Saturday, September 13, 2014

Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Salsa and Cilantro Chicken Flavored Rice

I have wonderful neighbors that bring me the best produce! This week it was tomatillos. My youngest requested I make tomatillo salsa and my oldest requested enchiladas. Here is the marriage of both. The tomatillo salsa is really easy to make. On a sheet pan, I added 2 quartered onions, one pepper (not sure what type of pepper mine was but it was hot!) or jalapeno seeded and ribs removed, 1 lbs tomatillos (husks removed), 3 cloves garlic, 1 tsp salt,  and about 2 TBSP of oil. Roast in a 325 degree oven turning once for 25 minutes or until the tomatillos become soft. Let cool and add to a food processor with 1 bunch of cilantro. You may need to add 1/4 cup water. Blend until smooth and set aside.


Tip: warm the tortillas first for 45 seconds in the microwave in a tortilla warmer or between two paper towels to prevent cracking.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts diced
1  8oz. softened reduced fat cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar divided
12 corn tortillas
2 TBSP oil

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Brown the chicken breasts and add the softened cream cheese and 1/3 of the tomatillo salsa. Add another third of the salsa to the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. On the tortilla place two TBSP. of the chicken mixture and a pinch of cheese. Roll and place seam side down. I fit a few sideways.
After you are done rolling all of the enchiladas, top with the rest of the salsa. Spread out with a spoon and make sure all surfaces of the tortillas are covered. Cover with the remaining cheese and bake for 25 minutes. Serve with Cilantro rice.

Cilantro Rice

1 1/2 cups long grain rice
2 1/2 cups water
1 handful of cilantro leaves
1 TBSP chicken bouillon

Bring the rice, cilantro leaves, chicken bouillion and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Move pot  from the heat and let sit 5 minutes. Remove the cilantro from the top of the rice and add butter if you wish. Serve with the enchiladas.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Marinara Sauce and Eggplant Parm

I got home after a long day at work and wanted to make Eggplant Parm. Earlier in the day I had soaked the slices of eggplant in milk to take out the bitterness. I however didn't check my pantry. I was not only out of bread crumbs but marinara sauce as well. I did have two cans of stewed tomatoes and a loaf of bakery multi-grain bread.

I sliced the bread and cut it into cubes and coated them with some oil. I toasted them in a hot 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes and flipped once. When they were crunchy I pulsed them a few times in my food processor. I was a bit rushed and should have pulsed them a few more times. I am in need of a new food processor. The shoot broke off so I have to place my hand over the opening. Bread crumbs were flying out of the top and sides. To the bread crumbs I added 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  It was really quite comical! I then followed the three step breading process or flour, egg, bread crumbs for the eggplant. Once coated, I fried them in some olive oil on the stove top and drained them on paper towels.

The marinara was really easy to make too. In my cleaned out food processor, I pulsed two cloves of garlic, 1/2 onion, and a handful of parsley, 1 tsp. salt, and one tsp. Oregano. To that I added two small cans of stewed tomatoes and one small can of tomato paste. One of the stewed tomatoes was drained of liquid. I then pulsed until it was a the consistency I wanted which was a bit chunky. Again I had a bit of a mess.  I removed the sauce to  a pan and reduced it on low for 25 minutes. I added it to the bottom of a Pyrex 9x13. I added a layer of eggplant followed by a layer of sauce and another layer of sauce. Then I topped off with about a cup of cheddar cheese and baked for 25 minutes.

This is one of our favorites in my house! For a more detailed recipe, search it at the top of my page.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Deep fried Pescado Tilapia con Puerto Rican Rice

Yesterday I made my family's favorite dish Arroz con Pollo or chicken and rice. Today I did something I have always wanted to try, I deep fried a whole fish. We don't have fish markets like in other big cities. We oftentimes have to buy our fish frozen. I was perusing Woodman's and came across these whole Tilapia in the Hispanic section. When I shopped this week, I found them in the clearance bin. The only thing wrong was the package has split open. This was my chance to try to make this.

The fish come whole, are scaled, and the innards removed. They still have their bones in so be careful! I made a seasoned flour with two cups flour, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 2 TBSP Emeril's Essence. 

In a wok I added two cups of vegetable oil and heated it to 375 degrees. I had a thermometer on the side of the pan to insure I kept a constant temperature.  I fried mine for 5 minutes per side and it came out nice and flaky. I flipped with a metal spoon on either side. The last thing you want is hot oil to splatter.  You can eat the skin but I don't recommend eating the fins. They are very sharp and crunchy. I made one at a time and held one on a baking sheet in a warmed oven. 

Serve along with your favorite rice. You could make this fish Asian style with 5 spice powder and Hoisin Sauce too. Serve with white rice. 

Puerto Rican Rice 

2 cups long grain rice 
4 cups chicken broth
2-3 TBSP tomato paste
2 TBSP chicken bouillon 
1 onion diced 
12-15 olive with pimento 
2 TBSP capers optional 
2-4 pieces ham diced 
2 TBSP oil 

I love making Arroz con Pollo. In that case I use 4-5 bone in chicken thighs. I coat them in flour seasoned with Adobo and fry on each side for 8-10 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate. If not using the chicken, just go on to the next step. Add the onions and saute' for 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and saute another 2 or so minutes. Add the rice and coat with the oil or chicken grease. Then add the liquid and the chicken pieces back in on top of the broth along with the ham and olives. Bring to a boil and turn the heat to low. Cover with a lid. Without chicken cook for 20 minutes. With the chicken, cook on the stove for 25-30 minutes. Remove this chicken and add the chicken bouillon, Stir the rice and check for flavor. 
I like to make a lot of rice. Just make sure use the 2:4 ratio. It's even better the next day and your family will love it!  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My Not So Waterproof Camera Vs. The Waterpark

I haven't blogged in a week or so because my waterproof camera somehow got wet inside and no longer works. I tried drying it out in some rice but that didn't work. I am very sad because I love the pictures this camera takes and it's very convenient to use in the kitchen. I constantly spill food on it and being waterproof helps a lot. I might have to use my daughter's camera in the weeks to come. I haven't been doing much food wise except for making pickles. I finished a batch of bread and butter pickles that the family has loved. They go great with my homemade sloppy joes. I am also back to school as of yesterday which will make my time more limited. I hope all of you are having a great day!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Loaded Baked Potato Pizza

My family loves this one and yours will love this too. Creamy mashed potatoes along with delicious turkey bacon make the perfect combination. 

Loaded Baked Potato Pizza

6-8 medium sized potatoes peeled cut into quarters
1/2 cups milk (I used Fat Free)
1/2 cup sour cream
3 TBSP butter
2 minced garlic cloves
a bunch of chives diced
1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper
3 slices turkey bacon or bacon of your choice fried and chopped
8 oz cheddar cheese
1 pizza crust
cornmeal for dusting

Note: You can find pizza crusts in your frozen food section or at your local bakery or pizza place. Mine only cost a buck at Woodman's.
In a medium pan add enough water to cover the potatoes. Boil until fork tender. Add the milk and sour cream to the potatoes and beat with a mixer until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pre Bake the pizza crust for 5 minutes in a 425 degree oven. Remove from the oven and evenly spread the mashed potatoes over the pizza crust. Top with the cheese. Season again with salt and pepper.  Bake for 10 minutes. After it comes out of the oven, garnish with chives and chopped bacon. Serve immediately.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Po Boy Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa

I had a craving for Po Boy Shrimp sandwiches but made it into a taco. I didn't use the traditional toppings of lettuce and tomato but made a delicious mango salsa and a Remoulade sauce to go on top. The shrimp I purchased deveined and uncooked. For the batter I went the beer batter and cornmeal route. These are sure to be a crowd pleaser!

To defrost the shrimp, set in a bowl of cool water, changing the water several times until defrosted. This batter would be good on onion rings too.

Po Boy Shrimp

1 lb frozen shrimp, peeled,  deveined, and defrosted
2 cups flour 1/4 cup reserved flour
1 tsp Cayenne
1 tsp. Paprika
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup cornmeal
8 oz. Miller Lite beer
3-4 inch vegetable or canola oil
Adobo seasoning or Zatarain's cajun seasoning
1 dozen flour tortillas

My new favorite deep frying surface is inside a wok. It has high sides so you won't set burn and has all around better temperature control. I also use a spider to fish out the shrimp. Whatever you use, make sure to always keep an eye on your oil and keep the temperature around 350 degrees.

Mix all of the spices and flour. Begin to mix in the beer a little at a time. The batter should be a little thick. Dredge the shrimp in the 1/4 cup flour and then place into the batter. Next move the shrimp into the oil. Fry for 4-5 minutes and remove to paper towels. Season with Adobo or Cajun seasoning. I put my oven on warm on a cookie sheet. Fry in batches.

Serve with this delicious Remoulade sauce.

Remoulade Sauce

1 cup Mayo or Miracle Whip
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic minced
3 TBSP Creole mustard
3 TBSP ketchup
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3-4 dashes hot sauce
3 sweet pickles diced
1 tsp chili powder

Mix all of the ingredients and refrigerate until serving.

Add three shrimp per tortilla along with the Remoulade.

Mango Salsa

1 mango diced
1 avocado diced
1 Roma tomato diced
1 handful cilantro chopped
1/2 pepper chopped
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt and pepper

Add all of the ingredients and let marinade. Be sure to stir or the avocado will turn brown. Serve over the shrimp or on the side.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Peanut Pesto Focaccia

I saw this recipe on Lidia Bastianich's show on PBS for Thyme focaccia. Focaccia is a thicker crust than pizza and becomes very airy when it rises. This recipe uses yeast. I didn't have any so off to the grocery store I went. This recipe makes two large focaccia. I made one in a glass baking sheet and topped that one with garlic and Parmesan. The pesto one I baked the tomatoes on top and added the pesto afterward. I wanted the pesto to stay bright green.  I have been growing my own Basil and harvested the top leaves. I have made the pesto in the past with all kinds of nuts including pistachios. Pine nuts can be really expensive. Peanuts were on hand this day. If you don't have basil readily available, you can use parsley and cilantro in this recipe too.
Note: I made the pesto during the second rising of the dough.
Peanut Basil Pesto

10-20 leaves Basil and stems
2-4 garlic cloves
4 oz Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

after 2nd rising
In a food processor, grind the garlic and nuts. Add a basil leaves. Begin to drizzle in the olive oil, add the Parm, salt and pepper. Process until there are no big bits of nuts or Basil.


5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 packets yeast
2 cups warm water
1 TBSP sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp.  Thyme leaves (I used dry)
1/2 cup coarse Parmesan
sea salt for sprinkling
ground black pepper for sprinkling
Roma tomatoes for topping
2 TBSP cornmeal for the bottom of the pans

Add the warm water, sugar and yeast into a bowl and mix. Let sit for 5 minutes. To a large bowl add the flour and olive oil along with the yeast mixture. Beat with a mixer until the dough comes together. I add the thyme in this step also. Remove from the bowl and knead the dough with your hands until it forms a sticky ball and all of the flour is incorporated.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cover dough with a paper towel and let rise in a warm place. I used a spot in front of my window. Let rise for 45 minutes. Remove dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Cut in half and either freeze the one of the halves for up to two weeks or make both like I did. I oiled a glass Pyrex and sprinkled the bottom with cornmeal.  I then rolled out one of the halves of dough big enough to fit my Pyrex. I poked holes in it with my finger and topped with olive oil, Parm, salt and pepper. Let this dough rise for another 20 minutes.

Bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes. I followed the same steps for the other piece of focaccia. I let it rise, poked it with holes and then topped it with the Parm and tomatoes. When I removed it from the oven, I topped it with the pesto. We had rather large pieces, but this would be good as an app. at a party in smaller pieces. This is great hot or cold.