February 4, 2013

... Chicken and Black Bean Nachos

Besides the company I had and Beyonce's half-time performance, this was one of the major highlights of Super Bowl XLVII (or 2013 for those of you who, like me, can't keep track of all the Roman numerals).  It certainly kept us preoccupied during the black out.

I found the recipe on Pinterest and am so glad I did.  I know, Shock! Awe! Taylor made a recipe from Pinterest!  Not only was it quick and easy to put together, it was delicious and even "healthier" than standard nachos.  And that'll make you feel a little less guilty about chowing down on nachos while watching Beyonce rock it in a skin tight leather number.

Chicken and Black Bean Nachos
serves 6 appetizer portions

6 oz tortilla chips
1 can (16 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1/2 red onion, diced
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup light sour cream
chopped cilantro
salsa (either fresh or your favorite bottled salsa)
pickled jalapenos

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Arrange the chips in a single layer on a large baking sheet.  Spoon the beans evenly over the chips, then top with the cheese, chicken, and onion.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted and bubbling.  Remove.

Combine the lime juice, sour cream, and cilantro.  Spoon over the nachos.  Top with the salsa and jalapenos.

Taylor's Notes:
Hello Rotisserie Chicken!  It's been a while, but one of my favorite short-cuts is back and perfect in this quick and easy recipe.  The sour cream / cilantro mixture was really great on top, but you could certainly leave the cilantro out if you don't like that sort of thing.  


... Mango Salsa

Look at this gorgeous color!  Doesn't it look like Summer?  Or at least Florida in the winter?  Regardless of the time of year or location you're in, if you can find a ripe mango you should make this salsa.

And then put it on fish like this...

serves 2-4

1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients, except the s&p, and toss well.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Taylor's Notes:
Again, Mom made this one.  It was the perfect topping for fresh caught Florida Grouper.  It was also great as a snack with tortilla chips the next day.  It'd be great on several types of fish, shrimp, scallops, even chicken.

Know what else is great?  This... for dessert.


*Please excuse my use of Instagram photos... the food really was beautiful and delicious even without the filters...

... Hot Crab Cheese Dip

Vacation.  It's a wonderful thing.  Especially when it's spent in sunny Florida at the end of January.  I don't know about you, but I say 78 degrees is way better than 8 any day.  We enjoyed the beautiful weather by cooking at our home away from home one night and made this recipe as an appetizer.  It was delicious and I'll definitely make it again... if only to remind me of warmer temps in the middle of winter.

Hot Crab Cheese Dip
serves 8

8 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons skim milk
4 scallions, sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 pound lump crab meat, flaked
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, skim milk, scallions, lemon juice, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce and garlic salt in a bowl and mix well.  Fold in the crab meat.

Spoon the crab meat mixture into a shallow 6-cup baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes or until light brown.  Let stand for 5 minutes and sprinkle with parsley.  Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Taylor's Notes:
To be honest, Mom made this.  All I did was bake it and eat it.  But, boy, was it delicious.  It probably didn't hurt that we ate it on the deck of the house we rented for our family vacation in Key Largo, Florida while overlooking the ocean and enjoying the sunset.  I mean, I'm sure it'd be just as good if you ate it in your living room.  In the middle of winter.  Really, I'm sure it would.  

If I remember correctly, Mom made this early in the day and kept it in the refrigerator while we were out playing.  We set it out about 20 minutes before sticking it in the oven to bake.  

I just realized - only by looking at the photo - that we (ahem, I) didn't add the parsley before serving.  Oops.  #garnishfail


... a Hot Chocolate Bar

Well, better late than never... I always say.  Or, almost always... Anyhoo, this Christmas (yes, I know it's currently February... don't judge), after driving around the Plaza to look at the lights, we headed back to my house for a little warm up.  Hot Chocolate is great for that.  Hot Chocolate with Bailey's or Peppermint Schnapps... even better.

It's a perfect idea for a big group and a lot of fun to see what add-ins everyone enjoys.  We had the aforementioned Bailey's and Peppermint Schnapps, chocolate-dipped marshmallows, candy canes, caramel bits, mini chocolate chips, and chocolate hazelnut Pirouettes.

Here's the most exciting thing... you don't need to wait until Christmas to enjoy it.  Hot Chocolate is great in February, too!

Hot Chocolate Bar
serves 4

4 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup sugar

In a medium saucepan, heat 4 cups of the milk over low heat, being very careful not to let the milk boil.  In a small bowl, mix together the cocoa, sugar, and the remaining 1/2 cup milk.  Add the cocoa mixture to the warm milk and continue to warm the cocoa until hot.

Pour into 4 mugs and garnish.

Taylor's Notes:
I tripled the recipe and it made enough for thirteen of us.  It's pretty rich, so you probably don't need more than a cup - especially depending on your add-ins - but hey, I don't judge.  Drink away.  

I made this a day ahead and kept it in the refrigerator until we were ready to enjoy it.  It heated up on the stove pretty quickly - in maybe 20 minutes or so - over medium heat.  Again, be careful not to let the milk boil.  Trust me, no amount of Bailey's can help burnt milk.