Monthly Archives: February 2010

Real Food Recipes

Nachos with Chorizo, Refried Beans, and Raw Cheese

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever stop trying to top myself with the most irresistible healthy fast-food. I haven’t really eaten fast food in years, but I used to eat it a lot when I was a young adult.

I couldn’t help myself…I’d been craving chorizo all day and when I got to the store tonight, I was on a mission to find some good, local fare. I scored a nice package of it from the butcher counter and kept thinking of the frozen lamb and chicken I had at home, which was going to have to wait for another night since it wouldn’t be thawed out in time for dinner (I was thinking Paella).

But I had to do something amazing with that chorizo. So I went home and looked around on the Internet for inspiration. I thought about frying it up with some butter and garlic and some onions and bell peppers, maybe some home-made red sauce. That sounded good…but that wasn’t quite what I craved. Then I found this great recipe by Emeril for chorizo nachos. Oh my gosh, yes…that was it!

These were amazing and they disappeared fast…here’s our version of this recipe…it was SO worth it!


  • 3 chorizos, pan fried in garlic and cumin
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • Sprouted corn tortillas, cut into fourths and fried in coconut oil, lard, or tallow (we used about 10)
  • 1-2 cups of soaked and cooked beans of your choice, then refried in 2-3 tablespoons of lard or bacon drippings, salt to taste
  • 2 cups of Monterey Jack Cheese (we used raw cheese)
  • Sliced yellow or white onion
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa (we used local salsa), or fresh tomatoes or homemade pico de gallo (those weren’t in season for us)
  • Salt
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Butter

For recipes like this, I don’t really measure, I just add spices and seasonings until I like the way it tastes.  This made just enough for two adults and one child.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large pan or skillet, heat some butter and add minced garlic to sautee. Cook the chorizo with garlic and add cumin, stirring and turning periodically, over medium-high heat until the sausage is browned and the fat is rendered.
  3. While chorizo is cooking, in another pan melt coconut oil on medium heat. Place the quartered tortillas in the pan and allow them to fry about 1 minute on each side, turning with tongs. Take out of the pan with tongs and place on a plate with a paper towel to soak up the extra oil. Set chips aside when done frying.
  4. Heat beans up in a pan on medium-low heat and add bacon drippings (we store ours in the refrigerator, so they are hardened). Allow them to melt a bit by stirring them. Add chili powder and a bit of cumin into the beans (I just added to taste).
  5. When the drippings have melted into the beans, mash them into the beans and mix them thoroughly. Add a bit of water if beans are thickening, as you will want to be able to pour them easily on the nachos when they are ready to go in the oven. Turn down to low heat.
  6. Grate the cheese and slice up the onions and set aside.
  7. Remove chorizo from pan when cooked through and drain on paper towels. Cut chorizo into small bits to top on nachos.
  8. Get an oven plate or large oven-safe dish and place chips on the bottom. Add layers of beans, chorizo, and cheese. You can also alternate layers of chips, beans, chips, chorizo, cheese. I think they cook better with the main ingredients on top. Add sliced onions after cheese.  Place in oven and heat until cheese melts – approximately 10 minutes.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays carnival. Please visit her site and read all the otehr great real food posts linked there.

Alternative Medicine Real Food Recipes

Our Homemade Salad Dressing

We used to buy almost all of our salad dressing in a bottle from the store. Years ago, I’d buy Kraft, Wish Bone, or Hidden Valley Ranch.For awhile I thought these dressings tasted just fine and were healthy.

Eventually I started buying Litehouse Brand and Annie’s Organic Dressings and other organic brands, thinking I was doing something better. The taste was better, but it was pretty expensive.

Later on, I learned something interesting. The Hidden Valley Ranch, Kraft, Wishbone, Litehouse, AND organic dressings had something in common: the oils these brands use are full of too many Omega 6s and contain highly-processed, rancid, industrially produced vegetable oils.

Each of these dressing brands contain highly rancid or hydrogenated (or both) vegetable oils (like soybean, canola, and in some cases sunflower and safflower oils, or cottonseed oils) that are not recognized by the body as real food and some of those oils (the soybean in particular) contain phytic acid – a substance that inhibits absorption of nutrients.

It’s true, the organic dressing is made of organic ingredients, and the first three were not. But, the first three also likely contain ingredients that are made from genetically-modified organisms and foods, while the organic variety does not contain these substances.

Best bet for store-bought dressings

So, if you are going to buy a store dressing, it’s always best to check the label and make sure it only contains one of the following oils – extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Olive oil and coconut oils contain healthy fats that we need in our diets – Omega 9s and the right balance of Omega 3s to 6s in coconut oil. And of course, check ingredients to make sure there are no other suspect items that may be harmful for consumption such as preservatives, emulsifiers, etc.

I do not have any good store-bought brands to recommend that meet this criteria because I have never seen any, but it’s possible that there could be a few in existence that I’m unaware of.

Health benefits of olive oil and coconut oil

Olive oil has an unusually large amount of monounsaturated fat which maintain healthy cholesterol levels, antioxidants (Vitamin E), helps to maintain the proper balance between Omega 3s and 6s since it is an Omega 9, helps to lower the incidence of cancer by protect the cells of the colon from carcinogens by reducing the effect of an oncogene (a gene that turns a host cell into a cancer cell), controls blood sugar by lowering triglyceride levels (something which affects most diabetics), and activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones – making it beneficial for gallbladder health.

Coconut oil is contains anti-microbial enzymes, helps the thyroid and proper cholesterol levels, and is an anti-carcinogenic agent (eliminates cancer risk). From the Coconut Oil Information web site: “Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids such as lauric (C-12), caprylic (C-10) and myristic (C-14) acids. Of these three, coconut oil contains 40% lauric acid, which has the greater anti-viral activity of these three fatty acids. Lauric acid is so disease fighting that it is present in breast milk. The body converts lauric acid to a fatty acid derivative (monolaurin), which is the substance that protects infants from viral, bacterial or protozoal infections.” Read more about coconut oil here in The Unparalleled Health Benefits of Coconut Oil.

Also: when eating vegetables raw, the fat content in healthy oils can help the body to absorb the nutrients contained within your lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, and other salad selections.

The home-made dressing alternative

Why is home-made a good alternative to store-bought dressings? For one thing, it is more economical is to make your own. Another reason is that you control what goes in and you can make pretty much whatever you’re in the mood for or have on hand.

Here are some recipes we’ve used in our house to make our own dressings:

Basic salad dressing:

  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed grapeseed oil (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Basalmic vinegar (raw is optimal)
  • 1 tablespoon red Wine Vinegar (raw is optimal)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Whisk ingredients together in a bowl well. We store ours in a glass bottle (usually a recycled one from olive oil or vinegar) in the cupboard. Some people store theirs in the refrigerator, but if you do, you will have to take it out about twenty minutes to a half hour before using it to allow the olive oil to soften – as olive oil will harden when cooled. A trick we have used is adding a small amount of sustainable-produced, cold-pressed grapeseed oil to keep the dressing from hardening.

Ranch dressing:

  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (we use homemade)
  • 3 tablespoon homemade mayonnaise or real mayonnaise (we sometimes use Wilderness Family Naturals)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons real lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon finely minced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • Salt to taste

Mix ingredients together in a bowl with a fork and then whisk.

Caribbean Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • corn (optional)
  • 1 cup cubed and peeled papaya or mango
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup of black beans, soaked in whey overnight and cooked – or Eden organic canned (no BPA)
  • 3 – 4 cups of a leafy green lettuce of your choice, chopped
  • 3/4 cup red bell pepper strips
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped


  1. Whisk together the first 9 ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons dressing and set aside.
  2. Add corn, onion, mango and beans to bowl; toss gently to coat.
  3. Place 2 cups lettuce on each of 2 plates; top each with 1/2 cup bell pepper strips and 2 cups mango mixture.
  4. Drizzle 1 tablespoon reserved dressing over each salad; sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon cilantro.

What are your salad dressing ideas? I love the salad dressings and marinades in Nourishing Traditions and have been making a point to try more of them as time goes on. What are your favorites that you always return to again and again?Please share your links in the comments.