Chicken Chilaquiles or Mexican Lasagna?

Gret and I tried this recipe earlier in the week.  I'd give the results a 2 of 5.  If you wanted to try this I'd highly recommend using only 6 or 8 of the corn tortillas and make a bit more of the tomatillo sauce because I think the recipe, as described, comes out too dry.

Chicken Chilaquiles

2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken ***
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers, divided
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (11-ounce) can tomatillos, drained
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
 Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine chicken, green onions, 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, Parmesan, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Place milk and next 3 ingredients (through chiles) in a food processor or blender; process until smooth.

Heat tortillas according to package directions. Pour 1/3 cup tomatillo mixture into bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 corn tortillas in dish, and top with half of chicken mixture. Repeat layer with remaining tortillas and chicken mixture, ending with tortillas.

Pour remaining 1 1/2 cups tomatillo mixture over tortillas; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Yield

4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 347(28% from fat); FAT 10.9g (sat 4.5g,mono 2.9g,poly 1.9g); PROTEIN 30.9g; CHOLESTEROL 79mg; CALCIUM 272mg; SODIUM 560mg; FIBER 5.9g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 33.3g

A Parting Gift for Microsofties: Free Mocha

I realized that there were so many blog entries I hadn't written about life at Microsoft. Of all the posts I had in mind I think this has to be the most important since it has to do with free caffine.  We all know that Microsoft has those swanky iCup machines from starbucks, but did you know you can make yourself a really good mocha as well as drip coffee?

Step One: Make a short "left side" coffee

Step Two: Make a short cocoa… I bet you know where this is going now.

Step Three: Combine cocoa and coffee to desired level of mocha-ness. I prefer to pour about 50% of the cocoa into the coffee since I like my mocha's less sweet. 

And that's my parting gift to anyone at Microsoft who hasn't discovered this delicacy.

 

Stovetop Sausage Mac and Cheese

I've made this simple recipe a few times now since I spotted it in Cooking Light.  It's one of those where you question the "light-ness", but you really don't need a larger serving since it's very filling. 

The one change I'd recommend to the recipe below is using hot or spicy Italian sausage instead of the sun-dried tomato sausages.  It gives this recipe a bit more of a kick.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

4 ounces chicken and sun-dried tomato sausage (such as Gerhard's), chopped
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup (about 1 1/3 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
5 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Preparation

Heat a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausage; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Combine milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in cheeses, onion powder, and garlic salt; cook 3 minutes or until cheeses melt, stirring constantly. Stir in pasta. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

Yield

4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 433(29% from fat); FAT 13.9g (sat 7.8g,mono 3.8g,poly 0.9g); PROTEIN 23.6g; CHOLESTEROL 56mg; CALCIUM 340mg; SODIUM 538mg; FIBER 2.7g; IRON 2.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 53.1g

Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce

This recipe was great but there are couple of things I'd recommend.  You only get four servings with what you see below.  For all the effort I'd recommend doubling up so you can freeze some or serve a larger crowd.  I also think a stew like this could use some starch so some cubed potatoes might had added a lot.  Other than that the stew was a fantastic 4 of 5 as long as you know it's going to take you a while to make.

Via Food & Wine

ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef from the flatiron part of the shoulder
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 15 cipollini or pearl onions
  • 15 cremini mushrooms
  • 15 baby carrots
  • 5-ounce piece of pancetta
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Dash of sugar
  • Chopped fresh parsley
directions
  1. For many Americans, the quintessential French stew is boeuf bourguignon—beef cooked in Burgundy red wine. The stew, featured regularly at my mother’s restaurant, was made from tougher, cheaper cuts of beef, which had to be braised a long time to get tender and to stay moist.
  2. For my beef stew, I like to use a special piece of the shoulder called the flatiron steak. This long, narrow piece is extremely lean, tender and moist, and it makes an ideal stew. I do not use stock, demiglace or even water. I make my stew strictly with a robust red wine. This rich, winey beef stew is always a hit with my chef friends.
  3. Buy about 2 pounds of beef from the flatiron part of the shoulder. Remove the skin or sinew from the top. Alternatively, use lean beef chuck in the same manner. Cut the meat into 8 pieces.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a cast-iron pot that is attractive enough for the table. Arrange the meat in one layer in the pot, and season it with salt and pepper. Cook on top of the stove over high heat for about 8 minutes, browning the meat on all sides.
  5. Add 1 cup of finely chopped onion and 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic. Cook over moderate heat for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 tablespoon of flour. Mix in well so that the flour doesn’t form lumps. Stir in 1 bottle of red wine. Add 2 bay leaves, a sprig of fresh thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir well and cover.
  6. Place the pot in the oven and continue to cook for about 1 1/2 hours; the meat should be soft and tender and the liquid properly reduced. The recipe can be prepared to this point up to a day ahead.
  7. For the garnishes, peel 15 cipollini or pearl onions, wash 15 cremini mushrooms and peel 15 baby carrots. For the lardons, you will need one 5-ounce piece of pancetta. Bring the pancetta and 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan and simmer for about 30 minutes; drain. Cut the pancetta into 1/2-inch slices and then cut the slices into 1-inch-wide lardons.
  8. Combine the onions, mushrooms, carrots and pancetta in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 cup of water and a good dash each of sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes; at this point, there should be practically no water left. Uncover and cook over high heat, sautéing the vegetables until nicely browned on all sides, about 4 minutes.
  9. To serve, mix some of the vegetables and lardons into the stew and sprinkle the rest on top as a garnish. Add a little chopped fresh parsley and serve.

Southern Cornbread with Molasses-Bourbon Butter

Last weekend we made this recipe for corn bread and the accompanying butter spread to go with stew.  The corn bread recipe itself seemed a little pedestrian so we kicked it up a notch and made more of a Mexican corn bread by adding real corn kernels and diced jalapeno peppers.  I'd give the bread 3 of 5 stars.

The butter, on the other hand, was a great touch.  The reviews on cooking light are correct that the molasses-bourbon combo can be a bit overpowering, but using a little less than what's called for and giving it a day or so to gel together made a big difference.  4 out of 5 for the spread.

From Cooking Light

 

2/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 ounces)
1 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fat-free buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
5 tablespoons butter, softened and divided
2 teaspoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon bourbon
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Preheat oven to 425°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk and egg; stir just until combined.

Place an 8-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven for 5 minutes, and remove from oven. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons butter to pan; swirl to melt and lightly grease pan. Stir melted butter into batter. Add batter to preheated pan. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan. Slice into 8 wedges.

Combine remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, molasses, bourbon, and rind in a small bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until combined (about 1 minute). Serve butter with warm corn bread.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 corn bread wedge and about 1 teaspoon butter)

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 231(30% from fat); FAT 7.8g (sat 4.7g,mono 2.1g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 5.4g; CHOLESTEROL 46mg; CALCIUM 118mg; SODIUM 349mg; FIBER 1g; IRON 1.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 33.5g

Sea Scallops in Chanpagne Sauce

Last week Gret and I made the Scallops in Champagne Sauce.  We served a simple salad on the side.  Make sure your skillet is hot enough to brown each side of the scallop so you get the proper texture when making this.  This one gets a 4 out of five. The sauce was great.

 

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 4 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1/2 cup Champagne or sparkling wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel. Add scallops to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Add mushrooms and shallots to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms darken. Stir in Champagne, mustard, salt, and tarragon, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream. Serve with scallops.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 4 ounces scallops and 3 tablespoons sauce)
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 238(33% from fat); FAT 8.6g (sat 2g,mono 3.9g,poly 1.1g); PROTEIN 30.3g; CHOLESTEROL 64mg; CALCIUM 76mg; SODIUM 534mg; FIBER 0.4g; IRON 1.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 8.1g

Grandpa Klima’s Beef and Beer Chili

This is an old family recipe that's always won rave reviews from guests. Best served with saltines, some shredded cheddar, and some corn bread. 

  • 3-3.5 lbs lean hamburger
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 1 32oz can tomatoes sauce
  • 1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes (with green chili's)
  • 1 16 oz can of dark red kidney beans
  • 1 tbs masa flour
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 6 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 heaping tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 12 oz beer
  • 12 oz water

Saute hamburger, onion, and green pepper in large skillet. Add tomatoes sauce and diced tomatoes to a large pot with beer and water.  Grandpa used Budwieser, but for a more refined flavor choose a dark micro-brew of your choice.  🙂 Drain the hamburger and add it to the large pot and bring to a simmer.  Add the spices and simmer for 1 hour. Add the kidney beans and simmer for another 30 minutes. 

Enjoy!

Quick Vodka Chicken Cream Pasta

Got this from the Rachael Ray 30-minute meal book.  The basic recipe is simple and easy, almost too easy. So I'd recommend adding some chicken or sausage chunks. Gret and I have also learned that (out of necessity) raspberry vodka will work as well. 🙂

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn

Crusty bread, for passing

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.

Easy Fig and Blue Cheese Pork Tenderloin Roll

For Christmas Gretchen got me a subscription to cooking light magazine to help inspire some fun meals. Our goal is to pick two recipes each month to try out.  Last night we gave this one a try. I agree with the 5 of 5 star user ratings. 


This was totally easy. Slice open tenderloin roll, pound down to a roll-able thickness, wrap up dried figs and blue cheese crumbles, and cook for 25 minutes.  You get four servings of 274 calories each.  We served with a simple salad and wild rice on the side with a sangiovesi.


1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 cup dried figs, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 Cooking spray
1 tablespoon apple jelly, melted


Preheat oven to 450°.
Slice the pork in half lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side. Open the halves, laying pork flat. Place pork between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle figs and blue cheese over pork, leaving a 1/2-inch margin around outside edges. Roll up the pork, jelly-roll fashion, starting with long side. Secure at 2-inch intervals with twine. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper, and place on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.


Bake at 450° for 20 minutes. Brush jelly over the pork. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink). Let stand for 10 minutes. Discard twine; cut pork into 12 (1-inch-thick) slices.


Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 slices)