Homemade Salsa

Homemade salsa is one of the easiest appetizers to make. You can do it in advance and pull it out in seconds. I recommend making it the day before you want to eat it for best results. It also will stay in your fridge for a while in an air tight jar. So many people ask me for this recipe. Your friends will too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes (pictured below)
  • Half of a white onion, quartered (has to be white, can’t substitute here)
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed
  • Bunch of fresh cilantro
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper for extra heat

Note: the type of tomatoes you use will affect the outcome of this salsa. I recently tried a different brand and the taste was way off. You can get the ones in the picture below a lot of places including Whole Foods. I use them for my Italian sauces too. This is KEY to good salsa.

Instructions


Pour the ingredients into a blender. Pulse until desired texture. I like mine a little chunky so you can see all the ingredients in it.

 



Put it in a jar and refrigerate for 2 hours. It won’t taste good until the flavors have a chance to merry for at least an hour. Serve with chips and you’re done!

Healthified Chicken Enchiladas

My father is on a new diet so last night’s dinner was all about taking a dish I love (see recipe here: chicken enchiladas verde) and making it calorie friendly.  My brother also happened to be home and he is on the opposite end of the diet spectrum. With this dinner we managed to make everyone happy. My father, who is on an 1800 calorie a day diet, consumed 424 calories and the rest of us consumed 614, the main difference being the cheese but he also only had one tortilla (with no cheese) and used lettuce for the rest whereas I had two tortillas. The lettuce wraps are a great way to enjoy a wrap with less calories and an added crunch. We did, however, find a whole wheat wrap with only 45 calories which is a great find! Overall this was a healthy meal with lots of fresh veggies that was delicious and offers you a lot of options when cooking for a diverse group of people.

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Above is a healthy option with the same tasty chicken used in the baked enchiladas below.

Keep in mind that cheese is about 100 calories per ounce, so you better make sure you want that cheese! It made me think twice about snacking on the delicious, sweet manchego cheese while cooking this meal.

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For the Salsa:

  • Can of whole peeled tomatoes, diced
  • Cucumbers, diced
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • Orange bell pepper, chopped
  • One jalapeño, chopped
  • Fresh chopped cilantro
  • Juice and zest from one lime
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper
Combine and let the flavors meld for 20-30 minutes

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For the Chicken:

  • 3 lbs boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 cans Trader Joes green chiles
  • 1 jar Trader Joe’s salsa verde
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 white onion
  • Fresh chopped cilantro
  • One jalapeño
  • 3 tbsp reduced fat sour cream

Place chicken breasts in a pot of water with salt, pepper, and other seasonings if you have them on hand. I threw in some salt and oregano.  Bring to a light boil and let cook.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Saute the garlic,onion and jalapeno in one cap full of extra virgin olive oil until translucent. Add in 1 3/4 cans of green chiles, the jar of salsa verde, the lime and lime zest. Season with salt & pepper.  Add a dash of cumin.  You want this to cook down on medium to low heat until the onions are sweet and all the flavors meld together.

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Shred the chicken into small pieces with two forks or your fingers. Add the chicken and sour cream, salt & pepper to the pan.

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Roll each tortilla with 1/2 manchego and 1/2 asiago cheese and the chicken mixture.  Spray the bottom of your casserole dish with olive oil, place the enchiladas in the dish and then spray the tops of the tortillas with olive oil.  This is a much better alternative to frying the tortillas and they will still crisp up in the oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

When they are almost done, add the remaining chiles and cheese to the top of the enchiladas. When the cheese bubbles, take them out.

For the side of black beans:

  • Fresh lime juice
  • Fresh chopped cilantro