Things are getting serious…seriously spicy. I won't hesitate to admit how much I love a meal from a Mexican restaurant. I can really get on board with the cheesy fried goodness, the chips, dips and sips of the giant sized frozen margaritas. What I don't like is the food hangover that trickles into the next morning. This is not a lot different than the current Kit Kat induced sugar coma I am currently suffering from. (Happy November 1! Hope you had a candy-rific Halloween!) We all know that, at 32, you don't bounce back like you did when you were 22. So, I find myself in somewhat of a conundrum. I want the Mexican goodness, but I don't want to feel like I pulled an all-nighter in Cancun. Here are a couple general tips that allow me to enjoy all the Mexican food I want without the Cancun hangover.
- There is no need to fry it. Bake it, boil it, grill it or sauté it with a teeny bit of oil.
- Fresh cilantro brings a zesty flavor to any Mexican dish without the grease, oil and fat. AND, instead of letting the bunch go bad in your fridge, check out this link for some leftover cilantro ideas.
- Swap out the high calorie ingredients for their lower calorie counterparts. Low carb tortillas, fat free sour cream and low fat cream cheese are a couple of good options. While you can sub out the cheese for a reduced fat version, I don't recommend it. It's not worth the flavor sacrifice.
- Use veggies and season them well! Tomatoes, avocados, peppers, onions, LOTS of garlic, corn, and beans are all tasty, yet healthy ingredients that complement Mexican food well. Season with cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, onion powder, chili powder, garlic powder or whatever else your little unclogged heart desires!
2. Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche: I have been dying to make a ceviche for years, but was always too intimidated to work with raw seafood. It was far easier than I anticipated. Blanching the seafood before marinating ensures a safe, bacteria-free meal! This makes a perfect lunch treat or a very impressive appetizer. It travels well!
3. Easy Turkey Nachos: OMG…I am in love. There is no way for me to convey over the inter web how much I love this recipe. You just have to make it. Then we can be on the same melty cheese page.
Cilantro Lime Rice: Hello, my name is Jen and I am a cilantro-aholic. This side dish pairs with any of the recipes on this page…
Quick Baked Taco Casserole: Eat your tacos with a spoon! This recipe came about as a result of a major oops. I was in the kitchen on a week night after work, while pregnant, making tacos. Even those who have not had children have heard of the pregnancy brain (AKA momnesia). It's a real thing, google it! We all know that when you make tacos, the cheese is NOT supposed to go in the skillet before serving. Due to my pregnancy induced trance, I dumped in the shredded cheese. While this doesn't sound like the most horrible thing, it certainly was not what I planned. So, this recipe was born. The left over pita chip crumbs that we always seem to have in our pantry provide the perfect crunchy topping.
Lean Chicken Enchiladas: My husband, the math teacher, has some fantastic teacher friends. Two of them, Vicki and Rob, are married math teachers. Upon meeting them two years ago, I asked Rob "What's your favorite meal that your wife makes?" He replied, without hesitation, "Chicken Enchiladas." I remembered this two years later while working on my Mexican Recipe post. It's normal to ask people about food upon meeting them and remember the conversation two years later, right? In any case, they were my inspiration for this recipe. I amped up the veggies and swapped out some ingredients for their lower calorie counterparts, but otherwise kept it the same. Thanks guys!
Light Agave Margarita: I'm not typically one for throwing back shots, but I will tell you that I do enjoy a good old fashioned tequila shot. Lick the salt. Drink the shot. Bite the lime. This is the same thing, right?
Vegetarian Tortilla Soup: Above, you read about my friends who demanded fish tacos. I served this soup as an appetizer when they came. It was a big hit! I've also beefed it up a bit by adding chicken or ground turkey and made it as a main dish.