I’m sure at this point in the year, most people are tired of hearing about how cold it’s been and how ready everyone is for warmer weather! I recently took a VERY brief trip to San Antonio for work (<24hrs!) and thought I was going to get a little reprieve from this cold, but was I ever surprised! Of course the day I arrived the cold front had moved in and made the temperatures plummet from 70’s-80’s the day prior to windy with highs in the low 40’s while I was there! And of course, silly me all I packed was a leather jacket. BRRRR!
Not only was I very disappointed by the weather, I was almost more disappointed when the restaurant we visited for dinner explained that their picadillo was just plain old ground beef taco meat. I was expecting a delicious flavor mash up of spices, vegetables, and tomatoey sauce to coat the beef. So, upon learning this was not the case, I ordered shrimp instead!!! LOL
Ever since then, I have been thinking about it so over the weekend, I used whatever I could scrounge up to create my own! I didn’t expect it to turn out super great since I literally only used things I already had at home. But, oh my, I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised! Another great thing about this recipe is that it just proves that you can really use just about anything, depending on what you routinely keep around or whatever you flavor preferences or dietary needs are!
My version starts with the typical starting point of ground beef, seasoned with some traditional spices such as cumin and paprika. I would have used oregano, but I was out at home so I did without. Then I added in the vegetables aka FLAVOR. Again, started pretty traditional with onions, garlic, jalapenos, and tomatoes. But then, to kick things up some more, I added some additional frozen vegetables along with some chipotle peppers that I had in the freezer! Let it all simmer together and get nice and cozy, and dang, let me tell you, the flavors were on point!
To serve it, I went with some frozen riced cauliflower which I pretty much always keep on hand. Then seasoned it with some dried spices, such as dried cilantro, chili lime seasoning, and jalapeno seasoning. I also happened to have an errant lime in the fridge so I squeezed that over top as well! I probably would have used fresh cilantro if I’d have had any on hand, but using the dried kind worked out well and really cut down on prep time since I didn’t have to chop it up!
Finally, I topped it with some diced avocado and it was dang delicious! Minimal chopping involved, uses a lot of things you probably have on hand, but if not, feel free to improvise! Smoky, a little spicy, and super flavorful! The meat mixture can be made in one pan so clean up is easy peasy as well!
Make this tonight. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
Chipotle Picadillo with Chili Lime Cauliflower Rice
Servings: 6 (smallish) or 4 (larger) Time: 30-45 minutes
- 1 lb lean ground beef (I used ~95%)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil, butter, ghee, or cooking oil of choice
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 jalapenos (more or less to taste), ribs and seeds removed, finely diced
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 chipotles in adobo, canned, diced
- 1 14.5oz can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 – 1.5 C frozen, mixed vegetables (such as carrots, peas, corn, and green beans)
- 1/4 C quick oats, optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Avocado, for serving, if desired
- 1 tbsp. olive oil, butter, ghee, or cooking oil of choice
- 24oz frozen riced cauliflower
- 2 tsp dried minced cilantro
- 1 tsp chili lime seasoning
- 1 tsp jalapeno seasoning
- Fresh lime juice (1-2 limes)
- For picadillo, in a large sauce pan or stock pot, heat oil or ghee over medium-low heat. Add onion and a little salt and saute for a few minutes until slightly softened. Add minced garlic and jalapeno and saute a little more, about 1 minute.
- Add ground beef and cook until slightly browned. Break it up into smaller crumbles while cooking. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. It doesn’t need to be fully cooked as it will continue cooking as remaining ingredients are added.
- Once mostly browned, add in frozen vegetables, chipotles, and canned tomatoes. Stir thoroughly to combine. Cover, reduce to low, and let simmer while preparing the cauliflower rice.
- For cauliflower rice, heat oil or ghee over medium-high heat. Add riced cauliflower and saute, stirring frequently for several minutes until warmed through. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
- Optional: check on picadillo mixture. If it is still quite liquidey, add 1/4 C quick oats, if desired. Stir thoroughly to combine and recover pot until ready to serve.
- To serve, spoon out cauliflower rice onto plate or bowl, top with picadillo mixture, and diced avocado, if using. Enjoy!
Nutrition Info (approximate based on 6 servings and excludes avocado or other toppings):
250 total cal, 8.9g fat, 21 g carb, 21g protein
- I like the picadillo meat mixture to be thicker, not soupy, which is why I add the oats. If you prefer not to use oats, you could first drain the canned tomatoes before adding them to the mixture.
- Most picadillo recipes includes potatoes. I didn’t have any so I didn’t use any. But feel free to experiment with either fresh or frozen diced potatoes. If you use fresh, I would dice it small to ensure they cook all the way through or microwave slightly first.
- I initially just intended to use a carrots and peas frozen mixture, but upon searching my freezer, only found the mixture mentioned above (carrots, peas, corn, and green beans) which I happened to quite enjoy!
- For canned chipotles in adobo, rarely does a recipe call for the whole can. In order to reduce waste, if I open a new can, I’ll generally divide any remaining peppers into baggies with 2-3 peppers each and freeze them for future use. These can be quickly defrosted by submerging the baggy in a room temp/slightly warm bowl of water.
- If you prefer things on the spicier side, you can add additional chipotles or leave the ribs and seeds in the jalapenos, since that’s where most of the heat lives!
- I’ve mentioned this before, but a garlic press makes mincing garlic soooo much easier! This isn’t the brand I have (mine is Pampered Chef, which was a gift from my mom for Christmas one year), but here’s a link to a highly rated one from Amazon: garlic press. You don’t even have to peel the garlic first! But if you’re mincing several cloves at once, peeling it first helps.
- This recipe is easily modifiable for various dietary needs. For instance, if keto, use less starchy or lower carb vegetables, less lean (higher fat) ground beef, and omit the oats. For paleo or whole30, again, adapt the vegetables used and be sure to utilize compliant spice mixes and omit the oats.
If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave me a comment letting me know how you like it! Also, tag @ceceonthego and #ceceonthego on social media! I love seeing your recreations!
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