Posts Tagged With: Mexican

White Chile con Queso Fondue with Chorizo

Game Day is COMING!  I can’t believe its here already!  Sadly, couldn’t tell you who’s playing but I know I’m excited for the social opportunities that come with the “big game.”  Its all about the parties.

Part of the reason why I can’t believe its here already is because it marks the one year anniversary of correcting my feet – surgery numero uno was the day after the Super Bowl last year. Its been an interesting year with the feets but I’m happy to say that they’re at about 90% and I even wore heels TWICE last week.  That’s a huge deal for a vertically-challenged, shoe-lovin’ woman!

But you probably don’t care so much about my feet and my love for shoes as you do about food.  So onwards…

To me, the Super Bowl is a big giant excuse to eat really unhealthy for a day.  Anyone share that sentiment or am I just looking for excuses?  Regardless, I’ve got an awesome dip for you!

Looking to “theme” your game day food (it drive me BONKERS if foods don’t at least kind of go together, even finger foods.  I’m OCD you could say), then check out these posts from my Mexican-themed New Years that could/should be prepared for game day!


Avocado, Orange, and Pomegranate Salsa

Mexican Fruit Salad

You might as well throw in some pico de gallo, guacamole, and of course some quality tortilla chips.  These are my FAVORITE (heck, I even eat them without dips!).


  • 12 oz. spicy Mexican chorizo sausage, crumbled
  • 12 oz. queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 c. Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 1 c. pico de gallo
  • 3 TBS tequila
  • 1 TBS cornstarch
  • 2 TBS water
  • Mexican hot sauce to taste (optional)

Place the chorizo in a large fondue pot over medium heat.  As the sausage begins to cooks, stir frequently to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  When the sausage is almost cooked, add the cheeses, crema, pico de gallo, and tequila.  Keep whisking until the cheese melts.  The mixture should become smooth after about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water and add the mixture to the fondue.  Stir until slightly thickened.  Taste and add hot sauce if desired.

Serve immediately over low heat.

Adapted slightly from Hallie Harron’s Not Your Mother’s Fondue

Categories: Appetizers, Mexican, Recipes, Sides, Snacks | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Restaurant Review: XOCO, Chicago

Sound the alarm!  Branden and I found an awesome “takeout” restaurant in Chicago.  I put the term takeout in quotes because its only takeout if you truly don’t want to eat it there- if you actually want to sit down, you’ll wait a good hour to do so because the line is so long.  You might be asking if its really worth it for food.  Allow me to answer that for you: YES!

XOCO.  This is famous chef Rick Bayless’ attempt at Mexican takeout (just one of three restaurants he has in Chicago all in the same block).  What drew me to XOCO as we were passing by was the fact that fresh empanadas were being made in the front window.  Love at first sight.  What could make this place even better?  They roast their own cocoa beans on sight for chocolately drinks.  This is serious Mexican street food.  For lunch and dinner, they specialize in tortas (Mexican sub sandwiches) and caldos (“meal-in-a-bowl” soups).  They also have a couple salads, but really who’s interested in that when you can have a sandwich that was toasted in a wood-fired oven?  Yes, they toast their tortas in a wood-fired oven.  This place just kept getting better and better!

We decided to eat out meal at the restaurant because I wanted to eat it as fresh and hot as possible, so we waited and waited.  And we drooled over the menu- its amazing how many times you change your mind on what you’re going to order when you have an hour to ponder your decision.  I think we ended up doing pretty well though…

The bottom of the picture is my torta.  I had the summer special that consisted of skirt steak, a fresh cabbage slaw, lettuce, and avocado.  It was incredible and the flavors were fresh and vibrant.

Next up from the bottom, you can see the order of guac and fresh salsas that we ordered.  Branden and I can’t eat Mexican without chips and salsa…I think there’s some rule about the fact the two go hand-in-hand somewhere.

Then there’s Branden’s torta, the Pibil: wood-roasted suckling pig with achiote, black beans, pickled onion, habanero salsa.  Holy yum!  This thing was amazing and I’d be hard pressed not to order it if we went back.

My little sister ordered a caldo (seen at the top), Carnitas: Slow-cooked pork carnitas, potato-masa dumplings, chayote, roasted serrano chile, greens, arugula, avocado.  This was also delicious and HUGE.  Soup is definitely an entree at XOCO.

After our meal, I insisted that we order some churros because I had been seeing them carried out all evening and they looked awesome.  I was not disappointed at all!  We ordered ours with a side of homemade ice cream (yes, they had homemade ice cream, too!) to dip them in which was an excellent choice.  The churros came out so piping hot that I burnt my fingers on them.  The pain we must suffer to enjoy good food I guess!  The churros were probably the best I’ve ever had at a restaurant.  Seriously.

Bottom line, if you’re looking for some fabulous Mexican street food in Chicago and don’t mind waiting in a line, check out XOCO.  While I didn’t get to try any other of Rick’s restaurants, based on my experience at XOCO, I’m willing to bet that they’re pretty awesome as well!

Categories: Mexican, Restaurants | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Branden’s Birthday Dinner a.k.a. Mexican Fiesta Part III

  • Yellowfin Tuna & Coconut Poblano Ceviche
  • Roasted Red Pepper Guacamole
  • Enchiladas Suizas
  • Classic Margaritas on the Rocks

The moment you’ve all been waiting for (or should’ve been): The Enchiladas!  These were so good that Branden and I fought over who got to have the leftovers (and we’re lucky there were any to begin with) and then Branden asked if we cold make them this weekend, too.  Seriously, we’ve made a LOT of different enchilada recipes from scratch in this household and this one tops them all…by far.  I think this particular recipe was a hit for two reasons: the roasting process for the sauce ingredients and the use of a rotisserie chicken  instead of boring boneless, skinless chicken breasts. 

I also liked this recipe because its easy.  Yes, I said it, homemade enchiladas that are easy.  Recipes that we’ve made in the past required literal hours slaving over tomatillo sauce and shredding chicken with two forks.  Who needs it?  This recipe requires you roast the veggies for the sauce (I did it all on one sheet pan) and pull chicken from a store-bought, already-cooked bird.  And those are about the most labor-intensive parts of this process.

  • 1 purchased roasted chicken (2-2 1/2 pounds)
  • 12 oz. fresh tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 fresh jalepeno peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced fire roasted tomatos, undrained
  • 3/4 cup pack fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 1 cup Mexican crema or one 8 oz carton of creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 1 TBS all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 6″ corn tortillas
  • 2 TBS vegetable oil
  • 3 oz Chihuahua or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (3/4 cup)
  • Cilantro Sprigs
  1. Preheat broiler.  Carve or pull meat from chicken.  Using two forks, shred meat.  Measure 2 1/2 cups of the chicken for this recipe.  Save the remaining for another use.
  2. On a large baking sheet combine tomatillos, onion wedges, chile peppers, and garlic.  Broil 3 inches from heat about 14 minutes or until tender, with black spots and pepper skin blisters, turning once during broiling.  Cool slightly.  With gloved hands, use a paring knife to peel as much skin from the peppers as possible; halve and seed peppers.  Core tomatillos.  Reduce oven temperature to 350° F; adjust oven rack to center of oven.
  3. In a blender, combine broiled vegetables, undrained fire-roasted tomatoes, and cilantro.  Cover; blend until smooth.  Add Mexican crema, flour, and salt.  Cover and blend briefly until smooth.
  4. In a medium bowl combine shredded chicken and 1/2 cup of the tomatillo mixture.  Spread about 1/2 cup of remaining sauce in bottom of 3-quart rectangular baking dish.  Set aside.
  5. Lay tortillas on a backing sheet.  Brush both sides of each tortilla lightly with oil.  Bake for 2-3 minutes or just until softened.  Remove from oven.  Stack tortillas and wrap in foil.
  6. Removing one tortilla at a time, divide chicken mixtureamong tortillas, spreading evenly over each tortilla.  Roll up tortillas.  Arrange rolled tortillas, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish.  Pour the remaining tomatillo mixture over tortillas.  Top with shredded cheese.  Bake, uncovered, about 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese starts to brown slightly.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  If desired, garnish with cilantro sprigs.

I stuck to this recipe for the most part, but I did use a little extra garlic and added some crushed red pepper to the sauce for a little more heat.  I also topped the enchiladas with more cheese than recommended because, let’s be honest, I LOVE me some gooey cheese!  I wasn’t able to find Mexican crema at my grocery store, but I did find creme fraiche and it worked perfectly fine.

For those of you who are interested, here’s the nutritional info for the recipe as it reads (per enchilada): 357 cal., 23 g fat (9 g sat. fat), 108 mg chol., 736 mg sodium, 18 g carb., 3 g fiber, 22 g prot.

Categories: Entrees, Mexican, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Branden’s Birthday Dinner a.k.a. Mexican Fiesta Part II

  • Yellowfin Tuna & Coconut Poblano Ceviche
  • Roasted Red Pepper Guacamole
  • Enchiladas Suizas
  • Classic Margaritas on the Rocks

Part II of Branden’s birthday dinner brings us to the guac…a staple in Mexican meals in our household.  Seriously, we’re nuts about it.  As a kid, I remember hating the stuff- the green color was most unappetizing in my mind.  Sometime while I was in high school, some switch flipped and I became obessed with it.  Guacamole (my own made up recipe, in fact) was the first thing my Mom ever thought I could make better than her.  To this day, she still will ask me to make it when I’m over.  Sometime I’ll have to try to share my personal recipe, but its one of those things that doesn’t really have a recipe…I just kind of do my own thing, but I think I can at least share the gist of it.

As mentioned in Part I, this recipe came from Ultimate Mexican which oddly can be found on the magazine racks right now.  Who knew…

  • 2 very ripe avocados, halved, seeded, peeled, and cut up
  • 1 TBS lime juice
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, halved, seeded, roasted, and chopped (or 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers)
  • 6 TBS finely chopped green onion
  • 1-2 TBS chopped, seeded fresh jalepino chile pepper (or 2-3 TBS chopped, seeded fresh serrano chile pepper)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  1. In a medium bowl, combine avocados and lime juice.  Using a potato masher, coarsely mash avocado mixture until slightly lumpy.
  2. Stir remaining ingredients into avocado mixture.  Serve immediately or cover surface tightly with plastic wrap and chill for up to 2 hours.  If desired, serve with tortilla chips.  Makes about 2 cups.

Overall verdict: Decent- if nothing else, it was a different take on my usual guac and the roasted red peppers did compliment the enchiladas that I served it with (coming in my next post).  I used coarse sea salt because I think its got better flavor than table salt.  I also more than doubled the cayenne because I thought it needed a bit more kick.  The final adjustment was lime juice, I used a whole lime just because that’s my personal preference.

And for those of you who may be interested, here’s the nutritional information per 2 TBS Serving: 49 cal., 4 g fat (1 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 38 mg sodium, 4 g carb., 2 g fiber, 1 g protien

Categories: Appetizers, Mexican, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Branden’s Birthday Dinner a.k.a. Mexican Fiesta Part I

This year for Branden’s birthday, we decided to stay in since we’ve been traveling a LOT during the month of April.  Between the two of us (sometimes together, sometimes apart) we’ve been to Pennsylvania, Texas, Mississippi, and Florida.  Although we’ve enjoyed all the food adventures along the way, we liked the idea of not eating in a restaurant over the weekend.  Besides, Branden had found this awesome “Ultimate Mexican” cookbook/magazine thing on the magazine rack at the grocery store last week that we were dying to test out.

With the exception of the appetizer that I got out of one of my Latin cookbooks, the menu came entirely from Ultimate Mexican, a Better Homes and Gardens Special Publication.  I’ll be posting one of the recipes from the below menu over several posts this week because quite frankly, I have so much to say that I think it would be overwhelming in one post.  I also made Branden a birthday cake that is most definitely NOT Mexican, so I’ll address that later as well because its worth sharing!

Now for the menu:

  • Yellowfin Tuna & Coconut Poblano Ceviche
  • Roasted Red Pepper Guacamole
  • Enchiladas Suizas
  • Classic Margaritas on the Rocks

Today’s recipe comes from Fiesta Latina by Rafael Palomino.  My Mom gave me this cookbook years ago, but because of the “exotic” (a.k.a. not found in Wayne County) ingredients, I’ve often pushed it aside after drooling over the pictures.  Now that I’m no longer on a college student budget, I’m able to work a little harder to track down hard-to-find and high-end ingredients.  Thank goodness!

  • 12 oz. sashimi-grade yellowfin tuna, cut into 1/4″ dice
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 TBS coarsely chopped cilantro
  • One 14 oz. can coconut milk
  • 3 TBS cream of coconut
  • 1 TBS honey
  • Kosher sale and freshly ground pepper

Put the tuna in a large glass or ceramic bowl.  Add the citrus juices, mix well, and cover tightly.  Refridgerate until tuna is turning opaque on the outside but is still rare on the inside, about 15 minutes.  Combine the remaining ingredients with the tuna mixture.  Serve chilled.

Thoughts on the recipe: First of all, YUM!  I love ceviche and this recipe did not disappoint!  Branden and I both agreed that half of the called-for onion would be sufficient, especially because the raw onion becomes really potent the longer it sits.  I did double the honey as well, just for good measure.  I really loved the smoky flavors of the roasted poblano peppers combined with the sweet and sour of citrus and coconut.  One word of advice: do NOT use reduced fat or fat free coconut milk.  I didn’t make the mistake with this recipe, but I have with other recipes in the past and I just don’t even want to talk about the lack of flavor that resulted.  I know that its not as healthy to use “full fat,” but I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.  There are just some ingredients that weren’t meant to be messed with in my mind and coconut milk is one of them.  Trust me.

Don’t be overwhelmed by this recipe- I honestly think it would be hard to mess up, but I definitely understand why the thought of cooking raw fish in citrus juices is intimidating.  As long as you use sashimi or sushi-grade fish, you really have nothing to worry about.  And since the fish is will continue cooking since its still in the acid, leftovers can be kept for a day without fear.  Might I suggest treating it like salsa on day two?  Very yummy with tortilla chips!

Categories: Appetizers, Latin, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at