Category Archives: Lighter Side

Baked Chicken Taquitos

Getting creative with weeknight meals takes a little bit of planning ahead. This is a habit I learned early on from my Mom. She often would cook some foods, such as beans or chicken so they would be ready for other meals. The chicken would most often be transformed into enchiladas, tacos or taquitos. My favorite of the three would have to be taquitos. Crispy rolled tacos topped with that wonderful avocado tomatillo salsa and mexican crema. You seriously had to keep track of how many you ate, because before you knew it, 3 could turn into half a dozen! Lol! But lucky for us, there would be red rice, beans and fresh salad on the side to round out the meal.

Baked Chicken Taquitos


The key to cooking a great taquito, whether you fry them or bake them is a good quality soft corn tortilla. And I will never forget my dad insisting that tortilas must be cooked on the comal (griddle) otherwise they would fall apart.  My Dad was very knowledgable when it came to tortillas. As I have mentioned before, he used to build the commercial tortilla machines used in many of the large tortilla factories. The tortilla is cooked, but when you warm them on a hot surface, that was really like the last step in the cooking process.  I have proved this point when I am in a hurry I steam the tortillas in the microwave. The microwave steams them which adds too much moisture, in my opinion,  causing them to tear. If you are only preparing a few taquitos that will be fried right away, this will work. But if preparing a larger batch, the longer they sit after being steamed, the more fragile they become. If you live in an area that sells tortillas like they make in Mexico, then you are darn lucky, ha, ha, ha! No seriously, if they are good quality, you will be able to roll them tight without them tearing. For today’s post, I decided to bake them instead of frying them. They are still crispy and satify that taquito craving that never seems to go away! Enjoy!

Baked  ChickenTaquitos

18 corn tortillas
2  1/2 cups of cooked chicken ( I used grilled chicken)
Oil of choice, I used grapeseed oil

Tips~ When choosing a filling, you want one that has the least amount of broth or salsa.

Baked Chicken Taquitos


1. Slice or chop chicken so you have  very small pieces. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with foil paper and brush with oil. Set aside.

2. Preheat a large griddle or comal to medium heat for a few minutes. Cook the tortillas for about 2 minutes, turning every 30 seconds. Place tortillas in a tortilla warmer or in between a kitchen towel. Steaming them in the microwave does not work as well, but you can if only making a few.

3. Fill warmed tortillas with a thin strip of chicken down the center. As you fold the tortilla over, pull it, with the filling,  towards you to make it tight. Then roll away from you to form the taquito. Secure with toothpick at the seam. Place on greased baking sheets. Brush tops of taquitos with more oil. Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Serve right away. Garnish with your favorite salsa, guacamole and crema. Yields up to 6 servings.

Baked Chicken Taquitos


Salsa Ranchera, one of my favorites to serve with taquitos.

Salsa Ranchera


Click onto picture for full recipe of salsa.

Baked Chicken Taquitos


Roasted Tomatillo Avocado Salsa, another favorite!

Roasted Tomatillo Avocado Salsa

Click onto picture for full recipe on salsa.

Fresh Mex~Grilled Chicken and Black Beans Quinoa Bowls

You know when you find a great deal on grocery items that you use all the time and you just can’t pass it up? Yes, that was me last week with this package of large boneless chicken breast. I would normally break down the package and freeze the breast individually. It was forecasted to be such a gorgeous day last Sunday that I decided to prep the chicken three ways, all cooked on the grill. This is the first of three recipes I will be sharing with you today. For today’s post I wanted to incorporate some quinoa and blacks beans to prepare a “rice bowl” but with quinoa instead. The combination of grilled vegetables and the raw, crispy vegetables wa tasty! Choose you favorite dressing to garnish with. No dressing? Drizzle on a little olive oil after the lime, salt and pepper and you are all set. Foods that are good for you and delicious! 

Fresh Mex ~Grilled Chicken Black Beans and Quinoa Bowls

Grilled Chicken Black Beans and Quinoa  Bowls

Fresh Mex Grilled Chicken Quinoa Bowls

You Will Need
4 grilled chicken cutlets, sliced thin
1 recipe for Black Beans and Quinoa
1 cup zucchini, grilled and diced
6 to 8 grilled sweet peppers and hot pepper mixed of your choice
1 cup carrots, shredded
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup radishes, sliced
Cilantro, chopped
Hot Sauce
Your favorite dressing

Grilled Sweet Peppers and Zucchini

Choose some vegetables to be grilled for the quinoa bowls and keep some vegetables raw for their crispiness.

Some grilled and some raw veggies

Build Your Fresh Mex Quinoa Bowls

To each bowl add some quinoa in the center. Then you could let your guest build their own bowls with the ingredients available. Garnish with cilantro, lime juice, hot sauce or dressing. Recipes yield 4 to 6 servings.

Fresh Mex~ Grilled Chicken and Black Beans Quinoa Bowls

Fresh Mex~ Grilled Chicken and Black Beans Quinoa Bowls

*I was out of avocados on this day, but that really would have made this bowl awesome!

Dry Rub Grilled Chicken Breast

Dry Rub Grilled Chicken

Dry Rub Grilled Chicken Breast

4 cutlet style chicken breast (1 1/2 pounds more or less)
salt and pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons dry rub for chicken, homemade or store bought
Olive oil

Tips~ If you can’t find the chicken sliced thin, cutlet style, buy 2 large chicken breast and butterfly them in half. Cover with plastic and pound out to 1/3 inch so they are thin.

Dry Rub Grilled Chicken


1. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then add all of the dry rub to coat evenly. Cover and marinate for a 2 hours.

2.  Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.   Prepare  outdoor grill for direct cooking at medium/high heat. Brush grates with oil and grill on high for about 3 minutes per side, let rest before slicing. If cooking indoors, cook in preheated skillet for 3 minutes per side, adding 2 tablespoons of olive oil while it preheats.

Dry Rub Grilled Chicken


For Black Beans and Quinoa

Black Bean and Quinoa


Olive oil
1/2 cup red or white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano, minced
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
Juice of 1 lime
1 3/4 cup chicken stock/broth
14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Black Beans and Quinoa


Fresh Cilantro



1. Rinse the quinoa, drain and set aside. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, serrano and sun dried tomato. Season lightly with salt and pepper and saute for 6 to 7 minutes.

2. Add the oregano and cumin seeds and saute for 2 minutes. Add in the quinoa, lime juice and chicken broth. Stir gently to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Add the beans, cover and let set for 15 minutes. Use a fork to fold in the beans, add cilantro. Yields 6 servings.

Black Beans and Quinoa


Black Beans and Quinoa

You Say Tomato….I Say Tomate! Three Fresh Tomato Recipes

Tomatoes, whether small or large have always been a staple in my family’s kitchen eversince I could remember. Growing up in a very Mexican household the tomato was essential for some of the most basic dishes. Grape tomatoes for a quick and healthy salad, red ripe tomatoes in a zesty salsa and thick, hearty slices of an “ugly” tomato in your favorite torta or sandwich. In today’s blog post I am going to feature three easy recipes, each one  prepared with fresh Florida tomatoes. And not just to feature the tomatoes, but to also share recipes that are healthy and delicious.

“For generations, Florida tomatoes have been grown, hand picked and cared for on family run farms,” says Samantha Daves, Director of Education and Promotion for the Florida Tomato Committee. The Florida family of tomato growers are committed to healthful and sustainable farming practices that result in the most red, ripe, nutritious and delicious tomatoes available. Click onto the link to view a fun series of videos that educate the public about how Florida tomatoes are grown and what makes them so nutritious, delicious and different from the rest.

Grape Tomato Salad with Shrimp in a Cumin Lime Vinaigrette 

Grape Tomato Salad with Shrimp #floridatomatoesTips~ Preparing a quick and homemade dressing or vinaigrette is a s easy as a few fresh ingredients combined with spices and extra virgin olive oil.
For Cumin Lime Vinaigrette
1/8 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 serrano pepper, sliced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1/3 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt to taste

For Salad
12 large shrimp, peeled and cleaned
pepper cayenne pepper
olive oil
10 oz grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
1 cup cucumber, seeded and sliced
3 small sweet peppers, sliced
4 radishes, sliced thin
Avocado slices

Grape Tomato Salad with Shrimp #floridatomatoes


Grape Tomato Salad with Shrimp


1. In a blender, add all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette and blend until smooth. Taste for salt, set aside.

2. Season the cleaned shrimp lightly with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper on both sides, set aside. Preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat for 5 minutes. Cook shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat onto plate.

3. Toss all of the vegetables in a serving bowl with vinaigrette. At this point I like to lightly re-season with a little more fresh cracked pepper and salt. Fold in the shrimp. Garnish with avocado slices. Yields 2-4 servings.

Grape Tomato Salad with Shrimp #floridatomatoes

Grape Tomato Salad with Shrimp #floridatomatoes

Florida Tomatoes, The World's Best

Click onto link to follow  Florida Tomatoes, The World’s Best Tomato on Facebook.

Queso Fresco en Salsa~ Farmer Style Cheese in a Tomato Salsa  

Queso Fresco con Chile #floridatomatoes

Tips~ Queso Fresco is naturally lighter than most cheese varieties. Serve as an appetizer with baked corn tortilla chips.

For Tomato Salsa
2 tomatoes, quartered
1 to 2 serrano peppers, sliced
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Olive oil

You Will Also Need
1/3 red onion, sliced thin
6 to 8 oz queso fresco, sliced into cubes
1/3 cup diced avocado
1 pickled jalapeño, diced
Tortilla chips

Queso Fresco en Salsa~ Farmers Cheese in Tomato Salsa #floridatomatoes

Queso Fresco en Salsa ~Farmers Cheese in Tomato Salsa #floridatomatoes


1. To the blender, add the tomatoes, serrano peppers, salt, pepper, oregano and about 1/3 cup of water. Blend on high until smooth and set aside.

2. Preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Add the onions and saute for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato salsa from the blender. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until salsa becomes thick and darker in color.

3. Add the queso fresco and cook for just another minute to warm the cheese. Garnish with avocado and pickled jalapeños. Serve with corn tortillas chips or mexican bolillos, sliced.

Queso Fresco en Salsa~Farmers Cheese in Tomato Salsa #floridatomatoes

Florida Tomatoes, The World's Best

Tomato Avocado Torta (Sandwich)

Tomato Avocado Torta (Sandwich) #floridatomatoes
For Beans
1 cup black beans
1 cloves garlic
1 chipotle in adobo
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt to taste
olive oil

You will also need
4 crusty rolls or bolillos
1 avocado sliced
2 “ugly” big tomatoes, sliced
1 to 2 pickled jalapeños, seeded and sliced into strips
small handful of chopped cilantro and some thin sliced onion

Tomato Avocado Torta (Sandwich) #floridatomatoes


1. To the blender, add the beans, garlic, chipotle, chicken broth and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth, set aside.

2. Preheat 1 tablespoon of olive oil to medium heat for a minute. Add the beans from the blender. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook for another 5 minutes. If the beans are too thick, add a little more chicken broth. Remove from heat.

3. Toast the bread. On the bottom of each roll, add beans, avocado slices, 2 tomato slices, pickled jalapeños, onion and cilantro. Add a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Add top of roll, serve right away. Yields 4 servings.

Tomato Avocado Torta (Sandwich) #floridatomatoes