Enchirritos

What is your first thought when you hear the word Enchirritos??  GO!!  For me it is Taco Bell.  I had never even heard of them before Taco Bell.  Unfortunately, like most fast food, Taco Bell left a horrible taste in my mouth.  Luckily, over time, my palette and budget has drastically improved.  And thanks to my Mexican husband, so has my understanding of Mexican food.  Now  a pet peeve of mine is when someone calls a burrito with sauce an enchilada.  If it’s a flour tortilla, it’s not an enchilada.  And that is what I love about this enchirrito.  It’s not pretending to be something it’s not. This enchirrito is no resting on the hard work of its parent to define it as either a burrito or an enchilada.  This enchirrito is standing proud, telling everyone it is of a mixed “race”.  Part enchilada, part buritto.  Embracing both of its cultures.  All hale the Enchirrito!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups water
3 Tbs Mexican Blend Seasoning (Morton & Bassett)
1 tsp garlic salt
1 lb ground beef (I always buy the lowest fat; but you can also sub chicken or turkey)
1 lb ground sausage
1/4 cup chopped onion (Look at the pre-chopped in the produce aisle.  It looks expensive until you calculate the value of your time chopping it.)
1 cup refried beans (I used Rosarita Traditional)
8 flour tortillas (8 inches) warmed (the best way to warm tortillas, no matter what anyone says, is with a skillet. Warm the first one on medium high and as you fill it, warn the next one, be sure to turn over at least once)
3 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend from the dairy aisle)
Optional toppings: shredded lettuce; diced tomatoes, sour cream

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°.  Melt butter in a large sauce pan.  Sir in flour until smooth.  Slowly add water.  Bring to a boil and cook, stirring until thickened (about 1 minute).  Stir in Mexican Blend Seasoning and garlic salt. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef, sausage, and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Stir in beans; heat through.

Spread 1/4 cup of the in a greased 9×13 baking dish.  Spread 1 Tbs sauce in the center of a tortilla and spread around  Place 2/3 cup meat mixture down center of tortilla.  Top with 1/4 cup shredded cheese.  Roll up and place seam side down  Once all tortillas are complete, pour remaining sauce over top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese (add a handful if you need to, no one will judge.)  Bake uncovered 18-22 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Cabernet Franc
Gamay
Grenache
Merlot
Sangiovese

Serves: 6 big servings

Total time: 50 minutes

*Derived from Mandy’s Recipe Box
Enchirritos

Enchirritos


On Top of Old Smokey Meatballs

All covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed.  But it’s ok because I made tons!  These meatballs were so easy to make and quick.  Such wonderful flavor!  And one of things that attracts me to a recipe is the ability to really make it your own.  Change it up some. Use spicy Italian sausage for a kick. Or, add your favorite hot sauce to regular Italian sausage. Instead of Italian seasoning, how about the Mexican Blend I always use with some fresh cilantro?  Add ginger and teriyaki sauce, served over steamed rice, for an Asian flavor.  Oh, how about subbing the bread crumbs with finely ground potato chips, shredded cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce.  Tailgate anyone?  So, let everyone sneeze as much as they want, you’ve got meatballs covered!

Ingredients (Meatballs Only):

16 oz pkg premium pork Italian sausage
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°. Mix ingredients until blended (the best way is to don some gloves and dive right in).

Shape meat mixture into 2″ meatballs and place on a baking sheet.  Either spray with nonstick spray, or as I did, line with parchment paper.

Bake meatballs 15 minutes or until done (when they reach 160°).  Serve with your favorite pasta sauce (such as my  Busy Mom’s Spaghetti and Meatball – but ignore those meatballs, just this once, and go back another time to try those!)

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Grenache
Malbec
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese

Serves 6 (with pasta & sauce)
Prep time: 15 minute; Cook time: 15 minutes

On Top of Old Smoky Meatballs

On Top of Old Smoky Meatballs

*Derived from Jimmy Dean

Breakfast Pizza

This was another great “make ahead” meal for Tahoe.  One of the things I truly love about this recipe is its versatility.  Don’t like sausage?  Add more bacon.  Or just leave it out completely.  Not a fan of meat in general?  Remove the meat and add mushrooms and shredded potatoes.  You can even go “traditional” dinner pizza by adding Canadian Bacon and Pineapple for a Hawaiian theme.  Add some of the vegetable bounties of summer, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, etc.  Take any of your favorite omelets and, you guessed it, turn it into a breakfast pizza!

Ingredients:

10 slices of bacon
10 links pork sausage
12 eggs, beaten
2 (8 oz) refrigerated crescent roll dough (such as Pillsbury)
1/2 cup salsa (such as Muir Glen)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preparation:

Dice bacon and cook in a large skillet heated to medium-high, until browned.  Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool.

Remove sausage from casing.  Crumble sausage in same skillet used for bacon.  Cook until no longer pink in the center.  Transfer to plate with bacon to drain and cool.

Drain most of the grease from the skillet and return pan to medium heat.  Cook and stir eggs until scrambled.  Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Roll out crescent dough to cover bottom of 9×13 cookie sheet.  Bake dough until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Let dough cool.  Spread a layer of salsa onto baked dough; top with scrambled eggs.  Sprinkle crumbled bacon and sausage over eggs.  Top entire pizza with cheese.

Bake until cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  Cool, cut, and serve!

Serves: 8
Total time: 50 minutes

Breakfast Pizza

*Derived from AllRecipes.com

Mexican Black Bean Pizza

Remember Taco Bell pizzas?  Anyone who has ever had a love of fast food knows Taco Bell pizzas.  There was something so good about them.  Maybe it was the flour tortilla crust, all crunchy and munchy.  What was not so good about them?  How truly bad they are for your body.  Probably not such a big deal when I was in my 20’s.  Certainly an issue now that I’m in my 40’s.  From the perspective of my thighs, if nothing else.  And, I’d like to keep my kids as far away from fast food as I can.  It’s such a horrible habit to get into and such a difficult one to break.  Try this lighter, healthier version and I promise, you’ll forget about your Taco Bell days!

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
¼ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 Tbs olive oil
8 (6″) flour tortillas
1 small onion chopped (or buy the pre-chopped from the produce section)
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
½ cup salsa, mild or spicy
*Optional – 2 oz canned chopped mild green chiles
*Optional – You can add about ½ a cup of any meats you may prefer, pulled pork, chorizo (casing removed), shredded chicken, etc.

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix half the Cheddar cheese with the Monterey Jack in a bowl and set aside.
Brush a baking sheet with 1 Tbs olive oil (or line with parchment paper) and arrange tortillas in a single layer.  Using a fork, puncture each tortilla a few times.  Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese evenly over 4 of the tortillas, then cover each with a remaining tortilla.  Bake 5-6 minutes or until browned slightly.

While tortillas bake, heating 1 Tbs olive oil in a skillet and cook onions until browned.  Add beans and partially mash with a potato masher or the back of a fork.

Remove tortilla pizzas from the oven and top each with bean mixture.  Top with salsa, green chiles (if using), meat (if using), and cheese mixture.  Return to oven and back until cheese melts, about 10-20 minutes.  Serve with sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce, avacado.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Sauvignon Blanc
Bonarda
Pinotage

Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes; Cook time: 25 minutes

Mexican Pizza

*Derived from Bush’s Beans

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Easy Peasy Linguine

Tonight was the first night, as my family snuffled quietly in their beds and I retreated downstairs to make sure all of the windows were closed (or to pour another glass of wine, maybe?) that I smelled fall. I leaned over the kids’ tub to close the window and stopped short. That unmistakable smell, even here in Cali, was fall. How can that be? It seems like just yesterday I was filled with the excitement of all summer had to offer. Finally one drop off as Berto heads into the first grade and D into kindergarten. A summer filled with swimming; catching our first lizard; saying goodbye to my sweet, sweet German shepherd Lobo; growing tomatoes and basil in our first attempts at a garden; surfing for the first time; losing 2 bottom teeth (resulting in feeling oh so big now); day trips; a vacation; and, the return of summer hours at my office. But all of that is coming to a close, with a shiver in the early evening air. Makes me glad there is always comfort food. And, what is better comfort food than pasta?

Ingredients:

The wonderful thing about this dish is all of the possible meat options. Feeling healthier than extra lean ground beef? Sub ground turkey or chicken. For something different try pork or sausage (be sure to removed the casings first!). How about going even meatier? Use ground sirloin. Or, you can make it vegetarian like I did tonight by subbing the meat with mushrooms.

1 (9 oz) pkg fresh linguine
1/2 lb extra lean ground beef / or the item you are subbing
1/2 cup pre chopped onion (I use prepared veggies as often as possible, such a time saver)
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbs tomato paste
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (whatever you have on hand; shaved, grated, shredded)
Handful of basil leaves, sliced thinly (nothing like walking into the backyard and picking your own basil!)

Preparation:

Cook pasta according to package directions. Omit oil and salt. Drain and return pasta to pot.

While pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, onion, garlic, oregano, and salt; cook 5 minutes, or until beef is browned, stirring to crumble. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 3 minutes or until thickened. Serve over pasta and top with cheese and basil.

Serves 4

Total time: 30 minutes

photo (1)

*Derived from Cooking Light

Pork & Parmesan

I think I might have mentioned before that I struggle with pork.  I struggle cooking it and it not being too dry.  I struggle with finding recipes that I even want to try.  And I don’t know why that is.  The pork dishes I have made turned out positively lovely, and this is one of them!  Certainly adding it to my rotation.

Ingredients:

1 lb pork tenderloin
2 Tbs Italian bread crumbs
2 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 minced clove garlic
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 small summer squash, thinly sliced

Preparation:

Cut tenderloin crosswise into 12 slices (I think I might have cut more than that, I just cut the whole thing), approximately 3/4″ thick.  Place cut tenderloin flat in large ziplock back, gently pound to 1/2″ thickness.  Once all pork has been flattened and removed, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in same ziplock bag.  Add pork in batches and shake to coat.  Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in nonstick pan.  Saute pork 2-3 minutes per side; remove and keep warm.  Add onion, garlic, squash and zucchini  to skillet and saute 5 minutes or  until tender.  Serve with warm buttered, crusty bread.

Serves 4

Total time: 30 minutes

photo

*Derived from National Pork Board

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Carnitas

This was amazing and so simple! I knew it was truly a hit when my Mexican husband gave it two thumbs up. Another major bonus? Leftovers to be used in countless ways. This will be added to my rotation, for sure.

Ingredients:20130616-220550.jpg

2 lbs boneless pork shoulder
Salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Mexican blend seasoning
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 minced cloves of garlic
1 orange, halved

Preparation:

After pork has been rinsed and patted dry, generously add salt & pepper. Mix oregano and Mexican blend seasoning with olive oil and all over rub pork. Place pork in slow cooker and top with onion and garlic. Squeeze the juice of the orange and drop in the two halves. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 hours.

Once the meat is tender, remove from slow cooker.  After it has cooled slightly, pull pork apart with fork.

*Derived from Food Network