Category Archives: Mexican

Spicy Tortilla Soup and Cheddar Biscuits

Tortilla Soup Cheddar Biscuits

Since the boy and I were having a full-out Fall weekend at “Deer Camp” last week, I felt the compulsive foodie need to make things that were cabin and cold-weather appropriate. The first morning started off with pumpkin brown butter waffles, but for dinner my mind went directly to soup and bread.

Soup, because it warms me from the inside out and makes me feel cozy. Bread because, well, I’m pretty obsessed with bread in all forms: sliced bread, flatbread, bagels pizza dough, naan, english muffins…you name a bread, and I probably love it. Especially biscuits, which hold a special place in my heart. Buttery, flaky, sky-high biscuits. I went through a phase in high school where I would eat a biscuit every single morning. I’d eat it alongside my cereal, of course, because carbs power you through the day (this is my logic and I’m sticking to it).

For this Deer Camp soul-food occasion, I decided that the soup would be a spicy tortilla variety with black beans and crispy fried tortilla strips. And as you may have guessed, the bread wouldn’t be your average sliced bread (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but buttery biscuits filled with shredded sharp cheddar and black pepper. Both of these things are perfect on their own, but together? They’re a Fall soul-food force to be reckoned with.

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Drama-Free Rice and Beans

Rice and bean mexican salad gluten free vegan

For the most part, I’m a pretty drama-free girl. From day one, my mom says that I “came out mellow,” and that’s pretty much been my way of being in the years since, with the exception of a few adolescent outbursts. However, there are a few things I’m a bit of a drama queen about.

Like when I open my car door to get out and it’s juuuust not open wide enough, so it comes swinging back and hits me in the leg. I think I’ve scared my neighbors with my expletives a few times.

Or when I carry my groceries up my three flights of stairs, huffing and puffing, sweating, needing to pee in a big way, then go to find the right key to open my door in the sea of keys I carry everywhere, and drop the entire thing just as I get it up to the key hole. I will cry.

Or when I get all fancy in my Sunday cooking, just trying to make my lunches for the week, trying to live a responsible, well-planned adult life, and I end up with 5-days-worth of nearly inedible food. To make matters worse, I usually end up eating the failure food anyway because I also hate wasting things. This experience will ruin my day, and usually the only thing that will make it better is an oven-fresh chocolate chip cookie and trash TV (and I mean really the. only. thing). Again, drama queen.

My mom knows all-too-well that my lunches are very important to me. She’s experienced first hand when I’ve spent $30 on ingredients and literally could not force down the result. So, when her coworker recommended a very simple and quick bean salad, she thought of me and my lunch adventures.

The recipe intrigued me, but it was SO straightforward…so simple…so unlike me and my Sunday experimentation. It may not get me into my Sunday cooking trance, but it would supply me with food for a full week with very little effort. I decided it was worth a try. This dish comes together in literally 20 minutes, and will feed you for DAYS. Now that’ll just make a girl smile.

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Faking Authenticity (And Loving It)

The boy and I cook differently. One is no better than the other (yada yada yada), but different strokes for different folks, right? For instance, when I try something new in the kitchen, I tend to research and pay attention to the process. When the boy helps, and he’s a GREAT helper, btw, he tends to get a bit…how should I say this…courageous. Yes, a big courageous man, that’s it.

Anyway, I decided last week that I should try to make a Mexican dish that I’ve ordered for years but never dared try at home. I love peppers, I love explosions of cheese, so it naturally follows that I love chili rellenos. I had no idea how to make the mysteriously delicious item, and I honestly didn’t even know what “rellenos” meant, but I was going to figure it out, and I was going to make an authentic, Mexican dish. Well, at least sorta.

To be fair, my recipe plan was never truly authentic. Since I knew I was going to be frying cheese-stuffed peppers in shortening, I wanted a side that was a bit healthier than the plate’s main attraction. The boy and I both like spanish rice, so I decided to make spanish quinoa, which we perfected last winter in another bout of Mexican experimentation (fajitas). For those who think “quinoa” doesn’t even look like a real word, pay attention, because it’s so very, very real. It tastes like rice, but it’s actually a gluten-free whole grain, and a protein powerhouse, which cooks in a mere 15 minutes. I personally think it may have super powers, but believe what you will.

In addition to the quinoa move that may bring shudders and head shakes from Mexican cooks worldwide, we ended up taking some creative (read: time-saving and frustration-lowering) allowances with this recipe. Why? Because as much as a refined cook as I like to pretend to be, sometimes a girl’s gotta find a shortcut, and that’s okay. It’s especially okay if the result is as crunchy, gooey, and delicious as this was, but perhaps I’m just making excuses. Let’s cut to the chase…

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