Tag Archives: Paprika

Stretching your pesos: Fat Dude’s Mexican fiesta, Part 1—Shredded chicken tostadas

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We had Nadia’s cousins and brother over for football this weekend. We’re all big, hungry dudes, so you know I had to whip up something tasty.

I bought a lot of chicken–too much chicken for the tostadas I planned to make–so I’ve been tinkering with new ways to use the leftover ingredients since Sunday. But before we get into reincarnating the leftovers, it’s best to show you the recipe that left me with a Mexican bounty.

If you are looking for a healthy, frugal meal that will carry you through, look no further than the humble tostada: Corn tortilla, beans, meat, veggies, salsa, cheese and condiments.

For the recipe I made, the ingredients were: Pinto beans, chorizo, shredded chicken breast, shredded iceberg lettuce, pickled jalapeno, Oaxaca cheese, cotija cheese, Mexican crema, salsa verde, cilantro and lime.

A healthier me would have omitted the chorizo and the crema, but it was game day and I splurged. But, a little bit of either—about two tablespoons of chorizo and a two teaspoons of sour cream or light sour cream—ain’t gonna hurt none. (Read more: 8 Fatty Foods with Health Benefits—Sour Cream.)

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You will get 8 to 10 tostadas from two chicken breasts, depending on how large they are. Forget the quantity I use in the pictures, as I said, I cooked for an army and still have leftovers. Anyways, let’s cook!

Make the dry rub: It made enough for 10 large chicken breasts: 2 T kosher salt, 2 T garlic powder, 2 T onion powder, 1 T Cambodian Kampot peppercorns from Pepper Project (any black peppercorns will do though), 1 T of paprika, 2 t Mexican oregano, 2 t cumin, 2 t chili powder, 1/2 t cayenne pepper and 2 bay leaves.

Run the mix through a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and that’s it.

For an alternative dry rub made with chipotle chili powder, use Chef Brian’s Chicken Taco Spice.

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Your best bet to get the chicken tender enough to shred easily with a fork is to braise the meat. To get the chicken ready for braising, give it a good massage with the spice mix and let it sit out and temper for about an hour.

The braise: Heat an appropriate amount of oil in the pan for the number of chicken breasts you are using and sear all of the meat, browning both sides for 2-3 minutes per side. In my version, I first cooked the chorizo in the pan and then removed the meat, leaving behind the chorizo fat to cook the chicken in (with the addition of some canola oil). Once all the chicken is done, add a chopped onion and 3 cloves of chopped garlic to the pan, scraping the bottom free of whatever’s stuck to it.

Add a little tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes, until it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Deglaze the pan with chicken stock (Video: How to deglaze a pan). Add the chicken back to the pan, and fill it about halfway up the height of the chicken with more stock. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

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When the chicken is done baking, it will be in a pool of braising liquid. Gently remove the chicken (it’s tender now, so it might fall apart) and leave the braising liquid to cool. When it has cooled, reserve it in a plastic container and put it in the fridge for later use (which we’ll get to on the blog soon).

Make the beans while the chicken bakes: Pinto beans or black beans, either one works here. Black beans are better nutritionally, so that’s a plus, but sometimes I like the lighter flavor of pinto beans better.

Heat 2 t of oil in a small pot and sautee 1/2 white onion and 2 cloves of chopped garlic. You can add spices at this point, including cumin and corriander, if you wish. Add 1 cup of chicken stock and 1 can of drained black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Break up the beans while they cook. The liquid will boil out and the beans will thicken into a paste. Salt to taste.

Bake the tortillas: Crank the oven up to 400 degrees once you’ve pulled the chicken out. Hit as many corn tortillas as you’ll need with a spritz of cooking spray and a dash of salt (a solid serving is two per person; a lighter eater might want one and a side salad) and bake directly on a sheet pan for about 10 minutes. I start checking mine at 8 minutes, and keep checking them until they’re done around the 10-12 minute mark.

You want to leave them space on the pan and have the patience to cook them until they’re done right, or else they will be chewy and gross instead of crisp and awesome.

Knock out everything else while the tostadas bake: Shred the chicken with the backs of two forks. Slice the lettuce super thin with a sharp knife. Get spoons in the sour cream and the salsa. Whatever you gotta do to make it Tostada O’Clock.

Layer properly: Beans. Then meat. Then veggies. Then cheese. Salsas. Crema. Herbs. Lime.

Bonus! Breakfast tostadas!

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Tomorrow: Mexican rice bowls with braised chicken and pickled red onion.

Week 31, Meal 1: Health food soup

Excuse the lack of a “finished product” shot for this post, but I went three days in a row to freakin’ Sprouts for a loaf of French bread and they were sold out each time so we just ended up chipping away at this one until there was nothing left.

For the first meal of Week 31: Souper soups, Chef Brian is going Italian, throwing a whole bunch of healthy ingredients and good-for-you spices into a pot (kale, turkey, lentils, fennel, paprika) and serving  it up piping hot. It probably would have been good with the parmesan bread on the side, but at  least I saved a couple of carbs.

Prep is fairly simple and if you want to turn this one out fast, you can use store-bought Italian turkey sausage like I did. But we’ve also included Chef Brian’s Italian turkey sausage recipe in the post in case you have the time. I didn’t when I was able to cook this particular time, but I’m going  to come up with a different way to use the recipe just so I can try it.

Here’s Week 31, Meal 1: Italian turkey sausage, kale, lentil and tomato soup with parmesan croutons.

Continue reading Week 31, Meal 1: Health food soup

Chef Brian’s tri-tip chili

I was running low on grocery money this week so I chose to skip Week 29: Salads that don’t suck and instead bought meals I could stretch into many portions like pasta and polenta.

This was the most expensive dish I made all week, but I got five portions  out of it, and I split the provided recipe in half.

A little background, since tri-tip chili with bacon fat in it isn’t really what we do around here (though it should be, every week, lol): I recently needed a big bowl of chili for a work lunch and turned to Chef Brian for a killer recipe.

All I told him was that it had to have tri-tip in it, and you work your magic from there.

The chili didn’t take a lot of effort to make and turned out absolutely delicious. So delicious that I decided to make it again, and this time, I wrote about it.

Keep reading for the recipe and instructions. Continue reading Chef Brian’s tri-tip chili

Week 28, Meal 2: Classic shrimp ‘n’ grits

Of all the stupid walls I built up around food, my preconceived hatred of grits has to be the stupidest one.

Seriously, grits are essentially cornmeal pudding, smooth and creamy, but totally filling (just like polenta, though one is yellow corn and one is white corn from what I Googled) — and polenta/grits have quickly become a food I totally love. That being said, I admit that Week 28, Meal 2: Shrimp and grits is the first time I’ve had the dish and it’s everything I was hoping it would be.

Chef Brian’s version features a spicy shrimp gravy punctuated by salty bacon, the slight burn of jalapeno and a nice kick of cayenne pepper. It’s a dish so good that you’ll want to lick the plate after you’re done.

Feel free. I won’t tell.

Continue reading Week 28, Meal 2: Classic shrimp ‘n’ grits

Week 28, Meal 1: A deceptively simple chicken dinner

We’re kicking off Southern week with one of Chef Brian’s most flavorful dishes to date, Week 28, Meal 1: Blackened chicken over black eyed peas, kale and ham hock.

What comes off the menu sounding deceptively simple is actually a bowl of steamy pork broth crowded with nutritious kale, savory ham hock, earthy black eyed peas, sweet corn and a juicy chicken breast that’s been kicked up with one awesome spice rub.

I suggest doubling the recipe on this one. Trust me, you’ll want leftovers. Continue reading Week 28, Meal 1: A deceptively simple chicken dinner

Week 25, Meal 3: Chicken taco deluxe

The tacos I used to eat were mostly made of that oat-beef crap they sell at Taco Bell.

Sure, I’ve encountered my fair share of traditional tacos (corn tortilla, meat, onions, cilantro, salsa), but never in my life have I eaten as many as I have since coming to work in Santa Ana last year. They’re low in calories, freshly prepared and contain little, if any, processed nonsense.

While I’m all good with simple, I’m definitely not gonna hate when something with many components comes together to create the perfect bite.

Here’s Week 25, Meal 3: Chicken tacos with avocado puree, lime sour cream, and grilled corn-jicama salsa.

Continue reading Week 25, Meal 3: Chicken taco deluxe

Week 25, Meal 1: Pudding! Peppers!! Pork!!!

I was intimidated going into the kitchen for Week 25, Meal 1: Marinated pork loin over jalapeno corn pudding and sauteed peppers with smoky ancho sauce.

Because there were four components, I knew this meal would be a test of my organizational skills, focus, kitchen timing, cooking methods … well, you get the picture. This was a test, but one that I was ready to face head on.

The hard work and preparation paid off — this dish is killer. The juicy, spiced pork complements the sweet corn — the definite star of the show — and the smoky, peppery sauce drizzled on top ties together so many complementing flavors.

Continue reading Week 25, Meal 1: Pudding! Peppers!! Pork!!!

Week 25: Mad Fresh Mex

We’re almost halfway through one year of recipes — this being Week 25 and all — but by the look of this menu, my midterm exam has arrived a week early.

Chef Brian’s “Fresh Mex” menu has a long list of ingredients and I’m a bit intimidated by a lot of prep and a lot of cooking going on at once, but after an easy week of making sandwiches I’m ready to jump into the mix in a big way. Here’s what’s cooking, amigos.

Week 25, Meal 1: Marinated pork loin over jalapeno corn pudding, sauteed peppers, smoky ancho sauce

Week 25, Meal 2: Coriander and garlic marinated tuna over corn and black bean salsa, avocado puree, and lime sour cream

Week 25, Meal 3: Chicken tacos with avocado puree, lime sour cream, and grilled corn-jicama salsa

Each recipe makes two servings. Continue reading for the shopping list.

Continue reading Week 25: Mad Fresh Mex

Week 21, Meal 3: How not to marinate steak

Chef Brian and I had a bit of a mix up with Week 21, Meal 3: Chimichurri marinated flat iron steak over ancho roasted sweet potatoes, corn and tomatoes.

The problem was in the instructions for the chimichurri, the condiment of choice for beef in South America — specifically Argentina. See, the chimi I usually have is mostly parsley flake, floating in olive oil. Chef Brian wanted me to mix up those ingredients in a food processor so that it created more of a paste to marinate the meat in.

He wrote mix, but meant “mix in a food processor,” so I mixed by hand and was puzzled by the consistency and it’s lack of liquid. So I doubled the liquid. Then tripled the liquid, and by the next day I had pickled a gorgeous piece of flat iron steak.

Bummer for me, considering I didn’t get to eat this one, but it’s probably better to post the recipe and cook it when I repurchase the ingredients, than hold on to the post for another day. Recipe and directions after the jump … Continue reading Week 21, Meal 3: How not to marinate steak

Week 20, Meal 2: Shrimp and spice and everything nice

For the average home cook, some of the recipes on Fat Dude on a Diet may seem challenging or time-consuming.

While they have been challenging — at least for me — I’ve seen an evolution in my kitchen quickness, knife skills and all-around cooking ability in the six months I’ve been doing this.

I’m eating better than I ever have when cooking at home before, and a lot of times better than even going out. But just as much as I love a kitchen challenge, I love when Chef Brian puts together a recipe that pairs his signature big flavors with quick preparation.

It’s especially nice that this one combines two of my favorite things: Seafood and sandwiches. Here’s Week 20, Meal 2: Blackened Shrimp Po’ Boy. Continue reading Week 20, Meal 2: Shrimp and spice and everything nice

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