Remember earlier this week when I was so excited to find salsa with no preservatives or science words right on Kroger’s shelf? Well apparently all that positive energy went from my head and my heart straight into the fridge, because yesterday my salsa was so full of joy that it leaped out of its chilly refuge and landed, quite ungracefully, on the floor. It spread and spread and spread like the Blob all over my unfortunate white tile.
So naturally the only thing I wanted to eat today was salsa, and anything that can be covered in salsa. I decided to make chicken tacos.
Chicken tacos without corn or wheat? How can it be? I know, I know, it sounds blasphemous. But I am 100% positive that I cannot give up Mexican food for 30 days, so we need to find a substitute.
Enter: iceberg lettuce! My tortilla understudy.
Inspired by my new plan, I dashed off to Miss Cordelia’s grocery to pick up my Mexican compadres: salsa and iceberg lettuce. After scanning the aisles, I was disappointed as I realized that all the local, fancy salsas had weird ingredients like preservatives or sugar or agave. Boo. Would my taco dream be shattered?
Behold! A trusty old “name brand” favorite, On the Border (who would have thought, right?). Nothing in it but whole foods. Hurray!
Content with my find, I made my way to the register, only to be passionately called by a temptation that I can only resist about half the time I shop at Miss Cordelia’s: Las Delicias Guacamole. I checked the label, and (no surprise here) it was paleo-friendly! Adding a tub of pricey-but-worth-it $9 guac to my basket, I checked out and started my adventure.
Here are the two newest soldiers to my paleo army: On the Border Salsa and Las Delicias Guacamole.
[Edit: Read this post all the way through before you go out and by your “clean” salsa. My dreams were crushed.]
Now, I know I could figure out how to make chicken tacos. But because I am no Thomas Keller, I like to use the support of people who have done this before me. I googled my way to this recipe. Like me, the author was inspired by the lettuce-tortilla bug, but she took it one glorious step further: BACON.
Of course! I was disappointed that my fat-loving self hadn’t come up with it sooner. But it seemed like a fair trade: I’ll give you my cheese and sour cream and tortilla if you give me bacon.
And we were off! I used the recipe as a guide, but added my own touch.
The first thing I did was fry 3 strips of bacon on the stove (I have my priorities). Bacon has to be nitrate free (aka no weird -ides and -ates and science lab words) and have no added sugar to not be a cheat. Mine is from whole foods and it is absolutely fabulous.
While the bacon was cooking, I cut a chicken breast into medium-sized chunks and seasoned it with chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic salt, pepper, oregano. The more spices, the better when it comes to paleo. I then put the chicken on the lowest oven rack and broiled for 10 minutes, flipping once halfway. In the summertime this would be great grilled, so I did the next best thing.
Now here comes my delicious (aka fatty) addition to the recipe. When the bacon was fully cooked, I removed it from the frying pan but didn’t dump out the grease. I then used the bacon grease to saute chopped up onion and peppers. Genius, right? The onions went in first, then the peppers joined the party for just a few minutes.
The layers include (1) lettuce (2) chicken, chopped up into smaller pieces, (3) bacony onions and peppers, (4) chopped tomatoes, (5) a scoop of Las Delicias Guacamole, and (6) chopped-up bacon pieces, in all their shining glory.
It was just as tasty as you would expect.
Now you’re probably wondering what happened to the On the Border salsa, the instigator of this whole Mexican feast. Well, the salsa-canners working on the particular day my precious buddy was created must have had an extra cup of coffee, because I could not open the jar, no matter how many Google-inspired methods I tried.
It turns out that while paleo does make you feel great, it doesn’t give you super human strength.
And if anyone wants to come open my jar of salsa for me, I will happily repay you in tacos (but bring your own tortillas).
Edit: Look closely at the jar of salsa again. Do you see what I missed at the grocery store? SUGAR. Nooooooooooo. My salsa dreams are quashed again. I’m beginning to suspect that someone purposely tightened my jar so that I wouldn’t cheat, even accidentally. Call it destiny or the Good Lord’s work or a blessing from cavemen of days gone by, but I am now thankful that my jar was too tight. Jar – 1, Stephanie’s brain – 0.
Now who wants a free can of (impossibly hard to open) salsa?