Mexican night review with recipes...(tortilla soup, corn/bean salad & corn cake)


<font color=red>Drah-gun! I don't do that tongue t
Feb 22, 2001
Last night we had friends over for a taco bar. For the tacos we had: chicken, refried beans, shredded cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, red & green peppers, sour cream (or plain yogurt for those watching fat intake), guacamole, salsa & a cheese dip that has salsa in it. Our table is quite small, so we served everything buffet style. I have 3 crockpots - a 5.5qt oval, 5qt round & a 1qt mini. I put refried beans in the mini, the soup in the oval & made the seasoned chicken in the round. I cook my chicken ahead, shred it & freeze in meal-sized bags - so I just put the chicken in the crock with taco seasoning & the required amount of water. Everything was done by mid-afternoon, so I wasn't rushing around at the last minute & could relax & enjoy myself. Of course, we still had the last minute microwave frenzy once our guests got here. (tortillas, cheese sauce...)

I was looking for something different to serve with tacos. I found a number of recipes for Tortilla Soup, salads with beans & corn, and Chi-Chi's Sweet Corn Cake. I didn't use any the way they came, but instead combined the "best" of each recipe I found. This is what I came up with. (BTW - The soup was outstanding!!)

Tortilla Soup
2 Tbl oil
8 cloves garlic
4 - 6 c stock
6 oz tomato paste (at least I think that's the size of the small can)
2 c water
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp hot sauce - scant!!
8 tortillas
4 Tbl flour (if using "Wondra" flour, skip the 1/2 c water)
1/2 c water
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp cilantro, chopped
1 yellow squash, diced
1 lb chicken
1 carrot, cut into coins

Sauté garlic in oil until soft. Add stock, salt, pepper, chili powder, Worcestershire & hot sauce. Whisk together tomato paste & 2 c water; add to previous ingredients & bring to low boil. Reduce heat & simmer 20 minutes. Cut tortillas into strips, spray with oil & bake at 400ºF about 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt if desired; set aside. Thoroughly mix flour & water, then whisk into soup. Bring to a low boil, then simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken, vegetables & cilantro; simmer 15 more minutes. Pile tortilla strips into a "haystack" on soup. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro & shredded cheddar if desired. Serves 8 I made this early in the day & put it in the crock pot after adding the vegetables & simmering as directed. The vegetables did not turn to "mush" as they would have if kept on the stove. I also made some tortilla strips by frying them in oil, which was the original suggestion. Frankly, we all liked the low-fat version better.

Mexican Salad
15 oz black beans
2 c corn
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/4 c olive oil
2 Tbl lime juice
2 Tbl lemon juice
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 pkg Nutrasweet or 1/2 tsp honey
1/2 Tbl cumin
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbl cilantro, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 dash hot sauce
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 clove garlic

Combine beans, peppers & corn. Whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over vegetables & mix well. Chill thoroughly. Some recipes called for kidney, cannelloni or garbanzo beans as well. Another time I may add the cannelloni or garbanso beans.

Corn Cake
1 c corn
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbl honey
1 box corn muffin mix
1 c skim milk
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Combine corn, milk, honey, vanilla & cinnamon; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 8 - 10 minutes; set aside. Spray 8” square pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine all ingredients & pour into baking pan. Smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Place this pan into a 13x9 pan filled one-third of the way up with hot water. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until corn cake is cooked through. When it is done, remove the small pan from the larger pan & let it sit for at least 10 minutes. To serve, scoop out each portion with an ice cream scoop or rounded spoon. This was drier than the Chi-Chi's version, but everyone loved it!


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