Here in Greenville, SC, where I live, we are blessed with amazing restaurants. Not just highfalutin, fancy ones, but an amazing array of all kinds. It really is crazy how many and with such variety. One such place has become a lunch time favorite, Tropical Chicken Grill. The food there is Cuban and comes at you fast and furious. This is the kind of place that has a line but they get you through quick. My favorite is the Cuban Chop, which has yellow rice, black beans and their amazing grilled chicken, “chopped”. It all comes in a bowl with 6-8 different house made sauces to choose from. Everything I’ve had there has been amazing but this Cuban Chop haunts me. I crave it.
I love eating something like that and then trying to reproduce it at home. I didn’t make the rice or beans from scratch. I didn’t even really grill the chicken. With that said, I nailed this one. For a make-at-home-in-30-minutes version though, it was amazing. I highly recommend this recipe. It is easy and delicious.
I did nothing special with the rice, I just used the low sodium stuff. For the beans, adding the bay and garlic added a punch of flavor (I also used low sodium here as well). The chicken, with the dry rub was off the charts. The chimichhurri added that bright, garlicky, herbaceousness that completely finished off the dish. YUM!
If you give this recipe a try, please let me know what you think in the comments or on social.
Ingredients for Chimichhurri
Measurements are approximate.
- 1 bunch Cilantro
- 1 bunch Italian Parsley
- 1-2 pinches, crushed red pepper flake
- 2-3 cloves, garlic
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup walnut oil (canola oil is fine too)
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Zest of 2 lemons
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp water
- Salt to taste
Ingredients for Cuban Dry Rub
Measurements are approximate.
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon, crushed red pepper flake
- 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
- Salt to taste
- 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breast
- 4 boneless,skinless chicken thighs
- 2 15 oz. cans, low sodium black beans (Amy’s or Bush’s works good)
- 1 package, low sodium yellow rice (Vigo is good)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Directions for Chimichhurri
This can be done ahead of time.
- In a blender, add all ingredients for the Chimichhurri except the olive oil and salt. I start with the water so the blender has something to start with. Puree. Once smooth, drizzle in the olive oil.
- Taste and season with salt if needed. Set aside.
- In a meduim sauce pan, add the black beans and the liquid from the cans. Add bay leaves and garlic. Heat over medium low slowly until the rest of the meal is ready.
- Follow instructions for the yellow rice packet. Mine took 20-25 minutes. Keep warm.
- Preheat a large skillet or grill pan over medium heat.
- In small bowl combine all the ingredients listed under dry rub.
- Cut the chicken breast in to stips of approximately the same size.
- Apply the rub liberally over the chicken thighs and breasts.
- Cook the chicken until desired doneness. Allow to rest and then chop in to bit size chuncks.
- To plate, add the rice on the bottom, spoon the black beans on top of that with a little bit of the liquid and top with chopped chicken. Finally, drizzle with Chimichhurri.
I love guacamole. It is so easy to make and very healthy.
My wife wasn’t a big fan of avocado or guacamole. I think it was because she had never tasted the real fresh made stuff. Well, at a local favorite restaurant called Papas and Beer they make it table side. Guess what? Now she likes it, a lot.
Below is my go to guacamole recipe. I like it a little spicy so I leave the stem and seeds of the jalapeno in. I also like it slightly chunky, not huge chunks but I don’t like it overly mushy. I don’t add tomatoes which a lot of recipes do, and I add cilantro because it is awesome.
Best advice is pick good avocados and make sure they get covered with the lime juice otherwise it’ll be a ugly brown mess.
- 2 large avocados
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1/2 large bunch of cilantro, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Bag of your favorite tortilla chips (I love the Tostitos® Multigrain)
- Cut avocados in half, remove the seed and scoop into a mixing bowl. Immediately cut lime in half and cover the avocado with the juice.
- To the avocado, add onion, jalapeno, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Mix to a consistency that you like.
Chorizo, cotija, onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Those simple ingredients are all you need for some of the best tacos I’ve had. In this country tacos tend to be loaded down with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, salsa, etc. No need here, simple is just fine.
There is a little restaurant here in Greenville, SC called Fonda Rosalinda’s. The food there is outstanding and authentic Mexican cuisine. They also setup booths at several of the street festivals here and at these they generally serve smaller mobile friendly food. They always have some sort of tacos, and I get them every time. Their tacos are general small homemade corn tortillas with pork and very little else. The last time I had them they were chorizo, pineapple, red onion and cilantro. These tacos are an obsession, so simple but so delicious. Well, when a visit to our favorite little farm (Greenbrier Farms) for a plant sale netted fresh chorizo, I knew immediately what I was going to make.
By the way, the tacos turned out great. I couldn’t find good corn tortillas so I resorted to flour, but they worked just fine. I also added cotija cheese, which I’m sure Rosalinda would say is very American of me. I served these with Mexican rice and black beans as sides. Yum, yum, yum!
- Fresh chorizo
- Crushed red pepper
- Small corn tortillas (I used flour)
- Cotija cheese (or Queso Blanco)
- Red onion, minced
- Jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and minced
- Package of Mexican rice
- 1 can black beans
- Cooking spray
- Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Spray the pan with cooking spray and add the chorizo. Cook for a few minutes using a spatula or fork to break up the meat in to small pieces. I find it works well to smush the larger clumps. Add crushed red pepper to taste (our chorizo was not too spicey). Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until browned. Be patient, it will take longer the ground beef or turkey.
- In the meantime, heat the oven to 325 F. Wrap the tortillas in tin foil and place in the oven to warm.
- Warm the beans in a small pot and cook the rice per the instructions on the package.