This was a fun meal - to make, to serve and to eat. On this platter went: chopped lettuce, guacamole, pica de gallo and tomatillo salsa verde (green salsa) plus a little fat-free sour cream. It is actually a huge 16 inch platter that was put in the center of the table.
And it was used to have everyone participate in a make-your-own chicken fajita burrito - complete with rice, beans, corn, chicken fajitas, blue corn chips and sundried tomato tortilla wraps.
You see, I like to be clever when serving guests. There is no way I am going to abandon my healthy cooking strategies but I want to keep fantastic flavor and a fun factor when serving everyone who comes to eat at our house.
I had bought all of these ingredients while shopping in Walmart the other day and I was most inspired to come up with something Mexican/Southwestern when I saw the delicious tomatoes, ripe avocados and the great selection of tomatillos. Today I picked up key limes while riding our weekly 62 mile bike ride to Robert's Produce Stand.
This meal did take a lot of chopping, if truth be told. But with a sharp knife it can be done fast. And I believe I can chop all of that faster than I can go to the store and buy the salt-laden stuff - the key was having it all on hand.
Pica de Gallo:
- 4 ripe tomatoes, core, cut in half, squeeze out seeds and dice
- 1/3 poblano mild pepper, seeded and minced (can also use Tabasco sauce)
- 1/2 cup green onion, sliced thin
- 1/2 lime -fresh juice
- 1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
- fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice to taste
- 1 Florida avocado (light variety), cored, peeled, diced
- 1 Haas avocado, cored, peeled, diced
- 1/4 cup sliced green onion
- 1/2 lime - juice
- dash of dried oregano
- pinch of chopped poblano or mild chili pepper
Green salsa (grind all in food processor):
- 8 tomatillos, peel outer husk and core
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- juice of 1/2 lime
- dash hot sauce
1 bag romaine or butter lettuce, shredded
2 cups fat-free sour cream
1 can pinto beans, no-added-salt
1 bag blue corn chips
1 bag tomato flavored tortillas (these were low in fat and salt)
4 ears of corn, cut in half and boiled until tender, about 3-5 minutes
6 cups cooked brown rice
8 ounces chicken breast tenderloins - sauteed with 1 red bell pepper and 1 sliced onion, seasoned with lime juice, oregano, garlic
You can chop all of the platter ingredients in advance, cover and refrigerate. Put tortillas and chips in bowls and set to the side. Cook corn, rice and chicken together and serve hot in separate bowls. Reheat beans and tortillas briefly in the microwave at the last minute. Serve all family style and watch the veggies disappear fast - this served 5 people and we have enough left over for me to have for lunch the next day.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. But after learning that the quality of a croissant directly varies with how much butter it has, Judy sought to challenge herself by coming up with recipes that were as healthy as they were tasty.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.