Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

I'm so happy to be posting regularly again! Tonight I'm making chicken enchiladas. I've never done this before, and I'm writing as I go, so I really hope it turns out well.

First, I started this morning by making my salsa chicken in the crock pot. I put four frozen chicken breasts in the bottom and I topped it with a 15.5 oz jar of Tostitos brand salsa. I left for work before I actually wanted to start the crock pot, but I'm lucky that I always have someone home. I called home around 10:30 and asked my hubby (Telework day) to start the crock pot on low. When I got home at 5, it was ready to shred. If you don't have the luxury of a hubby who teleworks, or a Dad that lives with you and is home all day, no problem! Just go to the hardware store and buy an automatic timer. Set this up with the crock pot, and use frozen meat, and you're good to go. You can leave frozen meat in the crock, on the counter, and it'll just start to defrost a bit before the timer starts the cooking. I wouldn't do this with thawed meat. I'm too weird about food going bad.

Anyway, now that my chicken is ready, I'm going to make Rice-a Roni Spanish rice, using fresh tomatoes, not canned, and heat a can of black beans to serve with the enchiladas. Once I have the rice started I'll start putting them together...

Okay, Rice is working so it's time to start putting together the enchiladas. First, spray a 9x13ish Pyrex dish with cooking spray for easier clean up. I'm using corn tortillas, but flour torts would work too. I just had the corn torts from a previous meal. Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Okay, scratch that. USE FLOUR TORTS!!!! The corn torts are breaking and popping open. Lucky for me, I married an awesome man who is going to go buy flour torts on the fly! I really hope they work better, or we're just having the chicken with rice and beans.

So, I'm facebooking while doing this, and getting some great suggestions. Hubby is on his way home with flour torts, and I really think this is my most comical post to date. :)

Okay, back to work! The flour torts seem to be much better suited to this project. So, fill the torts with some of the chicken and roll them up. Place them into the Pyrex dish. When you've filled the dish, top the whole thing with a small can of Old El Paso brand mild enchilada sauce, then top that with about 2 cups of shredded cheddar. Put this in the oven for about 10 minutes to warm and melt everything. Serve with the rice and beans!
 And the whole meal...
It tastes really yummy, but Hubby and I agree that it needs more sauce. Bring on the Chalula!!!
Delish! Too bad this is way too much food. Lucky for me, I had a hungry neighbor who also thinks it's yummy. Or she's lying just to make me feel good. I'm okay with it either way. I will make this again!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Beef, Mushroom and Barley Soup

Mmmmm! This soup is so yummy! It really warms you from the inside out, and it's filling!

2 cups of barley (I use the regular kind that you have to boil for a while)
2 lbs of beef chunks
2 shallots, minced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb cleaned, sliced mushrooms
two 32 oz cartons of beef broth
olive oil
1/4 cup dried parsley

Follow the directions on the bag of barley for cooking. Mine basically said to add 8 cups of water and boil for 45 minutes to an hour to soak up all the water.

While the barley is doing it's thing, cut up the beef chunks. I usually buy beef chunks at the store, but then I like to cut them up smaller for this soup. I also take that time to cut out any really big hunks of fat. Saute the beef in about 1 tbsp of olive oil.

While the beef and barley are cooking, mince the shallots and garlic.

So, my barley wasn't done and the water was almost gone. I added both cartons of beef broth to it and brought it back to a boil. Drain the fat from the meat when it's done cooking and add the meat to the barley. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to the pan the beef was in. When that heats up, add the shallots and garlic. Stir often. You don't want this to burn, just cook until softened. When the garlic and shallots are soft, add them to the barley and meat. Add dried parsley.

Brown the mushrooms in the same pan, working in batches so you don't over crowd them. I think it was Julia Child who said "Don't crowd the mushrooms". They just won't brown if you over crowd them. Also add more olive oil if you need it. When each batch of mushrooms is ready, add it to the pot of soup.

Let everything simmer for about a half an hour, then serve with some bread. I always have leftovers, which freeze and re-heat well. I also added fresh ground pepper to everything that went into the saute pan. I didn't use salt because my hubby and I are both pre-hypertensive and I used regular beef broth instead of low sodium. If you need more salt, add it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stuffed Peppers

Well, Hello there! I know, it's been way too long since my last post. I suck. Anyway, here's a new recipe for you...

Please keep in mind that I'm writing this as I cook, and I've never made this before, nor do I have a recipe. I'm winging it!

You will need...
8 bell peppers
1 lb of lean ground beef, I prefer 93% lean
1 cup of white rice
2 cups of diced plum tomatoes
1 cup of diced red onion
8 cloves of minced, fresh garlic
2 tbsp of butter
8 oz cleaned, sliced button mushrooms
2 cups water
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, brown the meat, breaking it up into small chunks. When it's ready, drain the fat and set meat aside in a medium sized bowl. In the same skillet, add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the diced red onion and garlic. Saute until just starting to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Put the onions and garlic in the bowl with the meat, then add 2 tbsp olive oil to the same pan. When it's heated up, add the mushroom and saute until slightly browned. About 5-7 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the meat, onions and garlic. Add parsley and Parmesan cheese. Stir well.

While meat is browning and onions and garlic, etc are cooking, in a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. When butter is melted, add rice, stirring often, to lightly brown. When the rice is ready, add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover for 20 minutes. When the rice is done cooking, add the meat mixture and stir well.

While you're doing all of that, pre-heat the oven to 350. Slice the tops off of the bell peppers. Remove and discard the seeds and ribs. Get a large pot of water boiling.When the water is boiling, add peppers. Cook for 5 minutes, then quickly remove them from the boiling water. Place peppers in a casserole dish and fill with meat/rice mixture. Top with additional cheese if desired. I happened to have about 1 cup of mozzarella in my fridge, so I used that. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, then serve!

Okay, so I only actually used 5 bell peppers, so I froze the remaining filling. Hopefully I'll think of a clever way to use it. I figured 5 peppers would be enough for my small family of 3. I hope you enjoy!