Super Tasty Salsa Recipe

This is almost the last of the recipes from Doodle’s birthday party.

The menu was:

Guacamole, salsa, and corn chips

Green chile pinwheels

Roast beef, horseradish, and basil pinwheels

Deviled Eggs

And, of course, birthday cake

We love my deviled eggs – I’ll post that one soon, too.

Making everything except the corn chips from scratch enabled me to give my daughter a lovely party with lots of food for a small outlay. And she’d prefer homemade to store-bought any day!

And now, on to the salsa. It’s really simple and quick, and wayyy less expensive than store-bought salsa. It also tastes a lot better than store-bought.

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
2 shallots, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons lime juice

Put the shallot, jalapeno, and garlic into the food processor bowl and pulse a few times until they’re chopped very small.  Add the cilantro and give it a whirl or two to chop the cilantro. Add the tomatoes, lime juice, and spices and pulse again until only slightly chunky.

Servings: 14

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 25 calories, 2 calories from fat, <1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 86.2mg sodium, 212.3mg potassium, 5.7g carbohydrates, 1.4g fiber, <1g sugar, 1.2g protein.

This keeps for awhile in the fridge, but you can also use freezer jars or ice cube trays to freeze it.  I don’t can, but I’m sure it would be wonderful canned, too.

Guacamole Recipe

Yesterday, I told you how to keep guacamole from turning brown, so today I thought I’d share how I make guacamole.

2 avocados
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon  kosher salt
1/4 cup salsa
1 small tomato, seeded and finely diced (optional)

Peel and seed the avocados. Mash them in a bowl – use your potato masher, or a fork. Add the salt, lime juice, and salsa, and mash a little more. Don’t mash it until it’s uniform, though – you want some small chunks. Stir in the tomatoes, if you’re using them.

Servings: 8

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 77 calories, 56 calories from fat, 6.7g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 170.2mg sodium, 274.8mg potassium, 5g carbohydrates, 3.2g fiber, <1g sugar, 1.1g protein.

You can spread this on your chicken or burgers, or put it in tacos or burritos, or (my favorite) just eat it with corn chips. It will make you a very popular person if you bring it to potlucks, too!

While not really low-calorie, it’s not that high either (but those chips usually are!) – and most of those calories come from good fats. This time of year, avocados are plentiful and really inexpensive, so I try to have guacamole often.

Keeping Guacamole from Going Brown

Sometimes, you just need to make everything ahead – it’s a potluck, or a kids’  party and you’ll be busy with other things later, or you just want to be relaxed at dinner time.

Guacamole is easy to make ahead (and even yummier, I think, if there’s been a chance for the flavors to meld), but if you just stick it in a container and put it in the fridge, the surface will turn an icky black-brown color. Acid helps, which is why most recipes call for lemon or lime (I much prefer lime in guacamole), but if you use enough to keep the guac from turning color, your dip may taste more like citrus than avocado!

The thing to do is put a piece of plastic wrap on top of the guacamole, and push it down so it’s touching the top of the dip, and then put it in the fridge.

 

This keeps the air from getting to the guacamole, and keeps it fresh and green. Now, guacamole won’t keep days and days – you’ll want to serve this within a few hours, really. But it will stay pretty!

(This also works for homemade or cooked-from-a-mix puddings, to keep the skin from forming. I kind of like the skin, though!)

Green Chile Roll-ups (or Pinwheels, or Rollers, or Whatever) Recipe

It’s been a crazy busy week so far this week! Sunday was Doodle’s actual birthday. The kids spent the day with their dad, since it was Father’s Day, too, and came home for dinner. In our family, the birthday kid gets to pick what they want for dinner, and Doodle picked Chicken with Shallots and  Buttered Noodles. It was tasty!

Today, we had a field trip with our homeschool group. It was a walking tour of our downtown. It was really interesting, and fun, too. If you live in a city, I highly recommend calling your city’s historic society and seeing if they give tours!

Here’s another recipe from Doodle’s birthday party last week.

8 oz. Neufchatel, brought to room temperature
1 can chopped green chiles
1 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 sun-dried tomato wraps or whole wheat tortillas

Mix the cheese, chiles, garlic, and salt. Spread on three tortillas and roll up tightly. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Cut into 14 thin slices.

Servings: 14

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving of 3 pieces): 76 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5g total fat, 12.3mg cholesterol, 249.3mg sodium, 33.1mg potassium, 6.5g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 0g sugar, 2.7g protein.

What to Do When Your Cake Falls — Make Trifle! (With Lemon Curd Recipe)

Last year, for my daughter’s fifteenth birthday party, she wanted a lemon layer cake — with four fluffy layers, a lemon curd filling, and a lemony seven minute frosting.

I baked her cake layers the evening before, and for the first time in my life, my cake fell. Now, I grew up with the high altitude cooking, and know how to adjust, so I don’t think that was the problem. I have a very old oven in the home that I rent, and the oven is full of hot spots and the temperature varies like crazy — if I set it at 350°, it might decide that means 250° one minute and 500° a few minutes later.  Sturdier cakes, like yellow cakes or snacking cakes, can survive my oven, but a white cake is just too delicate.

Nonetheless, the morning of her party, I tried again. And it fell again.

With only two hours until her party, to try a third time, I would have to run to the store for more ingredients. I had already made the lemon curd, so I decided that she’d have a birthday trifle instead of a birthday cake.

I cut the cakes up into chunks, and layered them in my trifle dish with the lemon curd and heated raspberry preserves. I whipped some cream to top the trifle with, and just stuck those candles in the top.

It really looked pretty — and it tasted absolutely wonderful.

It tasted so good, I ended up making this trifle again for a potluck I attended a couple of months later.

I won’t post a recipe for the white layer cake, since I haven’t made it successfully, but here’s a recipe for the lemon curd:

Lemon Curd

(For a cake filling or a trifle layer – or just on toast. Yum!)

1/2 cup unsalted butter
6 lemons
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs + 6 large egg yolks

A few hours before you start to make the curd, cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and put it in the freezer.  When it’s frozen, juice the lemons. Put 1 tablespoon lemon juice into a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the rest of the lemon juice, the sugar, and the salt for about a minute, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot, but don’t boil it.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolks together. Slowly whisk in the hot lemon mixture, and then return it to the saucepan and and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, or until it’s thick enough to run a spatula across the bottom and leave a trail. Remove from heat.

Stir the gelatin and lemon juice mixture until the gelatin dissolves. Stir in the frozen butter until it’s melted and smooth. Strain the curd through a mesh strainer into another bowl. Cover it with cling wrap that’s pressed onto the surface and refrigerate until firm.

Makes 3 cups.

Sweet Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips Recipe

We had beef and bean burritos the other night, and for dessert, we had a fantastic fruit salsa with cinnamon chips. We really loved this, and it’s something we’ll have again and again.

5 large frozen strawberries
1/4 cup orange juice
2 kiwi, peeled and chopped
1 small mango – peeled and diced
1 peach, peeled and diced
1 banana, peeled and diced
3 whole wheat tortillas
butter flavor non-stick cooking spray
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. In a food processor or blender, process the strawberries with the orange juice to make a sauce.  Combine the kiwi, mango, banana, and peach. Stir in the strawberry mixture. Cover and refrigerate.

3. Coat one side of each tortilla with cooking spray, and then cut into 10 triangles with a pizza cutter or knife. Arrange on a cookie sheet with the sprayed side down. When all the tortilla triangles are on the sheet, spray them again with non-stick spray. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the tortillas.   Bake  until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Cool and serve with the fruit salsa.

4. You can make the fruit salsa up to a day ahead, and the chips earlier in the day.

Servings: 6

Nutrition (per serving): 160 calories, 18 calories from fat, 2.3g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 247.4mg sodium, 299mg potassium, 34.9g carbohydrates, 7.6g fiber, 20.9g sugar, 5.2g protein.

It tastes like a really decadent dessert, but that salsa is all fruit! It’s a very healthy (lots of fruit, lots of fiber, low calories) treat. I used the Santa Fe whole wheat tortillas from Costco, and they were only 100 calories each.

Not only is this healthy, it’s also frugal — you can use up the last bits of all kinds of fruit (pears or apples would be really good in this, and so would cantaloupe).

I think this salsa would also make an amazing ice cream topping, or if made with bigger chunks of fruit, a great fruit salad. And it’s gorgeous enough to serve for company or to take to a potluck or party.

This is definitely one of my favorite new recipes!