Doesn't everyone love Mexican food? Cheese dip, nachos, tacos, chimichangas and quesadillas are all popular foods. But so much of what we eat as Mexican food here in the U.S. is really TexMex and has been drastically changed from the true diet of Mexicans. When Mexicans move to the U.S., their weight, heart disease and diabetes risk all go up as they switch to an American diet. True Mexican food uses much less cheese and fats and more vegetables and legumes.
When I first moved to Jonesboro, the best Mexican restaurant in town was Taco Bell. While Taco Bell is about the only fast food I will eat, it is not great Mexican. We have many Mexican restaurants in town now but I long for one that is really authentic. I have eaten at a few authentic or innovative Mexican restaurants and we Americans don't know what we are missing. I hope this week's blogs will get you to think outside the taco and explore Mexican cooking.
About a year ago, I found a Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication on Mexican cooking with cookbook author Rick Bayless. I have still seen it on the stands and I hope you can find it. I have tried several of the recipes and many are simple but delicious such as the fish tacos. When my niece ordered fish tacos once, I nearly gagged. Though I love fish and tacos, fish tacos just didn't seem to go together. Still I tried a bite and since then, have been eating fish tacos every chance I get. Here is my recipe for fish tacos.
4 white fish fillets such as tilapia
2 tsp. chili powder or to taste
1/4 tsp. red pepper or to taste
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 fresh lime
12 small corn or flour tortillas
Sprinkle fish with seasonings and place in a non stick pan sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Cook over medium heat, flipping once, until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place in a bowl and break fish up with a fork, then squeeze lime juice over fish. Serve in warm tortillas with lettuce and salsa.
1 mango, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 small jalopeno seeded and diced or several jarred jalopeno slices chopped
1 tsp. cilantro or 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and squeeze lime over mixture. Stir and let flavors combine in the refrigerator while you prepare the fish tacos.
This is a really refreshing change of pace from the usual Mexican fare and a healthier, lighter taco too. Great for hot summer days especially but I like them anytime. You can use regular jarred tomato salsa too, or a peach salsa. Use your imagination.
This past weekend, I hosted a retirement party for 20 and had some leftover roasted beef. If you've been reading my blogs, you know what a big fan I am of using leftovers. I was pondering what to do with the leftover meat as I didn't feel like cooking after all the work I did over the weekend. Suddenly I thought of fajitas! Fajitas can be very simple to fix and use many healthy ingredients.
To make the fajitas, I made a quick salsa from chopped cherry tomatoes, cilantro, salt and lime juice. Next, I sliced a green pepper and an onion into strips and sauteed them in olive oil till they were nice and brown. I sliced the beef into strips and barely warmed the meat in another pan. The tortillas were warming in the oven while I prepared the rest of the food. Then it was simply a matter of everyone assembling their fajitas. You could add a slice of avocado or a touch of sour cream to complete the fajitas. This is a great way to use leftover chicken or beef or frozen cooked chicken breasts. You can also get many fresh healthy vegetables in a tasty way.
Thursday I will continue with the Mexican theme. I hope the warmer weather has inspired you to get out and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air. Or at least I hope so if the weather where you live is warmer and the sun is shining!