Healthy

Tucson’s Famous Topopo Salad

Tucson’s Famous Topopo Salad

The topopo, Tucson’s most iconic salad is visually stunning. It’s made to look like volcano with lettuce piled on a bean tostada and surrounded with grilled shrimp, Tajin dipped vegetables and cheese. It’s crowned with a green olive and a slice of tomato.

Dry-Fried Asparagus

Dry-Fried Asparagus

Dry-fried asparagus is charred and crispy on the outside, and tender on the inside. It has direct contact to the pan without oil or butter. Asparagus grows wild in Montana where the Yellowstone TV series is filmed.

Spicy, Smoky, Southwestern Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Spicy, Smoky, Southwestern Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Because I’ve been known to eat a Thanksgiving meal that consists almost entirely of mashed potatoes and gravy, I replace the cream and some of the butter in the recipe with an aromatic garlic and chile infused broth that I cook the potatoes in, resulting in lighter mashed potatoes that are BIG on flavor.

Homemade Chile Powder for Spice Blends

Homemade Chile Powder for Spice Blends

How to dehydrate and grind chile peppers, with recipes for chili powder and custom spice blends using fresh homegrown and/or exotic store bought chiles. Preserve expensive and/or hard to find chiles.

BLT Lettuce Wraps

BLT Lettuce Wraps

Tomatoes are at their best, and something about the heat and humidity of the Arizona monsoon season makes me almost totally inert and immobile. This is about all I can muster dinner-wise, so I’m lucky that it’s fairly healthy… It turns out that mayo and bacon are better for us than expected, and my versions is also low-carb.

Chiltepin Hot Salsa Recipe From the Taste of Tucson Cookbook

Chiltepin Hot Salsa Recipe From the Taste of Tucson Cookbook

Chiltepin salsa is an all-purpose salsa that can be used for dipping, for seasoning, and as a taco sauce. A little goes a long way, so if you prefer a milder salsa, cut the amount of chiles down by a half or a third. This recipe is from the Taste of Tucson cookbook by Jackie Alpers.

Chicken Molé Amarillo Recipe from the Taste of Tucson Cookbook

Chicken Molé Amarillo Recipe from the Taste of Tucson Cookbook

Nuttier and less sweet than its chocolate based cousin, this version of Molé Amarillo is the personal creation of Chef Suzana Davila of Tucson’s Cafe Poca Cosa. She specializes in these complex sauces, and her recipes are longtime local favorites which is one reason why I wanted to feature the recipe in my upcoming cookbook Taste of Tucson: Sonoran Style Recipes Inspired by the Rich Culture of Southern Arizona. Serve this dish with tortillas and a pretty, salad, as Suzana would. 

Sonoran Style Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

Sonoran Style Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

There are Southwestern regional influences that vary from New Mexico to Arizona, Texas, and Southern California. Here in Tucson, our regional cuisine is defined by fresh veggies, grilled meats and all of the delicacies that a mid-sized, sunshine filled desert city/college town, 60 miles from Mexico, has to offer. It’s summertime eating all year round.

Hibiscus Agua Fresca Cooler

Hibiscus Agua Fresca Cooler

This hibiscus agua fresca isn’t too sweet, so you can drink it all day long and even into the night (perhaps with vodka!) It’s healthy too.

Spooky Spaghetti Carbonara

Spooky Spaghetti Carbonara

A recipe for black spaghetti carbonara with mushrooms that is spooky looking, yet elegant enough for a Halloween themed adult dinner party.

Chocolate Dipped Frozen Banana Bites With Sprinkles

Chocolate Dipped Frozen Banana Bites With Sprinkles

We all know that rainbow sprinkles make the world-go-round and this super-easy recipe is fun, festive and good for you too. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave which makes it the perfect treat for a hot summer’s day.

Spaghetti Squash Supreme Pizza Boats

Spaghetti Squash Supreme Pizza Boats

A healthy recipe for creamy, cheesy, supreme pizza flavored spaghetti squash, for the pizza flavors that you crave in cute single servings. They are fairly low in calories, very filling and taste like pizza. So it’s win-win-win.

Lasagna Dip

Lasagna Dip

A creamy, warm, vegetarian layered dip that tastes like lasagna. This recipe is loaded with cheese. Serve with fresh veggies.

Mexican Street Corn Hot Dogs

Mexican Street Corn Hot Dogs

Inspired by Mexican Street Corn, this whole beef jumbo hot dog is topped with roasted corn, mayo, lime and spices and served in a top-cut, whole grain bolillo roll. Food photo and recipe by Jackie Alpers.

Fried Monster Eggs!

Fried Monster Eggs!

These monsterized pesto-fried eggs are green and frightening looking, but delicious and monstrously easy to make.

Low-Carb Cheesy Cloud Buns

Low-Carb Cheesy Cloud Buns

made this low-carb bread replacement (often called “Oopsie Bread”) out of eggs and cream cheese from a recipe I’ve seen all over the internet. It turned out great. It smells like cheesy-bread while it’s cooking, and it’s very light, and well, bread-like. Often hot dogs are too much about the bun, so this turned out to be a perfect alternative housing for the Sonoran hot dogs in my Taste of Tucson cookbook.

Brussels Sprouts with Cream and Bacon

Brussels Sprouts with Cream and Bacon

Brussels sprouts and bacon compliment each other so perfectly that this may be my favorite food of all time. You cook the bacon in with the sprouts so that a little bit of bacon grease seeps into them and makes them crispy. I can’t explain why this dish is so good… it just is. I cooked up a batch for the photo and ended up eating the whole pan for dinner along with a glass of wine, and I was happy. VERY happy.

Arizona Cowboy Caviar

Arizona Cowboy Caviar

My Arizona Cowboy Caviar is made with is made with lentils, chile peppers and red onion in a spicy citrus vinaigrette. It’s similar to Texas Caviar made with black eyed peas and the lentils do resemble fish eggs.

Sonoran Style Chunky Guacamole

Sonoran Style Chunky Guacamole

This chunky guacamole recipe from the Taste of Tucson cookbook is spicy, salty and creamy – yet crisp and bright with lots of citrus and a tiny bit of crunch.

Chipotle Deviled Eggs With Caviar

Chipotle Deviled Eggs With Caviar

These spicy, chipotle deviled eggs topped with caviar and capers are fancy yet simple. The perfect party food or indulgent yet healthy snack.

Baked Falafel Recipe

Baked Falafel Recipe

A healthy falafel sandwich with the falafel baked, not fried. This recipe makes three sandwiches with two falafels each.

Healthy Vanilla-Cinnamon French Toast Recipe

Healthy Vanilla-Cinnamon French Toast Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:
4 pieces light whole grain bread
1 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup non-fat milk
1 T. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon

2 T. 100% pure maple syrup
light butter

Instructions:
Spray a large skillet with canola cooking spray & heat to medium/low.
Whisk together the egg, milk, cinnamon and vanilla until frothy.
Soak the bread in the mixture for 10 seconds on each side.
Add the soaked bread to the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown
Remove the skillet from the heat and cover. Let sit for 2 minutes. This makes the french toast fluffier.

Serve with light butter and a tablespoon of pure maple syrup, or dust with confectioners sugar.
Enjoy!

Order Jackie's Cookbooks

The Unofficial Yellowstone Cookbook Cover
cover of The Unofficial Elf Cookbook by Jackie Alpers. Treat every day like Christmas with recipes inspired by the classic film "Elf".
The Unofficial Elf Cookbook by Jackie Alpers
About Jackie Alpers
Jackie Alpers International Photography Awards Honorable Mention
International color awards nominee medal