Friday Recipe Exchange: What’s Cookin’ This Week

Chicken Biscuit Pie_Snapseed1

I thought this week I would again just review what I had cookin’ in my kitchen. And tonight’s feature recipe was inspired by a photo request mid-week. We get requests from time to time to use our photos. No surprise they are almost always JeffreyW’s. I believe there is even a Wikipedia entry that features one of his photos. This week it was a request to use his Enchilada Pie photo, seen below.

First up this week was Chicken and Buttermilk Biscuit Pie, pictured above and recipe here.

Next was Cream of Potato Cheese Soup, (full dinner menu, recipes and shopping list are here).

Bixby has been out of homemade treats since just before Christmas, so I decided it was time to make a batch of Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Cookies, recipe here. I had forgotten how much he liked them – he barely let me finish making them – bugged me the entire time. Speaking of cookies, the next night it was Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe here). I baked a dozen and then froze the rest as individual cookie dough balls to be baked later.

Speaking of Bixby, here is an update for the pet lovers, with bonus video.

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You can see why there was a request to use Jeffreyw’s photo above. Here is his recipe for Enchilada Montadas. For tonight’s featured recipes, a variation on enchiladas and black beans that is quick and easy to put together:

Enchilada Pie

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 20 oz. enchilada sauce
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, grated

skillet & 8×8 glass baking dish, lightly oiled

Add beef and onion to skillet and cook until beef is browned and onions are translucent. Add spices and sauces; let simmer while you prep tortillas. Tear tortillas into strips and use some to cover the bottom of a well-oiled casserole dish. Layer a portion of the beef mixture and cheese on top, then repeat (tortillas, beef, cheese) to fill up casserole; finish with layer of cheese. Bake 30 minutes at 350°

Black Bean Confetti

  • 14 oz can black beans
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Dash of limejuice

saucepans & large serving bowl or platter

In saucepan, add ingredients (except limejuice) and heat on medium. Toss with limejuice and serve.

That’s it for this week. There seems to be a pretty big game this weekend – I was asked who I was cheering for, since I have family and friends in New England and of course live in Colorado – my response: unless it’s the Red Sox, I am Switzerland. So good to everyone. And to those in the path of the big storm, stay safe and warm. – TaMara

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Dinner Menu: Enchilada Pie and Black Bean Confetti

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We are expecting snow tonight, I’m hoping it be a quick, brief storm and spring will soon be in full swing and the green up will begin. I’m tired of brown everywhere. I should go out and grab some forsythia branches and force them indoors. If you’ve never done it, it can be a treat and it’s very easy. You cut a few branches, bring them indoors, submerge them in warm water. Under water, cut about an inch off the stems and they’ll bloom in a day or two. It helps if you cut the stems once or twice more, under water, to keep them soaking up the water. Now you’ll have a little bit of spring in your house. You can do this will pussy willows, too.

For this week’s dinner menu, this is one of my recipes from my kid-friendly series. It’s quick, easy and full of flavor. And I finish it off with banana sundaes, one of my favorite things, it takes hot fudge sundaes up a notch when you add sliced bananas.

On the board tonight:

  1. Enchilada Pie
  2. Vegetable Tray
  3. Black Bean Confetti
  4. Banana Sundaes

Enchilada Pie

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 20 oz. enchilada sauce
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, grated

skillet & 8×8 glass baking dish, lightly oiled

Add beef and onion to skillet and cook until beef is browned and onions are translucent. Add spices and sauces; let simmer while you prep tortillas. Tear tortillas into strips and use some to cover the bottom of a well-oiled casserole dish. Layer a portion of the beef mixture and cheese on top, then repeat (tortillas, beef, cheese) to fill up casserole; finish with layer of cheese. Bake 30 minutes at 350°

Black Bean Confetti

  • 14 oz can black beans
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Dash of limejuice

saucepans & large serving bowl or platter

In saucepan, add ingredients (except limejuice) and heat on medium. Toss with limejuice and serve.

Banana Sundaes

  • Half gallon vanilla ice cream
  • 2 bananas
  • Favorite chocolate sauce (I prefer Hershey’s but some prefer the thicker hot fudge sauce)
  • Walnuts, chopped into large pieces
  • Whipped cream (opt, and if you’re going to do it, it’s most fun using the spray can cream)

4 dessert bowls

Scoop ice cream into bowls. Peel and cut bananas in half, then quarter each half, lengthwise. Place four slices around the sides of the bowl, tucking down into the ice cream to help them stand. Pour a generous amount of chocolate on the ice cream and top with walnuts and whip cream.

Shopping List:

  • Vegetable tray fixins
  • Vegetable dips & dressings
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ large onion
  • 20 oz. enchilada sauce
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 8 oz grated cheddar cheese
  • 14 oz can black beans
  • ½ green pepper
  • ½ red pepper
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 stalk celery
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Half gallon vanilla ice cream
  • 2 bananas
  • Favorite chocolate sauce (I prefer Hershey’s but some prefer the thicker hot fudge sauce)
  • 8 oz Walnuts, chopped into large pieces
  • Whipped cream

Mexican Lasagna

I thawed some ground beef the other day and surfed around for a recipe that was new to me, I didn’t want the usual hamburgers or chili or whatever.  This recipe for “Mexican Lasagna” caught my eye.  I scrolled through the ingredient list and had most of it, enough to make it work.  I had a can of mushroom soup but no cream of celery, and I had enough leftover enchilada sauce from the last Tex-Mex dinner we had to add to the soup for the sauce.  I thought that the beef would do and didn’t worry about the lack of pork sausage.  The rest of the recipe went pretty much as written.  The sauce from the mushroom soup and the enchilada sauce gave me pause but I went with it  anyway, the can was opened and I did need to use up the enchilada sauce.  I may go with a mole sauce from dried peppers the next batch.  Yes, there will be a next batch, this stuff was seriously good.  I didn’t skimp on the cheese.DSC_4651 [1600x1200]It was really smelling nice, fresh out of the oven like this, I wondered how long to let it sit, if you try to plate up Italian lasagna fresh from the oven the layers all slump together.  Tasty, sure, but not as pretty (read photogenic) as when it is allowed to rest for twenty minutes or more.  I gave it five minutes.DSC_4654 [1600x1200]The corn tortillas worked pretty well, I didn’t try to fry them first, they were just laid into the casserole straight from the package.  I may try to crisp them in oil the next time, or try some of the packaged tostadas I saw at the International grocery last time we were over there.  Those are like big round nacho chips.

Like traditional lasagna, this stuff was even better the next day.

Thursday Night Menu: Countdown to Spring Edition

Star Trek Enterprise from 2010 - Can't wait to see what Irises my friend has in her garden this year.

It’s that time of year when we are getting our gardens ready for the spring planting. The garden shops beckon, the seed catalogs tantalize and black dirt looks inviting. JeffW is taking stock of his root cellar to see what he needs to plant this year, I’m hoping for a better crop of tomatoes and my garden buddy is readying her beds for a dazzling floral display again this year. I saw my first crocus yesterday. Spring is less than 72 hours away, what plans do you have for your garden this year and are you as excited as I am to get back into the garden?

It looks like the weather will be warm and sunny all weekend for many of us. I can’t imagine anyone will want to spend too much time in the kitchen, so I pulled out a kid friendly menu that is quick and easy. The Enchilada Pie recipe is from one of my brothers, it’s very tasty and the kids love it, which is always a plus. All the flavor of enchiladas without all the work. I love black beans and the Black Bean Confetti adds a bit of color and a variety of flavors to make it a tasty side – and I have no idea why I insist on calling it confetti, except it looks festive when it’s all together. A raw vegetable tray with some favorite dressings rounds things out. And we end the meal with Banana Sundaes. These are based on great sundaes I used to get as a kid at a restaurant near our house on Cape Cod. I’m pretty sure they made their own ice cream. I figured if I was going to do a kid’s menu, might as well go all out and relive a little of my childhood, too.

On the board tonight:

  1. Enchilada Pie
  2. Vegetable Tray
  3. Black Bean Confetti
  4. Banana Sundaes

Enchilada Pie

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 20 oz. enchilada sauce
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, grated

skillet & 8×8 glass baking dish, lightly oiled

Add beef and onion to skillet and cook until beef is browned and onions are translucent. Add spices and sauces; let simmer while you prep tortillas. Tear tortillas into strips and use some to cover the bottom of a well-oiled casserole dish. Layer a portion of the beef mixture and cheese on top, then repeat (tortillas, beef, cheese) to fill up casserole; finish with layer of cheese. Bake 30 minutes at 350°

Black Bean Confetti

  • 14 oz can black beans
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Dash of limejuice

saucepans & large serving bowl or platter

In saucepan, add ingredients (except limejuice) and heat on medium. Toss with limejuice and serve.

Banana Sundaes

  • Half gallon vanilla ice cream
  • 2 bananas
  • Favorite chocolate sauce (I prefer Hershey’s but some prefer the thicker hot fudge sauce)
  • Walnuts, chopped into large pieces
  • Whipped cream (opt, and if you’re going to do it, it’s most fun using the spray can cream)

4 dessert bowls

Scoop ice cream into bowls. Peel and cut bananas in half, then quarter each half, lengthwise. Place four slices around the sides of the bowl, tucking down into the ice cream to help them stand. Pour a generous amount of chocolate on the ice cream and top with walnuts and whip cream.

Shopping List:

  • Vegetable tray fixins
  • Vegetable dips & dressings
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ large onion
  • 20 oz. enchilada sauce
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 8 oz grated cheddar cheese
  • 14 oz can black beans
  • ½ green pepper
  • ½ red pepper
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 stalk celery
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Half gallon vanilla ice cream
  • 2 bananas
  • Favorite chocolate sauce (I prefer Hershey’s but some prefer the thicker hot fudge sauce)
  • 8 oz Walnuts, chopped into large pieces
  • Whipped cream

Also: salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper, limejuice

Carnitas

Lazy Sunday.  I went to the store this morning and was thinking it was Saturday until I got there.  Made no difference for the grocery trip because they are open Sunday mornings.  I was going to buy some beer to cook the refried beans I had planned but the blue laws restrict beer sales until after noon.  I had some stout beer at home so I wasn’t too bummed.  I think it worked fine.

I wanted to do a South Western themed dinner but didn’t want to do the usual nachos.  I have some roast pork put up in Mason jars that I figured would make great carnitas.

Carnitas, literally “little meats”, is a type of braised or roasted (often after first being simmered) pork in Mexican cuisine

…Prior to serving, the pork, along with some of the rendered liquid, is placed in fairly shallow pans to maximize surface area, then roasted at high (375 to 425 °F or 190 to 220 °C) heat for a few minutes to produce the desired alternating texture of succulent softness and caramelized crispness.

–via Wikipedia

I was right, the canned pork came out great, some crispy brown edges and butter tender.  Yummy!  Traditionally served on corn tortillas but the fried flour tortillas worked fine.

The refried beans were simple enough, start some onions in oil, sprinkle in some cumin seeds and add some minced garlic and a minced jalapeno.  Then dump in a couple of cans of pinto beans and use a potato masher to mash half of them into mush.  Simmer the mixture for an hour or more, adding beer (or chicken stock) as needed to keep them from drying out.  They need stirring pretty often to keep the beans from sticking.

Enchiladas were tortillas stuffed with chorizo sausage, onions, cheese, and a bit of ancho sauce.  Cover the stuffed rolls with a cheese sauce, enchilada sauce, drizzle some ancho sauce on, bake at 350 for 30 minutes then sprinkle some shredded cheese on top and return to the heat.

The guacamole was about as uncomplicated as it could be:  Mash two avocados with some finely chopped onion and the juice of a lime, add a teaspoon of salt–Ta Da!

Enjoy!

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