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Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas is a fast and easy meal to make on a busy week day, a lightly spiced and smoky dish with a touch of cheese served with diced avocado and sour cream.chicken quesadillas tortilla

Chicken quesadillas

Searching for an easy way to make the kids and yourself happy on a busy weekday night? Or maybe you have some leftovers of last sunday’s roasted chicken feast? Chicken Quesadillas is the way to go! A quick and easy recipe filled with flavor and approved by kids, what else can you ask for?! Served with a done in no time diced avocado with a squeeze of lime and sour cream to smooth things up a bit.

Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas

Chipotle peppers in adobo

Chipotle peppers are mildly spicy and sold in a can that contains a sensational “adobo” or marinade making the perfect seasonning for the chicken. No worries about the heat, this pepper is mild and has this special touch of smoke to it which give the impression of a chicken filling done on charcoal. Often people at the table have different tolerances to heat, chipotles are a great start to begin with, than simply add a nice bottle of hot mexican sauce or some extra hot peppers on the table to satisfy those heat seekers.  I do love an extra sweet touch of maple syrup or honey in the filling to complement the chipotle peppers, I believe is levels up the spice a bit, but this is up to you.

Chicken quesadillas

The sides

I do love creamy sides with my “spicy food” because personally I’m all about contrasts, to say the truth where I currently live they don’t have sour cream, but no worries a nature greek yogurt does the trick plus if you take a 0% fat you make it way lighter. But the sides are up to your family taste, it could be a nice fresh pico de gallo, a full on guacamole or something else. Feeling too lazy after a hard day at work to make a full guacamole? Skip the whole guacamole and simply cut an avocado and squeeze some lime and salt on it!

Queso equals Quesadillas

For the ones who don’t know quesadillas comes from the word “queso” which means “cheese” in Spanish. This is pretty much the main rule of a Quesadilla “Needs to contain cheese” the rest (filling) could be basically anything you’d like. Since the cheese is the main actor here let’s explore this subject. The original cheese they use for quesadillas in Mexico is called Oaxaca which is a fresh cheese, similar to Italian mozzarella, that once melted make those irresistible strings that we love so much. But if you are like me, living far away from the goods… we have to survive with “alternatives”. The most string”y” cheese I know is mozzarella which, of course, is a great choice for this recipe but personally I like my cheese to taste “stronger”, especially with an already “spicy filling” so I’ve used a cheddar. Another great alternative widely used in the US is Monterey Jack cheese which is this great, young “mildly spicy” cheese but then again not an easy product to find outside of the area. Anyhow has long as it melts rapidly you’ll get a great quesadilla, avoid aged cheeses as they don’t melt well. The amount of cheese is up to you, go with what your diet allow you to have… personally I would go crazy on the cheese but sadly my “eternal diet” prohibits me from doing so.

So let’s make these quesadillas!

 


Easy Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas

Makes 3 portions | Preparation: 10 minutes | Difficulty: easy

Ingredients
  • Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas3 Medium sized wheat tortilla breads (2 big ones)
  • 2 pre cooked chicken breasts or chicken leftovers equivalent (25 min at 180°C(350F))
  • 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo (1 small can)
  • * 2 tbsp of maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 of diced bell pepper
  • Cheddar
  • Salt and pepper
Sides
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1/2 lime
  • sour cream or plain greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper

*optional

Directions
  1. Start by blending the chipotle peppers and some of the marinade it comes with
  2. Shred the chicken with the help of a fork
  3. Add the chipotle mix, maple syrup, salt, pepper and the diced bell pepper to the chicken and mix
  4. In a nonstick pan, medium-high heat, spray a bit of oil
  5. Add the tortilla bread, grated cheese and the chicken filling, close into half and make another one next to it
  6. Cook 1 minute on each side until golden and crisp, turn mid-way with the help of a big plate
  7. Cut into 3 each piece and serve with diced avocado (with a squeeze of lime and salt) and sour cream (or for lower fat alternative: 0% fat plain greek yogurt)

 

Enjoy!

Mexican chipotle chicken quesadillas

Extra tender Chipotle-Maple Pulled Pork cooked sous-vide served with fresh guacamole, black bean paste, corn tortilla and sour cream for a hot and sweet Mexican night!Chipotle-Maple Hot Tacos

Sweet and Spicy Mexican pulled pork tacos

This is my own version of spicy Mexican pulled pork tacos, with a Canadian flair to it of maple syrup. This particular recipe uses a sous-vide machine although it could easily be done in a slow cooker. The other day, while walking around my “Temple” called Santa Caterina Market, in Barcelona. I’ve ended up at my favorite pork butcher and got hypnotized by those skinless pork knuckles/ham hock, couldn’t resist the urge to try to make something special out of them. So here we are!

Pork knuckles / ham hock

Chipotle-Maple Pulled Pork Tacos

We don’t see many recipes around with this cut even though it’s divine tasting. It reminds me of pork cheek, the taste is somehow distinct, bolder and better in my opinion, above other cuts. Once perfectly cooked it becomes so tender, it falls apart easily plus it’s a way less fatty than let say pork belly… I already know the Germans (husby) love this cut, they make a popular roasted pork knuckle dish in Bavaria called Schweinshaxe. Delicious stuff, although you need the skin for this particular recipe.

Sous-vide

This cut of meat is essentially the elbows of the pork which contains lots of ligaments and tendons. For this reason the meat needs propre long and low temperature cooking in order to become extra tender and no better way to cook long and low than a sous-vide machine right? Of course the dish could be done in a crockpot or slow cooker for 1/4 of the time although the meat’s texture might change, less juicy and might be overcooked. I like sous-vide for this reason, the meat cooks to the perfect temperature guarantied and get cooked uniformly because the heat comes from all around while the slow cookers cook from the bottom part. However for this recipe I’ve used sous-vide method, slow cooker are great to make pulled pork too… simply add all the ingredient in the slow cooker and let it go for 5 hours at low temperature.

Chipotle-Maple Pulled Pork Tacos

I’ve always wanted to be a heat warrior like my siblings but in the end of the day I just have to accept that I’m weak. I do love some heat in my food but just cannot pass the “medium” level. That’s why I love to add a little sugar though those hot dishes of mine to calm the heat down and no better sweetener than my “home sweet home” maple syrup. This element bring a nice note to the dish, not powerful enough to make the meat sweet but enough to calm down all that heat and give the meat this extra layer of deliciousness… is that a word? Anyhow the maple syrup isn’t in everyone’s pantry so if you don’t have any simply substitute it for some honey.

So let’s start those tacos already!

 


Chipotle-Maple Pulled Pork Knuckles

Makes 10 tacos | Preparation: 48h | Difficulty: easy

IngredientsChipotle-Maple Pulled Pork
  • 2 pork knuckles/ham hock
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 220g (1 small can) of chipotle in adobo
  • 1 lime (or 3 tbsp of apple vinegar)
  • 5 tbsp of maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 5g butter
  • salt and pepper
Tacos sides
  • small corn tortillas
  • guacamole
  • black bean paste
  • sour cream
  • extra cilantro leaves
Directions
Sous-vide pork knuckles
  1. Add a touch of coarse salt and pepper to the skinless pork knuckles / ham hocks, add them to the plastic bag with the butter
  2. Sous-vide them (air tight bag) and let them 48 hours at 63°C (145F) for a tender result
  3. Once done with the help of a fork shred the meat and reserve
  4. Soften the onion in a small pan in a bit of olive oil and salt (5 minutes)
  5. Add to blender with 6 chipotles peppers from the can, 3 tbsp of the adobo sauce from the can and the rest of the ingredients, blend until homogeneous paste
  6. Mix the chipotle paste with the pulled pork and check the seasonning (salt and pepper)
  7. Serve with corn tortillas and sides

 

Enjoy!

Chipotle-Maple Pulled Pork Tacos

Tequila Lime Shrimp Bowl is a light mexican citric recipe with a touch of heat made of sauté shrimps, avocado, cilantro leaves, pico de gallo, mango and quinoa for a light and colorful Mexican dinner.Tequila lime shrimp bowl with avocado, pico de gallo, avocado, quinoa and cilantro

Mexican Shrimps tequila lime avocado mango cilantro and pico de gallo

This Mexican bowl is filled with fresh and colorful ingredients and simply irresistible for a hot summer night. The protagonist of the bowl here is the shrimps, they are cooked in a tad of tequila, garlic, habanero and a squeeze of lime for a little boost in flavor. I saw the recipe of Tequila Lime Shrimp here and there on the web and wanted to try it out. I add to come up with a slightly different version, so I’ve done a Mexican Bowl. Nothing looks more appealing to me than a simple bowl with lots of fresh and colorful veggies one next to the other and a touch of protein and grains.

To flame or not to flame

Tequila lime shrimp bowlFor sauté the shrimps I didn’t flamed them in the tequila, I wanted the shrimp to simply cook in this super tasty broth to get all that residual sweetness from the agave the calm way… to kick up the shrimps a notch. I’ve used a reposado type of Tequila which is darker and sweeter, although any tequila would do, I highly recommend the reposado for the final taste. To flame or not to flame is up to you and the tequila you use. Remember that in order to flame the shrimps you’ll need a Tequila with an alcohol content of 40% and over. Tastewise flaming or simply cooking in alcohol doesn’t change the final taste or structure of the dish. The Maillard reaction or caramelisation doesn’t have enough time or heat to take place and brown up the surface of those shrimps.

 

The sidekicks

Tequila lime shrimp bowl

As for the other ingredients in the bowl, I’ve use a healthy filler from South America ; white quinoa. I believe quinoa is the perfect crunchy and healthy sidekick to the shrimps, plus it fits the “Latino” flair from the dish. Quinoa being a South American grain which is high in proteins, iron and vitamins, it serves as the energy giver of the dish. The pico de gallo gives the bowl a fresh and lightly spiced element, the mango the sweetness and tropical flair, the avocado the smooth and creamy side and the cilantro leaves the crunch and some extra freshness. For a bowl filled with colors, flavors and textures!

Let’s get this bowl going!

 


Tequila Lime Shrimp Bowl

Makes 2 portions | Preparation: 15 minutes | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients
Tequila lime shrimp bowlThe shrimps
  • 200g of medium size shrimps (frozen or fresh)
  • 50ml of Tequila reposado
  • 1 lime
  • 2-3 garlic clove finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp of fresh habanero or your favorite hot pepper
  • salt and pepper
The pico de Gallo
  • 2 big tomato cut into small dices
  • 1/2 tsp of habanero or your favorite hot pepper
  • 2 tbsp onions finely chopped
  • 1/2 lime juice
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
The other bowl sides
  • mango 
  • quinoa
  • cilantro
  • avocado
  • extra lime wedge
Directions
  1. Start by unfreezing the shrimps (if frozen) and season them with salt and pepper
  2. Assemble the pico de gallo, mix it up and let it marinate
  3. Cook the quinoa following the instructions
  4. In a wok or sauté pan, add a bit of cooking oil and saute the shrimps high heat for a minute
  5. Add the garlic, hot pepper and tequila and let them cook until the tequila is gone
  6. Stop the fire, add the squeeze of a lime
  7. Assemble the bowls with all the elements

 

Enjoy!

Tequila lime shrimp bowl

Baked Twice Sweet Potato a la Mexicana is all the flavors of a great spicy taco inside a double baked sweet potato. An easy homemade spicy taco mix to season the meat, a few fresh tomato dices, crunchy lettuce and cheddar and a final smooth touch of sour cream.

Roasted Sweet Potato Tacos Style

Some of you know how I love to mix up ideas… and after a long winter it’s time to call mother nature for some sun. No better way to bring the heat back than a nice spicy taco right? Well, what if we merge it to a nicely crunchy twice baked sweet potato? The spicy taco mix goes to perfection with the sweetness of the potato, plus you get some nice fresh and crunchy toppings and sour cream to makes it taste fully like a Taco.

 

Homemade spice mix

Roasted Sweet Potato Tacos StyleNo need to go buy a “mexican spice mix” at the store, this nice taco seasoning is often already in your pantry! A simple mix of cumin powder, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, spicy paprika, oregano or dry cilantro, pepper and salt and there you have the perfect taco mix. Often homemade tex-mex or mexican seasonning contain onions powder and garlic powder, well for this recipe I’ve used fresh onion and garlic which gives a fresh touch to the meat. To finish the meat seasoning, I added a bit of “salsa de Chili Chipotle” which is easy to find at any supermarkets and a touch of cornstarch which help to protect the meat from getting tough and chewy and picks up the leftover juice from the Chipotle sauce. I’ve added the spices in the end of the cooking process because some spices (like paprika) can burn and give a bad taste if over cooked. I suggest to add the spice mix one or two minutes before the meat is done.

 

Twice baked potato

Roasted Sweet Potato Tacos Style

A fluffy inside with a crunchy skin is what a perfect potato should be! The best way for your potato to get those two winning attributes is to start by cooking it whole in some aluminium paper and let it cook about an hour (depending on the size, check it out with a stab to the heart;) and then once cooked… you scoop some of the potato flesh out and mash it with some butter or keep it for a potato salad or a tortilla. To make the skin extra crisp you’ll need a touch of oil over the skin and a sprinkle of salt then simply broil the potato skin side up until it gets nice and crunchy. Usually you would fill it back with some of the mashed potato but in this case I’ve kept the space for the mexican flavored meat and the fillings.

So let’s get the heat going!

 


Roasted Sweet Potato a la Taco Style

Makes 2 main courses | Preparation: 1h20 | Difficulty: Easy

Roasted Sweet Potato Tacos StyleIngredients
  • 2 big sweet potatoes
  • 300g of ground meat (pork and/or beef)
  • 1/2 yellow onion cut into small dices
  • 1 garlic clove finely minced
  • 1 tbsp of salsa de Chili Chipotle
  • some cooking oil (I use olive oil)
The taco spice mix
  • 2 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1tsp of coriander powder
  • 1tsp of cayenne pepper powder
  • 1tsp of spicy paprika powder
  • 1 tsp of oregano or dry cilantro spices
  • 1 tsp of cornstarch (optional)
  • salt and pepper
The toppings
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato cut into small dices
  • Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Chives (optional)
Directions
  1. Start by cleaning the potatoes, pat them dry, give them a half way through cut on the length and cover with aluminium paper. Cook at 180°C (350F) for an hour or more until tender in the center. Scoop some of the inside out (reserve for another recipe) and cover the skin with a bit of oil (I use olive oil) and sprinkle of salt. Broil skin side up for 10 to 12 minutes until crisp.
  2. During the last 10 minutes of the potato time make the meat; Start by cooking in a pan, med-low heat, the onion in some olive oil and salt until translucent (5-7 minutes).
  3. Season the meat with salt and pepper, bring the pan to high heat, add a touch more of oil and the garlic. Once the pan is hot, add the ground meat and cook at high heat until almost cooked, add the spice mix and the salsa de Chili Chipotle and mix well until cooked. Reserve.
  4. Once the skin of the sweet potato is crispy, add to a plate and fill with the mexican seasoned meat. Let people serve their own toppings at the table; lettuce, tomato, cheddar, sour cream and chives.

 

Enjoy!

Roasted Sweet Potato Tacos Style

 

An unctuous and spicy Mexican stew made with a Mole style sauce and tender beef cubes served with tortilla chips, corn and parsley, for an “Olé” night. An unctuous and spicy Mexican stew made with a Mole style sauce. All the great Mexican flavors plus some extra veggies, served with tortilla chips, corn and parsley, for an extra Southern flair.

Mexican stew

I was browsing the Web last week and saw lots of stews and Mexican food around… it made me want them both badly… so I’ve decided to merge them both into one nice stew meal; a Mexican Stew. The two are comforting and great dishes for winter times but this stew version is double the comfort; it’s a “French” way stew with the usual; carrot, potato, beef, mini french oignons merged to a spicy Mole style sauce for a Mexican flair; adding Chipotle peppers in Adobo, tomato puree, chocolate, corn and some cinnamon, cumin and coriander powder. Result: Fantastic!

Chipotle peppers

Mexican stewThe mole sauce is a thick spicy Mexican sauce made with chocolate and lots of hot peppers. Since my maximal tolerance toward “spicy” is at medium-hot,  I’ve aimed at medium-hot for this dish but feel free to add some chipotle peppers  if you like it “hot”. Those chipotle peppers are considered mild from the start with only 3000 SHU / 10000 SHU on the Scoville scale, so… this is a meal suitable for everyone. Plus, they come in an adobo marinade which is a tomato, garlic and spices paste, fitting perfectly with the stew. Another particularity of the Chipotle peppers is its smokey side, since they smoked them before being marinated.

The Chocolate factor

This isn’t a joke, unsweetened chocolate is just the best friend of any stew. First, because it’s a thickener, all natural, no need for that extra flour in the beginning or corn starch to thickens the sauce. Second, it gives the sauce this deep rich brown color which makes it just irresistible. Third, dark chocolate is filled with health benefits; lower the bad cholesterol, may be lowering blood pressure, great source of antioxidants, protect the skin from the sun, cut hunger, contains lots of fibres, iron, magnesium, etc. Let just say it’s great news for our health. This Mexican stew doesn’t contain more than 50g of dark chocolate, although it looks like it contains lots because of it’s thick consistency. It’s actually half a small bar of dark chocolate, no more and no worries the flavor is really subtle.

mole mexican beef stew
The toppings

The toppings are totally up to you, I wanted to make it extra Mexican looking so I’ve added some corn grains, tortilla chips, parsley. Those are all optional of course. Also, I’ve done the potatoes on the side but some people might prefer being serve this dish with rice, which is usually the side dish to mole dishes in Mexico. So it’s all up to you!

Let’s make this unctuous and spicy Mexican stew!

 


Mexican stew

Makes 6 portions | Preparation: 2 hours | Difficulty: easy

Ingredients
  • Mexican stew500g of beef in 4 cm cubes
  • 500ml of beef broth
  • 4 chipotle pepper in adobo (6 for ‘extra’ hot)
  • 1 tbsp of the adobo paste (from the can above)
  • 400g tomato paste/purée
  • 3 carrots cut into dices
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 8 mini french onion (or 2 onions)
  • 1 tbsp of worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp of coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder
  • 50g of dark chocolate (better unsweetened)
  • olive oil or butter
  • salt and pepper
Sides
  • tortilla chips
  • potatoes
  • corn grains
  • parsley
Directions
  1. Start by browning the cubes of meat, add salt and pepper to the meat then in the pot used for making the stew, high heat, brown each side of the meat cubes in olive oil or butter
  2. Add the carrot, mini onions, garlic, and cook a minute or two before adding the beef broth and scratch the bottom bits leftover by the meat
  3. Bring it to a strong simmer
  4. During that time in a blender, blend the chipotle pepper with the abodo paste it comes in and the tomato puree/paste
  5. Add the blended chipotles to the stew with the spices (cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt and pepper), the worcestershire sauce
  6. Let it simmer slowly, half covered for 1h30
  7. In the end, add the chocolate and check the seasonning
  8. Serve with a few corn grains, potatoes, parsley and tortilla chips

 

Enjoy!

Mexican stew

Tacos al pastor

Who doesn’t love a good spicy taco with a touch of sweet in it? The tacos al Pastor are a pork tacos from Middle Mexico, the actual way they cook the pork is on those Middle East Kebab rotating grills. Mexican got inspired by the Lebanese immigrants and made there own version of Shawarma, they’ve changed the veal for pork and add lot’s of different hot peppers to it with a welcome touch of pineapple! Delicious stuff! My version is a braised meat done in the oven, since the roasting method isn’t easy to make at home… but for courageous cooks, there is a way here you can try, which look delicious!tacosalpastorpin

Tacos al pastorA while ago, our Mexican native Veterinarian recommended me and my husband his favorite Mexican place in town (Barcelona). We ended up in La Taqueria, near the Sagrada Familia, a small, colorful and humble mexican restaurant. We’ve tried 4 differents styles of tacos and we both fell “head over heels” for the “taco al pastor”.  A spicy, juicy, fruity yet meaty bite… Out of that world! Then… I got inspired and bought myself those tortilla press to practice my homemade corn tortillas… After a few times… I’m still working on the perfect dough… Anyways, after a few try I think I finally got it, the meat is spicy and juicy and for the taco shell, the press I own is make the shell quite thick, although still delicious.

I’m an ocean away from Mexico, and not too crazy about ultra spicy food so I’ve just add the Chipotle chiles, not the usual 3 different hot peppers (guajillo and anchos chiles are missing). But it’s all up to you, if you are a ultra spicy lover, add those 2 extras hot peppers to the mix.

So.. let’s start by making our own corn tacos shells! (optional, of course…)

 


Tacos al Pastor (the gringo way)

Makes 20 small tacos (Long preparation: takes 3 hours for the meat coccion)

Ingredients
The corn tortillas
  • 500g (2 cups) of corn flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • about 325ml (1-1/2 cup) lukewarm water
The shredded pork meat
  • Tacos al pastor500g (1 pound) pork cheek (can also choose the shoulder or brisket)
  • 500g (1 pound) pork ribs
  • 150ml dark beer (or broth)
  • 250ml orange juice (or pineapple juice)
  • 200ml chicken broth
  • 4 chipotle Chiles from the can
  • 3 tbsp of the Adobo sauce from the chipotle chile can
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar (or your choice of vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp oregano (mexican one) I’ve used dried coriander instead
  • a pinch of Habanero powder (dried chile flakes)
  • salt, pepper
The toppings
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tomato
  • few limes
  • fresh coriander leaves
  • slices of pineapple
  • finely sliced onion
  • Hot Habanero Homemade sauce *optional
  • grinded Cheddar *optional
Directions

Bring oven to 180°C (350F)

The shredded meat
  1. Blend onion, garlic, Chipotle chiles, adobo, spices, vinegar and orange juice.
  2. In a iron cast, at high heat, add olive oil , brown the pork pieces
  3. Once all sides are light brown, add the beer and deglaze
  4. Add the spicy mixture to the meat and top with broth or water until the meat is well covert
  5. Bring to a boil, then in the oven
  6. Let cook for 3 hours
  7. Take the meat pieces out of the pot, let the leftover on a medium fire to make it reduce (get thicker) should become a light paste
  8. Let cool the meat before shredding it with your fingers, getting rid of all the bones and cartilages
  9. Once the sauce is light paste textured, add the shredded meat back in
  10. Cover and Reserve
The corn tortillas
  1. Add the salt to the corn flour
  2. Incorporate slowly the lukewarm water
  3. Knead it until elastic, not sticky, add more water if it’s too dry
  4. In a tortilla press, (or you can use a simple rolling pin), add a baking sheet or plastic wrap, to prevent the tortillas from sticking to the press
  5. Make small 3-4cm (2inch) balls and press them, the thinnest possible
  6. Add them to a non stick pan, high heat, a minute on each side
The toppings
  1. Makes a guacamole with the avocado, tomatoes, coriander and lime
  2. Cut finely slices of fresh onion and pineapple
  3. Add the rest of the toppings to a big plate

Serve the shredded meat, homemade corn tortillas and toppings separately on the table and let everyone make their own tacos. Enjoy!

Tacos al pastor