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Category Archives: Southwestern

Mushroom Enchiladas with New Mexico Red Chile

March 28, 2010

Mushroom and Red Chile Enchilada

This is a fabulous meal to make for company or if you just want to impress your family. It is a vegetarian meal but you can substitute any kind of meat in here including chicken, pork, shrimp or even fish.

I made this fabulous meal for a friend who was coming over with her family. They are vegetarian so I had to be careful and use vegetable broth where ever I normally use chicken broth, etc.

I made a delicious stuffing for the enchiladas with cremini mushrooms, onions and garlic. I added paprika and unsweetened cocoa. I wanted to emulate the mole sauce flavor which is a very labor intensive dish to make requiring lots of ingredients. I decided to introduce just the cocoa part to the stuffing to bring out the earthiness in the mushrooms.

I used whole-wheat tortillas- and guess what- no one noticed. Once the tortillas are doused with the super flavorful sauce, you can’t tell the difference. A perfect, sneaky way to make the dish healthy without anyone knowing.

I also cooked up some green rice and some quick vegetarian refried beans- recipes to follow tomorrow and the day after.

Definitely try making the mushroom enchiladas with new mexico red chilies- you will be impressed with yourself.
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Rice and Beans with Shredded Chicken

January 7, 2010

Rice and Beans with Chicken I have started the new year with yet another one pot meal. How great is a one pot meal??- I love them. With this particular one, I served a salad and some store bought green salsa and it was a huge success.

I love not having to clean multiple pots and pans and not spending extra time cooking side dishes. This is a perfect week night meal.

Since I talked about brown rice yesterday, this dish would be ideal with brown rice. I would increase the cooking time, of course- but the flavor won’t be compromised at all. Especially in this dish, since there are lots of strong flavors going on, this dish might be perfect to experiment with- your family may not be able to tell the difference at all.

As most of you know, I love shopping at Trader Joes- especially for the new and fabulous ingredients they keep coming out with. I found a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilies recently. I picked it up immediately and decided to use it for a south western style dish. I loved the flavor in this dish- it brings a smoky kick to the rice dish- really delicious. Please try it…

  • 1 pound chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz can of diced and fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies (Trader Joes)
  • 1 15 oz can of pinto beans
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1½ cups chicken broth

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. In the meantime, sprinkle paprika and salt on both sides of the chicken pieces. Place the chicken pieces in the heated oil and brown both sides- about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Add the onions and garlic. Saute on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, beans and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and add the rice and salt. Continue boiling till the broth begins to evaporate and bubbles form on the surface. Lower the heat to low and cover the saucepan half way. Once the all the broth has evaporated, cover all the way and cook for 20 minutes or till the rice is done.

Take the chicken pieces out and shred with a fork. Put back in the pan and mix with the rice and beans.

Serve with a green salad and freshly made guacamole.

Fresh Corn and Avocado Relish

October 15, 2009

Avocado and Corn Relish I served this delicious relish with the chicken enchiladas. I love making guacamole but there is so much of it you can eat. Since I like to change things around, I came up with this. It is very simple yet extremely flavorful. It’s amazing, when the right ingredients are used, they can create a wonderful dish. 

In this case, only 5 ingredients were used. Lime, cilantro and salt make this dish savory with just the right amount of tartness. The ripe avocados are soft and creamy; the fresh corn is sweet and crunchy. The two together are an unbelievable combination. Now, obviously fresh corn is not available year round so I think frozen would be just fine. Actually roasted corn will be fabulous in here, the one Trader Joes has. Either way, the relish is delicious with any kind of meal- even for breakfast, with a side of scrambled eggs. Enjoy it with just plain old tortilla chips- yum!
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Spiced Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce

October 14, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce

I really like this dish. It is simple and fairly quick to make. I had chicken drumsticks in the freezer which I needed to cook. I also had fresh tomatillos from the farmer’s market. I love using them for salsas. The have a wonderful tart taste that complements South western cuisine really well.

I came up with a spicy mixture to put on the chicken drumsticks. A combination of coriander, cumin and paprika- not spicy but very flavorful. I fired up the grill and cooked the chicken outside. My favorite part of the chicken are the thighs and the legs- the meat is so flavorful!

My husband loves enchiladas. Whenever we go to our favorite Mexican joint, that is what he gets- enchiladas with green sauce. I decided to replicate that. The green sauce was easy to make – I added all the ingredients in a pot and cooked them for a bit and then processed them into a sauce- done. Once the chicken was golden brown and cooked, I cooled it and took the meat off. Now I had all the components to make an enchilada. I always have corn tortillas in the freezer- I like them better than the regular flour ones- these have more flavor and taste more authentic. I grated some cheese and began to assemble then and placed in an oven proof dish. I baked them till the cheese was gooey and melted.

I was trying to be healthy and decided not to serve any rice. Instead I served an avocado and fresh corn relish. It was a good, healthy dinner – we all enjoyed it- my daughter had the enchiladas but stayed away from the relish.

Tomatillo Sauce

  • 6 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 white onion, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

Put the tomatillos, onion, cumin seeds, olive oil and garlic cloves in a saucepan. Saute for 4-5 minutes on medium heat and add 1 cup chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat and cook until tomatillos are soft- about 7-8 minutes. Put the vegetables in a blender and puree. Add the cilantro, lime juice, and salt, and pulse to combine. Set aside.

Chicken Stuffing

  • 8 chicken drumsticks

Preheat outside grill.

Spice Mix

  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Mix all the spices together and sprinkle all over the chicken drumsticks. Grill the chicken legs till both sides are golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. Let cook and take the meat off the bones and shred with hand.

12 small corn tortillas
3 cups Monterey jack cheese, shredded

To assemble the dish: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle some olive oil in a large baking dish. Dip a tortilla into the tomatillo sauce and put it on a cutting board. Put about a ¼ cup shredded chicken in the center and sprinkle a little cheese and roll the tortilla like a cigar to enclose the filling. Use a spatula to place it seam side down in the baking dish. Continue to fill all the tortillas. Pour the remaining tomatillo salsa over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for about 20-30 until bubbly and cracked on top.

Fresh Ancho Chili and Sausage Pasta

August 18, 2009

Ancho Chili and Sausage Pasta1 When it is hot outside, I think of Southwestern or Mexican flavors. Fresh chilies, cilantro, corn and avocados come to mind. I feel like making fresh guacamole and eat tons of chips with it- or make enchiladas. I do try to come up with different recipes to post on this blog- sometimes it gets quite challenging…

Some chain restaurants have a southwestern style pasta on their menus. That is what I started to think of when I visited the farmer’s market the other day- I bought some fresh ancho chilies. I pictured roasting them and then making a sauce out of them- maybe a cheese sauce for a pasta. I planned on stopping at the grocery store to pick up chicken thighs to grill and add to the dish- but as usual something came up and I didn’t get time to go. I then remembered I have chicken sausage in the freezer- perfect!

I roasted the ancho chilies and diced and sauteed them with sliced shallots and garlic. I then sprinkled all-purpose flour to make a roux. Chicken broth and a little half and half completed the sauce. I had a bag of shredded mexican cheese (including queso fresco, monterey, etc.)- which I thought would be perfect for this dish- though any cheese will do.

I roasted the chicken sausages in the oven and added them to the cheese sauce. I added a my favorite ingredient- smoked paprika. It gave the cheese sauce a delicious smoky flavor that complemented the smokiness in the ancho chilies really well.

Overall the flavor was very delicious and different. I added fresh cilantro on top instead of the usual basil or parsley. I felt cilantro was a better fit with all the southwestern flavors- and it was – really yummy. I wasn’t sure if my family would like it- but they did- they all relished it with a bottle of red wine and milk (for my daughter).

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Great Leftover Recipe: Shrimp and Arugula Quesadilla

July 19, 2009

Shrimp QuesadillasThe weather has been very kind to us lately- I guess we deserve it after the spring we have had. We decided to keep my daughter home from camp one day and visit a lake. Everyone was responsible for packing their own food, snacks and fruit, etc. I thought of cherries and nectarines for fruit; gogurts and fruit leather for snacks- but was having trouble deciding on the lunch part. 

My daughter has been into quesadillas lately- which is good since she doesn’t like to eat sandwiches. So- quesadillas came to mind- cheese for her but what about me?? The left over shrimps from the shrimp rolls came to mind.. hmm.. I thought of chopping those up with the grated Mexican cheese blend- perfect- but what about veggies?? I thought of packing a salad but the idea of lettuce on a warm day wilting away didn’t seem very appealing. I instead thought of adding a bit of arugula right into the quesadilla.

Now, ideally I like to dip my quesadilla into something spicy- like a tomato salsa or guacamole. I didn’t have any made and I was too lazy to go buy some and pack tiny containers- too complicated. I used my favorite hot sauce instead- the sriracha sauce. I love using this particular one, it has great flavor with the heat. It has a bit of garlic and sugar paired with the tang and saltiness- perfection in my book! The combination was yum- the quesadilla tasted great room temperature- the shrimp gave it nice substance while the greens gave it a nice crunch- yup they were still a bit crunchy. The hot sauce put it over the top- it was delicious! I devoured the entire quesadilla in less than a minute and wished I had made another one. We ate sweet and juicy nectarines and thoroughly enjoyed the day.

A great picnic or pool item to pack along- no reason to have the not so healthy and not so tasty food you tend to get at those places. 

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Bulgur Wheat Salad with Tomatoes and Roasted Corn served with Roasted Cod

July 5, 2009

Bulgur Wheat Salad This was my first time using bulgur wheat. For a while I wasn’t sure how to use this particular ingredient. I love it in tabbouleh- the Middle Eastern dish with lots of parsley, mint, tomatoes and cucumbers. It goes really well with a gyro or a falafel. The texture is very similar to couscous- and I think that is why I like it so much. I normally buy bulgur wheat salad at the Whole Foods salad bar- not really sure why I have never attempted to make it at home before.

A few days ago I was watching food television and saw someone using bulgur wheat and making something similar to tabbouleh. It looked really easy and delicious! I started researching online for exact cooking directions- turns out- everyone has their own way of cooking bulgur wheat. It’s very strange but each recipe I looked at, I saw different quantities of liquid being used to cook the wheat. After looking online for a good hour, I came up with my own measurements. I decided on 3/4 cup of bulgur wheat cooked in 1 cup chicken broth. I also noticed most recipes flavored the cooking liquid. I was already using flavorful chicken broth but decided to add to it even more. I added lemon juice, salt, olive oil and smoked paprika. The reason I used smoked paprika was because I wanted to give this dish a south western/spanish flavor. I was planning on serving this as a side dish with pan roasted cod topped with the tomatillo mango sauce I had left over. The extra flavor in the chicken broth made a huge difference- it added a nice tang and smokiness. I then added some cut up cherry tomatoes and green onions with roasted corn. I got fresh mint and cilantro from my herb garden and finished the dish off with a bit more salt. It was very refreshing- perfect for the summer months and best of all- very easy to make. This particular recipe was a side dish with the fish, but I think next time I will also add a protein in the salad to make it a complete meal- maybe some leftover chicken, shrimp or even cheese- and of course I will wash it down with my favorite summer drink, a Malbec Rose.

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