Monday, April 20, 2009

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This is one of my mother's old standby recipes. It always tastes good when you're in the mood for faux mexican.

3-4 large chicken breasts 1 teaspoon sugar
1 c. chopped onion 1 teaspoon cumin
3 cloves garlic 1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 Tablespoons butter 1/2 teaspoon basil
1 16 oz. can tomatoes 12 oz. bag tortilla chips
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce 2 1/2 cup shredded jack cheese
1/4 c. chopped yellow chilies 1/2 - 1 cup sour cream

In a sauce pan, simmer chicken breasts in water to cover 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain, carefully remove skin and bones and shred chicken into bite size pieces. In a sauce pan, saute onions and garlic in butter until tender. In a cassarole dish or crock pot combine the cooked garlic and onions, tomatoes, tomatoe sauce, chopped chilies, sugar, cumin salt, oregano basil and chicken. (If cooking in a crock pot, the chicken doesn't need to be precooked if it will be cooked for several hours). Heat thoroughly (30 min at 375 in oven). This mixture should be somewhat watery at this stage.
Add sour cream, jack cheese and tortilla chips, mix well and cook for another 10 - 15 minutes or until hot.

Changes: I have to change this recipe around because of availability issues and because I like WAY more veggies than my mom does. I usually drop the chicken breasts down to 2, instead of tomato sauce I take another can of canned tomatoes and blend them, and throw those in instead. We can't get yellow chilies, so in goes a few pieces of canned jalapeno(diced). I like to add about half a can of canned corn and a whole bunch of chopped green peppers in(I fry them up with the onions and garlic). Toy with it however you like. My potato lovin', wish-I-could-eat-casserole-all-the-time husband REALLY likes this recipe.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Let me preface this by saying that there are two strong reasons for cooking Pulpeta: One, there was an entire Cosby Show subplot involving Claire keeping Dr Huxtable from eating Pulpeta because she wanted him to have one leaf of lettuce and a rice cake; Two, it is Cuban, and therefore delicious, just like my husband. Pulpeta is, essentially, a braised and fried meatloaf stuffed with eggs and covered with bacon. Now that I typed that, I realize that I don't need to preface that at all. It should speak for itself. Here is how I make it:

1 pound of ground meat. (You can use a combo of meats, or just stick with what is in your fridge.)
1 T salt
1 T pepper
1 t Mural of Flavor from Penzeys, or just use Italian seasoning and a little extra garlic.
Liberal dump of powdered garlic (not garlic salt.)
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 beaten eggs
2 C Panko or fine bread crumbs
2 hard-boiled eggs
Olive oil
1 (Or more if you are big onion eaters) large onion, thinly sliced
6 bay leaves (If you are cheap with your bay you can reduce this.)
1/2 C water or apple juice
1 C beef stock

Mix all of the meat and spices (not the bay leaves) and W sauce together in a big bowl. Use your hands. Add the beaten eggs and enough Panko to make it thick and roll-able.

Flatten it out into a 10"x4" rectangle. Put the hardboiled eggs in the middle. Shape the meat around it, and mold it into a loaf, making sure the ends are all sealed up. Roll it in more panko.

In a heavy casserole pan pour some oil and heat until fragrant. Brown the loaf on all sides, and take out of pan.

In the same pan, sautee the onions until they are golden. Add the loaf back in, pour the liquids and the bay leaves in. Artfully stick some bacon slices on top of the loaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. (If you are freaking out about meat, use a meat thermometer to make sure it is cooked through. You baby.)

Remove loaf from pan, let sit for a few minutes, then slice into thick slices and serve with the hot sauce. Or serve cold as a sandwich. Either way, while you eat you must discuss how Fidel is ruining the homeland for everyone and how you want to punch those kids who wear Che TShirts in the throat.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Tomato, Bean and Fried Basil Salad

Tomato, Bean and Fried Basil Salad
serves four
from Best Ever Three and Four Ingredient Cookbook

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
11oz cherry tomatoes, halved
14 oz cans mixed beans, drained and rinsed (I used pinto)
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and ground black pepper

Reserve one third of the basil leaves for garnish, then tear the remainder into pieces. Pour the olive oil into a small pan. Add the torn basil and heat gently for 1 minute, until the basil sizzles and begins to color.

Place the halved cherry tomatoes and beans in a bowl. Pour in the basil oil and add a little salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Toss the ingredients together gently, cover and leave to marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Serve the salad sprinkled with the remaining basil leaves.

Scarlett's Garlic Pasta

Scarlett's Garlic Pasta

Wheat Spaghetti Noodles
Red Pepper flakes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Italian Seasoning
Olive oil

Boil the pasta in some salt and olive oil, drain, set aside.

In a pan (I prefer a wok) heat 5Tbsp (depending on amount of pasta) of Olive Oil on med-high heat. Quickly add garlic (lots), kosher salt, a sprinkle or two of red pepper flakes, kosher salt and pepper. The garlic will quickly turn golden (careful not to burn it). Add in the pasta.

Stir in a dash or two (however you like it) of Italian seasoning, thyme, more pepper and salt as needed. Heat thoroughly and eat.

Orange, Soy-marinated Chicken

Orange, Soy-marinated Chicken
serves four
from Best Ever Three and Four Ingredient Cookbook

4 skinless, chicken breast fillets (we don't eat much so I only used two)
1 large orange
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
14 oz medium asparagus spears

Slash each chicken portion diagonly and place them in a single layer in a shallow, ovenproof dish. Halve the orange, squeeze the juice from one half (I like my Braun electric juicer) and mix it with the soy sauce (I ended up doubling the marinade). Pour this over the chicken. Cut th eremaining orange into wedges and place these on the chicken. Cover and leave to marinate for several hours. (I would have done this the night before - but forgot - so mine marinated for about 2 hours)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Turn the chicken over and bake, uncovered for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over again and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until cooked through. (remember to check it)

Meanwhile, cut off any tough ends from teh asparagus and place in a frying pan. Pour in enough boiling water just to cover and cook gently for 3-4 minutes, until just tender. Drain and arrange on warmed plates, then top with the chicken an dorange wedges. Spoon over the cooking juices. Serve immediately.

We had this with freshly squeezed cara cara orange juice, Scarlett's garlic pasta, and the Tomato, Bean and Fried Basil salad.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Tagliatelle with Vegetable Ribbons

Tagliatelle with Vegetable Ribbons
serves four
from Best Ever Three and Four Ingredient Cookbook

2 large zucchinis
2 large carrots
9oz fresh egg tagliatelle
4 Tbsp garlic flavored olive oil
salt and ground black pepper

With a vegetable peeler cut the zucchini and carrots into long thin ribbons. Bring a large pan of salted water to boil, then add teh zucchini and carrot ribbons. Bring the water back to boil and boil for 30 seconds, then drain and set aside.

I use the same water to boil the pasta. Drain the pasta and return it to the pan. Add the vegetable ribbons, garlic flavored olive oil and seasoning and toss over a medium to high heat until the pasta and vegetables are glistening with oil. Serve the pasta immediately.

We had this with Ina Garten's Brussel Sprouts (yum) for dessert we had fresh strawberries with fresh cream (Ina's recipe)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Crab and Cucumber Wraps

Crab and Cucumber Wraps
serves two (but it served two adults and two little girls...and we had leftovers for the next day)
from Best Ever Three and Four Ingredient Cookbook

1/2 a cucumber (I like English cucumbers)
1 medium dressed crab (I used about half of those real crab tubs from Costco)
4 small wheat tortillas (I ended up having enough for 6 tortillas)
8 Tbsp hoisin sauce (I just used as much as I wanted...I love that sauce)
ground black pepper
tabasco (optional - we like)

Cut the cucumber into small even-sized batons.

Lightly toss the crab meat with ground black pepper in a bowl.

Heat the tortillas gently, one at a time, in a heavy frying pan until they begin to color on each side.

Spread a tortilla with about 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce, then sprinkle with cucumber. Add crab meat down the center of each tortilla and roll up. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

We had this with the Avocado Soup.

Avocado Soup

Avocado Soup
serves 4
from Best Ever Three & Four Ingredient Cookbook

2 large ripe avocados
1/2 pint (or 1 1/4 cups) sour cream (I found the soy kind - it was awesome)
4 cups chicken stock
small bunch of fresh cilantro (if you like it - my family doesn't)
ground black pepper
crumbled bacon (from Costco)
shredded cheese (the kids and the hubby like cheese on everything)

Cut the avocados in half, remove the peel and lift out the pits. Chop the flesh coarsely and place it in a food processor with 3-4 Tbsp of the sour cream. Process until smooth.

Heat the chicken stock in a pan. when it is hot, but still below simmering point, stir in the rest of the cream.

Gradually stir the avocado mixture into the hot stock. Heat but do not let the mixture approach boiling point.

Chop the cilantro. Ladle the soup into individual heated bowls and sprinkle each portion with chopped cilantro, bacon, cheese and black pepper. Serve immediately.

We had this with the Crab and Cucumber Wraps.