Monday, April 16, 2018

Green Chicken Enchiladas (Tomatillo Sauce!)

My sister-in-law gave me the Eat Mexico cookbook for Christmas.  It's been a fun book to read through.  I've tried several recipes, but this recipe has been my favorite so far.  

I skipped all the instructions on cooking/preparing the chicken and just went easy with de-boning a Costco rotisserie and used my own already made stock.  But the tomatillo sauce is fantastic!  It's easy enough to make again instead of buying the pre-made green enchiladas sauce.  This recipe turns out more like tacos, but I think it would work great to make actual enchiladas (stuffing and rolling a tortilla and baking with some cheese sprinkled on top).  Or you could go for a breakfast option with the sauce on huevos rancheros.  

Basically, I'm a big fan of this tomatillo sauce and already have some in the freezer ready to pull out for another meal soon!

3 pounds skinless chicken legs, thighs, and breasts, fat trimmed
1 pound chicken backs, fat trimmed
3 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 dried Mexican bay leaf
5 peppercorns
1 medium onion, quartered
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 large serrano chiles
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons lard or canola oil
24 corn tortillas
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups Mexican crema (or sour cream)
1 cup mild, shredded cheese, such as Monterrey Jack or Colby

  1. At least 2 hours before you'd like to eat, place the chicken, 1 garlic clove, the bay leaf, peppercorns and a quarter of the onion in a large stockpot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to very low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  2. Remove the chicken legs, thighs and breasts with tongs or a slotted spoon and let cool. Discard the chicken backs and strain the stock; set aside.
  3. Once cool enough to handle, shred the meat and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Set aside.
  4. Place the tomatillos in a large saucepan. Add the remaining 2 cloves garlic, peeled, and 2 quarters of the onion. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat until the tomatillos turn pea green and soften, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. (Vegetarians can reserve the cooking water, turn up the flame, and reduce for 15 to 20 minutes, to use in lieu of chicken stock, if they choose.)
  5. Stem the chiles and chop roughly with the cooked garlic. Add to a blender jar with half of the tomatillo mixture, and 1/2 cup of the strained chicken stock. (If you have a high-powered blender, toss all the ingredients in at once.) Blend until smooth. Add the remaining tomatillo-onion mixture and 1 teaspoon salt, and blend again until smooth.
  6. Warm 1 tablespoon lard in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the sauce in one quick pour, being careful as it might splatter. Cook until the flavors meld, about 5 minutes.
  7. Heat 2 teaspoons lard in a small skillet over medium heat and swirl to coat the bottom. Fry the tortillas lightly, one at a time, until slightly tougher but still pliable, about 30 seconds per side. (They shouldn't be crisp.) As you work, remove the fried tortillas to serving plates—I like to serve 4 tortillas per person. Fold the tortillas in a half-moon shape and make sure they sit in an even layer on each plate.
  8. Dice the remaining quarter of onion. Ladle 3/4 cup sauce over over each serving of tortillas, spreading slightly so the tortillas are entirely smothered in sauce. Add a layer of diced onion and cilantro, a layer of shredded cheese, a layer of chicken, some crema and another layer of sauce. Top with another light sprinkling of diced onion.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Meat Pies (or sliders!)

This recipe comes from the newest Pioneer Woman cookbook.  It's the book Jessie and I are using for our April recipe pick.  I made a silly mistake and purchased warm-n-bake rolls instead of unbaked rolls.  But, I think it turned out even better!  We had "meat pie sliders" instead of the fancy meat pie "pouches", which saved me a lot of time on assembly.  The filling is simple to make, would be easy to freeze, and tasty enough for a slider filler.  Plus, with the slider, the meat to bread ratio is better!  Everyone in my family was a fan of this meal, so I will definitely make these again, and probably repeat my mistake! 

20 frozen unbaked dinner rolls, such as Rhodes
flour, for rolling
2 eggs mixed with 2 Tbsp water, for an egg wash

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
1 onione, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup grated pepper Jack cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

For the crust: Put the frozen rolls on a baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let thaw and rise for 2 to 3 hours.
For the filling: Add the oil to a large skillet and set it over medium heat. Cook the peppers and onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic, then cook for another minute. Transfer to a bowl or plate and set aside.
Put the same skillet over medium-high heat, add the beef and cook, breaking up any lumps. Add the chili powder, cumin and 3/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the meat is no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste and 1/4 cup water and stir until combined. Mix in the cooked vegetables. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. When the meat is cool, add the cheese and parsley, then season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
To form: Roll out each dinner roll on a lightly floured surface into a 4-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Put 1 1/2 tablespoons of the meat mixture in the center of each circle. Brush around the outside of the circles with the egg wash and fold over the dough to form half-moon shapes. Press the edges together and crimp them with a fork. Put on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg wash.
Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Braised Adobo Pork with Polenta

Dinner the playbook has a lot of simple, family-friendly meals that aren't boring.  The flavor of the meat, and polenta, from this recipe was great!  But next time I will the same amount of meat and double everything else (except polenta) to have more sauce.  The meal seemed a little dry, but I'll give it another try soon.

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2½-pound pork loin, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • bay leaf
  • chipotle in adobo (not the sauce, just the dripping single pepper; you can freeze the rest)
  • ½ cup cider vinegar (or store-bought vinegar-based barbecue sauce such as Shealy’s)
  • garlic cloves, halved
  • medium onion, chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 cup medium or fine cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Handful chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed ovenproof pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the pork on all sides in the hot oil, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the pork and add the tomatoes, oregano, cumin, bay leaf, chipotle, cider vinegar, garlic, onions, and ¼ cup water to the pot; it should be about two-thirds immersed in liquid. Bring to a boil, cover, and place in the oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours. (The pork should be practically falling apart when finished.)
While the pork is braising, make the polenta: Bring 4 cups salted water to a boil in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Pour the cornmeal into the pot slowly, whisking as you go. The mixture will thicken after 2 or 3 minutes. Reduce the heat and let the mixture bubble on the stovetop for another 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes and adding water if it becomes too thick for your liking. Before serving, remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the butter and Cheddar.
Remove the pork from the pot to a cutting board or platter, shred with two forks, and toss back in the braising liquid. Remove the bay leaf.
Sprinkle the cilantro over the pork and serve with the polenta.

Yumm Sauce

One of my favorite spots for a quick bite to eat when we're traveling in the Northwest is Cafe Yumm.  I have been known to ask my family members to pack bottles of their signature yumm sauce when coming for a visit!  But now I have yumm sauce whenever I want (which is pretty much always), thanks to this great knock-off recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  The flavor is unique, as you'll see in reading the ingredient list, but I've not shared it with someone yet who didn't enjoy it - or at least do a really good job pretending to!  It's great as a dip for veggies, pretzels, or chips.  It's also great on meat or as a salad dressing, and goes especially well on your version of a taco salad.  Enjoy!

  • 1/2 cup avocado, canola, or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup canned Great Northern or Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk (from a can)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 large lemons)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • Pinch of coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast


  1. For the Yumm sauce, add the oil, almonds, beans and water to a blender. Process until very smooth, 1-2 minutes (or as long as needed).
  2. Add the coconut milk, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, curry powder, oregano, cilantro and nutritional yeast. Process again until creamy and smooth. Add additional water to thin out the sauce, if needed. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve (this tastes best after it’s had time to rest – even several days – but you can also use it right away).

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Creamy Greek Chicken Soup

Just made this yummy twist on a traditional chicken noodle soup.  It's a good option for those who need to avoid dairy since the eggs give it a creamy taste.  But make sure to follow instructions on how to incorporate the eggs so you have creamy soup and not scrambled eggs!  As usual, I made a few changes, and the recipe comes from this fun book I checked out from the library, so I'll leave my version of the recipe here for future reference!

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup roughly chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups chicken broth (add more if you go heavy on the rice)
2 eggs
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
handful of fresh dill, chopped, or 1 tsp dried dill
*1-2 cups cooked chicken 
*1-2 cups cooked rice

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the carrots and onions, season with salt and pepper, and saute about 2 minutes, until carrots are slightly softened. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  If using dried dill, add this also.
In a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice until smooth. Slowly ladle about ½ cup of the hot broth into the egg-and-lemon mixture, whisking to combine.
Remove the simmering broth from heat (very important).
Very slowly, drizzle the heat eggy mixture back into the pot, whisking constantly for 2 full minutes. Add salt and pepper, fresh dill (if using), chicken, rice and serve.
*If using leftover chicken and/or rice, make sure to reheat so when you add to the soup in the final step, it doesn't bring down the temperature of the soup too much.  I mixed my rice and chicken together with a little chicken broth and reheated it all in the microwave before adding it to the soup pot.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins

These are a pretty basic muffin, but still very good and would pair nicely with any sort of jam or butter you wanted to spread.  I made several changes to the recipe and didn't want to forget what I did, so here is my version from the original recipe found in The Wycliffe International Cookbook.

1 cup sour milk (buttermilk)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup oil
1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking spice (or just plain cinnamon)

In a large bowl, combine oats and buttermilk.  Cover and let soak for one hour.

Preheat oven to 400.

Add eggs and oil to the oat mixture and stir until well mixed.  Add flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spice and stir just until everything is moist.

Fill prepared muffin tin.  Bake for 17-20 minutes.  Tops should be lightly brown.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tender Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

Thanks to a Costco sale on pork chops, I had enough meat to make this meal twice in two weeks!  Mashed potatoes is a must.  The recipe couldn't be more simple, but you do need to allow three hours to cook, so plan ahead.

  • 4 bone-in pork loin chops (at least 1/2-inch thick) (I used boneless both times)
  • 2-3 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
  • 1-2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Place the onion slices in an even layer over the bottom of the dish. Top the onion slices with the apples. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the apples and onions. Season the pork chops generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange the pork chops in a single layer on top of the apples and onions. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake in the preheated oven for three hours. Do not open the oven and lift the foil – the pork chops, apples and onions need to be tightly covered the whole time to work their magic (and not dry out).

  • Serve each pork chop with mashed potatoes and topped with the apples and onions.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Overnight Cinnamon Eggnog French Toast

Happy New Year!  I think this might become a New Year's morning tradition in our home, because who doesn't love starting a new year by eating dessert for breakfast?!  I made several changes that are reflected below.  The original recipe can be found here

1 loaf day-old French bread cut into 1” cubes
6 eggs
cups eggnog (full fat)
1/2 cup milk (whatever kind you want to use)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
Brown Sugar Pecan Crumble Topping
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, cubed (1 stick)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

  1. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray then add French bread cubes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients (not including Crumble topping) then evenly pour over bread cubes. Cover pan and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Brown Sugar Pecan Crumble:  Add pecans to a medium bowl and add 1 Tablespoon maple syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla; toss to evenly coat. Set aside.
  4. Add butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to food processor and pulse until it resembles coarse pebbles (or use a pastry cutter).  Add brown sugar mixture to pecans and toss to evenly combine.
  5. Evenly sprinkle Brown Sugar Pecan Crumble over the bread and bake at 350 F degrees for 45-55 minutes, depending on how soft/”eggy” you like it. Serve with fresh berries and/or bananas and lots of coffee!

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