Guest Post: Amy McGinnis’s take on Mexican

My husband and I love Mexican food. We have moved a few times in the nine years that we’ve been married; each time we moved one of the first things we’d look for is a good Mexican restaurant. We understand that some of our tastes in Mexican food are more Tex-Mex than authentic, but we have expanded our tastes into more traditional Mexican food as well.
Like everyone else, we have cramped down on our budget in recent months. This has forced me to search for recipes that allow us to make tasty Mexican food at home.
Here are 4 recipes that we make quite often at our house:

Homemade Tortilla Chips
These tortilla chips are so good you won’t even need salsa or queso dip!
¾ Cup Vegetable Oil
8-10 Corn tortillas

1. Place oil in a high sided pan on medium heat.
2. Using a pizza cutter, slice tortillas lengthwise and then across. This should give you 4 equal pieces.
3. Place tortilla pieces into oil, 3-4 pieces at a time. Allow to fry for 30-45 seconds and then flip. Repeat the process until the chips are a deep gold color.
4. Remove chips from pan and place on a paper towel lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt.
5. To keep warm, place in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve. 

1. I have read in various recipes that say the oil temperature should stay around 350 degrees. You may choose to use a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature in the pan. I, however, just watch the chips. If they begin to brown too quickly then I will turn the heat down a bit.
2. To make sure the oil is hot enough to begin frying the chips, break off a piece of one of the chips and drop it in the pan. If it fries fairly quickly then the oil is ready to go.
3. Depending on your batch size the amount of oil should be adjusted. If you intend on frying 5 tortillas then ½ cup of oil will suffice.

Chicken Enchiladas (adapted from Real Simple)
Don’t let the tomatillos scare you away! I have found Wal-Mart to carry these exotic fruits on a regular basis. If you do not have a poblano pepper handy, a green bell pepper makes an adequate substitute.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 Pound tomatillos (papery skins removed), chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1 poblano (or green bell) pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¾ teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
1 cup heavy cream
2-3 frozen chicken breasts
1 14.5 oz diced tomatoes, drained
1 ¼ cups Monetary Jack cheese, shredded
8 corn tortillas (6 inch size)

1. Heat Oven to 400 F. Place frozen chicken breasts in boiling water and boil until cooked through. Once chicken is done cooking, allow to cool on cutting board and then shred into bite size pieces.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, tomatillos, poblano pepper, garlic, cumin and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until veggies are tender, about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer veggies to food processor; add cream and puree. There should be some chunks of veggies left.  The mixture will not be completely smooth.
4. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, tomatoes, 1 cup of cheese, ½ cup of tomatillo sauce, and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
5. Warm tortillas between two damp paper towels in the microwave for about 40 seconds.
6. Spread 1 cup of tomatillo sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
7. Roll the chicken mix in the warmed tortillas and place in pan, seam side down.
8. Pour remaining sauce and cheese over the finished enchiladas. Place in oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the tortillas begin to brown.

Tomatillo Salad (adapted from Weight Watchers Magazine March/April 2009)
If you didn’t pick up on the tomatillo flavor in the enchilada recipe, this salad will give you an opportunity to experience the crunchy tart flavor that makes this fruit unique.
1 small onion, chopped
1 lb. ground pork
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dry oregano
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
4 cups shredded lettuce
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained.
½ lb. tomatillos, papery skins removed, fruit rinsed and chopped
½ cup sour cream
1 cup salsa
1. Spray large skillet with non-stick spray and place on medium heat.

2. Combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.
4. Increase heat to medium high and add the pork; cook, breaking up the chunks of meat with a spoon until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
5. Add spice mixture to heat, stirring until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Remove skillet from heat.
6. Layer lettuce, beans, and tomatillos in a serving bowl.
7. Top salad with the pork and onion mixture; serve with sour cream and salsa.

Eggs, Beans, Salsa, and Pepperoni
OK. This recipe may seem a little weird…especially the pepperoni part. The original recipe titled “Huevos Rancheros” called for sunny side up eggs mixed with black beans and salsa. Since no one in my house is a fan of sunny side up eggs we decided to go with scrambled.
One night my husband got the crazy idea to add pepperoni to the recipe. Surprisingly it worked well. This is a quick and easy recipe we often pull out on the nights when we do not have a lot of time for dinner. This version of the recipe serves about 3-4 people but can be easily increased for a larger crowd. As long as the eggs are cooked through, you really can’t mess this recipe up! You may choose to use more or less beans, salsa, and pepperoni than what is listed below.
4-5 Eggs        
1 can of Black Beans (I prefer Busch’s Low Sodium Beans), drained and rinsed
1 Jar (ish) of Salsa (I prefer the chunky kind for this recipe)
Pepperoni, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Shredded cheese (for topping)
Sour Cream (for topping)
Corn or flour tortillas (1-2 per person) 

1. Scramble eggs in pan until cooked through.
2. Add beans and most of the jar of salsa (depends how much salsa you like). Stir ingredients in pan.
3. Add slices of pepperoni (again, depends on how adventurous you are).
4. Season with salt and pepper. 

From this point, you have a few different options in serving this meal. You could let everyone roll their own tortilla wrap using the mixture as a filling. Or you can make quesadillas on the stovetop. 

1. To make the quesadillas, warm a 9-12inch pan on medium heat.
2. Spray one side of the flour tortilla with cooking spray or coat with a thin layer of butter.
3. Place greased side of tortilla down in pan.
4. On one side of the quesadilla, place cheese and egg mixture.
5. Fold quesadilla in half and flip until each side is golden brown.

Thank you, Amy, for guest posting! 

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