Thursday, January 24, 2013

adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant collection
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas5 cups peeled cubed sweet potatoes
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. canola or other vegetable oil
3 ½ cups diced onions
4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp. minced fresh green chile
4 tsp. ground cumin
4 tsp. ground coriander
4 ½ cups cooked black beans (three 15oz cans, drained)
2/3 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
16 oz. enchilada sauce (canned or homemade)
shredded cheddar cheese to taste
8 eight-inch flour tortillas
Fresh tomato salsa
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with the salt and
water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer until tender, about
10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
While the sweet potatoes are cooking, warm the oil in a medium
skillet or saucepan and add the onions, garlic, and chile. Cover and cook
on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender.
Add the cumin and coriander and cook for 2 – 3 minutes longer, stirring
frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a food processor, combine the black beans, cilantro, lemon juice,
salt, and cooked sweet potatoes and puree until smooth. 
Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a large mixing
bowl and mix in the cooked onions and spices.
Lightly oil a large baking dish. Spoon about 2/3 to ¾ cup of the
filling in the center of each tortilla, roll up and place, seam side down, in
the baking dish. Pour the enchilada sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle
with cheddar cheese if you wish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for
about 30 minutes, until piping hot. Serve topped with salsa.

What I did:  I used Olive Oil.  I did not use that many onions.  I like onions but thought that was excessive, even for me.  I only used one can of Black Beans.  I mashed the potatoes and black beans with a potato masher kind of tool.  I didn't mash them completely.  Because I don't like the flavour of enchilada sauce I used a 8 oz jar of homemade tomato sauce and a can of Ro-Tel Tomatoes, blended together in a food processor.  I put grated cheddar in each enchilada and on top before baking.  I served it with some homemade guacamole and for my family some chicken lightly sauteed in olive oil seasoned with salt and chili powder.  I cooked it in the same skillet I cooked the onions and garlic in for the enchiladas.  This made enough filling for 8 well filled enchiladas.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

BLT Pasta

The one thing I always seem to have from the garden is Flat Leaf Parsley. You just can't kill the stuff. It grows all winter, and right now (early March) it is about the only thing harvestable from my garden. I always have parsley and have several other recipes that use a tablespoon here or there, but this recipe uses ½ a cup of Flat Leaf Parsley! It is a delicious recipe, I hope you will try it. It would be awesome in the Summer with garden fresh tomatoes.
BLT Pasta the original recipe was found here
I made a few adaptations and next time will make a few more, I'll tell you about those in a minute.
As the recipe appeared above:
16 oz. dry pasta
12 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Cook in a large skillet until crispy. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Leave about 1 tablespoon of drippings in skillet. Cook pasta according to package directions until just al dente; drain. Add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes to bacon drippings in skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until onions are soft. Stir in chicken broth and diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add cubed cream cheese and stir until cream cheese is melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add pasta, grape tomatoes, bacon and parsley and cook until heated through, about 2 more minutes. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Let's Dish
This was a big hit at my house! Okay, some of my picky eaters removed the tomatoes, but they don't know what they were missing. I love that this dish uses fresh tomatoes in addition to the canned, and the cream cheese adds just a touch of creaminess to the sauce. There isn't any lettuce in this BLT pasta, but let's be honest, that would just be weird. The parsley adds a nice touch of green though. This recipe makes enough to feed a crowd, so if you're feeding less than that, you might want to consider making half. Although, the leftovers are pretty good!

Now, What I did:
Because I have a fairly big crew or big eaters at my house, and because I have a son who could and would live on bacon alone; I cooked more bacon. Due to the amount of bacon and the fact that I like my bacon crisp, I didn't cut it in pieces or cook it in a skillet. I laid it in strips on a cookie sheet and cooked it in a 400 degree oven. When the bacon was crisp I removed it to a plate covered with paper towels to drain and when cool, I crumbled it. The bacon grease on the cookie sheet I then used in my skillet to saute the onions, garlic, and red pepper. I used about twice that much garlic. We like garlic and I always have a ton of it from my garden. Then I used a quart of chicken broth (I like my pasta saucy) and 8 ounces of cream cheese. I also used a large can of diced tomatoes. I didn't add the bacon to the pasta, we served it on top. Like I said, I like my bacon crisp. It was delicious!
What I would do different next time:
I will probably use more garlic and more red pepper. “Tomato haters” live in my house, so I will take the diced tomatoes and blend them. Then I will take the grape tomatoes and saute them briefly in some olive oil and serve on the side along with the bacon. It is best not to add the pasta until just prior to serving to preserve the al dente texture. For leftovers, at our house, there are never any bacon leftovers, so serve leftover pasta with purchased bacon bits instead. Yummy! Hope you enjoy!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Enchiladas and Mexican Potatoes

This is super easy!  You will be amazed at how easy it is.
12 corn tortillas
1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
1 jar of enchilada sauce
1 can of sliced black olives
1 onion
Cheddar cheese, grated

Brown the ground beef with the onion, chopped.  Salt and pepper the beef to taste.  Drain the olives, set aside.  Heat the enchilada sauce until warm.  Dip tortillas in sauce.  Place a couple of spoonfuls of ground beef in the tortilla.  Add a few sliced olives and some cheddar cheese.  Roll so that the seam is on the bottom.  Place in a 9 x 11 baking dish, spayed with Pam.   Repeat until all tortillas or meat is gone.  Pour remaining sauce over the top of the rolled tortillas.  Top with cheese and olives.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Mexican Potatoes
2 lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes
Cheddar Cheese, grated
Canned Jalepenos, sliced
1 Onion, chopped
Peel and cube potatoes, into 1/2 inch cubes.  You can use russet potatoes, but Yukon Gold hold their shape better when cooked.  Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet, about 1/4-1/2".  When olive oil is hot, add potatoes and onions.  Allow potatoes to brown on one side, then turn gently.  Try not to turn them very often, the fewer the better.  When the potatoes are browned well on most sides, add the Jalepenos and cheese.  Allow cheese to melt.
You can serve the meal with refried beans and tortilla chips and a nice tossed salad.
Hope you enjoy! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Hot Chicken" and Individual Monkey Breads...

The other night I wanted to try these "individual monkey breads" I had read about.
This is what I did:
2 cans of biscuits (I used Buttermilk Biscuits)
2 sticks of butter, melted
8 cloves of garlic, minced (adjust to taste, I like garlic)
1-2 tsp Basil
1/2 cup Parmesan
More Parmesan for rolling...
Cut the biscuits each into four pieces each, using kitchen shears.  You should have 80 pieces of biscuits.

Melt the butter. Mix with the garlic, Basil, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan.  In another bowl put about 1 cup of Parmesan, all by itself.  Spray a muffin tin with Pam.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Dip each piece of biscuit in the butter mixture, then roll in Parmesan, then place in muffin tin.  Approximately 9-10 pieces per muffin.   When all biscuit pieces are in muffin cups, pour the leftover butter mixture over the top.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown . Makes 9-11 Monkey Breads.

For the Hot Chicken:
Chicken pieces for your family, I used about 7 chicken breast strips.
apx 2 cups of Corn Flake crumbs*
Garlic Salt, apx. 4 tsp.
Pepper to taste, to make it hot use 4-6 tsp of black pepper
Mix cornflake crumbs and seasonings. I put it all in a ziploc baggie.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking pan with Pam.  Roll each piece of chicken in the cornflake crumb mixture. (If using the ziploc method, put all chicken in the baggie with the cornflake mixture. Zip. Shake, until well coated.)  Place chicken in the baking pan.  Bake for 1 hour.
The measurements in this recipe are "iffy."  What I really do is, pour some cornflake crumbs in a ziploc.  Pour in some garlic salt.  I want to be able to see it pile up.  Pour in some pepper, enough to see, but not too much.
*Cornflake Crumbs come in a box and can usually be found on the baking aisle.

Then I made Garlic Mashed Potatoes:
Peel, cut in pieces, and bowl 8-10 potatoes with 4-6 cloves of garlic (smashed).
Drain.  Add 1 stick of butter and salt and pepper to taste.  Mash potatoes.  Sprinkle in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  Stir well.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Squash: How Many Ways Can I Prepare Thee? Let Me Count the Ways...

Squash, it sounds like something really horrible.  Like a "squashed" bug or something.  No wonder my children don't want to eat it.  What is it? According to Wikipedia,  "In North America, squash is loosely grouped into summer squash or winter squash, depending on whether they are harvested as immature fruit (summer squash) or mature fruit (autumn squash or winter squash)."  Around here when we say squash we are usually referring to Yellow Summer Squash, but it can also loosely include Zucchini.  In other countries it is often referred to as "Courgettes", which specifically refers to Zucchini in Italy and my favorite, France.  So, I have taken to calling them, "Courgettes."  Around here in the Summer time, if you have a garden you have a plethora of courgettes!  So, it becomes a challenge to see how many ways they can be prepared....

1.  Fried, traditional method of preparation, dipped in flour, seasoned with salt and pepper and fried in a skillet until browned and crisp.

2. A couple of variations on fried, batter dipped, and fried like fried potatoes with no flour.

3. Grilled, this is one of our favorites... cut them up chunky style, like 3-4 inch chunks sliced in half lengthwise, toss them on the grill, cook until tender.  Or you can marinate them before hand in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Or for another variation add lemon juice and Oregano to the above marinade.  Place it in a ziploc baggie with the Courgettes and let marinate until ready to grill, turning the baggie occasionally.

4. Slice them very thin (I use a mandolin).  On a griddle drizzle a little Olive Oil and add a couple of cloves of minced garlic.  Let heat until the garlic "speaks".  Coat the courgettes with Chile Lime Rub from Williams-Sonoma.  Place in hot oil, cook until browned, turning once.  This is another favorite way to cook them.

5.  Stuffed, mix the stuffing using dried bread crumbs, basil, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and of course, garlic, you can also add a little onion if you like.  Slice a courgette in half lengthwise.  Scoop out a little of the center, the part with the seeds.  Fill with stuffing, top with more Parmesan, place in oven at 350 degrees.  Bake until tender.

6.  Slice courgettes in half lengthwise, slash the top of each piece of courgette.  Spread some butter on each piece.  Salt and Pepper.  Top with Parmesan cheese.  Broil until cheese is browned and courgette is tender.

7. Shred.  Shred peeled courgettes.  Freeze for later use.  I use it to make Zucchini Bread, put in soups.

8. Our latest favorite way is to cut it up in about 1 inch chunks.  In a skillet drizzle some olive oil, place 4-5 or more cloves of minced garlic.  Heat until garlic "speaks."  Add courgettes.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  I use Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Saute until tender.

9.  Tried Zucchini Strings...think Onion Strings... those were pretty good.

How many ways do you prepare courgettes?  Add your own methods below in the comments.  I am sure I will need some more ways to prepare them.  ; )

So what's for dinner?  Courgettes, of course!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dr. Pepper Pork Roast and Rosemary Garlic Fries

While this menu does not really fall in the guidelines for this blog (Dinner in a hour)... it is really easy and yummy.  If you are going to be home anyway it doesn't require more than an hour of attention from you, so I thought I would share.
The Dr. Pepper Pork Roast recipe can be found here:!%29 
I added about 4 cloves of garlic, smashed with the onions.  It takes 6 hours to cook.  Don't rush it, but don't stand by the oven for six hours either.  It could easily be done with beef or with steaks instead of roast.  Actually, I added 4 pork chops to the roast because the roast was small and I was afraid it wouldn't be enough.

For my birthday a friend took me to lunch to SmashBurgers.  It was delicious.  Loved the fries.
So, I came home and made Rosemary Garlic Fries

Rosemary Garlic Fries
4-5 Potatoes, sliced thin, fry like (I used my mandoline and the thin blade)
4-5 Cloves of Garlic minced
3 Stems of Rosemary, leaves removed and chopped (chop the leaves throw out the stems)
Olive Oil
Oil for frying, I use crisco and a cast iron skillet
After slicing fries, toss them with the Rosemary, Garlic, and a drizzle of Olive Oil.  Coat the fries well.  Add more olive oil if needed.
Fry in small batches until crisp.  After removing from skillet, drain on paper towels and salt well.  Salt immediately after removing from skillet, don't wait!  Don't skimp on the salt, Rosemary seems to sap the salt of its saltiness. 
The rest of the menu could include:
Guacamole (find the recipe on this blog)
Black Beans
Homemade Tortillas  (to put the Pork on)  or Buns
Corn on the cob
Your family will thank you, they can't wait to eat it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Surine a la Florentine

Sometimes I fix this when I make Stack Ups, as an "adult" meal when we have guests.  It is really yummy.  Serve with sides of homemade Guacamole and Salsa.

Surine a al Florentine
4 flour tortillas
Chicken, cooked and shredded, about one chicken breast
10 oz. or less of frozen Spinach
1 jar of Artichoke Hearts
Green Sauce
Cheddar Cheese, grated
Sliced Tomatoes
Parmesan Cheese, grated

First prepare the Spinach.  Cook in the microwave for 6 minutes in a bowl.  Turn bowl over onto paper towels.  Add to Spinach a handful of grated Parmesan Cheese, stir.  Set aside.  Spray a griddle with Pam or spray oil.  Place one tortilla at a time on the griddle, set a empty pan on top of the tortilla.  Cook until browned and crisp, turn.  Replace pan on top of tortilla.  Cook until both sides are brown and crisp.  Be careful, watchful or they will burn really fast.  Repeat with the other 3 tortillas.
Take a cake pan, spray with Pam.  Place one crisp tortilla in the bottom.  Spread Green Sauce on the tortilla, not too much but cover the tortilla well.  Spread some Spinach over the Green Sauce, completely covering the tortilla.  Spread half of the chicken on the Spinach.  Add a layer of sliced Artichoke Hearts and a layer of sliced Tomatoes.  Top with a generous sprinkling of grated Cheddar Cheese.  On top of the cheese place another crisp tortilla. Press down gently.  Repeat to make a second pan.  Place in the oven at 400 degrees.  Bake until hot and cheese is melted and bubbly.  Remove from oven, run a knife around the edge and turn pan over on a cutting board.  Cut into four pieces.  Feeds 4, unless you are really hungry.  This is a wonderful Summertime meal.  Serve with Tortilla chips, guacamole, and salsa.