Dinner Tonight

The Appetizer : Jalapeno and Cheddar Chimis

I had this appetizer at a Mexican restaurant with some friends in New Hampshire last weekend, it was so yummy! That’s all we could talk about even after a week and I couldn’t drive an hour from Massachusetts just for these!! So, I just had to find a way to recreate it at home! For the first attempt at getting all the ingredients right, I have to say this was a huge success. It was just phenomenally cheesy, spicy and everything good much like the original. This has a touch of my style added in. Try it out!

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7 Jalapenos, finely chopped ( 3 with seeds, 4 seeds removed)
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend ( monterey jack + cheddar cheese + queso quesadilla + asadero) – you can use any Mexican blend you can find  or use just plain cheddar.

Egg Roll Wrappers
Oil for deep frying

 In a bowl mix all the ingredients together This is the filling.

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 Position the egg roll wrapper diagonally (shaped like a diamond).  Place some of the filling in the center and wrap it according to the wrapper instructions given. Use a bit of water to stick the flaps  

Heat the oil in a pan to high heat for 4-5 minutes and turn it to low heat. Add the the prepared chimis one by one , deep fry till golden brown and serve.

The Entree: Spicy Shells in Pesto Cream Sauce with Roasted Zucchini, Roasted Garlic and Broccoli

This creation of mine is inspired by the unbeatable phenomenal flavor combination of oliveoil + roasted garlic + pesto + roasted zucchini! It works with anything, try it out on toasted bread, that’s heavenly too!

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1 1/2 pounds large Shell pasta
3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced rounds
8 cloves garlic
2 cups frozen Broccoli, thawed
3 Jalapenos, finely chopped (with seeds)
1 red onion, sliced thin lengthwise
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp dried basil ( 1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped)
3 tbsp Basil Pesto sauce(store bought or home made)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

On a greased baking sheet spread the zucchini slices and garlic(unpeeled) evenly. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool, remove the garlic, peel and mash.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add salt. Add the shells and cook until aldente, about 8-9 minutes. Drain in a colander.

Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the roasted garlic, jalapenos, onions and sautee for 5 minutes until the onions turn translucent. Add in the thawed broccoli, salt and cook until broccoli is cooked crisp-tender, around 7 minutes. Add in the roasted zucchini and dried basil. Cook for another minute. Keep the heat in medium, add the pesto and cream and cook for 2 minutes until the cream heats up. Remove from heat stir in Parmesan cheese, garnish with basil and serve.

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