enchilades verdes.

Last night, Blakely and I cooked dinner for D and tried out a new recipe. We made some slight adjustments to it and I can’t imagine it any other way.

Enchilades Verdes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (2) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, halved and divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 large white corn tortillas
  • 3 cups salsa verde
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • taco seasoning
  • sour cream, optional to serve
  • cilantro, optional garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in a pot along with 1⁄2 an onion and salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken from the water and let cool slightly. Shred chicken with two forks and set aside.
  4. Mince the remaining onion and add to the shredded chicken, along with taco seasoning as desire.
  5. Using a basting brush, paint tortillas (I warmed them up in the toaster oven) with salsa verde. Fill each tortilla with chicken and roll tightly and place in a large casserole dish, seam side down, in a single layer. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and chicken.
  6. Drench entire pan with 1 cup sauce and sprinkle with crumbled queso fresco.
  7. Bake, covered in oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with sour cream or additional queso fresco, if desired.

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mini bell pepper loaded turkey nachos.

In honor of the fact that I’m eating leftovers of this for lunch today, I thought I’d share a recipe for some “nachos” I made over the weekend.

Mini Bell Pepper Loaded Turkey Nachos

Ingredients:

  • olive oil spray
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 c tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c chicken broth
  • 21 mini rainbow peppers, halved and seeded
  • 1 cup sharp shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp light sour cream, thinned with 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp sliced black olives
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced thin (optional)
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking try with parchment or aluminum foil. Lightly spray with oil.
2. Spray oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.
3. Add onion, garlic and cilantro and saute about 2 minutes, add ground turkey, salt, garlic powder, cumin and cook meat for 4 to 5 minutes until meat is completely cooked through. Add 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and chicken broth, mix well and simmer on medium for about 5 minutes, remove from heat.
4. Meanwhile, arrange mini peppers in a single layer, cut-side up close together.
5. Fill each with cooked ground turkey mixture, then top with shredded cheese and jalapeno slices, if using.
6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
7. Remove from oven and top with black olives, sour cream and cilantro. Serve immediately.

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chicken enchilada stuffed shells.

I realized last night as we sat down for dinner that we do a LOT more eating at home now than we ever did, and very little eating out. It makes me happy to think of that, as it seems like a level of success I’ve always strived for — to plan out dinner and cook for my family throughout the week. (Hey, I have small goals.) I picked this up from Anthropologie last week and started out by writing out our week and coming up with what we needed from the grocery store. This way, D knows my schedule (like that I have bunko Tuesday night) and when to expect things (he’s already excited about spaghetti on Thursday — good thing, since he’ll be cooking it).

Last night, I cooked this as a cheat meal for a successful work day at home. And because it sounded delicious and I had to have it stat.

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Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Shells

Ingredients:

2 c. cooked shredded chicken – I used a rotisserie chicken.
1 T taco seasoning
3/4 c. sour cream
1 roasted red pepper, chopped – I just used a red bell pepper and didn’t roast it. But I think next time I’m going to pick up roasted bell peppers either by the jar or on the hot food bar at Kroger.
2 T chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 T chopped green onion, plus more for garnish
1 large tomato, diced – I just used 2 small ones I had.
2 c. grated Monterey or Pepper Jack cheese – I used cheddar inside the shells and shredded some sliced jalapeno cheddar cheese for the top because we had that in the fridge.
18 jumbo pasta shells, cooked
 
White Enchilada Sauce:
3 T unsalted butter
3-4 T flour
1 (14.5 oz.) can low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 c green salsa
1/4 c sour cream

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, combine shredded chicken, taco seasoning, sour cream, chopped red pepper, 2 T chopped cilantro, 1 T chopped green onion, 1/2 of the diced tomato and 1 cup of grated cheese.
3. Divide filling between the cooked jumbo shells and place in a greased 8″ x 8″ inch casserole dish. Set aside.

For the Enchilada Sauce:
4. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, one T at a time, until a thick paste forms. Cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and continue whisking until smooth and sauce reaches desired creamy thickness. Stir in the green salsa and sour cream.
6. Pour sauce over stuffed shells. Top with remaining cheese.

7. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
8. Broil for a few minutes until cheese is browned.
9. Garnish with additional chopped cilantro, chopped green onions and remaining chopped tomato. Serves: 3-4, depending on how many shells each person can eat.

Also, I washed it down with a beer we picked up from Vino Garage recently. It was malty and delicious.
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risotto with roasted chicken & carmelized onions.

Confession: I’ve never made carmelized onions before. (I know this isn’t a shock to those who know I didn’t make my first grilled cheese until approximately 3 years ago. Hey, they’re just better when someone else makes them.)

The other night, I didn’t know what to make for dinner. I know we had an untouched rotisserie chicken in the fridge, and we always keep arborio rice in the cupboard. So that’s what I had to work with.

And then I went to Google. Here’s what it gave me …

Roasted Chicken with Risotto and Carmelized Onions

Ingredients:

4 T olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups uncooked arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine – This is why I keep a cheap bottle of white from Trader Joe’s on hand.
7 cups hot chicken broth
2 T butter
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
salt and pepper
2 T chopped fresh thyme

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 T of the oil  in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onions and saute for 15-20 minutes, or until the onions are a dark golden brown. Remove from heat, stir in the balsamic vinegar and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in a separate large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the rice and mix well. Let heat for about 2 minutes, then pour in the wine. Reduce heat to medium low and start pouring in the broth about 1 cup at at time. Add more broth as each cup is absorbed. Continue in this manner until all the broth is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the reserved onion mixture and allow to heat through. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish each serving with fresh thyme.

It was all right, but definitely could’ve benefited from some more seasoning – and it did, when I ate the leftovers. At D’s recommendation I added Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning and – boom – so much better.

chicken fajita roll-ups.

Have you ever paid attention to how much dairy you eat?

Let’s be real — I mainly just eat a lot of cheese. I drink milk and eat yogurt, too. But cheese. That’s my jam. Grilled, plain, in everything. You name it.

So, I decided I’d try to give it up. “You’ll have more energy,” they said. “You’ll feel amazing,” they told me. “It’ll help you lose that [baby] weight,” they promised.

Nonsense.

I have found some recipes that don’t require cheese – shocking, I know – that are pretty good, though. This one I was able to throw together one night while Blakely was bouncing around the jumperoo underneath me.

Ingredients:
  • For the Marinade:
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 t chili powder
  • ½ t cumin
  • ½ t dried oregano
  • ½ t salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 T cilantro, chopped
  • For the Chicken:
  • 3 chicken breasts or 6 thin sliced chicken cutlets ¼-inch thick
  • ½ red bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ green bell pepper, sliced
Directions:
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, cayenne (if using) and cilantro. Set aside.
  2. Slice chicken breasts longways into 2 even slices and firmly pound the chicken to an even thickness of about ¼ inch.
  3. Place chicken cutlets into a large resealable freezer bag and pour marinade over top, making sure they are completely coated. Allow chicken to marinate for a minimum of one hour to overnight.
  4. Once chicken has marinated, evenly place 6 bell pepper slices in the middle of the chicken cutlet, roll up and secure with a toothpick. Repeat this step until all the cutlets have been rolled up and place seam side down in a prepared baking dish.
  5. Brush tops of chicken with remaining marinade and bake, uncovered, at 375 for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the juices run clear. Serve and enjoy!

slow cooker chicken parmesan soup.

Friday, I made the best soup I’ve ever made. I know that that’s not saying a lot, as I haven’t made that many soups in my day. But this stuff was good. I mean real good.

Slow Cooker Chicken Parm Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1lb boneless chicken breast
  • 1C yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 24oz diced tomatoes
  • 15oz tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
  • 4C chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4C grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2C heavy cream
  • 1 – 1 1/2C rotini pasta
  • mozzarella for topping

Directions:

  1. Add chicken, vegetables, tomato sauce, spices, chicken broth and bay leaves (I substituted extra thyme because I didn’t have any) in slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
  2. Remove chicken, shredding with forks. Set aside. Remove and discard bay leaves.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Stir in parmesan cheese and heavy cream until fully combined. Return to slow cooker along with shredded chicken and uncooked pasta. Stir. Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Serve with shredded mozzarella and optional parmesan cheese. Brown under a broiler in oven safe bowls.IMG_2506.JPG

We also ended up having it for leftovers 2 days later and added some Boston butt to it. So so good!

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lemony shrimp & arugula risotto.

Lemony Shrimp & Arugula Risotto

Ingredients:

3 T unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine – I used chardonnay because it’s the only white I had at home and I forgot to take my driver’s license in to Publix so they wouldn’t let me buy any pinot grigio. 
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 pound peeled shrimp
2 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 T chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

2. Add the onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.

3. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until absorbed.

4. Add half the broth (1 ¾ cups) and simmer, stirring once, until absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining broth and simmer, stirring once, until the rice is tender and creamy, 8 to 10 minutes.

5. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes.

6. Fold in the arugula, parmesan, lemon zest, and the remaining tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle with the parsley and additional parmesan, if desired.img_1072

chipotle bacon turkey sliders.

Much to D’s surprise, when he came home on Friday night I was in the kitchen cooking. Here’s what I whipped up:

Chipotle Bacon Turkey Sliders

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 chipotle pepper, minced
2 teaspoons adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers in adobo (found in the international section at Publix)
2 T olive oil
8 slices sharp white cheddar cheese
8 slices bacon
8 hawaiian solls (dinner size rolls for sliders), toasted
2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers in adobo
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

For the sliders:
1. In a large bowl, combine turkey, salt, pepper, garlic, chopped chipotle pepper and adobo sauce. Mix until just combined. Form the turkey into equal-sized patties, about 8 burgers, though I usually make mine the size of the buns I have so you might get up to 10 sliders.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the turkey sliders and cook until golden and brown on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes each side. A minute or so before the sliders are done, add a slice of cheese on top of each and allow it to melt.
3. Top each slider with a few pieces of the fried bacon. Spread the avocado mayo on the bottom (and top, if desired!) of the bun and add the slider. Serve!

For the avocado mayo:
1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mash until combined.
2. Continue to mash and stir until smooth (you can add it to a food processor if you want it super smooth). I added some salsa to mine as well!

I used some of the remaining bacon to add to my twice baked potatoes as our side! It was delicious and we enjoyed a Friday night dinner on the porch.

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black bean burgers.

I haven’t cooked lately. At all. Anything. I think sometimes you’re just in a funk … that’s what I’m calling it. A “my husband’s an incredible cook, why do I bother?” funk.

Friday I was out running errands and I texted D and told him I was handling dinner. I had a craving for a black bean burger and I was going to make it happen. So I turned to the Pioneer Woman for a how-to. And now it’s a recipe I’ll always go back to – so easy and so, so good … D even ate it up.

Black Bean Burgers

Ingredients:

2 cans (14.5 Each) Seasoned Black Beans
1 cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Grated White Onion
1 whole Egg
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
Salt And Pepper
Hot Sauce – I used Marie Sharps.
Swiss Cheese
Olive Oil, For Frying
Butter, For Frying And Grilling
4 whole Kaiser Rolls Or Good Hamburger Buns

Directions:
  1. Drain, but do not rinse, the black beans. Place them in a bowl and use a fork to mash them. Keep mashing until they’re mostly broken up, but still have some whole beans visible. Add the breadcrumbs, onion, egg, chili powder, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Stir until everything is combined, then let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil with an equal amount of butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Form the bean mixture into patties slightly larger than the buns you’re using (the patties will not shrink when they cook.) Place the patties in the skillet and cook them about 5 minutes on the first side. Flip them to the other side, place 2 slices of cheese onto each patty, and continue cooking them for another 5 minutes, or until the burgers are heated through. (Place a lid on the skillet to help the cheese melt if needed.)
  3. Toast the buns, place patties on them, and serve!

I also made some homemade guacamole as an appetizer and as a topping for the black bean burgers! Delicious.

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quinoa & turkey patties with tahini sauce.

I have a lot of cookbooks. For someone who is not that exceptional in the kitchen, it really is amazing. I love reading them. It’s like a scavenger hunt to find which recipes I can do, especially without having to get too much from the grocery store.

I pulled out my Power Foods cookbook the other day and found a recipe for quinoa and turkey patties in a pita with tahini sauce. I decided to make it sans pita and just throw it over a bed of lettuce using the tahini sauce as a dressing of sorts. It worked out well for dinner and even for my lunch for the next day.

Quinoa and Turkey Patties with Tahini Sauce

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups water, or more as needed
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove
1 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
12 ounces ground turkey
1/4 t plus 1 pinch ground allspice
1/2 t plus 1 pinch ground cumin
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 t finely chopped fresh mint
2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
coarse salt
2 t canola or safflower oil, or more if needed
lettuce

Directions:

  1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa; return to a boil. Stir once, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until quinoa is tender but still chewy and has absorbed all the liquid about 15 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork; let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, process garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 cup water in a food processor until smooth. (I used my vitamix!) If mixture is too thick to pour, thin with more water. Transfer dressing to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.
  3. In a clean food processor (I rinsed out the vitamix and used it for this as well.), pulse turkey, allspice, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, mint, scallions, and 3/4 t salt until a smooth paste forms. Add quinoa; process until mixture comes together around the blade, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. With dampened hands, roll about 2 T of quinoa mixture into a ball; flatted slightly and place on a plate. Repeat with remaining mixture to make 24 patties.
  4. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium, until hot but not smoking. Working in batches, fry patties until cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer patties to a clean plate, and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Add more oil to skillet between batches as necessary.
  5. Serve over a bed of lettuce. Drizzle with tahini dressing.

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