I was looking for a starter that was super easy, festive looking and didn’t take up excessive amounts of space in the fridge (fridge space is precious during the holidays!!). I found it in this Mexican layered dip. We’ve all have layered dips and they come in varying degrees of difficulty. This one was pretty simple using some prepped items but letting you feel like you were kind of making it from scratch. (I love to prepare things from scratch but occasionally like tho be able to take a few shortcuts.)
I altered a recipe from Bon Apetit’s Outdoor Entertaining cookbook by subbing veggie refried beans for the kind with bacon, upping the spices, and tweaking other ingredient amounts. The assembled dip looked bright and festive on the buffet table and received lots of comments from guests.
Mexican Layered Dip
(altered from recipe in Bon Appetit Outdoor Entertaining)
- 2 cans of vegetarian refried beans
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 1/2 cups guacamole
- 1/2 cup tomatillo salsa (salsa verde)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (about 8 oz)
- 2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes with jalapenos, well-drained
- 3/4 cup chopped green onions
- 1 1/2 cups reduced fat sour cream
- 2/3 cups chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 small can sliced black olives, drained
- Tortilla chips
- Mix beans and chili powder in a medium bowl to blend.
- Mix guacamole, tomatillo salsa, and garlic in another medium bowl.
- Spread half of bean mixture in bottom of 8 – 10 cup glass bowl. Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese.
- Spread guacamole mixture over. Spoon half of drained tomatoes over the guacamole.
- Sprinkle with green onions.
- Spread remaining bean mixture over.
- Stir sour cream in container to loosen. Spread over bean mixture, covering completely.
- Arrange cilantro, remaining cheese, olives, and remaining drained tomatoes in concentric circles on top of the sour cream.
- Cover; Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- Serve dip with chips.
NOTE: Dip can be assembled 1 day ahead. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated.
Given the name of this site, would you be shocked to learn that I like mangoes? They have such a refreshing, sweet taste and are a great addition to many recipes…and not just dessert recipes.
For example, this quick and healthy chicken taco recipe includes a mango-avocado salsa. The salsa is made up of mangoes, avocados, tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, lime juice and cilantro — Simple, fresh ingredients that takes these tacos to the next level.
If you don’t like or can’t find corn tortillas then go ahead and substitute the flour kind.
Chicken Tacos with Mango-Avocado Salsa
(adapted from Cooking Light)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 4 (6-0unce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced peeled mango
- 1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
- 8 (6 inch) corn tortillas
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine first 3 ingredients. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Rub over chicken.
- Add oil to pan, swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 5 minutes. Cute into 1/4 inch thick slices.
- While chicken cooks, combine mango, and next 6 ingredients (through jalapeno); stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Heat tortillas according to package directions; top with chicken and salsa.
Makes 4 servings.
One night, Mr. Mango got inspired that we should have fish for dinner when we walked by the seafood case at Fresh Market. I happened to have read a fish taco salad recipe in Katie Brown’s Weekends cookbook earlier in the week and was eager to try it so purchased some cod. These were some great looking cod filets….very fresh. I couldn’t wait to try them out in this salad.
The salad is relatively easy to make. I added some cucumbers and tomatoes that weren’t called for in Katie’s recipe. The end result was a very tasty salad that I will definitely make again and again.
Spicy Avocado, Fish & Black Bean Taco Salad
(adapted from recipe from Katie Brown’s Weekends)
- 2 pounds cod
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoons each salt and pepper
- olive oil for sauteing
- 1 cup salsa
- juice of 2 limes
- 1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 avocado, pitted and diced
- 1 english cucumber, diced
- 1 tomato, diced
- corn tortillas
- 3 cups shredded lettuce
- sour cream (optional)
1. Rinse the fish and pat it dry. Set aside
2. In a bowl, combine chili powder, brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Rub the mixture into the fish on both sides.
3. Heat a little oil in a large skillet. Saute the fish until it flakes easily. Remove from heat. Break the fish into large chunks.
4. In a bowl, combine the salsa, lime juice, black beans, green onions, cilantro and avocado.
5.Warm tortillas in clean dish towel in microwave for 20-30 seconds. Keep wrapped tightly
6. Divide the fish and the bean mixture equally among the tortillas. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and if desired, sour cream.
Malinche: A Novel by Laura Esquivel
rating: 3 of 5 stars
Laura Esquivel is a Mexican author most famous for her novel Like Water for Chocolate. I’ve read her 2 books Like Water for Chocolate and The Law of Loveand enjoyed both. They both had touches of magical realism. Malinche is the third novel that I have read by Esquivel. This novel is a work of historical fiction that also contains a smattering of magical realism.
I am not very well-versed on Mexican history so I learned a few things from this novel which is the fictionalization of the life of La Malinche. La Malinche’s real name was Malinalli and she was an indigenous slave woman who lived in Mexico during the time when the Spanish were arriving and conquering. Many Mexicans view her as the person who allowed the Spanish to overthrow the Aztecs.
Malinalli is a strong-willed young woman who is given away as a gift to the Spaniards. She finds herself interacting with Hernán Cortes and eventually having an affair with him. Malinalli quickly learns the Spanish language and acts as an interpreter between Cortes and the indigenous people.
The character of Cortes was rather one dimensional and portrayed as a power-hungry, cold-hearted man who took whatever he wanted. The character of Mallinalli was more robustly portrayed…she was very spiritual and was concerned about her future and the future of her people. Even so, we didn’t fully understand some of her motivation, such as why she wanted to continue her affair with Cortes. It was also confusing as to why she seemed to have so much freedom if she was a slave.
Overall, Malinche was not as magical as Like Water for Chocolate. I suspect that maybe something was lost in the translation from the original Spanish that it was published in. I am still glad that I read it though since I did learn a little something about Mexican history. After reading the book I Googled Malinche to learn more about this historical figure…she’s apparently quite controversial!
View all my reviews.
Last week I read the non-fiction book Waiter Rant. Inspired by meal tacos that one of the cooks made for the restaurant staff, I decided to whip together some shrimp soft tacos. These tacos were extremely quick and easy to make. The best thing about shrimp, aside from their yummy-ness, is that they cook up very quickly. I served these up along with the Mexican chicken soup for a meal that wasn’t too heavy.
Chipotle Shrimp & Avocado Soft Tacos
Avocado & Salsa
- 1/2 Haas Avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup Salsa Verde (purchased or homemade)
- 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (or red chili pepper)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 pound raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 4 corn tortillas
- chopped small red onion
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Toss the avocado, cilantro and kosher salt together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat the stove or outdoor grill to medium-high. Mix the olive oil, chipotle or chili powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cook the shrimp until translucent, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side.
- Grill tortillas, until slightly charred and pliable, about 20 seconds per side. (Alternatively, wrap in a damp paper towel and heat in a microwave.)
- Spoon the salsa on the tortilla, then top with about 2 or 3 shrimp and some avocado chunks, onion and chopped cilantro. Serve 2 tacos per person, with a lime wedge on the side
Another winning recipe from the Barefoot Contessa: Mexican Chicken Soup. This recipe was originally published in Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home. Its the perfect soup for a cold late November day, where here in the southern ‘burbs of Boston we had icy rain most of the day. Since there are only 2 of us, I opted to cut her recipe in half and also used a bit more of some of the spices. We still have a ton left over. But, we loved this soup and it will make a great lunch tomorrow.
The soup is mildly spicy with juicy shreds of chicken and chunks of veggies mingled amongst bits of white corn tortilla. I topped each bowl off with chopped cilantro and some avocado. The soup was very easy to make and will be part of the MangoHouse’s dinner rotation from now on.
A big thank you to Judy from Judy’s Gross Eats for selecting this recipe for Barefoot Bloggers. Stop by her blog to read about her experiences making this fabulous soup.
Mexican Chicken Soup (adapted from the Barefoot Contessa)
yields 3-4 servings
- 1 split (1 whole) chicken breast, bone in, skin on
- Good olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cups chopped onions (1 onions)
- 1/2 cup chopped celery (1 stalk)
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 1/4 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
- 3 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas
For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1/2 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.