Some like it hot.
I like it really hot.
Spicy often means a craving Mexican food. Most people think of Mexican as being unhealthy, but it’s actually one of the easiest cuisines to lighten up. Latin cooking is derives flavors from spices and herbs more so than fats. A little cumin, peppers, and cilantro can go a long way!
Ideas for ordering at Mexican restaurants
- Tell your server not to bring chips so the temptation isn’t even on the table
- Chicken or veggie fajitas, soft tacos, grilled shrimp or chicken, and ceviche are usually safe bets
- Ask them to go light on the oil and salt
- Choose soft tacos over chips, hard tacos, or rice; also request corn tortillas if available
- Use salsa rather than cheese or sour cream to add flavor
- Order black or pinto beans rather than refried
- If you must have a margarita (and you know I must), order it with fresh lime juice instead of the sugar-y, processed sour mix
In keeping with my Kitchen Workout guidelines, I decided to satisfy my Mexican craving at home rather than go out to eat.
Spicy tomato sauce and sweet potatoes will forever be a favorite combination. Those flavors were in my head all day as I thought about how I would attack dinner.
Adding spices is a quick and easy way to make a meal something special One of my “secrets” to a good tomato sauce is adding a bit of cinnamon. It lifts the flavors and gives the illusion of a hunt of sweetness.
While this ingredient list may look long, it comes together very quickly. Make substitutions based on your preferences and what you have on hand. Just be sure to add small amounts at a time and taste as you go!
This dish makes 6 servings. I ate 4 over the course of the week and froze the remaining two to take to work. They have been perfect as homemade frozen lunches.
To make this vegetarian/vegan, use tempeh or TVP in place of the ground chicken.
Sweet Potato Mexican Pie
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and diced
- 2 T dried cilantro
- 1 T garlic powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1 C chopped red pepper
- 2/3 C chopped baby bellas
- 2 C diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced
- 2 C spinach leaves
- 1 large sweet potato
Preheat oven to 350.
Brown the chicken in a pot with onion, jalapeño, and spices.
When chicken is cooked, add peppers, mushrooms, tomato sauce, and water. Let simmer for 10 mins.
While that mixture is simmering, peel and thinly slice the sweet potato.
Grease a 9×9 baking pan with olive oil. Layer a quarter of the meat sauce, followed by a layer of sweet potato slices, zucchini slices, and then spinach. Repeat until you’re out of ingredients, making sure to leave enough sauce to top the dish.
Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 mins. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 mins.
Let cool slightly before serving.
Makes 6 servings.
Writing this made me want a margarita. Doh.
Do you have any secrets for eating healthy at restaurants?
Do you like food with a little heat? I find I want it even more in the winter months.