Archive for the ‘appetizer’ Category

Easy Peasy Salsa

As I mentioned last week, I don’t usually make things from scratch that I can easily buy at the store.  I just don’t have the time.  But this salsa is an exception.  First, it’s a copycat of the salsa from Chili’s and is really delicious.  Second, I actually find it more convenient to keep the basic ingredients on hand and make the salsa whenever I need it…that way I don’t have to remember to put it on my grocery list.  And finally, I find store-bought salsa to be kind of overpriced…this is much less expensive (BK is rolling his eyes right now that I find $3.99 for a jar of salsa to be overpriced…but I do).

Making the salsa is super fast….it takes only about 5 minutes and you can easily tailor it to your preferred level of spiciness, saltiness, and seasoning.  It can be doubled, tripled, etc., and lasts forever.  Try it and let me know what you think!

Note: We use “mild” Rotel, which makes a slightly spicy salsa.  “Original” Rotel is spicier…maybe a medium.  If you want legit hot salsa, go ahead and add in some fresh or canned jalapenos when you add the onion to the food processor. 


¼ cup white onion, diced
1 10-ounce can Rotel
1 14-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
¼ teaspoon sugar
¾ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon cumin


Place the onion in a food processor or magic bullet.  Process for just a few seconds.  Add the Rotel, all of the whole peeled tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of juice from the whole peeled tomatoes, sugar, garlic salt, and cumin.  Process all ingredients until well blended but do not puree (usually I pulse it 3-5 times, but you could do more or less depending on how chunky you want it) .  Place in covered container and chill.

Adapted from


Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

BK loves chicken lettuce wraps, so we had a taste test one week…we tried 3 different recipes and this one is probably our favorite.  The original had water chestnuts, mushrooms, and onions.  I knew mushrooms and onions were on BK’s “I don’t eat” list, but I wasn’t sure about water chestnuts.  When I asked, he looked at me and said, “My little pierogi.  I don’t understand water chestnuts…what are they?  What food group are they in?  Are they nuts?  Do they grow in the water?  Are they like the cro-magnon relative of actual chestnuts?”

Ummmm…<blink, blink>

Instead of answering his questions (I couldn’t anyway), I went ahead and took his response as a “no.”  I then took the liberty of substituting green peppers and carrots — nice “normal” ingredients.  I imagine you could probably use lots of different kinds of veggies and it would taste great.  In addition, we usually eat the wraps with rice and some Korean gochujang…one of us is Asian, after all.


2 tablespoons oil, divided
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4-5 leaves bibb or boston lettuce

Stir-Fry Sauce:
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon rice wine vinegar


Bring 1 tablespoon oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan.  Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove chicken from the pan.

With the pan still on high heat, add another tablespoon of vegetable oil.  Add garlic, peppers and carrots to the pan.  Saute for 2-3 minutes, until just soft.  Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.  Add the chicken and stir-fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes until sauce has reduced some.  Serve in the lettuce “cups”.

Heavily adapted from

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