Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Easy Enchiladas

Sunday night is family dinner night at our house. We do this so we can all sit down to a meal before the less than calm work and school week begins. This week my daughter requested one of her favorites - enchiladas. MMMMMMMMMM - Mexican comfort food. They are simple to prepare and taste wonderful. Even the leftovers (which I am enjoying right now) are delicious. I like to serve it with Cilantro Lime Rice and Corn.


Beef Enchiladas
1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup flour
4 Tablespoons chili powder
5 cups low sodium beef broth

1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce -- optional


1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic - minced

1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cumin

1- 1/12 cups grated cheddar cheese

12 corn tortillas
1 - 9x11 baking pan

For the Gravy:
Combine flour and butter in hot pan, brown slightly. Add chili powder and brown for 15 seconds. Now add broth and salt. Cook on medium heat until gravy coats the back of a spoon. Add extra seasoning if desired.

Brown meat and 1/4 cup onion, cook until the meat loses pink color. Add garlic, drain or blot fat and add salt and cumin.

To assemble dip tortilla in gravy, drain. Fill tortilla with meat mixture and sprinkle cheese. Roll up and place in large oven proof pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cover with additional gravy and remaining cheese.

Bake covered in a 400° oven for 10-15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Crockpot Chicken Parmesan

I created this recipe to use up a huge container of homemade chicken fingers. I had a combination of thin sliced chicken and boneless chicken tenders. Feel free to use one or both of them for this recipe. You can also use the cooked chicken as homemade chicken fingers with honey mustard or ranch dipping sauce.

I bake the chicken so I don't have to stand over the stove and a frying pan. By using panko breadcrumbs and spraying the chicken with cooking spray before baking, you achieve a crunchy coating without all of the calories.


For the chicken

2 pounds thin sliced or boneless chicken tenders

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 eggs

¼ cup water

1 cup all purpose flour

Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Parmesan

2 jars of your favorite pasta sauce (I like Barilla or Newman’s Own)

3 - 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425°. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Place flour in a large shallow dish, add salt and pepper to taste. In a 2nd shallow dish, beat eggs and water. In a 3rd shallow dish combine the breadcrumbs and the parmesan cheese.

Dredge chicken in the flour and shake off excess. Dip in egg then in breadcrumbs. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken. Spray tops of chicken with cooking spray.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until cooked throughout. Remove from oven and set aside. This step can be done in advance and refrigerated.

Spray a large 6-7 qt. crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Cover the bottom with sauce (about ½ cup), layer with chicken to cover the bottom. Cover with more sauce, then mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Repeat layers with remaining chicken (typically 3 – 4 layers). Finish with the sauce and cheeses.

Cover and bake on HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW 6-8 hours. Serve over your favorite pasta.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Crockpot Eggplant Parmesan

I love eggplant parmesan, but don't always have the time or the inclination to make it - breading, pan frying, etc. This is a quick and easy crockpot version. Serve it over your favorite pasta for a wonderful weeknight meal.


This recipe makes enough to fill a 7 qt. crockpot. Adjust amounts depending on crockpot size.

2 large eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced

2 jars of your favorite pasta sauce
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 - 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

Spray the crockpot insert with cooking spray. Cover the bottom of the crockpot with sauce - about 1/2 cup, then a layer of eggplant, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, more sauce, then mozzarella cheese. Make sure the toppings cover all the eggplant slices, out to the edges.

Continue all layers (usually 3-4), finish with sauce and cheese. Cover. Cook on high 5-6 hours or low 8 hours.

Serve over your favorite pasta.

** Sometimes I slice the larger pieces of eggplant in 1/2 to fit better around the sides of the dish.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Baked Broccoli Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

If you are looking for a new side dish to add to your list of family favorites, stop right here - comfort food does not get better than this. If you love stuffed baked potatoes then you will love these. The crunchy crust makes this already delicious dish even better. Give it a try tonight!


Broccoli Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

Serves 6-8

2 pounds red potatoes -- washed and cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 small Vidalia onion -- diced
5 cloves garlic -- minced
3 cups broccoli florets -- chopped
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/2 cup skim milk
4 Tablespoons butter -- (or butter substitute)
kosher salt -- to taste
freshly ground pepper -- to taste
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese -- divided
olive oil
cooking spray

Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 10-15 minutes, until soft.

Meanwhile, heat 1-2 T olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan, add the onion and garlic. Saute 5-7 minutes or until soft and translucent. Set aside.

Place the florets in a microwave safe bowl with 2-3 T of water, cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.

Drain the potatoes. Return to the pot or a large bowl. Mash with the sour cream, butter and milk. Add the onion, garlic, broccoli, and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Stir well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spray a 2 qt. baking dish with cooking spray. Place mashed potatoes in the dish, top with panko crumbs and cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or 35-40 degrees for refrigerated. Bake until the potatoes are bubbly and the crust is lightly golden brown.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

If you are looking for a delicious vegetarian option for dinner, look no further. These burritos taste amazing. The recipe makes alot and they reheat beautifully. I like to serve it with Southwestern Rice Pilaf.


Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

5 cups sweet potato -- peeled and cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large vidalia onion -- diced
4 cloves garlic -- minced
1 Tablespoon minced fresh green chile
4 teaspoons cumin
4 teaspoons coriander
3 cans black beans
2/3 cup cilantro leaves
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
8 8 inch whole wheat flour tortillas
1 jar salsa

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with the salt and water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, warm the oil in a medium skillet or saucepan and add the onions, garlic, and chiles. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 7 minutes. Add the cumin and coriander and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the black beans, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, and cooked sweet potatoes and puree until smooth. (You can also mash the ingredients in a large bowl by hand using a potato masher. The result will be a less smooth but nicely textured filling.) Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a large mixing bowl and mix in the cooked onions and spices.

Lightly oil a large baking dish. Spoon about 2/3 to 3/4 cup of the filling in the center of each tortilla, roll it up, and place it, seam side down, in the baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until piping hot. Serve topped with salsa.

To reheat: Place on a foil lined baking sheet and warm in a 350 oven for 15-20 minutes until the tortilla is crisp.

Southwestern Rice Pilaf

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, medium diced (1-1/2 cups)
1 medium poblano, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced (1/2 cup)
4 large cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbs.)
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed
2-1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained well (I use Muir Glen Fire Roasted)
1 lime
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and minced

In a heavy-based 3-qt. saucepan with a tight lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, poblano, and garlic, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 3 min., stirring occasionally. Add the chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened and the spices are very fragrant, about 3 min.

Add the rice and salt, and stir well to coat each grain with oil. Toast for a full 5 min., stirring regularly to keep the grains separated and to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan (the rice may turn opaque before 5 min. is up, but keep going). Reduce the heat to low if there are any signs of scorching.

Add the broth and tomatoes, stir once, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 18 min. Remove from the heat and let the pilaf sit, still covered, for 5 min. Meanwhile, finely grate 1 Tbs. zest from the lime, and then cut the lime into wedges.

Once the pilaf has rested, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Using the fork, gently fold in the cilantro, jalapeño, and lime zest. Season to taste with salt. Serve with the lime wedges for spritzing over the rice.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"M" Go Pancakes

This is my go to pancake recipe. It is from the "The Black Dog - Summer on the Vineyard" Cookbook. This is a wonderful cookbook, especially if you have ever visited the Black Dog Bakery on Martha's Vineyard.
I made two different variations today - one with chocolate chips and one with blueberries.


  • Dry Ingredients
    • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    • 2 tablespoons cornmeal (optional)
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 tablespoon salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Wet Ingredients
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
    • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of skim
    • 1 cup fresh blueberries
    • 1 thinly sliced banana


Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium size bowl.

In a seperate bowl beat the eggs with one cup of milk and the melted butter.

Add this wet mixture to your dry ingredients until you have a basic pancake batter. Add the additional 1/2 cup of milk if the mixture is too thick, but don't stir too much or pancakes will be tough.

When the batter is ready gently fold in the blueberries.

Heat a griddle, adding a little clarified butter or oil. Ladle a five inch circle of batter onto the griddle. Drop a few slices of banana into each circle. Cook pancakes until the tops are covered with tiny bubbles, then flip them over and finish cooking.

Serve hot with butter and pure maple syrup.

Favorite Variation:

Rasputin's Revenge (named after one of The Black Dog's best dishwashers)

To the basic batter add:

  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries and
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
Serving Size: Makes 4 Servings

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mini Orange Chocolate Chip Muffins

I made these today as a healthier alternative for the kids' class parties tomorrow. The recipe does not call for large amounts of sugar and you can substitute white whole wheat flour for 1/2 the all purpose flour. They make a great snack for kids (and parents).

2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
additional sugar, for sprinkling on top
(I use pure cane sugar for a really crunchy top)

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, vegetable oil, egg and orange peel till light. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently for 20 seconds, or only until all of the ingredients are moistened. If you see lumps in the batter, that's OK; don't try to stir them out, or your muffins will be heavy instead of tender!

Lightly grease the cups of a 12-cup muffin pan, and fill each two-thirds full with batter. Sprinkle sugar over each for a crunchy, sugary crust.

Bake the muffins in a preheated 400°F oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven, let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes (or until they've set enough to be handled), and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 12 muffins or 36 mini muffins.

**For mini muffins - bake at 350 degrees for 12-13 minutes.

Adapted from the King Arthur Flour website.