May 5, 2005 at 9:00 a.m.

Alice cooks up a few Mexican-American dishes

Alice cooks up a few Mexican-American dishes
Alice cooks up a few Mexican-American dishes

Today is the 5th of May, Cinco de Mayo (sin-koe dae my-oh, as the Mexican people would say). Many of us in the U.S. think the coming holiday is Mexican Independence Day––it is not. Rather, it is the anniversary of an 1862 battle that the Mexican Army won against a larger French invasion force. Mexico eventually lost the war and the country was under French control until 1867.

Anyway, in observance of what is not exactly Mexican Independence Day, let’s declare a little independence from not the real Mexican food, but American-style Mexican food. Some of the authentic Mexican foods are tortillas (tor-tee-yahs), which Mexicans use as bread. Masa (Mah-sah) ground corn, which is then used in the making of tortillas and then used in a variety of ways. Frijoles (free-hole-ays) which are beans that may be served at one or more meals a day. And, chilies (chi-lays) which are varieties of peppers, ranging from mild to very, very hot. Chili powder is made from chili peppers which are dried and ground, then mixed with other seasonings.

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So, let’s make some Mexican-American dishes. Let’s start with breakfast burritos.

BURRITOS FOR BREAKFAST

1/2 of a 16 oz. bag of frozen southern-style hash browns

6 eggs (I would use 4 whole eggs and 4 whites)

1/2 of a large onion, diced (about 2/3 c.)

1/2 of a large green pepper, diced

1/4 lb. bulk pork sausage, browned and drained

6 flour tortillas (10-inch) warmed

1-1/2 c. (6 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese (can use sharp Cheddar if you wish)

salsa (optional)

In a large fry pan, fry hash browns according to package directions; remove and set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and onion and pepper. Pour into the same fry pan; cook and stir until eggs are set.

Take off heat; add hash browns and sausage; mix gently. Put about 3/4 c. of filling in center of each tortilla and top with about 1/4 c. cheese.

Carefully roll up and put on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Serve with salsa if you wish.

Serves 6 (2 burritos each). Serve with a slice of cantaloupe and honeydew or any other fresh fruit.

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You might want to serve the burritos with champurrado, authentic Mexican hot chocolate.

CHAMPURRADO

(Mexican hot chocolate)

2 oz. (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate

1/4 c. sugar

pinch of salt

1 t. ground cinnamon or 1-inch piece of stick cinnamon

4 c. milk

Combine all ingredients in a heavy 1-1/2 qt. saucepan and heat slowly until chocolate melts. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching or sticking. Take off heat; remove cinnamon stick. Beat chocolate until well-blended and foamy. (I use a hand beater.) Serve immediately. Makes four 1 cup servings.

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This recipe has no cholesterol, .7 grams fat, 5 grams protein and 18 carbs per serving and is ready in 15 minutes.

SOUTHWEST ENSALADA

(salad)

1-1 lb. bag lettuce salad mix

1-8 oz. can whole kernel corn or 1 c. frozen corn, cooked, drained and cooled

one 15-1/4 oz. kidney beans (red or pink), drained

1 large tomato, cut in chunks

1 c. cubed jicama (optional - also not available at this time of year in our grocery stores)

1/4 c. chopped green onions, using some of greens

DRESSING

1/4 c. lite mayo

1/4 c. your favorite bottled salsa

1/2 t. chili powder

Combine salad ingredients in large bowl.

Combine dressing ingredients in small bowl. Toss salad with dressing. Serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

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Unsweetened cocoa in this sauce gives the flavor of a traditional “mole” (mo-lay) sauce. For more of a “kick,” sprinkle 1 t. chili powder evenly over the chops before browning.

PORK CHOPS MEXICANA

4 boneless pork chops (1 lb.) 1/2-inch thick

1-1/4 c. your favorite salsa

1/2 c. finely chopped cocktail peanuts

1 t. unsweetened cocoa

1/8 t. cinnamon

1/4 c. chopped green onions, using half of green part or fresh cilantro, chopped

Cook pork chops in large non-stick fry pan, sprayed with cooking spray, on medium high heat, 2-3 minutes until browned on both sides.

In a medium bowl, combine next four ingredients; spoon over chops. Lower heat to medium-low, simmer 5 minutes until chops are no longer pink in the center and sauce is thickened; turning chops over and stirring sauce after 3 minutes. Sprinkle with onions or cilantro. Makes 4 servings.

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You no longer have to buy taco seasoning mix in the store as you can make it yourself. I spin the ingredients in my little food processor to make it fine.

TACO SEASONING MIX

2 t. instant minced onion

1/2 t. salt

1 t. chili powder

1/4 to 1/2 t. crushed dried red pepper

1/2 t. cornstarch

1/2 t. instant minced garlic

1/2 t. ground cumin

1/4 t. dried leaf oregano

Combine all ingredients in small bowl, mixing well.

This amount makes 2 T. (one purchased package) mix.

I usually make about eight times the amount and store in a washed and dried plastic pill container or a roll of film container. Be sure to label the container. Use within six months.

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Thought for the day: Spring is when you feel like whistling a tune, even while tip-toeing through the little puddles of water.

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Sunday is Mother’s Day, a time to honor and praise our mothers for the gift of life that has been given to us. I share these thoughts with you.

A Tribute to Mothers

I thank you for loving me and I honor you.

I thank you for encouraging me and I praise you.

I thank you for comforting me and I love you for that.

I thank you with all of my heart, not just today on Mother’s Day, but always.

A.N.


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