Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Enchiladas for everyone

It has been quite the week. Both cars function properly, after a slew of repairs. We finally replaced three windows in the house, and I can open the kitchen window for the first time ever! This caused a flurry of cleaning, and resulted in takeout tonight. However, I made Empty the Fridge Enchiladas last night, and here's the recipe:

2 t. olive oil
1 cup chopped, cooked meat
1 cup chopped, cooked vegetables
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 12-15 oz. can enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
4-5 small tortillas.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 8-in. square pan with cooking spray.
In a large saucepan, heat oil. Add meat, vegetables and beans. Cook, stirring occasionally.
Shred cheese, and open sauce.
Pour 1/4 of the sauce into the pan, and tilt pan to coat.
Pour 1/3 of the sauce into the saucepan, and stir to coat.
Heat tortillas for 15 to 20 seconds in microwave.
Add a heaping 1/2 cup of filling to each tortilla, and a tablespoon of grated cheese, and roll up, folding in the sides. Place, seam side down, in the pan. Repeat until pan is full. Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 min.

I happened to have leftover pork chops, roasted zucchini and onions, and a cob of sweet corn, so that combination worked well with the red enchilada sauce. I also paired this with some herbed arborio rice. As leftovers, the mixture was highly impressive! I'm going back for seconds!

This is a take on this recipe from Tea and Cookies, just reworked for any combo!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hatch chiles are here!

HyVee just got in their Hatch chiles for the year, and I bought a huge bag. At 2.99 a lb., they are worth every penny.

Thanks to Darla, I have a major appreciation for real chiles, and now can no longer buy the chiles in the can.... unless it's Hatch green chile sauce, and well, that's okay!

Hatch chiles come from Hatch, N.M. They are produced by local farmers, and have a limited distribution. So, by buying these guys, you're not only saving money, but supporting an industry that has invested generations of time into a small pepper.

Each year, I buy a bag of these at the store, roast them carefully on the stove burner, chop them up and freeze them for chili and enchiladas all year. One tip — wear gloves! These guys pack a punch and can leave your hands feeling as if they are on fire!

For more information on Hatch chiles and the community, check out this article from The Denver Post.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

August travels

Not much cooking lately... we've been too busy traveling the countryside of Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota, quaffing local brews and good food.

We ate at The Happy Gnome and The Muddy Pig, and there were others we missed, but these two really impressed, both in food and craft brew on tap. (Sweet corn bisque! Feta and olive tapenade bruschetta! Falling-off-the-bone pork ribs!!) I'm not sure what caused the plethora of interesting restaurant names, but most were in this Summit Hill area, which was very cute and included Northern Brewer.

We took the Great River Road most of the way back, and saw some great towns. McGregor, Iowa? Alma, Wis.? Shops, breweries, places to eat, great views. We'll be back, folks. No doubt about it.

The views from Route 52 northwest of Dubuque were also stunning. Rickardsville, Iowa – which boasts a population of 180-plus, about the size of the town nearest where I grew up – has the best views per capita of just about anywhere I've seen in Iowa.

And I would LOVE to show you the view, but my camera cord is hiding. No doubt in plain sight. Anyway, picture rolling green hills, sun shadows on valleys with farms tucked here and there, miniscule herds of cattle and a general sense of peace on the breeze. Is this heaven? Nope, still Iowa.

Anyway... in other news, we got home and life continued as per usual. I made a killer chicken tomato dish this past weekend, to reintroduce homemade food into the diet. I guess I could throw down the recipe while I'm here... :) We are overrun with tomatoes here, so thus, a tomato dish!

Killer Tomato Chicken with Pasta

Mince three cloves garlic and saute in 2 T olive oil. Add six small tomatoes, diced; one cooked chicken breast, diced; and 1/2 cup black olives, sliced in half. Add 1/2 cup of white wine, 3 cups water, 2 chicken boullion cubes, 1/2 t. Italian seasoning, 1/2 t. Greek seasoning (all the countries!) salt and pepper. Turn to low, and let simmer a half hour. Turn to high and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup of orzo pasta, and boil about 9 minutes. Serve over torn pieces of crusty bread in shallow bowls with a side of steamed green beans. Yum!