Recipes from my home
Learn how to make Mexican food the Sonoran Way! Recipes inspired by the unique mix of cultures that create Tucson’s incredible Sonoran/Mexican regional cuisine.
Beanie Weenie Tacos
Is it a hot dog? Is it a taco? Is it Beans & Franks? Yes, it is! My hot dog tacos are made with charro beans and topped with pickled red onion and a special sauce. This recipe is an excerpt from Taste of Tucson: Sonoran Style Recipes Inspired by the Rich Culture of Southern Arizona by Jackie
Sonoran Hot Dogs
Sonoran Hot Dogs are a Tucson, Arizona tradition. This recipe comes from Daniel Contreras whose restaurant, El Guero Canelo was presented with a James Beard America’s Classics Award. This is his version of the Sonoran style hot dog which I am honored to include in my cookbook, Taste of Tucson.
Grilled Carne Asada Quesadillas
Grilled flour tortillas stuffed with carne asada, green onions, cheese, & crispy corn tortilla chips for extra crunch! It’s everything you always wanted in a quesadilla but with more crunch!
How to Make Papel Picado Tortilla Snowflakes
Sweet and sparkly tortilla snowflakes – an edible version of the popular Mexican folk art, papel picado which will brighten any winter holiday table.
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.
Sonoran Street Corn Cups
My version of Elote en Vaso. Roasted corn kernels in a creamy, cheesy sauce seasoned with chile, lime and chives.
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.
Old West Style Chili
Old West style spicy vegan chili recipe made with plant-based meat, black beans and mushrooms. Served with vegan shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.
Arroz Con Pollo Recipe – Tucson Sonoran Style
This Tucson Sonoran style Arroz con Pollo recipe is made with Salsa de chile fresco for medium spicy kick of heat.
Sonoran Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas
When life gives you lemons, make spicy shrimp ceviche tostadas. A bright and light Sonoran style Mexican treat.
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail, Sonoran Style: Coctel De Camaron
This easy Sonoran style Mexican shrimp cocktail with crisp cucumber, creamy avocado, red onion and hot sauce is ready in about 5 minutes.
Quick & Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup – Tucson Sonoran Style
Make this quick & easy, satisfying Sonoran Style Mexican chicken tortilla soup from my Taste of Tucson cookbook in 30 minutes or less!
Thai-Mex Coleslaw in Serrano Vinaigrette
This crunchy, salty, and spicy no-mayo Thai/Mexican coleslaw is an excellent companion to Sonoran style dishes. It’s inspired by Som Tum (green papaya salad).
Chile Colorado Tostadas with Crispy Tofu
Crispy tofu adds just the right amount of heft and bite to Chile Colorado served on crunchy baked tostada shells.
Taste of Tucson: Sonoran Shopping Guide
Sonoran cooking resource and shopping guide for the Taste of Tucson cookbook by Jackie Alpers, with lists of ingredients, pantry staples and photography equipment recommendations.
These open-faced breakfast sandwiches are made by slathering refried beans onto toasted bolillo rolls and then heaping avocado slices, a fried egg, hot sauce, and lots of cheese on top.
Nachos Supreme Stuffed Bell Peppers
Sweet bell peppers stuffed with creamy nacho cheese, avocado, pickled jalapeños, black beans and crunchy tortilla chips.
Taste of Tucson Cookbook: Meet the Chefs
Meet the chefs that contributed to the Taste of Tucson Cookbook.
Strawberry Habanero Infused Tequila
This infused tequila makes a mean margarita or straight-up sipper.
Tequila Vs Mezcal: What’s the difference?
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.
Chorizo, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Taco
I ate this for breakfast every day for weeks while writing my Taste of Tucson cookbook. The fat from the chorizo makes the egg really crispy and adds a lot of flavor without too many extra calories.
Matzoh Molletes Rancheros
This crispy matzo based breakfast is a cross between molletes and huevos rancheros. I used beans from a can and my homemade chiltepin salsa.
Beef Patty Tacos
Teresa Matias told me that to help satisfy her children’s cries for burgers when buns weren’t handy, she would fold a hamburger patty into a tortilla and fry it. Topped with cheese, lettuce, and tomato, it later became a regular menu item at her restaurant, Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe.
Apparently, a lot of moms had the same experience, because the beef patty taco has been standard restaurant fare around southern Arizona since at least the mid-1970s.
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
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.
Chelada Beer Cocktail with Lime & Tajin
This super-refreshing citrus beer cocktail is served in a chile and salt rimmed glass over ice. It’s kinda like a beer margarita. I love it because it’s a big drink that lasts a long time and it has considerably less sugar and calories than a margarita.
Hibiscus Agua Fresca Cooler
This recipe is an outtake from my new cookbook Taste of Tucson that was cut for space. It comes from Erika and Jake of Seis Kitchen, who said to be sure and not throw out the hibiscus flowers after you boil them, eat them instead! They said, “They are still super tasty and similar in texture to fruit leather.” This agua fresca isn’t too sweet, so you can drink it all day long and even into the night (perhaps with vodka!) Plus, hibiscus flowers have a myriad of health benefits.
Pomegranate and Earl Grey Whisky Smash Cocktail
A Tucson Sonoran craft cocktail made with Earl Grey tea and whisky muddled with pomegranate seeds, finished with bitters and fresh ground pepper.
Grill The Perfect Cowboy Steak
Making authentic cowboy steaks is really easy. When I asked Bryan Keith, the Grill Master from Pinnacle Peak Steak House if he had any additional tips he said, “Put some love in it!”
Sonoran Style Marinated Flank Steak
I marinated myself a flank steak using my mom’s recipe from the 80s, adding in some Mexican oregano and extra citrus to #sonoranize it a bit so now it’s an Ohio meets Tucson recipe.
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.
Spicy Ranch French Onion Dip
Spicy Ranch French Onion Dip. Two Dips That Live As One, Together At Last!
The Cheesiest Cheese Crisp with Chipotle Ranch Drizzle
The cheese crisp is the perfect comfort food. A cross between a Mexican pizza an an open-faced quesadilla, Southern Arizona restaurants started selling the dish more than 50 years ago and it’s become a staple of our local Sonoran style cuisine.
Quinoa Burrito Bowl – Clean Eating, Sonoran Style!
Healthy burrito bowl recipe with quinoa, black beans and avocado tossed in a chipotle lime vinaigrette dressing.
Chocolate, Coffee, Pistachio Biscotti with Sprinkles
Biscotti means “twice baked” in Italian. First you form the crumbly dough into one stiff mass and bake it whole. Then you let it cool, slice it, and bake it again at a lower temperature. That’s what gives biscotti an almost cracker-like quality, which goes especially well with coffee. This triple-chocolate double-baked treat is dipped in a dark chocolate coating with sprinkles on top.
Sweet Corn & Cinnamon Paletas
Why isn’t corn used in more desserts? It’s naturally sweet, and the kernels add a nice pop. These paletas are made with sweet corn, cinnamon and Tajin.
Three Sisters Pizza With Corn Masa Crust
Corn, beans and squash are three of the earliest domesticated crops grown by Native Americans in the Sonoran region. For this recipe, prepared corn masa, which is usually used to make tortillas or gorditas, is pressed into a cast iron skillet for the crust. If you’ve never tried tepary beans, this recipe is an excellent way to experiment with them, but you can substitute black beans instead if you want.
Quinoa, Tepary Bean and Egg Breakfast Bowl
Start your day with this Tucson Sonoran style power breakfast bowl. It’s high in protein, complex carbs and healthy fats.
Sweet Pepper Poppers
How To Make Sweet Mini Pepper Poppers. I first developed this recipe for the Food Network.
Breakfast Taco Cups
Recipe for healthy breakfast taco cups. Low-carb tortillas filled with eggs, bacon, pinto beans, cheese and salsa.
Cincinnachos! Cincinnati Chili-Cheese Nachos
Ohio meets Arizona! Cincinnati style chili cheese nachos, “Cincinnachos” as they will henceforth be known. The best of everything for snacking season. Start with my recipe for Cincinnati Style Turkey Chili, substituting ground grass-fed beef or vegetarian ground beef crumbles if you prefer.
Easy Chipotle Chicken Salad
This spicy and crunchy Sonoran chipotle chicken salad can be served in lettuce taco wraps, tortas and sandwiches or meal sized salads.
Sparkling Cranberry and Brie Crostini
Visually stunning sugared cranberries are a study in contrast. The tart, dark berries which appear to have been encrusted in tiny jewels, add a magical quality to these brie crostini.
Sweet and Spicy Grilled Chicken Wings
These wings are hot! The spiciness will vary greatly though, depending on the heat of the chili flakes you are using, and the barbecue sauce you select. This recipe also works well for boneless skinless breasts or thighs.
Haunted Halloween Gingerbread Houses
My Mexican Day of the Dead house was inspired by the sugar skulls that typically signify the holiday.
I Want Some Figgy Pudding!
I want some figgy pudding! How could I not after hearing that song year after year. So, I came up with this recipe for Chocolate & Coffee Figgy Pudding. Make your Christmas past a Christmas present.
Chicharrones, Cornichons & Chicken Liver Pate Bites
My choice for snack of the day is a crunchy Sonoran style Mexican and Jewish deli mashup. Try it, you’ll like it.
Carne Asada Tacos
Yay! It’s National Taco Day! Here’s a recipe of one of my favorite kinds – Carne Asada, from the book Knack Mexican Cooking by Chelsie Kenyon. Please note: these are not the Sonoran Style carne asada tacos from my Taste of Tucson cookbook but they are damn good none the less! Photos by me.
Mexican Shakshuka: Eggs Simmered in Tomato Crema
Similar variations of dishes develop in different parts of the world. Shakshuka is somewhat similar to Sonoran Eggs Diablo.
Scrambled Eggs With Gorgonzola & Salsa
Eggs scrambled with Gorgonzola and Salsa. A salty, spicy twist on a traditional breakfast dish.
Salsa Chicken Lettuce Tacos
One of my favorite Mexican restaurants now offers their famous tacos nestled in a large lettuce leaf instead of a tortilla. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed them served that way; I didn’t miss the tortilla at all. So I’ve started experimenting with the idea at home. I modified this recipe from one in a cookbook that I photographed for Chelsie Kenyon a couple of years ago.
Here’s an easy summer beverage. Lavender Limeade is super easy and you don’t need to add a bunch of sugar. The lavender flowers add their own sweetness.
Arizona Cowboy Caviar
My Arizona Cowboy Caviar recipe is made with lentils, chile peppers and red onion in a spicy citrus vinaigrette.
Spicy Sonoran Potato Salad
Here in Southern Arizona, our famous Sonoran style Mexican food is often garnished with pickled red onions and Mexican limes. I’ve incorporated those flavors into this spicy potato salad tossed with a chile-lime vinaigrette.
Grilled Chipotle-Lime Mexican Style Corn
Every year on the 4th of July I make a different version of Mexican grilled corn, which along with the Sonoran style hot dog is a popular Tucson Sonoran street food. Grilled Chipotle-Lime Mexican Style Corn Recipe for Sonoran style elotes 2 T light mayonnaise2 T...
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.
Rolled & Baked Breakfast Tacos
Wake, roll and bake for breakfast with these crispy rolled and baked sausage, egg and cheese breakfast tacos.
Black and White Nachos
This recipe makes a white nacho cheese sauce instead of the traditional yellow. Black beans add contrast, fiber and a bit more protein. There are more colors here than just black and white. but you get the point.
Mexican Rice with Chayote
Recipe for a hearty, spicy Sonoran style Mexican Rice with Chayote and Black Beans.
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.
My Famous Gazpacho
Summertime tomato bliss – Jackie Alpers famous gazpacho recipe inspired by the film Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Classic Caesar Salad Recipe
CAESAR SALAD DAYS | This is a story about choices, creativity, personal power, and a salad. Specifically, the Caesar salad from the 1967 Joy of Cooking.
Who Needs Green Beer When There Are Margaritas?
In Arizona we tend to forgo the green beer in favor of a lovely pale green margarita on St. Patrick’s Day. You can make them easily at home without the high-sugar mix. If you use high end tequila and Grand Manier instead of tripe sec it’s called a Cadillac margarita which are usually served in bigger proportions than a regular margarita.