Sunday, January 20, 2013

Homecooked Dinners from Around the World #1-Mexican

I noticed in the last week as I cooked dinner all of my food had a Mexican theme, or close to it. I wanted to diversify the foods my family eats, so I thought it would be fun to cook a dinner from a different place around the world for a week. 
 As I plan each night's dinner from a different place around the world I wish to start with Mexican. Now, for those of you who have done your research on what actual traditional Mexican food is-well, this isn't it. I am referring to the "Americanized" idea of what Mexican food is. So, without further ado, my favorite Mexican dinner prepared from home.

The menu includes:
Mexican Rice
Bean Dip and Salsa with Tortilla Chips 

Mexican Rice:
1 cup basmati rice (because I already had it for Indian night)
1 small can tomato paste
1/2 can sweet peas
1/2 can corn
equivalent of 1/2 can-frozen cut carrot pieces
1 can diced tomatoes
dash of garlic powder
dash of chili powder
dash of cumin seeds

Put all of your ingredients EXCEPT the rice in a stock pot on the stove. Bring all ingredients to a boil-this is important! Once the pot is at a boil, then add your rice and mix it in. Go ahead and leave your burner on for another 5 minutes, but then turn it off. Leave the pot over the hot burner though. This is the most important part-don't stir your rice. I am always so tempted to do so, but after you mix the dry rice in initially don't stir it until you are ready to serve it. Because I use tomato paste, my rice is a darker red color than the rice pictured above.

Enchiladas:*I prefer to use ground beef over chicken, but Mr. Tyler Florence made this recipe so I won't change it here!
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican Spice Blend
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 5 canned whole green chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 4 canned chipotle chiles, seeded and minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, canned
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar and Jack cheeses
  • Garnish: chopped cilantro leaves, chopped scallions, sour cream, chopped tomatoes
Coat large saute pan with oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken over medium heat, allow 7 minutes each side or until no longer pink. Sprinkle chicken with cumin, garlic powder and Mexican spices before turning. Remove chicken to a platter, allow to cool.
Saute onion and garlic in chicken drippings until tender. Add corn and chiles. Stir well to combine. Add canned tomatoes, saute 1 minute.
Pull chicken breasts apart by hand into shredded strips. Add shredded chicken to saute pan, combine with vegetables. Dust the mixture with flour to help set.
Microwave tortillas on high for 30 seconds. This softens them and makes them more pliable. Coat the bottom of 2 (13 by 9-inch) pans with a ladle of enchilada sauce. Using a large shallow bowl, dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce to lightly coat. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture in each tortilla. Fold over filling, place 8 enchiladas in each pan with seam side down. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven until cheese melts. Garnish with cilantro, scallion, sour cream and chopped tomatoes before serving.

 Bean Dip:
  • 2 pounds cooked black beans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted cumin seed, ground
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 jalapeno, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Reserve some of the juice from cooking the beans, or if you are using a canned product extra water can be used if there is not enough in the can. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

I typically purchase my salsa pre-made when cooking this many other items. One of my favorite is Muir Glen's Garlic Cilantro Salsa. Yum!

You will have food left over, I know as a family of 5 we do!

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