Local Flavor: Guilt Free Tex-Mex Cookbook

December 9, 2018 pixelmark

Kelley Cleary Coffeen mixing in the kitchen

Local author, food consultant, and blogger Kelley Cleary Coffeen releases her newest cookbook and it’s packed with tasty dishes you can feel good about enjoying.
Written by Jessica Muncrief

Kelley Cleary Coffeen has lived her entire life in the Southwestern United States, the last 28 spent right here in Las Cruces. She knows exactly how well a plate of enchiladas with a Margarita and a sopapilla can hit the spot. In fact, she often refers to Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine as “the world’s comfort food with a little kick,” and she has authored numerous cookbooks on the subject including 300 Best Taco Recipes (Robert Rose Publishing, 2011), 200 Easy Mexican Recipes (Robert Rose Publishing, 2013), and Fiesta Mexicali (Northland Publishing, 2002).
Her seventh book, due to be released on September 18, offers up more of the tasty, flavorful, and fulfilling recipes Kelley is known for—this time with a healthy twist. Tex-Mex Diabetes Cooking: More Than 140 Authentic Southwestern Favorites, is published by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and all the recipes follow ADA guidelines.

“My mom inspired me to write this book,” she says. “She loved Tex-Mex and Mexican food and she introduced me and my siblings to the cuisine. When she was diagnosed with adult onset diabetes, I saw her struggling with food choices. She’d hesitate or feel guilty whenever we ate Mexican food. I started looking into how this type of food can be healthy so everyone can enjoy it and it has been an amazing experience, especially being able to do it in collaboration with the American Diabetes Association.”

Kelley says that delving into this cookbook was an eye-opening experience. She learned that many people who are just 15 pounds overweight could be pre-diabetic and prone to the disease simply because of the weight issue. “You can have good old Mexican favorites at your local eatery once in a while, but we should all be eating lighter, low carb, low fat most of the time,” she says.

Thankfully, Kelley makes it easy to eat this way. Her book is filled with recipes that prove you don’t have to give up your favorite treats, you only have to modify how they are made. Think you can’t have alcohol? Kelley offers up 15 diabetes-friendly cocktail recipes including Margaritas and Sangrias. But dessert is definitely off the table, right? The 11 recipes in this book prove you can eat all your favorite after dinner treats from tres leches parfaits and mini chocolate cakes to sopapillas. One of Kelley’s favorites is the churros with coconut sauce recipe she created using angel food cake strips rolled in granulated Splenda and cinnamon…low sugar, low fat, and delicious.

“These diabetes friendly recipes are very manageable, they just take time to plan, shop, and create. It’s all about self-care and taking the time to make Tex-Mex favorites that work for you and your family,” she notes. “This is a very special cookbook to me. I love the gift of food and cooking for others, but when it also involves helping people with their health, it is even more special and meaningful.”

“I love the gift of food and cooking for others, but when it also involves helping people with their health, it is even more special and meaningful.”

TexMex Diabetes Cooking book cover“This is not a diet book, this is a classic collection of beloved Southwestern and Mexican recipes that are easy-to-make, delicious, and healthful. Think low-carb, low fat, sugar-conscious favorites made consciously so that everybody can enjoy!”

Tex Mex Diabetes Cooking: More Than 140 Authentic Southwestern Favorites is available for purchase on Amazon.com.

Sneak Peak!

Try out these tasty recipes for a super-simple, colorful salad packed full of the Southwestern flavors we love. There’s even a refreshing citrusy cocktail to complement those flavors.

bright colored ingredients for variety of recipes

Chopped Mexican Salad with Lime

This fresh chopped salad is full of color. A citrus marinade drizzled over the veggies brings them to life. I serve this salad as a lovely side dish or as an entrée.

½ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp hot pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ Tbsp liquid honey

6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 (15 oz) can black beans,
rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped peeled jicama
1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
1 red bell pepper, seeded,
cored and diced
2 ripe avocados, peeled and diced
½ cup (about 2 oz) reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese

1. To make the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together lime juice, olive oil, hot pepper flakes, garlic, and honey. Refrigerate in an airtight container for 1 hour or for up to 2 weeks. Dressing is best served at room temperature.

2. Spread lettuce evenly across a large serving platter. Arrange beans, jicama, corn, bell pepper, and avocado side by side on top of lettuce. Garnish with cheese. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, for at least 1 hour. Drizzle with dressing before serving.

Paloma Fresco

Fresh fruit and tequila create the best cocktails! The freshness of grapefruit gives this drink a tart, sweet finish.

¼ cup fresh grapefruit, peeled and
diced with pith removed
1 oz tequila
Cracked ice
4 oz sugar-free grapefruit soda or
grapefruit-flavored water
1 sprig of mint

1. Pour tequila into high-ball glass.

2. Add grapefruit. Muddle fruit and tequila together.

3. Fill the glass with ice, and top with soda or flavored water.

4. Garnish with mint.


Kelley is also a member of faculty at New Mexico State University in the College of ACES.
Find her online at: kelleycoffeen.com
Instragram: @kelleys_kitchen

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