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Entries in salsa (3)


Warm From the Inside Out

Every fall when it comes time to set the clocks back an hour for Daylight Saving Time, I begin craving soup.  Maybe it’s the bear in me anticipating hibernation or the reminder that colder temperatures are looming or that germs will soon be abounding in more threatening quantities.  Soup is a wonderful comfort food---warming you from the inside out.  This soup recipe offers a warm blend of Mexican spices and flavors.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
3 (12 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3 cans (14 oz. each) reduced sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 to 3 cups broken tortilla chips
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
1/2 cup good-quality salsa
1/2 cup sour cream, light or regular (optional)
Optional Garnish:  Sour cream (light or regular)
                            Tomato slices
                            Chopped fresh cilantro

Brush both sides of the chicken breasts with lime juice. Sprinkle evenly  with chili powder and cumin.  Let stand for 10 minutes. 

Preheat grill or broiler to medium high. Grill or broil chicken 5 minutes per side or until cooked through. Cool.  Cut or tear into 1/2-inch pieces.

Heat broth to a boil in large saucepan. Add tortilla chips; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Puree mixture in batches in food processor or blender; return to saucepan. Stir 1-1/2 cups cheese into broth mixture; cook over low heat until melted, stirring frequently. Stir in salsa and chicken; heat through. Ladle into bowls.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese and garish with sour cream, tomato slices and/or chopped cilantro, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Did You Know:  Daylight Saving Time (DST) has been used in the U.S. since World War I.  Through 2006, DST in the U.S. ended a few days before Halloween.  In 2007, a new law extended DST to the first Sunday in November, with the purpose of providing trick-or-treaters more light and therefore increased safety.  The time change impacts numerous businesses.  For example, when the clocks fall back one hour in October, all Amtrak trains in the U.S. that are running on time stop at 2:00 a.m. and wait one hour before resuming. Overnight passengers are often surprised to find their train at a dead stop and their travel time an hour longer than expected.  But to keep to their published schedules, trains cannot leave a station before the scheduled time.    


South By Southwest

There are many food traditions tied to New Year's Day.  Every culture seems to have particular foods that, by tradition, promise to bring them good fortune during the coming year.  In the South, one of the most popular New Year's Day dishes is Hoppin' John.  Legumes, including black eyed peas, beans and lentils are symbolic of money.  Their small, seed-like appearance are said to resemble coins that swell when cooked--and thus are consumed to herald increased prosperity in the coming year.  Hoppin' John is often served with stewed tomatoes.     

My family members are not big Hoppin' John fans, so this year I decided to create a Southwestern interpretation of the traditional Southern favorite.  HUGE hit! 

Black Bean Risotto
4 tablespoons butter, separated
1 cup Aborio rice
2/3 cup Mexican Beer (such as Corona) or substitute additional chicken broth
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup canned black beans, drained
2/3 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup prepared salsa, warmed
Garnishes:  fresh lime slices
                 additional shredded Cheddar cheese
                 Cilantro sprigs

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter.  Add Aborio rice and sauté 1 to 2 minutes.  Add beer and cook, stirring, until liquid is absorbed.  In a medium saucepan (or in microwave), warm chicken broth.  Add to rice, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition, until moisture is almost absorbed.  Add black beans, cheese, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter and continue to cook, stirring, until just melted.  Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve with warmed salsa.  Garnish with fresh lime slices (adds a bright flavor layer squeezed over individual servings just before eating), Cheddar cheese, and cilantro sprigs, if desired.

6 servings.

Wishing you rich joy and blessings in the New Year!


Thumbs Up!

Salsas are a quick and easy way to enliven virtually any main dish.  Added bonus—children of all ages seem to love salsa--incorporating it into the menu can increase the chance of earning a Thumbs Up! at your family dinner table.  There are a wealth of wonderful salsa recipes and ready-made salsas available, offering an extensive range of flavor combinations.  Warming the salsa can also give it a totally different affect.    

Example:  Ranchero Catfish, which I developed for the Catfish Institute years ago.  It continues to be a family favorite.  This recipe is a great way to get children to like catfish--and to help cook, crushing the tortilla chips.  Place chips in a well-sealed food-safe plastic bag and crush with rolling pin.  I find children are much more likely to try something new, if they take part in the preparation.

Ranchero Catfish
4 Catfish fillets, 4 - 6 oz each
1 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
2 teaspoons chili powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup of your favorite salsa 
Optional Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.  Cut each catfish fillet in half. Rinse in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.  Mix crushed tortilla chips and chili powder in a shallow dish.  Mix lime juice and oil in another shallow dish. Dip catfish in the lime mixture, then immediately dredge in the seasoned tortilla crumbs to coat. Place on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle catfish with any remaining tortilla crumbs.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until crisp and golden and fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.  Warm salsa in a small saucepan over low heat.  Arrange catfish on serving plates and spoon salsa across the center. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro, if desired, and serve.
4 servings.                    

For a sampling of delicious salsa recipes, visit: