Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mex-I-Can! Chilaquiles Casserole

Mex-I-Can! In our house we love Mexican food for its comforting flavors, unique spice combinations, and the fact that you can find it everywhere in SoCal. Our area is known for its abundance of avocado trees, and a lady at Hubby’s church brought several over for the staff the other day. Hubby brought some home and I was all too happy to oblige – how can you turn down delicious fresh produce?

We used the avocadoes to make Alton Brown’s guacamole. It was fantastic! I highly recommend it if you are looking for a recipe – easy, tasty, simple. Can’t get any better than that. It was hard to wait that hour with the yummy lime and cilantro smells taunting us, but I promise it’s worth it. The lime kind of melds all the flavors together and just makes it awesome. I forgot to take a picture but you all know how the guac rocks.

The rockin’ guac inspired me to think of another Mexican dish to enjoy the next night. I was in the mood for enchiladas, and had saved Eating Well’s chilaquiles recipe in my files, so I decided to run with it. If you’ve never tried chilaquiles (pronounced chee-la-KEE-lays), I’d describe it as enchilada filling spread between layers of tortilla wedges, if that makes sense. Traditional recipes call for frying the tortillas first. This version is much healthier, and extremely tasty even without any meat. I used to be a vegetarian several years ago so I am a full-fledged supporter of less meat in our diets. More veggies are always a good thing J

We didn’t have enchilada sauce in the apartment, so I thought about making a grocery store run but realized we had all the ingredients to make it. Here’s the recipe. It made about 3 cups of sauce, and I used all of it. Runny chilaquiles ensued, but it was still tasty J

To make the sauce:

Just brown your spices in some EVOO...

...and add the wet ingredients for the sauce and keep a-stirrin’ until you get something like this:

Good job. I know the sauce makes you wanna salsa now, but please wait until your food is ready. Now get all your chilly keely ingredients togetha. I followed the recipe pretty closely except for the following substitutions: Monterey Jack cheese for the Cheddar, and a can of refried black beans for the regular black beans since that’s all they had at the store.

Brown yer onions...

Layer your tortilla wedges in the pan...

Add grated zucchini to your onions...

Add your black beans...

Diced tomatoes...


...and stir like Sir-Mix-a-Lot, 'cause these chilaquiles got back. Spread the mixture on top of the tortilla wedges like so:

Add your sauce...

...and your cheese. Repeat the layering once more and BAKE until it's gooey and bubbly :)

Y el fin. ¡Es delicioso!

We enjoyed several more servings of leftovers. It’s great heated up in the microwave the next day. ¡Buen provecho!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Breakfast Keeps Getting Better

Maybe I should change my blog title to Breakfastin' in the Kitchen, since I write about it so much? haha :)

In my blog-reading journey I have read over and over about the deliciousness of overnight oats. Being a bit of an oatmeal fiend, I decided to take matters into my own hands and recreate the oaty goodness for breakfast yesterday morning.

I followed Angela’s recipe and tweaked it a bit. In a bowl, mix together:

  • 1 packet Quaker oatmeal (I used maple & brown sugar), extra sugar removed (I munched on mine as a late night snack ;) )
  • ¾ cup Silk Pure Almond milk
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 5-6 sliced strawberries (or use your choice of fruit)
  • (omitted: vanilla extract, since the oatmeal was already pretty sweet)

Mix it all together and whaddaya get...lookit! Into the fridge overnight J

I asked Hubby if he wanted any, and initially he said no...but I think curiosity got the better of him and 5 minutes later he was up and at ‘em in the kitchen making his own bowl. I like being a good influence on him ;)

Oatmeal twins!
In the morning I added 1 tbsp. natural peanut butter. Om nom nom-ing ensued. See how nice and thick everything ended up?

It was delicious! I loved how creamy the oats were, and they kept me full for several hours. The chia seeds add that I-don't-kn0w-what-but-darn-it's-good element. I will be making this again in various flavors J
And of course we need some jammy couture:

I like to call them my "around the world fashionista" jammies, since most of the cities printed on the fabric seem fashionable and exotic. They are capri length and have fun drawstrings on the bottom. They're from Old Navy waaay back in the day.
Peace out from the Jamster!

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Frenchy, Creamy, Fishy Weekend

Hubby and I spent the night at my parents’ house this weekend. We drove up to take advantage of the free car wash offered by the dealer where we purchased our new car, and Hubby picked up his free suit from the Wearinghouse of Men (a gift from all the bizness he brought ‘em from those wedding tuxes!). It was nice to have a little getaway and spend time with the old farts parents ;)

Saturday morning I was inspired to make breakfast because, well, Saturday mornings are made for good breakfasts. I whipped up a batch of healthy French toast using slices of Oroweat Double Fiber bread spread on both sides with organic peanut butter and dipped in a mixture of egg whites (all the cholesterol is in the yolks, so eliminate 'em!), cinnamon, vanilla extract, and nonfat milk. Topped with fresh berries, of course ;) No syrup needed, either.

Yuuuuuum. Breakfast makes me drool J The Double Fiber bread was super filling and I highly recommend it, especially since it has only 70 calories per slice, no high fructose corn syrup, and 48% of your daily fiber. It’s tasty too. My dad even commented that it kept him full past lunchtime, and we ate around 9 a.m. Not too shabby for French toast!

My mom made my day when she casually mentioned the need to make cream cheese frosting. “Whatever for?” I asked, and she replied with the delightful announcement that she had made and frozen some red velvet cupcakes (yes, from a box mix – still awesome!).

We tripped to the extraordinary food store to buy fresh wild salmon on sale for dinner, per my dad’s request, and helped ourselves to the smorgasbord of snacks they have on the weekends J Upon our return to the humble abode, I set about finding the necessary frosting recipe.

The madre has more cookbooks than B&N, so I looked to the ladies of the Silver Palate for guidance. The New Basics Cookbook is a great resource for just about anything you’d ever want to cook, and of course it had this yummy recipe at just the right time. Scrumptiously easy.

I used lime juice instead of lemon, since that’s what was in the fridge. It was a tad too runny for my taste, but still delicious. Look at that frosting-y goodness – aww yeah. And we got to take most of them home :)

Our salmon also made for a delicious dinner. Mom and Dad gifted us with a few leftovers to take home, and last night I was pondering what to do with it for dinner. I suggested an idea to Hubby and he ran with it! He cooked whole wheat penne pasta as the base, and added half a jar of pasta sauce combined with the leftover salmon, red pepper flakes, freshly grated parmesan cheese, and sliced red bell pepper, all topped with fresh basil from the patio J Yum! Thanks Hubs J
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