Because I’ve been known to eat a Thanksgiving meal that consists almost entirely of mashed potatoes and gravy, I replace the cream and some of the butter in the recipe with an aromatic garlic and chile infused broth that I cook the potatoes in, resulting in lighter mashed potatoes that are BIG on flavor.
My version of Elote en Vaso. Roasted corn kernels in a creamy, cheesy sauce seasoned with chile, lime and chives.
Old West style spicy vegan chili recipe made with plant-based meat, black beans and mushrooms. Served with vegan shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.
When life gives me lemons I make spicy shrimp ceviche tostadas. A bright and light Sonoran style Mexican treat.
This easy Mexican shrimp cocktail with crisp cucumber, creamy avocado, red onion and hot sauce is ready in about 5 minutes. The recipe is an excerpt from the Taste of Tucson cookbook by Jackie Alpers
I’m fascinated by the idea of roasting an entire head of cauliflower, so when I came across these adorable baby cauliflower at the market the wheels started turning. They make a visually stunning side dish, perfect on cold winter nights. You can substitute one large cauliflower if you can’t find the little ones.
Tomatoes are at their best, and something about the heat and humidity of the Arizona monsoon season makes me almost totally inert and immobile. This is about all I can muster dinner-wise, so I’m lucky that it’s fairly healthy… It turns out that mayo and bacon are better for us than expected, and my versions is also low-carb.
If you bake a layer of Parmesan cheese in the oven it will crackle and pop after a while, turning into a crispy, cheese cracker that’s much tastier than any pizza crust I’ve encountered. I topped this baked cheese crisp (which is a popular dish called Frico in Italy) with pizza spices and toppings before sliding it into the oven. The results: crustless pizza!
Bring a little sunshine into your life with these bright and happy two-ingredient pizza flavored cheese crisps.
Make this quick & easy, satisfying Sonoran Style Mexican chicken tortilla soup from my Taste of Tucson cookbook in 30 minutes or less!
This crunchy, salty, and spicy no-mayo Thai/Mexican coleslaw is an excellent companion to Sonoran style dishes. It’s inspired by Som Tum (green papaya salad).
Festive enough for New Year’s Eve, this pretty appetizer only takes about 5 minutes to make. Bacon infused caviar adds a unique smokiness that will intrigue your guests and is fairly inexpensive, but any decent quality caviar will do. The one-ingredient parmesan crisps are a savory, no-carb alternative to blini.
I replaced the beef with crispy tofu, which adds just the right amount of heft and bite, and served it on crunchy baked tostada shells topped with Queso Fresco, scallions, radish and sliced pimento-stuffed olives. Recipe link in profile.
These open-faced breakfast sandwiches are made by slathering refried beans onto toasted bolillo rolls and then heaping avocado slices, a fried egg, hot sauce, and lots of cheese on top.
Sweet bell peppers stuffed with creamy nacho cheese, avocado, pickled jalapeños, black beans and crunchy tortilla chips.
Chiltepin salsa is an all-purpose salsa that can be used for dipping, for seasoning, and as a taco sauce. A little goes a long way, so if you prefer a milder salsa, cut the amount of chiles down by a half or a third. This recipe is from the Taste of Tucson cookbook by Jackie Alpers.
This crispy matzo based breakfast is a cross between molletes and huevos rancheros. I used beans from a can and my homemade chiltepin salsa.
Teresa Matias told me that to help satisfy her children’s cries for burgers when buns weren’t handy, she would fold a hamburger patty into a tortilla and fry it. Topped with cheese, lettuce, and tomato, it later became a regular menu item at her restaurant, Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe.
Apparently, a lot of moms had the same experience, because the beef patty taco has been standard restaurant fare around southern Arizona since at least the mid-1970s.
Nuttier and less sweet than its chocolate based cousin, this version of Molé Amarillo is the personal creation of Chef Suzana Davila of Tucson’s Cafe Poca Cosa. She specializes in these complex sauces, and her recipes are longtime local favorites which is one reason why I wanted to feature the recipe in my upcoming cookbook Taste of Tucson: Sonoran Style Recipes Inspired by the Rich Culture of Southern Arizona. Serve this dish with tortillas and a pretty, salad, as Suzana would.
There are Southwestern regional influences that vary from New Mexico to Arizona, Texas, and Southern California. Here in Tucson, our regional cuisine is defined by fresh veggies, grilled meats and all of the delicacies that a mid-sized, sunshine filled desert city/college town, 60 miles from Mexico, has to offer. It’s summertime eating all year round.
Making authentic cowboy steaks is really easy. When I asked Bryan Keith, the Grill Master from Pinnacle Peak Steak House if he had any additional tips he said, “Put some love in it!”
The Moist Maker is inspired by “The One Where Ross Loses it Over a Sandwich.” My version uses leftover dinner rolls instead of bread.
Recipe for Shakshuka made with leftover Thanksgiving stuffing. Be sure to make extra-extra stuffing for Thanksgiving so that you can make my Skillet Stuffing Shakshuka the next morning with the “leftovers”
This recipe was originally developed for TasteCooking.com. This pasta is quite spooky looking, yet elegant enough to serve at a Halloween themed adult dinner party.
Walnuts taste even better in pesto than pine nuts. Spinach linguine keeps this easy pasta recipe a lovely shade of green.
How to make a healthier tuna noodle casserole.
Whatever happened to Rumaki, that vaguely Polynesian appetizer that they used to serve at tiki themed parties in the 70s? Maybe making buffalo-style rumaki will help modernize them a bit and bring them back into the public lexicon? Let’s all try serving this recipe at our next soiree and see what happens.
I marinated myself a flank steak using my mom’s recipe from the 80s, adding in some Mexican oregano and extra citrus to #sonoranize it a bit so now it’s an Ohio meets Tucson recipe.
This no-recipe recipe is my tribute dog to Sweathog, Vinnie Barbarino. This recipe has become very popular since I first created it for my monthly column on the FoodNetwork.com. The people of the Internet have spoken, and they have said that it’s a cross between a pizza and a hot dog, and that is not untrue.
A creamy, warm, vegetarian layered dip that tastes like lasagna. This recipe is loaded with cheese. Serve with fresh veggies.
Inspired by Mexican Street Corn, this whole beef jumbo hot dog is topped with roasted corn, mayo, lime and spices and served in a top-cut, whole grain bolillo roll. Food photo and recipe by Jackie Alpers.
Spicy Ranch French Onion Dip. Two Dips That Live As One, Together At Last!
The cheese crisp is the perfect comfort food. A cross between a Mexican pizza an an open-faced quesadilla, Southern Arizona restaurants started selling the dish more than 50 years ago and it’s become a staple of our local Sonoran style cuisine.
Healthy burrito bowl recipe with quinoa, black beans and avocado tossed in a chipotle lime vinaigrette dressing.
Corn, beans and squash are three of the earliest domesticated crops grown by Native Americans in the Sonoran region. For this recipe, prepared corn masa, which is usually used to make tortillas or gorditas, is pressed into a cast iron skillet for the crust. If you’ve never tried tepary beans, this recipe is an excellent way to experiment with them, but you can substitute black beans instead if you want.
Start your day with this Tucson Sonoran style power breakfast bowl. It’s high in protein, complex carbs and healthy fats.
A cheesy chicken and broccoli casserole featuring my copycat condensed Cream of Chicken Soup recipe.
This super easy salad dressing recipe is especially good on a Greek salad, cucumber salad or Asian Chicken salad and you can make it right in the bottle if you only have a little bit of Sriracha left.
This visually stunning breakfast casserole is elegant, yet quick and easy to prepare. Tuck savory Canadian bacon, eggs, herbs, and cheese inside slices of crusty baguettes. Recipe and food photography by Jackie Alpers
This Cauliflower coconut “Fried Rice” recipe is vegetarian yet high in protein and keto friendly.
Sweet and creamy butternut squash hash, hearty wheat berries and protein rich eggs merge into the perfect breakfast bowl.
For centuries, people believed that it was impossible to make a chicken pot pie in the microwave. I have proven them wrong.
This is a healthy and extremely flavorful way to dress up boneless skinless chicken breasts. Adding just a small amount of butter on top, and using grated parmesan for a garnish, keeps the fat and calories down.
Pretty breakfast taco cups filled with eggs, bacon, pinto beans, cheese and salsa.
Ohio meets Arizona! Cincinnati style chili cheese nachos, “Cincinnachos” as they will henceforth be known. The best of everything for snacking season. Start with My Recipe for Cincinnati Style Turkey Chili, substituting ground grass-fed beef or vegetarian ground beef crumbles if you prefer.
Thai Grilled Chicken Thighs recipe. All of the ingredients for authentic Thai cuisine are available at most grocery stores. Sambal Oelek and Thai fish sauce can be found in most Asian food sections.
There’s no flour in these breakfast muffin cups, yet they’re still light and fluffy! The secret is to beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
This spicy and crunchy Sonoran chipotle chicken salad can be served in lettuce taco wraps, tortas and sandwiches or meal sized salads.
Celebrate spring with these easy, grilled pizzas topped with lemon flavored Mascarpone cheese, fresh tomatoes, pepperoni and oregano flowers.
Looks can be deceiving; my favorite monsters are scary looking, but innately good. Just like these monster-ized eggs, which have been turned green and frightening looking, but are completely delicious. These fried eggs with pesto and Parmesan are also monstrously easy to make.