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

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Raspberry and Nutella Granola Bars

Well here is another thing I won’t need to buy at the grocery store, I just made my first granola bars and they were easy! I am already thinking of new flavor combinations, They are perfect for on the go snacks and breakfasts.

Raspberry and Nutella Granola Bars

2 c old-fashioned oats

1/2 c dried raspberries

6T butter

1/2 c nutella

1/3 c brown sugar

1T honey

Mix oats and raspberries in a large bowl. Melt butter over low in a saucepan, mix in nutella, sugar, and honey. Pour over oats and place in an 8×8 pan lined with tin foil, that has been sprayed with cooking spray of butter.

Raspberry and Nutella Granola Bars

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, cool and cut into bars.

Country Style RIbs with Apple Barbecue Sauce

Country Style Ribs with Apple Barbecue Sauce

 

These delicious ribs start in the crock pot and then crisp up under the broiler or grill, easy and delicious.

Country Style Ribs with Apple Barbecue Sauce

8-10 country style pork ribs

1 c ketchup

1 T Worcestershire sauce

2 small apples peeled, cored and chopped

1 onion diced

2 cloves garlic chopped

2 T apple cider vinegar

Add ribs and remaining ingredients to a slow cooker, heat on high for 3-4 hours or low 5-6 hours. Remove from slow cooker and place on heated grill or under a broiler until sauce caramelizes, about 5 minutes. Serve.

IMG_6183

Country Style Ribs with Apple Barbecue Sauce

 

Formula for a Perfect Salad: Grilled Salmon and Goat Cheese Salad

 

I am very particular about my salads. They need to contain what I like to call my perfect salad formula, which is something crunchy, something sweet, something sour or acidic and something unexpected. Balance is also key, sweet and savory, creamy and crunchy, warm and cold, everything has to have the right ratio. Oh and did I mention  it has to be visually appealing as well so make sure there are contrasting colors and textures. One of my favorite salads to eat out is Bonefish’s Grilled Salmon and Asparagus Salad. It meets all my criteria and it is delicious. I made my own little version of it at home minus the asparagus.

For 2

2 fillets wild sockeye salmon

2 T olive oil

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 t salt

1/4 t lemon pepper

1/4 t chili powder

4 c mixed field greens, washed and dried

1/2 c french green beans, steamed until crisp tender ( I used a microwave steamer bag)

1/3 c chopped fennel

4 T goat cheese

1/2 c cherry tomatoes

1/2 c citrus or mango vinaigrette (I used Bolthouse Farms Tropical Mango, I normally don’t buy bottled dressings, but this one is good and all natural)

Place fish in a shallow dish, top with orange juice and olive oil and put in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with salt pepper and chili powder. Grill until cooked to your liking, I did mine about 4 min per side. Assemble greens, fennel, goat cheese, green beans and tomatoes on each plate, top with grilled fish and dressing.

Father’s Day, a reason to make breakfast: Pineapple Ginger Pancakes

As I have said before, I don’t like to make breakfast, it is way too early to mess up my kitchen, but there are exceptions, one being Father’s Day. My husband loves breakfast and he deserves it, for example he was awoken this morning by our oldest son, there was a crisis, the internet connection was down. Now two hours later and all of us complaining the whole time he has it back up and running and I don’t think any of us thanked him. Hopefully he will read this, so thank you, see I’m not that ungrateful. Well the least I can do is make breakfast. Pancakes are always a crowd pleaser, so I decided to make it a little more special by making a fruit topping, we had a pineapple on hand so the decision was made. Happy Father’s Day to all the hard working Dad’s out there who so often go unrecognized, if I could I would make you all breakfast.

Pineapple Ginger Topping

1 fresh pineapple peeled cored and chopped into 1-2 inch chunks (most produce stands will core and peel whole pineapples for free, just ask)

1 t chopped ginger

1/4 c orange juice

1 t corn starch

Place all ingredients into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, turn heat down and simmer for 5 minutes or until juice thickens slightly.

Pancakes

1 c flour

1 T sugar

2 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

1 egg beaten

1 c milk

2 T vegetable or canola oil

Mix together all ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl, mixture may still be slightly lumpy, do not over mix.

Use a 1/4 or 1/3 sized measuring cup to ladle batter onto a skillet that has been preheated to medium and rubbed with a small amount of oil.

Flip when bubbles form around the edge, about 1 min. cook for another minutes and remove keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

Spoon pineapple topping over pancakes and top with pecans, almonds, or toasted coconut if desired

Asian Slaw with Cantaloupe and Mint

I love the unexpected surprise and the pop of sweetness of fruit in salads. This was a refreshing and satisfying accompaniment to our Chili Lime Glazed Salmon. Double the recipe for potlucks or large crowds.

1/2 bag cole slaw mix (red, and green shredded cabbage and carrots)

1T chopped fresh mint

1/2 of a cantaloupe ,seeds removed, and cut into bite sized chunks

1T fresh lime juice

3T Asian Vinaigrette ( I used a store-bought one for this recipe)

Mix together all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and serve.

No Stress Breakfast: Bacon and Egg Cups with Goat Cheese, Arugula, and Tomatoes

I am not a fan of breakfast, not because I don’t like to eat it, just because I am not a morning person. Also it can be hard to get everything ready on time to feed a whole family or god forbid guests. I feel like a harried short order cook with a huge mess in my kitchen. It can ruin my whole day. This is an easy way to serve a crowd or just make ahead for the week to save you time and stress.

Bacon, love it probably more than any other food, but it can be messy. When I was a young bride I was not such a great cook and I tried making bacon in a fry pan on the stove, what a mess, it doesn’t really fit in the pan, and it never cooks evenly. Who wants to stand over the stove with grease flying at you? Then there is the microwave, sure it cooks but your oven is covered in a layer of grease that will take forever to clean, there goes the 5 minutes you saved choosing that method of cooking. For whatever reason one day I tried it in the oven, why had I not ever tried this before? There was no mess, no standing like a slave to the cook top and guess what it came out better and more evenly cooked. Not to mention you can make a whole pound at one time if you are feeding a crowd or in my case a family of 4, who loves bacon.

Lay your slices on a heavy-duty sheet pan with sides. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Take out and drain on paper towels. My family likes it “well done” this was cooked for about 17 minutes.Unused bacon can be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag and reheated in the microwave for 30 seconds or warmed in a skillet pan.

For the Egg Cups:

8 eggs

3T half and half or milk

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1/4 t black pepper

1/2 t salt

3 T creamy goat cheese

1/2 c chopped arugula

1/2 c chopped tomatoes

Grease or spray a 6 muffin tin. Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In a large bowl add eggs, spices, goat cheese and half and half, whisk until combined.

Pour into muffin tins, I used a large ice cream scoop. Then add about a tablespoon of tomatoes and a tablespoon of arugula to each cup. and stir with a fork.

Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until eggs are set. Eggs will rise but with deflate when removed from the oven. If you are worried about spillage in your oven, place muffin tin on a cookie sheet before baking. You can put any uneaten cups in a large freezer bag  and place into the freezer for future use.

Baked Chicken with Tomatoes and Lemon

Healthy, fresh, and delicious this easy weeknight meal is very versatile. It can be served over pasta, rice or greens.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

4 boneless chicken breasts

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes slices in half

2T balsamic vinegar

1/2 lemon sliced

1 half lemon juices

1 t olive oil

1/2 t salt

1/8 pepper

2 cloves garlic minced

1 T fresh basil

Place chicken in a baking dish. toss with vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, lemon slices and garlic.

Place pan in oven and cook for 35-45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Slice chicken and top with tomato mixture and fresh basil.

Gifts that keep on giving: Booze Baskets

Finding a perfect gift for someone is difficult, getting the right size or color or worrying if the receiver already has one etc… I recently got a new neighbor and was wondering what to get her. I knew what colors she likes and we were already friends so I kind of knew her tastes but still had no idea. Then I remembered that she said her new house would have a signature cocktail…mojitos. Well what could be better than all the ingredients for her new house drink. I always save my Christmas gift baskets, you know the ones that different business send out with stale nuts and cheap chocolate, the basket is probably the best part. I found one in my closet that would fit all of the needed supplies. For the Mojito basket I put white rum, club soda, a muddler, limes and a mint plant. I also made a batch of simple syrup and filled a glass jar with it.

Simple Syrup is easy to make and a great addition to mojitos, iced coffee and iced tea. I actually made a double batch so I could keep some for myself.

Add equal parts sugar and water to a pan, bring to a boil and remove from heat, let cool and store in the refrigerator.

To keep all the contents from falling out, I used some clear shrink-wrap, which is now available at my dollar store and tied a bow on the top. Voila, gift giving made easy. This basket could easily be done with a different drink theme. Margaritas, cosmos, martinis. Now I can’t wait to join my new neighbor for happy hour by the pool once she gets settled.

Andouille Sausage and Peppers over Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits

It’s been a week of go to, easy favorites for dinner in our house. We have graduations, birthdays, and baby showers to plan, not to mention Memorial Day. My kids are not huge seafood fans so this is a nice alternative to the classic shrimp and grits which I regularly crave. It is super quick and easy, yet filling and comforting.

5 links andouille sausage ( you could use Kielbasa if you don’t like the spice or the spice doesn’t like you ) sliced on the bias into bite sized rounds

1 green pepper sliced into thin strips

1 small yellow onion sliced

Saute the sausage in a large skillet for about 3 minutes, add onion and peppers and continue cooking over med heat until they are soft and sausage is cooked through.

Meanwhile cook 4 servings of Quick grits (not instant) according to package directions.

Add the following to the cooked grits:

2 T butter

1/2 c of milk

1 clove of minced garlic

2 cups shredded smoked gouda cheese

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t salt

1/4 black pepper

Stir to combine, add more milk if needed

Add grits to serving bowls and top with sausage and pepper mixture.