Chicken Enchiladas

30 Apr

I cooked up a STORM of freezer friendly meals over weeks leading up to Mia’s arrival last fall.  I found a recipe for the “best enchiladas ever” on Gimme Some Oven and was obviously intrigued.  I liked that the site also provided a recipe for enchilada sauce from scratch.  I don’t mind store-bought, but I really like knowing what is my food and being able to make adjustments accordingly.

Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe is great for parties too.  The theme of this year’s annual Sho-Yu holiday party was Mexican food, and this ended up being a great potluck dish!

Here’s the recipe, as adapted from Gimme Some Oven.  I highly recommend doubling the recipe, eating half for now and freezing the rest!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, shredded or diced into small 1/2-inch pieces (*see substitution below for making shredded chicken)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 13-15 corn tortillas
  • 3 cups Mexican-blend shredded cheese
  • 1 batch red enchilada sauce, or 1 can store-bought enchilada sauce
  • (optional: 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare your enchilada sauce, if making homemade.
  2. In large saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add cooked chicken and green chiles, and season with salt and pepper.  Sauté for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove from heat and set aside.

    Shredded Chicken with Sauteed Onions and Green Chiles

  3. To assemble the enchiladas, set up an assembly line including: tortillas, enchilada sauce, chicken mixture, and cheese. Lay out a tortilla, and spread two tablespoons of sauce over the surface of the tortilla.  Add a spoonful of the chicken mixture on top of the tortilla, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Roll up tortilla and place in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish, lined with foil for easy clean-up (unless you love really scraping melted cheese off your baking dishes). Repeat with the remaining ingredients.  Then spread the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the tortillas, and sprinkle on the remaining shredded cheese.

    Assembled and Sauced

  4. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve immediately, garnished with chopped fresh cilantro if desired.

    Ready for the Oven

*If you are using pre-cooked chicken, just leave it out of the saute and cook the onion and green chiles for 1 additional minute (instead of 6-8).  Once you remove the onion and green chiles from the heat, stir in the chicken (which should be shredded or chopped into bite-sized pieces).  You can find instructions on how to make shredded chicken here via slow cooker or stove top.

Shredded Chicken with a Batch of Enchilada Sauce

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Red Enchilada Sauce

27 Mar

Here’s another recipe made so much better with a touch of smoked paprika, and I also added a little tomato paste to give it a little touch of acidity.   The obsession is still going strong!

I found the original recipe is on Gimme Some Oven.  I’ll share the full enchilada recipe that I used it with soon!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or any other neutral oil)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and whisk together over the heat for one minute. Stir in the remaining seasonings (chili powder through smoked paprika).

    Stir in the Spices

  2. Stir in tomato paste until well incorporated. Then gradually add chicken stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened.
  3. Use immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.  Mason jars work well.

I’ve made this enchilada sauce a LOT in the last year and have subsequently gone through quite a few jars of chili powder.  I’ve tried Spice Islands, Simply Organic, Kroger, and McCormick.  And I have to say my favorite chili powder as of late is Target’s Market Pantry chili powder!  I’ve purchased two jars of it and have enjoyed the extra bit of kick it has compared to other chili powders both times.

Red Enchilada Sauce

Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree

3 Mar

I wanted to make a pasta dish that had sauce different from pesto, marinara, or bolognese, and Giada de Laurentiis’s healthy eggplant-based sauce sounded interesting!  The original recipe calls for mint instead of basil, but I thought basil would pair better with a protein.  I picked shrimp for this dish, but I think chicken would go just as well.

Here is the recipe as adapted from Giada’s.  If you want to eat this with meat, simply cook your meat through separately, cut into bite size pieces, and mix it in with the pasta and sauce.  I sauteed a pound of shrimp in a little oil, salt, and pepper and added it in during step 5.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pint (2 cups) cherry tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
  • 1 pound dried rigatoni pasta
  • 1 cup mushrooms, stems removed and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves, plus a couple extra, slivered, to finish
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the vegetables are tender and the eggplant is golden, about 35 minutes.

    Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes

  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water (salty like the ocean!) to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but a bit under done, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta but reserve 2 cups or so of the cooking water.
  4. Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor or blender. Add the torn basil leaves, mushrooms*, and additional 3 tablespoons olive oil. Blend until almost smooth.

    Ready to Pulverize

  5. Return the pasta to the cooking pot, pour sauce over it and about 1/2 cup of cooking water and cook together over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing occasionally to coat pasta evenly. Add more pasta cooking water a little at a time if needed to loosen the sauce.
  6. Transfer pasta and sauce to a serving bowl; garnish with extra herbs, pine nuts and parm, and serve.

*The original recipe didn’t call for mushrooms, but I had bought a package to throw in a vegetable soup and had some left over.  I had meant to roast them with the eggplant and tomatoes but forgot. I threw them in raw, and they soaked up all the sauce-y goodness once pureed, and cooked enough in step 5.  The mushrooms added a nice earthy compliment to the sauce, but simply omit if mushrooms aren’t your thing!

You can easily make this vegan by forgoing the cheese.

This was earthy and delicious!  I made this the first time a few months ago, while you could still get local eggplant and tomatoes.  I made this again recently, and the produce was from South America.  I didn’t enjoy it as much the second time around, as I think all that distance traveled to get to me made a difference in the taste.  I can’t wait for summer eggplant and tomato season to come around when eggplant and tomatoes are in their peak!!

Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree

Boeuf Bourguignon

28 Jan

Ever since I saw Julie and Julia years ago, I’ve wanted to try making boeuf bourguignon.  When Kevin and I visited Paris a couple years ago, we made sure to taste the authentically Parisian version of the dish.  As a new mom, “me time” these last few months has consisted of grocery shopping alone, working out once a week, and cooking.  My mother-in-law volunteered to watch Mia one Sunday morning so Kevin and I could have some time to ourselves.  Kev graciously used that time to scrub our house sparkling clean, and I decided to try my hand at the aforementioned quintessential French supper.  We are very exciting people, I know.

I had originally committed to using this recipe planning to use the slow cooker to finish the dish. However, Kevin kindly reminded me that I had yet to christen the Le Creuset dutch oven that we received as a wedding gift, so I decided to go that route.  It worked out because the prep took so much longer than anticipated that I would’ve missed the dinner window using the slow cooker anyway.  I’m also convinced that the dutch oven method yielded better results than the slow cooker would have.

This recipe is for the dutch oven method, so if you want the slow cooker version, you can find it here.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon (5 to 6 slices), diced
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds beef chuck roast, round roast, or other similar cut (don’t cut into cubes yet)*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for the meat
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups red wine, divided*
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 medium celery stalks, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock, plus more if necessary
  • 1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced

To serve:

  • Chopped parsley, to garnish
  • Cooked pasta
  • Crusty baguette

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat has rendered and the bacon is golden and crispy. Remove the pan from heat and transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan into a heatproof bowl and set aside.
  2. Pat the beef dry with paper towels, cut into steaks large enough to fit in your pan, and sprinkle with with salt and pepper. Return the skillet to medium-high heat until the bacon fat is shimmering. Add one steak at a time and sear on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

    Brown on All Sides

  3. Cut the beef into two inch cubes. Yes, two inches is larger than bite size, but tender meat is more important! Transfer the meat to the slow cooker or a large bowl. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of the wine. Simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until the the browned bits are completely loosened. Pour the wine over the seared meat.

    Meat with Deglazed Wine

  4. Add 1 tablespoon bacon grease to the pan. Repeat with another cut of the beef, then deglaze with wine, and continue until all the beef is seared and cubed.
  5. When all the meat is seared, add 1 tablespoon bacon grease to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the carrots and celery, and cook until softened, about 4 minutes more. Add the garlic and tomato paste, and cook for another minute. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the dutch oven with the meat.

    Ready for the Oven

  6. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and warm 1 tablespoon bacon grease over medium heat (if no more bacon grease remains substitute with vegetable oil). Add the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have release all their liquid, the liquid has evaporated, and the mushrooms are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a clean bowl and set aside — keep the mushrooms separate from the meat and onion mixture for now.

    Cook Until All Liquid Has Evaporated

  7. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 300°F. Transfer the beef and vegetable mixture to a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed 6-quart pot with a lid and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Tuck the sprigs of thyme and the bay leaf into the mixture. Pour the stock and the remaining wine over the beef and vegetables — the liquid should not quite cover the beef and vegetables; the ingredients should still be poking from the surface of the liquid. Add additional stock if necessary.
  8. Cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook for 2 hours, then begin checking the meat every 15 minutes. The dish is done when the meat falls apart easily with a fork. Exact cooking time can vary.
  9. Once the meat is cooked, stir in the reserved bacon and mushrooms. Simmer in the Dutch oven over medium heat until the mushrooms are warmed through, about 10 minutes.
  10. Serve in bowls over noodles or with crusty bread on the side. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

    Beef Bourguignon

*NOTES:

  • Cubing the meat later: Instead of cutting the beef into cubes, I cut the roast into three steaks and browned each before cutting into cubes.  Browning the beef enhances the flavor, but it also dries out the surface of the beef cubes so the meat doesn’t fall apart as easily once cooked (even stewed in liquid!).  This extra step ensures good browned flavor and tender meat.

Gorgeous Chuck Roast

  • Choosing the wine: I used a dry pinot noir that I enjoy drinking that didn’t break the bank for this dish, but I’ve read that wines from Burgundy or Côtes du Rhône work well. The rule of thumb is to choose a wine that you also like to drink and you can’t go wrong.
  • Make ahead: The meat and vegetables can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook.
  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for 3 months.  I doubt you will be able to resist not finishing this up in a couple of days!

Momofuku Milk Bar’s Compost Cookies

21 Jan

I’ve been lucky enough to dine at a few of David Chang’s eateries over the years – Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Milk Bar, and Momofuku Ssam Bar.  All were very memorable experiences in their own way, and I’m excited for Majordomo to open up in LA soon!  I loved the Milk Bar concept and still dream about that cereal milk soft serve.  My sister-in-law loves salty snacks and cookies, so I wanted to make a crowd-pleasing sweet and salty treat that wasn’t the usual Brown Butter Sea-Salted Rice Crispy Treats for the family get-together.  I remembered the Compost Cookie from my first visit to Milk Bar in New York and wanted to recreate it.

I followed the recipe exactly as written the first go around, and I thought the cookies were a bit too sweet for my taste and way too big.  The next time, I used a 1/4 measuring cup to portion out the dough and reduced the time in the oven.  I also used less butterscotch (which I thought overpowered the rest of the cookie a bit) and added pecans.  The original recipe came from an article in the Los Angeles Times if you want to use the original version. I’m sharing the recipe here with my tweaks:

MAKE THE GRAHAM CRACKER MIXTURE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter, more if needed
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  In a medium bowl, toss together the graham cracker crumbs, milk powder, sugar and salt with your hands to evenly distribute.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter and heavy cream. Add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. The butter will act as glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters. The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and mix it in with the crust base.
  3. This makes about 2 cups crust base, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. Eat the base, or use as desired in other recipes. Store in an airtight container for up to one week at room temperature, or for one month in the refrigerator or freezer.

MAKE THE COMPOST COOKIES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons glucose or light corn syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup mini butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup (1/4 recipe) graham crust
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground coffee
  • 2 cups potato chips
  • 1 cup mini pretzels
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugars and glucose on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for an additional 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute, being careful not to overmix the dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. Still on low speed, add the chocolate and butterscotch chips, the graham crust, oats and coffee and mix just until incorporated, about 15 seconds.

    Add the Sturdy Add-Ins

  4. Add the potato chips, pretzels, and pecans and beat, still on low speed, just until incorporated, being careful not to overmix or break too many of the pretzels or potato chips. I found that giving the stand mixer a “pulse” or two to incorporate the chips and pretzels was enough to incorporate them but not break them up too much. (LA Times says you deserve a pat on the back if one of your cookies bakes with a whole pretzel standing up in the center.)

    Add the Salty Add-Ins

  5. Using a  1/4-cup measure, portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing each portion roughly 4 inches apart.  I fit four per baking sheet after learning from this little disaster:

    When You Try to Cram Too Many on a Baking Sheet

  6. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, up to one week. Do not bake the cookies while at room temperature because they will not bake up properly.

    I used a 1/4 Measuring Cup

  7. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  8. Bake the cookies, one tray at a time on the center rack, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating the cookies halfway through baking for even cooking. The cookies will puff, crackle and spread while baking, and should be very faintly browned on the edges yet still bright in the center. Give them an extra minute or so if needed.
  9. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage. At room temperature, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; frozen, they will keep for up to 1 month.

NOTE:  If you plan on freezing the extra dough, portion out the dough before freezing it or it will be very difficult to scoop into the measuring cups later.  Once the dough is cold, it really is hard to deal with!

Momofuku Compost Cookies