Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mango and Avacado Salsa

"I feel like I have been hit by a Mac Truck".  Ever wonder where that saying comes from?   I mean really.  Did someone get hit by a Mac Truck and say "hmmmm that feels like how my toughest days feel"?  I tried to look up how this cliche came to be, but couldn't really find anything.

For me, Summer aids the "mac truck feeling".  The heat sucks the life out of me.  I have to yell and scream at myself just to push through my workouts.  It all just  leaves me heat exhausted, cranky, and tired.  I am envious of you who LOVE the heat and can't get enough of the summer! Living here in So Cal makes be wish I were you!

For me? I dream about fall and Winter.  About cool days, cold nights and glorious rain.  Just knowing the seasons will change gives me comfort and soothes my soul. 

Metaphorically speaking, I really do feel like I have been hit by a Mac Truck this week. Thank goodness for the weekend.  I am hoping to recharge my batteries and inspire myself (and hopefully you) with some great cooking.

I feel food in the summer should revolve around something refreshing, cool and bright. I want what I call "happy flavors" and Mango Salsa fits the bill.  Cool, refreshing, slightly sweet with some creaminess from the Avocado.  This is a great accompaniment to any simple chicken or fish. I also like it with baked chips as a healthy alternative to dips.

This little salsa has to power to momentarily make me feel like Summer isn't so bad...

Mango Avocado Salsa
For WW's - the only points come for a tiny bit of OJ and the avocado

1 Mango - pitted and diced  (you can used peaches or nectarines also!)
2 tablespoons onion, finely diced (I used a sweet Texas onion)
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, or more to taste
2 tablespoons finely sliced green onion
1/4 of a red bell pepper diced (can be any color)
1/2 to 3/4 cup halved or quartered  cherry tomatoes
1 small-med avocado diced - don't like avocado?  leave it out!
1/4 cup orange juice
zest of one lime
Juice of one lime

My garden is going crazy and I am gathering about 2 pints of cherry tomatoes per day, I gather my gorgeous tomatoes first:

To a bowl,  add diced mango's, onions, cilantro, green onion, bell pepper, halved or quartered cherry tomatoes, avocado, and the zest of one lime.

Mix it with the OJ and squeeze a fresh lime over the top, Stir to combine.  Set in the fridge until the rest of your meal is done.

** Note about OJ - I keep an opened container of frozen concentrate in the freezer.  I pop the top and scoop out what I need for that dish and mix with a bit of water.  This way I can get a bit of OJ when I need it and  I cant make it as strong or weak flavored as I want it.

I haven't put jalapeno in this.  Mainly because I just love these flavors and don't want the heat disturbing the balance.  That's a personal taste thing, so if you love them, a finely diced jalapeno would be a great addition!

This is a great salsa to add or remove ingredients, So I encourage you to mix it up!

I served it with store bought, teriyaki marinaded Chicken kabob

The result?  A cool, bright and almost creamy salsa for Chicken or fish that will revive you in this heat!  This is so easy to make and so beautiful.  Easily making you a summer, meal making rock star!

From my home to yours, ENJOY!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Baked Eggs in Mex Chicken Soup

I had the opportunity to eat at a fabulous restaurant last night called Palate in Glendale, CA.  I went with a work colleague from NY.  Since he is originally from England (think fantastic Indian/curry) and lives in NY (fantastic food of all kinds) I wanted to bring him to a place that was very "LA" with great atmosphere and sophisticated food.  Palate was it.  I am thrilled to report it was one of the top 10 restaurants I have had the pleasure of dining in.

As you may have previously read I am generally disappointed in restaurants and think....hmmm it could be better, brighter, more dynamic.  When I go out I want to have my SOCKS KNOCKED OFF.  But alas, I am usually left with that underwhelmed feeling and when I  pay the bill I think GOSH...I would rather eat my own cooking at home for half the price.

NOT SO with this beautiful restaurant.  Palate is a hip and cool, wine bar restaurant that also boasts and impressive cheese bar.  They have a menu that changes weekly based on market fresh ingredient availability. Sad in one way, because you will NOT get the same dish twice.  But it's kind of cool in another way because you never know what you will get.  Plus, it takes a hell of a chef to come up with a complete menu every week based on what's seasonally available.  (I mean really.....I AM NOT WORTHY!-can you see me bowing?)  The food is sophisticated, simply prepared and cooked to perfection.  Every main ingredient's own flavor shined through.  The styling and serving presentation was gorgeous.  Simple and not over the top.  Each dish clearly exhibits tremendous respect and restraint for the food itself.  WOW.  At first glance?  Goosebumps.  At first bite? Again, Goosebumps...literally.  The flavor,  presentation, color, and smell create a meal that is memorable for a lifetime.  If you are in Glendale, CA and want a memorable encounter with food, I highly recommend this place.  Check them out....

I know, I know.......your asking me What the heck does this have to do with today's recipe?  Well, a lot actually.  What happens when you have had the meal of a life time?  The next day you are left with wanting to eat something delicious and inspiring.  And if not inspiring, then something that is a tasty and satisfying start to the day.

Two days ago I made the 10  minute soup I posted in April (Posting called:  Sometimes you just need soup!).   It's a soup that is literally as easy as opening up cans, dumping it all together and chopping a little cilantro. That's it. Really.  And while its not gourmet, it IS tasty, satisfying and filling as well as healthy and light.  Check out the post in the archives.  I am also re-stating the recipe here as well.

First thing first, Make the soup.  Eat some for lunch or dinner and save some for breakfast!  Or simply make the soup for this recipe and then have leftovers for later.  Either way, make the soup.  You wont be sorry.

Mex Chicken Soup
6 ounces cooked chicken, use left overs or precooked frozen
1 can diced tomatoes with juice (I use roasted canned tomatoes)
1 can great northern beans, un-drained (or any bean of choice)
1/2 small can green chilies, diced (optional)
3 cups vegetable or Chicken stock (whatever you have)
2 to 3 oz dried Bulgar (If you cannot find, use couscous)
about 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (use more or less to taste)
Juice of one lime and more for each bowl at the end.
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 Cayenne (optional) or more to taste
1 bay leaf

Add broth to large pot, and bring to a boil, add the tomatoes (with juice), beans (with juice), green chilies, Bulgar or couscous, lime juice, cilantro, all spices and bay leaf.  Return to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover pot and simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve in large bowls with any of the following:  Light sour cream/Mexican crema, reduced fat cheese, avocado, more cilantro and/or baked till crisp corn tortilla pieces.

See?  I told you, it's 10 minutes.  OK, I lied.  It's more like 12 minutes cause it take time to open the cans and chop that cilantro.  FINE.  It's a 12 minute soup then.  The flavor is almost like a lighter and brighter "healthy" form of chili.  The brightness from the lime is perfect..don't go without it.

Now, onto the recipe of the day:

Baked Eggs in Mex Chicken Soup

2 cups or more hot Mex Chicken soup - recipe above on in the archives
2 eggs
Cheese of your choice (reduced or regular fat) OPTIONAL
Mexican crema (or sour cream diluted with a bit of milk)
Fresh lime juice

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Use oven proof bowls and get 2 eggs (I use soup mugs):

Add at least 1 cup of hot soup to each bowl and crack an egg in each one:

Put the bowl in the oven and set your timer  for 10 minutes.  Baked eggs are a bit tough to get right, you want a cooked white with a slightly runny watching them is important.  In 10  minutes, check them.

You can see, the egg is starting to cook, but is clearly translucent and raw.  Set your timer for another 10 minutes (or 5 and then check and 5 additional minutes)  In another 10 minutes (20 total) your eggs should look like this:

If using, add cheese (I used a super aged gouda) but Jack, cheddar or mexican fresh cheeses would work well also. 

Put under a boiler for a minute, remove and top with Mexican crema:

When you cut into your egg,  the yolk should be fairly runny.  Don't worry if your whites seem a touch underdone, the egg continues to cook in the hot soup.  Squeeze with lime juice and enjoy.

The result?  A tasty, satisfying and hearty breakfast.  The egg yolk creates a creaminess to the dish that is delicious and  comforting.

From my home to yours, ENJOY! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tender Beef Stir Fry - Mexican Style!

By now you know I could spend HOURS in the kitchen working on one meal - (and making a HUGE MESS).  But NOT when I am literally starving to DEATH.  During those times, I want something FRESH, GREAT TASTING AND HEALTHY  - and yes, I STILL want it fast.  I know what you're thinking....but the answer is NO!  Those canned, boxed or pre-made convenience foods are not really options for me on a regular basis. Even if I need food faster than you can say "Dinner is served !!

After my work-outs I am SO hungry these days!!  NOT not a little.  I mean REALLY, REALLY HUNGRY and a bit on the CRANKY side.  Well, OK...maybe more than just a tad, bit cranky (sorry honey!!)   But it's true.  I cant help it - that dip in blood sugar takes it's toll and POOF (like the little bunny Foo- Foo) I am turned into a mean, cranky and IMPATIENT hungry person!!

Sometimes I have  2 pt shake as a quick snack while I cook.....I feel (somewhat) satisfied so that I can withstand  cooking without eating everything in site during the process, But STILL, that darn meal better be on the table FAST because my body burns  that shake up quickly when my metabolism is in high gear!!

If you are growing veggies - especially cherry tomatoes and/sweet peppers - this is a great recipe to use them in.  I had just harvested a pepper and some tomatoes (along with green beans!)  I threw everything in with other veggies in an effort to boost nutritional value by creating that all important "rainbow" of colors (we will talk about that later), and to BULK IT UP!! 

Go ahead, throw in the kitchen sink (or not) depending on your preference - this recipe can take it!

Tender Beef Stir Fry - Mexican Style

For the STEAK
1/2 Pound top sirloin, skirt or tri-tip (I used a tri-tip steak)
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon Chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder
salt and pepper

For the Stir Fry
1-2 small to med zucchini squash cut into sticks
1 large onion sliced thin
Cherry tomatoes (quartered or halved)
ANY OTHER VEGGIES YOU WANT (cabbage or green beans....?)
Your favorite salsa
Fresh cilantro - chopped
Avocado, Diced
Fresh limes
olive oil

1 cup rice
2 cups water
1 Pack Knorr Fideo con pollo (chicken noodle) or any other Chicken noodle soup mix

First Get your rice in your rice cooker or on the stove.  I used a rice cooker - I added the rice, water and ONE packet of the chicken noodle soup:

Let rice cook and gather the balance of your ingredients:

Grab your steak - it's best to have it partially frozen so it's easier to cut into thin slices

Now thinly slice your steak AGAINST the grain:

In a bowl, toss the steak with the garlic and chili powders along with a good amount of salt and pepper - add more spices if you wish and then squeeze in the lime.  Toss well and set aside.  It should look like this:
                                (Definitely not that exciting looking...but the taste is great!!)

Prep your veggies:

Prep your mango by cutting off the flesh then dice and set aside:

Now heat a non stick pan with a little olive oil until very hot.  Toss in your seasoned meat and COOK FAST until JUST BARELY DONE - if you overcook now, you will end up with chewy steak!!  Trust me on this one.  REMOVE your steak to a bowl and set aside.  Toss out any juice that accumulated in the pan and reheat with a bit more olive oil.

Add the onions and cook until nicely golden (not too dark) - The flash "bleached out some of the color (sorry!)

Then add peppers, and other veggies that take a bit longer to cook and saute until crisp tender.  Add zucchini and saute until done ( just a few minutes or they will be too soft)

** Check your rice for doneness and turn off (if done) and let sit:  It should look like this - note the little brown noodles in the rice?  YUMMY in your TUMMY!!

  Add your meat, tomatoes, fresh chopped cilantro to taste and about a 1/2 cup of prepared salsa. Toss until hot and REMOVE FROM HEAT (your tomatoes will sort of smoosh from the heat, which I like!)

Put the stir fry over the rice and top with mango, avocado, cilantro and extra lime juice!

The result?  A quick, healthy and delicious meal that's full of color, flavor, nutrition (Don't forget the YUMMY rice!)  This is a great dish to get your servings of fruits and veggies.  PLUS its an opportunity to use up the stuff in your garden or veggie bin.  AND, if you want - go ahead and throw in the kitchen sink!

From my home to yours, ENJOY!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Orange Essance Bulgur Salad w/Chicken

I think the world is FREAKING out at warp speed.  Where is the time going?  Why is everything SO busy and SO draining and SO seemingly earth shatteringly important all of the sudden?  IS IT A FULL MOON????

Getting the flu this week, putting in a couple 14 hour days (because so many people think THEIR problems are more important than the next guys - you know....THE SKY IS FALLING - yeah right), babysitting, AND ONE COMPUTER crash (due to a bootkit and Malware - don't ask - thanks!!) and trying to keep up with the demands of "life", I haven't been able to get a blog out to save my life.

I actually HAVE been cooking - I have pictures galore, but alas, I couldn't get it to you.  FRUSTRATING!.

This is WAR!  I am drawing a line in the sand and getting this recipe written.    WHY?  Because you deserve to make this refreshing summer "salad".  Not only is it good, it's good for you...but mostly?  It's just good.

So what is this stuff called Bulgur and where do you buy it?  Bulgur is a parboiled, then dreid, quick cooking wheat grain.  Most of the bran is left on the grain, making this a recognized whole grain by the U.S.D.A. as well as the Whole Grains Council.  If you are looking to amp up the whole grain in your diets this is for you.   Bulgur can be found in natural food stores, Middle Eastern specialty grocers (think VALLEY PRODUCE MARKET), and some traditional grocery stores -  although I haven't found a normal market YET that carries it.  This is a common ingredient in Armenian, Syriac, Turkish, Middle Easter, and Mediterranean dishes.  It has a light, nutty flavor, with a great texture your mouth will LOVE.    Bulgur comes in four distinct grinds (sizes) (#1 Fine, #2 Medium, #3 Coarse and #4 Extra Coarse grinds.) You can use Bulgur just as you would rice, couscous, Quinoa, etc.... 

From a cost perspective, this should be INEXPENSIVE, but if you can find it at all in a regular grocery you might spend 5-6 dollars for a tiny bit.  In a middle Eastern Market or on the Internet, a package will cost far less. Seek this grain out, it's worth it.

If you are Wheat intolerant and need Gluten free,  or you cant locate Bulgar please make it with Short grain brown rice!!

Orange Essence Bulgar Salad with Chicken
This salad uses #3 course, but use whatever size you can find (or short grain brown rice)
The bulgur needs to cool so make this with enough time to cool the salad and let the flavors meld.

1 cup Bulgur, Course (#3)
2 cups Orange Juice
4 Chicken tenderloin strips thawed and diced
1tsp Chicken bouillon granules
2 Persian or 1 hothouse cucumber, small dice
1/2 mango - Peeled and diced
3/4 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp Chives or green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup dried cranberries1/4 cup roasted pistachios (roughly chopped) optional
1 teaspoon Chopped parsley, or more to taste
1/8 cup olive oil
Juice of one fresh orange
1-2 tsp Cider vinegar
Salt and pepper

Gather your ingredients

This is what bulgar looks like

Bring the 2 cups of Orange juice to a boil and add Bulgur.  Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes.  Taste.  If tender, it's done.  Dont overcook it to mushyness.  It needs a bit of texture.  If there is more liquid (there shouldn't be) then drain it off.

**IMPORTANT NOTE:  Put Bulgur in the refrigerator until cool (or the freezer while you are making the rest of the dish - OR have Bulgur done well in advance)

In a pan, saute the chicken cubes in a bit of oil or spray, and cook until done and tender.  Sprinkle with the chicken bullion granules and cook/stir until well coated.  Remove to bowl.  Set aside.

For the dressing:  Squeeze juice of one orange into a small bowl, Add olive oil, cider vinegar to taste and salt and pepper.  TASTE and adjust seasonings, if needed.  (you may want more OJ, vinegar, Salt or pepper). Set aside

In a large bowl add  chicken cubes, cucumbers, tomatoes, dried cranberries, pistachios, chives or green onion, mango, and parsley. Add the cooled Bulgar and stir well.

Mix dressing with whisk and pour over Bulgar salad. Add chunky salt (I used Himalayan) and pepper.

We ate this right away and it was good.  But the left overs were in the fridge a few hours later were AMAZING and REFRESHING.  I would suggest making this in the morning...putting in Fridge until cold and have for lunch or make the night before.

The result?  A refreshing, delightfully different salad that is healthy, full of whole grain and filling. Your family will not notice any of that.  They'll notice it's just a DARN GOOD SUMMER SALAD they will ask for again and again!

From my home to yours, ENJOY!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Caprese Salad and Garden Update

I had such a late start to my garden this season. Spring was very cold and rainy.  I LOVED it, but seedlings don't appreciate the almost freezing night temps and the continuous rain.  A greenhouse would have been perfect!!  When I wrote my first garden blog, I told you I talk to my little guys. (I know - crazy right?) but I really do think it helps!   I would say to them, "take the cool while you can, the summer heat is on it's way and you might be sorry!"  Boy did the heat come, didn't it? For the most part, the plants are hanging in there and in most cases, they are thriving!

My grandson loves my garden.  He loves to pick and eat "matoes".  He knows exactly when they turn the perfect red.  Having him enjoy my garden with me is FAR MORE fulfilling that the actual garden!  He is my little gardening buddy.  Right now, he's waiting patiently for apples and melons!!
The flowers are beautiful and compliment the vegetables!!

Tree fruit did well.  I have harvested loquats, Peaches, Apricots and Cherries so far, with Nectarines and Apples just about ready.

The Boysen, Black and Blue berries are completely harvested.  The crop was great, but when the heat hit, it turned some of the Blackberries and boysenberries into "raisins" almost immediately. I was shocked at the speed in which that happened!!  I figure I lost a third of the second picking.  I thought Hmmm, I wonder if a "berry raisin is good?"  Ummm. The answer is NO!!  Dried up berries are NOT me on that one!  The blueberries LOVED the coolness and gave me a large crop this year (probably about 2 pints) but completely petered out when the massive heat hit.   Now I am waiting on Raspberries which are a bit later in the season.

The herbs are doing great!  Crops of Chive, Thyme, Oregano, Sage, Basil, Thai Basil, Rosemary, Parsley and Mint are finally doing well.  It took a lot of coaxing through the cold, but the results are beautifully worth it in my everyday cooking!  My two year old grandson is completely enamored with my herb garden.  He can name every herb and he loves eating the fresh leaves of each one!  He will pop basil in his mouth and say..."NUMMY!  BASIL!  His favorite?  MINT!!  Why?  because he says it tastes like "bubble" - his term for gum!  SOOO cute!! 

The plants in the Earthboxes are absolutely growing like they are on steroids.  They do every year!  If you are interested, look at and check these boxes out.  I LOVE them and the plants they produce.  The Italian Sweet Marconi peppers are producing their first crop, the Tomatoes are abundant, healthy (and delicious!), my Indian and Thai Eggplants are FINALLY growing up - first fruits on their way, and the melons (honeydew and cantaloupe) are FINALLY climbing up the trellis, I encourage them every day!

The cucumbers are just starting to climb (boy...did they have trouble with the cool.  Super late start), the green beans are about ready for picking and I am waiting on the tomatillos.  I have NEVER had good luck growing tomatillos, but I am hopeful this year I wont just have a "lovely Plant" , but also fruits to go with it.

What do do with it all?  Well, the fruits are mostly eaten fresh (check out the grilled fruit recipe in June)  But the berries are frozen immediately  in order to make preserves, cobblers, sauces and smoothies.

All of this leads me to the caprese salad.  I grow quite a bit of basil.  I want pesto, fresh tomato sauces, and caprese salads  in the summer.

If you are lucky enough to grow your own tomatoes, this is obviously a dynamite way to use them.  If not, the markets are chock full of vine ripened or heirloom tomatoes.  I prefer heirloom tomatoes, for the flavor and I don't grow that variety - I am going to try again next year!  But in the heat of summer, a cool refreshing caprese salad with a tossed pasta dish is PERFECT for summer dinner.  I served My Caprese salad with some of the Butternut Pasta Sauce that I froze (see archives for post)  and tossed in cheese tortillini's.  The perfect wine?  Pinot Grigio.  It was a great meal.

Caprese Salad
Figure calories for the cheese and oil
Picture below is before oil and vinegar

FRESH mozzarella Cheese
Fresh vine ripened or heirloom Tomatoes
Fresh basil
Olive Oil
Balsamic vinegar
chunky finishing salt - optional

The quantities are up to many tomatoes, how much cheese and basil depends on the number of servings.

Before we start, I want to talk about Mozzarella cheese.  There are many different varieties of mozzarella.  Fresh mozzarella is packed in water, for the most part.  This cheese is soft, fresh with a creamy texture.  It is nothing like the mozzarella ball you see for pizza that Progresso or other brands sell.  What I call pizza mozzarella should not be used for this salad, just my opinion.  I have had some pretty good Fresh mozzarella that was packed in a "ball form" labeled FRESH and it was very soft with a good texture - if you see that kind, I can recommend it or seek out the water packed variety.

Slice your tomatoes and mozzarella into rounds of about 1/4" thick and layer them on a flat plate.  Tomato, cheese, tomato, cheese, etc....

Thinly slice fresh basil (as much as you like) and put it on top of the tomatoes and cheese.  Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste and top with chunky finishing salt (I use pink Himalayan, but other chunky sea salts will be good also - Salt is optional.)

I used O'olive oil's Garlic infused and regular aged balsamic vinegar - absolutely delish!

The result?  A perfectly cooling, fresh and tangy salad with the unmistakable flavor of basil. The occasional crunch of great sea salt is texturally satisfying.  This is so unbelievably easy to throw together, but gorgeous in it's simplicity. This is the taste of summer at it's best. 

From my home to yours, ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mango, Pineapple and Papaya Smoothie

Boy do I hate summer.  I dislike heat over 80 degrees.  You can imagine what 106 and HORRIBLY humid does to me.  YEAH, Poor Tom.  I am not a nice person in the heat.  I get cranky and sad.  I am continuing my running, weights and exercise videos, but it's just gross in the heat.....YUK.  I will take 65, partly cloudy ANY DAY. 

And COOKING?  Well it's a just a chore when it's so hot and horribly uncomfortable.  AND, since it's my hobby and something I am truly happy doing, I hate feeling like that.  BUT the summer blahs are here.

I will get used to it and grind through the summer.  But the heat came on so hard and so fast that I literally feel fried.  So a fresh fruit smoothie sounded so good, so easy, so cool and so satisfying.  Thank goodness for blenders!!  It's like having summer in a cup!! (only healthier and without the darn heat!!)

I almost always have pineapple and Mexican papaya's (the pink fleshed ones) peeled and cubed in ziploc baggies  in the freezer.  I put them in serving sizes of 1 cup each.  This way, when I want the fruit in a recipe (think salsa, sauces, smoothies, or fruit cocktail) I can just pull them out when I need them and I don't have to mess with preparing the fruit each time.  Trust me...when you want a smoothie, you want it it's kind of cool to be as prepared as your local smoothie shop....just pour everything in and GO!

SUPER REFRESHING.  This is the stuff HAPPINESS is made of when it's hot outside.  You and your family will be refreshed AND nourished without digging into high calorie ice cream treats!

Pineapple, Mango and Papaya Smoothies
Makes 2 filling servings

1 cup mango
1 cup pineapple
1 cup Pink fleshed papaya
1 8 oz container of Greek yogurt ( Chobani or Fage) FAT FREE (I used plain because that's what I had, but vanilla, peach, etc..would be awesome)
1 cup ice cubes
1/2 cup warm water if your fruit is NOT FROZEN, don't add the water.
1 packet (or more to taste) Artificial sweetener

Prepare your fruit into chunks and get out your yogurt.

In your blender, in this order, place yogurt, water (if using), sweetener, all three fruits, and the ice cubes. 

 ** I snapped the picture Prematurely - without the water and ice cubes. happens to the best of us....!  LOL

Blend until very smooth and creamy, and pour/scoop into your desired glass. 

** If your blender gets frozen, stop it and add more warm water and blend again until desired consistency is reached.

The result?  A VERY creamy, ice cream like smoothie that is perfect for Breakfast, or anytime you need to be refreshed.  It's definitely a cure for all of us heat exhausted peeps!!  Try adding different fruits, flavored yogurts and/or herbs (mint, a bit of basil ??)....Have fun with it!

From my home to yours, ENJOY!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Georgina's Green Enchilada's

A couple of weeks ago I had two friends from my "old" place of employment over for a "cooking night".  It was great seeing them.  It made me realize how much I miss them.....then later it made me realize how much I miss everyone over there.  It's weird when you spend 11 years with the same people, it's hard not to think of them often and miss that part of working in an office environment. 

Don't get me wrong.  I love my job.  I love working from home.  I love my life right's probably the best it's been in a very long time, maybe EVER.  I have a great husband who I try not to take for granted, two of the MOST gorgeous grand kids anyone could ever want, and we are at the precipice of building our our dream home in Washington.  I mean really...How many blessings can one person take?

But in the quiet moments nostalgia sets in and I remember people who have touched my life.  Georgina is one of those people for many reasons, and I find myself missing her so much.  

Then I think, Hmmmm - is it her I miss or her INCREDIBLE Green enchiladas I miss so much?  HAHA- Of course, I miss "smorgy" (as I called her) but I have to say...the Green Enchiladas are such a close second that I had to stop and think about it for a minute! 

She has graciously given her blessing for me to post her family's recipe for these delicious rolls of green goodness as she patiently directed me via telephone.  Her mother has been making this for over 40 years and Georgina is following the tradition. 

I was thrilled to make this recipe. I am more thrilled to post it for all of you.  They were delicious, the real deal!  But while we were eating, I couldn't help but feel something was missing.  Yep, Georgina was'nt part of the equation.  Had she been here, it would have felt like old times.

Making great food is more than recipes and cooking technique.  It's about the home, your friends and your family - that's the touch no accomplished chef can give to a meal.  That part is up to us.

Green Enchilada's
Compliments of Georgina Mancillas
Thanks my friend!

1 whole chicken, boiled
12-15 large tomatillos, husks removed and fruit quartered
Knorr chicken flavored bouillon granules
5 jalapenos, top cut off, left whole
1 onion, roughly chopped
3-5 garlic cloves
1 bunch cilantro
Salt and pepper
Approx. 2-3 cups, shredded jack cheese (use light, if you want to lighten it up)
12 corn tortillas

Put chicken in pan and cover with water.  Season water with several tablespoons of Knorr bouillon granules.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer and let chicken cook until it’s very tender.  Remove chicken to dish and let cool, then shred chicken.  Add some of the broth used to cook the chicken to moisten it.  Set chicken aside 

***  I cheated here - I used Chicken breast tenderloins and poached them in the Knorr bouillon water till tender.  I have to admit.  It's a great "fast way" of making these...but the flavor and tenderness wasn't what the whole chicken would have been.

In case you are unfamiliar with Knorr Bouillon granules,  I have a picture can find it usually in the soup section or Mexican food section of the market:

Husk and quarter the tomatillos.  In a medium sauce pan, add the tomatillos and the whole jalapeno’s and just enough water to immerse them.   Bring to a boil, cover and cook until tomatillos are tender (maybe 15 minutes)

Put the cooked tomatillos and the jalapeno’s into the food processor (or blender) being careful not to add too much of the liquid from the pot.  In other words, you will “semi-drain” them by utilizing a slotted spoon or pouring off most of the liquid.  KEEP THE LIQUID you cooked the tomatillos in until the sauce is made.  THEN, add to the processor the garlic cloves, onion, roughly chopped cilantro. 

Process until fairly smooth, adding the tomatillo liquid as necessary to get an enchilada sauce consistency.  Flavor the sauce with some Knorr granules.**** Taste****   you may want to add some salt and pepper, more Knorr, cilantro, etc….

Put sauce into a sauce pan and warm and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

The authentic way is to heat some oil in the pan and soften the tortillas in the oil, remove to a plate and add shredded chicken and Cheese, roll up and place seam side down in a 13X9 pan.  If you can afford the calories, go ahead and do that, I didnt. 

I am a FREAK for these Homemade style La Tortilla factory good and so toothsome - they have a great chewy texture that doesnt get destroyed in the baking process. 

Instead, simply warm the tortillas carefully in the microwave, then dip each one in the sauce, add chicken and cheese :

Then roll up the enchilada and place them seam side down in a SPRAYED 13X9 pan.

Top with remaining sauce and then finish with remaining cheese:

Bake for about 20 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving - serve with  Mexican Crema or sour cream if desired.  

The result?  An authentic enchilada with an absolutely delicious and fresh "old world" flavor.  To me?  It tastes like "home" because of my friend.  For you,  maybe it will be a new family favorite!!   Either way, these enchiladas are worth making! 

From my home to yours, ENJOY!!