Recipe: Restaurant-Style Salsa and Baked Lime Tortilla Chips

Hello. My name is Maria and I am addicted to lists.

I’m an organized person – what can I say? The only way I get anything done at work is all thanks to my master task list that sits in a convenient little box in my Outlook window.

My shopping lists go through multiple versions before I can leave for the grocery store. Boyfriend frequently wakes up to to-do list emails in his inbox (what’s the point of having a day off if you don’t have any chores to check off of your list?).

Remember the Friends episode, “The One with Ross’s Wedding (Part 1),” where they are all getting ready to go to London and Monica and Ross have mental checklists and they give themselves a mental “Check!” when they remember to do something, like pack their passport?

It’s like that, only without the mental part.

Physical, paper lists. That’s where it’s at. I don’t even really do well with electronic lists unless there is a way to check something off. Why make a list if you can’t get a “Check!” for a job well done?

Introduction, Part 2:

There is a sealed envelope sitting on my counter, right next to the pen caddy. This envelope contains a list. The list contains 30 to-do items.

Today is May 11. My birthday is in exactly 17 days. I will be a quarter of a century old. And in 5 years and 17 days, I will be 30.

The aforementioned envelope contains my 30-by-30 list. 30 things that I want to do before I turn 30. Maybe someday I will share it with you. But for right now, until my 25th birthday, it’s a big fat secret, hence the sealed envelope.

Except for one thing.

That I’m going to share.

Right now.

Ready?

#11. Make homemade salsa, using only ingredients grown by me

Guess what, world? I’m halfway there, and it’s not even my birthday yet!

Last weekend I took the first step toward this goal and whipped up some homemade salsa. I didn’t really know what to expect. I am kind of a salsa snob. I rarely purchase salsa from the chips-and-pretzels aisle of the supermarket; it is almost always Garden Fresh (a Michigan-made product), or a similarly fresh(er), refrigerated product found in the deli section. A Mexican restaurant can completely ruin any chance they had with me by presenting me with crappy salsa (no chips and salsa to start the meal? I’m out).

Cinco de Mayo brought a lot of Mexican-inspired recipes to the blogosphere, and with all these easy-peasy salsa recipes flying around, it was only a matter of time before I tried one myself. Almost everyone I know that makes their own salsa would never dream of using store-bought.

Oh, and did I mention? I made my own tortilla chips.

BOOM.

Unfortunately, before I can give myself that oh-so-important “Check!”…  I have to successfully cultivate a garden of tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, and cilantro… Yeah, 5 years might not be enough time for that miracle to happen.

Restaurant-Style Salsa
Makes about 6 ½ cups of salsa (which is a TON! Share with friends)
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes, with juice*
2 10-ounce cans Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies)**
¼ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalepeño, quartered and sliced thin***
½ cup cilantro
Juice from ½ a fresh lime
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cumin

* Drain some of the juice if you like a less liquidy final product

** I used one mild- and one medium-heat

*** Remember that the membrane and the seeds are where the heat is at. Depending on how spicy you like your salsa, and maybe even the heat level of your Rotel, prep accordingly

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender
  2. Pulse until you get desired consistency
  3. Refrigerate for at least one hour
  4. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips, like the ones below!

Baked Lime Tortilla Chips
Adapted from Simply Scratch

8-10 white corn taco or tortilla shells
5-10 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Juice of 1 lime (about ¼ cup)
2 teaspoons of sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Measure out two teaspoons of salt into a small bowl
  3. Add the lime juice and stir; set aside
  4. Cut tortillas into quarters and arrange in a single layer on a sheet pan (you may need to do this in batches, unless you have a really big pan and an even bigger oven)
  5. Brush both sides of the tortilla triangles with vegetable oil
  6. Brush both sides of the tortilla triangles with the salt-lime mixture
  7. Bake for 5-7 minutes
  8. Flip the tortilla triangles and bake for another 5-7 minutes (10-14 minutes total)
  9. Season with more kosher salt to taste and serve with the amazing salsa you just made!
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