Saturday, July 30, 2011

Paco's Tacos

(Pacos Tacos - all loaded up)

Our honeymoon not only created our love for pico de gallo. It also created our summer favorite - Paco's Tacos!! When we arrived at our all inclusive resort for our honey moon, by the time we got checked in and into our room it was already past dinner time at the dining facilities. EXCEPT for an open-all-night place called Paco's. So we headed there the first time.

OH. MY. GOODNESS. We were in love - with the food. They had authentic Mexican cuisine at its finest. Everything tasted so fresh and delicious. They had tacos and quesadillas and everything else you could imagine. So on our multiple trips to Paco's throughout the week, I tried to figure out how to replicate Paco's Tacos at home. Here's what we came up with:

Paco's tacos filling

Paco's Tacos

2 chicken breasts
Juice of 4 limes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
fresh cracked pepper

2 bell peppers - any color, sliced into strips
1 red onion, sliced into strips

In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, cilantro, garlic cloves, olive oil and pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup of marinade in a tupperware container. Add chicken breasts to larger bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to marinate for at least 2 hours.

When ready to grill, slice up peppers and red onion into strips. Create a pouch of tin foil. Put sliced veggies and reserved 1/4 cup marinade into pouch. Seal up pouch and put on top shelf of preheated grill. Grill chicken breasts for 6-7 minutes on each side until thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken and veggies from grill.

Slice chicken breasts into thin strips. Top tortillas with chicken and veggies then additional toppings as desired.

Enjoy!! Makes 4 servings.

***I did not calculate nutrition facts on this as it depends what you put on your taco.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pico de Gallo

Four summers ago my husband and I enjoyed a wonderful week on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico for our honeymoon. We went all out and reserved a fancy-schmancy all inclusive which was above and beyond my expectations. One of my favorite parts about staying at an all inclusive is not having to worry about what to make for meals, where to go, etc. You have a HUGE selection of restaurants and buffets at your beck and call. Although this can be disastrous for your waistline, it doesn't have to be! There are many fresh, healthy options like fruits and vegetables available for you to try.

One of our favorite dishes at the resort we stayed at wasn't a dish at all, it was a condiment. PICO de GALLO!!! We loved it. It was so fresh and tasty and went with everything. I spent the whole week trying to remember exactly how it tasted so I could recreate it at home. When we returned, it took several tries but I think I perfected the pico de gallo. Now we have it all summer long. It would be great with oven baked tortilla chips or with Paco's Tacos (recipe to come!).

Pico de Gallo

1 large ripe tomato, diced into TINY pieces
1/2 red onion, small dice
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 4 limes
salt to taste

Serve with tortilla chips, on tacos, with eggs, on quesadillas - whatever your heart desires!!! Store in refrigerator. Tastes best when flavors have been allowed to blend for a few hours or overnight.

Makes 6 servings

16.6 calories
0.2 g fat
4.3 g carbohydrate
0.7 g fiber
0.5 g protein
Provides 20% DV Vitamin C

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Local Produce - Strawberries!!!

I am a big advocate of buying local produce. Local produce is going to be more nutrient packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients than any other source as the closer something is eaten to the time it was picked, the better. I know some people are big on organic, I'm not - I'm big on LOCAL.

Many people think of Michigan as cold, snowy and the former home of the auto industry. But what you might not know is that it has a big agricultural business as well. Where I live, specifically, it is known as the "Fruit Ridge". This time of year an abundance of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and cherries are all around. Later, peaches, pears and apples begin to ripen as well.

Finley and I spent a few hours a couple weeks ago at a U-pick strawberry farm. We (and by "we" I mean she sat in her stroller while I furiously picked as many berries as fast as I could) picked over FIFTEEN pounds of strawberries to haul home. Now berries aren't something that stay ripe on your counter very long, so I knew I had to have a plan.

First, I mashed up about half of the berries and canned homemade jam. I used Ball "No-Sugar-Needed" Pectin to make sugar free jam. I boiled the jars in a hot water canner so they can stay good all year long in my pantry.

The remaining berries I washed and hulled and froze on cookie sheets. Once they were frozen, I have them stored in ziploc bags in my freezer just waiting for my morning smoothie.

What produce is in season near you? Any creative ideas to use up your abundant produce quickly?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sauteed Green Beans

I love fresh green beans and this time of year they always seem like the perfect pairing with any grilled food. A few weeks ago, we had them with these turkey burgers and they were the perfect pair!

The good thing about green beans, is that they're a pretty good people-pleaser. Even someone who is picky about what vegetables they'll eat ( husband) will enjoy a good fresh green bean. Now I'm not going to say you can't use frozen in this recipe, but there's something about a good fresh green bean with a slight crunch to it that you just can't replicate.

I came up with this recipe on my own with ingredients that I had on hand, and you probably will have these ingredients to.

Sauteed Green Beans

2 cups fresh green beans, ends cut off
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lite soy sauce
fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat in saute pan. Add green beans and garlic. Stir in soy sauce.

Cook until garlic is translucent and green beans have softened slightly.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving
31 calories 1.3 g fat 4.8 g carbohydrate 2.0 g fiber 1.4 g protein

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Actually Delicious Turkey Burgers

I've been in search of the perfect turkey burger for quite some time. I found this turkey burger recipe a few months ago. Although it is tasty - it's not quite a replacement for a good old fashioned burger since it is more of a buffalo variation. When you get a turkey burger, it is important that the burger not be dry and that it be super flavorful as ground turkey can have a tendency to be bland and dry - yuck! So the search continued.....

A few weeks ago we had some friends over for dinner (Hey Amanda!!!) and I knew they would appreciate a tasty turkey burger. I searched high and low and found this recipe for turkey burgers on I scaled it down a bit to make 4 servings and altered the proportions of some of the ingredients. They were super tasty! I topped mine with lettuce, provolone cheese, onion and A-1 sauce. The rolls were homemade (although ended up not being blog-worthy) and I'll share the fresh green bean recipe tomorrow.

Keep in mind that turkey burgers, although not necessarily low calories, are a better option than a traditional beef burger. Turkey meat is lower in fat and saturated fat which helps make it a heart healthier option. Try them on the grill - your heart will thank you :)

Actually Delicious Turkey Burgers

1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 Tbsp finely diced onion
1 egg white
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
fresh cracked pepper to taste

Combine thoroughly all ingredients. Shape into four equal patties. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes to help hold their shape.

Cook on grill, 4 minutes on each side until thoroughly cooked. Try to avoid flipping them a bunch of times as they are prone to break apart.

Makes 4 patties. Each patty provides:
230 calories
11.3 g fat

6.0 g carbohydrate

0.6 g fiber

4.8 g protein

Patties would be even lower in fat and calories if you use
ground turkey breast instead of just regular ground turkey.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Home from vaca, empty fridge :(

We're back from an awesome time in Corolla, North Caroline with the whole maternal side of my family. 25 of us rented two giant houses and spent the week swimming, laughing, eating, running and playing Wallyball!

After the trip, we came home to an empty fridge and had to start back to work. So it's slim-pickins in the cooking department this week. I'm working on my grocery list and hope to bring some yummy recipes to you soon!!!