I know what you’re thinking. Chips and Salsa, Cheryl…really? But just wait – hear me out. I’m not talking about popping the lid off that jar of chunky stuff made in New York City and dumping it into a bowl. And, I’m not talking about prying open a bag of white corn chips to go with it. I’m talking about homemade salsa – the kind you get at a really good Mexican restaurant. The kind that after you dunk your chip in the spicy dip, you need to hold your other hand under your chin as you take a bite so it doesn’t splatter all over the table and the menu and then you have to get yet another napkin from the server to remove the evidence of your serial salsa spillage. Surely, I’m not the only one who has this problem?

The kind of salsa that you can make year-round that tastes garden-fresh, even in the dregs of a long, grey winter when there’s nothing but the sad flavorless tomatoes to be had. And a basket of warm, crunchy real deal tortilla chips to scoop it up with. That’s what I’m talking about.

Here’s what you’ll need for the salsa:

Combine the following in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade (or a blender works well, too):

  • one (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • one (14.5-ounce) can whole peeled plum tomatoes
  • one small white onion, peeled and chopped (about 1/4 cup or so)
  • 2 peeled and minced garlic cloves or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • a handful of minced cilantro or parsley*
  • one seeded and minced jalapeno
  • juice of one lime
  • pinch of sugar

Pulse until blended but leave some texture in tact. Season to taste with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.

*I personally don’t love/love cilantro, so I opt for the less traditional route of parsley for my fresh herb vibe. But if you’re a cilantro fan, by all means, go for it.

Not feeling the deep fry? Here’s a shortcut without shame: Warm store-bought chips in a 350 degree oven on a large baking sheet for a few minutes (when you start to smell them, pull them out before they begin to brown or color, about 4 to 5 minutes). Squeeze over a little lime juice and serve. Devour.

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