Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes and Hominy and Chilies Casserole

9:57 AM AirplaneFoodCritic 1 Comments

My food group had a theme of Tex-Mex this month. I looked all over the internet for healthy recipes but learned that Tex-Mex, by nature, is mostly unhealthy. The host of this month's party is from Texas and said it herself: "Basically, you take some food and cover it in queso". Queso, meaning gloppy, yellow cheese. It tastes fantastic, don't get me wrong, but finding a recipe that is good for you and delicious is out of the question. So, I gave up on that attempt and created a couple recipes based on what I was in the mood for eating. Both these recipes are vegetarian because one of the hosts of the pot luck is a vegetarian and I wanted to make something she could enjoy.

The first thing that came to my mind was hominy. Made from corn kernels, it is not a well known ingredient that has no fat and minimal calories. It is very good for you. I love hominy and I see it in giant tubs in the Mexican markets so I figure it must at least cover the "Mex" part of the theme. I figured if I tossed in some chilies it would cover the "Tex" part and to tie it all together, of course, cheese. The result was a HUGE hit at the party. Everyone asked me for the recipe which is always a great compliment so I am providing it below.

Tex Mex Hominy Casserole

1/2 white onion
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp cumin
Juice of 1 lime
1 small jalapeno, some seeds removed
1 poblano pepper, seeded
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (7.5 oz)
1 can of white hominy(29 oz)
1 can of kidney beans, drained
3/4 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1 package of shredded sharp cheddar (12 oz)
2 corn tortillas cut into thin strips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dice onion and chop garlic, place in a small pan with oil and cook until fragrant, about three minutes. Add the pepper flakes, cayenne and cumin and lime juice, reduce heat and simmer for about two minutes.

2. Chop jalapeno, poblano and chipotlte peppers finely together. You can use a food processor or one of those hand slapping choppers. Add peppers to a 9 inch square casserole dish, or something similar, along with the hominy, beans, sour cream and broth. Mix thoroughly.

3. Add about 2/3 of the package of cheese and blend in with the rest of the ingredients then top with remaining 1/3 of cheese. Place tortilla strips on top in a lattice pattern.

4. Bake for 30 minutes then broil for a few minutes at the end for an extra crispy tortilla topping.

If you are like me then you want a relatively large serving so I figure this serves 8. I added up all the calories et. al. from all the cans of ingredients as well as what calorieking said about the oil and veggies then I divided it all by 8 and here is what I got:

Calories: 380, Fat: 18g, Sodium: 1128mg, Protein: 17g, Fiber: 7g, Carbs: 37g

The day of the pot luck party I was feeling particularly thin, and good thing because of all the food I was about to eat. I was really craving Mexican chocolate. I recall one time when I was young my mother brought home an angular yellow box full of wrapped discs of hardened chocolate.

My mother explained that it was spiced chocolate from Mexico used for making hot chocolate. I really liked the hints of cinnamon and other spices it had. I thought that would make a yummy cupcake. I wanted to make the cupcake even more interesting by adding some heat to it with some cayenne pepper. I had to eat a lot of cupcakes to come up with the right ingredients but it was worth it!

Mexican Chocolate Cayenne Mini Cupcakes

1 box of devil's food cake mix
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs (in lieu of how ever many the cake box tells you to use)
1 cup buttermilk (in lieu of how ever much water the cake box tells you to use)
Vegetable oil (what ever amount is on the instructions on the cake mix box)
1 disk Mexican chocolate, chopped into chip sized bits.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line mini cupcake pans with muffin paper cups.

2. In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Add the egg, buttermilk and oil. Stir until combined. Add the chocolate bits and stir until it is incorporated in the mix.

3. Spoon batter into muffin cups filling them up about three quarters of the way. Bake at 400 for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool and remove from pan.


For the frosting, I didn't have any butter in the house and I was too lazy to go to the store just to buy one stick so I improvised a sort of ganache. You can make it as spicy as you like by adding more or less spice. I found that the chocolate seems to calm the spice down a lot and was surprised by how much pepper I was putting in just to get a tiny bit of spice in the flavor.

4 disks Mexican chocolate, chopped up to melt faster
3 Tbsp buttermilk
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sriracha hot sauce (if you dare)

1. In a double boiler melt the chocolate with the buttermilk. Once melted add the cinnamon. Add the pepper in increments until you have achieved the level of spiciness you would like. Add sriracha sauce if not spicy enough.

2. Remove pot of chocolate from double boiler. Take a cooled cupcake, invert and dip into the chocolate mixture. Roll the cake until the top is covered in a layer of the chocolate. Let the frosting cool and repeat with all cupcakes.

The chocolate that I used had cocoa nibs in it. This made the frosting a little crunchy which people really liked so do not worry if your chocolate doesn't seem to completely dissolve.

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1 comment:

  1. Those cupcakes were fabulous! I *loved* the crunchy texture from the nibs!