Home Cooking: Bright flavors to brighten winter blues | SummitDaily.com

Home Cooking: Bright flavors to brighten winter blues

Suzanne Anderson
Home Cooking

As I write this, a winter snow blows outside my window. The sky is gray, there are mountains of plowed snow. The falling snow is actually blowing sideways, with occasional snow devils whirling by.

Winter might be wearing long at this point, so what we need are bright flavors to brighten our mood. We need the sharp acidity of lime, the vibrant colors of peppers and avocados, and the heat of red pepper flakes.

The Colorado blue skies will be back in a day and we’ll be back outside, enjoying this beautiful place we call home. And enjoying these dishes with family and friends.

Shrimp Fajitas


This marinade will also be used for the Southwestern salmon bowl

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or other neutral oil

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon chipotle chili 1 tablespoon Chile de Arbol paste (optional but delicious, found in the spice aisle) Pinch of salt

Squeeze of lime juice Whisk ingredients together 


1 pound frozen shrimp  1 each red, yellow and orange bell peppers sliced into strips (you can also use frozen pepper strips) 1-2 red onions sliced into strips 2 avocados

Corn tortillas

1 bunch cilantro

Top with your favorite salsa and sour cream


Place the peppers and shrimp into separate small bowls, top with marinade and allow to marinate for 20 minutes.

In a large frying pan, sauté the onions and peppers in a neutral oil, such as vegetable, canola or grapeseed, until tender. Then add the shrimp and cook until pink and cooked through.

Meanwhile, smash the avocado, squeeze with lime juice and spread a thick layer of avocado on each tortilla. Top with shrimp, peppers, onions, cilantro, salsa, sour cream and another squeeze of lime.

Kitchen Sink Enchiladas

As the name suggests, this enchilada is easily adaptable and incorporates rice, vegetables, cheese, beans and meat (or not, if you’d like a vegetarian option).


1 28-ounce can red enchilada sauce

1 each red, yellow and orange bell peppers sliced into strips (you can also use frozen pepper strips) 1-2 red onions sliced into strips 1 14-ounce can sliced black olives

1 14-ounce can black beans or kidney beans

2 cups shredded cheddar or jalapeño jack cheese

2 cups cooked rice

3-4 cups shredded beef or chicken (I used slow cooker shredded beef I’d made the night before. You could also use shredded meat from a rotisserie chicken.)

Corn or flour tortillas


Sauté the onions and peppers in a neutral oil until just tender.

In a large bowl, add the rice, sautéed peppers, onion, sliced black olives and beans, then lightly mix together.

Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Now it’s time to assemble the enchiladas: Holding a tortilla in the palm of one hand, add the meat, rice filling and a sprinkling of cheese. Roll close and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Continue until all of the enchiladas have been assembled. Pour enchilada sauce over the filled tortillas, top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until warmed through and the cheese is melted.

Southwestern Salmon Rice Bowl

Uses the same marinade recipe as the shrimp fajitas 


1 salmon filet for each person

1 cup cooked rice per person (or use cooked quinoa)

½-1 avocado per person, sliced

10-ounce bag baby spinach, lightly sautéed in a spoonful of the marinade (not used for the fish)

Squeeze of lime juice


Brush each salmon filet with the marinade, allow to marinate for 20 minutes. Roast the salmon at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until it has achieved the desired degree of doneness.

Meanwhile, put a cup of cooked rice in the bottom of each bowl, top with sautéed spinach, then arrange the avocado slices on top. Finally, top with slices of the roasted salmon and add a squeeze of fresh lime.

Suzanne Anderson lives in Breckenridge.

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