June 20, 2013

Mexican Style Baked Potatoes ***Surprise Recipe Swap***

I love being part of the monthly Surprise Recipe Swap hosted by Jutta at HungryLittleGirl because it gives me the excuse to "have" to spend time browsing another fellow bloggers website for new recipes and then share them with you BUT another reason I enjoy being part of the monthly recipe swap is because it gives me a break from all my school work I am doing and am usually spending most of my computer time on right now.

This month I had the pleasure to browse Cindy's blog Hun...What's for Dinner? Cindy lives in Canada and is a complete foodie.....well at least in my opinion she is. She not only keeps sharing great recipes on her blog, she does cookbook reviews, has a job working for a General Mills company called Life Made Delicious (which is a website chuck full of recipes, coupons and other food related topics) AND she also is a Pampered Chef consultant. Oh and did I mention she has had recipes published in a cookbooks and has won a few recipe contests as well!? Yep the life of a Foodie.....this is how I picture it at least ;-) I am glad we get a whole month to browse for recipes because Cindy had so many to choose from! While browsing her recipes I kept coming back to a picture and recipe that seemed to be calling my name  Mexican Style Baked Potatoes. THESE are amazing and I can't believe I haven't eaten or seen baked potatoes made this way before.......where have I been living?

Now I know I just posted about my addiction of only stumbling upon "baked" dinners lately and how I try to not heat my house up so much BUT this recipe had to be recreated.....SOOOO I pulled out my toaster oven! I baked them for an hour in my toaster oven and then finished them off in the microwave so my A/C wasn't working overtime to for fill my craving for these yummy potatoes!

Mexican Style Baked Potatoes

4 russet potatoes, washed and scrubbed
3/4 cup refried beans
2 green onions, chopped (whites and greens)
1 TBS taco seasoning ( I used my homemade mix)
salt & pepper, to taste
3/4 cup salsa ( I used my homemade salsa)
1 cup shredded cheddar
sour cream or guacamole (optional toppings)

Preheat oven to 450F. Prick the potatoes with a fork, place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until tender. (I baked mine for 1 hour at 400F in my toaster oven and then finished them in the microwave. Baking them in the toaster oven before cooking them in the microwave helps keep the skin from getting chewy.)
After taking the potatoes out of the oven, reduce the heat to 375F while letting the potatoes cool for about 15 minutes or until able to handle them. When they are cool enough to handle cut them in half lengthwise and carefully scrape the pulp out (keep the skins).

In a bowl combine the potato pulp, refried beans, green onions, taco seasonings and your salt & pepper. Stir and mash together until well combined. Scoop the filling back into the potatoes skins and spoon 1 1/2 TBS salsa on top of the filling before returning them to the oven.
***I veered from the original just a bit.....I put 2 TBS salsa into the bottom of my potato skins before scooping the filling back into them***

Bake them for another 15 minutes, remove them and top them with 2 TBS cheese. Return them back the oven until the cheese is melted.

Serve with sour cream, guacamole and some extra salsa is desired. I opted for the guacamole and salsa....DELISH!!! I am glad I had extra to eat for lunch the next day too.

You can make these a day ahead too, just cover them in plastic after scooping the filling back into the skins and before reheating them the second time. They may need a few extra minutes to reheat but turn out great too. I unwrapped mine and microwaved them for a few minutes.

These would also be a great recipe to use if you make too many baked potatoes for dinner one night and have leftover potatoes that weren't eaten....I am pretty sure they WILL be eaten if you make these for dinner the next night.


June 17, 2013

Mexican Cornbread Salad

I know I have complained about this before and I will probably complain about it again....well at least while our temps outside are going above 100F daily right now. Something that I really have a hard time with is turning on my oven to bake when it is so hot outside and of course I am craving everything needing to be baked.

I keep finding new recipes for baked dinners and snacks....go figure! I know that not everyone lives in the same climate as I do but come on why do all these oven baked recipes look so yummy??
SO I try to narrow my choices down to recipes that only require to be baked under 30 minutes and try to keep the oven temp under 400F...haha....it's not that easy though.

Cornbread is a recipe that fits my criteria so that means this Cornbread Salad is a go! This salad is perfect as a side dish for a picnic, party or as a light dinner dish on it's own too. The dressing is very refreshing and goes great with the sweetness of the cornbread.

Mexican Cornbread Salad

1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (with ingredients needed on the box)
1 lb ground turkey or beef
1 package taco seasoning (I used my homemade taco seasoning)
4 roma tomatoes, gutted and chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup sour cream (I used greek yogurt)
1/4 cup mayonnaise (optional....I did not use any)
2-3 green onions, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
2 cups crumbled cornbread
2 cans kidney beans or black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1 cup shredded cheddar


Bake the cornbread muffins according to directions on the box. Cool completely before continuing with assembling the salad.......Do this either the day before or the morning you plan on putting together your salad.

Cook your turkey or beef until no longer pink. Add your taco seasoning. Set aside and let cool until ready to use. If you are prepping the day before store your cooked meat in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Whip together the sour cream, green onions, lime juice, chili powder and cumin.
Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to assemble. You can do this the day before as well, just give it a quick stir before using.

When you have your muffins cooled and dressing done you are ready to assemble your salad:
First layer: 1 cup crumbled cornbread
Second layer: half of prepared meat
Third layer: green peppers
Fourth layer: corn
Fifth layer: beans
Sixth layer: 1/2 cup shredded cheese
REPEAT ending with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese, then top with the chopped the tomatoes and then cover with your prepared dressing.

Cover and chill at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.

**Don't hesitate to add more toppings like chopped onions, black olives or use red bell peppers instead of green peppers**