Zesty Chicken Enchiladas

I’m searching for the perfect – To. Die. For. enchilada recipe.  Because of this, I’m up to try any enchilada recipe I can find.

This recipe is from Real Simple, May 2009.

Substitution made, noted below.

chick enchilada 1

Zesty Chicken Enchiladas

1 tblsp canola oil
1 lb tomatillos (papery skins removed), chopped
1 onion (preferable white), chopped
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
kosher salt & black pepper
1 c heavy cream
2 to 2 1/2 lb rotisserie chicken, meat shredded
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/4 c grated Monterey Jack (5 oz)
8 6-inch tortillas – I used 10-inch tortillas

chick enchilada 2

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add the tomatillos, onion, poblano, garlic, cumin and 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.  Transfer to a food processor, add the cream and puree.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, tomatoes, 1 c of the cheese, 1/2 c of the tomatillo sauce, and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.

chick enchilada 3

Warm the tortillas according to the package directions.  Spread 1 cup of the remaining sauce in a 9×13 baking dish.  Roll the chicken mixture in the tortillas and place them in the dish, seam-side down.

Top with the remaining sauce and cheese.  Bake until beginning to brown 10 to 15 minutes.

chick enchilada 4

cartoon-strawberry-9I made this for our New Year’s Eve dinner (just a quiet night at home).  I expected it to be much spicier than it was, and there was SO MUCH of the chicken mixture.  I could have rolled two or three more 10-inch tortillas.  I think to bump up the spice, I’d either roast the Poblano, add in a minced Jalapeno, or make the sauce the day before and let the flavors really ripen.  I’d also bump up the cheese to at least a cup and a half.  But all in all, it’s a great flavor and was so much fun to finally cut into a tomatillo!

Ravioli with Spinach and Bacon

At some point in the last month and a half, I made this recipe for dinner.  Probably because the heading is ’20-minute meal’, and the ingredients are easy to come by.

This recipe is from Real Simple, May 2009.

No substitutions were made.

spinach ravioli

Ravioli with Spinach and Bacon

1 lb ravioli (fresh or frozen) – I used frozen cheese ravioli
6 slices bacon
2 tblsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 bunches fresh spinach, thick stems removed (about 8 cups)
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tblsp fresh lemon juice

Cook the ravioli according to the package directions.  Drain and divide among bowls.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet over med-high heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.  Crumble.

Wipe out the skillet and heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the spinach, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Cook, tossing, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir the bacon and lemon juice into the spinach.  Spoon the mixture over the ravioli.

cartoon-strawberry-9Easy, yummy and only 20 minutes!  I tossed in some pine nuts to add a little crunch.  Put this recipe in your dinner rotation.

Chicken Teriyaki

Years and years ago a friend gave us a bottle of Sake.  I’m not a huge fan, and husband doesn’t really drink.  So it traveled with us from CA to TN, and sat atop the fridge waiting till I figured out what to do with it.

Nigella to the rescue, with her Chicken Teriyaki recipe.

This recipe is from Nigella Kitchen.

Substitution made, noted below.

chicken teriyaki 1

Chicken Teriyaki

2 tblsp sake
1/4c mirin – I used white cooking wine with 1/4 tsp sugar added
1/4 c soy sauce
2 tblsp light brown sugar
2 tblsp grated fresh ginger
splash of sesame oil
1 3/4 lb chicken thighs, cut or scissored into bite sized pieces
1 tsp peanut oil

Mix the sake, mirin, soy sauce, sugar, ginger and sesame oil in a dish that you can steep the chicken in.  I use an 8-inch square Pyrex, but anything similar would do.  Add the prepared chicken pieces and leave for 15 minutes.

Heat the peanut oil in a large, shallow frying pan or Dutch oven (that has a lid) and, using a perforated spoon, transfer the chicken pieces from their dark marinating liquid to the pan, and saute until they look cooked on the outside.

Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces in the pan and bring to a bubble, then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer, put the lid on and cook for about 5 minutes – cut into a piece of chicken to make sure it’s cooked through.

chicken teriyaki 2

Remove the cooked pieces with a perforated spoon (you could keep them warm in a bowl covered in aluminum foil) and turn the heat up under the pan to let the liquid boil down to a thick, dark syrup.

Return the chicken pieces to the pan, stir well so that they are all coated in the sticky, savory syrup, then serve with a comforting pile of sushi rice and perhaps some steamed baby bok choy or green veggies of your choice.

cartoon-strawberry-9I served this chicken with chow mein noodles and steamed broccoli, just like the teriyaki place I love in CA does.  This one takes awhile, but it well worth the effort.

Italian Wedding Soup

The temps have hit all time lows here in Nashville this week, the perfect time for warm and nourishing soup.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine.

Substitution made, noted below.

Italian Soup 1

Italian Wedding Soup

1 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 sm onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp chopped fresh sage – I used dried sage
3 c fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 Parmesan cheese rind, plus 1 tblsp grated Parm, plus more for topping
1/2 lb ground pork – I used ground chicken
3 tblsp breadcrumbs (preferaly panko)
3/4 c orzo
8 oz baby spinach (about 8 cups)

Heat olive oil in a large pot over med-high heat.  Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.  Add half of the garlic and 1 tsp each Worcestershire sauce and sage; cook 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, 3 c water and the Parmesan rind and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.

Italian Soup 2

Meanwhile, mix the pork, breadcrumbs, 1 tblsp grated Parm, the remaining garlic, Worcestershire and sage in a bowl.  Form into 1-inch meatballs.

Increase the heat to med-high and bring the soup to a boil.  Stir in the orzo and cook 6 minutes.  Add the meatballs and cook until they are firm and float to the top, about 4 more minutes.  Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 more minute.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with Parm.

Italian Soup 3

cartoon-strawberry-9The sage lends a rich flavor to the broth and to the meatballs.  I would cut the orzo down to a half cup, and add in a healthy dash of salt and pepper.  Healthy and hearty soup ready in about an hour!

Chocolate Chip-Coffee Muffins

While husband’s family was visiting over Thanksgiving, I baked these muffins to enjoy on a lazy Saturday morning.  Most of us are coffee lovers, so I figured these would be a hit.

The recipe is from Cooking Light, Jan/Feb 2012.

Substitution made, noted below.

muffin Collage 1

Chocolate Chip-Coffee Muffins

2/3 c whole milk – I used 2%
5 tblsp butter, melted
3 tblsp instant coffee granuales
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
9 oz (about 2 c) all-purpose flour
2/3 c sugar
1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Combine first 5 ingredients.

muffin 2

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.  Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.

Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray (I used muffin cup liners.)  Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until done.  Remove muffins from pan immediately; place on a wire rack.

muffin 3

cartoon-strawberry-9These are great muffins, they mix up easily and bake quick.  It’s a great recipe to have on hand for a lazy Saturday morning or a fancy Sunday brunch.

Thai Chicken

I knew I’d be a bit busy over the holidays, but had no idea I’d be taking such a long break!  We had husband’s family visiting over Thanksgiving (I’ll be sharing a muffin recipe we tried on Wens!).  We flew out to CA over Christmas to welcome my BFF’s new son and celebrate with family.  Things have been crazy, exhausting and fun.  It’s amazing how much great and amazing stuff can be fit into just a few short weeks.

It was an honor and joy to be with my best friend waiting for her baby to arrive.  He came a few days late, so we had time to talk, relax, do a little shopping and a little cooking together.  During that time we made this recipe.

This recipe is from Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes.

No substitutions were made.

thai chicken 1

Thai Chicken

2 1/2 lbs chicken pieces – we used bone-in chicken thighs
1 c hot salsa – we used a medium heat taco sauce
1/4 c peanut butter
2 tblsp lime juice
1 tblsp soy sauce
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
Hot cooked rice
1/2 c peanuts, chopped
2 tblsp chopped fresh cilantro – we skipped this

Place chicken in slow cooker.  Combine salsa, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce and ginger; pour over chicken.

Cover; cook on LOW 8 to 9 hours or on HIGH 3 to 4 hours, or until chicken in no longer pink in center.

Serve chicken and sauce over rice; sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro.

thai chicken 2

cartoon-strawberry-9The bestie and I were making spicy recipes and foods to try and help usher in a late baby.  The medium heat salsa was a good flavor, but a HOT salsa would have added the heat we were missing.  An easy and delicious recipe to have on hand for a weeknight dinner.

Chocolate and Almond Cake

I love the idea of Julie & Julia.  Learning how to cook by working through all of the recipes and techniques in ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’.  I just can’t handle the idea of an aspic.  Who want’s to eat a savory jello?

This recipe is from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

No substitutions were made.

chocolate almond cake 1

Chocolate and Almond Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

A round cake pan 8 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches deep – I used a square pan
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate melted with 2 tblsp rum or coffee – I used coffee

Butter and flour the cake pan.  Set the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover and place (off heat) in a larger pan of almost simmering water; let melt while you proceed with the recipe.  Measure out the rest of the ingredients.

3 quart mixing bowl
A wooden spoon or an electric beater
1/4 lb or 1 stick softened butter
2/3 c granulated sugar

Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture.

3 egg yolks

Beat in the egg yolks until well blended

3 egg whites
Pinch of Salt
1 tblsp granulated sugar

Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.

A rubber spatula
1/3 c pulverized almonds
1/4 tps almond extract
1/2 c cake flour, turned into a sifter

With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the almonds, and almond extract.  Immediately stir in one fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter.  Delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of the flour and continue folding.  Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.

Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula.  Bake in the middle level of a preheated oven for about 25 minutes.  Cake is done with it has puffed and 2 1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily.

Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on a rack.  Allow it cool for an hour or two; it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.

Chocolate-Butter Icing

2 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate
2 tblsp rum or coffee – I used coffee
a small covered pan
a larger pan of almost simmering water
5 to 6 tlbsp unsalted butter
a wooden spoon
a bowl with a tray of ice cubes and water to cover them
a small flexible blade metal spatula or a table knife

Place the chocolate and the rum or coffee in the small pan, cover and set in the larger pan of almost simmering water.  Remove the pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth.  Lift chocolate pan out of the hot water, and beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time.  Then beat over the ice and water until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading consistency.  At once spread it over your cake with spatula or knife.

cartoon-strawberry-9We had some friends over for dinner and I made this for dessert, which is why there’s only a single picture of the cake.  Also, I moved the cake when it was cooling and a corner broke off completely.  This icing worked as the perfect glue.  If you have the time, make the cake in the morning and the icing in the afternoon, when the cake has had plenty of time to cool.  BTW, this cake is dense and moist; the almond and chocolate balance each other perfectly.

Potato Salad with Bacon and Parsley

We’re big fans of the potato, and throw in some bacon?  SOLD.

This recipe is from Real Simple, June 2009.

Substitution made, noted below.

potato salad 1

Potato Salad with Bacon and Parsley

1 1/2 lbs new potatoes – I used red potatoes
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 slices bacon
3 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tblsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 c fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped – I used about 1/4 c dried

Place the potatoes in a pot with water to cover and 1 tsp salt and simmer until tender, 15 to 18 minutes.  Drain and run under cold water to cool.  Cut into quarters – Because I used red potatoes, I cut them into 1 inch (ish) squares before cooking.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon over med-high heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes.  Transfer to paper towels.  Crumble when cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, mustard, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Toss with the potatoes, bacon and parsley.

potato salad 2

cartoon-strawberry-9I served this side dish with some BBQ pork roast and broccoli.   A great alternative to the heavy mayo based potato salad.

Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Pie

Making this pie, I felt like a Pintrest meme.  Messy bun, yoga pants and a love of all things pumpkin.  There has to be a white girl joke in there somewhere.

I’m not sure where this recipe came from, looks like it was cut off the back of a box.

No substitutions were made.

pumpkin pie 1

Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Pie

Pie:
1 refrigerated pie crust
15 oz pumpkin puree
12 oz evaporated milk
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt

Streusel:
1/4 c packed brown sugar
2 tblsp all-purpose flour
2 tblsp butter
1/2 c chopped pecans

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Place crust into a pie plate.  In a large bowl, mix filling ingredients until well blended.  Pour into crust-lined pie plate.

pumpkin pie 2

Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; bake 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix streusel ingredients.

Sprinkle streusel over pumpkin filling.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center come out clean.  Cool completely, about 1 hour.

pumpkin pie 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Thanksgiving isn’t the ONLY time to enjoy pumpkin pie!  And the streusel topping is perfect.  Next time I’ll double the amount of streusel, so it covers the top of the pie completely.  I’d also use sweetened condensed milk instead of the evaporated milk, just to add a little sweetness.

Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie

The ultimate in comfort food – Chicken Pot Pie.  Fall has given me a need for rich, warm foods.  Foods that fill your belly and your soul.

This recipe is from Real Simple, February 2009.

Substitution and addition made, noted below.

chicken pot pie Collage

Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tblsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, diced
3 tblsp all-purpose flour
1/2 c dry white wine
2 c 1% milk – I used 2%
1 10oz package frozen peas
1 tblsp fresh thyme
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 9-inch pie crust
* Addition – 1 med diced zucchini

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Cooke the chicken in a pot of simmering water until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes; let cool, then shred.  (I diced mine.)

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring until they begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes (do not let them darken).  Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

chicken pot pie 4

Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Add the milk and simmer until the sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in the chicken, peas, thyme, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Transfer to a shallow 1.5 to 2-quart baking dish.

Lay the crust on top, pressing to seal.  Cut several vents in the crust.  Place the pot pie on a baking sheet and bake until bubbling and the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

chicken pot pie 5

cartoon-strawberry-9What a wonderful and easy dinner.  Took a little over an hour for prep to dinner, and it was so good.  I don’t think I’ll ever want or need to learn how to make pie crust, Pillsbury does it better than I ever could.