Saturday, February 27, 2010

Black Bean Enchiladas

Enchiladas

Usually when I'm in the mood for enchiladas, we just have a tortilla stack, because I decide that enchiladas are too time-consuming to make. However, the other day I was in the mood to make them correctly. They turned out wonderfully, and I just may make the effort again sooner rather than later!

For the filling I combined some leftover cooked pork, black beans, grated cheddar cheese, diced red and green peppers and onions, a little salsa and some sour cream. Sorry I didn't measure, but this was a "clean out the refrigerator" meal!

For the sauce I used my adaptation of the Betty Crocker recipe. Combine a 15-oz can of tomato sauce, 2/3 cup water, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and a clove of garlic minced. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
To assemble, spoon a little sauce into a pie plate. Place a tortilla on top and add a little more sauce.
Add a spoonful of filling and roll up. Place in a baking pan and repeat the process.
Cover the enchiladas with the remaining sauce.
Then some cheese. (I ran out of cheddar and used Jack on top.)
Then bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes and serve.
If there are any leftovers, you can freeze them for a quick meal at a later date.

Oriental Meat Pie

This was one of the first recipes I tried as a new bride, and we've come back to it again and again. It's really American cooking, not Oriental, but I guess Betty Crocker (I found it in my Dinner in a Dish Cookbook) decided on the title because of the soy sauce.

Oriental Meat Pie

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/2 recipe of biscuit dough

Cook and stir ground beef and onion until browned; drain. (Or, which is what I do, take a package of wheat/meat out of the freezer and thaw it.) Stir in soup, milk, soy sauce, and salt; heat through. Stir in olives and parsley. Pour mixture into 8" square baking dish. Prepare biscuit dough and roll into a 7" square; cut into 1" strips. Place strips over meat mixture. (Or, just dollop the dough if you're feeling a touch lazy.) Bake 12-15 minutes at 450° or until golden. Serves 4.

Inside-out Ravioli

Here's a yummy pasta dish that is very forgiving, meaning you can be quite inventive and flexible with the ingredients!

Inside-Out Ravioli

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach
1 can (4 oz) mushrooms, drained but reserve liquid
2 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1-2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12-16 oz macaroni (or other pasta) cooked and drained
1 cup grated cheese
2 eggs, beaten

Brown meat, onion and garlic; drain - or use a package of wheat/meat. Cook spinach and drain, reserving liquid. Combine spinach and mushroom liquid and add water to equal 1 cup. Stir into the meat mixture with the mushrooms, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and spices - or use about 4 cups of any spaghetti sauce. Simmer 10 minutes. Combine spinach with macaroni, cheese and eggs. Spread into a greased 9x13" baking pan. Top with the meat sauce. (You can freeze at this point if you want, then thaw a bit before baking.) Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. This makes a lot. (And I'm sorry we forgot to take a picture of the finished product.)

Parmesan Quick Bread

Here's an easy recipe using Quick Mix that's a step above plain biscuits for when you want something a little fancier.

Parmesan Bread

1 1/2 cups biscuit mix
1 egg
1/4 cup sliced green onion (or chives)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup white wine or apple juice (or just more milk)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Combine everything and mix well.
Then spread in a greased 8" cake pan. You can sprinkle with some more Parmesan cheese if you want.
Bake at 400° for 20 minutes.
Cut in wedges to serve.

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie was my "go-to" dinner when the kids were younger and we needed something on the table quickly. It was my favorite dinner when I was 10, and I still love it. Start by preparing some instant mashed potatoes. (You could peel and cut and boil and mash fresh potatoes, but this is supposed to be "quick and easy.")
Take a package of wheat/meat from the freezer and microwave it for 30 seconds so you can sprinkle it over the potatoes. (If you plan ahead, you can take it out to thaw earlier, or you can even cook your raw hamburger when you're preparing dinner - add some onions for extra flavor.)
Open a can of green beans, drain the liquid, and sprinkle on top of the meat.
Open a can of tomato soup and spread over the beans.
Sprinkle the whole thing with grated Cheddar cheese. Pop in the microwave for about 5 minutes to heat everything through, or put it in the oven at 350° for 20-30 minutes to do the same thing.
Then serve your hungry family.

This meets every definition of comfort food. Give it a try some day.
(If you want, you can easily vary the meat, vegetable, soup and cheese to fit what you have on hand. It's the potatoes that make it Shepherd's Pie.)

Roasting Vegetables



A few months ago I discovered that roasting vegetables is quick and easy, and the results are delicious. Here are some of the things we've tried -

Cauliflower:
The recipe said to combine some olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper in a bag and then add the cauliflower and toss to coat. However, next time I'll save the bag and just do it in the pan. I couldn't see that it made a difference.
Then pop it in a 400° oven for 20-30 minutes.
Delicious - even if it wasn't drowned in a cheese sauce.

Brussel Sprouts:
I read in the paper that people hate brussel sprouts because when they had them as children they were boiled and tasteless. If they were cooked properly we would like them. So, we experimented. Unfortunately, the paper's theory didn't work. Wayne still hates brussel sprouts, but I loved them, so that was okay.
Garlic:
Take the whole bulb of garlic, slice of the top, drizzle with a little olive oil, and wrap in foil.

Red Peppers: While you're at it, core some peppers and rub them with a little oil as well.
Then stick them in the oven for a while and wait for the aroma of deliciousness.
I can't remember exactly what we used these for, I think we just added them to various casseroles, but it was a great way to use the pile of peppers and garlic that came in the co-op basket. What we didn't use immediately, I stuck in the freezer and that worked great.

Asparagus: Roast at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Colcannon

I came across this recipe in the newspaper 20 years ago and we tried it that year for St. Patrick's Day. It was pretty good. Today I had some cabbage and potatoes that needed to be used, so I made it again. So now I'm posting it, and YOU can make it on March 17th if you want.
Colcannon

1 small cabbage, steamed and chopped fine
2 cups hot seasoned mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons bacon drippings, butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch white pepper

Mix cabbage with remaining ingredients, spoon into buttered casserole and roughen surface with a fork. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 35-45 minutes until lightly browned. Makes 4 servings.

3/17/2010 - edited for "Works for Me Wednesday" at We are THAT Family
Welcome! Although normally I link to my main blog - NeverBored - I thought I'd link to this one today. I hope you enjoy this fun, easy, delicious, and even healthy, St. Patrick's Day treat. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Marshmallow Puffs

Here's a fun recipe we tried the other day when we had a bag of marshmallows that was going stale. Start by lining a 9x9" pan with foil, greasing it, and placing 36 marshmallows in it. Then melt some chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter together.
The microwave didn't work (too stiff) so we tried the double boiler.
Still too stiff so we added more butter until it was of pourable consistency.
After pouring it over the marshmallows, bang the pan a few times so the chocolate settles.
Then put it in the fridge while you go have a family night lesson.
Take it out and peel back the foil, then cut between the marshmallows and eat it!
Here's the original recipe from CDKitchen for Marshmallow Puffs:
36 large marshmallows
1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Line a 9-in. square pan with foil; grease the foil well. Arrange marshmallows in a single layer in the prepared pan. In a double boiler over hot water, melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter. Pour over the marshmallows. Chill completely. Cut between marshmallows.
Note: I ended up adding another 4 tablespoons of butter. Maybe the water content of my chocolate or peanut butter was too high; I don't know. And this is definitely a candy, not the cookie/dessert that I was originally searching for. But they're delicious!

Crock Pot Baked Potatoes

CROCK POT BAKED POTATOES

10 to 12 potatoes
Aluminum foil

Prick potatoes with fork and wrap in foil. Fill crockpot with potatoes. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours. High 2 1/4 to 4. Do not add water!

Oven Chicken and Rice

I can't believe we haven't posted this old standby favorite yet. This is Michelle's favorite way to have rice, and I love it because I can pop it in the oven before church, set it to time bake, and come home to a beautiful aroma! There are probably a lot of variations of this recipe, but I usually just
  • put 2 cups of rice in the bottom of my baking dish
  • top with some dried onion and parsley and salt (the original recipe was a package of onion soup mix, but I never use that)
  • combine a can or two of cream of mushroom/chicken soup with 3 cups of water/milk
  • pour it over the rice
  • then pieces of chicken (usually skinned but not boned thighs)
  • cover and bake at 325° for 2 hours or so

As you can see it's a very forgiving recipe, and if we want more rice, we start with more rice (and add a bit more liquid)!

London Broil

Although it takes a bit of planning ahead, this is a great Sunday dinner option because it doesn't take a lot of work or effort.

London Broil

1 to 2 pound beef flank steak
1/4 to 1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 to 2 teaspoons vinegar
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced

Score steak on both sides. Place meat in a plastic bag and set in a bowl. Combine oil, vinegar and garlic; pour over meat. Close bag and let stand at room temperature 2 to 3 hours, turning several times. Remove meat from marinade and place on rack in broiler pan. Broil 3 inches from heat 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and turn. Broil 4-5 more minutes for medium rare. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Carve in very thin slices diagonally across the grain.

Pâte á Choux

For the first time in ages, we made cream puffs, and remembered how much we liked them. In fact, I was told they were as good as the frozen ones you get at Costco (which is high praise considering who said it!!). Michelle wants to make them for the bake sale next week, and since the big brothers won't be able to enjoy them, I thought I'd at least post the directions so they can make them for themselves. Have fun!
Start by melting a cube of butter or margarine in a medium saucepan.Add a cup of water and bring to a rolling boil.Stir in 1 cup of flour and a pinch of salt and keep stirring over the heat until it all sticks together in a ball. Then remove from the stove and let it cool down for 5-10 minutes. Add an egg and beat it until it's all incorporated. This takes at least a couple of minutes. Then add another egg and do it again.Do this twice more (for a total of 4 eggs) until you have a nice, thick dough.Plop it by spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Leave some room in between. The larger your spoonfuls, the larger your puffs will be. The recipe said it made 10, but I used my cookie scoop and got 30.Bake at 400° for about 18 minutes for these smaller ones (30 for the normal size).See why they're called cream puffs?When they've cooled down, split in half and fill with whatever. This time I made a box of instant vanilla pudding using 1 1/2 cups milk and then stirred in about 1 cup of cool whip. You could use plain whipped cream, plain pudding, fruit pie filling, or even chicken salad (which is what we did for my aunt's wedding reception). But they don't really taste very good at all with nothing inside. Then you can dust the top with powdered sugar and watch them disappear.


Here's the recipe:
Cream Puffs
½ cup butter or margarine
1 cup water
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
4 eggs

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add water; bring to boiling. Add flour and salt all at once; stir vigorously. Cook and stir until the mixture forms a ball that doesn’t separate. Remove from heat; cool slightly, about five minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition until smooth. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls three inches apart onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Split and fill with whipped cream, pudding, ice cream, or fruit mixture. Makes 10. (You can find the recipe for Almond Cream Custard, which makes a great filling, here.)

Note: to make éclairs, spoon dough into pastry tube with a large tip and pipe strips of dough onto the baking sheet, making them about four inches long. After baking, fill with pudding and frost with a chocolate glaze. Makes 12-14.