Brown bag meals: Easy, healthy tex-mex

salsaWhile there’s nothing wrong with PB&J or tuna fish for a simple lunch or dinner at work, wouldn’t it be a real treat to have a zesty meal that takes only minutes to put together and uses inexpensive ingredients?
How about fresh salsa? Crisp tortilla chips? Savory meat, cheese and lettuce on a soft tortilla? If that makes you say “Ole!” then these Tex-Mex recipes are for you!

The key is this easy salsa that provides the delicioso basis for your out-of-the-ordinary brown-bag meal—and even a snack for several days at work when you crave just one more taste with some leftover chips!

Fresh Salsa
2 (14.5-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes or 4 cups chopped tomatoes
½ onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ lime, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup canned sliced green chiles, or to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

In blender or food processor, pulse 1-3 times: tomatoes, onion, garlic, lime juice, salt, green chiles and cilantro. For thicker consistency, drain some of the juice from the canned tomatoes and do not pulse as many times.

Here comes the part where you can be creative. Using leftover chicken, beef or pork, shred the meat, heat in microwave (you can sprinkle with some chili powder for a little “kick”) and place with grated cheese and shredded lettuce on a soft tortilla. Serve with the salsa and your favorite tortilla chips.

Shopping list for Fresh Salsa and Tortillas:
2 (14.5-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes or 4 medium tomatoes
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 lime
1 can sliced green chiles
1 small bunch fresh cilantro
1 package soft tortillas
Grated cheddar cheese

If your appetite is now saying “more, por favor,” another great Tex-Mex recipe is this salad, which makes enough for several brown-bag lunches (or maybe to share with a fellow nurse at work?) and uses bottled dressing.

Mexican Salad
1 head iceberg or Romaine lettuce, chopped
2-3 tomatoes, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 can ranch-style beans, rinsed
1½ cups grated cheddar cheese
1 (16 ounce) bottle Catalina dressing
1 (10 ounce) bag tortilla chips, crushed

Mix all ingredients and serve immediately. If you prepare this at home to eat later at work, toss the first four ingredients together, then cover and refrigerate until needed. Mix remaining ingredients when ready to serve.

Shopping list for Mexican Salad:
1 head iceberg or Romaine lettuce
3 medium tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 can ranch-style beans
16 ounces grated cheddar cheese
1 bottle Catalina dressing
1 bag tortilla chips

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