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Mexican(-ish)

Indiana has been getting pounded with snow this winter. I’m not complaining, I like the snow. We should have a second Saturday in a row of fresh snow for snowboarding. ::Pumps fist in air.::

I suppose that the only downside to the fluffy white coating on the ground is that Chris and I have been sharing a car. Our long snow-covered driveway and unplowed rural roads pretty much make 4WD a requirement and while we are the proud owners of two 4WDs, we have been operating with just one.

Chris broke his. Notice a theme? 

At first I wasn’t all that amused by the idea of sharing a car, but I think we’ve finally figured it out. Communication and flexibility are key. It helps to know that we’re not alone. Mostly, it helps to know that Chris’s Jeep should be back in commission any day now.

On our way home from work yesterday, I made a big announcement: “I am going to use the rest of the shredded chicken in the refrigerator for a recipe.”

Chris wasn’t having it. “But I had plans for that chicken!”
Ok, I thought. “Can I use half of it?”
“What are you going to do with it?”
“I want to make enchiladas. What are you going to do with it?”
“It’s ok, just take it.”
“I just need half. What are you going to do with your half?”
“Eat enchiladas. It’s all yours.”

So we had enchiladas for dinner last night. They were amazing even without taking the nutritional stats into account. Another “tastes way worse than it is” dinner! 

Ingredients:

  • 18 corn tortillas
  • sour cream sauce
    • 1 tbsp yogurt butter
    • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used 99% fat-free, low sodium broth.)
    • 1/2 cup sour cream (I used reduced-fat.)
    • 1 small can green chiles
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (Ours came from mammoth chickens, this was about 1 lb. raw.)
  • 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 oz baby spinach, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup Manchego cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup tomatillo sauce (I doubled this recipe here, but any tomatillo sauce should work.)

Directions:

  • First make the sour cream sauce:
    • Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat.
    • Add the flour, whisking until fully combined, about 2-3 minutes.
    • Slowly whisk the broth into the flour mixture.
    • Stir in the sour cream, whisking if necessary to remove any lumps.
    • Add chiles to the sauce, then simmer until sauce thickens.
    • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • As the oven is heating, place the tortillas in the oven for several minutes until they soften.
  • Spray a large casserole dish (or a large one and a small one in my case) with spray oil, then set aside.
  • Coarsely chop spinach, then combine the chicken, spinach, salt, pepper in a medium to large bowl.
  • Gently stir in beans.
  • Once tortillas have softened, fill the tortillas one by one with  the chicken filling, rolling them, then placing them seam side down in the casserole dish.
  • Repeat until all tortillas have been filled.
  • Spoon sour cream sauce over the enchiladas, evenly distribute the shredded cheese and tomatillo sauce.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Servings ~ 9
Calories ~ 267, Fat ~ 7 g, Carbohydrates ~ 32 g, Protein ~ 20 g

I’m going to be quite frank with you here. I was pretty sure that Chris would hate this dinner.

Not that there is anything wrong with these tacos, there sure isn’t, but Chris has very specific requirements for his tacos.

I started toiling away in the kitchen while Chris made a run into town for beer flank steak. By the time he got home, I was mashing and smashing pinto beans like nobody’s business.

FYI: If you do not own a potato masher, your meat tenderizer will work wonders for smashing pinto beans.

I just realized that I don’t even know what a potato masher looks like and that the above comment may not make sense at all. ::Off to Google.::

Oxo Good Grips Wire Potato MasherOxo Good Grips Meat Tenderizer

I’m sure that I am not alone in being somewhat culinarily challenged (ok, maybe I am). The device on the left is a potato masher. The device on the right is a meat tenderizer, also works as a potato masher in a pinch.

In my defense, I always thought potato mashers looked like this:

Cuisinart HM-70 Power Advantage 7-Speed Hand Mixer, Stainless and White

Ok, so it turns out that those two tools should not be billed as interchangeable. (Trust me, they totally are.) No wonder Chris looked at me so quizzically when he saw what I was doing.

Anyway, when Chris walked into the kitchen, in typical Chris form, he tasted the “refried” beans. “Did you make beans with lard in them? They’re so creamy!”

I immediately knew that at the very least the beans were a home run! And no, I did not use any lard.

I have always said that refried beans with no lard are no good. Why bother eating them? And that refried beans made with lard are supremely unhealthy. Won’t eat those either.

It turns out, that lard-free “refried” beans can be amazing! Thanks Elly!

The big test was to see if our house taco expert would give this creation a thumbs up. Win! They even won the ultimate Duke’s House accolade “Good enough to serve to other people.”

 

Inspired by Elly Says Opa!

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • olive oil spray
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth (I used 99% fat-free.)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 6 oz beef, flank or skirt steak would work well
  • 1 tbsp steak seasoning (Just use your favorite kind.)
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 2 oz Manchego cheese, shredded or grated
  • 3 scallions, sliced

Directions:

  • Saute onion in a heavy skillet until tender.
  • Stir in the garlic until fragrant, and then the chicken broth, cumin, beans, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring the mixture to a light boil and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Begin to sauté peppers in a second skillet.
  • As the bean mixture is cooking, cook the beef in a third skillet (or grill pan if you have one), seasoning somewhat aggressively with steak seasoning.
  • Set your oven to 275 degrees and place the corn tortillas inside to warm them slightly.
  • Use a potato masher to press down on the beans, and mash to your desired consistency. If necessary add more broth, or simmer longer to remove moisture.
  • When the beef has finished cooking, remove it from the skillet and chop it very finely.
  • Remove tortillas from the oven, fill with beef, refried beans, sautéd peppers and onions, and top with the Manchego cheese and sliced scallions.

Servings ~ 4 (two tacos per serving)
Calories (per serving) ~ 387, Fat ~ 21 g, Carbohydrates ~ 38 g, Protein ~ 20 g
Calories (per taco) ~ 194, Fat ~ 11 g, Carbohydrates ~ 19 g, Protein ~ 10 g

I am happy to report that I survived the onslaught of Halloween candy and managed to only eat 15% of the goods (but 45% of the Butterfingers). I’m not sure if that is particularly impressive considering that we had 30 full-size candy bars and I ate 4.5 of them in 36 hours. Wow, that sounds gross.

I love Butterfingers.

Thankfully, Chris brought the remaining 20 some-odd candy bars to work with him to eliminate them spread Halloween cheer to his co-workers and gain popularity in his water cooler circle. Ok, we don’t really have water coolers at work, but Chris does have a cubicle right next to his local printer, so he gets pretty heavy traffic at his desk and never has a problem giving away candy or baked goods.

In addition to my Butterfinger binge this weekend, Chris and I also had Mexican Pizza.  We had leftovers from fajitas, but not enough leftovers to have fajitas again, so…

Ingredients:

  • pizza crust
  • Mexican pizza sauce
  • 3 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz leftover steak from steak fajitas, diced
  • 1/3 cup sauteed onions
  • 1/3 cup sauteed bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1/4 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 small tomato, chopped and drained
  • sour cream for dipping

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees with a pizza stone inside.
  • Roll out pizza dough and sprinkle it lightly with cornmeal on both sides to prevent it from sticking to the pizza stone.
  • Top the pizza first with Mexican pizza sauce, then with cheeses, steak, onions, peppers, black beans, and corn.
  • Place the pizza in the oven on the pizza stone, the easiest way is to use a pizza peel, and bake until the crust begins to brown and the cheese is fully melted, usually 10-12 minutes.
  • While the pizza is baking prepare any additional cold toppings such as avocado, tomato, and sour cream.
  • Remove pizza from oven, top with any cold toppings, then enjoy!

Servings ~ 2-3
Calories ~ I’m not even going to attempt this one, it depends on your toppings and your pizza crust.

After we decided on Mexican Pizza for dinner on Saturday night, we knew that standard pizza sauce wouldn’t do, so I began scouring the internet for a good recipe. Nothing was really catching my eye until I saw this one.

“Chris, do you want to try Mexican pizza sauce from a Mexican inmate?”

“Wait, you found a recipe from some guy in a Mexican jail?”

“Not exactly, he is a Mexican guy in a Connecticut jail. Do you want to try that one?”

“Sure, it has to be good!”

It sure was! The only issue I had was the quantity of sauce it makes. Most of it ended up in my freezer for future Mexican Pizzas.

Note: Vinny works at the prison, he is not the actual inmate.

Adapted from Vinny DiLeo.

Ingredients:

  • 1.75 cups diced stewed tomatoes
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1/4 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove elephant garlic, sliced
  • 1 small jalapeno sliced with seeds removed
  • 1/2 tsp orageno
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

Directions:

  • Combine ingredients in a food processor.
  • Blend for several minutes until smooth and well combined.

Servings ~ Makes enough for three to four large pizzas.
Calories (per recipe) ~ 251, Fat ~ 2 g, Carbohydrates ~ 57 g, Protein ~ 12 g

I am a bit behind in writing my posts, but the Squash ‘Hummus’ and Black Bean Burritos that I proposed last week were fantastic! Not all that surprising, I mean who has ever heard of a bad burrito?

Seriously though, I only made four of them and it was not even close to enough. Exercising careful restraint we were able to stretch them to last for two meals, but like their Sweet Potato and Black Bean counterparts, one is never enough.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Carefully mix the black beans into the squash hummus without smashing up the black beans too much.
  • Place about 1/2 cup of the black bean and squash mixture in each tortilla and fold up burrito style.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 209, Fat ~ 7 g, Carbohydrates ~ 37 g, Protein ~ 14 g

I am an habitual lazy eater/grocery shopper. There. I said it.

I consistently list the same items on my grocery list from week to week then expect myself to suddenly morph them into a different meal than usual. Sounds reasonable enough, right?

Sometimes it works out, sometimes it has me running to the store on my way home from work for emergency fresh sage. This time it decidedly worked out.

Not exactly your typical quesadilla, but these things are good! In fact, they are good enough to have for dinner, lunch, then dinner again!

Adapted from Cooking Light.

Ingredients:

  • 1  tbsp  Dijon mustard
  • 2  tsp  apple cider (I just used apple cider vinegar.)
  • 3  (10-inch) whole wheat tortillas
  • 3  ounces  Brie cheese cut into small slices
  • 1  Fuji apple, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 3  cups  spinach
  • 3/4  tsp  freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Combine mustard and cider vinegar in a small bowl; stir well.
  • Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  • Spread each tortilla with about 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard mixture.
  • Place 1 tortilla, mustard side up, in pan.
  • Arrange one-third of cheese slices over half of tortilla; cook 1 minute or until cheese begins to melt.
  • Arrange one-third of apple slices over cheese; top with 1 cup spinach.
  • Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  • Fold tortilla in half; press gently with a spatula.
  • Cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  • Remove from pan.
  • Repeat procedure twice with remaining 2 tortillas.
  • Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.

Servings ~ 3
Calories ~ 248, Fat ~ 12 g, Carbohydrates ~ 32 g, Protein ~ 17 g

As usual, we have more corn than we know what to do with. Surprised? No, I’m not either. We did join a CSA in Indiana after all.

Fun Indiana fact: Indiana is the 4th highest corn producing state. In a typical year, Indiana farmers plant about 6.5 million acres of corn. Considering that the state has only 6.4 million people, that is pretty crazy to think about! I think most of it is feeder corn, but I’m convinced that my CSA is giving out one acre of corn per customer this summer!

When I saw this recipe on Sing for Your Supper, it sounded perfect to me! I really enjoy the combined flavors of honey, lime, and cilantro and this recipe uses them well. This fresh tasting, sweet, but tangy side dish can hold its own at any barbeque!

I have grilled the corn in this recipe, although you could just as easily use frozen or canned corn. I hate washing pots and pans and our corn was on the cob, so grilled corn seemed to be a perfect alternative for a lazy time restricted chef like me!

Adapted from Sing For Your Supper and For the Love of Cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears of fresh corn, grilled
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small jalapeño, diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Combine honey, lime juice, cumin, and coriander in a small bowl.
  • Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cut the corn off of the cobs and place in a large bowl with tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeño, avocado and cilantro.
  • Toss with dressing.
  • Chill before serving.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 203, Fat ~ 8 g, Carbohydrates ~ 34 g, Protein ~ 4 g