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Monday, September 26, 2011

Chicken, Corn, and Sour Cream Enchiladas

I've made these twice now in the past two weeks and they are seriously delicious. They are easy to make and can be doubled with little effort if you need to feed an army. They are also very forgiving, so if you don't like an ingredient or ran out of something before making, just replace it with something else.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 ears of corn cut off the cob
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo sauce
8 ounces sour cream
2-4 ounces diced green chiles (canned)
2 green onions, diced
8 ounces colby-jack cheese, grated
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
2 cups enchilada sauce, canned
12 small tortillas (corn or flour)

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Meanwhile, mix together the cumin, garlic powder, and taco seasoning in a small bowl. Sprinkle each side of the chicken with salt, pepper, and spice mixture. Place chicken in skillet and cook chicken breasts for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove from pan and shred once cooled. Place chicken in a medium-large bowl. Set aside.

Keep the pan on medium heat and add the onion, corn, and salt and pepper and saute, stirring, until onions are softened. Add the adobo sauce and stir together. Remove from heat and add the corn/onion mixture to the chicken.  Once somewhat cooled, add the sour cream**, diced green chiles, green onions, and 1/3 of the grated cheese. Stir together and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread 1/2 a cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pyrex. Heat the tortillas so they are more pliable. Place some of the filling in the middle of the tortilla, sprinkle some cheese on top, and roll tightly like a burrito. Place seam-down in the pan. Repeat with rest of tortillas, filling, and cheese, leaving about 1/2 a cup of cheese for the end. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce evenly on top of the rolled enchiladas. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.

Remove from oven and serve with a dollop of sour cream on top and rice and beans on the side. Mmm.

** So, another option to make these rich and creamy is to take out half of the sour cream and replace it with half of a can of condensed cream of chicken soup. May sound gross, but its to die for.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Congo Bars

So, I've recently been in the mood to try out some new sweet treats. I was looking online and found a number of recipes for "Congo Bars" which are essentially a mix between blondies and 7-layer bars... I am in love with both, so I thought I'd try these out. I used a few recipes and mixed and matched parts from each. The result was a yummy and very chewy cookie/brownie. As you can see in the picture, these are more chewy than they are ooey gooey. They could be made with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, or any combination of the three (I did a combo). They were quite good, very easy to make, and bake in 30 minutes!

- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup butter, melted
- 2 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 3 eggs
- 1 generous teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup ground walnuts
- 1/2 cup coconut
- 1 1/2 cup chocolate/butterscotch chips

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl stir together the melted butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs and beat together with a wooden spoon. Add the vanilla and stir together. Add the dry ingredients and stir until almost combined. Add the nuts, coconut, and chips and stir together until incorporated.

Pour into a tin-foil-lined (and greased) 9x13 pan. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cut into squares and eat!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Salmon with Red Pepper Pesto

This is a very healthy, flavorful, and quick dinner! It was on the table in 10 minutes- start to finish! The red pepper pesto is very easy to make and would taste yummy on almost any fish or chicken. Mmm-mmm-mmm.

- 4 (6oz) filets of salmon
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- salt & pepper

Lightly grease (with spray or olive oil) a grill pan and place on medium-high heat. While warming up, prepare the salmon filets by sprinkling each side with salt and pepper. Place in grill pan and cook about 4 minutes per side, or until desired doneness.

Meanwhile, put the red peppers, tomato paste, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a food processor. Process until smooth.

Once fish is cooked through, plate and dollop the pesto on top. Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Okay, so when I first heard of this I was really skeptical. I am a HUGE fan of regular zucchini bread (my aunt makes the best around) and I was afraid to mess with a good thing. But my friend Stephanie (her blog here) made these and we frequently share recipes... I thought that if she deemed them worthy of trying, I could also take the risk.

The zucchini makes this bread/cake extra gooey and all the chocolate chips make it quite rich. Its not your typical zucchini bread and the dark color of the chocolate makes it nearly impossible to even see that there is any zucchini in it. And, of course, you cannot really taste the zucchini... its purpose is really for moisture. I looked online at a few recipes and added a few things, like more chocolate, some sour cream, and then some more chocolate, resulting in the recipe below. 

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup vegetable oil plus 2 tablespoons
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 eggs
2 cups grated zucchini
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Chop the unsweetened chocolate into small pieces and melt in a microwave, stirring every 15 seconds or so, until melted. Remove from microwave and pour into large mixing bowl. Add the oil, sugar, and eggs and beat with an electric mixer until combined. Add the zucchini, sour cream, and vanilla and beat to combine. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips to the dry ingredients. Pour the dry ingredients into the chocolate/zucchini batter and fold with a spatula just until combined.

Pour batter evenly into 2 lightly greased loaf pans (9x5) and bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Remove from oven when toothpick in the center comes out with small pieces of cake (not clean!).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tomato Soup

I have always loved tomato soup and often order it when I got out to eat for lunch, but I've never had a great recipe before... either it tastes really bitter, or too sweet, or too much like spaghetti sauce. I had read about the "bread trick" when making good tomato soup and decided I would try it out. Instead of having to use milk or heavy cream to make the soup rich and creamy, this recipe uses pieces of white bread blended into the soup to make a rich, creamy, non dairy/fattening soup. Delish!

4 tablespoons olive oil, separated
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
2 (28oz) cans whole tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
3 pieces white sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons brandy
salt & pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a dutch oven/soup pot on medium high until smoking. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf and cook, stirring, until translucent. Add the tomatoes, sugar, and basil, breaking up the tomatoes with a potato masher/whisk. Bring to a boil and add the bread pieces, cooking until the bread begins to break down. Remove bay leaf and discard.

Transfer half of the soup into a food processor, add 1 tablespoon of oil, and process until completely smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes). Pour into a separate bowl. Repeat with remaining soup and olive oil, blending until creamy. Rinse out pot and pour blended soup back into pot. Add the chicken broth and brandy and stir. Bring soup to boil and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in bowls and drizzle with olive oil. Eat with your favorite grilled cheese sandwich!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Spinach, Sausage, and Feta Frittata!

Oh boy. Oh geez. This... was... soooo good. I made this a few months ago to serve at a birthday brunch for a friend. It was very very good and 3 of us just about polished it off in one sitting. I am looking forward to making this again soon! (adapted from Bon Appetit)

- 1 package frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 8 ounces Italian sausage, broken into 1-inch pieces
- 8 large eggs
- 1/4 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- dash of salt
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray an 8x8 inch pyrex baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add sausage and saute until brown and cooked through, breaking up with a fork, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, salt and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Add the spinach and cooled sausage mixture, then feta; stir to combine. Transfer mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake frittata until set in center, 45-55 minutes. Let cool on rack for 15 minutes and slice frittata and serve on a platter.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I love Ina Garten. I've said it plenty before and I'm sure I'm not finished saying it. This is one of her recipes that I made for a work breakfast this past week. It was very easy to make, required no obscure ingredients and tasted out of this world. It is incredibly moist, due to the sour cream and extreme amount of butter, and when you cut into it, you find a lovely cinnamon-sugary butter layer in the middle. I added a few chopped walnuts to the streusel on top and enjoyed the extra crunch that they added. The maple glaze made this even more tasty. This is a winner!

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 extra large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, diced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a tube pan by greasing the bottom, and sides with butter and dusting with flour. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, scraping the sides as needed. Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat together.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry cake ingredients. Slowly add them to the cake batter, while beating on low, just until incorporated. Turn beaters off and slowly finish mixing the batter by folding it with a spatula. Do not over mix.

Meanwhile, make the streusel topping by stirring together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and crumble together the ingredients using your hands, until resembles a coarse wet sand-like mixture. Set aside (without adding the nuts).

Pour half of the batter into the bottom of the prepared tube pan and smooth with a spatula. Pour most of the streusel topping on top of the batter in an even layer and then pour the rest of the batter on top and smooth with a spatula. Add the nuts to the remaining streusel and sprinkle on top of batter.

Bake in oven for about 45-50 minutes, removing from oven just when toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes then remove and finish cooling on a rack.

Stir together the confectioners sugar and maple syrup until combined. Add water as needed so that it is a drizzle-able consistency. Once ready, pour over the cake. Slice and serve with a big mug of coffee.

Lemon Artichoke Hummus

I didn't snap a photo of this hummus, but I wanted to post it anyway because it was SO delicious. This recipe has a significant amount of artichoke hearts in it, which makes this hummus both light and tart. It is very very good. Make me! From

1 cup canned artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and dried
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons tahini, stirred well
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (14oz) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
pinch of cayenne

Combine lemon juice and water in small bowl. Whisk together tahini and olive oil in second bowl.

In a food processor, process the chickpeas, artichokes, garlic, salt, cayenne, and lemon zest in food processor until almost fully ground. Scrape down bowl with spatula. While machine is running, add lemon juice-water mixture in a steady stream through the feed tube. Scrape down bowl and continue to process for 1 minute. While machine is running, add the oil-tahini mixture in a steady stream through the feed tube; continue to process until smooth and creamy.

Spread into a bowl, garnish with olive oil, cayenne, and parsley. Serve with pita bread.