Margarita Mini Cupcakes

June 19, 2014

 

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Well, Easter has come and gone. It has been quite some time since my last post. I don’t know what in the world I’ve been doing! Currently I seem to be glued to the telly. It’s World Cup time and although neither my husband nor myself are usually big sports fans, we suffer a change of personality every four years when the Cup gets underway. Luckily, we can watch all of the matches from the comfort of our air conditioned living room (who am I kidding…air conditioned local pub :) ). And thank God for air conditioning because that swampy Virginia summer weather has settled in quite comfortably around here and thus entrenched seems unlikely to be dislodged for quite some time. Yeah, we had been enjoying a lovely Spring, but recently the temperature has been hovering right around 90° F ( 32° C) with around 80% humidity or so. Anyone who has spent one damp and soggy minute hanging around here in the summer will tell you “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”. Never truer words were spoken. Humidity, we’ve got tons of it! Needless to say, it is most definitely margarita weather, either frozen or on the rocks. Anything to bring your core temperature down. I think it was my craving for that delicious sweet, salty and blessedly icy drink that inspired me to make these Margarita Mini Cupcakes. They have all of the great flavours so reminiscent of that wonderful cocktail such as tequila, fresh limes and you will even find that the fluffy swiss meringue frosting is sprinkled with just a touch of salt. That’s right they’re sweet and salty, tart and boozy. Could they get any better?

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Well perhaps only in that they are bite sized, easy to pop right into your mouth without exerting a lot of effort…which should be avoided at all cost in heat advisory conditions like we’ve been experiencing. They would be a very welcome addition to any cookout, picnic or potluck. And definitely keep them in mind for the next time Cinco de Mayo rolls around. I think we’re going to be in for a long and steamy summer, and it is only just beginning! Guess I’ll just have to take comfort in the little things…( well the little things and some nice ice-cold, boozy and refreshing drinks…)

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Margarita Mini Cupcakes

  • Servings: 86 mini cupcakes (or 24 regular sized)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Source: Tide & Thyme

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup tequila

For the Tequila Lime Buttercream:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 egg whites
  • 3 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Tequila
  • lime zest and wedges, for topping
  • fleur-de-sel, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare mini muffin tins with paper liners or baking spray.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar on a high until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next one. Add lime zest and lime juice. Add vanilla.

Turn mixer to low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes (25 minutes for the full-sized cakes) or until a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pans at the halfway point.

Allow cupcakes to cool 5 minutes in the pans before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. While the cupcakes are still warm, brush the tops with tequila or tequila/orange mixture if desired.

To make the frosting, place the stand mixer bowl over a simmering pot of water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk the sugar and egg whites until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture registers 160°F  with a candy thermometer.

Place bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high-speed until the mixture is cool and holds stiff, glossy peaks (approximately 10 minutes).

Change to the paddle attachment and beat in one tablespoon of butter at a time on medium. The mixture might appear curdled but keep beating, it will pull back together.

Add lime juice and 1 Tablespoon tequila. Increase speed to high and beat until the frosting reincorporates and is smooth and fluffy. Beat in remaining tablespoon (or “spoons” – no judgement :) ) of tequila, if desired.

Frost the cooled cupcakes with the buttercream.  Garnish with lime zest,  lime slices, and fleur-de-sel.

Enjoy!

Margarita Mini Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 


BBQ Pulled Pork Taquitos

May 3, 2013

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Here it is, May 3rd and Cinco de Mayo is nearly upon us! But there is still time to make these outstanding BBQ Pulled Pork Taquitos before the big day and I assure you, you will be glad that you did! If you’ll recall, just a few weeks ago I broke out my slow cooker and made some mouth-watering pork carnitas which I used for Carnitas Tacos. Quite unbelievably,  I actually had a bit of that pork leftover and that is what went into these Taquitos.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I loved those tacos, but I can see firing up that crock pot again just to make these little devils. Not only are they absolutely dee-lish but they are also easy to prepare. No frying, these gems are baked. And where a lot of recipes I perused called for cream cheese, these little fellows are made with ranch dressing and BBQ sauce. Now you can pick whatever BBQ sauce happens to be your favourite. As you know, if you’ve been paying any mind to us around here, we like it pretty spicy, so I went with a Habañero Hot. But you can customize this recipe to your taste and do whatsoever you please, as far as the sauce goes anyway…sweet, mustardy, vinegary…you name it! I will say though if you are going to follow my lead, you might want to have a bunch of beer iced down and ready to go. (Actually, now that I think about it,  you should do that regardless of the sauce you pick :)

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One thing you should keep in mind is that it does take a while for the slow cooker to work its magic on that pork shoulder, so plan ahead. But once that pork is pulled and ready to go, these Taquitos assemble quickly and easily. You can make up a big tray of them earlier in the day and then just pop them into the oven 30 minutes or so before party guests arrive. Not that you need to have a party to serve these. My husband is already making plans to have the next batch I make all to his self! In fact, I haven’t tried this, but I think you could substitute in some chicken (perhaps rotisserie chicken if you are pressed for time) for the pork and these would still taste superb. So there you have it. I’ve given you a few great Cinco de Mayo recipes now, Carnitas Tacos, Salsa, Guacamole and BBQ Pulled Pork Taquitos. With food mostly covered, you should be well on your way to planning a rocking celebration in just a couple of days. Don’t forget the drinks…oh, and a hot Mariachi Band. Let me know how it goes!

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BBQ Pulled Pork Taquitos

recipe slightly adapted from: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Yield: 10-12 Taquitos

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce  (I used Sticky Fingers Smokehouse’s Habañero Hot sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • dash of hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups shredded pulled pork (I used left-overs from the pork I made for Carnitas Tacos)
  • 1 cup shredded  cheese (I used Sargento’s Four Cheese Mexican Blend)
  • 10-12 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
  • ranch dressing and/or barbecue sauce, for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the ranch dressing, the barbecue sauce, paprika, chile powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, brown sugar, salt, red onion, scallions and cilantro. (If the mixture seems too dry, add the remaining ranch dressing.) Add the pork and cheese and stir until evenly distributed. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

Place 2 tortillas at a time on a microwave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 25 seconds, or until the tortillas are soft and pliable. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly. Place seam side-down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.

Spray the tops of the taquitos with cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden. Serve with salsa and/or barbecue sauce.

Enjoy!


Guacamole

April 30, 2013

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Yuuuuummm! Guacamole!!! I’ve recently been blogging about some great Mexican style dishes in preparation for Cinco de Mayo, which will be here before you know it! First there was the Carnitas Tacos and just a few days ago, I shared my favourite homemade Salsa recipe. Up next is Guacamole, that delicious avocado based sauce. It seems that in addition to Salsa, the Aztecs are also the folks who gave us “ahuaca-mulli” or avocado mix, which we know as Guacamole. Like Salsa, this dish is easy to prepare, with just a small amount of chopping, no food processor is necessary here. The big difference between the two sauces is that Guacamole must be made the day it is to be served. You really can’t refrigerate the stuff long before that yummy vibrant green begins to take on a very unappetizing brown hue. One fun trick I’ve learned is that you can save the three avocado pits and place them on top of your finished Guacamole while you are waiting to serve it. This will actually slow the oxidation which results in the unfortunate color change. The Guacamole recipe that I am sharing today is really more of an El Salvadorian style Guacamole, than Mexican. However, I’m sure you can still serve it on Cinco de Mayo without too many folks getting their panties in a bunch. Though you never know…last year I shared a recipe for one of my favourite dips, Santa Fe Dip and said it would be a great dish to serve at a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Next thing I knew I got a snippity comment informing me that I needed a geography lesson and that Santa Fe was in the United States. Clearly a dish with Santa Fe in the name could NOT be enjoyed on Cinco de Mayo a Mexican holiday!….Really?!! Perhaps we could relax a bit, it’s just a food blog here… Anyway…

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I say this is an El Salvadoran style Guacamole because it has chopped hard-boiled egg in it. I first encountered this type of Guacamole at my favourite Mexican restaurant, DiOGi’s. They serve up amazing latin style cuisine there. If you ever find yourself in Fayetteville, West Virginia, you must pay them a visit! The chef and owner, Oscar Aguilar, is from El Salvador and told us that the egg bit is an El Salvadoran thing. Now don’t scrunch up your nose like that until you try it. It is really good and while pretty subtle it really adds that extra layer of flavour. Bursting with freshness, this Guacamole is great with a basket of tortilla chips, on a taco or even a burger. It easily puts any store-bought cups of green stuff called guacamole to shame. Make a batch up today!

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Guacamole

recipe adapted from: Alton Brown and Oscar Aguilar

Ingredients

  • 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

Directions:

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic and chopped egg. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

Enjoy!


Salsa

April 23, 2013

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Cinco de Mayo isn’t far off and I just shared a great recipe with you for Carnitas Tacos, which I’m sure would be warmly welcomed at any Cinco de Mayo celebration. One of the fixings you will definitely need to have on hand when you make up a bunch of those afore-mentioned Tacos is a spicy fresh salsa. So I thought I’d go ahead and share my favourite salsa recipe with you. Salsa is easy to make, especially if you have a food processor. But even if you don’t, it is still pretty straightforward, just requiring a bit of chopping. And it tastes fantastic. Wonderfully fresh! So different from that stuff you find on supermarket shelves you’ll be wondering what in the world it was that you were eating out of those jars for all those years. Salsa which simply means “sauce” in Spanish has been around for a long time. In the mid 1500’s, Spanish Franciscan missionaries mentioned it in their writings as a dish the Aztecs enjoyed. And it is still being enjoyed today all over the world. As it turns out Americans have been eating a whole lot of Salsa. In 1991 it overtook ketchup as the top-selling condiment here! This homemade version goes along great with any mexican dish or simply on its own with a big old basket of tortilla chips. Make up a batch for any Cinco de Mayo celebration and you will be the talk of the town. But remember, it takes a little while for all of the lovely flavours to come together, so it is best if you can make this salsa at least 12 hours before you want to serve it. I usually make it the day before. So what are you waiting for? Get chopping!

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Salsa

recipe adapted from: Alton Brown

Ingredients:

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 seeded and minced jalapeños
  • 1 red bell pepper, fine dice
  • 1/2 red onion, fine chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (We love cilantro, but if you don’t, you may want to reduce this a bit)
  • Chili powder, salt, and pepper, to taste
  • 5 Fresh scallions, chopped

Directions:

Get a large bowl out and set aside. I use my food processor to chop the tomatoes, red pepper, garlic and onion. I process each vegetable individually (with the exception of the garlic and onion which go in together) so that I can get them to the texture I prefer. As you finish chopping each vegetable, add it to the large bowl and then add in the olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, scallions and spices. Stir to combine. Place in refrigerator for up to 12 hours for optimum flavour infusion.

Serve with tortilla chips.


Mexican Lasagna

February 18, 2013

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Lasagna! With all of those meaty, saucy, cheesy layers, it’s just comfort food perfection! But sometimes you might be in the mood for something a wee bit spicier than good old Italian sausage can provide. Maybe you’ve got a hankering for a dish with a bit more south-of-the-border vibe? Well, look no further! You can get it all here when this classic Italian style dish gets a Mexican twist.

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In this delicious layered casserole, the usual lasagna noodles are replaced with flour tortillas, the ground beef is spiced up, and some black beans, corn, green chilis, cilantro and jalapeños join the party, or should I say fiesta.

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Not only does this crowd pleaser taste delicious with all of its spicy, zesty cheesy goodness, but it comes together in no time flat! I’m talking like 15-20 minutes of prep, followed by 15 minutes of baking time. Amazing! Convenient and Easy! Your family and friends will love you and sing your praises while gobbling it up. I would tell you how well left-overs freeze, except I know there won’t be any left-overs to freeze. At least there weren’t around here. Give this winner a try today!

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Mexican Lasagna

recipe adapted from: The Slow Roasted Italian

yield: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet corn
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro and  2 tbsp more for garnish
  • 1 (4-oz) can fire roasted diced green chiles
  • 1 (14-oz) can enchilada sauce
  • 12 (8-in) large flour tortillas (or corn if you prefer)
  • 12 oz Mexican cheese blend

for garnish:

  • jalapeño slices
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

serve with shredded lettuce, salsa and sour cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray 8×11″ baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large skillet, over medium high heat, drizzle olive oil. Add beef, onion, paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to skillet. Brown beef for about 5-7 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans,corn and fresh cilantro. Stir to combine. Allow to cook while you begin preparing the baking pan.

Smooth 1/3 of the enchilada sauce over the bottom of prepared baking pan. Lay tortillas on the bottom of the pan, slightly overlapping until pan is covered (about 4 tortillas).

Spoon half of the beef mixture over top of the tortillas, spread evenly. Layer tortillas on top of beef mixture. Smooth 1/3 of the enchilada sauce over tortillas. Sprinkle ½ of the cheese on top. Scatter the green chiles over the cheese. Add the remaining beef mixture. Spread evenly. Layer tortillas on top of beef mixture. Cover with remaining enchilada sauce. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of tortillas.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and lasagna is warmed through. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped scallions, jalapeños and cilantro.

Enjoy!


Double Decker Taco Cupcakes

August 20, 2012

I had to get your attention with that title huh? Double decker…Taco…cupcakes?!! How much more goodness could you pack into four little words? I’m happy to report that these little fellas didn’t only sound good, they really delivered on taste as well. Back in February, I had tried out a recipe for Lasagna Cupcakes  which I had seen on the Girl Who Ate Everything blog. They were a huge hit. A couple of months later, I noticed that she had posted a recipe for Double Decker Taco Cupcakes. I have just been itching to try these out since then and finally had an occasion to make up a batch. I’m glad I did ’cause let me tell ya…folks went wild for them!

These Taco Cupcakes are quite similar to the Lasagna version, baked in cupcake tins with wonton wrappers, but this time filled with all kinds of taco-y ingredients like seasoned ground beef, refried beans, crushed tortilla chips and cheese. Once they’re out of the oven, you can sprinkle your favourite taco fixin’s on top such as sour cream, onions, jalapeno peppers, cilantro and avocado over the tops. They come together very quickly and easily. I assembled them earlier in the day and then baked them right before my guests turned up. They were great for dinner and would serve wonderfully as “finger food” at a larger party (perhaps a Cinco de Mayo gathering…). But don’t wait until May! Find a reason to make these soon!

Double Decker Taco Cupcakes

recipe from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

yield: 18 Taco Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1b. ground beef
  • 1 package Old El Paso Taco seasoning mix
  • 36 Wonton Wrappers
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 36 tortilla chips
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican Blend or Cheddar cheese
  • Optional Toppings: sour cream, diced tomatoes, diced onion, diced jalapeno peppers, cilantro, salsa, avocado

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. And spray 18 wells of muffin tins with cooking spray.

Brown beef in a skillet and drain the fat. Add the taco seasoning mix and water called for on the package and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Set aside.

Place one wonton wrapper in the bottom of each muffin cup. Layer about 1/2 Tbsp of refried beans on top of each wonton. Crush one tortilla chip on top of the beans. Top with 1 Tbsp of taco meat and 1 Tbsp of shredded cheese. Repeat the layers again with a wonton wrapper, refried beans, tortilla chips, taco meat, and cheese.

Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.

Gently remove from muffin tin and top with your favourite taco toppings.

Enjoy!


Santa Fe Dip

May 4, 2012

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, here you have it, the dish for which everyone who takes a bite asks me for the recipe…Santa Fe Dip. Believe me, you can’t go wrong with this on your Cinco de Mayo table! This delicious dip is chock full of onions, red peppers, green chilis, corn and spices all held together by gooey Monterey Jack cheese and topped with jalapeños for good measure. YUM!

Folks gobble this before I can even set the dish down on the table. I’m not kidding, the second I emerge from the kitchen with this bubbling hot zesty dip, people armed with tortilla chips start circling round me like sharks! But I get it, it is that good! And since you can prepare the veggie part of the dip ahead of time, it comes together rather quickly. A fact that works out great when you’re in that last few minutes crunch before your get together, you know where folks have started arriving and you’re still trying to get your party fixins out of the kitchen? Or perhaps that’s just my poor planning…Anyway, you’ve got to try this dip. I mean today. With Cinco de Mayo happening tomorrow, you’ve got to get busy and you won’t want to miss out on this treat!

Santa Fe Dip

recipe from: my mom

ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 1/2 Cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 Cup (4 oz. tin) Ortega chilies
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
  • 1 Cup mayonnaise
  • 8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Cholula sauce to taste (you can use any hot sauce you prefer)
  • sliced jalapeño peppers to garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet. Add corn, salt, pepper and cook until deep golden brown. Transfer to bowl to cool.

Melt remaining butter in pan and add onions, peppers, garlic and chilis. Saute until onions and peppers are soft and no liquid remains.

Add corn to mixture and let it cool. **At this point you can refrigerate the veggie mixture overnight if you wish and assemble the rest of the dip on the day you wish to serve it.**

Mix the mayonnaise, cheese, cayenne pepper together in large bowl. Add the veggie mixture and stir until combined. Add Cholula or hot sauce of your choice to taste.

Transfer mixture to a baking dish (I used an oval dish about 10″ long and 2″ deep, but have also just used a shallow round casserole dish. A 9″ pie dish would work as well.) Top with some remaining cheese and sliced jalapeños.

Bake for 15 minutes or until bubbly.

Serve with tortilla chips for dipping.

Enjoy!


Cornbread Fried Chicken Breasts with Jalapeño Popper Sauce

May 1, 2012

This Saturday is Cinco de Mayo. The day on which the Mexican army was able to pull off an unexpected victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. (pull that fact out after your third or fourth shot of Cuervo and without a doubt all will be amazed…)I’m sure everyone is busy buying their tequila, tortilla chips, limes and cases of Corona. Or perhaps you’re a Dos Equis fan. Both good, but then again, I’m a big fan of beer and don’t usually discriminate too awfully much when presented with a nice cold one. So,  I thought folks might appreciate a nice, spicy chicken dish to serve at their celebrations.  And good gracious, this one is a winner! It not only has a crispy, cornbread coated, fried chicken breast, but then it’s drenched in a cream cheese, jalapeño, bacon sauce. Dios mio! Who wouldn’t love this for supper?

I mean everyone loves fried chicken and the Jalapeño Popper sauce is just to die for! I was scooping up what few puddles remained on my plate with every tortilla chip I could get my hands on.  Delicious and very easy to prepare, I’ll bet once you get this one made, it’ll be making an appearance on your dinner table a little more frequently than just on Mexican holidays.

Cornbread Fried Chicken Breasts with Jalapeño Popper Sauce

recipe from: Let’s Dish

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 3 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

In a medium skillet, fry bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels.

Combine cornmeal, chili powder, cumin, and salt on a rimmed plate. Dip each chicken breast in beaten egg, then in cornmeal mixture. Shallow-fry in vegetable oil in a large skillet until coating is crisp and juices run clear. Remove from skillet, drain on paper towels, and keep warm.

Add jalapeños to the same skillet that was used to cook the bacon; season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook and stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in chicken broth, using a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan. Bring to a boil.

Add cream cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in shredded cheese and reserved bacon, stirring until the cheese in melted.  Top chicken with sauce and serve.

Enjoy!


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