Meal Prep Monday: Mexican Enchiladas

First of all, I would like to apologize for the gap in postings.  First, it was due to the Thanksgiving holiday, and I was away for a while. Not too long after I had returned, I had received some awful news – one of my younger brothers had died due to suicide.

I was numb with shock, and could barely put a thought together, let alone words on paper.  At least now, I am back.  I wanted to share a recipe that we have in the family that I had also shared with my brother, Christopher.  After rolling the enchiladas (as you will read about shortly), we started doing the “Little Monsters” dance from Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video  with mole on our fingers.   We were very silly and it was a fun time had by all.

This recipe brings a lot of good memories for me (in addition to the one I just shared about Christopher), and I hope that it brings a lot of good memories for you as well.

Enchiladas can be made with a variety of fillings.  In our family recipe, we use chorizo, potatoes and cheese.  The mole is similar to the one in this recipe: http://www.mexicoinmykitchen.com/2013/05/red-enchiladas-sauce-recipereceta.html

Mole (Sauce):

Dried Chile Ancho  and either Chile Guajillo or Chile Pasilla (one package of each, 1:1 ratio).

Brown Sugar (1 tablespoon or to taste) – bonus points if you use the Mexican brown sugar!

Chicken Stock (1 small can)

Tomato Paste (1 tablespoon)

Garlic (1 or 2 cloves, chopped)

Enchilada (Parts):

Corn Tortillas – 1 or 2 packages

Potato (Regular or Sweet) (1 – chopped in one-half inch pieces)

Melting Cheese such as Chihuahua (not the dog, it’s a type of cheese from the region of Chihuahua Mexico) – shredded

Chorizo (beef, pork or Soyrizo)

Yellow or sweet onions chopped

Shredded lettuce

Tomatoes (chopped/sliced/or grape tomatoes)

Vegetable or canola oil

Preparation:

It may be advisable to roast chiles on a dry saucepan in order to get more flavor.

Boil water in a pot.  Once it starts boiling, add chiles and let it boil for 30 minutes.  Take off heat, drain and let cool.  (NOTE: if you have a food mill, you can just drain chiles and place in food mill.  The finished product should be a paste.  Discard what stems, seeds and skin is left in the food mill.)  Once chiles are cool enough for you to handle, remove stems, seeds and skin as best you can.  Place cleaned chiles in blender.   Blend Chiles with garlic and tomato paste.  The mixture should end up as a thick paste.  Add Chicken stock until it becomes a sauce (thickness will be like Sriracha, but not runny like water.  This will make the mole easier to handle with the tortillas).  Taste the mixture – if it tastes bitter, you can add brown sugar to taste to “neutralize” it.  Set aside.

Mole – aka Elixir of the Gods!

Place a sauté pan on medium-high heat.  Empty out contents of Chorizo from sleeve onto pan along with potato pieces.  Heat until potato is tender and chorizo is warmed through.  When done, set aside.

Chorizo & Sweet Potato

Enchilada-rolling set-up

Heat oil in a saucepan – you don’t need a lot, maybe an inch or two deep.   With this step, we will be placing a tortilla in the oil until the edges are crispy (be careful not to leave it in too long or it becomes one big tortilla chip).  Once the edges are crisp, remove with tongs, let some of the oil drip off (in a way this helps cool it off some).  Then place tortilla in mole mixture.  Coat tortilla with mole.

Once the tortilla is coated with the mole, place one or two teaspoons of filling (ie Chorizo +/- potato).  You can also add cheese and some of the chopped onions as well (use only one teaspoon of Chorizo/potato mixture if you do this.  Roll up the enchilada and place into a serving dish.

The Finished Product

Once all of the enchiladas are rolled up and on the plate, you can garnish with extra shredded cheese.   You may also place in 325 degree oven to re-warm before serving.   Serve with lettuce and tomatoes as a side.
Recipe:

http://www.mexicoinmykitchen.com/2013/05/red-enchiladas-sauce-recipereceta.html

 

Depression can affect anyone.  Please speak to someone if you feel sad, stressed and/or angry.  It can be family, a friend, if not your doctor, as long as it is someone that you trust.  You are not alone!

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

800-273-TALK (8255) Press 1 (Spanish, Press 2)

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ (with online chat)

 

For Hearing Impaired:

1-800-799-4TTY (4889)

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ (with online chat)

 

Veterans Crisis Line

800-273-TALK (8255) Press 1; or text 838255

https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/SignsOfCrisis/?gclid=CNyXn4bAgdECFcW3wAody-INsg (online chat available)

 

LGBT Youth Suicide Hotline

866-4U-Trevor

http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ (Text & Chat Options available)

 

http://www.suicide.org/index.html

Wanderlust Wednesday: Morro Bay, CA

“Morro Bay is a great place to spend an extended weekend to relax and unwind…”

With the holidays here, we are either being visited by family or visiting family ourselves.  For this Thanksgiving, we went to visit family in California – mostly to help with house maintenance, but we did find time for some fun.

My husband had told me of when he used to drive from Monterey, CA to Morro Bay for clam chowder.  He described it as the best clam chowder that he has ever had.  I had been to Boston (albeit a long time ago as a teenager), but from what I had remembered, the clam chowder there was pretty good as well (the best, in my book).  Challenge accepted! We took a day trip from Fresno to Morro Bay to check out this infamous clam chowder.

 On our search for clam chowder…

When we arrived, it was pouring rain.  I was a little sad because I wanted to take a walk onto the pier and take pictures of the bay.  Since we would be sitting down for our meal, I was hoping that, by the time we finish, the rain may let up.  We decided to eat at Tognazzini’s Dockside Restaurant.  My husband had the clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and fish and chips.  I ordered some raw oysters, clam chowder and a side salad.

With the first bite of the chowder, you can taste the freshness of the clams – and there was a good number of them in the soup, too!  I mean, I’ve had other clam chowders that were more like cream of potato with maybe a hint of clam juice (i.e. NOT clam chowder).  With this chowder, you can tell its CLAM.CHOWDER.  I even had a bay leaf in my soup portion (now I know ONE of the ingredients – haha!)  For the bread bowl, it was kept warm and moist from the chowder itself and was delicious as well as functional!   


The fish (in the fish & chips) as well as the oysters were fresh (no fishy smell or aftertaste).  Even my Mother-In-Law, who is not a “fish person” liked the fish & chips.  How amazing is that?!


By the way, yes, driving all that way for chowder was really worth it, too!

There are a number of dockside restaurants that one can choose from.  We just happened to go to Tognazzini’s by chance.  From what I saw on Yelp for that area, a lot of the dockside restaurants had really good reviews as well.

When we had finished our meal, the rain had become nothing more than a light sprinkle and eventually stopped.  After purchasing some salt-water taffy (next door to the restaurant), we took a walk out onto the pier.

Of course, there was Morro Rock, which gave the town and bay it’s name.  The rock, itself is a volcanic plug and is connected by a causeway to the shore, making it a tied island.  It is also protected, so climbing the rock and disturbing the wildlife is prohibited.

Speaking of wildlife, they seem to think that this is a popular hangout as well.

I also learned that this is a good area for hiking, paddle-boarding, boating and wine-tasting (to name a few of the activities available here).  This would definitely be a great place to spend an extended weekend to relax and unwind.

Have you been here also? Share your experiences below in the comments section!
Want to learn more?  Click on the links below and maybe plan your next stay there!

http://www.morrobay.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morro_Bay,_California

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morro_Rock

http://www.morrobaydockside.com/

–Maeven

Meal Prep Monday: Rancho Beans

I first had rancho beans at a pot luck several years ago.  Some may argue that this dish is for summer BBQs.  However, now that it is getting colder, and this gets baked in the oven (to add warmth to the house), I’m thinking that this can be made in the fall and winter too.

First, gather all the ingredients (remember mise en place!)  Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray canola oil on baking dish.


I sautéed the onion in canola oil spray until glossy. Add the ground beef and stir every so often until browned (about 10 minutes).  Remove from heat & drain the fat.

Stir in the ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, salt, Worcestershire sauce, kidney beans and pork and beans together.  Place in baking dish.

Bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes until bubbling.
Divide it up in desired portions and enjoy!

Recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/rancho-beans-41505

–Maeven

Meal Prep Monday: Pork Chops and Roasted Root Vegetables

It had been a while since I had pork chops, and I wanted to try a different way of making them.  This recipe has the pork chops sit in a brine before cooking.  This results in juicy and tasty chops!

Gather all the ingredients together.  I didn’t heat up the water like the recipe suggested.  The salt still dissolved just fine.  I placed the pork chops in a Pyrex dish and left it in the refrigerator for a couple hours.

Heat up the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place skillet in oven also so it can warm up too.  Remove the pork chops from the brine and season with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Once the oven and the skillet are warm, take the skillet out (using an oven mitt) and place on a medium-high burner.  Sear the chops for a couple of minutes on each side then place the skillet in the oven.  Roast until the chops are cooked until 140 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit (about 6 to 10 minutes).

Remove chops from skillet and let rest with juices in a separate dish.  Tent with foil and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving (in my case, slicing  and dividing them between my containers).

I accompanied the chops with julienned roasted root vegetables from Trader Joes.
Recipe: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-perfect-pork-chops-in-the-oven-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-194257

Julienne Root Vegetables: http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article/2529

Enjoy!

-Maeven

Supper Club Saturday

“Whenever I eat here, I feel like I was at my friends Mom or Grandma’s house…”

Greek Islands

200 South Halsted

Chicago, IL

 

I originally started coming here when I was at UIC (that’s the University of Illinois at Chicago for those who aren’t local).   Whenever I ate there, I felt like I was at someone’s house eating something their Grandmother just made.  The food was rich and full of flavor, and everything was so fresh.  From previous experience, after being in business for several years (or more), sometimes the taste changes (and sometimes not in a good way).  So now, the question is: “Will Greek Islands be the same?”

We started with the Saganaki.  Yes, its very cliché, but its one of the first things I tried from here, and it’s a classic.


Next, I created my own combo of moussaka and stuffed tomato.


Hubby had a combo of gyro and baked chicken.

After one bite of each, it was confirmed, a done deal, the last nail being hammered into the coffin…
After a taste of each dish, you can taste the freshness of the ingredients, I was still reminded of my friend’s Mother/Grandmother, so yes, this place still has it.

I also forgot that this place imports their olive oil straight from Greece (another explanation as to why everything is so good!)

Hopefully you will get to try for yourself!

Cheers!

–Maeven

Meal Prep Monday: Grilled Salmon & Quinoa

“When pressed with time, it can be hard to pull together meals for the week. Luckily, the store had some pre-marinated salmon portions on sale and I took advantage of that…”

When pressed with time, it can be hard to pull together meals for the week.  Luckily, the store had some pre-marinated salmon portions on sale and I took advantage of that.


I bought two filets marinated in maple dijon and two filets marinated in teriyaki, then placed it on the grill.  It only takes about 5 to 10 minutes (or longer if it’s a bigger portion).


For the quinoa, it’s a half cup of quinoa to one cup of chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Total cooking time was 20 minutes.  Halfway thru I added the butternut squash, and for the last few minutes, I added the spinach and the cranberries.  Remove from heat.  Let it sit for about five minutes.


Divide the quinoa and salmon in containers for the week and refrigerate.


See? Easy peasy!

Enjoy!

– Maeven