Tag Archives: Mexican food

The $7 Dinner Challenge Part 2

Okay, here is my second entry in  Cate and Sarah‘s $7 Dinner Challenge.  If you have not heard of the $7 Dinner Challenge, these two amazing food bloggers have challenged the rest of us to create a  two-course meal for four including a full serving of vegetables for just $7 total. So for today:

Pea and Potato Burritos With Roasted Bananas

To get the evening started off right, our family of four will be dining on pea and potato burritos, a great vegan go-to dish that is hearty and tasty.  Half a bag of peas provide a serving of vegetables to the family (A bag of frozen corn can be substituted instead, though it will change the taste pretty dramatically.)  Desert is cinnamon roasted bananas.

Pea and Potato Burritos

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1 inch dice
  • 1/4 pound of onion, finely diced
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 12.5 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/2 bag of peas
  • 4 tortilla shells
  • salt and more pepper to taste

In a sauce pan over medium heat, add the can of tomato sauce, chili powder, the tablespoon of black pepper, and a healthy pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer to reduce.  This can stay on the stove until dinner is ready.  The longer it has a chance to reduce, the better it will taste.

Put the potatoes into just enough cold water to cover them and bring to a boil.  Boil until fork tender (15-20 minutes.)

Remove the potatoes from the water to cool and put about 4 tablespoons of the starchy potato water into a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and boil/saute for about 2 minutes.  Add the potatoes and two teaspoons of black pepper back into the skillet.  Cook for 5 minutes or until the potatoes are dry.

Mash the potatoes with a fork and add the peas.  Mix and cook until the peas become warm.

Take out the flour tortillas and fill each with a quarter of the potato/pea mixture.  Right before you serve, test the tomato sauce for salt, adjust if necessary, and pour the tomato sauce on top the burritos.

Roasted Cinnamon Bananas

  • 1 pound bananas
  • 1 tablespoon, cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons, powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, mix the cinnamon and the powdered sugar.

Leaving the banans in the peel, cut the bananas in half lengthwise and then cut each half into two.  Cover with the sugar/cinnamon mixture and bake peel side down for 15 minutes.  Serve warm.

(Now would be a good time to pour the sauce on the burritos.  It should be reduced by now ;))

Well, what do you think?

Oh, yeah, the tab:

Tortilla .75
*Garlic .38
*Potatoes 2.38
Peas .55
Chili powder .57
Tomato sauce .47
1/4 lb. onion .33
Bananas .58
Cinnamon .57
Powdered Sugar .10

For a total of 6.68

If you want, you can add 32 cents of cheap oil when sauteing the onions and garlic.  I just am not smart enough to do the math on that.


Filed under $7 Dinner Challenge

Eating Sci-Fi

Every now and then I hear something on the Food Network that I want to try.  And every now then I think I’m going to regret it.


That was my dinner several nights ago when I decided that I wanted to try a mocahete, which I was pretty sure was a fantastic Mexican dish (in actual fact, it’s name for a mortal and pestle-like device, but that’s another story.)

I had to admit, when the waitress brought me the above dish, my first thought was the scene in Return of the Jedi with the pit creature.

What you may not be able to see is that I was served two very well charred banana peppers, a generous serving of cactus, and some nice mild white cheese along side beans, rice, and pico de gallo.  And in the middle of the deep serving bowl (which is how the dish got its name) is some of the most fiery sauce I’ve yet to encountered outside of Thai food.

And it looks like something a Klingon might enjoy.

The problem was that I always get frustrated when people don’t try things just because of the way they look.  So I dug in and I found the entire experience to be very enjoyable.  The charred banana peppers were just a little spicy, but had a nice mild pepper taste.  The cactus had a slight avocado taste, but was chewy and cooling next to the spicy sauce.  My wife found the cheese to be very mild and just a bit sweet.  And the fire sauce was fantastic, but only because I like going away with smoke still rising from my ears.  The thing that surprised me was that the sauce was not smoky, which meant that it used few, if any, chipotles.

All in all, this dish would be pretty easy to make at home.

You would need:

  • 2 fresh banana peppers per person
  • 3-4 large spring onions per person
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • cactus (preferrably fresh, washed and drained if not)
  • 2 serrano chilis
  • 2 14 oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  1. Cover the banana peppers and spring onions with olive, salt, and pepper.
  2. Get a three second fire going on your grill OR set your gass grill or gas stove  to medium high OR set your oven to broil and roast the banana peppers until their outsides are mostly charred.  The onions should be done by then or perhaps a bit before. Set aside.
  3. If using fresh cactus, remove the spines and salt lightly.  Boil for 10-15 minutes until soft.  If using canned, remove from the jar and rinse thoroughly.   Warm in a skillet.
  4. In a separate skillet over high heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil and saute the serranos and 1 teaspoon of salt until the chilis get soft.  This should take 4-5 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients, turn the heat to medium and cook until the tomato sauce bubbles.
  5. Blend the sauce or strain out the large pieces of serrano chilis.

Serve with tortillas, rice, beans and good Oaxacan cheese.  A grilled breast of chicken or pieces of steak would also complement the sauce nicely.

So, are you ready to eat sci-fi?

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