Mexican Dishes | The Daily Dish - Part 2

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Mexican Dishes

Best Quinoa Recipe Ever – Quinoa and Black Bean Burger Sliders

3 Comments | Written on March 7, 2013 at 5:00 am , by

Last week we took a bit of a detour with the weekly recipe contest and threw our readers a curveball – quinoa.  This “ancient grain” has suddenly become a trendy ingredient.   We received a wide variety of recipe submissions with creative ways to use quinoa, but one unique preparation stood out to our judges, sliders!

These meatless mini-burgers are made with black beans and, of course, quinoa.  They come with a kick because of a spicy mayo spread as well as a jalapeño and corn salsa.  Believe me, you will want to make these “Quinoa and Black Bean Burger Sliders” this weekend!

Keep reading for the winning recipe…

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Best Salad Ever! Santa Fe Salsa Salad

5 Comments | Written on January 17, 2013 at 5:00 am , by

We started the 2013 “Best Recipe Ever” contest with a bang!   The first theme was “Best Salad Ever” and the contenders did not disappoint.  We received so many great entries and this beautiful and delicious recipe came out on top.  Congratulations to “Mshivers60” for her “Santa Fe Salsa Salad!”

Keep reading for the winning recipe…

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Warm Butternut Squash and Black Bean Salsa

3 Comments | Written on October 18, 2012 at 12:00 am , by

The winning recipe from our “Mexican” contest is not only fresh and easy, it is also seasonal and healthy!  Imagine everything you love about a thick and chunky salsa combined with the flavors of fall.

This “Warm Butternut Squash and Black Bean Salsa” from Tina Verrelli is a creative and versatile dish that you are sure to make over and over again!

Keep reading to find out how this unique and healthy homemade salsa won our latest contest!  

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Cracker Barrel Jalapeno Cheese Soup

14 Comments | Written on December 2, 2011 at 5:00 am , by

Merry Christmas…or should I say Feliz Navidad!

This holiday season, serve up some south of the border flair with this recipe for “Jalapeno Cheese Soup.”  I love to cozy up to a piping hot bowl of soup on a chilly winter day.  This recipe spices things up even more with Cracker Barrel‘s newest cheddar cheese variety with the warm, rich heat of red and green jalapenos.

You can enjoy this recipe any time of year, but during the holidays I like to give the soup a special garnish.  Follow the step-by-step instructions below and learn how to make a “Christmas Tree” pepper!

Take this recipe and make it a complete meal.  Serve Mexican Street Corn on the side, whip up some Tamarind Margaritas, or make my favorite Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding for dessert!

For more great holiday entertaining tips, be sure to visit the Cracker Barrel “Host the Holidays” group.  Also, if you love Mexican cuisine, be sure to check out some of the other fantastic groups on our site!

Comida de Mexico

Authentic Mexican Cocina

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Easy Ethnic Recipes

CRACKER BARREL JALAPENO CHEESE SOUP  (click here to view and print recipe)

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 cup diced peeled tomato

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 ounce can chopped green chiles, undrained

6 Tablespoons butter

6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

5 cups hot milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

3 cups coarsely grated Cracker Barrel Jalapeno Cheddar cheese

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, place broth, onion, tomato, garlic, and green chiles. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Remove from heat and stir in flour. Return to heat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 3-1/2 cups of the hot milk, adding 1/2 cup at a time. Cook and stir about 6-7 minutes until smooth and thickened. Remove broth mixture from heat and stir in the milk mixture, about one fourth at a time. Return to heat and add remaining 1-1/2 cups milk, salt, pepper, and cheese, stirring constantly until cheese is melted and soup is well heated. Do not boil.

Serve immediately, or let cool and refrigerate with plastic wrap directly on surface of soup. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat soup over low heat just until hot. Garnish as desired. Serves 8.

How to Make a Pepper “Tree” Garnish:

1)  Start with a poblano pepper.  The natural shape lends itself well to cutting out a “Christmas Tree” garnish for the soup.

2)  Cut off the top and slice in half lengthwise.

3)  Use the narrow tip of the pepper as the top of the tree.

 4)  Cut out small triangles down one side of the pepper.

5)  Continue cutting out the same shapes on the other side of the pepper.  You should have an adorable “Christmas Tree” shaped pepper garnish when you are done!  Before serving soup, gently lay a “Christmas Tree” pepper in each bowl.  It is a fun and festive twist for your holiday meal, and your guests will love it!

Secret Recipe Club – Grilled Vegetarian Tostadas

6 Comments | Written on September 12, 2011 at 6:00 am , by

I am so excited for a chance to participate in The Secret Recipe Club!


It is a bit like a game of “Secret Santa.”  Each of the participating food bloggers receive a top secret blog assignment.  We visit the assigned blog, browse around, and select a recipe to prepare.  It was so fun to be introduced to a new blog and I am on pins and needles waiting to see who was assigned “The Daily Dish!”

Huge thanks to The Secret Recipe Club hosts, Amanda – Amanda’s Cookin’, Angela – Big Bear’s Wife, Tami -Tami’s Kitchen Table Talk and Tina – Mom’s Crazy Cooking.  More information on the club can be found on the official Facebook and Twitter pages!

Screen shot 2011-09-11 at 8.42.45 PM

For my first assignment as a member of the club, I was given “An Opera Singer in the Kitchen.”  A fabulous blog from Noelle in Michigan!  She says “I love to sing opera and I love to cook. Join me as I experience a new pregnancy and healthy living through vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and more recipes!”

Since her recipes are vegetarian/vegan as well as gluten-free, I wanted to select a recipe that fulfills these dietary restrictions while appealing to a wide audience as well.  This recipe was perfect!  Tostadas are perfect for a quick and easy meal.  When prepared with corn tortillas, vegetarian refried beans and your favorite grilled veggies, it just also happens to be vegetarian and gluten-free.


Check out Noelle’s recipe from her website:

Vegetarian Toastadas

10 corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
1 pint sliced mushrooms (your choice)
1 zucchini squash, sliced length-wise
2 cups shredded lettuce
1/2 cup chopped red onions
1/2 lime
salt and pepper to taste
1 can of vegetarian refried beans
Your choice of picante or tomatillo sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place tortillas on cookie sheet, somewhat overlapping. Process takes 10-15 minutes to toast. Check at mid-point and flip tortillas. Toast tortillas until somewhat golden brown.

Meanwhile, grill zucchini and mushrooms and place in a side dish along with the sliced avocado. Warm to refried beans and place in another bowl. Place the shredded lettuce and red onions with the lime and season with salt and pepper in a third bowl.

Assemble: Take a tortilla and spread a layer of beans, avocado, veggies, salad, and top with sauce. Enjoy!!  Serves 2.

Learn more about “An Opera Singer in the Kitchen” through her Facebook fan page and Twitter account!

When I prepared the recipe I made a few minor adjustments.  To make things a bit easier, I started with prepared tostada shells.


Then I spread on the warmed vegetarian refried beans, as the original recipe says.


Next, I piled on the grilled veggies.  Noelle calls for mushrooms and zucchini but I decided to go with zucchini, yellow squash, and red peppers since they were already in my fridge!

That’s the best part of this recipe, you can make it your own to suit your taste or what you have on hand.


Then I added the shredded lettuce. I decided not to use the red onions that are called for in the original recipe.  (My sister and I were excited to enjoy this dish for lunch, and she isn’t a big fan of red onions.)  I am sure they would be great sprinkled on top of the tostada or even grilled along with the other veggies!

Finally, I topped it all off with salsa, avocado slices and a dollop of sour cream.  Right before serving I squeezed a lime over the tostada.  The recipe is fresh, bright and full of flavor.  What a lunch!  Packed with fiber and fresh vegetables, you can’t get much better than that!

A huge thanks to Noelle for posting this great recipe!  I can’t wait until my next “Secret Recipe Club” assignment!

Learn more about “An Opera Singer in the Kitchen” through her Facebook fan page and Twitter account!

To see other great recipes from the Secret Recipe Club members, follow the links below!

Week 16: Mexican Recipe Contest Winner

No Comments | Written on May 17, 2011 at 5:00 am , by

Felicidades!  We have a winner!  Say hello to Amy Burton and check out her winning recipe for “Adobo Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Cream Sauce.”  The smoky and spicy shrimp are cradled in a corn tortilla filled with black beans and veggies.  The heat is cooled by Amy’s phenomenal cilantro cream sauce.  It is so good you might find yourself adding an extra dollop!

Amy shared a bit of her kitchen wisdom with us:

“My “almost mother-in-law” (getting married in just two weeks!) recently gave me a little wooden sign to hang in my kitchen with a quote from the Dalai Lama: “Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon”.  I look at that sign often when I’m in my kitchen, and it reminds me that the thing I enjoy the most is spending time creating good food for people I love.”


Adobo Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Cream Sauce


1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 ounces goat cheese
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 cup canola oil
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced onions
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 whole canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped, plus 2 T sauce from can
8-10 6” corn tortillas
2 cups bagged cole slaw mix (unprepared)


Place cilantro, goat cheese, yogurt, cream, 1 teaspoon garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth; store in refrigerator while preparing taco filling. Preheat a large skillet (12-14”) or dutch oven over high heat. Place oil in pan, and allow to warm for about a minute. Add peppers and onions, and saute for about 30 seconds. Add shrimp, and sauté until they begin to lose their transparency. Season with cumin and remaining salt. Add spinach, and cook until wilted. Add beans, corn, chipotle peppers and their sauce, and remaining garlic. Stir until well combined; remove from heat and adjust seasoning if desired. Warm tortillas in a skillet, or for 10 seconds in the microwave. To assemble tacos, spread 1-2 tablespoons cilantro cream on a tortilla, top with 1/3 cup shrimp filling, and 1/4 cup cole slaw mix. If desired, add a dollop of cilantro cream on top. Serve immediately.

Number of Servings:  4-6


Congratulations!  Tell us how you came up with this outstanding recipe. Do you prepare Mexican cuisine often?

“Yes!  There are some great Latin American markets where I live.  I often buy ingredients I have never worked with, and that is a great inspiration for creativity in the kitchen.  I also buy some standard ingredients at the markets that are helpful for creating weekday dinners with Mexican flavors—jumbo packs of tortillas, dried chilis, adobo, sazon, fresh mexican/hondouran cheeses, etc.  Having some of those ingredients helped create this recipe, but I was also trying to use up a bunch of cilantro from my garden before it bloomed and changed flavor!

This recipe is one version of a flexible recipe that we often prepare for dinner at my house. In the past, it’s been prepared with chicken and roasted yams, tilapia, and even tofu with beans and quinoa.  I entered the shrimp one because it’s my favorite.  It’s a little different every time depending on what is on hand, but it is always quick, delicious and satisfying.”

You were one of our lucky winners last year during the “Holiday Favorites” contest.  What inspired you to enter the Better Recipes weekly contest again?

“I love the category options!  I usually read through them a few months in advance, and often have an idea or two for every week.  If there is a really good category, I set a reminder in my phone’s calendar to make sure I don’t miss the entry date.”

I love it…that’s dedication!  Do you have any advice for others interested in entering our recipe contests?

“I would say to make sure you read through the rules and regulations carefully so you are creating a recipe that fits the contest and the audience.  Also, when I finish writing a recipe, I walk through the steps in my head to make sure everything is clear, and the steps and ingredients are listed in the correct order.”

Wonderful!  Thanks so much for your advice and for this great recipe.  I will definitely be making it again soon.  (Already craving that cilantro cream sauce!)

Creamy Chipotle-Lime Shrimp and Rice

6 Comments | Written on December 27, 2010 at 5:00 am , by

Raise your hand if you are worn out!  I hope everyone had a very merry and fun-filled Christmas with family, friends, and, of course, great food.  But after all the excitement of gifts, or the hustle and bustle of travel, sometimes you just need a quick and delicious weeknight meal.  This shrimp and rice dish is creamy, spicy and simply hits the spot after the hectic holidays.  Enjoy!


2 Tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup thinly sliced onion
3/4 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined (or thawed, if frozen)
2 Tablespoons seeded, chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
Hot, cooked rice to serve 4
1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese (or can substitute cotija or Monterey Jack)
Grated rind of 1 lime

1.  Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and saute until just softened.
2.  Stir in shrimp and saute until it just starts to turn pink.  Add chipotle peppers, salt, black pepper, and sour cream.  Stir constantly until mixture is hot and shrimp are pink.
3.  Spoon hot shrimp over rice and sprinkle with crumbled cheese and grated lime peel.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding

6 Comments | Written on December 16, 2010 at 5:00 am , by

A hint of cinnamon is what makes Mexican Hot Chocolate special.  All the flavors of this warm holiday drink are transformed into an easy pudding dessert!  This recipe is featured as part of our Top 10 Easy Christmas Desserts.  Enjoy this dish and check out all 10!



1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 squares (1 ounce each) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups reduced fat chocolate milk, divided
1/2 cup Reduced Fat Sour Cream
1-1-/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Garnish: Additional sour cream
Additional cinnamon for sprinkling


1. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cocoa powder, chopped chocolate, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. Place on stove over medium heat and whisk in 1 cup of the chocolate milk. Cook and stir until chocolate melts.

2. Gradually stir in the remaining 1 cup of chocolate milk and the sour cream. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and smooth and bubbles pop on the surface, about 8-9 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla.

3. Pour mixture into serving dishes and immediately place a piece of plastic wrap directly touching the surface of the pudding. Cool slightly, then refrigerate until cold, or overnight.

4. To serve, place a small dollop of sour cream on pudding and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serves 4-6

Holiday Recipes from Michael Symon

2 Comments | Written on December 3, 2010 at 5:00 am , by

This Christmas anyone can “Cook Like an Iron Chef” thanks to the help of Michael Symon!  This week, I had the awesome opportunity to chat live with Chef Symon and learn some of his expert tips and recipes for the holidays.  I even had the chance to ask a few questions directly from our readers, submitted through our Facebook page.  Best part is, the whole thing was caught on tape.  Check it out!


Isn’t he great?!  I seriously can’t wait to try the braised pork recipe we discussed.  Chocolate is a favorite holiday ingredient that many people do not typically consider pairing with pork, but Chef Symon’s recipe shows that pork’s versatility enhances almost any holiday ingredient. He also offered a great tip for this dish.  “When browning meat, use the bacon drippings from breakfast instead of oil. It gives the meat a tasty, crunchy exterior and creates even deeper flavors.” Mmm…I can imagine it now…



1 2 1/4-pound boneless pork shoulder roast (Boston Butt roast),

exterior fat removed and cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons canola OR olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 large jalapeño chile, seeds removed and minced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons whole coriander seed

2 teaspoons cumin seed

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ancho chile powder

16 ounces lager beer (2 cups)

2 cups pure pressed, pasteurized apple cider OR juice (not from concentrate)

3 ounces grated or very finely chopped Mexican chocolate*

3 limes, juiced and zested

6 cups hot cooked rice

Pat pork cubes dry with paper towels; season with salt. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in 5- to 6-quart heavy Dutch oven. Add half of the pork. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to bowl. Brown remaining pork in remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add all pork back to Dutch oven.

Stir in onion, almonds, jalapeño and garlic. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until onion is crisp-tender and translucent.

Stir in coriander seed, cumin seed, smoked paprika and ancho chile powder; cook for 1 minute. Add beer and apple cider and bring to a simmer. Cover and gently simmer over medium-low or low heat for 2 hours.

If desired, cool mixture. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Spoon and discard fat from top of chilled mixture. Heat mixture over medium-high heat.

Stir in lime juice and zest, and chocolate into hot mixture. Serve over rice.

Serves 8 (3/4 cup pork mole plus 3/4 cup rice per serving).

* If Mexican chocolate is unavailable, use 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate plus 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 3 drops almond extract.

To Plate:  Spoon rice into shallow bowls and top with pork in mole sauce.

Nutritional Information per Serving:  Calories: 530  Fat: 18g  Saturated Fat: 4g  Cholesterol: 75mg  Sodium: 250mg  Carbohydrates: 57g  Protein: 30g  Fiber: 3g

If you love this recipe, be sure to check Chef Symon’s other pork dishes for the holidays!  You may have even seen him preparing them in the video!

Roasted Rack of Pork with Five Spice Pumpkin Puree – Coriander and cumin reinvigorate the classic combination of tender pork and robust pumpkin. Symon’s zesty cilantro salad provides another unexpected accompaniment to this holiday meal.  Chef Symon Tip:  “Put seasoning and rub on the meat the night before to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat and make your pork even more flavorful and juicy.”

Ginger-Crusted Pork Cutlets with Cinnamon-Orange-Cranberry Chutney and Wilted Arugula – Nothing reflects the spirit of the holidays more than the sweet and tart flavors of cinnamon and cranberry. The color, texture and taste of the ginger crust could make this a new family favorite. Chef Symon Tip:  “Chutney is a perfect pairing with breaded cutlets and both reheat nicely for a quick weeknight meal full of holiday flavor.”

Got Turkey? Another Leftover Solution!

3 Comments | Written on November 29, 2010 at 5:00 am , by

Still looking for ways to use up that leftover Thanksgiving turkey?  I think it is time to spice things up!

Every time I make these turkey enchiladas they are “gobbled” up in minutes.  They are called enchiladas “suizas” because they are topped with swiss cheese and a creamy sauce.  A filling is made with leftover turkey, salsa verde, sour cream, and roasted red peppers.  You can even make the dish lighter by using reduced-fat sour cream and reduced-fat swiss cheese.  I love this recipe because it is great to pop in the oven after a long day of Christmas shopping!


8 corn tortillas, stacked and wrapped in foil
1 jar (16 ounces) Salsa Verde (green salsa)
1/2 cup sour cream (regular or reduced fat)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1-1/2 cups diced cooked turkey
1-1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese (regular or reduced fat)
1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers, sliced

Garnish:  Diced tomatoes
Sliced green onion

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Place wrapped tortillas in oven to warm while preparing rest of ingredients.
2. In a bowl, mix together the salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.  Spread 1/2 cup of mixture on the bottom of a 2 to 2-1/2 quart casserole dish.
3. In another bowl, combine the turkey, 1 cup of the cheese, and the roasted peppers.
4. Remove tortillas from oven and make sure they are warmed and pliable.  Spoon a scant 1/2 cup of turkey mixture down the center of each tortilla.  Roll each up and place seam side down in baking dish.  Pour remaining salsa mixture over top.
5. Cover dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes until bubbly.  Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese.  Bake, uncovered, another 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Sprinkle tomatoes and green onion down the center.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4.