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


Quick Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Pasta is a staple in my house.  For the most part, you can make it fast.  But, there are also some amazing dishes that take a while (lasagna, baked ziti anyone?).  I kind of have to admit, too, that one of the reasons I love pasta has to do with the control freak in me.  It’s also the same reason I prefer texting and email.  It’s all on my time. I get to decide, do I want/need a quick pasta tonight?  Do I need/want to respond to this text right now? Basically, whether a text or pasta, it comes down to me.  And no one knows the elements that brought me to the decision.  This dish, however, I’ll share with you the behind the scenes thought process.  I already had defrosted the extra lean ground beef.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it simply because my family is just coming back from a quick little vacation to Kings Beach in North Lake Tahoe (one of our fave places and I encourage everyone to go) and anyone that knows me understands that I spent the week leading up to Tahoe planning, cooking, and packing for our trip (those recipes to follow).  By the time we got back home I was 1) exhausted from a wonderful trip, 2) really tired of planning and cooking, and 3) completely out of groceries save for the staples I had on hand.  I can tell you, quite confidently, this was a huge hit!

Ingredients:

1 lb extra lean ground beef (can sub ground chicken or turkey)
1 (14.5) oz diced tomatoes
1 (14.5) oz tomato sauce
1/2 of (6.5) garlic & herb spreadable cheese (such as Alouette)
1 Tbs dried basil (such as Morton & Bassett) (I prefer fresh, but since my GSD puppy ate my plant, I had to go with dried)
Handful of dried spaghetti
Parmesan grated, shredded, shaved (your preference) for serving

Preparation:

Boil pasta according to your doneness preference.

While pasta cooks, brown meat. Once browned, drain off any excess fat. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Reduced heat to medium low and heat through. Add the garlic and herb spreadable cheese. Stir to completely incorporate through. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer 5 – 10 minutes. Add basil the last few minutes and stir (if using fresh basil, wait until ready to serve.

Mix pasta with sauce, in batches, stirring to combine with each batch. Top with favorite Parmesan. Serve with crusty bread.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Chianti
Malbec
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese

Serves 8
Total time: 40 minutes

photo (5)

*Original Serves-4 Recipe

Corner- Cutting Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti

Chicken parmesan is one of those enveloping comfort foods. And let me tell you, today I needed some comfort food! It was just one of those days, heck, it’s already been one of those years. It started two days before Christmas and again on Christmas morning with a major plumbing leak in the family room. Next, with the very start of demolition asbestos was detected. That prompted us 1) not being able to use our kitchen (or even enter it) for 48 hours, and then a move-out to a hotel for about 4 days. All of the nights at the hotel, my usual 5:00 a.m. girl slept way past that. When we finally get back into our house all of that changes and girlfriend brought herself into our room at 5:15 this fine Sunday morning. Sometimes there is just not enough coffee in the world. Sometimes one just needs a major food hug. And sometimes one that has been a mite grumpy needs to share that food hug with those that she was grumpy with. In walks my corner-cutting chicken parmesan with spaghetti. The Italians have really got this food hug thing down!

Ingredients:

4 oz uncooked spaghetti
2 (14.5 oz) cans unsalted diced tomatoes
1 1/2 Tbs olive oil, divided
6 cloves garlic diced (time saver tip: use jarred minced garlic, such as Spice World)
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
3 Tbs finely chopped basil (time saver tip: one of my fave products  – Gourmet Garden Basil Paste, it’s amazing!)
4 skinless chicken breast tenders
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1 tsp butter
4 oz shredded mozzarella

Preparation:

Cook pasta according to package directions,omitting salt and fat; drain.

While pasta cooks, empty cans of tomatoes in food processor; process until almost smooth.  Heat saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add 1½ tsp oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute, or until fragrant, stirring occasionally.  Add tomatoes and 3/8 tsp salt; cook 15 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.  Stir in basil (or basil paste).  Toss 1 cup sauce with pasta, keep warm.

While sauce cooks, combine flour, garlic powder, and remaining 1/8 tsp salt in a large ziploc bag.  Add tenders one at a time and shake bag to coat.  Shake off any excess flour mixture.  Place lightly beaten egg in shallow dish.  Place Italian bread crumbs in another shallow dish.  Dip tenders in egg mixture and then dredge in bread crumbs.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add remaining 1 Tbs oil and butter to pan; swirl until butter melts.  Add chicken to pay; cook approximately 4 minutes on each side, or until browned and cooked through.  Place chicken on a backing sheet, top with mozzarella.  Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts.  Serve over pasta with sauce spooned over chicken.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Merlot
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4

Total time: 45 minutes

Chicken Parmesan

*Original Serves-4 recipe

One-Pan Chicken

Sometimes you just need dinner on the table fast, I’m talking lickety split fast. There are so many recipes out there (Hello, Rachel Ray) that insist they can be done in 30 minutes.  Maybe, if you have someone put all of the needed items in convenient, easy to reach locations.  And that’s a huge pet peeve for me because when I’m planning the menu for the week, the amount of time it takes to put dinner on the table is definitely something I look at, and count on being accurate.  Well, my friends, this is lickety split fast, and that you can count on!

Ingredients:

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (Time saver alert!  Buy pre-minced)
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms (Time saver alert!  Buy pre-sliced)
1/2 Tbs Italian seasoning
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste.  To a large nonstick pan add olive oil and swirl to coat.  Heat pan to medium.  When hot, add chicken and cook 5-10 minutes until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Remove chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm.  Add garlic to pain and cook 2-3 minutes or until garlic is fragrant.  Add tomatoes, mushrooms, and Italian seasoning.  Cook for about 3 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by half.  Put chicken back in pan and cover with sauce.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese just before serving.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Chianti
Grenache
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese

Serves 4

Total time: 35 minutes

One-Pan Chicken

One-Pan Chicken

*Original Serves-4 Recipe

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