Go Green: Enchiladas Verdes

Enchiladas Verdes

Mmm, I love the green enchilada sauce, to me it is so much better than the red. I love the tart, tangy flavor of the tomatillos. If you are unfamiliar with tomatillos, check out a previous post I wrote Tomatillos 101.  I don’t know why I don’t use them more often. I made this dish using a store bought rotisserie chicken to save me time and effort, a great weeknight cheat. These would also be great with any left over shredded meats like pork or beef.

Enchiladas Verdes

1 lb fresh tomatillos, husks removed an quartered

1 Jalapeño pepper halved with seeds and membrane removed

1 onion peeled and cut into 1/8s

1 T olive oil

1 t chopped garlic

1 T fresh cilantro 

1/2 t cumin

10 corn tortillas

4-5 c shredded or chopped chicken

1 c shredded Monterey jack cheese

Optional for garnish

1/2 c crumbled queso fresco cheese

chopped onion

chopped cilantro

sour cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, place tomatillos, onion and jalapeno pepper on a rimmed baking sheet, toss with oil. Bake for 15 min or until soft and blistered in areas. 

Enchiladas Verdes

Scrape mixture into a food processor or blender bowl, add garlic, cilantro, and cumin. Puree until almost smooth, I like a little bit of chunk in my sauce. 

Enchiladas Verdes

Add 2 T sauce to the bottom of a 9×11 baking pan. Then take a tortilla and spread a light coating of the sauce with a spoon or spatula on top, add chicken on top (about a 1/4 c) and roll up, place the tortilla seam side down in the baking pan. Continue with the remainder of the tortillas and chicken.

Enchiladas Verdes

Enchiladas Verdes

Top with remaining sauce and cheese ( you may want to reserve a small amount of the sauce to top finished enchiladas with. 

Enchiladas Verdes

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Enchiladas Verdes

Let cool for 5 minutes, then use a spatula to serve. Top with any remaining sauce, onion, queso fresco, chopped cilantro and sour cream.

Enchiladas Verdes

The Veggie Mother-load: Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

As I noted in an earlier post, we are trying to eat less meat in our house. Which is fine with me, I love veggies, all kinds. However, I am finding that a lot of the vegetarian dishes just aren’t as filling as the good old meat and potato dinners. I also don’t want to just add a ton of other fats or bread just to compensate. So I was looking for some new ideas and a friend let me borrow her Forks Over Knives Cookbook. I loved it so much, I bought my own. The recipes in the book are no fat, vegan strict, uber healthy which is great and all but I feel like our baby steps are at least in the right direction and I know me (and my family) and there is no way I could stay on that strict of a diet. However, I love the ideas in the Forks Over Knives cookbook so I have been using their recipes and then tweaking them a little to fit my families needs and tastes. I am a sucker for cream sauces so when I saw their recipe for the much healthier Cauliflower Béchamel I was sold. I made a filling and delicious Vegetable Lasagna with it. Ok I may have cheated a little with some cheese on top but like I said baby steps.

Cauliflower Bechamel ( adapted from Forks Over Knives by Del Sroufe)

3c Cauliflower florets

Unsweetened plain almond milk

1 med yellow onion chopped

2 cloves chopped garlic

2 t minced thyme

1/4c chopped fresh basil

1/4 t nutmeg

salt and pepper

Add Cauliflower to a large sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until super tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Meanwhile sauté the chopped onion in a small pan until soft with a little olive oil, add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. 

Add cauliflower, onion mixture, thyme, basil, nutmeg and salt and pepper to a food processor or blender. Pulse until Cauliflower is broken up, add Almond milk about 1-2 T at a time, pureeing in between until it has a smooth and creamy texture, about that same as a ricotta mixture. Taste and season again with salt and pepper if needed.

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

 

Use this sauce for stuffed shells, lasagna, or even as a base for macaroni and cheese. 

To make the Lasagna, start with a layer of the Cauliflower Bechamel sauce, then layer cooked Lasagna Noodles, Sauce, Vegetables ( I used thinly sliced zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, shredded carrots, spinach and halved grape tomatoes), and continue finishing with the sauce on top, and here is where I also added some shredded cheese. Cook at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes and then serve.

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

 

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Either of these recipes are great on their own but they also go great together. Impress your family and make their favorite take out entrees at home. 

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice


Orange Glazed Chicken

1 1/2-2 lbs chicken ( use your favorite cut, thighs, wings, breast but leave the bones in and skin on)

Salt and pepper

1 c orange juice

1 T corn starch

1/2 c ketchup

2 T honey or brown sugar

2 t vinegar

2 T soy sauce

2 t hot sauce

Preheat oven to 450,  place chicken on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper,  cook for 20 minutes skin side down, then turn and cook 20 minutes more. Chicken should have crispy skin and be golden brown. ( this is for thighs, cook longer for breasts, shorter for wings). Meanwhile add orange juice and cornstarch to a medium sized sauce pan and whisk together, add ketchup, honey, vinegar, soy and hot sauce and whisk again, bring mixture to a boil over med high heat and then turn to low, whisk mixture until thicken to a glaze consistency. Keep Warm.

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Dip cooked chicken into glaze and coat well, place back on baking sheet and place back into the oven for 4 minutes or until chicken starts to get dark spots.

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Serve with any remaining orange sauce.

 

Vegetable Fried Rice

4 c cold cooked rice (great for left over rice, or make the day before for best results)

1/4 c soy sauce

1/4 c rice vinegar

1 T sugar

2T oil

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 c broccoli florets

3/4 c sliced carrots

1/2 c chopped scallions

2 t chopped garlic

1 T minced ginger

1/2 c frozen peas

2 T chopped basil

 In a small bowl mix together, soy, sugar and vinegar. Heat 1 T oil in a large pan or wok, add carrots, broccoli and scallions, cook 2-3 minutes, add garlic, ginger and peas, cook 2 min more, add cooked rice and soy mixture. stir together and cook over med high heat until all rice is coated and brown, make a well in the center of the wok/pan and add remaining oil and beaten eggs, stir vigorously and then mix with rice mixture until egg is cooked, add basil and stir. Serve.

Vegetable Fried Rice

 Vegetable Fried Rice

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

 

 

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Smokey Roasted Cauliflower

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Here’s a little trick, use smoked paprika to get the smokey taste of bacon without the mess, fat or calories. Also great to use in vegetarian dishes. I used it here with this roasted Cauliflower to enhance the roasted taste and add some depth of flavor.

Smokey Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower broken into florets

1-2 T olive oil ( or substitute your favorite oil)

1 T lemon juice

1/2 t salt

1/2 t-1t smoked paprika

Preheat your oven to 400. Toss Cauliflower with oil and lemon juice until well coated. then sprinkle on salt and paprika and toss again. lay on a baking sheet and put in the oven. cook for about 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and starts to brown.

 

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

My husband recently had to go to Minneapolis for a business trip and seeing that I have a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and I am trying to visit all 50 states before I am 50, I flew up and met him after his meetings on a Friday evening. We only had until Sunday to see what the city had to offer but if you know me, that fact wasn’t going to stop me from seeing everything on my to do list, which when I travel is usually beer, food, and anything I can take a picture with. Sure I may miss out on some of the so called must sees but I always have fun and Minneapolis was no exception, in fact it was one of the best weekends we have had in a long time.

First stop : Beer. I was thirsty after traveling and we needed to come up with a game plan, we were staying downtown and there was a bar called The Local (931 Nicollet Mall) that was close by and served craft beer, sold. We stopped in here for an appetizer and a few pints. They had a decent beer selection as well as a full bar. It’s an Irish Pub and the food while decent was nothing to write home about but we met some locals and talked to the bartender, they were all friendly and gave us some suggestions on what to do and see while we were there.

I had googled and locals had suggested Butcher and The Boar, so we knew this had to be on our list and that we may need a reservation, we called from The Local and the only time we could get in was in about an hour. No problem we are nothing if not adaptable when we travel, time for a quick change and a brisk walk and a picture with the Mary Tyler Moore statue.

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

Luckily our table was not quite ready when we got there, this gave us a chance to check out their Beer Garden out back.

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours. Butcher and the Boar Beer Garden

 We had a local beer while waiting for our table, they also serve house made sausages if you need a bite. We waited for the real thing inside and I am glad we did, the menu is divine and the food is awesome. We ordered way too much, but loved all of it. Some highlights were the Beef Long Rib, House Pickle Plate, Homemade Braunschweiger, Blackened Cauliflower, oh and anything on the menu.

Butcher and The Boar Minneapolis, Beef Long RibIButcher and the Boar House Pickle Plate and Smoked Olives

With our bellies full of beer and food we walked back towards our hotel and checked out the sights. We had big plans of maybe going somewhere else but we were tired and did I mention full, so we decided to get some sleep and get an early start on tomorrow.

We woke up and headed down to the local Mill City Farmer’s Market. I think this is always a great way to get to know a new city and this was no exception. Quirky food trucks, local produce and flea market finds, I even got a cool vintage apron for only $10. The nice thing about this market is that it is right outside the Mill City Museum and has views of the Mississippi.

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hoursA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Mill City Farmers MarketA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Mill City Museum A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

From there we walked along the Mississippi, across the Stone Arch Bridge and down Main Street. Great sites, relaxing parks, and lots of history. Again now we are thirsty and what is a girl to do? Find a local Brewery. The closest one according to our map app was Dangerous Man Brewing, it was a bit of a hike but it was a beautiful day so we did it and it made our liquid reward that much sweeter or should I say hoppy. There was a line to get in when we arrived so we knew we mad a good choice. We tried several different brews and they were all great and the staff and atmosphere was friendly and inviting.

Dangerous Man Brewing MinneapolisA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Dangerous Man BrewingA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

Guess what, I’m hungry again, big surprise. So we are off to try the legendary Jucy Lucy. We decide on Matt’s Bar, their are local disputes on who invented it or who has the best one. Well I am not sure if this is the best one because it is the only one I tried but I can tell you that it is delicious. So simple, yet so good. Who knew just putting the cheese inside the hamburger would change it into a must have before you die food. This place is cash only and small so if you go right at a meal time be prepared to wait. Also please heed the warnings of letting your Jucy Lucy cool before biting into it, yes it is torture, but will save your mouth from 3rd degree burns.

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Matt's BarA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Matt's BarA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours:Matt's Barr Home of the Jucy Lucy

Ok now I have to admit my biggest disappointment with Minneapolis is that there is no Prince Museum or Purple Rain Park, no purple motorcycle tours, or no Morris Day and the Time Grill. Being a child of the 80’s and from Florida my only images of Minneapolis are from that movie. So my only opportunity to recreate some “Doves Crying” magic is to check out First Avenue (your downtown danceteria since 1970). So we get down there and of course the show is sold out which happened to be Tina and the B-sides, so I didn’t get to go in but did get to see it and all the stars on the wall with the bands that have played there which is a most impressive list. Bonus, I found the one of my favorite band ever and there is a bar right next door.

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: First AvenueA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: First AvenueA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: First Avenue

So now the only place left is Nye’s Polonaise, I will admit we had actually been here earlier in the day and had a great discussion with our bartender, I instantly fell in love. This place was opened in 1950 and hasn’t changed one bit. The decor, the people, the piano bar are all amazing. I knew I had to come back that evening when they were serving food, had the polka band that dresses up like Kiss playing and the sing along piano bar was full of locals crooning out the hits. I was expecting greatness and I got it, it was everything I had ever hoped for. It was like stepping back in time, well except for the college aged hipsters in fedoras, but even they seemed to work in this atmosphere. Also while your there, try the Polish Sampler Platter, great homemade food including locally made sausages. This is a national treasure and should not be missed.

Nye's Polonaise:A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Nye's PolonaiseA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Nye's Polonaise

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Nye's Polonaise, Polish Sampler A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Nye's Polonaise

We stopped at another couple of bars before calling it a night, there was great karaoke at Otter ‘s Saloon and a sign that beckons, You Otter Stop Inn.

We had to leave early the next morning to catch our flight so we just grabbed breakfast at the hotel. Now I know we probably missed tons of cool places, in fact we didn’t even get to see everything on our list but I have to say that Minneapolis was a great time and I think we utilized all of our time wisely. Now I dare you to have more fun than that in less than 48 hours, good luck and have fun trying.

Leftover Avocados ?… Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Sometimes I am terrible at judging how much produce to buy, I usually err on the side of too much. This has happened to me several times with avocados. Avocados have such a short window of perfect ripeness so I am sometimes forced to make something on the fly with my extras. This is how this recipe happened today at lunch. Now I may purposely buy too many avocados so that I can treat myself to this decadent creamy dish more often. Also depending on what type of pasta you use this dish is vegan friendly, and if your not vegan and/or don’t have almond milk in the house you can easily substitute cow’s milk.

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

1 avocado peeled, and chopped, pit removed

3 T almond or cow’s milk

2 cloves garlic chopped

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1/3 c grape tomatoes halved

2 c cooked pasta of your choice

more salt and pepper to taste

Place the avocado, milk, garlic, and salt in pepper in a bowl and blend into a puree with a hand held blender, or toss those ingredients into a regular blender until smooth. Toss with warm drained pasta and tomatoes, season with desired amount of salt and pepper and serve.

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Pinspired : Whole Foods Steak and Corn Kabobs with Arugula and Parsley Pesto

Pinspired : Whole Foods Steak and Corn Kabobs with Arugula and Parsley Pesto

This is another recipe that I found while combing Pinterest, it is from Whole Foods and I loved the simplicity of it. It is a great Summertime recipe because it is great on the grill and uses Sweet Summer corn. I only tweaked this recipe slightly using ingredients I had on hand. The original recipe can be found here or on my Pinterest board “To Try”.

Whole Foods Steak and Corn Kabobs with Arugula and Parsley Pesto

1 1/2 Top Sirloin Steak

1 T Montreal steak seasoning (optional)

1 lb small yukon gold potatoes

3 ears of fresh corn cut into 1 1/2 inch rounds

1 c arugula

1/2 c fresh parsley

1/4 c  light olive oil

1 t Worchestershire sauce

1 t dijon mustard

1 clove garlic

1/2 t white or champagne vinegar

Place potatoes in salted water and bring to a boil, simmer for ten minute or until they are tender, but not falling apart. remove potatoes from water and add sliced corn, bring water back to a boil and cook corn for 2 minutes. Remove corn and let cool.

In a food processor or blender combine arugula, parsley, oil. Worchestershire, mustard, garlic and vinegar. puree until it is the consistency of pesto. set aside.

Cut Steak into 1 1/2 ” cubes and sprinkle with steak seasoning. Thread skewers, (if using wooden ones soak in water for 1/2 hour prior to threading), alternating steak, potatoes and corn.

Whole Foods Steak and Corn Kabobs with Arugula and Parsley Pesto

Pre heat a grill to med high, then place the kabobs on the grill for 6 minutes, rotating them so that all side are cooked, these will be med-med-rare, cook longer if desired.

Remove from grill, drizzle with pesto. I served mine with a simple salad and rice.

Whole Foods Steak and Corn Kabobs with Arugula and Parsley Pesto

Strawberry Margarita Popsicles

Strawberry Margarita Popsicles

Summer is almost gone but there is still time for POPSICLES, especially ones with tequila. These are yummy and refreshing and great for a cookout. I made these for book club, our book was Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen. A fun Summer read whose main character eats a lot of popsicles, so I decided to go with that but jazz it up with a little booze. Be careful when adding tequila or any other alcohol to your popsicles, if you add too much they will not freeze.

Strawberry Margarita Popsicles

6 c Simply Limeade ( found in the produce/juice section of your grocery store)

1-2 T agave syrup ( you could use sugar)

1 t lime zest

1 T chopped cilantro ( optional)

1/4 t salt

1/2 c tequila

sliced strawberries

add all ingredients, except strawberries to a pitcher and stir to incorporate. pour into popsicle molds or small paper or plastic cups. Place in freezer.

Strawberry Margarita Popsicles

Check after about 1 hr and every 1/2 hour after that. When the mixture is frozen to a slushy state. take out and add 2 sliced strawberries to each pop. Push them down with a popsicle stick or butter knife to desired position.(If you add them at the beginning they will float to the top and won’t be as pretty)  Then place a popsicle stick in each pop and place back into the freezer for a couple of more hours. 

Strawberry Margarita Popsicles

 

 

 

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Shh I’m going to let you in on a little secret…. I am slowly replacing some of my families meat laden meals with healthier vegetarian options. Some of us have higher blood pressure and cholesterol than we should  (not naming names). One of my families favorites is taco night, and while we usually use chicken or turkey, I thought why not go all the way and just use beans. Canned refried beans are not the healthiest and my motto is that homemade beats processed any day. My younger son who is starting to take more interest in cooking was up for this challenge so he and I made this tasty recipe that would be great as a side or a filling for tacos, burritos and tostadas.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

2 cans of beans, I used one Pinto and one black. (check the labels here many canned varieties add sugar, salt etc… I used an organic variety that was free of sugar)

1 t olive oil

1/4-1/2 c chopped onions

1 clove garlic chopped

1 t cumin

1 t salt

1 cup vegetable stock ( you can use any stock or water if watching your sodium)

add oil to large skillet over med high heat, add onion and sauté until soft, add garlic and beans and cook for about 3 more minutes. Add stock, cumin and salt. reduce heat to low and cover.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Cover and cook 10-15 minutes over low. Use potato masher to mash beans to desired texture, add more stock if needed.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Add to your favorite dish or serve as a side.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

 

Spicy Honey Dills: Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

Spicy Honey Dills: Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

No, Im not pregnant but I do love pickles, they are a perfect little snack that packs in a lot of flavor with little calories. They are also great on burgers or any sandwich and so easy to make that you’ll forget about buying them at the store.

Spicy Honey Dills: Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

1 1/2 c water

1 1/2 c apple cider vinegar

2 t chopped garlic

1 jalapeño sliced

1 small yellow onion sliced

5 small thin skinned cucumbers sliced into 1/4 “-1/2″ rounds

2 T honey

2T pickling spice

1/2 t dried thyme

1/2 t red pepper flakes

1/4 t black pepper

1/2 t salt

1 1/2 t dried dill weed

Pour water and vinegar into a med sauce pan. Add pickling spice, thyme, red pepper, dill, garlic, salt and pepper, bring to a low boil and stir in honey. Turn heat off and let cool.

Spicy Honey Dills: Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

Meanwhile layer cucumbers, onions and jalapenos in a glass jar. 

http://hollieshobbies.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/spicy-honey-dills-homemade-refrigerator-pickles/

Add cooled liquid into jar until it covers the cucumbers, put on lid and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. 

Spicy Honey Dills: Homemade Refrigerator Pickles