Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

The other week I sad that this was my all-time favorite salad. I take it back. My life has totally changed.  I was much younger and very naïve then. I was a lost soul and totally misguided because I had yet to have this salad. This salad is definitely the best salads I have ever had. I’m not quite sure where to start. Everything in this dish is perfect. I probably enjoyed this so much because it’s basically all of my favorite flavors and ingredients combine. The dressing was flavorful and really complemented all of the fresh ingredients. If I had a ripe avocado on hand, I definitely would have thrown it in as well. You could also substitute shrimp or steak for the chicken or leave the meat out all together for a great vegetarian meal. This recipe makes a lot of salad, be hungry, or save the rest for leftovers. If you want leftovers, don’t toss the whole salad in the dressing all at once; add the dressing to your individual servings to prevent soggy lettuce.

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad
Serves 4 

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2/3 cup light sour cream or greek yogurt (or a combination of the two)
  • 1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili or chipotle powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. To prepare dressing: combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth and well mixed.

Salad:

  • 4 cups shredded lettuce (I used 1 head of ‘live’ butter lettuce)
  • 2 chopped grilled skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or you can use rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced with seeds discarded
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 (15-ounce) can large black olives, sliced
  • 1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • crushed tortilla chips
  1. To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining ingredients, except for the tortilla chips, in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Top with tortilla chips. Serve immediately.

Mexican Scrambled Eggs

Mexican Scrambled Eggs

It’s almost Cinco de Mayo, which is a pretty ridiculous holiday. It’s hardly celebrated in it’s country of origin, but any excuse for Mexican food and tequila is okay with me. In preparation for Cinco de Mayo, it’s time to share some excellent Mexican recipes for any and all of your celebratory needs.

These eggs were inspired by on of my favorite breakfasts at one of my favorite diners/bars, Joe’s. You can get the best drinks and the best breakfast in the same  exact spot all in the span of a few hours, it’s great. The Huevos La Mexicana at Joe’s are simple and tasty. This is an extremely easy and  flavorful dish. It’s quick and simple, making it great for a quick breakfast or a brunch with a crowd. I served mine with some restaurant salsa and tortilla chips with a bit of cilantro and a lot of hot sauce on top.

Mexican Scrambled Eggs
Serves 2

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced and seeded
  • 1 jalapeño, diced and seeded
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • shredded cheese
  1. In a small bowl or coffee cup, crack both eggs and beat together with a small dash of milk or water until yolks and whites are well mixed.
  2. In a large skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil until shimmering. When heated add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in jalapeño and half of the chopped cilantro, cook an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Pour eggs into skillet and allow to cook until slightly hardened. Stir eggs and add tomato. Cook until eggs reach desired consistency.
  4. Divide eggs between 2 plates. Top with remaining cilantro and a sprinkle of cheese.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Tri-Tip Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

Shredded Tri-Tip Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

So this might be one of the most sacrilegious things I have ever done in the kitchen. I apologize in advance to all tri-tip purists. Tri-tip goes on the barbecue, it’s just a fact. That’s how it’s done. Well, when I decided to cook my tri tip, it was raining out and as much as I love my barbecue, there was no way I was going to stand out in the rain trying to cook this thing. Luckily, I’m an oddly early riser, so I had enough time to improvise and experiment. I figured if people make brisket and corned beef in the crockpot, I could stick a tri tip in there. So I did just that and crossed my fingers.
Tri-tip is a big deal around these parts. I grew up with it so I never knew it wasn’t a thing in other parts of America. It’s from the bottom of a sirloin cut and looks like kind of like a triangle. It’s normally just rubbed with garlic, salt and pepper, then cooked slow and low over the barbecue. You serve it with garlic bread, green salad, sometimes salsa and beans. It’s pretty simple and super delicious. I guess I can thank the rain for forcing me to break the rules on this one and I’m pretty glad I did.

Shredded Tri-Tip Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

Now on to the salsa! This fresh tomato salsa can be found at pretty much any taco shop around here. It’s so simple, yet full of flavor and it goes with just about any Mexican meal. One, note about the jalapeños… Make sure to wash your hands with soap and hot water for like 20 minutes (just kidding, not really…) after touching them and definitely do not touch your eyes and face for a couple hours. Trust me, it’s all fun and games until someone gets jalapeño in the eye. The salsa recipe will make a lot. You will definitely have leftovers, which is great because you can use it on just about anything. Serve it with chips, tortillas, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, tostadas, nachos, eggs, pinto or black beans, eat it with a spoon out of the bowl, go wild.

Shredded Tri-Tip Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

Shredded Tri-Tip Tacos
  • 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 pound. tri-tip roast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (omit if tri-tip is already seasoned)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or chipotle pepper powder
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (4 oz.) mild green chilies
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • corn tortillas
  • optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, diced fresh tomatoes, dollop sour cream, lettuce, salsa, lime wedges

Fresh Tomato Salsa

  • 3 large sized fresh tomatoes, stems removed, finely diced
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 jalapeño chili peppers (stems, ribs, seeds removed), finely diced
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Chop the tomatoes. Prepare the chilies (be careful while handling these hot peppers!).  Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after handling and avoid touching your eyes for several hours. If you like hot salsa, save few of the seeds to add in for heat.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for at least an hour for the flavors to combine. This salsa gets better with time, so let it marinate a bit.

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Tostadas

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Tostadas

This might be one of the best dinners I’ve made recently. It’s a little labor intensive, but luckily it’s nearly all hands off. Caramelized onions are one of my favorite things, so I figured why not branch out and caramelize other things I like. This was my first time caramelizing mushrooms and they were delicious. They went really well with the onions and corn. This tostada had the perfect blend of flavors and textures – the crunch of the tortilla with the soft, sweet onions and tangy cheese with just a hint of spice.

I topped the tostada with a chile-cilantro dressing. I could have put a straw in the dressing and drank it straight. It was so good! I was happy that there was enough leftover for several more salads and veggie dipping sessions.

You can make your own tostadas, but honestly I think it’s just way too much work and mess. Luckily every store in Southern California sells ready-made tostadas right along side the regular tortillas. It’s definitely the way to go in my book. If you are using packaged shells, before serving them, spread them out on a baking sheet, or directly on oven racks, and heat them at 350°F for 4-5 minutes, or until you can smell the aroma of them cooking. Don’t keep them in the oven too long, or they will get burnt. Just heat them enough to lightly toast them.

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Tostadas

  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces white/button mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and sliced
  • 8 ounces canned or frozen corn, rinsed/defrosted
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • paprika, to taste
  • chipotle chile powder, to taste
  • crumbled queso fresco or crumbled feta
  • tostadas
  • chile-cilantro dressing (recipe is below)
  • olives (optional)
  • green onions (optional)
  1. In a large, heavy bottom pan, heat olive oil over medium high. When the oil is just shimmering, add onions and stir to coat. Saute onions for 10 minutes, sprinkle with Kosher salt and stir. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 more minutes, stir onions again and allow to cook for another 10 minutes. Continue caramelizing onions for 30-60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so until onions are rich, brown color. When caramelized remove from pan and set aside.
  2. If needed, add more oil to the pan and heat until just shimmering. Add the mushrooms to the pan, cook until they release their water, allow the liquid to evaporate and the mushrooms start to caramelize, about 15-20 minutes. When mushrooms are caramelized, remove from pan and set aside with onions.
  3. Add corn to pan, liberally sprinkle with garlic powder and add paprika and chipotle to taste, then heat through. Return onions and mushrooms to the pan and toss to mix.
  4. Place tostada on serving plate. Top tostada with onion-mushroom mixture. Sprinkle cheese on top and add a generous drizzle of the chile-cilantro dressing. Add any additional toppings you want and serve.

Chile-Cilantro Dressing (from Cooking Light)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted pumpkin seed kernels/pepitas, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  1. Place the first 8 ingredients in a blender; process 15 seconds. Gradually add cilantro; process until smooth.
  2. Combine 2 tablespoons water and yogurt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add cilantro mixture; stir well.

Cheesy Bean Dip

Bean Dip

I really wanted to make 7 layer dip, but none of the recipes I found were really doing it for me. I decided to just throw what I was in the mood for all together and hope for the best. It worked out perfectly!

I had intended to include guacamole in this dip as well, but only one of my avocados was ripe. I mashed up the avocado with a little Kosher salt and some lime juice and spread it out as best I could. I also decided to dress up my diced tomatoes a bit by making pico de gallo. Simplest salsa ever. Tomatoes, diced white onion, cilantro, lime juice, kosher salt, done. I also like to include a bit of garlic (minced or powder) and freshly ground pepper to make it even tastier.

Bean Dip

Cheesy Bean Dip

  • 2 cans of refried beans
  • 1-4 ounce can of diced chiles
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese, divided (I would recommend sharp cheddar or a Mexican blend)
  • sour cream
  • 1-2 avocados, chopped, or guacamole
  • 2-3 tomatoes, chopped, or pico de gallo
  • 1/2 of a red onion, diced
  • 3-4 green onions, sliced
  • mix of green and black olives, sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C. In a small bowl, mix the beans, chiles and 1/2 cup of cheese together. Spread on the bottom of a large baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove dish from oven and spread remaining cheese over beans. Return to oven and bake for another 5 minutes until cheese on top is melted.
  2. Remove dish from oven and top with remaining ingredients or anything else that makes you happy.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy.

Baked Huevos Rancheros

Baked Huevos Rancheros

After eggs benedict and chilaquiles, huevos rancheros is probably my 3rd favorite breakfast of all time. I like ranking things, so this is definitely a statement I can say with confidence. For those of you not familiar with huevos rancheros, it’s a Mexican breakfast dish made with fried eggs, lightly fried tortillas and a tomato-chile sauce and usually served with beans, sometimes rice and a bit of avocado. There are a million different variations, but it’s all the same basic concept. The only down side to huevos rancheros, is that it can be a bit time-consuming to make. I generally hate breakfasts that require a lot of work, so it is a dish saved for ordering at restaurants. Baking the dish helps eliminate a lot of the hands-on work time that the dish usually requires.

For me at least, all the ingredients in this meal are things I always have on hand, so it’s the perfect recipe for a last-minute brunch (or even dinner). The next time I make this, the only thing I would change would be the amount of cheese. The original calls for 12 ounces, I would half that and only use the cheese sprinkled on top and not bother mixing it in with the bean mixture. That said I did you an awesome combination of pepper jack and garlic jack from the Sonoma Cheese Factory. They are a California company, so I’m not too sure what their distribution range is, but if you can get your hands on some garlic jack, I would highly recommend it.

Baked Huevos Rancheros

Baked Huevos Rancheros (from 20 Something Cupcakes)

  • 3 tablespoons Olive or canola oil
  • large onion, diced (emphasis on large, or 2 medium onions)
  • 6 – 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2-14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes with chilies/jalapeños
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 canned chopped chipotle peppers
  • 6-8 corn tortillas (I could only fit 6, original recipe called fo 8)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Guaca-Salsa:
  • 2 avocados, pitted and diced
  • generous sprinkling of garlic powder
  • good dash of cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup pico de gallo or favorite chunky tomato salsa
  • Handful chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  1. Combine avocados, garlic powder, cayenne and lime juice in a bowl. Mash together (a potato masher works perfectly). When mashed, add in salsa, cilantro and red onion. Stir to combine.

For serving (all optional):

  • hot sauce (I recommend Cholula (original) and/or Pepper Plant (Chunky Garlic or Original California Style)
  • black olives, sliced
  • green onions, chopped
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cumin; stir 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes with juice, beans, and chipotle chiles; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Stir in half the cheese.
  2. Coat a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with spray. Overlap tortillas so that they cover the bottom of the baking dish. Spread tomato mixture over tortillas. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and, with the back of a spoon, make 8 indentations in the dish. Crack an egg into each indentation.  Top with remaining cheese. Return the dish to the oven and bake until whites are set and yolks reach desired runniness;  about 15 minutes for yolks that are still runny, 20-25 for harder yolks.
  3. Dish up eggs on individual plates and top with salsa, olives, onions, sour cream if desired.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Chilaquiles (Gluten Free)

I’m not too sure about other parts of the country, but chilaquiles is a pretty standard dish in Southern California. Nearly every breakfast place has some variation topped with scrambled eggs on the menu. It’s always been one of my favorites.

Chilaquiles isn’t just for breakfast though. You can easily top it with shredded chicken or shrimp for a hearty lunch or dinner, or just serve it by itself. It’s also, super easy to make. You probably have most of the ingredients on hand already. You can make it a little fancier and make homemade salsa verde or even red ranchero sauce, but canned enchilada sauce works just as well. Chilaquiles

  • 6-8 corn tortillas (slightly stale tortillas are perfect for this)
  • oil for frying
  • 1 medium can of enchilada sauce (green or red)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • shredded Mexican cheese
  • feta
  • sour cream
  • fresh cilantro
  1. Heat about 1/2-inch of oil over medium-high heat. Slice tortillas into triangle pieces. When oil is heated, drop slices into oil one tortillas at a time (about 8 triangles at a time). Let tortillas crisp up, but be careful not to burn. When done drain on paper towels and continue with rest of tortillas.
  2. When all the tortillas are done, drain oil from pan and wipe out. Add enchilada sauce to pan and heat. Put crispy tortillas in sauce and flip to make sure they are all coated. Continue to cook for a couple more minutes.
  3. Remove tortillas from pan to a plate. Pour over a little extra sauce. Top with cheese, onions, sour cream, hot sauce and any other desired toppings, like eggs, shrimp, chicken, etc. Top with cilantro.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Spicy Shrimp Nachos with Restaurant Style Salsa

So, today is the first day of Fiesta here in Santa Barbara. It’s officially called Old Spanish Days, but long story short it’s five days of mariachis, parades, rodeos, cerveza, dancing and confetti. It’s generally a good time. The last couple years I’ve been out of the country for fiesta and I always got a little sad hearing about friends going to celebrate. Well this year my unintended, extended Santa Barbara sojourn means I get to celebrate Fiesta whether I want to or not…

In honor of Fiesta, I will be sharing some of my favorite go to Mexican recipes. Expect lots of tequila and hot sauce.

When you think about it, Americanized Mexican food is basically all the same ingredients just served in a different form. This recipe could just as easily be served in a burrito, as tacos, tostadas, a salad, whatever floats your boat, but I think homemade nachos are always a good way to go (as long as you don’t burn down your apartment in the process, right Amanda? 😉 ). Nachos are great to make for a crowd or make a tasty meal for one or two.

Spicy Shrimp Nachos

  • Corn tortilla chips
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • frozen corn
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, fresh or frozen, defrosted, shelled, tailed
  • Taco seasoning
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Black olives, chopped
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Red onion, diced
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa (recipe is below)
  1. Heat oven to 450. Place tortilla chips on an oven proof plate. Sprinkle with some cheese if you want. Rinse can of beans. Fill empty bean can with frozen corn, rinse under water and allow to thaw out a bit.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When heated, add onion and cook until soft and translucent. Season with as much garlic powder, taco seasoning, paprika and chili powder as desired. Add in corn and beans. Cook until everything is heated through. Removed from skillet and add to prepared tortilla chips. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. Place in heated oven for 3-6 minutes until cheese is melted.
  3. In the same skillet add prepared shrimp. Season with more garlic powder, taco seasoning, paprika and chili powder if desired. Cook 3-4 minutes each side until shrimp is cooked through. When cooked, remove from skillet and chop into small pieces.
  4. Sprinkle shrimp and other toppings like olives, green onions over the tortilla chips. Top with sour cream, guac, salsa and your favorite hot sauce.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
Restaurant Style Salsa (adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)
I am absolutely OBSESSED with this salsa. I’ve taken to making a batch of it every weekend and having it on hand to use through out the week. Everyone who has been lucky enough to have some, has absolutely loved it. I have also used both fresh jalapenos as well as canned diced chilis and both have worked. Also, final note, made sure you use a BIG food processor, there is a lot of liquid going on here.
  • 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (peeled) with juice
  • 2 10-ounce cans Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalepeño, quartered and sliced thin
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • Juice from a fresh lime
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until you reach desired consistency (I do it about 10 or 11 times). Pour into bowl and cover. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Serve and enjoy!

Crockpot Salsa Chicken Tostadas

I recently discovered the convenience of the crockpot. Despite my original misgivings about it, I’ve become slightly enamored with it. It’s so easy and fast. There’s hardly any clean up and it doesn’t make the house even warmer during the summer like the oven does. After experimenting with the crockpot a couple times, I was reasonably confident I could just throw some things I liked together and it would turn out fairly well. Turns out I was right. By no means is salsa chicken original, but it certainly is fast, easy and tasty.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup salsa of choice
  • 1 cup low sodium broth
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • taco seasoning
Prepare chicken and sprinkle with taco seasoning on each side. Place in crockpot. Add salsa, broth and onion to crockpot. Cook chicken on high for 3 hours. When chicken is done, shred with fork and serve or store for future meals.
Salsa Chicken Tostadas (for 2 with lots leftovers or 4 )
  • 4 flat corn tostada shells
  • 1 can refried beans
  • Salsa chicken
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 4-6 green onions, chopped
  • salsa
  • shredded Mexican cheese
  • sour cream or greek yogurt
  • hot sauce
Heat oven to 250 and heat tostadas in oven for a few minutes 5-10-ish depending on how crispy/warm you enjoy your shells. Warm beans. I added a pinch of cheese, 1/2 a diced onion and a couple dashes of hot sauce to my beans and then heated them up in the microwave. When the tostadas are warm, spread a few spoonfuls of beans on the shells. Top the beans with chicken, tomato, green onion, salsa, cheese, sour cream, hot sauce or other toppings of choice. Serve and enjoy!

A Flay Feast! Goat Cheese Queso Fundido, Sophie’s Chopped Salad, Grilled Garlic Cilantro Shrimp

Posts have been a little slow this week. I’ve been off doing real life things that were really super important, like going to Disneyland and hanging out with Lauren who was gracing Southern California with her presence for the past week.

You are never too old for Disneyland. We loved it. We waited over an hour (the line was over 4 hours a one point in the day) to go on the new 3D Star Tours ride and it was totally worth it. I will fully admit that I am a Star Wars fan, all the cool kids are (or at least that’s what my mom tells me…). We also went to California Adventure. It was my first time there. Being the die hard Californian that I am, I loved it. It was very different than Disneyland proper, but still a lot of fun. Soaring Over California was definitely my favorite ride. I should probably say that I am beyond terrified of  not a fan of heights, but I loved Soaring Over California and California Screaming. However, I still have not fully recovered from Lauren making me go on the Tower of Terror Tears and Pure Fear. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I do not see how a trip to the Haunted Mansion, justifies being tortured 13 stories in the air…

When we got home from our LA adventures yesterday we got busy catching up on gossip and our Google readers and thinking about what we wanted to cook up for dinner. We found all the inspiration we needed from one of our favorite blogs The Fitnessista. Gina and her Pilot went to Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill in Vegas and shared some pictures of amazing looking food. I’m still miffed that in all my trips to Vegas I’ve never made it to Mesa Grill, plus I’m kind of obsessed with Bobby Flay. Have you seen Brunch at Bobby’s or Grill It!? Anyone who has shows dedicated to my two favorite activities (brunching and grilling) is amazing in my book.

Inspired by Gina’s B. Flay inspiration, Lauren and I decided to whip up some Goat Cheese Queso Fundido (I cannot adequately describe how amazing this was), Sophie’s Chopped Salada and Bobby Flay’s Grilled Shrimp with Jalapeno-Garlic Vinaigrette. This was definitely one of the best meals I’ve had in a long while. I would strongly recommend you plan on making it sometime soon. Like right meow.

Goat Cheese Queso Fundido (adapted from this recipe)
(There are no pictures of the queso because it was promptly consumed upon completion. There also might have been talk of attempting to drink it through a straw… No one will ever know for sure.) 

  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup mozzarella, grated
  • 1 cup pepper jack, grated
  • 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 6+ garlic cloves, minced (I used a whole bulb, don’t you dare judge me)
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Tortilla chips (for serving)
In a pan, heat a bit of oil and sauté the garlic and jalapeno until the garlic is golden brown and crispy. Set aside.
In a double broiler, bring wine to a simmer. Add mozzarella and monterey jack and stir until melted. Add garlic/jalapeno, goat cheese, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips or veggies (I bet it would make an awesome fondue).
Sophie’s Chopped Salad 
(I based mine off of this recipe)
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 heaping tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cups finely chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 3-4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • Generous handful of shredded mozzarella and pepper jack
Mix first 5 ingredients together to make dressing. Combine the remaining ingredients and serve. (I combine all the ingredients besides the lettuce and arugula and they kept overnight as their own little salad).

Grilled Shrimp with Jalapeno-Garlic Vinaigrette (adapted from this recipe)

  •  6-10 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped
  • 5 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 16 jumbo shrimp, deveined
In a small pan, heat oil over low heat. Add garlic and simmer until light brown. Remove from heat, place garlic in a blender and allow oil to cool. Add jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice and honey to blender. Add oil when slightly cooled. Blend.
Toss shrimp with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Cook in pan until done. Transfer to plate, drizzle with vinaigrette and serve!