Watermelon-Lime Popsicles

How to make watermelon-lime popsicles:

Blend 1/2 container (about 2 cups) chopped watermelon with the juice of 1/2 a lime. Pour into 3 popsicle molds and freeze!

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Steak and Bell Pepper Fajitas with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I usually buy the pre-sliced steak and bell peppers at the grocery store, but this time I wanted to find a recipe that I could make from scratch. Here it is!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds steak (skirt, flank, sirloin–I used flank)
  • 2 peppers (red, green or yellow), sliced into strips
  • 1 onion, sliced into strips
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper (I used red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Tortillas

Directions:

  1. Combine the olive oil, lime juice, spices, and garlic in a bowl and whisk until incorporated.
  2. Place the sliced vegetables in a container with a lid or a resealable plastic bag. Place the meat in another.
  3. Pour 1/3 of the marinade onto the vegetables and another 1/3 onto the steak. Seal the containers or bags and shake. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour or longer.
  4. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and drizzle with olive oil. Add the sliced vegetables and saute for about 5-10 minutes, or until vegetables are starting to get soft. Remove the vegetables from the skillet.
  5. Drizzle a bit more olive oil into the skillet and add the steak. Cook, turning every few minutes, for about 15 minutes or until steak is desired temperature. Add the reserved 1/3 marinade and vegetables and toss.

Serve on tortillas with: avocado slices or guacamole, black beans and cilantro rice, sour cream, cheddar cheese, mashed sweet potatoes (see recipe below), or plantains. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • A pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400F. Scrub the sweet potatoes and dry them. Wrap each potato in foil, making sure to crimp the top and sides so steam does not escape when cooking.
  2. Place potatoes on a lined baking sheet and bake at 400F for 1 hour 20 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let sit about half an hour.
  3. Once the potatoes have cooled, slice them lengthwise and scoop out the potato, discarding the skin. Mash in a bowl with the butter, nutmeg, and salt.

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Baked Plantains with Lime

Now that we are back in Florida, plantains are everywhere, and they’re affordable! I saved this recipe a long time ago and finally tried it yesterday. This is definitely a keeper!

Ingredients:

  • 2 plantains, yellow to black in color
  • 1.5 T lime juice (I used the juice of half a lime)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (I used a dash)
  • 2.5 T butter
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375F and trim the plantain ends on both sides.
  2. Cut a lengthwise slit in each plantain and place on a baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and let cool. Peel the skin off the plantains and slice into 1/2-inch diagonal pieces.
  4. Place the pieces on the baking pan and sprinkle with lime juice, chili powder, and salt. Bake for another 10 minutes.

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Shredded Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Rice

Taco Night—the most wonderful dinner of the week. You can make these with hard shells or with soft burrito flour tortillas. I like Tortilla Land and Old El Paso. Simply toss the tortillas in the skillet for a minute or so until heated through and serve the shredded chicken, cilantro rice, black beans, and a nice lump of guacamole on top. Add in some grilled sweet onions if you wish.

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • Cumin
  • Taco seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lime juice (about half a lime)
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

For the cilantro rice (recipe courtesy of Skinnytaste):

  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 T chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups water
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

Marinate the chicken by sprinkling it with salt and pepper on both sides and tossing it with olive oil, lime juice, taco seasoning, and cumin. Heat a skillet to medium high heat and add olive oil and minced garlic. Add the chicken and cook, turning every 4-5 minutes, about 20 minutes or until chicken is browned on each side. Add the chicken broth and let the chicken cook a few more minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and shred it with two forks. Add the shredded chicken back to the skillet and toss with the remaining skillet sauce.

Meanwhile, make the rice. Combine the rice, water, salt and 1 tsp vegetable oil in a skillet and heat to boiling. Let the water boil until it has reduced a bit, with the surface skimming the rice. Cover and reduce heat to low. Let cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and keep it covered for another 5 minutes. Remove the lid and add the other 2 tsp vegetable oil, lime juice, and cilantro. Toss to combine.

For a quick guacamole, mash 1 ripe avocado with about 2 tsp lime juice, salt, pepper, chopped red onions and 1 T chopped fresh cilantro. Stir well and serve with the tacos.

For caramelized onions, heat a skillet to medium high and slice sweet (or red) onions into rounds. Or, slice lengthwise. Toss the onions with olive oil in the skillet and add some salt and pepper. Saute about 15 minutes or until edges have caramelized.

Enjoy!

Here’s the shredded chicken back in the skillet:

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And the rice:

 

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Flank Steak Fajitas with Bell Peppers and Onions

Tacos. Fajitas. Whatever you want to call these. They are amazing. Some people prefer flour tortillas, I prefer corn. After all, my family is Nicaraguan, and I grew up smelling the aroma of fresh-made corn tortillas…the original Maseca recipe. Some day I will get a tortilla press and make them, because I just can’t seem to perfect the recipe using my hands.

This recipe is fantastic. I found it on The Pioneer Woman’s website. Her photos are spectacular, her recipes are delicious. I will visit her website a lot more in the future.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound beef flank steak (this serves 2 people)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (I used 1/4 cup)
  • 3 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup lime juice, fresh squeezed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 whole medium onions, halved and sliced (I used one)
  • 4 bell peppers, sliced (red, orange, yellow, green) (I used two)
  • Oil for frying
  • Tortillas, warmed
  • Crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese

Directions:

In a dish, combine the olive oil, Worcestershire, lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and sugar. Pour half of the marinade into a separate dish. Place the steak in one dish with the marinade, turning it over to coat. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours. In another dish, place all the vegetables and coat with the marinade. Put in refrigerator for several hours as well. I combined my ingredients in plastic Ziploc bags so that they would absorb everything better.

Meanwhile, prepare the tortillas, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro, for serving. I like to serve this with pico de gallo.

When you are ready to cook the steak, heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the vegetables and cook for a few minutes, about 5-6, until slightly browned. Remove and set aside.

The Pioneer Woman recommends heating the same skillet over high heat and drizzling in some oil, then cooking the meat 2 minutes per side for medium rare. I used my indoor grill on high heat. I cooked the meat about 4 minutes per side for medium rare-medium, and it turned out great.

Remove the meat from the heat and let rest on a wooden cutting board for at least 5 minutes. Slice the meat with an electric knife or serrated knife, against the grain, into long thin strips for the fajitas. You always want to let meat rest for at least 5 minutes so that the juices do not run out and dry the meat.

Tips for heating tortillas:

Use the faucet to moisten a piece of paper towel. Place the paper towel on top of a microwaveable plate. Place a tortilla over it. Place another wet paper towel over the tortilla, and continue to layer tortillas. Microwave 1 minute. When finished, wrap the tortillas in a moist clean kitchen towel and place inside a dish with a lid.

Here are the steak fajitas:

photo(8)And the finished assembled taco/fajita. That’s queso fresco, a very tasty type of cheese!

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Pineapple Black Bean Salsa

This is a great appetizer for a large crowd. Serve with lime tortilla chips (we like Tostitos)!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15.5 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1.5 cups chopped pineapple
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 3 T finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 T fresh lime juice
  • Coarse salt

Directions:

Combine everything in a bowl! Refrigerate until guests arrive.

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Sweet Peanut Dressing

Last night I made a salad with avocado, sunflower seeds, red onion, and butter lettuce. Since the salad was so plain, I needed a fun dressing, so I chose peanut. After a quick search on the Internet, I found a good one. I adapted the recipe from the one on this website.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp water
  • A sprinkle of ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • juice of one small lime

Directions:

Combine the first six ingredients by stirring well with a wire whisk in a small bowl. Add the last two ingredients once the mixture is creamy.

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