This fiesta-inspired spread proves healthy doesn’t have to be boring
February is a month that celebrates the heart — literally and figuratively. Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14 and February also happens to be American Heart Month. Show your friends and family true love with this healthy Tex-Mex inspired fiesta starring vegetables and fruits.
THREE BEAN CHILI CHOWDER
Yields: About 8 cups
1 cup chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 green pepper, diced
1 (16-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can black beans rinsed and drained
2 (14.5-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes, diced or sliced
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup Pace Picante Sauce, mild or medium
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt, optional or to taste
1 teaspoon chili powder
On the stovetop in a large pot, sauté onion and garlic in vegetable oil or vegetable broth until soft. Add green pepper, cumin, chili powder and salt and stir all together. Stir in remaining ingredients except garnish. Reduce heat and cook 8-10 minutes until warm. Ladle into serving bowls and top with a sprig of parsley.
Invite your guests to cozy up with this hearty homemade chowder and serve with warm tortillas.
This recipe is from Pace Picante’s 40th anniversary cookbook.
PACE-SETTER TEXAS CAVIAR
Yields: About 6 cups
1 (12-ounce package) fresh or frozen black-eyed peas, cooked but still firm
1 (15.5-ounce) can white hominy or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3 firm Roma tomatoes, sliced, seeded and diced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or fresh parsley
1 cup Pace Picante Sauce, mild or medium
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Sliced black olives for garnish
Combine all ingredients except garnish. Mix lightly, cover and chill at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. With slotted spoon, transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with black olives before serving. Reduce to half for small gatherings.
Dip into this popular Texas appetizer with your favorite baked or traditional corn tortilla chips and serve with fruity margaritas.
This recipe also is from Pace Picante’s cookbook, published in 1987.
AVOCADO GRAPEFRUIT SALAD
2 large firm ripe avocados
2 (6.5-ounce) cartons pink grapefruit sections, drained
½ cup ketchup
¾ teaspoon horseradish
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
Dash of Tabasco
Garnish: Lemon wedges
Cut avocados in half lengthwise. Remove seed, scoop out avocado and cut into cubes. Fold in grapefruit. Mix sauce of remaining ingredients. Pour over grapefruit mixture. Chill 30 minutes. With slotted spoon, scoop into colorful dishes or sherbet glasses, lined with lettuce.
Spicy sauce adds south-of-the-border flavor to our favorite avocado salad. This salad also is delicious made with cold boiled shrimp.
TACO CORN ON THE COB WITH LIME
6 ears of corn, husked
4 tablespoons Country Crock Plant Butter
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon McCormick Taco Seasoning, from a 1-ounce package
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 limes cut in wedges
On the stovetop in a large pot, bring water to a boil, add corn and cook until tender, 3-5 minutes. Drain. Melt plant butter and stir in seasoning mix, parsley, salt and pepper. Brush over hot corn. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze directly on the corn.
MINTED FRESH FRUIT SKEWERS WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE
Yields: 1 cup
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
¼ cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon Kahlúa (optional)
Toasted sliced almonds, fresh mint leaves for garnish
On the stovetop, in a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the maple syrup. Whisk in sifted cocoa powder with wire whisk, stirring and cooking until smooth. Add almond milk and cook on medium low heat and continue stirring until sauce thickens and coats a wooden spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt and vanilla. Refrigerate to thicken further. For the festive flavor of Mexico, stir in one tablespoon of Kahlúa before serving.
Assemble seasonal tropical fresh fruit with mint leaves, rainbow style, on 6 skewers and chill. Serve with chocolate sauce and lightly toasted almonds.
FROZEN MANGO MARGARITAS
Servings: 4 small or 2 large margaritas
1 cup ice
2 cups frozen mango chunks
3 ounces tequila
1 ounce orange liqueur or triple sec
2 large limes, juiced
1-2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
Orange slice for garnish
Place ice and frozen mangos into a blender. Add tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur or triple sec and honey or agave. Blend until creamy and serve immediately, garnished with fresh orange slices.
Yields: about 6 cups
4 tablespoons instant coffee
4 cups water
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 fifth of vodka
On the stovetop in medium size pan, bring coffee, water and sugar to a boil. Simmer for 2 hours to make light syrup. Cool and then add vanilla and vodka. Place in small glass bottles, secure the lid and, if you have the patience, let age for 30 days.
Relax after dinner with small shots of Mexico’s favorite dessert liqueur. Or distribute in little glass bottles tied with colorful ribbons for party favors.