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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mexican Vegetarian "Filling"

























You know, I have no idea what to name this dish.  It derived from my Mexican Chicken recipe, which I have used, primarily in enchiladas.  This, however, I put over Mexican Rice, and then whole wheat pasta when I heat up the leftovers the next day...it's not a stew, although it can be eaten alone.  It was initially created for a Meatless Monday, but I ate it for lunch the next two days...I really liked it, and even Matthew said it tasted good (he is not a fan of beans, especially black beans, so that was a win).  If you are looking for a hearty vegetarian dish, I highly recommend it! Enjoy!

Heat a large saute pan.  Add:

1 T olive oil 
4 tabs butter 

Saute, until translucent:

1 onion, diced 

Add:

4 garlic cloves, diced
1 jalapeno, chopped

Turn up heat, add: 

3 small sweet potatoes, cubed (small, like 1/4")

Cook about 5 minutes, or until they begin to caramelize slightly. Season, to taste, with: 

salt 
pepper
paprika 
cumin 

Continue to cook for another few minutes.  Add:

1-2 qts chicken stock (enough chicken stock to cover 3/4 chicken)

Add: 

1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
Season with salt and pepper

Lower heat, cover, cook for 10 minutes.  Add:

1 can black beans, drained
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup spinach 
1/2 roasted red pepper (from a jar), chopped

Cook for another 10 minutes, or until zucchini is soft, but not mushy.  You can leave it on low until you are ready to use, preferably uncovered!  Soooooooo good, even Matthew liked it!

Ingredients
1 T. olive oil
4 tabs butter
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, diced
4 Chicken Thighs
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1 - 2 qt chicken stock, based on size of chicken
Sal & pepper to taste
Extra salt, pepper, paprika & cumin to taste

Really the 'Best Chicken Enchiladas Ever'!!!


























I think I have made these enchiladas 3 times since we moved to the city, and that is saying A LOT. I don't really like to repeat dishes more often than once every few months, and that typically means about 6 or more...there are just too many new dishes to try and experiment with!  With that being said, this one has grown into what it is now...improvements in the chicken and rice that accompanies it; I crave this dish more often than not :-)  The nice thing is that the chicken and sauce both hold well, so you can store them to make later, and not worry about them going bad!  Enjoy!

http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/best-chicken-enchiladas-ever/

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking dish. (I used a 9 x 13 glass pan.)

Make enchilada sauce:
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add in:

4 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. oregano

to the oil and stir for 1 minute. Then add:

2 cups chicken broth

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until thick.

To assemble the enchiladas:
Set up an assembly line including: tortillas, sauce, beans, chicken mixture, and cheese. Lay out a tortilla, and spread a spoonful of sauce in a line down the center. Then add beans (I don't put beans in the one's I give the husband, and it's fine.  Feel free to omit them, if requested) on top of the sauce, then some chicken mixture, and cheese. Roll up tortilla and place seam-side down in baking dish. Once all enchiladas are made, pour extra sauce over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then remove dish and sprinkle extra cheese on top, and bake for 5-10 minutes more until tortillas begin to brown slightly around the edges. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Ingredients
Mexican Chicken
4 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. oregano
2 cups chicken broth
4 Tbsp. oil (vegetable or canola)
1 (15.5 oz.) can mashed lentils or black beans, drained
2 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded
1 cup onion, diced
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles
3 cups Mexican-blend shredded cheese
8-10 flour tortillas

Mexican Chicken

Derived from www.mommynovice.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/shredded-chicken-mexican-style

I know I am a horrible person for not having a picture, but it is THAT good!  I am always forgetting to take a picture before serving it!  This is great chicken for any dish asking for shredded chicken with spice, usually in a latin dish, like these A-MAZING enchiladas!  However, feel free to use it over rice, or pasta, or maybe to make nachos?  Hmmm....

Heat a large saute pan.  Add:

1 T olive oil 
4 tabs butter 

Saute:

1 onions, diced 
4 garlic cloves, diced

Turn up heat, add: 

4 chicken thighs

Cook 3 min on one side. Spoon onion and garlic mixture on top. Season, to taste, with: 

salt 
pepper
paprika 
cumin 

Flip, cook 3 minutes the other side, spoon onion and garlic mixture, season with salt, pepper, paprika and cumin. Flip once more, cook 2 more minutes, fat side down. Add:

1-2 qts chicken stock (enough chicken stock to cover 3/4 chicken)

Add: 

1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
Season with salt and pepper

Lower heat, cover, cook for 20 minutes.  You will need to shred the chicken.  Use this for enchilladas!

Ingredients
1 T. olive oil
4 tabs butter
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, diced
4 Chicken Thighs
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1 - 2 qt chicken stock, based on size of chicken
Sal & pepper to taste
Extra salt, pepper, paprika & cumin to taste

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork


























With football season in all effect, I make "man" food almost every Sunday, and most of the time, more than we will eat in one sitting.  Depending on how many people we have over, maybe not even in two sittings :-)  I am one to make way too much food, and think people will eat a lot more than they will...but, if it's a good recipe, who cares? More leftovers for me!  This pulled pork is one I make a few times during the season, and it's always a winner.  I am also going to share my pulled pork nachos and pulled pork enchiladas, but, let's start with step one, shall we?  This pork is fantastic, moist, and easy to make, since it is made in a slow cooker.  However, remember it has to marinade overnight, so be prepared :-)  Enjoy! 

Based on: The Chow Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Prepare a: 

1 (3-1/2- to 4-pound) bone-in pork shoulder 

by removing it from it's package and drying it with a paper towel.  Mix: 


2 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

until it's all combined.  Rub all over the pork shoulder (I put it in a casserole dish so that the rub that didn't stick didn't fall all over the floor).  Wrap the rubbed pork in plastic wrap (sprinkle any remaining rub on the pork before enclosing it in the plastic wrap).  Then, wrap it in aluminum foil (a juice will be created between the rub and the pork, so you don't want it to leak all over the refrigerator).  Place in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, put together:

2 medium onions, cut into quarters, ends removed
1 1/2 c. carrots, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces (I used mini carrots, and just cut the ones I thought were too thick in half)
1 1/2 c. celery, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 head garlic, peeled and separated, but no need to chop, unless you want to cut them in half to release the flavor

Turn your slow cooker (low will take longer to cook (8-10 hours), high will take less time (6-8 hours).  Heat:

1 T. high heat oil

in a pan, on medium-high or high heat, depending on your cook top   Take out the pork shoulder and unwrap (there will be some drippings, so make sure you put it in a casserole dish or open over the sink).  Sear the pork on all sides for approximately 30 seconds on each side, or until it has a nice sear on it (brown crust).

Add:

1 quart chicken stock or chicken broth

to the slow cooker.  Place the pork into the slow cooker, and pour addition stock in, if required, to cover the pork halfway.  Add the vegetables and garlic to the slow cooker.  Cook for 6-8 hours on high, 8-10 hours on low.  Flip once, halfway through cooking time, if possible.

INGREDIENTS
2 medium onions, cut into quarters, ends removed
1 1/2 c. carrots, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces 
1 1/2 c. celery, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 head garlic, peeled and separated
1 T. high heat oil

1 quart chicken stock or chicken broth, more if necessary
2 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (3-1/2- to 4-pound) bone-in pork shoulder 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Creamy Asparagus Soup


I love soup. It just is so comforting and warm...it's like being enveloped in a big cozy blanket. It may be why I started falling in love with fall...it's the start to a season of soup for every meal :-) I can eat soup for dinner every night when it's chilly...or lunch...or both! 

I had some asparagus and leeks that were getting to the age of absolute maturity...I thought risotto, then quiche, but when I mentioned those to Mattew, he actually suggested soup! You would think he would be sick of it by now! Thankfully no, and thankfully he made this suggestion, although I think he just wanted me to use the new blender he bought me :-) On a chilly Saturday afternoon, after finding several recipes, I combined them all to make my own. It turned out scrumptious, and I served it as a late lunch with grilled cheese sandwiches filled with gooey gruyere cheese...so yummy! Enjoy!

In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, add and melt:

2 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. olive oil

Add:

1 bunch asparagus, cut in 1 inch pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 leek, chopped
3 medium potatoes, cubed

Soften vegetables, about 10 minutes. Add:

1 small shallot, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped

Cook for another few minutes, 3 - 5. Add:

1 c. White wine

Increase heat to medium high. Reduce the liquid by half. Reduce heat back to medium or medium low. Add:

4 c. Chicken broth

Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth. Put back into Dutch oven. Add: 

2 Tbsp butter
1 c. Heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1-4 tsp celery salt
1 tsp Barons garlic pepper
1 tsp ground mustard seed
1/2 tsp herbs de province

Cook on medium low for 15 minutes. Taste and add more seasonings, if necessary. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Serve with sliced almonds, chopped bacon, shredded parmesean cheese, or any other topping that you find desirable. 






Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ham and Split Pea Soup

























I love fall!  I didn't used to (since that is when school started), but now it is my favorite time of year.  The changes in the leaves, the lower temperatures without extreme cold yet, and the ability to make soup, almost daily!!!  I could eat soup every day, really.  However, my husband not so much, so I have to get creative, and try out new soups.  Since I love experimenting with food, I am totally okay with that!  

A while back, he had mentioned I should try to make split pea and ham (which I had no idea he liked), but it was never the right time.  Either we were having people over, or I was out of town, or it had been a long day...the excuses went on and on.  Well, yesterday, I decided that it was the day!  I was finally home, wasn't swamped with work to do, and would have time to enjoy the process of cooking...which I love, by the way.  I love the chopping and the blending and the prepping and the zone I get into when I do it all.  It is totally my stress releaver, and I love it.  Okay, now I am rambling...

I originally wanted to try Julia Child's Ham and Split Pea Soup.  Well, this required 4 hours to make the ham stock, so I walked over to Jewel to pick one up in the late morning...an hour before I had a conference call...about a mile away from my house...I had seen ham hocks at Jewel, almost every time I went, but since I wasn't making this soup, I figured why buy it, right?  Well...today, they were out of ham hocks!  I mean, seriously? Was EVERYONE thinking of making Ham and Split Pea soup?  Is there another use for ham hocks?  Ooooh, is there?  There must be...I see research in my future :-)   

So, I stopped at Olivia's on my way home, one of my favorite little grocery stores to go into.  I always find something new and interesting to try. But...nope, none there either...so I am running back home (and for those of you that know me, I HATE RUNNING), made it to my conference call with 2 minutes to spare, but without any ham hocks...

So off to find another recipe that would be just as good, but without having to spend 4 hours cooking the ham hock for ham broth.  I was not optimistic, I felt defeated, and I hadn't even started cooking yet!!!  Well, I found one; Emeril to the rescue!  I was still not as optimistic...I mean, this one called to cook the ham hock for only 1 hour...would there really be as much flavor?  

I don't know why I ever doubted Emeril...he is a genius!  In much less time, we had a wonderful, hearty, filling soup...we even both went back for seconds!  This never happens!  Anyways, now that you have read my diatribe, it is time for you to experience this yummy soup for yourselves...enjoy!

If required, place: 

1 lb. dried split peas

in a large pot or bowl, cover with water by 2 inches and soak 8 hours or overnight. Drain the peas and set aside. I used peas that did not require this step.

Score:

1 ham hock 

Place in a pot, cover with:

4 c. water

bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 1 hour. Set to low until ready to transfer to soup pot.

In a large pot, melt:

3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. olive oil

over medium heat. Add:

1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots

cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add:

1 cup chopped yellow onions

cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add:

2 teaspoons minced garlic

cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Raise the heat to medium-high.  Add:

1 lb. ham, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces

cook, stirring, until beginning to brown. Add:

1 lb. dried split peas
crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste

cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Transfer the ham hock and water it cooked in to the pot.  Add:

4 cups chicken stock
3 bay leaves
2 tsp. fresh thyme

cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender, about 1 hour. (Add more water as needed, if the soup becomes too thick or dry.) Remove the bay leaf and discard. Adjust the seasoning to taste, and serve immediately. Garnish with croutons, Parmesan cheese, or crumbled bacon.

Ingredients
1 lb. dried split peas
1 ham hock
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 lb. ham, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces
4 cups chicken stock
3 bay leaves
2 tsp. fresh thyme
crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste

Based on Emeri's recipe on: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/ham-and-split-pea-soup-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback