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From the Kitchens of Pancho Villa has been awarded the honor of "WINNER" in the "Cookbooks: International" category of the 2014 International Book Awards!

Sunday, April 27, 2014



When you go to the local Mexican restaurant, you order nachos to munch on before you order dinner, right?  Why not make them at home for a special treat.  They are easy, and you can make them as healthy or ooooey-gooooey as you like.  Personally, I like them really loaded with as many ingredients as I can find in the fridge.  You cannot make a mistake if you keep adding on things like olives (all colors), green onions, fresh tomatoes, sour get the idea.  I have even taken stale chips – yeah like there is such a thing in my house – and melted the cheese on top of them using the microwave.  Seems the chips crisp up in there after just a few seconds.

You can even make these for a lazy dinner meal.  Put your feet up with a good movie and munch away! 


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1½ pounds (680 grams) lean ground beef, ground chicken or ground pork
¼ cup ground chili powder, if you have made your own, use ancho-guajillo combination
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
2½ cups black beans, cooked and drained (measurement is AFTER cooking) – canned is OK, but rinse    
        them first – those cans of beans have industrial sludge on the bottom
3 cups frozen corn, thawed or canned, drained
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

tortilla chips
green onions, sliced – white part only
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, leaves only
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
shredded Chihuahua or cheddar (or better yet, a combination) cheese

sour cream

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it is very tender, then add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute.  Add the beef, chicken or pork and sauté until brown, breaking it up as it cooks, about 5 minutes.  Add the chili powder and oregano; stir 30 seconds. Add the beans, corn, and tomato sauce.  Cover; simmer until the meat is cooked through, and the other ingredients are hot, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Line 8 serving bowls with tortilla chips. Spoon the meat mixture over the chips.  Top with the green onions, cilantro, lime juice and then with cheese.  At this point you can eat it without melting the cheese, just add a few spoons of sour cream to the top.  OR you can pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt the cheese, then top with sour cream.

Many households here do not have microwaves or ovens, so the cheese is left unmelted.  It does, however, melt a little bit because the beans and meat mixture are hot. I prefer the melted cheese, you know that ooooey-goooey thing from before! 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mexican Potato & Chicken Salad

I know you are going to make me your new best friend with this recipe. You can make it ahead of time and just keep it in the refrigerator until you want to eat it. Pete and I have this at least once a week for dinner, which is between 2 and 3:00, the Mexican way. A snack of the leftovers in the evening after veranda time. Yummy.....

You will see that this salad is pretty healthy too. No added salt or mayonnaise.


4 large potatoes, (not russet), peeled and cut into large bite-size chunks
1 large chicken breast, cut into large bite-size cubes
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 large stalks celery, sliced into small bite-size pieces
1 large cucumber, seeds removed and diced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
2 Tablespoons capers
¼ – ½ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons wine vinegar
1-2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
¼ or more teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 avocado, peeled, seed removed and sliced (garnish)

I find that steaming the potatoes cooks them perfectly and allows some of the starch to stay on the potatoes. They don't absorb so much of the sauce and don't fall apart either. So, steam your potatoes for about 20 minutes. Put them in a large bowl and allow them to start cooling.

Sauté the chicken cubes in another pan until they are cooked through. This should not take very long, perhaps 7-8 minutes. Place the cooked chicken in the bowl with the potatoes. At this point, if you want your salad cold, then let the chicken and potatoes cool completely. I like it warm, so I start mixing it up right away. Either way, it is delicious.

Add all the vegetables to the chicken/potato mixture. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire and cayenne pepper. Give it a small taste and see if it has enough tang to overshadow the bland flavor of the potatoes. Pour that over the vegetables and gently stir to completely combine. Give it another taste – I like this part. Does the sauce need adjusting? Now is the time to do it. Add a little of the ingredient you think it needs and taste again. See what I mean, I like this part! Lots of tasting....

Serve with the avocado slices on top.

This is one of those recipes that you can embellish to your hearts content. Want carrots in the salad, no problem. Use your imagination, then tell us on this blog what you did and how you liked it.  Yes really, we all like feedback!  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Papa Loca (CRAZY Potato)

We went to the movies yesterday with friends and afterward we walked to a sidewalk restaurant serving different types of carne asada – grilled meat.  You could have grilled beef or chicken.  I had a Papa Loca which means crazy potato.  That means nothing to you, right?  It is a large baked potato flattened out on a plate, then topped with chopped grilled meat, butter, cheese and a wee bit of sour cream, then served with condiments such as pureed avocado, fresh salsa, roasted tomato salsa and tomatillo salsa.  I loved it and got the recipe to share with you. 

This makes a wonderfully easy meal if you are eating alone or feeding a crowd. 

Scrub the potatoes, poke about a dozen times with the tines of a fork and wrap them in aluminum foil.  Bake – yes, in the oven is still the best way – one large potato per person until fork tender, about 1 to 1½ hours at 350°.  Remove from the oven, open the foil making a foil plate. Slice the potato in half and smoosh it to make it relatively flat.  Dot with a little butter.

You can do this next part with any type of steak or chicken you have.  You can use marinated meat, meat with steak seasoning rub, or just salt and pepper.  Either on your outside grill or indoor grill-pan, cook the steak (or chicken) to your desired doneness, then chop into small pieces.  Sprinkle on top of the buttered potato, so it is totally covered in a layer of meat about ½ inch thick.  

Now, sprinkle the top of the meat with some shredded Chihuahua cheese.  If it does not melt immediately, place into the hot oven for 3-4 minutes.  Remove after the cheese has melted and drizzle a little sour cream on top and serve.

Always serve with bowls of a few different salsas.

As a side note:  I have also made these potatoes with shredded pork, only slightly salted that I have cooked in my pressure cooker.  Chopped pork roast or chops work great too.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mexican Burgers

Now that Spring is in the air almost everywhere, it is time for you to get that grill out, clean it up and test it out.  Burgers are an excellent 'test case'.  If something was critically wrong with the grill after a long winter, how would you finish those steaks?  Not quite the same in the broiler and definitely not impressive to your friends if you have to bring them in.  Burgers on the other hand, can be cooked indoors without much to-do..."I planned on finishing them in the kitchen".  (what's a white lie among friends?)  Better yet, don't invite company over the first time you use the grill this year.  Your reputation as the Grill-Commando would be irreparably tarnished.  

These burgers are not your old boring burgers either.  There is an easy trick to revving up these burgers ... chopped jalapeños.  Only a few burger recipes are actually a step ahead of the crowd and this one is running ahead of the pack!  Clearly there are ingredient variations that you can choose from, but the chiles are the 'kicker'.  Grill them outside or if you need to change gears quickly, cook them on a grill pan inside, they will be wonderful either way!

Makes 4 large burgers


1-1/3 lb / 605 grams  ground meat – remember you need a little fat in there to hold them together – not that 95% lean stuff

1-2 fresh jalapeño chiles
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ garlic clove, crushed then minced
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
¼ cup tomato puree or sauce
¼ cup dried bread crumbs
1 egg

Remove and discard the stem and seeds from the jalapeños. Chop the chiles finely.

Put all the ingredients in a bowl with the ground meat and knead until well combined.  Form the meat into 4 large patties and grill to your desired doneness. 

Serve on over-sized fresh buns with sliced canned jalapeños, sliced tomato, avocado, onion..............your choice. 

As seen on:

As seen on: