Quick & Dirty: Black Bean Tacos with Avocado-Cilantro Sauce

I had intended to have leftovers for dinner, when I found myself paging through some truly delicious-looking Pinterest recipes. I was looking for something else, I promise! I just…got distracted by the recipes. As usual. It turned out to be a gain, though, because 20 minutes after I found this recipe online, it was sitting in front of me, ready to be eaten.


As written, the recipe was a bit bland, but the addition of chili powder, oregano, and paprika made it easy to amp up the flavor.

Olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cans black beans, well rinsed
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano, paprika, & garlic powder
1 cup salsa

1/2 avocado
3/4 cup cilantro (destemmed)
1 lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp honey (the original recipe calls for a whole teaspoon, but I found that too sweet)
pinch of salt, to taste

Toppings (diced tomato, more salsa, shredded lettuce, jalapenos, etc)
Corn tortillas

1. Saute onions in medium skillet until transparent (5 minutes), add spices. Add drained baked beans and mash with fork to desired consistency. Pour in salsa and heat through (another 5 minutes).

2. Warm tortillas for 5 minutes in a oven preheated to 300 degrees.

3. In a food processor, combine sauce ingredients & blend until smooth. Add a little water to thin, if desired. If you don’t have a food processor (or if all you have is an awful blender, like me), it’s still possible to make: chop the cilantro, mash the avocado, and mix everything together well.

4. And that’s it! Spoon filing into the tortilla, add toppings as desired, and generously pour on the sauce!

Original recipe, and some gorgeous pictures, here.


Tex-Mex: Now in Your Kitchen! (Chicken Enchiladas)

I make no secret about one of my favorite things about Houston: the delicious, incredible Tex-Mex. What’s not to love about it? Wonderful flavors, edges of heat and spiciness, a nearly endless variety of food, refreshing margaritas… It’s almost impossible to go wrong.

Until I try to make it myself. I can make a mean taco, but I’ve never had much success with much else. My food is never as flavorful; the meat never as moist.

Until now.

in pan

Red-chili-sauce-chicken enchiladas. They are, in a word, amazing.

Fair warning: my kitchen was a mess after this. It took about an hour & a half from first chop to taking out of the oven, so it’s not a quick & easy recipe.

But oh my. So worth it.

The original recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated All-Time Best Recipes book, with only slight modifications. I highly recommend the book. It’s easy to following, has interesting stories, and so far, delicious food.


olive oil
1 small onion (or 1/2 medium)
2 cloves garlic
2 chopped jalapenos
3 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp each ground coriander, ground cumin, oregano, sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs in 1/4″ strips
1 16-oz can of tomato sauce
3/4 cup water

1 lime
1/2cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
8 small corn tortillas

1 cup cheddar cheese
sour cream, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, limes

1. Make the sauce: Finely chop onion & garlic, saute in a meduim/large skillet in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add chopped jalapenos & stir for several more minutes; then add spices, sugar, and salt. Stir constantly for 30 seconds.

2. Add chicken and stir until coated (about a minute). Add can of tomato sauce & water, bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat, and strain chicken-sauce mixture, collecting the smooth sauce in a bowl. Strain as thoroughly as possible. Mix chicken/jalapeno/onion remainder with cilantro, cheese, and squeezed lime. Transfer chicken to freezer to cool until filling.

4. Prepare tortillas: Spray both sides of tortillas with cooking spray & lay on baking sheets. Warm in 300 degree pre-heated oven for 5 minutes  (don’t skip this! This will keep the tortillas from getting soggy & make it MUCH easier to fill), then remove & set out on countertop. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

5. Roll enchiladas: Cover bottom of 9×13 casserole dish with sauce. Place 1/2 cup filling in the center of each tortilla, roll tightly, and place (seam down) in the baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas, and top with cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes, until heated thoroughly.

Remove, garnish with lime & other toppings, and serve immediately!