Archive | September 2011

Wet burritos

I grew up in Michigan, where wet burritos are apparently pretty localized.  For those of you unfamiliar with wet burritos, they are your typical burrito, except they are smothered in a ranchero-type sauce and covered with cheese.

1 lb. ground beef, thawed

1 tbsp. oil

1 tsp. minced garlic

2 small onions, chopped

1 pkg Taco Seasoning

1 can Refried Beans

1 can tomato sauce + 1 can water

1 pkg Enchilada Seasoning Mix

1 Tbsp. cornstarch in 3 Tbsp. cold water

4 large (burrito) flour tortillas

1-2  bags Shredded Mexican or Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Lettuce, Tomatoes, Green/Red Sweet Peppers (optional)

Sour Cream, Salsa, Guacamole (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Brown ground beef in oil, garlic and onion.

Add Taco Seasoning and Refried Beans.

Sauce:

In saucepan, add tomato sauce, 1 can water, and Burrito Seasoning.  Bring to boil, stirring occasionally.

Slowly whisk corn starch mixture in tomato mixture until desired texture.

In bottom of 9×13 pan, spread 1/2 c. sauce.

Layer 4 large tortillas in pan….overlapping is ok.

Add meat mixture with a little sauce over it, even amounts of meat/beans over the four tortillas.

You may add veggies at this point or choose to have them on the side.

Roll burritos seperately.  First you fold in the sides, then roll it completely shut.

Pour remaining sauce on top, saturating the burritos.

Layer each burrito with a considerable amount of cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly.

***If you chose to have veggies on top, add them just before serving, or on the side.  Serve with your choice of sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole.  You can also serve with tortilla chips for scooping up excess sauce and filling mixture.

Zucchini gratin

This recipe is my favorite with zucchini, though it also works very well with tomatoes.  You could also use different vegetables like eggplant or potatoes.  Gratin is just a technique and it translates very well to different foods.  Experiment!

4-6 zucchini, sliced

Olive Oil

bread crumbs

parmesan cheese

Italian seasoning

salt

pepper

Layer sliced zucchini in a shallow baking dish coated with olive oil.  Sprinkle over top with bread crumbs, parmesan, salt, and pepper.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.  Serve hot.

*If you use Italian breadcrumbs, you don’t need to add Italian seasoning.

Mediterranean stuffed chicken breasts

I love Papa Murphy’s Mediterranean chicken deLite pizza, and that definitely informed my creation of this recipe.  This is a delicious and light dinner option.  To make it truly like Papa Murphy’s pizza, add some drained and chopped artichoke hearts.  I didn’t have any on hand when I created this recipe, hence the omisison.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 c. (herbed) feta cheese

2 garlic cloves, shaved or pasted

2 slices sun-dried tomato, minced

1/4 c. raw spinach, chiffonaded

1/3 c. chicken broth

Extra virgin olive oil

poultry seasoning

salt

pepper

Drizzle 3 Tbsp. olive oil in skillet with lid over medium-low heat.  Shave garlic, mince tomato, and chiffonade spinach; combine garlic, tomato, spinach and feta.  Pat chicken breasts dry, then using a paring knife, slice a pocket into the thickest part of the breast, being careful not to slice through.  Stuff chicken breasts with feta mixture.  Season outside of breasts with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.  Place into hot skillet and allow to sit for 5 minutes before turning (should be a nice golden brown).  Allow to brown another 5 minutes, add broth, cover, and reduce heat.  Let simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.  Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

(Toddler) Cereal bars

I made these to have on hand as an easy snack or meal for my toddler for days when we need to get going right away instead of letting him laze his way through his usual 90-minute breakfast session.

1 1/2 c. oats

1/4 c. whole wheat flour

2/3 c. dates or dried cranberries, chopped

1/2 c. walnuts, finely chopped

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 c. orange juice

1 1/2 c. raw apple, shredded

2 Tbsp. wheat germ

Combine all ingredients and let sit for 10 minutes.  Press into 8×8 baking dish.  Bake at 375º until lightly browned, about 25 minutes.  Cut into bars while warm and loosen with spatula.  Serve hot for breakfast or as a snack.  **FREEZES WELL**

*Courtesy of wholesometoddlerfood.com.  Next time, I’m going to add a tsp. of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.

Stuffed porkchops Florentine

In cooking and recipes, Florentine usually means something is in a cream sauce with spinach.  This is a great way to incorporate spinach into a meal plan without having to serve spinach alone as a side.  Also, whenever serving dark greens, like spinach, it is a good idea to season with some nutmeg, as this will enhance the natural flavors of the greens.

4 pork chops (bone in preferable)

1 lb frozen spinach, thawed and cooled, with all excess water squeezed out

1/4 c. asiago cheese, shredded

1 Tbsp. heavy cream (or milk)

1 egg

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 c. chicken broth

toothpicks

Pat porkchops dry with a paper towel, and slice into flesh opposite bone to create a pocket to stuff.  In a medium bowl, mix together spinach, cheese, cream, egg, nutmeg, and pepper – mixture will be very thick.  Stuff 1/4 of mixture into porkchop and thread toothpick through edge to seal.  Repeat for other three chops.  In a large oven-safe skillet with lid, sear porkchops over high heat (allow to brown about 5 minutes per side without disturbing – when chop is deeply golden brown, flip over and repeat).  Add broth to bottom of pan, cover, and transfer to 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, until cooked through.

Easy and tasty vegetables

I watch a lot of Food Network.  It is family friendly (no swearing, no violence), educational (if you can’t watch an hour of Food Network and learn something, you weren’t really paying attention), and inspirational (they make some things, like souffle look so easy!).  As a self-confessed picky eater, I have to say that Food Network has definitely inspired me to be more adventurous when it comes to my vegetables.

The biggest tip I’ve learned from those tv chefs: roasting concentrates the sugars in the vegetables and brings out the natural flavors.  Roasting is easy and requires very little skill or prep and virtually no active cooking.  The only skill point you need to make sure you pay attention to is that you must make sure when chopping up the vegetables that the pieces are the same size, or else you will have some pieces underdone and some pieces burnt.

This is one of those technique things, so I’m not going to label it as a recipe.

Start by washing and peeling (if desired) your vegetables.  If it is something large, like potatoes, squash, or eggplant, break it down into 1/2 cubes.  In a medium mixing bowl, lightly drizzle your veggies with olive oil*, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and any other seasonings.  The key to this is to remember that the vegetable is going to be the star, so you don’t want to over season it; if you pick anything other than just the salt and pepper, thyme is a great choice.

Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast in a 350 degree oven for 20-45 minutes, depending on your vegetable; at the least, check them at 20 minutes and shake them around some.  You will know they are done when they smell fragrant, are browned around the edges, and begin to look a little wrinkly.

*Extra Virgin Olive oil has a burn point of 350 degrees.  If you want to roast at a higher temperature, you will need to use a different oil.

Broccoli cheese soup

I love broccoli cheese soup.  In fact, I love Panera’s broccoli cheese soup so much that I would eat it weekly if I could.  No joke.  This recipe is so delicious (and easy!) that it definitely rivals Panera’s.  And in the bread bowls that my grocery store sells, it’s even got the same feeling as eating some Panera soup.  Eat on and enjoy!

4 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth)

1 c. cream (or whole milk)

4 oz. shredded aged cheddar cheese

1 c. water

1/2 c. flour

1 Tbsp. onion, minced

1/4 c. carrot, finely shredded

1/2 tsp. black pepper

4 c. broccoli florets

In a large saucepan, bring broth, cream, cheddar, water, flour, onion, carrot, and pepper to a boil.  (For best results, whisk together flour and water in a separate bowl, then add to pot.)  Reduce heat to a simmer, and stir in broccoli florets.  Allow to simmer 15-20 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Makes 4 servings.

*Note:  I also stirred in a hefty dash of white pepper and a parmesan cheese rind I had (the very tough part at the wide end of a wedge).  Even without, though, it’s delicious