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Perfect south of the border combinations

With a whopping crop of fresh tomatoes out there in the small family garden plots, here are a few more fresh salsa tomato recipes I alluded to a couple of weeks ago. The homemade Pico De Gallo is so fresh tasting and versatile you'll think it was just picked fresh from the garden. The Cilantro-Salsa Recipe is similar and equally as good and can be made with plum tomatoes if you prefer. The Favorite Salsa is another variation with a little bit different twist thanks to the balsamic vinegar.

Preceeded by an appetizer of fresh guacamole (also injected with fresh garden tomatoes) and chips, then pairing the Pico with the Chicken Enchilada main dish entrée and capped off with the Mexican Fried ice cream, you have the perfect 'south of the border' meal that doesn't get any better.

The fresh Pico De Gallo or any of the salsa recipes for that matter are superb served alongside the Chicken Enchilada casserole, which is a signature dish of my sister-in-law and a favorite evening meal of her husband. I made it myself again Saturday evening and it only gets better each time. I also like to serve it with a dollop of sour cream and a little more guacamole, in addition to the fresh Pico.

The Pico and other salsa recipes are also great alone as a dip with those favorite tortilla chips. When you are preparing the recipes, I would suggest that you double the size right away, because they always disappear rapidly.

The Mexican Fried Ice Cream recipe, which is delicious and relatively simple, came from the West Fargo High School Packed With Goodness book with the recipe supplied by Sue Zurn.

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking!

Pico De Gallo

2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

½ a medium sized onion, finely chopped

3 fresh jalapeno peppers, stems and seeds removed, finely chopped

1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

¼ tsp. salt

Juice of ½ a fresh lime

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for at least an hour, or until ready to serve.

Cilantro Lime Salsa Fresco

5-6 plum tomatoes or 3 large regular tomatoes, diced small

1 medium white onion, diced small

1 jalapeno pepper, diced small

Juice of two limes, or one lemon and one lime

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt to taste

Combine everything in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate a couple of hours before serving.

Favorite Salsa

2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 jalapeno pepper, chopped fine

1 tsp. minced fresh garlic

2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

Dash of salt

Dash of freshly ground pepper

Mix all together and chill for a couple of hours.

Yummy, Easy Guacamole

2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled

1 clove minced garlic

1 tsp. salt

2 diced plum tomatoes

2 minced jalapeno peppers, seeds removed

1 minced small red onion

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

4 tbsp. fresh lime juice

Pit, dice and peel the avocados. Gently mash in bowl with garlic and salt. Mix in tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, cilantro and lime juice. Serve immediately or place plastic wrap onto surface and place in fridge for no longer than one day.

Fast Guacamole

2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled

1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 tbsp. picante sauce

¼ tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. salt

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Use a fork or potato masher to blend well. Serve immediately.

Chicken Enchiladas

1 can cream of chicken soup

½ cup sour cream

1 tbsp. margarine

½ cup chopped onion

1 tsp. chili powder

2 cups cubed, cooked chicken

1 4 oz. can green chilies

8 flour tortillas (smaller ones)

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Mix sour cream and soup together and set aside. Saute onion in margarine. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese, with two tablespoons of the soup and sour cream mixture.

Place scoop of mixture onto the tortilla shell and roll. (I fold all four sides over, so I have a nice little bundle with the chicken mixture all tucked inside.) Place in 8x8" baking dish. Top with remaining soup mixture and cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Mexican Fried Ice Cream

1 ½ sticks butter

1 ½ cups brown sugar, packed

3 ¾ cups corn flakes, crushed before measuring

¼ tsp. cinnamon

Melt butter together with brown sugar. Remove from heat and add crushed corn flakes and cinnamon. Scoop 12 servings of ice cream. Wearing plastic food serving gloves, compact each serving into a ball a littler larger than a golf ball. If the ice cream seems to be very soft, put back into freezer for a few minutes. Roll each ice cream ball into the corn flake mixture and gently pat to make sure the entire serving is coated. Place into a lined muffin tin (use gold or silver liners for the "Martha touch" but regular liners will work). Return to freezer to cool and firm for about 1 ½ hours. Serve with chocolate sauce or honey or I like real whipped cream.