overnight (sauce will continue to thicken).

Use as a topping for ice cream, yogurt or on baked goods. Fresh mint or pistachios add great flavor and a bit of color!

Simply Mexican Tacos

Olive oil

Yellow or white onions

Zucchini, chopped

Red pepper, chopped

Frozen corn


Lemon juice


Sat n’ Pepper

Chili flakes

Sunflower seeds

Avocado, chopped

Salsa (or make your own)

Grated mexican cheese (jack, cheddar, etc)

Refried beans (black or pinto)

Soft or hard corn tortillas

Sauté vegetables in olive oil with a touch of salt until tender. Meanwhile marinate chicken with lemon, salt, pepper, half of cilantro, and chili flakes. Heat olive oil in pan and fry until just cooked through. Top with remaining cilantro and toasted sunflower seeds (these are so nutty and make every taco and burrito better). Heat refried beans, drizzle chopped avocado with olive oil, lemon and salt. Place veggies, chicken, beans, avocado, cheese and salsa in small bowls for serving. Heat soft tortillas on each side or warm hard shells and serve. 

Great for parties or for a movie night, like we had here! And takes less cooking and more prep so the more hands in the kitchen, the better! These are healthy and the veggies make them a variation on the classic tacos. Buen provecho.

Red & Orange Quinoa

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

1 sweet potato, peeled & chopped 

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

2-3 carrots, peeled & chopped

10 kalmata olives, pitted and quartered

2 roma tomatoes, chopped

A bunch of fresh chives or other fresh herbs, chopped

Dressing: 2 parts good extra virgin olive oil, 1 part lemon juice, salt* & pepper, 1 tsp honey

(honey surprisingly goes well with any savory salad, learned from MNR)

1/4- 1/2 cup Feta* or goat cheese

*If using feta and olives, hold the salt in the dressing

Do ahead: Place quinoa and water in 2 qt saucepan, bring to boil. Reduce to simmer on lowest setting and cover. After 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed, take off heat and cool. Place in refrigerator overnight or for a few hours. To quicken, pour into cold bowl, cover and refrigerate. 

Boil chopped sweet potato for about 10 minutes or until tender (but don’t overcook or else it will be mushy). Drain and rinse with cold water. Add chilled quinoa to a large serving bowl and add potatoes and all other chopped vegetables/herbs. Mix together olive oil, lemon, and honey for dressing in a small cup and pour over quinoa mixture to taste. Season lightly with salt and pepper and toss gently. Crumble cheese on top.

Now you’ve got one incredibly vibrant and wonderfully nutritious meal that you can eat all by itself, or serve with a main dish. The thing is, quinoa has a lot of protein so you don’t have to worry about adding meat to your meal. Its a complete protein, which means it has all the essential amino acids, and, it’s easy on the stomach. So what are you waiting for? Dig in already!

Oh, and just a warning, your pet will want some too… : )

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