My mother makes an awesome salsa! She perfected it many years ago and submitted it to a fundraising cookbook called Heavenly Delights for the Lakeland Christian Academy Class of 1996 (for any nostalgia buffs). She called the recipe Hot Salsa and some years it was very hot! I love the recipe and make it frequently, although with fewer hot seeds.
One of my daughters likes salsa, but doesn't care for the hot stuff. For a time I was buying Chi Chi's for an easy lunch option for her. Chips, salsa,cheese -easier school lunch than PB & J, and she loved it too.
Over the last two years or so, I have been working to improve the quality of the food I provide for my family. I have tried to cut out high fructose corn syrup. Additionally I started realizing many foods contained unnecessary added sugar. During the phase when I was purchasing Chi Chi's salsa I assumed it contained sugar and other ingredients typical of processed food, however, I was willing to live with that at the time to keep my sanity. One day I finally got brave and read the ingredient list on Chi Chi's. Imagine my surprise when I realized the ingredients were the same as my mom's recipe but in different quantities. Thank you Chi Chi's for not adding sugar and weird ingredients to your salsa!
Since I had the ingredients and was making hot salsa anyway, why not try to replicate Chi Chi's milder salsa? So last summer I created this kid friendly salsa recipe. I had most ingredients on hand, making it a cheaper option than store bought salsa. We have never successfully grown jalapenos, so that is a small expense.
Here is the recipe:
3 cups diced tomatoes
2 cups diced onions
1 1/2 cups diced jalapenos, remove all seeds for mild salsa
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
2 small cans tomato paste
Combine all of the ingredients except tomato paste in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for five minutes. Add tomato paste and thoroughly mix. Process like you would process tomatoes - can or freeze. (I have been working with tomatoes a lot this week. 'Tis the season... My research indicates that recipes like this with acidic and non- acidic vegetables together must be pressure canned as opposed to water bath canned.)
Some of our favorite ways to eat salsa are:
plain with chips,
mixed with cheese and sour cream as a chip dip,
on tacos, salads, and burritos,
and my new favorite trick is to combine it directly with the taco meat for the flavor with less mess.