Chicken TacosGuys, I don’t know how I got away without sharing this recipe with you guys yet. I know everyone is probably Mexican-ed out from Cinco de Mayo – but just trust me. This is one you want to Pin, or bookmark, or whatever it is you kids are doing these days!

Our family friend Stephanie introduced me to them a few years ago now. We went through a phase where I made them, like every week, for months. Needless to say, I kind of burnt ourselves out on them. Not to mention, they’re not exactly the healthiest option in my repitoire. But, oh are they good!

We always fry our own corn tortillas – but these are different. They’re almost deep fried. The crispiest taco you’ll ever find! And they retain their crispiness – even cold, after sitting on the cooling rack for 2 hours. Not that I speak from experience or anything..

And, they certainly could be tweaked to be healthier. The filling itself isn’t too bad – with some whole wheat tortillas, or even flour – your calorie count would come down significantly. But the fried shells are really worth trying once!

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

Ahh, Cinco de Mayo – pretty much my favorite holiday next to Christmas. Where I can drink as many margaritas and eat as much guacamole as I want, and not be chastised for it. It’s funny actually, because a little over 5 years ago I wouldn’t have touched Mexican food with a 10 foot-pole. Can  you believe that? Thank goodness I came around, and things like tomatillos and cilantro are on my shopping list every week. In fact, I’ve started visiting my local Latin produce guy at the flea market every week – just because his produce is superior, and a much better bargain than at Mega Mart. I get all my Mexican staples there – dried beans, limes, corn husks for tamales, poblanos and jalapenos. Heh, it never ceases to amaze me where these roads in my kitchen are leading me everyday!

So, in case you were wondering – like I was 5 years ago – what in the Hell is a tomatillo? And, what do I do with it? I’m here to help! While they look similar to green tomatoes – they’re actually closely related to gooseberries. They have a papery husk on them that must be removed before cooking. They have a bright flavor, with a natural smokiness. When roasted, that flavor is amplified. And when combined with other flavors – like roasted garlic and jalapeno, it’s just out of this world.

I like to serve this salsa whenever I make carnitas, as I think the brightness plays off wonderfully against the richness of the pork. But, it’s good with all kinds of traditional Mexican dishes! And, a change of pace from the traditional red salsa that we all know and love. So step outside of your comfort zone, and try something new for this Cinco de Mayo!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

While some people don’t think of the warmer months as soup season, I can’t help turning the stuff away just because the thermometer rises. I just cook different kinds of soups than I do in the winter months! Lighter fare, full of good things – like veggies, and beans. Enter, Chicken Tortilla Soup. I still have a stockpile of whole chickens from my dad that I’ve been trying to use (there will no doubt be another 10 chickens soon to follow!) and making homemade chicken stock and soup is always my favorite thing to do with the small fryers.

Now, there are differing approaches to tortilla soup. Some recipes called for adding the uncooked tortillas right in the soup – which is okay. But, I kind of wanted them slightly crunchy. And, toasting anything totally brings out the flavor more – always a good thing.

So I did the soup on it’s own, then fried up some tortilla strips and served the soup on a few strips of those. They softened up, and released their tortilla-ey goodness into the soup, but still retained a slight crunch. I kept the ingredient list fairly simple. Chicken, black beans, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, and corn – all in a delicious seasoned chicken broth. We all really enjoyed it. It was a meal that filled us up, without weighing us down. And, leftovers were great all week long!

Beef Burritos with Poblano Queso

I love burritos. In pretty much any incarnation. Whether it be one the size of my head via a certain chain we all know and love, or a simple baked burrito like these – they’re always such comforting and filling meals. I’d been wanting to make these since Elly first posted them, but like so many other meals – it just got put off. I ended up with an extra large package of hamburger last week with only half of it spoken for, so I finally got around to making them!

They’re a perfect quick weeknight meal that the whole family is sure to love. Seasoned beef, black beans, poblano peppers, corn, and cheese – all stuffed inside a crispy tortilla. Then while they’re baking, you whip up an insane cheese sauce to top them with. It was just going to be a sour cream sauce, but I had some cheese in the fridge, and I figured – eh? That’ll make it a queso – I don’t see how it can turn out bad. I was right. We didn’t get the opportunity to do so, but I’m sure that these would freeze beautifully. Just wrap them in plastic wrap, then stick into a freezer bag before you’d bake them. We’re always looking for new weeknight dinners, and this is definitely one to add to the repitoire!

Beef Burritos with Poblano Queso