Every year on June 14, America celebrates the birth of the United States Army, created in 1775. Formed from armature troops of volunteer soldiers defending the American colonies against a perceived British tyranny, the U.S. Army is older than the very country it defends.
It seems only fitting that June 14 is also Flag Day. If you are fortunate enough to live outside the bigger cities, Flag Day in small town America is a sight to behold. Every year, as we drive down the streets lined with flags and see the pride of the communities, it brings a tear to my eye. While the American Flag was created in 1776, there was no holiday for it until 1861 as a rallying focus of the Civil War. Congress did not officially recognize Flag Day until 1916, again as a rallying point for a country concerned about the ideas of socialism and anarchism. Just as it was in 1861, Congress officially established Flag Day in a moment of hyper-patriotism. For some, the flag continues to be a focal point of community and pride. In my neck of the woods, many of the small towns that dot the foothills of California’s Sierras still have parades on Flag Day right down the middle of Main Street.
Today we also celebrate the state of New Mexico. Although the territory of New Mexico was established in 1850, statehood was not achieved until January 6, 1912 when New Mexico became the 47th state to join the union.
New Mexico Fun Facts
While most of us think that Denver, the Mile High Capital of Colorado, must be the highest state capital above sea level. Located at 7,000 feet, Santa Fe, the capital city of New Mexico, is actually the highest capital city in the US, over 1,700 feet higher than Denver.
Albuquerque, New Mexico, is home to the largest International Hot Air Balloon Festival in the world. Held each October, the nine day event is the most photographed, with over 500 balloons taking to the air. The festival has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1972, when a mere 13 balloonists participated.
The first atomic bomb detonated in the US was on July 16, 1945 at the White Sands Testing Range in New Mexico.
The only palace in the United States is also one of America’s oldest public buildings. The Palace of Governors in Santa Fe was built in 1610.
There are more sheep and cattle in New Mexico than there are people.
And yet with all that cattle and sheep, we’ll be cooking up a chicken skillet. One delicious bowl has it all – flavorful chicken, vegetables and plenty of beans. Yum!
Santa Fe Chicken Skillet
1 lb boneless Chicken Breasts
3/4 cup Red Onions
1 small Zucchini
1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro
1 cup frozen Corn
1 cup Black Beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons ground Cumin, divided
2 teaspoons New Mexican Chili Powder, divided
3/4 teaspoon Salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground Coriander
3 teaspoons Vegetable Oil, divided
1 (4.5 oz) can Chopped Jalapeno or Green Chilies
1/4 cup crumbled Queso Fresco Cheese
Cut chicken breast into 1-ince cubes, set aside.
Dice red onion, set aside. Cut zucchini into quarters lengthwise, then into 1/4-ince slices. Set aside. Stem, core and dice bell pepper, set aside. Snip cilantro, set aside.
Rinse corn, set aside. Rinse black beans, drain and set aside.
In medium bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of the cumin, 1 teaspoon of the chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the coriander. Add chicken; stir to coat.
In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until no longer pink in center. Transfer to plate, and keep warm.
In same skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add onions, zucchini and bell pepper; cook 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender.
Stir in corn, beans, chiles, cooked chicken, remaining 1 teaspoon cumin, remaining 1 teaspoon chili powder and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until completely heated through.
Garnish with cheese and cilantro.