Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easy Anytime Salsa -- Thrifty Thursdays

Why buy store made salsa when it so much less expensive to make your own. If you have a food processor it takes just minutes (dare I say seconds) to make. OK, minutes if you count the time it takes to assemble the ingredients.

My nephew Richard introduced me to the fact that you can actually make a darn good salsa with canned tomatoes – so good, most people will never suspect it’s not fresh. Ive since come to learn that most restaurants use this trick for making their salsas.

Of course, if your garden is overflowing with gorgeous ripe tomatoes, by all means use them. But the rest of the year good canned tomatoes are always preferable to inferior fresh ones. One more bonus -- canned tomatoes actually contain more healthy lycopene than their fresh counterparts. Go figure. So if you find a good sale on canned tomatoes, stock up and you can whip this salsa recipe together anytime.

Extra Frugal Tip Alert!
Save the juice from your canned tomatoes and use it to make a batch of Spanish Style Rice (click link for recipe).

1 can, 28 ounces, whole tomatoes
1 can, 14.5 ounces, whole tomatoes
1 can, 7 ounces, diced green chiles
1 medium-large onion, about 1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped
1 to 2 fresh jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped, about 1-3 tablespoons chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, stems removed, coarsely chopped, about 3/4 cup chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Place the tomatoes and chiles in a colander, squeeze out as much juice as possible and set aside for at least 15 minutes to drain well. Press out additional moisture before continuing with recipe. Be sure to catch the juice if you plan on making Spanish Style Rice.

Transfer the drained tomatoes and chiles, along with the remaining ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse about 6 to 10 times – mixture should be well chopped and combined but still have some small chunks for texture. Serve as a dip for tortillas chips or anywhere else you'd use fresh salsa.

Variations, Substitutions and Embellishments
  • Don’t have any fresh jalapenos on hand? Substitute pickled sliced jalapenos, like those typically served on nachos.
  • A quarter or half of a pureed chipotle chile (or more to taste) will add smoky flavor and additional spicy heat.
  • Garlic lovers will want to add a clove or two of minced garlic to the mix.
  • Cooking for kids or wimps? Leave out all the jalapenos and definitely do not add the chipotle.

Thrifty Thursdays is a blog event created by my fried Amanda Formaro from Amanda's Cookin' blog. I've agreed to participate, so look for a frugal themed post here each Thursday. In addition to reading my posts, be sure to visit Amanda's blog for a round-up of all the thrifty home and cooking tips and recipes that came in this week from folks around the blogosphere.

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