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Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on www.finecooking.com and written by Robb Walsh.

Before we go any further, I have to give props to my super amazing husband for helping me with this challenge. He grilled the tomatillos, grilled and shredded the chicken breasts, and, most importantly, poured the wine (for us, not this recipe)! ūüėČ

I am in love with this green chile sauce!¬†Just a head’s up – this sauce takes forever to make and thicken, but it’s totally worth it. Since it was rainy this weekend,¬†I didn’t mind being¬†in the kitchen for hours. I have a feeling I’ll be making batch after batch of this sauce all summer long. Margaritas, fresh guacamole, and now homemade green chile sauce…the staples of summertime!

Preparation time: Below are the approximate prep times for each step of the process. The sauce is the most time-intensive, but it can be made ahead and several of the steps can be done simultaneously. See additional information below for more preparation times and tips.

Roasting/preparing chiles and tomatillos: 30 – 60 min.
Assembling/simmering enchilada sauce: 30 min.
Grill chicken: 10 – 15 min.
Assembly/ baking enchilada stacks: 30 min.

Ingredients

1¬Ĺ pounds Fresh Anaheim chiles (about eight 6 to 8 inch chiles) 24 ounces 678 grams – roast, peel, remove seeds, chop coarsely. Other green chiles (NOT bell peppers) could probably be substituted but be conscious of heat and size!)
7-8 ounces Tomatillos (about 4-5 medium)212 grams – peel, remove stems
4 cups Chicken broth (32 ounces/920 grams)
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons yellow onion, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¬Ĺ tsp Kosher salt (add more to taste)
¬ľ tsp Black Pepper (add more to taste)
2 tablespoons Cornstarch (dissolve in 2 tablespoons water, for thickening)
Hot sauce, your favorite, optional
2 Boneless chicken breasts (you can also use bone-in chicken breasts or thighs)
3 tablespoons Olive oil or other neutral vegetable oil (use more as needed)
Kosher salt and pepper
12 Small Corn tortillas (5-6 inch/13-15 cm). (you can also use wheat tortillas or other wraps)
6 ounces grated Monterey Jack, 170 grams (other cheeses (cheddar, pepper jack, Mexican cheeses) can be used. Just be sure they melt well and complement the filling)
Cilantro for garnish, chopped and sprinkled optional

Directions:

Roasting Fresh Chiles

1. Coat each chile with a little vegetable oil. If you are doing only a couple chiles, using the gas stove works. For larger batches (as in this recipe), grilling or broiling is faster.
2. Lay the oiled chiles on the grill or baking sheet (line pan with foil for simpler clean-up). Place the grill or broil close to the element, turning the chiles so they char evenly. They should be black and blistered.
3. As they are completely charred (they will probably not all be done at once), remove them to a bowl and cover with plastic, or close up in a paper bag. Let them rest until they are cool.
4. Pull on the stem and the seed core MAY pop out (it rarely does for me). Open the chile and remove the seeds. Turn the chile skin side up and with a paring knife, scrape away the skin. Sometimes it just pulls right off, sometimes you really have to scrape it.
5. DO NOT RINSE!

Green Chile Sauce

1. Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil and remove the papery outer skin from the tomatillos. Boil the tomatillos until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. You can also grill the tomatillos until soft.
2. Drain and puree in a blender or food processor.
3. Return the tomatillos to the saucepan along with the chicken broth, chopped green chiles, minced onion, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir well. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and reduced to 4-5 cups, another 10-15 minutes.
6. Adjust seasonings and add hot sauce if you want a little more heat.

Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas

1. Heat a gas grill to medium high or build a medium-hot charcoal Coat the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, 4-5 minutes a side for boneless chicken breasts.
3. Cool and then slice into thin strips or shred.
4. In a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil to check ‚Äď it should sizzle immediately.
5. Using tongs, put a tortilla into the pan and cook until soft and lightly brown on each side, about 15-20 seconds per side (at the most).
6. Drain on paper towels.
7. Add oil as needed and continue until all 12 tortillas are done.
8. In a baking dish large enough to hold four separate stacks of tortillas, ladle a thin layer of sauce.
9. Lay four tortillas in the dish and ladle another ¬Ĺ cup (4 ounces/112 grams) of sauce over the tortillas.
10. Divide half the chicken among the first layer of tortillas, top with another ¬Ĺ cup of sauce and 1/3 of the grated cheese.
11. Stack another four tortillas, top with the rest of the chicken, more sauce and another third of the cheese.
12. Finish with the third tortilla, topped with the remaining sauce and cheese.
13. Bake until the sauce has thickened and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
14. To serve, transfer each stack to a plate. Spoon any leftover sauce over the stacks and sprinkle with cilantro, if you wish. The stacks may also be cooked in individual gratin dishes.

¬°Buen provecho

Vietnamese chicken pho

The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

The husband was off dominating on some folks at the final SCRCS mountain bike race of the season (#1, baby!), so what better way to welcome him home than with a big pot of chicken soup simmering away on the stove. I wanted to like this soup, really I did. The toasted spices smelled amazing, but the finished product…meh. I found myself looking for carrots, celery, something, anything. I guess I’m¬†a traditionalist when it comes to chicken noodle soup.

Vietnamese Chicken Pho

Preparation Time: 45 cooking time + 15 minutes to cook noodles based on package directions
Servings: Makes 4 servings
Ingredients:
For the Chicken Pho Broth:
2 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 quarts (2 liters/8 cups/64 fluid ounces) store-bought or homemade chicken stock
1 whole chicken breast (bone in or boneless)
¬Ĺ onion
1 3-inch (7.5 cm) chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
1 to 2 tbsps. sugar
1 to 2 tbsps. fish sauce
1 lb. (500 grams/16 ounces) dried rice noodles (about ¬ľ inch/6 mm wide)
Accompaniments:
2 cups (200 grams/7 ounces) bean sprouts, washed and tails pinched off
Fresh cilantro (coriander) tops (leaves and tender stems)
¬Ĺ cup (50 grams/approx. 2 ounces) shaved red onions
¬Ĺ lime, cut into 4 wedges
Sriracha chili sauce
Hoisin sauce
Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice
Directions:
To make the Chicken Pho Broth:
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices to avoid burning.
In a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices) and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.
Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with your fingers, discarding the bone if you have used bone-in breasts.
Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.
Ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded chicken breast and the soft noodles evenly into each bowl.
Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.

I added Sriracha chili sauce to the broth and that helped, but even so I doubt I’ll make this again. No offense, Jaden! Please do not let my lackluster review deter you in any way from trying this for yourself.

Remember to visit the¬†blogroll to see what the other Daring Cooks thought and come back tomorrow for some sweet ‘tater biscuits. Oh, yeah!

fried chicken & collard greens

My husband grew up on traditional Southern food – fried pork chops, blackeyed peas, mashed potatoes & gravy…you get the¬†idea.¬†Well, he’s been craving some good ole’ Southern homecookin’ for a while now.¬†I bought myself some time by¬†distracting him with French pastries, but he would not be put off any longer.

So, here’s the deal –¬†I was born in the heart of Dixie, but¬†Southern fare has never been my specialty. Seriously, I didn’t voluntarily eat greens until a few years ago. Yikes! Plus,¬†my mother-in-law is the queen of all things fried. Double yikes!! I knew his expectations would be high. Who could I turn to for help? I know…my new Deen brothers cookbook and my girl Sunny Anderson.

I scanned the contents of my refrigerator and decided to improvise. I had everything I need to make Sunny’s Vegetarian “Southern-style” Collard Greens, but I had to deviate from the Deen brothers’¬†fried chicken recipe by making fried chicken “fingers”.

Granny’s Fried Chicken

Adapted from Take It Easy by Jamie & Bobby Dean

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Canola oil

Directions

Heat oil in 12″ pan until 350 degrees. While oil is heating, cut chicken breast into large “fingers”. Salt and pepper chicken. Whisk eggs and add hot sauce. Thoroughly coat chicken in egg mixture then dredge in flour. Shake off excess batter and slowly add chicken to the frying pan. Cook on both sides until batter is golden and juices run clear (about 12-14 minutes).

Vegetarian “Southern-style” Collard Greens

Recipe courtesy Sunny Anderson

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound collard greens, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and butter. Saute the onions until slightly softened, about 2 minutes, then add the red pepper flakes and garlic, cook another minute. Add collard greens and cook another minute. Add the vegetable stock, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook until greens are tender, about 40 minutes. Add tomatoes and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Success! Kevin was¬†very happy with this meal which means I’ll be keeping¬†these two recipes at the ready.

My Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart is not quite ready, but soon…very soon. If you simply cannot wait, then take a look at my fellow Tuesdays With Dorie bakers¬†to see their tempting creations.

chicken bryan

Ever since I bought Henrietta’s goat cheese at the farmers’ market last weekend, I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate¬†it into at least one meal a day. I’ve put it on top of salads, in an omelet with sauteed spinach and tomatoes, on a fork,¬† on my finger, whatever is handy. I really should have shared with someone, but we’re way past that point now.

My husband absolutely adores the Chicken Bryan at Carrabba’s so I decided to look for the recipe online. Success! Here is the original Carrabba’s Chicken Bryan recipe. I love the contrast between the saltiness of the sundried tomatoes, the freshness of the basil, and the creaminess of¬†the goat cheese.

And what would go better with pasta and Chicken Bryan than one of Kevin’s favorite vegetables – brussel sprouts. Not any brussel sprouts, mind you. Only shredded brussel sprouts with pecans and prosciutto would do. The texture alone makes¬†this recipe¬†a keeper not to mention the flavor. The crunchiness of the toasted pecans is fantastic and who doesn’t love prosciutto? Even if you’re not a brussel sprout fan, I urge you to give this recipe a try.

Be sure to visit me tomorrow for my latest Tuesdays With Dorie adventure. It’s gonna be delish!

sauteed chicken, spinach, & pasta

If you’ve tried my go-to sauteed chicken & pasta (and I know you have) you may be looking for a way to change it up a bit. Well, that’s just what I’ve done. I substituted¬†fresh spinach and baby portabella mushrooms for the¬†squash and ¬†zucchini I normally use. The results? Fantastic!

What you’ll need: garlic, red onion, olive oil (I prefer extra-virgin), chicken breasts (boneless, skinless), fresh spinach, fresh baby portebella mushrooms, feta cheese (I prefer feta with garlic & herbs), pasta (I like whole wheat linguine)

Sautee fresh minced garlic and chopped red onion in a little olive oil. Meanwhile,¬†cut 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts¬†into bite-size pieces then season with salt & pepper.¬†As soon as the garlic and onion¬†are¬†tender,¬†add the chicken.¬†Once the chicken starts to cook,¬†add the baby bellas then finally the spinach. Serve over pasta and top with¬†crumbled feta. I think I’ll add toasted pine nuts next time…yum. Enjoy!

sauteed chicken & pasta

This is one of my favorite go-to meals when I’m pressed for time and want something healthy.

Go-to Sauteed Chicken & Pasta

 

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 sprig fresh rosemary, snipped

Zest & juice of one lemon

2 garlic cloves, minced

Olive oil (eyeball it)

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 zucchini, sliced

2 squash, sliced

Whole wheat linguine

Parmesan-Reggiano cheese

 

Directions:

Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Combine rosemary, garlic, lemon juice, zest, and olive oil. Divide mixture evenly into two large storage bags. To one bag, add chicken breasts and to the other bag, add the zucchini and squash slices. Let marinate in refrigerator at least one hour.

 

Cut chicken breasts into bite-size pieces and sautee in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, heat a pot of water until boiling and add linguine. Remove chicken from heat and set aside. Sautee zucchini and squash over medium heat just until slightly tender. Add chicken and pasta to vegetables and toss. Grate parmesan-reggiano cheese over chicken and pasta just before serving.

 

Like my cute serving bowl? It came from Inside Up (251-438-6788) and was a gift from some lovely friends of mine (thanks, again, Susan & Willie!). There’s quite a buzz about this store that features everything from barware to colorful purses to local spa butter. Sounds like my kind of place! If you’re in the downtown¬†area, check ’em out. They’re located by the YMCA (look for the iron gates). Maybe I’ll see you there! ūüėČ

 

Stay tuned for part 2 in my Blogging for Babies series. I’m developing a sweet recipe you won’t want to miss!

 

sauteed chicken & pasta 2

Last night, I tried my hand at homemade pesto. It was so much better than storebought! This is my variation on a recipe by Curtis Stone aka Take Home Chef.

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Fresh basil leaves (I used the entire package)
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt¬†salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3¬†boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 8¬†ounces dried farfalle
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley

Cooking Instructions

To make the pesto: Using a mortar and pestle smash the garlic into a coarse puree. Add basil and pound until it is coarsely chopped. Mix in the grated cheese. Add 1/3 cup of pine nuts and smash to break them up. Slowly mix in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season the pesto to taste with salt and pepper. The pesto was still pretty lumpy so I transferred it to my food processor for a few quick pulses. Set it aside.

Preheat the oven to 400¬įF. Heat tablespoon of oil in a large ovenproof saut√© pan over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken breasts just until golden brown but not yet cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the pan from the heat. Spread the pesto over the top of the chicken breasts. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, to prepare the pasta: Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat until al dente, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Whisk 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the reserved pasta cooking water to blend well. Add the spaghetti and parsley and toss to coat.

Cut each chicken breast crosswise and on a slight diagonal into 4 slices. Arrange the chicken slices alongside the spaghetti. Garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup of pine nuts.

I was quite pleased with this dish and it met with my hubby’s approval. I will definitely be making this again!

A co-worker of mine brought this delicious soup to work to share with the rest of us. Naturally, I wanted more and I could hardly wait to make this simple yet tasty soup myself.

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken, cooked and shredded

2 boxes frozen spinach, thawed and drained

Chicken stock (I used Swanson’s reduced sodium broth)

1 small bag frozen diced onions, thawed and drained

1 large package fresh cheese tortelloni or ravioli

1 packet Italian seasoning

Sharon used a store-bought rotisserie chicken in her soup. I opted to bake¬†a chicken in my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker. I used the recipe that came with my baker – Smothered Chicken with Garlic (check out the recipe here). I must say, I was impressed with the flavor of the chicken. Apparently, Kevin was too because he kept nibbling at it and¬†I wondered if there’d be any chicken left for the soup. Only¬†the fear of being permanently labeled the Soup Nazi¬†kept me from slapping his hands away. ūüôā

Sharon chose cheese ravioli for her soup, whereas I used¬†Buitoni’s¬†three-cheese tortelloni. Note: Either eat or freeze this soup within a day or¬†two of making as the pasta will absorb much of the broth.

Next time I make this soup, I will definitely use fewer onions.¬†I’ll also¬†replace¬†the frozen spinach¬†with wilted fresh¬†spinach. Instead of using the store bought Italian seasoning¬†packet, I’ll make my own Italian herb blend using one of my favorite kitchen tools¬†– the¬†mortar¬†and pestle. What’s your favorite kitchen tool?

Have a favorite soup recipe? I’d love to hear about that too.

We wanted to do something a little different from our standard grilled chicken breasts.¬†So last night, we made chicken breasts stuffed with feta cheese and oregano. I was really hungry so no pictures this time…sorry ūüė¶

Kevin prepped 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts by slicing them to create a pocket. Meanwhile, I crumbled the feta and mixed in 1/2 tsp. dried oregano. (You may be wondering why I would bother crumbling a block of feta cheese when it’s available in crumbled form. Did you know crumbled and shredded cheese contains cellulose? No, thank you! I’d rather crumble it myself and enjoy my cheese sans wood pulp.) To the feta and oregano mixture, we added garlic powder and a dash of dried thyme. Kevin proceeded to stuff the chicken with the feta and herbs since he already had “chicken hands”. Note: Secure chicken pockets with toothpicks.

We heated a non-stick skillet coated lightly with oil on medium heat. Next, we added the chicken presentation side down for 4-5 minutes. Note: Do not move the chicken. Let it go for the full 4-5 minutes to get a good sear on it. Turn the chicken and sear the other side for 4-5 minutes. Then cover and lower heat for 8-10 more minutes. When chicken is done (internal temp of 165-170), finish with a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice.

The chicken was juicy and had a wonderful flavor. Next time, I’d like to add spinach to the stuffing. How great would that taste?! Check back tomorrow to hear about the dessert we had.

"Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity." ~Voltaire

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