I don’t love Mexican food. I never have. Strange for someone who lives in Texas to admit that. The least appealing thing are those mushy, drab refried beans that most people love. NOT ME! Those of you who know me well know that I have a weird texture thing about some foods. Anyway, I’ve also never visited Mexico (not that I don’t want to). I just haven’t gotten there. . . yet!
Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo. A great day to celebrate Mexico’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Is there a better way to celebrate than with a Mexican meal? Probably. But that’s what we did.
Let me step back a bit. Last Monday I started a 30 day food cleanse. I’ve been making my own menus and meals, but following the advice found in the book, Whole 30, by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. Sadly, I’ve broken up with all of my best food friends: Wheat products (no bread or pasta for example), dairy, (NO CHEESE, black coffee!), sugar…(no jelly beans or skittles or anything containing sugar), and no alcohol (I am missing my wine and hope to get reunited soon)! So now you can see the substantial restrictions I have with meal prep.
What is a Mexican food that fits into this program, is healthy, has no beans (actually those types of beans aren’t allowed either…I don’t miss them). An old time favorite, a recipe passed to me by my dear friend, Maggie Morgan came to mind: Tortilla Soup!
Maggie’s Tortilla Soup
3 cloves sliced garlic
1 onion, chopped
2 T EVOO
1/2 c chopped chili peppers (canned)
4 c chicken or vegetable stock (I use my own vegetable stock, recipe below)
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 t chili powder
1 t cumin
1/2 t oregano
1 t salt
1/2 c fresh parsley
3 oz baby spinach
2 zucchini, sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
lightly crushed tortilla chips
Saute garlic and onion in oil until soft. Add everything else (except cheese and chips), Simmer until vegetables are tender (about 1 hour). Serve in bowls with crushed tortilla chips and shredded Monterey Jack cheese.
Super easy. Super delicious. Super healthy. I omitted the cheese and chips in my bowl. I did miss them, I’m not going to lie, but it was delicious regardless.
If I were going to book a trip to Mexico City right now from DFW, the flights are really affordable! $366 per person round trip, non-stop, and a stay at the St. Regis would cost less than $300 per night! I’d like to visit Mexico City rather than a resort. I love to explore beautiful old cities, and take in the sites, sounds and food of the country, good and bad, rather than a resort which is purely for the tourists! Hopefully sooner rather than later!
I love making my own stocks and freezing them for future use. I have a freezer full of delicious, fat free, no sodium vegetable stock and chicken stock. For the chicken stock I use Ina Garten’s wonderful recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/chicken-stock-recipe.html
For vegetable stock, what I do is very simple.
2 whole large yellow onions, skin left on, cut into quarters
1 lb carrots, scrubbed, but not peeled, cut into large pieces
1 lb parsnips, scrubbed, but not peeled, cut into large pieces
a small bunch of celery, cut into large pieces
2 leeks, washed thoroughly, cut into large pieces (I used the entire leek)
1 entire head of garlic, cut in half crosswise, unpeeled
a large bunch of parsley, thyme, sage, oregano (or whatever else I have around)
a teaspoon of whole peppercorns
If I have any on hand, I’ll also throw in red or green peppers
After washing, and cutting the vegetables, throw them all into a large stock pot ( I use a 16 qt.) and then fill the pot all the way to the top with water. Cook on medium heat uncovered until it starts to boil, then lower to a simmer, keeping the lid on slightly tilted. I cook it all day, until the liquid is lightly golden. Refrigerate overnight and strain the liquids from the solids using a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth.