Jun 032013
 

One of my favorite summer recipes is Zucchini and Black Bean Enchiladas.  But zucchini isn’t quite in season yet, so I decided to try a different version.  No matter what you stuff in the tortilla, I think the key to great enchiladas is homemade sauce.

This time I used Penzey’s Chili 9000 seasoning to make the enchilada sauce.  It is not too spicy, but does have a lot of flavor, with Ancho Chili Pepper, Cumin, Garlic, Cilantro, Onion, Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Lemon Peel, Mexican Oregano, Black Pepper, Cocoa Powder, Citric Acid, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Coriander, Ginger, Natural Smoke Flavoring, Fenugreek, Cloves, Fennel, Nutmeg, White Pepper, Anise Seed, Jalapeño Pepper, Star Anise, and Cardamom.  Don’t stress if you don’t have access to Penzey’s, just substitute a mix of chili powder and cumin and you’ll be all set.

The enchiladas themselves were also delicious, and will make great packed lunches for the week.  I still can’t wait to have the zucchini and black bean version again later this summer!

 

chicken spinach enchiladas

 

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

1 t minced garlic
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 T Penzey’s Chili 9000
1 c. vegetable or chicken broth
1 T canola oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 c. cooked shredded chicken
1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
6 tortilla, such as La Tortilla Factory
1 c. reduced fat shredded cheddar

To make the enchilada sauce, coat the bottom of a small saucepan with cooking spray.  Add minced garlic.  Cook just until beginning to brown, and then add tomato sauce, spice, and broth.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat canola oil.  Add onions and cook for 15-20 minutes on medium-low heat.  Add chicken, spinach, and 1 c. of the prepared enchilada sauce.  Simmer for 5 minutes, until heated through.

Coat the bottom of a 13×9″ dish with cooking spray.  Fill each tortilla with a heaping 1/2 c. of chicken mixture, and place seam side down in the dish.  Pour remaining enchilada sauce over filled tortillas.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.  Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

May 072013
 

As promised, here is one way which I enjoyed my Cilantro Lime Rice and Beans.  I was inspired by Closet Cooking’s Asparagus Huevos Rancheros, but I ditched the corn tortilla.  The layers include the rice and beans, freshly steamed asparagus, a fried egg, and sliced avocado.

You could add some salsa verde, or queso fresco, but I was very happy with this combination.  The other ingredients balanced the spice level of the rice, and this was both delicious and filling.  It could be breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

 

asparagushuevos

May 062013
 

I hope everyone had a great Cinco de Mayo.  I celebrated by making this dish, inspired by Closet Cooking’s Cilantro Lime Refried Beans.  It was great, but a lot spicier than I expected and had me reaching for a margarita!

The original recipe is a clever take on refried beans, using white beans instead of the traditional pinto beans.  The  cilantro and lime flavors are fresh, and perfect for spring.  The jalapeno adds the heat, but you can leave that out of course.

You could eat the rice and beans all by themselves, or along side something like Oven Fajitas.  I ended up using this dish as the base for another meal.  Come back tomorrow to see; you won’t be disappointed!

 

cilantrolimericebeans

 

Cilantro Lime Rice and Beans

1 T canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 t minced garlic
1 t cumin
1 (15 oz.) can white beans
1/2 c. water
1 c. cooked rice
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
2 T lime juice

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Add onion, and saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, until starting to brown.  Add pepper and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes more.  Add cumin and stir to mix.  Add beans and water, and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Using a potato masher, mash about 1/2 the beans in the pan.  Add cooked rice, cilantro, and lime juice and stir well.  Cook on Low until heated through.

-Adapted from Closet Cooking

Apr 082013
 

For those times when you want fajitas but don’t want to stand in front of the stove, this recipe from Budget Bytes is for you!  You mix your fajita ingredients, a blend of spices, and a bit of oil in a baking dish.  When it comes out of the oven, you give it a spritz of fresh lime juice.  It’s just like something you might get at your favorite Mexican restaurant.

The recipe is incredibly flexible; if you would like to make a vegetarian meal, just leave out the chicken.  I don’t like peppers, so I used a mix of 1 lb. chicken, 1 large onion, 1 large zucchini, and an 8 oz. package of sliced mushrooms.  I might even throw in some tomatoes next time.

The key to the flavor is the blend of spices including chili powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper.  I used an extra dash of cayenne so the mixture had some heat.  I served it on a whole grain tortilla with cheese, which cooled things down a bit.  This made lunches for the week, but would also be a good dish to serve for your next fiesta!

 

 

Feb 052013
 

I was headed to a Superbowl party this year, and asked to make a meaty chili. I had to try a new recipe of course, and I used this Hearty Halftime Chili as a springboard.  I also wanted to use my Penzey’s Chili 3000!

The chili was served as part of a mashed potato bar at the party, which was a really fun idea! There were mashed potatoes, both meaty and vegetarian chili, and tons of other toppings. This was just my first bowl.

 

 

This chili came out pretty well – it was nice and thick which was perfect to use as a topping.  You could definitely stretch out the number of servings by adding some tomato sauce to the pot.  The chili also had a nice kick from the chili powder and cayenne, and the Italian sausage of course.  The goal was a chili that would please a crowd of Superbowl watchers. Since I took home an empty serving bowl, I think it was a success.

 

Meaty Superbowl Chili

1 lb. ground chicken
1 lb. ground Italian sausage (mild)
2 small onions, chopped
1 T minced garlic
2 T Chili 3000
1 t cumin
1/2 t cinnamon
2 T cocoa powder
1/4 t cayenne pepper
28 oz. diced tomatoes in juice
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
2 (15 oz.) can beans, rinsed and drained

Place the chicken, sausage, onions, garlic, chili powder, and cumin in a large pot.  Cook until meat is well browned.  Drain any excess fat.  Add remaining spices and tomatoes, and heat until the chili simmers.  Add beans, cover, and cook on low heat for 30-60 minutes.