Saturday, September 29, 2007

Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce

We haven't had these in a while because Jon isn't crazy about the canned enchilada sauce. So what's a girl to do? Make her own, of course!




I used a recipe for sauce by Emeril with just a few changes, noted below.

Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 cups chicken stock (I used 14.5 oz)
  • 10 ounces tomato paste (I used 6 oz)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (I used dried Mexican oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (I used a bit more)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used just a touch more)
  • I also added about 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions
In a medium saucepan heat oil, add flour, smoothing and stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook for 1 minute. Add chili powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add stock, tomato paste, oregano, and cumin. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken and smooth out. Adjust the seasonings.

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My Chicken Enchiladas

This is my own recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breasts, trimmed
  • Chili powder and cumin
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 green onions, chopped (forgot these this time!)
  • 1-2 jalapenos, chopped with seeds
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn kernels (didn't use them tonight)
  • 1/2 block cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or a mix of shredded cheeses
  • Enchilada sauce
  • 6 flour tortilla shells

Directions

  • Cook chicken in pan with the spices. Once done, shred with 2 forks. Sometimes I just throw it in the food processor quickly if I'm in a rush.
  • When you are ready to cook, heat a large pan. Add onions, green onions, and all peppers. Saute for a few minutes.
  • Add the chicken and stir.
  • Add the cream cheese slowly, blending everything together.
  • Add the salsa and corn. Tonight I only used a bit of enchilada sauce instead of the salsa.
  • Stir over medium heat until you have a creamy mixture.
  • Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce into a casserole dish.
  • Spoon some of the mixture into the middle of a tortilla shell. Roll up, place in a casserole dish seam side down. Continue until you are done with the mixture. I usually get six nice sized enchiladas.
  • Top with some of the sauce and cheese. Bake on 375 for about 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

I love having these with Mexican rice. They are great the next day, too!




Fried Pickles with a Yogurt-Dill Dip

When we first saw fried pickles on the menu of our local Mexican restaurant, Poco's, we thought they sounded disgusting. But about a year later we finally decided to just try them and WOW, were we glad we did! They are the most unusual things, but surprisingly very tasty. They are a bit addictive too.. we'd find ourselves talking about going to Poco's just to get the pickles.






We decided to stay in tonight so that gave me some extra time to cook. I found a recipe for fried pickles on the Food Network Website and then found this recipe for a yogurt-dill dip which is what Poco's serves them with.

I followed the dip recipe almost exactly:

  • 1 cup yogurt, low-fat strained (Greek-style) I used plain lowfat yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic (small, minced)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon peel (finely grated)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Chill.

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I did make some changes to the pickle recipe noted below:

Ingredients
  • 1 pint sliced dill pickles, undrained (I used fresh pickles from the deli)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (I didn't use this)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Vegetable oil

Directions

  • Drain pickles, reserving 2/3-cup pickle juice. Press pickles between paper towels. (I didn't need to do this)
  • Combine 2/3 cup pickle juice, egg, 1 tablespoon flour, and hot sauce. Stir well and set aside. (I only used egg and flour)
  • Combine 1 1/2 cups flour with ground red pepper, garlic powder, salt, and paprika. Blend well.
  • Dip pickles in egg mixture, then dredge in flour mixture.
  • Fry coated pickles in 375-degree oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

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The Result....The dip was excellent and the pickles were pretty good. The flour mixture didn't stick to the pickles all that well, so next time I'll use bread crumbs and spices instead of flour.

Garlic Cheddar Chicken

I first got this recipe from nestie Amber and I believe she got it from this allrecipes.com recipe.

I don't make this chicken often because of all the butter and cheese, but when I do, we never have leftovers! I love the crispy cheese breading and especially love picking it off the pan after dinner!




Here is what I do (it's a little different than the original recipe)

  • Melt 1/2 stick butter in a pan. Add 6 cloves pressed garlic and saute. Remove from heat
  • In a bowl mix breadcrumbs, cheddar cheese, and parmesan cheese
  • Dip a thinly sliced chicken breast in the butter/garlic mixture and then the breading mixture.
  • Bake chicken on 400 for about 15 minutes; longer for thicker chicken.

I served it with sauteed spinach - heat good olive oil in a pan along with some red pepper flakes. Add fresh spinach, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Continue to move the spinach around so it wilts evenly. Remove from pan when it is just about wilted. I just recently started adding ground black pepper to my spinach and it tastes a lot better!

If you are looking for quick comfort food, try this chicken.

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Chicken with a Roasted Red Pepper Sauce



This is last Sunday's dinner - I'm a bit behind on updating this blog! The weekdays are just too crazy with work anymore, so I need to be sure to do my updates on the weekends.

We both enjoy stuffed chicken, but last week I wanted some sort of sauce to go on top of it and on the plate. Roasted red peppers came to mind. Here is what I did -

Chicken




  • Trim chicken breasts and pound thin. I use the thinly sliced chicken breasts and pound them out even more

  • I sprinkled each one with a tiny bit of salt, pepper, coriander, and paprika

  • Then I topped each one with some shredded parmesan and asiago cheeses followed by a few leaves of slightly wilted spinach.

  • Roll it up and tie with twine. You can also use toothpicks but I find the twine works better and is easier to take off after they are cooked.

  • Bake on 400 for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is done.

Sauce


I used store bought roasted red peppers - the ones at the deli, not jarred. I'd like to try this with Jon's homemade roasted red peppers.



  • Chop 2 roasted red peppers, 1/2 of a shallot, and 1 clove of garlic.

  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add peppers, shallot, and garlic. Saute for 3-4 min.

  • Slowly add heavy or light cream; I used about 1/2 c.

  • Transfer to a food processor and puree.

  • Add just a touch of parmesan.

  • Cook on low/medium until sauce slightly thickens. Adjust any seasonings needed.

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I poured the sauce over the chicken and it was the perfect combination of flavors. I served this with my usual parmesan garlic risotto (but used more garlic, parmesan and asiago cheeses, no black truffle oil) and some steamed green beans.


I had some leftover sauce so the next day I heated up some risotto and added the sauce. It was incredible! Now I need to try to make a creamy roasted red pepper risotto!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pasta in a Tomato-Garlic-Parmesan Cream Sauce

I had 30 minutes to prep, cook, and eat last night before leaving for my classes. The results did not taste like a 30 minute meal at all.. this was one of the best pasta sauces I've made!





Ingredients

  • Penne pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 shallot, chopped
  • 1 c light or heavy cream
  • 1/3 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dry white wine
  • Handful of fresh spinach (optional, but I loved it in this dish!)

Directions

  • Cook pasta; set aside
  • Heat olive oil; add shallots and garlic, saute. Add tomatoes, stir.
  • Add the white wine and thyme. Reduce heat, and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
  • Add the cream and bring to a simmer
  • Add the cheese and salt, stir
  • Toss the pasta in the sauce. If you are using spinach, add it once you turn the heat off so it wilts. Adjust salt if necessary.

I'm so glad I made enough to have leftovers tonight!

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Appetizer Creation - Bacon-Cheese-Onion Tart

I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted! Things have been so busy with work that I've been making my regular meals. I haven't had the time or energy to try new things or come up with new recipes. But last weekend we were invited to a dinner party and I offered to make an appetizer. I made this one up with inspiration from the Blue Cheese Tart I made over the summer. I wish I had a picture! But hey, at least I have a new post!

Ingredients

  • 3 yellow onions, sliced
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 tsp each sugar and salt
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 refrigerated pizza crust; I used Pillsbury
  • 3/4 cup each shredded Parmesan and Asiago Cheeses
  • 3 tbsp of a soft cheese like mascarpone which I'll use next time. I didn't have any so I used Laughing Cow Lowfat Swiss (2 wedges)

Directions

  • Caramelize the onions: Melt butter in a saute pan with the olive oil. Add onions and saute on medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt and sugar, stir, and lower heat to medium/medium low. Continue to stir the onions for about 20 minutes or until they are a nice golden brown color.
  • Roll your pizza crust out onto a cookie sheet. I prebaked mine for about 5 minutes.
  • Top the pizza crust with the spreadable cheese, then the onions, then some of the shredded cheese, then crumbled bacon, and then finally the rest of the crumbled cheese
  • Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden brown
  • Slice into 2 inch squares and serve

I could go for some of this right now! It was so tasty and I love the mixture of the sweet onions with the flavor of the cheeses and bacon. I was surprised at how well the Laughing Cow cheese worked. It was a great substitute for a "flavorless" spreadable cheese which is what I originally pictured using.