When I travel, food plays an important part in the overall experience. I always believe that food shows the soul of a place. One of the most diverse areas for great food is here in the Southwest that I call home. Flavors can vary from traditional Mexican food to fresh flavors to new flavor combinations from the savvy chefs that call Arizona home. In this new series on WanderWithWonder.com, I'll share a few of my favorite recipes, starting with ones I've discovered right here in Arizona.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

I'll start off with a fun take on a Southwest classic. These Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas are absolutely delicious and this recipe shortens the traditional steps by quite a bit. The second recipe is a salsa verde recipe that's also very easy. Both recipes are from restaurants found on Arizona's Salsa Trail. This recipe is from El Coronado Restaurant in Safford, AZ.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas from El Coronado. Credit: Susan Lanier-Graham

  • Corn Tortillas (soft fresh corn tortillas work best)
  • Cheese, grated
  • Shredded Cooked Chicken


  • 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 can Chicken Broth
  • 16 oz Sour Cream
  • 3 Jalapeños, finely chopped
  • ¼ White Onion, chopped
  • ½ cup Green Chilies, chopped
  • Garlic to taste
  • Salt to taste
  1. In a bowl, combine the items for the sauce and set aside.
  2. In a casserole dish, cover bottom with corn tortillas, cheese, shredded chicken and the sauce you made. Repeat layers as desired.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Casa Mañana Secret Salsa Verde

This recipe is from Casa Mañana in Safford, AZ. It's a great salsa for eggs, to eat with chips or to use as a marinade.

  • 1 lb. Tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 Clove Fresh Garlic
  • ¼ Medium Onion
  • ¼ Jalapeño Chile, with seeds
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 4 Sprigs Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Black Pepper to taste
  1. Put the tomatillos in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain.
  2. Puree the garlic, onion, jalapeño, salt and pepper in a blender until smooth.
  3. Add the tomatillos and cilantro sprigs and puree until smooth.

Makes about 3 cups of salsa.

Pan de Bono

Now we will move on to some less traditional tastes that still define the soul of today's Southwest. This recipe is for the delicious cheesy bread they make at deseo at Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale.

This is one of Susan's Favorite Recipes

Deseo foyer

Deseo foyer. Photo credit: Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

  • 14 oz Pan de Bono (Yucca flour)
  • 1.2 lbs. Queso Fresco
  • 2.5 oz Melted Butter
  • 1 oz Tapioca Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 4 oz Warm Water
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 TBLS Vegetable Oil
  • 1 oz Granulated Sugar
  • 2.5 oz Milk
  1. Sift all the dry ingredients together.
  2. Combine eggs and oil.
  3. Combine dry ingredients with egg-oil mix in food processor using slow speed; add liquid ingredients then add Queso fresco and mix for about 2 minutes more.
  4. Roll 3 oz balls and place them 2 inches apart in a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes; turn sheet pan around and bake for an additional 10 minutes.


Millionaire Tacos

Here's one more from Westin Kierland's deseo and one of my favorite dishes in the Phoenix area.

This is one of Susan's Favorite Recipes

Millionaire Tacos

Millionaire Tacos. Photo Credit: Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

This fusion of Southwest and Asian flavors is one of the best sellers at deseo at Westin Kierland.

  • 2 oz Hamachi
  • ¼ tsp Lime Juice
  • 1 oz Ahi Tuna, diced
  • ½ oz Chives
  • 2 oz Lobster, diced
  • ½ oz Fried Onions
  • 5 Yucca Taco Shells
  • 1 oz Mangoes
  • ½ oz Scallions
  • 5 Daikon Sprouts
  • Kewpie Sauce (see below)
  • 1 TBSP Pickled Jalapeño, chopped
  • ½ oz Lemon Oil (see below)
  1. Season the hamachi and lobster in a bowl. Marinate in lime juice.
  2. Add the kewpie sauce sauce, fried onions, and scallions.
  3. In a separate bowl, toss the tuna with lemon oil. Season to taste.
  4. Divide the ceviche mixture and place in each taco shell.
  5. Top each taco with ahi tuna and garnish with jalapeño, daikon sprouts and chives.

Kewpie Sauce

  • 4 oz Japanese Mayonnaise
  • 1 oz Yuzu
  • 1 oz Ponzu
  • 1/8 oz Togarashi (Red pepper flakes)
  1. Combine all ingredients well.

Lemon Oil

    • 8 oz Oil
    • 1 oz Tumeric
    • 2½ Lemons
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
  1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients.

Kalamata Olive Aïoli

Arizona has some great classic resorts that have been the playground for the rich and famous for decades. Some of the flavors have been favorites for decades. This is the signature Kalamata Olive Aïoli served at Wright's at the Arizona Biltmore.

Wright's at the Arizona Biltmore

Wright's at the Arizona Biltmore Photo credit: Arizona Biltmore

  • 16 oz Mayonnaise
  • 8 oz Kalamata Olives (drained and pitted)
  • 1 oz Parmesan Cheese (coarsely grated)
  • 2 cloves Fresh Garlic
  • 1 oz fresh Basil Leaves
  • Pepper to taste
  1. Drain olives of all liquid.
  2. Place olives, basil, garlic and parmesan in food processor and purée until mixture begins to thicken.
  3. Add mayonnaise and process for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Chill before serving.

Yields about 3 cups.

Salmon with Blueberry Mango Salsa

There are some great healthy choices available at many of the Arizona resorts that draw on the flavors of nearby California.

Salmon with blueberry mango salsa

Salmon with blueberry mango salsa. Photo credit: Canyon Ranch

One of the most popular resorts for healthy living is Canyon Ranch in Tucson. This healthy choice is from their restaurant.

For salsa:

  • 1/3 cup Mango, diced
  • 2 TBLS red onion, minced
  • 1/3 cup Blueberries
  • 2 TBLS Red Bell Pepper, minced
  • 1 TBLS Fresh Cilantro, minced
  • ½ tsp Jalapeños, minced
  • 1 TBLS Fresh Lime Juice
  1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for mango salsa.
  2. Lightly crush with a fork to release juices. Set aside.

Prepare protein:

  • ½ tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Salmon Fillets (4 oz each)
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt
  • Pinch Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season salmon with salt and pepper and sear 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until salmon is cooked through.
  2. Serve each salmon fillet with ¼ cup blueberry mango salsa.

Makes 4 servings.

Rita Rita Margarita

I'll finish the recipes of Arizona with a margarita, perfect for just about any occasion here in the desert Southwest.

Rita Rita Margarita

Rita Rita Margarita. Photo Credit: JW Marriott Camelback Inn

This is a signature margarita for Rita's Kitchen at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn in Scottsdale.

  • 1½ oz of Patron
  • ¾ oz of Cointreau
  • ¾ oz Fresh Lime
  • ½ oz Agave Nectar
  • Lime for Garnish
  1. Build ingredients in a Mixing Glass and shake well.
  2. Serve over ice.
  3. Add lime for garnish.
  4. A salted rim is optional.

Next week, we'll move on to favorite recipes from other places I've traveled. Do you have a favorite dish from your travels? Be sure to share.

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