This morning I had the great honor of being able to show young junior high students at a local school how to prepare a fun and healthy after-school snack that they can prepare for themselves without ever having to turn on a stove.
This demo was conducted in conjunction with IFANCA‘s initiative to talk to kids about what’s halal in commercial food products as well as how to make healthy food choices on their own. Our all-American kids love all-American food as well as food from their ethnic families’ culinary heritage, but the halal factor in store-bought products can be a bit confusing.
Asma Ahad, a food technologist at IFANCA (Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America), was there to dispell many of the myths surrounding food ingredients and what makes them halal or not. She did a great job engaging the kids in a hands-on activity and the kids were great listeners who were totally present during the entire presentation, including, of course the one that involved the food tasting.
I showed them how to make a Five Layer Bean Dip and Homemade Tortilla Chips and also had a few helpers along the way who came up to do some of the prep with me, which was so much fun.
Five-Layer Black Bean Dip
This five-layer bean dip is more of an American favorite than anything traditionally Mexican, though enjoyed on both sides of the cultural border. It’s also incredibly versatile because you can use any kind of cheese your family likes, whole beans or smashed beans, salsa or simply cut tomatoes, guacamole or smashed avocadoes. Whatever you have on hand, this is a quick, easy and healthy snack that requires no cooking- even the kids can make it for themselves without ever touching the stove!
Five Layer Black Bean Dip
This five-layer bean dip is more of an American favorite than anything traditionally Mexican, though enjoyed on both sides of the cultural border. It’s also incredibly versatile because you can use any kind of cheese your family likes, whole beans or smashed beans, salsa or simply cut tomatoes, guacamole or smashed avocados. Whatever you have on hand, this is a quick, easy and healthy snack that requires no cooking- even the kids can make it for themselves without ever touching the stove!
2 cans (15-ounces each) black beans
1 cup sour cream, or ½ cup sour cream + ½ cup whole milk yogurt
1 cup chopped tomatoes (seeds and juices removed), or ready-made salsa
1 tablespoon jalapeño peppers or ¼ cup canned fire roasted green chiles (about 4 ounces), diced
½ cup scallions, roughly chopped
1 cup guacamole or about 2-3 firm avocados, diced
1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
4 lime wedges or 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Drain the beans of all liquids using a colander or sieve. Pour the drained beans into the bottom of a square cake pan and spread the beans evenly across the bottom.
Next, layer the sour cream or the yogurt-sour cream mixture on top of the beans. Do the same with the chopped tomatoes or salsa. Add the jalapeños and/or green chiles on top of the salsa then add the scallions.
Top with an even layer of guacamole or diced avocados then add a layer of cheddar cheese on top. Place lime wedges on the side for those who would like to squeeze on top of the dip before eating, or squeeze fresh lime juice over the entire top layer of the dip just before serving.
Scoop up with freshly baked homemade tortilla chips and a side of hot sauce, if desired.
Homemade Tortilla Chips
When buying corn tortillas, look for those that have only three key ingredients- corn, water, and lime. I have my favorite brands, but there are new ones popping up all the time that cater to the consumer interested in more natural and whole foods. It’s also best to make sure the corn used to make the tortillas is not genetically modified.
Flour tortillas should have stone ground wheat and only a few additional (all natural) ingredients.
Makes about 100 chips (if you don’t need this many just use half or less than that. The direction below can be used for any quantity)
1 package (10g)/284g ‘El Milagro’ corn tortillas, about 12 tortillas, or the same amount of flour tortillas
Toaster oven, conventional oven or comal (cast iron skillet or pan)
Directions for Baked Tortilla Chips
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Triple up the tortillas and cut this bunch into quarters. You should have 4 sets of triangles.
Cut each set of triangle in half lengthwise.
Place on 2 baking sheets (ungreased) one up and one the opposite directions. Place in hot oven and bake for 30 minutes or until all are golden brown and crispy.
Place each piece in a toaster oven. Bake at 425°F or on the ‘toast’ setting for 10 minutes.
Directions for Stovetop Tortilla Chips
Follow directions for cutting using the method above.
Use a comal, or grill pan to brown the chips on each side. Heat the pan so it is nice and hot. Place cut tortillas over the entire surface of the pan and heat for just a few minutes until one side is browned. Flip and keep on heat for about 10 seconds before removing.