Monday, December 20, 2010

Best Ginger Snaps Ever

So I could try to take credit for this one, but I won't. Kudos to Alton Brown for developing the best use of ginger and molasses ever! These are buttery, spicy, and sweet all at the same time. Once you have these, you won't want any other kind!

Click the pic for the best gingersnaps you'll ever have!
Image from

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Turkey Pot Pie

Question: Do I have any readers left? To those of you who still check this site, I apologize to you and thank you for not giving up! I know that 5 months (to the day!) with no posts is a long time, but regular job & family + new baby + part time consulting work = no time for blogging!

OK, on to the real reason we're here: turkey! I love it. I know a lot of you don't, but that's because it is frequently overcooked or not seasoned properly. Alton Brown has a great recipe, which I frequently make just for the leftovers! When I have a small crowd (or big turkey), I normally only serve half the turkey during the holiday and save the rest for a later date:

Fast forward to 2:21 for how to easily do this.

The point is, that weeks after whenever you last cooked turkey, you can still have turkey in an even more delicious form: Pot Pie. This pot pie is very easy and not too time consuming because you don't bother with pastry crust - you just use biscuit dough, which is much simpler to deal with.

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cooked turkey breast half, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
Biscuit Topping:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Combine dry biscuit ingredients in a food processor. Pulse 3 times to mix. Add the chopped and chilled butter, pulse 5-10 times until the mixture is crumbly. While food processor is running, slowly pour in buttermilk. Turn off the food processor as soon as the last of the buttermilk is in. Briefly knead to ensure all the flour is integrated and form into a large disk. Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 425. Melt 1/2 stick butter in a dutch oven or oven-safe skillet over medium-low heat. Sweat the onion, celery, and bell pepper with the kosher salt for 5-7 minutes, or until the celery is crisp-tender (keep the temp low, do not brown). Add the garlic and sweat for another 45 seconds. Evenly sift in the 1/4 cup flour using a wire strainer, stirring constantly. When the flour has evenly coated the aromatics and has just started to loose it's raw white color, add chicken broth, stirring to dissolve all the four. Add the carrots, potatoes, thyme, rosemary, pepper, and bay leaf and simmer on low heat, covered, for 10 minutes, or until the veggies are tender. Add the turkey and peas and simmer just until the peas are thawed and the turkey is warmed through. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Roll the chilled biscuit dough on a floured surface to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Cut into biscuits and cover the filling as evenly as possible. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until biscuits are light gold on top.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Watermelon Salsa

On Saturday, I purchased a watermelon in preparation for Watermelon Day on August 3rd. My plan was to cut and serve, but Jake found this recipe in the Salt Lake Tribune by MaryJane Butters. I thought it was worth a try, and it was wonderful. We used it to top our dinner of Bell Pepper Corn Tuna Salad. Yum!! I need to run out to the store to get more limes so I can make more of this tasty stuff.

I love how the watermelon looks like tomatoes.

1 cup watermelon cubes (to mimic a tomato look use a melon baller)
1 avocado, peeled and diced
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
4 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together gently. Chill and serve.

Serves 4

The whole melon balls were a bit big if you are eating this with tortilla chips. Half balls are better. The best and fastest is to slice the watermelon, cut around and remove the edge, then dice the fruit. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bell Pepper Corn Tuna Salad

2 cups frozen corn, thawed  
1  red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 cans tuna
optional: lime juice
               lettuce, shredded
               cheese - cheddar, Mexican, etc. . .
               tostadas/corn tortillas

Combine corn, bell peppers, onions, chili powder, cumin, and tuna (lime, cilantro).

Place a tostada on a plate. Top it with lettuce, then add some of the tuna mixture on top. Sprinkle cheese and salsa if you so desire.

We tried it with watermelon salsa. Mmm... tasty.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pan-Roasted Chicken

Do you know what the problem with roasted chicken is? The dark meat should cook to 175 but I never want to cook white meat past 160. I've seen many inventive ways of dealing with this: upside-down cooking, foil breastplates, dark voodoo incantations - but none of them ever work. However, I think I have had a revelation: just don't cook the white meat! Now don't get me wrong, breast meat is great for grilling hot and fast, especially after a marinade or brine. But when you want the rich, savory flavor of roast chicken, I find that everybody fights over the drumsticks and thighs while leaving the breasts to get cold. Besides, since everybody wants to grill the "boneless, skinless chicken breast," that leaves meat counters with family packs of leg quarters at ridiculous prices (for example, I just saw a pack of them sell for 59 cents per pound)! Additionally, the method described here (adapted from a recipe I found in Cook's Illustrated) is fast and very easy - great for a fancy dinner or a weeknight supper.

Our recipe served with a lovely stuffed bell pepper and salad

  • 4 chicken leg quarters, thighs and drumsticks separated
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 shallot, minced (you could also use red onion)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into thin pads

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat a the oil in a large fry pan over medium-high heat until it just starts to smoke. Lay the chicken pieces skin side down in the pan. Fry the chicken without touching or moving it until the skin is deep golden brown, 5-8 minutes (a splatter shield is a good thing here, but do not cover with a solid lid). During this time, the chicken skin may release quite a bit of fat (4-8 tablespoons). When the skin is brown, drain off the fat (reserving for later), flip the chicken pieces skin side up and add the chicken broth. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the thickest parts of the chicken pieces temp at 170, around 6-10 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan and pour the broth into a 2-cup measuring cup or bowl. Off heat, wipe out the pan with a handful of paper towels (use tongs so you don't get burnt!). Put the pan back on medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of chicken fat collected from the browning stage. Put the chicken back in pan and fry until the skin becomes crispy, 3-5 minutes. Once the skin is very crisp, place the chicken skin side up on a serving platter and loosely tent with aluminum foil (make sure steam can escape so the skin stays crisp).

Using the same pan (do not clean out) sauté the shallot over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, skim the fat off of the chicken broth in the 2-cup measure. Once the shallot has softened and started to turn brown around the edges, sprinkle on the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until it is slightly browned. Whisk in the defatted broth and simmer over medium heat until the liquid has reduced by about half. Remove from heat and add the basil, parsley, and lemon juice. Still off heat, whisk in the butter pads one at a time until fully integrated into the sauce. Serve chicken and sauce immediately, being careful to pour the sauce around the chicken so as to protect the crispy skin on top.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pecan-Colada Apple Toss

Most mornings we eat oatmeal, so I'm always looking for ways to jazz up our typical brown sugar and dried fruit  flavors. I found this delicious recipe. I love the texture the pecans and coconut add to the oatmeal and the tangy sweetness from the apples. Also it's wonderful on cheesecake!

1/4 cup pecan pieces
1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 tablespoon butter
1 large tart green apples, like a Granny Smith, cored and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Toast pecans in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes or until the pecans become fragrant. Remove pecans. Toast coconut, stirring frequently until the edges brown. Remove and set aside.

Add butter to the skillet. When melted add, apple and sugar. Cook uncovered 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add pecans, coconut and vanilla. Toss gently to thoroughly blend. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes.

Add to oatmeal, top a cheesecake, or serve with vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with crumbled cookies (4 shortbread cookies).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Lemon Fro-Yo

We finish our yogurt tangent with frozen yogurt. You already know the basics: culture milk to make yogurt, then drain to make yogurt cheese. If you add flavors and sweeten it, you can freeze it into a delicious treat! This lemony goodness is especially refreshing on hot summer days.

  • 1 whole batch (1/2 gallon) of homemade yogurt, thickened into cheese
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • zest of two lemons

Mix all ingredients. Churn according to your ice cream machine's directions. You can enjoy as soft-serve or you can put into an airtight container and freeze for 2 hours, or until desired hardness is achieved.

Check out my family blog for pictures of this process!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Yogurt Cheese

Yesterday, I promised you yogurt cheese. Now, this may seem strange and unusual to you, but if you don't think "yogurt cheese" but think "cream cheese" instead, it will not seem so strange. You could make this recipe plain, but I think adding herbs and other flavors makes a wonderful spread for crackers or a toasted bagel.

  • 1 quart homemade yogurt (half a batch of yesterday's recipe)
  • 1/2 to 1 whole head of roasted garlic, mashed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce.
  • kosher salt and pepper

Thoroughly mix the yogurt, garlic, thyme, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce in a mixing bowl. Pour into a large strainer or colander lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Set on top of a large bowl to catch the whey draining out (make sure there's enough space under the colander). Fold the ends of the cheesecloth over the top of the yogurt and let drain for 8-12 hours (putting a wide weight on the top to press down on the yogurt will speed this up quite a bit). Drain the bowl several times during the first couple of hours, after which time the draining should slow down considerably. After the yogurt has set up into cheese, mix in salt and pepper to taste in a mixing bowl.

Note: This possible variations of this recipe are limitless. The plain yogurt is basically a blank slate. If you substitute mint and cucumber for the thyme in this recipe, you've got Tzatziki sauce. Mix cumin, lime and cilantro into the plain yogurt, drain to a loose consistency (a couple of hours), season to taste, and you've got sauce for fish tacos. Add Tabasco sauce, celery salt, and paprika to top grilled catfish. Personally, I'd love to see your ideas posted here in the comments!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Happy Yogurt Day!

Did you know that today is Yogurt Day? Well, now you do. Many people think that you cannot make yogurt at home without a significant investment in time and money (and who really wants to buy a yogurt incubator?). Although it does take some time, making yogurt is actually very easy and requires very little attention. As far as the yogurt machine, save your money, since you probably have everything you need to make great yogurt at home.

  • 1/2 gallon of 2% or whole milk
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt "with active cultures" as a starter
  • That's it - yogurt is really simple!

Heat the milk to 180 degrees in a large saucepan over medium to medium-low heat, stirring frequently. If you don't have a thermometer, milk at 180 is just starting to steam but not bubbling. You do not want to overheat the milk, as this will scald it (not good). Carefully pour the milk into a very clean, large glass or plastic jar (it needs to be a least a cup or two bigger than 1/2 gallon, to allow for the expansion of the milk as it got hot). Let it cool on the counter to 115 degrees (this will take around 2 hours, depending on the ambient temperature). For the last half hour of cooling time, let the plain yogurt starter come up to room temperature.

Once the milk cools down, thin out the starter yogurt with some of the warm milk and than mix it back in. Cover and let thicken for 4-12 hours (the longer the culture time, the thicker and more tangy the yogurt). Keep the temperature as close to 115 degrees as possible (less than 105, nothing really happens, but if it gets over 120, you kill the starter cultures). I find that a heating pad set to medium keeps it just right - place the jar and the heating pad in a bucket and pack with towels to keep the pad tight to the jar. I also use plastic wrap to cover the jar and poke a probe thermometer through to constantly monitor the temperature.

Once the yogurt reaches the desired thickness, let cool (unwrapped) on the counter until it comes to room temperature, then chill in the fridge for 8 hours to let it fully set up (I said it was easy, not quick). Once your yogurt has fully set up, you may scoop out of the main curd to serve, but do not try to stir it up (or attempt to "mix in" any whey that weeps out of it). Any additions (such as fruit, granola, etc.) should be gently folded in at service time; the more you mix homemade yogurt, the runnier it gets. However, you can avoid this runniness by turning your yogurt into cheese - but that will have to wait until tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

BBQ Shepherd's Pie

Yesterday, I showed how to make a lovely meatloaf that easily serves a crowd of people. However, if your family is smaller, they may not want the same meatloaf two days in a row. Fear not, bored diners! Through the magic of "casserole," we can turn the boring leftover meatloaf into a brand-new, original "Shepherd's Pie!" Not only is it easy, but you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry or freezer.

  • reserved BBQ meatloaf
  • 4 russet potatoes, cleaned, peeled, and cut in half crosswise (optionally, make 4 cups of instant mashed potatoes)
  • 16 oz white button mushrooms, sliced (fresh, frozen and thawed, or canned)
  • 2 cups sweet corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Put the potatoes into a large pot and cover with 2-4 inches of cold water. Add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt per 2 quarts of water in the pot. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 15-25 minutes, or until a paring knife slides through without much resistance (do not overcook so they start to fall apart). Drain and mash. Or skip all of this and just make some instant mashed potatoes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a skillet, over medium heat saute mushrooms in olive oil until they are golden brown.
Crumble and spread meat loaf into a casserole dish. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over the meatloaf. Sprinkle mushrooms and corn on the potato, then top with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is thoroughly melted. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, May 3, 2010

BBQ Meatloaf

Meatloaf too often becomes a tough, overcooked mess of hamburger and ketchup. I have learned a few tricks to making it better from the scientists and cooks on PBS's America's Test Kitchen. One big improvement is to skip the dried-out canned bread crumbs in favor of freshly ground bread. The starch and moisture in the fresh bread gets in between the protein strands and keeps the texture tender, but not mushy. Another improvement that I really like is to skip the ketchup and use barbecue sauce instead for more tang and less syrupy-sweetness. Finally, I find it best to cook the meatloaf on a rack instead of a pan, allowing the grease to drain away as it cooks.

  • 1 to 2 slices rye bread, torn into pieces (french bread, white sandwich bread, or sourdoughs also work well)
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup smokey BBQ sauce, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a wire cooling rack onto a sheet pan. Fold a piece of aluminum foil so it makes a double-layer the same size as the rack. Starting about a half inch from the sides, cut 2-inch slits in the foil about 1/2 inch apart. Put the foil on the rack.Make fresh bread crumbs by processing bread in food processor. Transfer 3/4 cup bread crumbs to large bowl; set aside (any remaining bread crumbs may be frozen up to 3 months). Add onion and garlic to food processor; process until finely chopped (do not puree). Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic with a pinch of kosher salt; sweat 6 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally (if it starts to brown, reduce heat to medium-low). Let cool 5 minutes. Add beef, sausage, eggs, 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, salt and pepper to reserved bread crumbs. Add onion mixture; mix well. Form the meat into a 9" x 6" loaf shape and transfer to prepared rack. Trim foil so it is only directly under the loaf (you want grease to run straight off the sides). Bake 30 minutes. Spread remaining 1/2 cup BBQ sauce over meat loaf; bake 30 minutes more or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Reserve half of the meat loaf for BBQ Shepherd's Pie (tomorrow's recipe!)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Breakfast Empanadas

When we think about Empanadas, it's probably in the context of a sweet dessert, maybe served with ice cream. However there are savory kinds as well. In this recipe the saltiness of bacon goes really well with the creamy scrambled eggs and tangy salsa. With Cinco de Mayo a couple weeks away, this is definitely a recipe you should plan for!

  • 1/2 pound bacon (about 10 slices)
  • 1 package (15 oz) of refrigerated pie crust
  • 9 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups Mexican style shredded cheese
  • 4 tablespoons salsa
  • all purpose flour (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 F. Cook bacon on a cooling rack in a sheet pan until crispy. Chop into small pieces. Set aside. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. cut pie crusts in half to make 4 semi circles; place on baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine 1 egg with water and beat until well blend; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine remaining 8 eggs with salt and pepper and beat until well blended. Place large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add butter; when melted, tilt skillet to coat bottom lightly. Sprinkle bacon evenly into skillet. Pour eggs into skillet and cook without stirring for 2 minutes; gently stir until eggs are forming large curds and are still slightly moist. Transfer to plate to cool.

Spoon one fourth of the cooled scrambled egg mixture onto half of each semi circle of pie crust. Sprinkle all but 1/4 cup cheese evenly over eggs, Spoon 1 table spoon salsa in center od each mound of eggs and cheese

Using a pastry brush, brush inside of each semicircle with reserved egg-water mixture. Fold dough over top of egg mixture and seal edges with a fork, making four empanadas. (Flour fork tines to prevent sticking.)

Brush tops of empanadas with remiaing egg-white mixture and sprinkle with reserved cheese. Bake 15- 20 minutes or until golden.

Tip: These can be prepared early in the day and reheated in an oven set to 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saffron Chicken

Casseroles are not a major staple in our home, but this one is wonderful. I do not recommend substituting any other kind of rice, as shorter grain varieties of rice would be too gummy.

  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 6 bone-in chicken thighs with skin
  • 16 oz frozen mixed vegetables:Broccoli, red peppers, mushrooms & onions
  • 14 ½ oz can roasted garlic flavor chicken broth (or roast 3 cloves, mince & add to chicken broth)
  • 10 ¾ oz low fat condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 10 ¾ oz low fat condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 8 oz uncooked saffron yellow rice mix w/ seasonings
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray; set aside
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken on both sides; drain fat.
Meanwhile, combine vegetables, chicken broth, soups, rice mix, water and salt in large bowl.
Place mixture in prepared casserole. Top with chicken. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.
Cover; bake 1 ½ hours or until chicken is no longer pink in center.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Catalina Dressing

The other day my wife and I threw a little party for some friends. I was preparing the salad, and I noticed that we didn't have very big selection of dressings (just ranch). Rather than run out and buy some, I decided to whip up a couple. Italian vinaigrettes are pretty easy - just mix good olive oil, vinegar, and whatever seasonings you like (or a packet of Good Seasons dressing mix). The Italian dressing finished, I moved my attention to the Catalina dressing. Basically a sweetened vinaigrette thickened with ketchup, I've never been a huge fan of Catalina (or French) dressing. The bottled stuff is always too sweet and one-dimensional. However, I discovered that as long as you lay off the corn syrup, the addition of ketchup gives it a nice texture and flavor, making it smoother and more emulsified than a regular vinaigrette. If I can master the art of ranch, I may never buy another bottle of salad dressing again!

PS: Apparently, we actually did have more salad dressing in the pantry. According to my wife, she told me this while I was getting the salad ready, but I was so focused on what I was doing that I didn't hear her. Oh well, I'm glad my lack of attention allowed me to discover this recipe!

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar (as you like it)
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh onion (use less if the onion is really strong)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked is best)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup Canola, safflower, or vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper

Put the ketchup, sugar, vinegar, onion, paprika, and Worcestershire in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Turn the food processor on and slowly drizzle in the oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill.

Note: The seasoning choices are easily customizable. You could replace (or augment) the paprika with celery seeds, curry powder, creole seasoning (Bam!), chili powder (great for taco salads), or whatever goes well with the rest of your meal (although all of the above would probably not be good). Feel free to explore!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cranberry Pistachio Cookies

It's that time of year for Girl Scout Cookies. We got our supply of Tagalongs, Samoas, and Thin Mints. Surprisingly, after a week we still have 1/2 of the boxes we ordered. This just is does not happen!! We gobble them up. I guess I should say I gobble them up, but if I have one then I share with everyone else. Unfortunately, I haven't been eating them. Cursed pregnancy-induced heartburn!!! Chocolate exacerbates it, so I've been avoiding the stuff. But I wanted some yummy delicious cookies! I've been meaning to try this recipe for awhile and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

  • 18 ounces of your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe - we use the recipe on the Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats lid, it's safe for the 3As : Awesome Oatmeal Cookies
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Ensure oatmeal raisin cookie dough is at room temperature (about a 15 minute rest on the counter if using refrigerated dough).

Combine dough; flour and egg in large bowl; beat until well blended. Stir in cranberries and pistachios. Dough will be sticky. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake about 15 minutes or until edges are brown. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets. Remove to wire rack; cool completely.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Title Change

As of late, Michelle has been posting more than I have. I feel it's only fair to rename the blog to reflect that! Welcome to the "new" Jake's (and Michelle's) Recipes!

Beef & Veggie Pita Pizzas

With some leftover ground beef we made this delightful dish. The fennel and oregano give the beef a sausage taste, without the extra cost.
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 teaspoon oregano
1/8 dried red pepper flakes (optional)

1 green pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
5 pitas

1 can of prepared spaghetti sauce
3 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Season ground beef with salt and pepper. Brown ground beef with garlic. Midway through cooking add fennel, oregano and red pepper flakes. Cook beef until no longer pink , stirring constantly. Drain fat.

Saute onions and peppers until onions are translucent.

Arrange pitas on baking sheets. Spoon 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce onto each pita, and spread evenly. Divide onion & pepper mix, beef mixture, and mozzarella evenly among pitas.

Bake 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the pita edges are golden brown. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over each pita and serve.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Irish Stew

2 ¾ lb boneless lamb chops
(2 lbs lamb & ¾ lb stew beef chunks
1 Tbs vegetable oil
3 large onions
4 large carrots
3 ¾ C water
4 large potatoes, unpeeled and cut into chunks
1 large fresh spring of thyme
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs fresh parsely, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

Trim any fat from the lamb. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole/pot and brown the lamb on high heat. Remove meat from pan

Quarter the onions. Add to the pot with the carrots and cook for five minutes, until the onions are browned. Return meat to the pot with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Add the potatoes to the pot and cook for another 45 minutes. Add the thyme then cook for 15 minutes longer.

Leave the stew to settle for a few minutes. Remove the fat from the liquid with a ladle, and pour off the liquid into a clear sauce pan. Stir in butter and parsley. Season well with salt and pepper then pour back into the pot. Serve.

Alteration: I don’t like my onions so big so I cut them into 8 chunks.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Baked Tomato Olive Halibut

Our youngest boy is a picky eater, but he gobbled this dish up and asked for more.
We ate this with a side of herb & butter rice with a simple green salad.

1 pound halibut fillets (about 4), cut into 2 inch pieces
Salt and black pepper
1 can (14.5 ounces) dices Italian-style tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons chopped pitted ripe olives
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat 13x9 inch baking dish with non-stick olive oil-flavored cooking spray. arrange cod fillets in pan; season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Combine tomatoes, olives, and garlic in medium bowl. Spoon over fish

Bake 20 minutes or until fish flakes when tested with fork. Sprinkle with parsley.

Makes 4 servings

Friday, March 12, 2010

Breaded Eggplant and Eggplant Parmesan

I discovered a recipe for Eggplant Parmesan at Sunflower Market on the recipe board (hidden, it's on the way to the water fountain). My boys love it and request it every time they hear that eggplant is on sale.

Although, we call it Eggplant Parmesan, for the Allergics it's really Breaded Eggplant, since I leave out the cheese.  I bake on two sheets, Breaded and Parmesan, to avoid any cross contamination ;)

2 eggplants (about 2 pounds total)
3 egg whites or 2 eggs
3 tablespoons water
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
3/4 cup grated low fat mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheets with oil.

Cut eggplants cross wise into 1/4 inch thick slices

Whisk egg whites and water in a shallow dish until frothy.

Combine bread crumbs, kosher salt, pepper, (and Parmesan Cheese) in another shallow dish.
Dip eggplants slices into the egg mixture, then coat with the bread crumb mixture. Discard any leftovers of either mixture.

Arrange eggplant discs in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the eggplant discs over, and bake until crisp and golden, about 15 minutes longer.

Stir basil into tomato sauce. Spread the sauce over the eggplant slices (and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese). Bake until sauce bubbles and the cheese is melted.

Serve with a side of sauced pasta and garlic bread. 

Makes 24+ slices (which easily feeds my family of 6)

You can also use zucchini, sliced in long strips. Mmmm.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Baked Green Eggs and Ham

One of my favorite breakfast dishes is Baked Eggs Benedict from the Pampered Chef. It sure is tasty with a delicious and simplified lemon butter sauce instead of the traditional Hollandaise.

Our typical St. Patrick's Day breakfast is green scramble eggs and ham with a side of toast. It's super quick and easy (I do it in the microwave). It was something my boys were guaranteed to eat when they were little.

Now as their enjoyment of food expands and their taste buds/palate becomes more refined, I sound snooty, I wanted to do something different to reflect that change. The wonderful thing is all I had to do is add a bit of food coloring to a dish they already loved.


  • 4 whole English muffins
  • 8 oz Canadian bacon, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 oz cream cheese, soft
  • 1 ¾ c. half & half
  • 10 eggs
  • ½-¾ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 10 drops green food coloring
  • 1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon – Butter Sauce
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 stick butter, sliced by 8

Preheat oven to 400. Cut muffin halves into ¾ inch pieces. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and crispy (like croutons). Place muffin pieces in a casserole (9x13 or 10x10). Sprinkle diced bacon over muffin pieces.

In a 4 qt. mixing bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth. While continuously whisking, gradually add half & half, whisk until smooth. Whisk in eggs, cayenne pepper, and green food coloring. Carefully pour egg mixture into casserole. Bake 28-32 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand for 5-10 minutes. The residual heat will firm up the nearly set middle. Sprinkle parsley on top

For lemon-butter sauce:
Grate 2 teaspoons of zest off a lemon. Juice lemon for ¼ cup juice. In a saucepan, combine lemon zest and juice; cook over medium heat 2 minutes or until juice reduces by half.
Reduce heat to low. Whisk in butter slices, one at a time, whisking after each addition, until butter is melted and sauce is smooth.

Cut baked eggs and ham into wedges and serve. Drizzle each serving with butter sauce
Use remaining lemon to make lemon slices to decorate.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Orange Coconut Muffins

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup toasted flaked coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts

Heat oven to 400 degree. Grease muffin pan with Baker's Joy or line with paper baking cups.

Combine dry muffin ingredients. Beat the eggs in a small bowl, blend in the sour cream and oranges. Mix into dry ingredients until moistened. Fold in nuts. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.

Bake 18-20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan. Cool on wire pack.

Makes 1 dozen muffins.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

1/4 cup quaker oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon margarine/butter or dairy & soy free spread, melted

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup quaker oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
2/3 granulated sugar
4 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup fat free milk or almond milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 egg whited or 1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Heat oven to 400 degree. Grease muffin pan with Baker's Joy or line with paper baking cups.

Combine streusel ingredients, mix well. Set aside.

Combine dry muffin ingredients. Combine the muffin's wet ingredients and the lemon peel; mix into dry ingredients until moistened. Fill muffin cups almost full. Sprinkle streusel evenly over batter, patting gently.

Bake 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Let muffins stand a few minutes; remove from pan.

Makes 1 dozen muffins.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Dinner

Here's our traditional St. Patrick's Day Dinner, we're posting it early so you have enough time to corn your beef in for the holiday.

Corning your own corn beef - it will take 10 days to brine.

Boiled Corn Beef Dinner

Monday, March 1, 2010

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

I've been trying to come up with better breakfast options (you know, not just cold cereal, a slice of toast, and a fruit) for the boys so that they have a more filling meal to last them until lunch. We've done a variety of things: hot cereals, pancakes, scrambled eggs, and. . . muffins.

I really love this muffin recipe because it is so moist and delicious. The big plus is that it has zucchini in it, which means the boys will actually get a vegetable that day. And they love it!

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips (I used a mix of semisweet and milk)
1 cup shredded zucchini (I peeled the zucchini first)
Baker's Joy spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin pan with Baker's Joy or line with paper baking cups.

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

Combine sour cream, oil, eggs and milk in small bowl until blended; stir into flour mixture until just moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips and zucchini. Spoon into prepare muffin cups, filling1/2 full.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes until wooden toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Makes 12 jumbo muffins or 18 -24 regular muffins.

If you decide that you want to double the recipe, I would recommend doing it in batches. The batter is really thick and heavy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mashed Potato Soup

The French have a soup called Vichyssoise, where potatoes and leeks are pureed with cream and chicken stock. It is a very refined (almost snooty) dish that is actually very popular served cold. In Portugal, the most popular soup is called Caldo Verde which, like Vichyssoise, is made with pureed potato, but has other vegetables (like cabbage) and sausage added. This is a soup of the people - hearty and flavorful. I think I have found a way to combine the two styles. I use mashed potatoes instead of puree, since I like the added texture. I also use bacon bits (lardons in French) instead of sausage, but you could probably use any pork product you like!

  • 6 medium russet potatoes, peeled
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 leeks, trimmed, washed, and chopped
  • 4 carrots, washed and diced small
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 pound washed, stemmed, and chopped kale (you could use cabbage or collard greens)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • white pepper
  • crispy crumbled bacon

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan. Add just enough broth to submerge and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 10-20 minutes, or until they are just cooked through, but not mushy or falling apart.

Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks, carrots, and onions with one teaspoon kosher salt. Sweat (no browning!) over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the leeks and carrots are softened.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain and reserve the broth. Mash the potatoes with a hand masher. Add to the pot with other softened vegetables along with all 4 cups of broth. Simmer, stirring gently, for 2 minutes or until everything is well integrated. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Add the kale and cook for 5-10 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until kale is just cooked (still firm, but not crunchy). Serve with a tablespoon of bacon crumbles on top of each bowl.

Monday, February 15, 2010

King Cake

Editor's Note: Consider yourselves lucky, since Valentines day is back-to-back with Carnivale season, you get two posts today. If I was a better editor, you would've had one (or both) of today's recipes last week, but c'est la vie!

Let the good times roll!! Today is Mardi Gras, which is French for "Fat Tuesday", referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before ritual fasting of the the Lenten Season, which starts on Ash Wednesday.

The king cake signifies the three kings who brought gifts to the baby Jesus, and is shaped to represent a crown. King cake season begins on Three Kings Day (Jan. 6th)

The colors symbolize: Purple - Justice, Green - Faith, and Gold - Power.

Whoever finds the baby hidden in the cake, becomes King/Queen for the day and makes the cake next year.

12 oz fat free cream cheese, softened
½ C. powdered sugar
¾ tsp. vanilla
3 Tbs granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Nonstick cooking spray
2 packages of 11 oz refrigerated French bread dough
Plastic baby or dried bean

1 ½ powdered sugar
3. Tbs whole milk (half and half works)
Green, yellow, and purple sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
For filling, beat softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla in medium mixing bowl with electric mixer on low speed until smooth.
Blend sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl.
Lightly coat plastic cutting board or work surface with non stick cooking spray. Unroll 1 package refrigerated dough on to work surface. Unroll second package alongside first, over lapping slightly to make one long piece. Press along seam to seal well. Sprinkle dough evenly with cinnamon mixture. Spread cream cheese mixture length wise on dough, leaving 1 inch along the edge uncovered. Roll up dough, starting with cream cheese side. Pinch along seam to seal in filling. Place dough on prepared baking sheet and gently twist. Attach ends of dough pieces to form large twisted circle (to resemble crown); pinch tightly to seal ends together. Insert plastic baby/dried bean underneath dough.

For icing, combine powdered sugar and milk in a 2 cup measuring cup with spout, and stir until smooth. Drizzle icing evenly onto coffeecake. Sprinkle on colored sugars, alternating colors to make 3 sections of 3 colors each. Let coffee cake stand at least 1 hour to allow icing to firm up. Cut into 2-to 3- inch piece to serve.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Breakfast for your Muffin

I love themes. I thought it would be fun to do some holiday recipes. We'll start off with Valentine's Day. Treat your Sweetie to one of these delicious muffins. Sorry, it's late.

White Chocolate Chunk Muffins - For your honey with a sweet tooth.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) plus 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped white chocolate

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease 12 jumbo (3 1/2) inch muffin pan cups.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, butter, eggs, and vanilla until blended.
Stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Fold in white chocolate. Spoon into prepared muffins cups, filling 1/2 full.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Serve warm or cool completely.

Jake's tip: Cut it open and smear it with cream cheese. Yum!
Makes 12 large muffins

Ham & Cheese Corn Muffins - For those who prefer a more savory muffin
1 package (about 8 ounces)corn muffin mix
3/4 cup chopped deli ham
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/3 cup reduced fat milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon mustard regular or Dijon

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease muffin pan
In a medium bowl, combine muffin mix, ham and cheese. In a 1-cup glass measure, beat milk, egg, and mustard. Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients; mix until just moistened.

Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 or until light golden brown. Remove muffin pan to cooling rack. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Jake's tip: Cook up an egg, cut the muffin in half and enjoy your muffin sandwich.
Optional: In a double batch, we've also added canned diced green chiles

Makes 9 muffins

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chili Beef with Greens and Corn Casserole

One thing I love about cooking is unexpected combinations. In this case it is the flavor of chili-spiced ground beef mixed with the earthy flavors of collard greens. The results speak for themselves!

  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 12 oz. extra lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ cup low-sodium salsa
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed corn kernels
  • 3 oz chopped collard greens, about ½ inch pieces (1 cup packed)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup (1 oz.) shreddedsharp Cheddar cheese
  • tortilla strips / crushed chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat a 12 inch skillet over medium heat and cook beef, stirring constantly, until no longer pink. Add chili powder, cumin, and salsa; cook and stir 1 minute and remove from heat.
Coat 8x8x2 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Place corn and collards in bottom of pan and toss to blend. Spoon beef mixture evenly over all, cover tightly with foil and bake 25 minutes or until collard are tender. Serve, topping each serving with 2 tablespoons sour cream and 1 tablespoon cheese. Garnish with tortilla strips.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Best Caramel Brownies ever!

A few years ago, I would get together with some ladies in the neighborhood for a weekly brunch. I planned themes for our brunches. One week, it was family favorites and Aubrie Ivie brought this delicious recipe to share with us.

  • 1 German Chocolate cake mix
  • 7 Tbs melted butter or margarine
  • 1/3 C evaporated milk
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • 50-60 kraft caramels
  • ½ C evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 325. Mix together cake mix, butter and 1/3 C evaporated milk. Pat ½ of the mixture into the bottom of a 9” x 13” pan. Bake for 7-8 minutes.

In a separate microwavable bowl, combine the caramels and ½ C. evaporated milk. Melt mixture in the microwave, stirring every 1-2 minutes until smooth.

Remove the cake from the oven & sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the baked cake. Pour the caramel mixture over the chocolate chips. Sprinkle the remaining cake mixture over the top. Bake for another 18 minutes. Cool and serve.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Savory Bean Stew over Polenta

I love the winter because it gives me a chance to eat hearty soups and stews. Nobody wants to sweat over bean stew in July, but it's perfectly divine in January. Not only is this recipe warm and filling, it's also inexpensive and healthy - good for your post-holiday budget and waistlines! It might be January's perfect food.


  • 1 tablespoon plain olive oil
  • 1 cup of equal parts chopped onion, celery, and red/green bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 cup dried pinto beans
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth, divided
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • salt and black pepper
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper

Cover the beans in 2-3 times their volume of water. Soak 6-8 hours (or overnight). Pour beans and water into a large saucepan and bring to a low boil. Cook for 90 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.
NOTE: The black beans will dye the other beans purple! This does not affect their flavor but does make it look funny. You may want to both soak and cook the black beans separately.

Heat oil in the same saucepan over medium-low heat. Sweat chopped vegetable with a pinch of salt for 5-7 minutes, or until the veggies are soft and translucent. Stir in cooked beans, tomatoes (with juice), and herbs. Make a slurry with 1/4 cup broth and flour and stir into bean mixture. Bring to a boil and add the remaining broth. Simmer, stirring frequently, over low heat for 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

While the stew is simmering, prepare polenta. Bring 3 cups water to a boil and add the salt. Gradually stir in cornmeal, whisking constantly. Once all the cornmeal is integrated, reduce heat and simmer and 5 to 8 minutes or until polenta thickens and hold it's shape, but still soft. Season to taste with black pepper. Spread polenta over plate or large soup dish and top with stew.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fried Rice

So the secret to this recipe is SPAM. Before you go running and screaming, you should know that I have fed this recipe to many an unsuspecting diner, and they always believe the meat in this dish to be ham, sausage, or some other port product. Shock and wonder are the reactions when they realize that it is the infamous canned pork product that adds such a savory goodness to the other ingredients.

  • 1 can SPAM, chopped into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1½ cup fresh peas (or thawed frozen peas - do not use canned peas!)
  • 4 cups cooked day old rice (freshly cooked will work, but is generally too moist)
  • 1 tablespoon Canola oil
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce (to taste, but don't go overboard!)
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar (also to taste)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper


Place oil in wok/pan. Turn stove on to medium heat. Add onions, cook until they start to become translucent, then add the SPAM. When the onions become translucent, add 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Cook 1-2 minutes, or until everything has started to brown. Turn the heat up to medium high or high. Add peas, rice, paprika, and black pepper then stir. Add remaining soy sauce in small doses until the rice is light brown in color.


If you use Aloha brand soy sauce, you will not need much (if any) sugar, since it is brewed sweeter than Japanese or Chinese soy sauce.

If you just have to skip the SPAM, here are a few alternative meats:
  • 1/2 pound of diced bacon
  • 1 can of tuna or salmon (use lower heat because canned fish can burn easily)
  • 12 oz Ham
  • 12 oz chopped chicken

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

I hope everybody had a great holiday season! I am not much of a "Holiday" cook, so I took some time off from blogging :) Now that the holidays are over, I feel good posting a recipe in my favorite style: Mexican! This recipe can be made from what are normal pantry staples along with a few fresh ingredients, making it a great weeknight meal - unlike some "traditional" Mexican dishes, which require a visit to a Latino grocery store and two hours of prep work!


For the Enchilada Sauce
  • 1 can (14 ounces) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 ounces) plain tomato sauce
  • 1 can (7 ounces) diced green chiles (mild or hot, your choice)
  • 1 small onion, cut into quarters
  • 1 fresh jalepeno chile (remove the ribs and seeds for a milder flavor)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles (optional - they give the sauce a subtle, smokey heat)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, thick and leafless stems trimmed off
Other Ingredients
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon each cumin and coriander seeds, toasted, cooled, and crushed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 lemon, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 4 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (or just Cheddar and/or Monterrey Jack cheeses)
  • 12 medium (or "enchilada size) flour tortillas
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken breasts in a large saucepan with the cumin, coriander, salt, and lemon. Add enough water to cover everything. Bring to a boil and gently simmer over low heat, covered, for 8-12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Meanwhile (while the chicken is cooking), put all the Enchilada sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse 10-15 times until smooth. When the chicken is cooked, turn off the heat, remove the chicken from the liquid and shred into bite-sized pieces with forks. Discard the cooking liquid, or strain and use as you would chicken broth (although it might be a little too salty, depending on how much water you added). In a large mixing bowl, add the shredded chicken, half of the sauce and half the cheese. Stir to combine.

Spray a large baking dish with nonstick spray. Warm the tortillas in the microwave for 30-60 seconds. Place about a 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture in a line across the middle of a tortilla and roll it up. Put the enchilada seam-side down in the baking dish and repeat with remaining tortillas, packing them in as snugly as possible (you may have to experiment with the exact layout depending on the size of your tortillas and the dimensions of your baking dish). Spread the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted and the sauce is bubbly. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of cooking.