Southwestern Chicken Salad

The creamy, spicy sauce from Southwestern Chicken Pasta also makes a great salad. Great for hot summer days.

Servings: 4

1 cup salsa
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 tsp chipotle pepper, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb chicken, cooked & cubed
2 cups tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 avocados, chopped
salad greens – optional

  1. Combine salsa, sour cream & chipotles.
  2. Combine chicken, tomatoes, onions, cilantro & avocado.
  3. Toss salsa mixture & chicken mixture.
  4. Serve alone or over a bed of greens.
  • I usually use yogurt in place of sour cream.
  • You can reserve some of the salsa mixture to be added separately if this is too hot for some.

Southwestern Chicken Pasta

I wrote this recipe out from a magazine, but unfortunately, I did not make note of the magazine name. I love this creamy, spicy sauce with pasta.

Servings: 4

1 cup salsa
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp chipotle pepper, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb chicken, cooked & cubed
2 cups tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 avocados, chopped
1 lb pasta, cooked & drained

  1. Combine salsa, sour cream & chipotles.
  2. Combine chicken, tomatoes, onions, cilantro & avocado.
  3. Toss salsa mixture, chicken mixture & pasta.
  • I usually use yogurt in place of sour cream.
  • I like to use farfalle (bow-tie) pasta for this recipe, but you can use any short pasta.
  • You can reserve some of the salsa mixture to be added separately if this is too hot for some.

Chile Cheese Squares

recipe from Sara Garretson – a friend of my mother’s in New Mexico

2-3 roasted green chiles, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
6 large eggs, beaten

  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Spread green chiles in a greased 9″ square pan.
  3. Sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Pour eggs over chiles & cheese.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until set and slightly browned.
  6. Cut into small squares.
  • I even like these cold the next day.
  • You can also cook this as a frittata in a skillet.

Spicy Swiss Chard Chips

adapted from Family Spice

I halved the salt and doubled the garlic & chili powder.

Swiss chard leaves
extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder (not ground chile)

  1. Preheat oven to 275ºF.
  2. Remove chard stems and cut leaves into 2″ x 2″ pieces.
  3. Place a cooling rack into a baking sheet.  Place cut leaves in one layer on the rack.
  4. Spray with oil.
  5. Combine salt, garlic & chile powder. Sprinkle over chard.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn leaves over and bake until crisp, up to an additional 20 minutes, depending on the size & thickness of the chard pieces.
  7. Let chard chips cool and serve.
  • Using the cooling rack will let the heat go all around the chips, cooking them faster and more evenly.
  • You can substitute kale for the chard.
  • Do not store in sealed container (if you have any left) – they will get soft. If this happens you can crisp them in the oven for about 5 minutes.

Portuguese Fish Supper

adapted from Rachael Ray

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 pound Mexican chorizo, casing removed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large bundle kale
few gratings of nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock
8 oz can tomato sauce
15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
4 thick pieces cod or haddock fillets (6-8 oz each)
Old Bay seasoning
Italian parsley, chopped

  1. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat in a high-sided skillet or Dutch oven.
  2. Add chorizo and render for a couple of minutes, then add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Strip kale leaves from stems. Slice stems into ¼” pieces (like celery). Chop leaves coarsely.
  5. Stir in the stock, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, kale stems, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Add kale leaves and toss to wilt, then season with a few grates of nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Season the fish with Old Bay seasoning and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the fish to the sauce and cover. Cook until the fish is opaque and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  8. Ladle into shallow bowls garnished with parsley.
  9. Serve with crusty bread for mopping.
  • Rachael Ray uses Spanish chorizo, but I have not found it in my area, so I substitute Mexican chorizo. I believe the seasonings are the same, but Mexican chorizo is a raw sausage.
  • You can discard the kale stems if you prefer, but with a little extra cooking they taste great & I hate to waste them.
  • You can substitute Swiss chard or spinach for the kale. 
  • You can substitute any other seafood for the fish – shrimp, scallops, or ???

Arrabiata Sauce – well, kind of

While we were in Italy, I made this dish at one of the bed & breakfasts we stayed at.  The owner kindly let us cook dinner for ourselves when we got there too late to go out to dinner.

Cooking in a strange kitchen using only what they have in their cabinets and fridge can be challenging. More so when all the labels are in a foreign language. Based on what I found and the memory of an Arrabiata sauce recipe I had read before, I threw this together. It turned out quite tasty, so I wrote it down before I forgot what I put in it. This made one serving.
whole dried peperoncini
1 tsp olive oil (olio di oliva)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (pomodoro), chopped
1/2 anchovy fillet (acciughe), chopped
1 tsp fennel seed (finocchio), crushed
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (peperoncini)
1 Tbsp tomato paste (concentrato di pomodoro)
Splash red wine (vino)
1 Tbsp Italian parsley (prezzemolo), chopped
cooked pasta
Parmesan, grated

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet.
  2. Add tomatoes, anchovy, fennel seed and red pepper. Cook until tomatoes are soft.
  3. Add tomato paste, red wine and parsley.  Cook until slightly thickened.
  4. Pour over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan.
  • Peperoncini were everywhere – fresh bunches in the produce stalls and dried in the grocery stores. I was especially intrigued by the grinders filled with whole dried red peperoncini – similar to a grinder that we use for black pepper.