Cinco de Yum

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

A tradition I’ve had since visiting Disney for the first time at age 5… in the Mexico pavilion!

It’s no secret that I’m in love with Mexican food and drink. I tell the story all the time, but once in high school someone asked me if I was Mexican because I ate a lot of Mexican food. Well the “eating lots of Mexican food” has only increased as I’ve become the meal planner of the house, and I can never get enough!

Looking through my arsenal of recipes that I’ve blogged about, it’s clear that I’m in love with Mexican and Southwestern flavors. I decided to pare it down a bit to share with you some of my favorites, in case you’re looking for some last minute ideas!:

Veggieful Enchiladas
Grilled Cheesy Burritos
Southwestern Lasagna
Roasted Zucchini, Corn, and Onion Tacos
Veggie Loaded Nachos 

Margarita IN Mexico!

Now go enjoy a margarita – you deserve it!

Do you love Mexican food as much as me? How are you celebrating? 

Running for food

Since a solid 75% of what I think about is food related, it’s no surprise that food consumes my thoughts while I run. Ususally during long runs I dream about smoothies, milkshakes, or iced coffee, while on shorter runs during the week I think about my upcoming dinner. Take Thursday night, Cinco de Mayo, for example. In addition to thinking about the nachos I was planning to make all day, those thoughts followed me throughout my run. There were even points where I thought about picking up the pace just so I could finish and get dinner sooner. Totally normal, right?

When I realized it was already May and that Cinco de Mayo was rapidly approaching, I wanted to make something that had a little Mexican flavor, but wasn’t totally typical. I know, nachos are probably in the top 5 of things that come to mind when you hear Mexican food. But I decided to do things a little differently to give them my own twist. For starters, I took some Chi-Chi’s tortillas that had been sent to me with the mole sauce, and used those as my “chips.” I also used crumbled Chiptole Gardenburger instead of your typical chili or ground beef. Aside from that the toppings were typical; refried beans (with chipotles!), diced red onion, diced tomato, shredded lettuce, jalapeno, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.

When I received my fun little Cinco de Mayo package of mole sauce and tortillas, I also received some La Victoria salsa. I saved it until Thursday and finally got to give it a try. I also received a few Tostito’s dip packets from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, and got to put one of the guacamole mix packets to good use. I’m always wary about seasoning packets that claim to bring about authentic guacamole flavors, just because it’s hard to replace the fresh onion, lime juice, ciliantro, etc., but Tostitos does a pretty good job! This is a perfect mix to have on hand just in case you don’t have the other ingredients available to make completely fresh guacamole.

This meal really hit the spot. Of course, it would be great at a party or get together as well. YUM.

Veggie Nachos 

 Baked tortillas (see recipe below)
1 Chipotle Gardenburger, crumbled
1 cup refried beans 
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 Tbsp cilantro, diced
1 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup guacamole 
1/4 cup sour cream / Greek yogurt 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Layer baked tortilla chips in a lightly greased 9-inch pie  dish
3. Add refried beans, followed by onion, jalapeno, tomato, and cilantro topping off with cheese 
4. Bake for 10 minutes, serve with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream

Baked Tortillas

5 burrito sized tortillas
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Cut tortillas in half, and in half again, and again to make 8 triangles 
3. Layer on a sprayed baking sheet, and lightly top with olive oil and salt
4. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden and crispy 

*Of course you know the opinions stated here on my blog are completely my own. While I received some products (tortillas, salsa, and mole) from Hormel and the seasoning packets from Foodbuzz’s Tastemaker program, I was not required to write a positive review about them – they were good (in my opinion) and deserved a shout-out!

Moles and Molé

On Tuesday, I was thrilled that the projected high temperature was 80 degrees with sun. I couldn’t wait to get in a run after work, and heat up the grill for dinner.

There have been some seriously warm days the past few weeks, sandwiched between days of serious rainfall. I was able to take advantage of the warm weather for my run on Sunday, which actually resulted in a sunburn. I’m now on mole watch, which is something I’m sure any of my fair skinned readers know all too well – when we inspect and make note of all freckles and moles to make sure they don’t change and look “abnormal.” This usually means I find something, freak out, and then am told I’m insane. But you can never be too safe! I’m definitely going to be slathering on the sunscreen before my runs now.

Tuesday’s run was after work, so the sun wasn’t too much of an issue. The heat, though, was a killer. Both my fiancé and I just couldn’t power through our 4 mile run – it was brutal. Neither of us had any energy and our legs felt like lead balloons. I didn’t feel like I was struggling aerobically, but I just couldn’t hang energy wise; I don’t know if it was the heat, going to bed late the night before (boo end of the semester), or a combination. I just have to remind myself that for every not so great run, there will be a great one to follow.

Once I was done whining about our run, I marinated some chicken in Dona Maria molé sauce. I was lucky enough to have this sent to me to sample in preparation for Cinco de Mayo, and I thought it’d be great with grilled chicken. The chicken only sat in the molé sauce for about 30 minutes before going onto the grill, and it was plenty of time for it to really absorb the flavor. Since it’s a thicker sauce, it didn’t require an overnight/few hour soak. Having a sauce already made that will really jazz up an otherwise boring meal (sorry, but just plain grilled chicken is boring) was great – perfect for a weeknight dinner. I also received a can of diced pickled jalapenos, so I threw those on top of the chicken for a little kick.

I decided to keep it simple and just have brown rice with sauteed onion, pepper, black eyed peas, and corn. The rice we used was from our Half Marathon (or 9.55mile race) goody bag. I think it’s so random to get a mini bag of Carolina brown rice, no? But I’m certainly not complaining!

The meal was super simple, and really flavorful. Plus, I really only did half the work. I forgot how much I like cooking in the summer, because it means getting my fiancé in the kitchen (or in this case, manning the grill)!

Grilled Chicken Mole
– Serves 4 –

4 thin chicken cutlets
1 cup Dona Maria Molé sauce

1. Heat grill to medium-high heat
2. Fill tupperware container with 1/2 cup of molé sauce. Add chicken, then cover with remaining sauce. Make sure to coat chicken completely (don’t be afraid to get in there!).
3. Once grill is heated, cook chicken breasts, about 5 minutes on each side (depending on thickness), until done [no pink!]