Category Archives: Mexican

Quick and Easy Guacamole


Quick and easy guacamole

If it takes more than 5 minutes, you did it wrong.

Avocados are the best.  According to an Applebee’s commercial I  heard a few hours ago, avocados are a “superfood.”

Guacamole is a quick and easy topping for a lot of Mexican dishes, and it’s also darn good as a simple dip.

I wanted to drop this little recipe nugget in with the Chipotle Nachos post, but that one was getting a little long-winded already.  So, here it is: Casey’s patented 3 minute Guacamole (makes enough for immediate consumption by 2-3 people).

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon diced cilantro
  • 3-5 shakes of salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 cup finely diced tomato (optional)

Here’s what to do:

Step 1) Cut the avocado in half.  Remove the pit and the outer shell.  Then cut the avocado into small chunks and put in a bowl.

Step 2) Take a fork or potato masher and mash the avocado until it turns into a chunky paste.

Step 3) Add in the juice from half of a small lime, the salt, cilantro (yum!), olive oil.  Using the fork, mix it all together.

Step 4) Add in the tomatoes, if desired.

guacamole on nachos

See how nicely it finishes the nachos?

A quick note on avocados and guacamole.  They go brown real quick, so make this right before you are ready to eat.  If you have to refrigerate for a while, take a piece of plastic wrap and push it right down over top of the guacamole in the bowl, so that there is no air between the guac and the plastic wrap.  If you just cover the bowl, your guacamole will look like mud in about an hour.

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Chipotle Nachos with Beans


chipotle nachos

Perfect football game food

I really like Chipotle (the restaurant).  I know, I know, the burritos ain’t good for ya.  Over 1,000 calories, lots of sodium, fat and cholesterol, and I never feel good after eating a whole one.  But I feel great while I’m eating it.  Delicious.

As a restaurant chain, they also get brownie points for being conscious of dietary restrictions.  Everything but the meat and pinto beans are vegetarian (no rennet used in the cheese), everything but the taco shells are gluten free and they do a good job of buying local and from sustainable farmers.  They claim to buy a larger percentage of naturally raised meat than any other restaurant chain in the county, and I don’t doubt that.

Don’t listen to those who say it’s far worse than a Big Mac.  As they say, haters gonna hate.

But until a few weeks ago, I never really thought about what an actual chipotle chile is.  Turns out, it’s a jalapeno.

Apparently (and this is from Wikipedia, so if I’m wrong, it’s not my fault), jalapeno farmers pick and sell unripe green peppers early in the season and we buy those at grocery stores and produce stands and pickled in jars.  Then, later in the season, the peppers turn bright red and are picked and sold as fresh peppers in the US and Mexico.  At the end of the season, the peppers that are left usually begin to turn brown and shrivel.

Those are the chipotle peppers.  They are picked and then smoked, and you can buy them dry or canned.

chipotle pepper

Dried and smoked chipotle pepper | Photo from Wikipedia

I’ve cooked with ’em twice.  Once for this recipe and another time, where I famously (to my wife, at least) misread “add one canned chipotle pepper” for “add one can chipotle peppers.”  I added the whole can to a soup.  The whole can.  Tasted like lava.

But it’s an easy mistake to make.  It was a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which smells sort of barbeque-y, not spicy.  So keep that in mind if you try out this recipe.  You need one PEPPER, not one CAN.

Here’s what you need:

  • Tortilla chips
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (your call on the type)
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 7 oz (or half a 14 oz can) diced tomatoes with basil and garlic
  • 1 tomato (diced)
  • Shredded lettuce (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Guacamole (bought or homemade)

Here’s what to do:

Step 1) Add diced onion and red peppers to a pan with a little olive oil.  Simmer until the onions become translucent (about 5 minutes).

Preppin' the onions

Step 2) Add in one finely diced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, plus another spoonful or two of the adobo sauce.  Add in the drained/rinsed pinto beans.  Add in the diced tomatoes.  Let it mingle for a few minutes, until everything is blended and hot and the mixture has reduced.

Step 3) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 4) Spread chips on a cookie sheet and top first with cheese and then with the onion/pepper/bean/chipotle mixture.

Step 5) Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Step 6) Remove and top with diced tomato and lettuce, sour cream and guacamole.


Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers


Stuffed Peppers

Easy, cheesy, beautiful | Photo by HFLP

I hope everyone out there had a great Memorial Day weekend.  We spent a lot of time on the boat, the jet ski and in the pool, saw some old friends, caught a Rays game and ate lots of good food – which was as good a break as I could hope for from the heat and tedium of school in Gainesville.

We went bowling, too, which is something that, despite my enthusiasm for, I am absolutely terrible at.  You’d think rolling a ball in a straight line would be easy, but it ain’t.  I did, however, win $1 during the aptly-named “Strike it Rich” competition held Saturday nights at that bowling alley, which was enough to make me smile but not quite enough to get a pack of gum from the vending machine.

Back in Gainesville now, and back to the blog.

Before we left, I whipped up some stuffed peppers, which is a great thing to make if you’ve got a few peppers around and don’t want to the grocery store.  Really, you can stuff them with anything you’d like.  I used a hefty amount of yellow rice, but brown rice works great as well – some people even like to use quinoa or cousous.  Feel free to experiment.

Also, this particular recipe made more stuffing than I could fit in four peppers.  I could have used more peppers, but decided instead to save the extra stuffing to make a burrito the next day – which was delicious.

Here’s what you need:

  • 4 large bell peppers of any color
  • 3 cups cooked rice (I used yellow rice, but brown is good as well)
  • 1/2 can black beans
  • 1/2 can corn
  • 1/2 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 oz crushed tomato (jarred or fresh tomatoes crushed by hand)
  • 1 cup cheese (Mexican blends are good, but whatever you have handy works)
  • 1/4 cup diced jalapenos (optional)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Serve with salsa and sour cream
  • 1/2 packet or a few shakes of fajita seasoning (optional)

Here’s what to do:

Step 1) Cook rice according to package instructions and set aside.

Step 2) Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and scoop out the seeds and white stuff.  They need to be softened before being stuffed, so either steam them for a few minutes or boil them (which I did) for about 8 minutes.  You want them “soft” but not “floppy.”  They should still stand up by themselves and hold their shape, but they shouldn’t be “crisp.”  That’s the best I can do – use your judgement :)

Step 3) In a small fry pan, sautee the onions and garlic in a little olive oil until the onions become translucent.

Step 4) In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked rice, sauteed onions, garlic, jalapenos, black beans, corn, fajita seasoning and 1/2 a cup of cheese.  Stir it up good.  This is your filling.

stuffed pepper filling

Filling for the peppers | Photo by HFLP

Step 5) When the peppers are softened, stand them upright in a baking dish and fill them with stuffing mixture and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

uncooked stuffed peppers

Pre-cheese, pre-oven

Step 6) Pour a 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the dish around the peppers (this creates a steamy environment and prevents the peppers from browning too much).

Step 7) Cover with foil, but make sure not to let the foil sit on top of the peppers or your cheese will melt to the foil.  Set the oven to 350 degrees, and bake covered for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese on top is golden brown.

stuffed peppers in the oven

Vegetarian stuffed peppers | Photo by HFLP

The water in the bottom of the dish should have cooked off, and the peppers should be tender but not mushy.  Serve with a little sour cream and salsa, or hot sauce if the jalapenos didn’t do the trick.

Thanks for reading!


Spicy Chick’n Quesadillas


spicy chicken quesadilla

Spicy Chick'n Quesadilla | Photo by Healhyandlazy

For some reason, meatless chicken has always been a little weird to me.

I like some meatless sausages, especially when they are cooked into a pasta or casserole.  I use fake bacon in a carbonara and love it.  Still, chicken remains mysterious.

I’ve had the frozen, breaded vegetarian chicken patties (not that good) and the MorningStar buffalo chicken nuggets (really not that good).  So I was a little skeptical when I set out to make quesadillas with some fake chicken strips.

I used the MorningStar frozen strips, which come seasoned but not breaded, and cooked them in a pan with some veggies until they were well done (by fake meat standards).  The cooking directions on the bag suggests you just heat them through, but I let them get a little brown and crispy.  They turned out great.  And with quesadillas, how can you go wrong?  Crispy, cheesy and melty – served with some cold salsa and sour cream.  Yum.

Here’s what you need (to make two quesadillas):

  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • 8-12 frozen chick’n strips
  • 1/8 cup jarred jalapenos
  • 1/4 sweet onion, diced or in strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup of of pepper jack/cheddar/Mexican cheese
  • Fajita seasoning (optional, but I like it when I’m in a hurry)
  • Sour cream
  • Your favorite salsa

    Ingredients

    Better than I expected | Photo by Healthyandlazy

Here’s what to do:

Step 1) Place the onion, jalapenos and bell pepper in a large pan with some olive oil and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Step 2) Add the chick’n strips and cook with veggies until edges of chick’n are getting crispy.

cooking chick'n

Not done yet... | Photo by Healthyandlazy

Step 3) Remove veggie/chicken mixture, wipe out pan, and lay down tortilla.  Top with cheese, veggies and chick’n.  Lay on the other tortilla.

Step 4) Peek inside every minute or so.  When the cheese looks melty, it’s probably time to flip and toast the other side.

Step 5) When both sides have lightly browned, remove from pan, slice and plate with sour cream, salsa and guac if you’ve got it.

In unrelated news, I’m headed to New Orleans this weekend for some food, fun and good music (Jazz Fest!!).  I’ve been around the country quite a bit, but never to NOLA.  Any suggestions of good things to do/places to eat?


Vegan Sweet Potato Burritos


Vegan Sweet Potato Burrito

Vegan Sweet Potato Burrito | Photo by HealthyandLazy

Spring break!

I’ve changed cities, temporarily, and have left the comfy confines of my Gainesville kitchen for the spacious kitchens of parents and in-laws.  These folks even have dishwashers!

With all the extra space, we decided to make a big, vegan feast.  For dinner, a burrito unlike any I’ve ever had – sweet potatoes and black beans seem like an unusual pairing to me, but we went for it.  It’s not a Healthy/Lazy original, but it might get added to the regular recipe rotation.  We found the idea over here. Continue reading


(Sloppy) Mexican Lasagna


Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna | Photo by HealthyandLazy

As the old joke goes, all Mexican food has the same four ingredients, there’s just a dozen names for it – taco, burrito, enchilada, quesadilla – and today, I’d like to add another candidate to the field.  Mexican Lasagna.

It really isn’t much different from other Mexican foods (and for the record, when I say “Mexican food,” I mean the type of food they serve in Mexican restaurants in the US, not in Mexico – and I’ve been told there’s a difference).  However, lasagna is much easier to serve – you don’t have to assemble 20 tacos in the kitchen, or lay out every bowl and serving utensil in your armory for a make-it-yourself buffet line.

All you need is one big pan and a casserole dish, and you’ll have a nice, hot dinner for four.

Continue reading


Easy Cheesy Jalapenos


Baked Stuff Jalapenos

Baked Stuffed Jalapenos | Photo by HealthyandLazy

Jalapeno peppers are nature’s firecrackers.

They’re delicious diced, chopped, baked, fried and, best of all, stuffed! Our recipe today is an easy, cheesy concoction that’s perfect as an appetizer or snack. I saw the recipe over at Tried and Tested, and thought they looked worth a shot – and boy was I right.

The finished product has just the right amount of fire. It won’t blow up your tongue, but it will make you reach for a cool drink – and that’s exactly how you want them.

Jalapeno’s have between 2,500-8,000 heat units on the Scoville scale (that’s right, we’re dropping some science on this blog). The Scoville scale is a measure of capsaicin, the chemical that creates spiciness in a pepper. In tangible terms, the scale runs from bell peppers (roughly 0) at the low end to military grade pepper spray (around 5,000,000) at the top. I bring this up only to remind you that, while jalapenos can be an intimidating food for some, they are actually pretty darn mild.

Continue reading


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