Tex Mex Cheese Enchiladas

So remember yesterday, when I talked about posting recipes with/without photos?
Well…… here we have a classic example of my hesitancy to publish this, since the photo I was able to take was/is not……very good.
At all.
See?
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These enchiladas, though, were worth the time to find the chiles (c’mon – this is Texas….. it wasn’t like they were hard to find!) and every minute of time spent on them – they were so good, and although a bit spicy, definitely will be made again.
Tex Mex Cheese Enchiladas – adapted from Serious Eats2 ounces dried Ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed
2 ounces dried Guajillo chilies, stems and seeds removed
2 dried Arbol chilies, stems and seeds removed
Hot water, for soaking
1/2 pound ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth (I used beer, with outstanding results)
2 tbs. vegetable oil
2 tbs. all-purpose flour

For the Cheese Enchiladas:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
1 pound cheddar cheese, grated, divided

For the Chili Gravy:  Heat a heavy 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cut all the chilies open along one side, so that they can be laid flat. Working in batches, cook chilies in the skillet, pressing down with a spatula, until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 5 seconds on each side; be careful not to let chilies burn. Transfer to a large bowl and cover chilies with hot water, setting a small plate on top to keep them submerged. Let stand 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, add ground beef to cast-iron skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to a medium bowl and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of beef fat from skillet; if there isn’t enough fat leftover in the skillet, add enough oil to make up the difference. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in minced garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer onion and garlic to a blender.
Drain chilies, discarding all of the soaking liquid. Transfer chilies to the blender with onions and garlic, and add cumin, oregano, black pepper, and 1 cup chicken stock. Blend mixture until smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula occasionally, about 1 to 2 minutes on high. If the mixture won’t blend, add another 1/2 cup of stock.
Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, press chili mixture through a mesh strainer set over a large bow until only chili skins remain in strainer. Discard skins.Heat oil in cast-iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add flour and stir immediately with a wire whisk. Continue to stir until roux turns light golden brown. Add chili mixture and stir in remaining broth and ground beef. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a slow and steady simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is dark red and thick like a gravy, about 30 minutes. If too thick, add a little water to thin it out.
Meanwhile, For the Cheese Enchiladas: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 375°F. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Working 1 tortilla at a time, carefully slide tortillas into oil and cook, turning once, until just starting to look leathery, about 5 to 10 seconds per side; avoid frying too long, as overly crisp tortillas will crack when folded. Transfer the fried tortilla to a paper towel-line plate to drain.

Working 1 tortilla at a time, dip fried tortilla into sauce, then transfer to a plate. Arrange 1/4 cup of cheese  in a line along center of tortilla, then roll up. Set rolled tortilla, seam-side down, in a 9-by-11-inch baking pan and repeat with remaining tortillas and cheese.

Spoon remaining sauce on top of enchiladas, followed by remaining cheese. Transfer to the oven, and bake until cheese melts and just starts to bubble, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Spinach-Rainbow Chard Lasagna

I’ve become a huge fan of rainbow chard lately, for two very important reasons:

1. It has a nice bitter tang to it, sort of like escarole and rapini,

and

2. The market down the street sells big bags of it already washed and cut up.

Conveniently, I might add.

So when I decided to make this lasagna a few weeks ago, instead of using all spinach, I tuned into my rebel side (stop laughing) and used a bag of chard that I had in the fridge.

And...dun.dun.dun….it was already washed and cut up.

Ready to go.
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Spinach Lasagna – adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds baby spinach (I used a combination of rainbow chard and spinach)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1 packed cup grated Parmesan (3 ounces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 6 ounces mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/3 packed cup (1 ounce) grated Pecorino Romano
Preheat oven to 375 degrees with rack in middle position.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add onions  and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 minutes. Add spinach, a few handfuls at a time, and cook, stirring frequently, until all spinach is wilted, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a mesh strainer and press against spinach to remove as much liquid as possible.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until roux is golden brown, 1 minute. Add milk and continue whisking until milk begins to boil and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Cover surface with plastic wrap.
Spread 1 cup bechamel along the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Place one-third of noodles over bechamel in a single, overlapping layer. Top with 1 cup bechamel and half of spinach. Repeat with a second layer of noodles, bechamel, and spinach. Top with remaining noodles, remaining bechamel, zucchini, mozzarella, and Pecorino Romano. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until cheese is golden in places and lasagna is bubbling along the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove lasagna from oven and let stand 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Sausage and Peppers with Creamy Polenta

It’s been said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

But the way I see it, someone asking for the recipe of something you made is a greater form of flattery.

Which, I suppose, is kind of the same thing, because they’re imitating something you made.

Or recreating.

Or reproducing.

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I think I need to stop talking, because I’m starting to make too much sense to myself, which is usually a clear indicator that I’m not making any sense to anyone but myself.

ahem

Anyway, without further ado, and a whole lot of hullabaloo, here is the recipe for my version of sausage and peppers, provided so that my wonderful friend Lana can recreate/imitate this dinner for her wonderful husband James, who enjoyed this so much at our home last week.

Sausage and Peppers with Creamy Polenta 

  • 2 lbs. hot Italian Sausage
  • 2 large white onions, sliced
  • 3 red peppers, cored and sliced
  • 3 tbs. olive oil

In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, season with black pepper, and sauté , stirring occasionally, until they are tender and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the sausages, and cook, stirring often to prevent sticking, for about 10 minutes. Add the peppers, stir everything together, and cook for about another 10 minutes, or until the sausages are cooked through and the peppers are tender. Serve over creamy polenta.

Creamy Polenta – adapted from Emeril Lagasse

4 cups water, plus more as needed
4 cups milk, plus more as needed
3 tbs. butter
2 cups polenta (or cornmeal)
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano

In a large saucepan, bring the water, milk and butter to a boil, then whisk in the polenta. Whisk constantly for 3 to 4 minutes to prevent lumps. Cook until the polenta is thick, smooth, and creamy, then stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve hot with the sausage and peppers.

Our Favorite Sloppy Joes

Today certainly started off with a bang.

Or a buzz.

Or a buzz with a stinger attached.

Two of them, actually. 

This morning, while taking the dogs out, I discovered a wasp nest in the backyard – and before I knew what was happening, I was stung twice. Son of a frosted cupcake……. it hurt…...badI quickly ushered the puppies into the house, and promptly called our landlord.

The pest control people will be here tomorrow with a blowtorch.

I can’t wait…. I’ll be singing “Burn, baby, burn” while he sends them to a fiery death. 

Pretty dramatic, wouldn’t you agree?
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Our Favorite Sloppy Joes – adapted from Tyler Florence

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used chili sauce, it’s what I had on hand)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
12 parker house rolls

Set a heavy-based pot over medium-high heat and add a 3-count of olive oil. Add onions and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until translucent. Add ground turkey, season well with salt and pepper and brown well all over, breaking it up with a wooden spoon – about 7 to 10 minutes. Add ketchup, mustard, cayenne, brown sugar and tomato paste. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Finish with a splash of red wine vinegar and season it once more before serving on parker rolls.

 

Shepherd’s Pie

Are you ready for Memorial Day Weekend?

I’m……..not. Well, I mean I’m ready for the weekend, but not ready in terms of what we are doing/eating.

I think what is really throwing my groove off is the fact that my barbecue is out of order. Simply put, it was hooked up to a natural gas line in Vegas, and here in Texas it needs to be hooked up to a propane tank. I contacted the friendly folks at Weber BBQ and they very nicely informed me that I am out-of-luck. You can’t convert the gas line from one to the other.

Which, quite frankly, sucks.

Even though J bought a Big Green Egg (greatest invention ever, by the way), it’s more of a smoker than a grill. And although we share everything, I do believe the Egg is his.

You know how men are with their grills :)

Anyway, I loved the ease and simplicity of being able to go outside and grill just about anything and everything – pizza, ribs, beer can chicken, steaks – even toasting slices of pound cake for dessert.

I may have to buy a George Foreman Grill to get my fix.

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Shepherd’s Pie – adapted from Alton Brown

For the potatoes:

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/2 cup half-and-half (I used buttermilk)
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk


For the meat filling:

2 tbs canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs all-purpose flour
2 tsp tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth (I used red wine)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 tsp freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the corn and peas to the lamb mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/shepherds-pie-recipe2.print.html?oc=linkback

Chicken Pot Pie with Crumble Topping

You know, I’m reasonably certain that I’ve made (and posted) chicken pot pie before.

I suppose I should have cross-checked that information before I opened my mouth.

Or put it in writing.

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Alas, a quick search of my site has confirmed that I have not, in fact, made or posted a chicken pot pie before now.

strange

Anyway, with this crazy winter-like weather we’ve had over the past few days, I seized the moment (and the fact that we had company) and made this the other night. What goes better on a cold, wretchedly thunderstormy evening than a big bowl of warm, comforting pot pie?

This was more than just good. It seriously was one of the best pot pies I’ve ever had. In fact, I’m waiting for J to come home so we can demolish the leftovers.

I made encouraged the posse eat the leftover chili, just so there is more for us.

I probably shouldn’t have admitted that.

Chicken Pot Pie with Crumble Topping – adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Filling
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
10 oz cremini mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons minced parsley, divided
3/4 cup frozen baby peas

Crumble Topping
2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream (I used buttermilk)

To cook the chicken: Add chicken and broth to a Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Cover and bring to a simmer, then continue cooking for about 8-10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (an instant-read thermometer will register 160-165 F). Remove the chicken and place in a large bowl. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a large heatproof measuring cup and set aside for later. Set the Dutch oven back on the stove top (no need to wash).

Preheat oven to 450 F, with a rack in the upper third. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make the topping: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Add the butter, and using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal – the largest pieces of butter should be no bigger than peas. Mix in the Parmesan cheese, then add the heavy cream and stir until the dry ingredients are moistened. Crumble the mixture into 1/2 to 3/4-inch pieces onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the topping just begins to brown. Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and set aside. (Maintain the oven temperature.)

To make the filling: Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the Dutch oven you used earlier. Set over medium-high heat, and when the oil shimmers, add the onion, carrot, and pepper. Cooking, stirring a few times, until the vegetables are just barely tender, about 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and return to a large bowl. When the vegetables are ready, transfer them to the bowl with the chicken.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the same Dutch oven and place over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms. Cover the pot and cook, stirring a few times, for about 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms have released their liquid. Take the cover off the pan and mix in the tomato paste. Increase the heat to medium-high, and continue cooking (uncovered) for another 4-5 minutes, or until the mushrooms have browned and their liquid has evaporated. Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl with the chicken and veggies.

Add the butter to the same Dutch oven you’ve been using. Allow to melt, then add the flour. Cook, stirring almost constantly, for 1 minute. Gradually add the chicken broth you reserved earlier as well as the milk, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture to a simmer – while you do, scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits. Continue simmering for about 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper, then remove the pot from the heat, and mix in the lemon juice and two tablespoons of the parsley.

Add the chicken and veggies as well as the peas to the sauce in the Dutch oven, and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to a 13×9-inch baking dish. Distribute the crumble topping evenly over the filling, then bake for about 12-14 minutes, or until the filling bubbles and the topping browns. Garnish the dish with the remaining tablespoon of parsley then serve.

Slow Cooker Carnitas

There’s an old expression I’m quite fond of:

“Sometimes, it’s the little things that mean the most.”

In this case, it refers to the fact that Alexander did two things this morning that meant a lot to me:

1. He actually put his clean sheets on.the.bed. Properly, I might add.

and

2. He picked up all his dirty laundry from the floor and put it in the hamper.

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I’m beginning to wonder if he bumped his head when he got up this morning……..

Slow Cooker Carnitas – adapted from bon appetit

6 pounds bone-in pork shoulder
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1-2 tsp ground cumin
1 large onion, cut into 4 pieces
6 oz. beer (any mild flavor)Pinto beans, guacamole, corn tortillas, salsa, and queso fresco, for serving
Place pork in bowl of slow cooker and season with black pepper, oregano and cumin. Place onion pieces around pork, and pour in the beer. Cover slow cooker and cook pork on low setting until meat is very tender and falling apart, about 8 hours.

Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to cutting board. Discard onion pieces. Using fingers, shred pork, and place on a baking tray. Preheat the broiler, and broil the meat until it is slightly charred all over, about 5-7 minutes. Serve hot with pinto beans, corn tortillas, guacamole, salsa, and queso fresco.

Some really great dinner recipes…and two desserts

If you remember (and I’m quite sure your memory is much better than mine these days), a few weeks ago I mentioned that I have been cooking and baking every.single.night, but also have been seriously lax in procuring photographs of the finished product.

And I just realized, seriously, that we have not eaten out in three weeks. I even asked the posse for verification.

They verified.

Astounding.

Well, I finally got my act together and made my list.

I even checked it twice :)

Vegetable Strata – gourmet magazine via epicurious

  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped scallion (I used shallots)
  • 3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips (about 2 cups)
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into thin strips (about 2 cups)
  • enough Italian bread cut into 1-inch cubes to measure 9 cups (about 1 1/2 loaves)
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 12 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • Tabasco to taste

In a large skillet cook the onion, the scallion, and the mushrooms in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, add the bell peppers pepper to taste, and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until all the liquid the mushrooms give off is evaporated and the peppers are tender. Arrange half the bread cubes in a buttered large shallow (4 1/2-quart) baking dish, spread half the vegetable mixture over them, and sprinkle half the Cheddar and half the Parmesan over the vegetables. Arrange the remaining bread cubes over the cheeses, top them with the remaining vegetables, and sprinkle the remaining cheeses over the top. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, the milk, the mustard, the Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste, pour the egg mixture evenly over the strata, and chill the strata, covered, overnight. Let the strata stand at room temperature for 15 minutes and bake it in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until it is puffed and golden and cooked throug

Sesame Noodles with Chile Oil and Scallions – Bon Appetit

  • 4 scallions, whites and greens separated, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp Sichuan pepper, coarsely chopped (I used regular black peppercorns)
  • 12 ounces spaghettini
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar

Cook scallion whites, vegetable oil, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and pepper in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until oil is sizzling and scallions are golden brown, 12-15 minutes; let chili oil cool in saucepan.

Meanwhile, cook noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente; drain. Rinse under cold water and drain well.

Whisk tahini, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and 2-3 tablespoons chili oil (depending on desired heat) in a large bowl; season with salt. Add noodles and toss to coat. Top with scallion greens and drizzle with more chili oil.

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja – serious eats

  • 2 pounds flank steak
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large red pepper, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup sliced, pimento-stuffed Spanish olives
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive brine

Season meat generously with pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add the meat in a single layer (working in batches if necessary) and cook until well browned, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook until second side is well browned, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer meat to slow cooker.Add broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, red pepper, garlic, and cumin to slow cooker. Season with pepper and stir to combine. Cook on low until tender, about 8 hours. Shred meat using two forks. Add olives and olive brine and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with pinto beans and rice.

Mario Batali’s Chicken Saltimbocca – Food and Wine

  • Eight 3-ounce chicken cutlets, pounded 1/8-inch thick
  • Ground pepper
  • 16 sage leaves
  • 8 slices of prosciutto
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup vin santo (I used white wine)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbs. butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Season the cutlets with pepper and place 2 sage leaves on each cutlet. Wrap each cutlet in a slice of prosciutto, pressing to adhere. Spread the flour in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in flour, dusting off the excess; transfer to a baking sheet.
Set a rack over a baking sheet. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add half of the chicken and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the rack. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and chicken.
Add the vin santo, stock and lemon juice to the skillet and boil over moderately high heat until the liquid is reduced by half, 4 minutes. Whisk in the butter. Pour half of the sauce into a bowl. Add half of the chicken to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until hot, 2 minutes. Season with pepper; stir in half of the parsley. Transfer the chicken to plates and pour the sauce on top. Repeat with the remaining sauce, chicken, and parsley.

Dark Chocolate Brownies – Pioneer Woman
  • 1 cup butter
  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs. vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-large saucepan, melt the butter with the unsweetened chocolate over low heat, whisking occasionally until smooth and melted. Sprinkle in cocoa powder and whisk to combine. Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

Stir in sugar and vanilla until just combined. One at a time, stir in the eggs. Gently stir in the flour until halfway incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and stir just until combined. Pour batter into a greased 8 x 8 or 9 x 13 baking pan. (Square pan will result in thicker brownies.) Spread to even out the top and place in the oven.

Bake for 40 minutes, then check the brownies with a toothpick. If it is overly gooey/messy, return to the oven for 5 to 10 more minutes.Allow to cool completely, then sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into small squares.

 

Lemon Buttermilk Bundt Cake – adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for pan
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 8 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour Bundt pan; set aside. Whisk baking powder and 3 cups flour in a medium bowl. Combine sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl; using your fingertips, rub together until lemon sugar is well blended.
Add 1 cup butter to lemon sugar. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula, until mixture is light and very fluffy, about 4 minutes longer.
Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
Bake cake until golden brown and beginning to pull away from sides of pan, 60-70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack; remove pan and let cool completely.

Chicken Tamale Casserole

I have mixed feelings about this casserole.

Wait…let me explain.

I enjoyed it.

The posse and J? Not so much.

I believe the cornbread base was the issue – because the pan I used was not 9 x 13, therefore it was much thicker than it should have been. So the moral to the story here is to:

A. Use the correct pan size

or

B. Bake the base longer.

Oh, and definitely make the cornbread base from scratch – because I found it to be too sweet using a boxed mix.

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Chicken Tamale Casserole - adapted from Taste and Tell

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground chili powder
1 (14 3/4 ounce) can cream style corn
1 (8.5 ounce) box corn muffin mix
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
cilantro (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine 1/4 cup cheese and milk, eggs, cumin, chili powder, corn, corn muffin mix and green chiles in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into the prepared dish. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Continue to bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream and cilantro, if desired.

 

6 Hour Chili

And so it begins…..

“It” being the laborious, tedious, and oftentimes painful process of selling your home.

ugh

I won’t complain, though, because this day is something I have been eagerly awaiting for over two years. And the end result will be the posse and myself moving far, far away from Sin City.

In approximately 91 days…….not that I’m counting or anything….

More details on that later, I promise. It’s a really good story.

So instead, let’s talk about chili – especially this chili. It’s been a family favorite for quite some time now, and I was actually able to capture a photo before it was devoured.

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Not an easy feat when you have two hungry teenagers glaring at you from over the counter.

6 Hour Chili – adapted from Williams Sonoma

  • 5 lb. ground beef
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz.) chopped tomatoes with
    juices ( I puree this so there aren’t chunky pieces of tomato in the final product)
  • 8 tbs. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄3 cup cornmeal
  • 1 12 oz bottle of beer
  • Sour cream, chopped red onion, grated,
    cheddar cheese and/or chopped fresh cilantro
    for garnish

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, brow the beef, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a slow cooker.

Add the garlic, yellow onion, tomatoes with juices, chili powder, oregano, cumin, pepper, cornmeal and beer to the slow cooker and stir to blend. Cover and cook for 6 hours on low according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Skim the fat off the surface of the chili. Stir well, then ladle the chili into warmed bowls and garnish with sour cream, red onion, cheese and/or cilantro.

Serves 8 to 10.