This is our 3rd or 4th summer Tahoe trip and making most meals ahead of time is getting easier and easier. I’m (finally) preparing our food in aluminum cook-and-carry pans. The plan is to be able to toss them in the recycling bin before we return. Anything to make life easier and enjoy vacation even more. In keeping with that spirit, I found another way to cut a step of the process. A new product I found was shredded rotisserie chicken at Safeway. I would like to say that I pop several chicken breasts or thighs in the instant pot and shred and freeze them, ready to have on hand. But I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great idea, just not sure where or how to add it to my “To do” list. Truth be told, I don’t even want to!
When you’re craving enchiladas, give these a try! Let me know how it goes, what you would do different, any changes you make, or any shortcuts I might have missed. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas. ¡Salud!
1 lb cooked, diced chicken (or any diced meat of your choice, even black beans)
2 cups Quick and Easy Enchilada Sauce
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Mexican blend seasoning
½ tsp black pepper
1 ½ cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
10 Mi Rancho® organic corn tortillas
*Add some heat with a 4 oz can of green chile peppers
In large skillet, heat chicken through. If using uncooked meat, cook over medium heat, breaking up while cooking. Drain off any fat.
To a medium bowl, add meat, garlic powder, Mexican blend seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Next add ½ cup of enchilada sauce, ½ cup sour cream, and 1 cup of cheese. Mix well.
Preheat oven to 350° Warm tortillas in skillet and spoon meat mixture in center of tortilla. The amount depends on the size of your tortillas. Corn tortillas have a natural side that starts to curl when heated, this helps when rolling the enchiladas. Roll tightly and place seam side down in large baking dish lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Combine the remaining enchilada sauce and ½ cup sour cream, spread over enchiladas. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top and tent loosely with aluminum foil and bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with your favorite toppings, such as lettuce, tomato, avocado, sour cream, or Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce®.
Your favorite ice cold beer is a wonderful accompaniment. Mexican beers widely available in the U.S., such as Pacifico, Corona, or Modelo. If wine is more your style, try a merlot, blended red, or sauvignon blanc.
Prep time: 30 minutes; Cooking time: 30 minutes
There comes a moment in cooking when you realize you’re a cooking nerd. Ok, admittedly I pretty much already knew that. But making this meal last night, as I stood their whisking the warmed chicken stock into the butter and flour, I got excited. I got really excited. It was thickening perfectly. No lumps. It just all came together exactly how I wanted. After the week I had been having (and it was only Tuesday), this little task made me positively giddy. Of course, my family looked at me like I was loco for being so excited about something as mundane as a roux. What can I say? I happily concede to the fact that I’m a cooking nerd.
Tonight, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite comfort foods. I hope it brings you as much joyfully nerdy moments as it does me.
1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into thick slices or chunks
Salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
½ tsp paprika
¾cup flour (divided)
Canola oil (I used olive oil)
10 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced (save yourself some time and buy the ‘shrooms that are already sliced)
4 Tbs unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups chicken stock, warmed (I use the low sodium)
Sour cream to taste (the recipe called for 3 Tbs, but that’s just not enough for me, I used at least 1/3 cup. Add as much as you would like)
Egg noodles (I use what I have on hand, this time it was penne)
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Add chicken pieces to a bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika; add ¼ cup of flour and toss everything to coat well.
Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and drizzle with 3-4 Tbs of your chosen oil. When the oil is hot, work in batches to sear the chicken until golden brown on all sides. As the chicken is browned, remove from pan and set aside. Don’t worry if it’s not quite cooked through, it will finish when added back to the sauce.
Once all chicken has been browned, add a touch more oil if needed and the mushrooms. Sauté until golden brown and somewhat caramelized. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to chicken.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add unsalted butter; once melted add shallots and garlic and sauté until aromatic. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of flour, stirring it into the butter until a soft paste forms. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking continually to avoid lumps and allow the sauce to thicken.
Add the chicken and mushrooms back to pan and simmer for 3-4 minutes, turn heat off and stir in sour cream. Serve mixed with cooked noodles.
Wine Pairing Suggestions:
Total time: 45 minutes
*Derived from The Cozy Apron
It’s been so long since my last post, and it’s not as if I stopped cooking. No, I’ve still been plugging away, cooking the majority of our dinners. And, I’ve been trying some wonderful recipes! My heart, however, just hasn’t been into blogging. Sometimes updating my blog, after everyone is quietly snuffling in their beds, can be difficult. Sometimes I just want to read. Sometimes I want to get lost in Pinterest. Sometimes I want to check in with my FB friends. Or play Hay Day. Sometimes that is the hard part of being a full-time wife and mom, as well as working outside the home full time. But, as winter sheds it’s coat (yes, we have a Cali version of winter) and spring dawns anew, we can all feel somewhat reborn. Throw aside what has been holding you down, sit outside and soak up the sun. Take a walk and marvel at what beauty springtime brings. Ride a bike and feel the warm breeze on your face. Ahhh, to start anew. It’s a wonderful thing!
What better way to pay homage to spring than wild caught salmon? Don’t get me wrong, I can eat salmon year-round. But there is something about salmon that speaks to warmer weather.
1 tsp packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 – 2 lbs skin-on salmon filet
Pepper to taste
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 recipe glaze (below)
3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300°. Combine brown sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a 12″ oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Place salmon, flesh side down, in skillet and cook until well browned, about 1 minute. Using tongs, carefully flip salmon and cook on skin side for 1 minute.
Remove skillet from heat and evenly spoon glaze over salmon. Transfer skillet to oven and cook until fillets register 125° (for medium-rare) and are still translucent when cut into, about 7 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
Wine Pairing Suggestions:
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Total time: 30 minutes
*Derived from America’s Test Kitchen
This recipe was not a hit with the family. D doesn’t like meat. Berto doesn’t like cheese. The Hubs doesn’t like ground meat or cheddar cheese. Sigh. This meal, to me, was wonderful! I do believe, though, it had less to do with the actual meal than with the fact this dish is true comfort food and it’s been over 100 degrees here in Cali. Maybe dinner would have been more successful had I just served ice cream. Hmmm, things to ponder . . .
1 Lb ground beef (I Texas Longhorn beef from the farmer’s market and it cooked up similar to ground turkey, but still had a wonderful beef flavor)
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 cups milk
2 cups whole grain elbow macaroni (or whatever you have on hand, I used penne)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I can see any number of types of cheese being used and it being wonderful)
1 1/2 Tbs cornstarch
3 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
Heat a large skillet to meidum high and brown meat. Once cooked, drain any fat that remains.
While meat browns, mix together seasonings in a small bowl. When drained, return meat to skillet and add seasonings, stirring to combine. Pour in hot water, milk, and pasta. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until pasta is cooked.
Stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes until sauce thickens.
Serve immediately with melty garlic bread and a crisp salad.
Wine Pairing Suggestions (because no matter the dish, we always need wine)
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Total time: 25 minutes
You know how sometimes in life you just happen upon something and it turns out to be so amazing you are STILL talking about it? Like the “Cowie” that I bought for my niece when she was two. Cowie is a stuffed Precious Moments cow that I bought on the clearance table outside of a Hallmark store. I know I didn’t pay over $5 for him (if even that), and I had no idea the impact Cowie was going to have on Alyssa. Lys immediately started carting Cowie everywhere with her. I can’t tell you how many times my sister had to turn the car around because Lys had forgotten Cowie somewhere. How Cowie was in Lys’s backpack through each and everyday as she navigated elementary and junior high school. Well, Lys is now in high school. I don’t think Cowie is still tucked away in her backpack, and I know that’s because my sister cannot repair Cowie anymore. He’s too thread bear and been repaired too many times before. So, Cowie rests at home now, waiting for the moment Lys will get home and hold him in her hand again. This recipe, admittedly somewhat less dramatic, is like that amazing purchase you make and can’t get over. When I found this recipe, I read it, I rolled it around in my mind. Thinking of ways to make it mine. This dinner was THE dinner of the week, if not the month!
For the Sauce:
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbs soy sauce (I always opt for low sodium)
2 Tbs barbecue sauce (check out Sweet Baby Ray’s Original)
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
For the Chicken:
1 lb boneless / skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup panko
Oil for frying
To make the Sauce:
Add all sauce ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce starts to thicken. Set aside until the chicken is done.
To make the Chicken:
Add flour to a gallon Ziploc bag. In a small, shallow dish (I usually use a Tupperware type dish), whisk eggs together. In a second gallon Ziploc bag, add the panko. To bread chicken, first add several pieces to the flour. Shake your money-maker for all it’s worth! Then dip the chicken in whisked eggs. Finally, add chicken to panko Ziploc bag and again, shake it.
Add oil to a large, nonstick frying pan. Heat to medium high. Cook chicken in batches for 6-8 minutes or until golden and crispy. Chicken should be cooked through.
Add cooked chicken back to pan and pour sauce over, coating chicken thoroughly. Serve over rice and enjoy!
Wine Pairing Suggestions:
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Serves 4 small portions. For lunch tomorrow, double the chicken and adjust everything else
Total time: About an hour and half
*Derived from Nora Rušev
Say good-bye to take out! This is a super delicious and extremely easy chicken recipe that you can count on being ready in less time than it takes to get take out. This was a hit with the fam (and you know if it’s not, it won’t show up here)! Even D, who I struggle to make lunches for because she doesn’t like sandwiches, said, “I want THIS for lunch tomorrow!” I’m seriously considering keeping it on hand for just that reason. ¡Buen Provecho!
3 tsp sesame oil
4 Tbs BBQ Sauce (such as Sweet Baby Ray’s)
1½ Tbs soy sauce (I always opt for the low sodium version)
1½ Tbs honey
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (can use breast meat, too)
½ cup apricot jam
½ cup orange juice
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together sesame oil, BBQ sauce, soy sauce, and honey. Add chicken chunks, cover and marinade for at least 30 minutes but up to overnight.
Heat large pan to medium high. Remove chicken from marinade with tongs or a slotted spoon (don’t throw away the marinade) and brown.
Add the apricot jam and orange juice to the marinade. Add to chicken and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for about 8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is done. Serve over warm steamed rice.
Wine Pairing Suggestions:
Prep time: 10 minutes Marinading & cooking time: 40 minutes