Why Not Couscous?

couscousOn our recent trip to Dubai, we ate in a Tex-Mex restaurant [yes we were surprised they had one!]. On the menu we noticed that several dishes were accompanied by beans and couscous rather than beans and rice. We made faces at the idea, passing those dishes by. [I blame the Mojitos.] Later on the return flight home, I started thinking, “Why not couscous?” So, here’s what I came up with:

1 10 oz. box couscous (1½ c.)
2 c. chicken stock
3 T. butter
½ large bell pepper (green/red/both), chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, sliced tops and all
1 pickled jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1 t. comino, ground in molcajete
2 t. chili powder
1 t. oregano
2 Knorr cilantro seasoning mini cubes* or 1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lime (2 T.)
1 c. canned corn, drained

In a large saucepan, bring chicken stock and 1 T. butter just to a boil. Stir in the couscous and cover. Remove from heat and set aside.

In large skillet, sauté peppers, garlic and scallions in remaining butter until soft. Add in jalapeño and spices, mixing well. Stir in lime juice. Remove from heat. Fluff the couscous with a fork and add to the skillet, mixing well. Stir in corn. Cover and let sit 5-10 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend together.

*If using the Knorr cubes, do not add salt.

Caldo de Res

Caldo de Res4-6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
2-3 medium zucchini or yellow squash (or a mix of both), sliced
1 small head cabbage, cored and cut in eighths
2 ears corn, halved
2 carrots, scraped and sliced
1½-2 lbs. beef hind shank with bone
Salt and pepper to taste
Lime wedges

Fill large soup pot half full of water. Add all ingredients except lime; add more water if needed to cover. Cook covered over medium heat until vegetables are tender, approximately 2 hours.

Serve hot with tortillas and Mexican rice on the side. Squeeze lime over soup to taste.

Tamale Pie

Tamale pieServes 4-6
Masa harina
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 oz.) can tomatoes in puree
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (12 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1½ T. chili powder
1½ t. comino, ground in molcajete
Salt and pepper to taste
½ c. raisins
1 c. grated cheddar cheese

Make the masa according to the recipe on the package. If the directions call for 2 dry cups of masa, that should make just the right amount for the pie. The masa will be a bit sticky.

Butter a 2½-quart casserole and press 2/3 of the masa into the bottom and up the sides to make a crust approximately ¼-inch thick. Set aside. In skillet, brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Drain off excess grease. Add in all remaining ingredients except cheese and mix well. Cook until thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Pour into casserole and top with cheese.Tamale pie top

Spread a ¼-inch thick layer of masa over the top and seal to the bottom masa layer on the sides. Bake in a 350-degree oven until masa is done, about 30-35 minutes.

Mexican Cornbread

Mexican cornbread1½ c. yellow cornmeal
1 c. milk or buttermilk
2 eggs
¾ t. salt
½ t. baking soda
1 (8 oz.) can cream style corn
½ lb. grated cheese (longhorn, cheddar or colby)
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 jalapeños, chopped
2 T. chopped red sweet pepper (optional)
1/3 c. oil or bacon drippings*

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased 9×13 pan and bake 45-60 minutes in 350-degree oven.

*For a main dish, brown ½ lb. ground beef, drain and add to batter.

Mexican Lamb Chops

Mexican lamb                                                                                                                           Serves 2-4
1 (12-16 oz.) can whole kernel corn
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 t. oregano
¼ c. bell pepper, cut in thin strips
¼ c. diced pimiento
4 1-inch thick lamb chops
Salt and pepper to taste

Drain corn, reserving liquid. Add water to liquid to make 1 cup. In saucepan, combine liquid, bouillon, garlic and oregano and bring to a boil. Add in corn, pepper and pimiento. Cover and simmer 5-10 minutes or until pepper is tender.

Salt and pepper chops and broil 5-7 minutes on each side to desired doneness. Serve with the corn mixture.

Calabacitas Rellenas

IMG_2968                                                                                                                      Serves 2-4
3 medium zucchini or yellow squash
¾-1 c. whole kernel corn (canned or frozen)
Juice of 1 lime
3 T. butter or margarine
1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
¾ t. chili powder
Salt to taste
Grated cheese (longhorn, cheddar or colby)

Wash squash; slice lengthwise and hollow out middle. Drain on paper towels with insides down for 15 minutes. Put squash in buttered baking dish and stuff with corn. Sprinkle with lime juice and dot with butter. Add jalapeño, chili powder and salt.IMG_2966

Place in 350-degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with grated cheese and return to oven for 20 minutes more.


Calabacita¾ t. comino
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c. water
2 lbs. ground beef or pork roast, loin or butt
1 large onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
¾ t. oregano
¾ t. fresh chopped cilantro
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (16 oz.) can whole tomatoes
¾ c. water
2 chopped jalapeños (optional)
2 lbs. yellow squash or zucchini (or a mix of both), sliced and quartered
2 (16 oz.) cans of whole kernel corn, drained

Ground spices in molcajeteIn molcajete, grind comino and then minced garlic. Add water, stir to loosen, and set aside. [See photo at right]

Brown meat and onion in large skillet or dutch oven and drain off excess fat. Add comino mixture. Add remaining ingredients as listed and mix thoroughly. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer (covered if desired) 15-20 minutes until squash is tender.