Bring Your Fresh Salsa!

(Pay no mind to the horrific photos found within this post. It wasn’t until 2012 that I really understood what it takes to produce a decent, albeit still amateur, photograph: natural light.)


Years ago my good friend, Theresa, started making fresh salsa as part of her annual Cinco de Mayo party. Everyone always raved about it, especially my husband Todd, so Theresa always made sure we left with a “to go” container after the party. She made no bones about where she got the recipe; it’s from the Better Homes & Gardens red and white checker cookbook that almost every house in America has on its shelves. Rather than make Todd wait 364 days to have his next dose of  salsa, I decided to give the recipe a whirl, and in the years since I’ve tweaked it here and there to make it my own. Now when we go to parties and I ask what we can bring, I’m told, “Bring your fresh salsa!”

salsa, how to make fresh salsa, salsa recipes

Here’s what you need:

  • 4 tomatoes (I like Roma, but whatever’s available is fine), finely diced
  • 1 large can tomato puree
  • 1 small can petite diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 tiny can diced green chiles
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt – more or less to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • Zest from 1 lime

And here’s how you make it:
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and let sit at least 4 hours, better if you wait overnight. Serve with tortilla chips. And as Theresa would say, it makes a lot. She’s right.

salsa, how to make fresh salsa
salsa, how to make fresh salsa
how to make fresh salsa

Feel free to substitute a small can of petite diced tomatoes for the four Roma tomatoes, and you can also substitute a 1/4 cup of lime juice for the freshly squeezed limes. This recipe also works great with a food processor if you like a fine pureed salsa – just save the green onions until last & stir them in, rather than blend them in the processor.

Bonus: It freezes well! Store in zip top freezer bags, and thaw when you’re ready to have more. I lay mine flat so that I can stack a few bags.

Happy salsa making!

Mashed Potatoes – Loaded!

No box of potato flakes will ever set foot in my pantry – homemade mashed potatoes are so much yummier & soooo simple to make. I’m all for the standard mash, but sometimes I like to take them to the next level. Enter my Loaded Mashed Potatoes…a whipped, silky, creamy, cheesy accompaniment that easily takes the place of your typical potato side!

Here’s what you need:
  • 6 medium potatoes, cubed (skins optional)
  • 1/2 cup milk – more or less to taste
  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

(Stop here – everything above this is my Basic Mashed Potato recipe & can be used without the ingredients below!)

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & chopped

And here’s how you make it:

In a medium sauce pot, cover the potatoes with cold water high enough so they’re just covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and continue boiling on medium/high for 15 minutes. Drain potatoes & set aside.
Return your pot to the stove & set on a medium/low heat. Add the butter & milk, cooking until warmed – don’t boil the milk! Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, sour cream, cheese, onions, and bacon. With a hand mixer turned off, mash the ingredients together for about 10 seconds. Turn the mixer on medium and whip the potato mixture until light and fluffy. Add additional milk, salt, and/or pepper to taste.
These potatoes reheat really well in the microwave. In fact, I had my leftovers for dinner tonight (it’s a Dinner for One night for me), and this is all I have left to share:
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