Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Honey Lime Enchiladas

I first made these forever ago with great success.  I've seen it floating around the blogosphere, so added it to the meal plan last week or so, and finally got around to them tonight.  They're fairly easy to make, and were a big hit with my entire family... yes, even Mr. "I won't even try it" ate it and liked it. 

This makes quite an unusual enchilada; the sweetness of the honey with the bite of the lime plus the mildness of the green enchilada sauce makes for such a different flavor than you'd get from your local Mexican restaurant (chain or otherwise!)

So make this delicious and easy meal!

Honey Lime Enchilada Mel's Kitchen Cafe, via Good Eats and Sweet Treats
6 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons lime juice (approx. 1 large lime)
1 tablespoon chili powder (use a little less for a milder version)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (approx. 2 large chicken breasts)
8-10 flour tortillas
1 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded
16 ounces green enchilada sauce
1 cup heavy cream

Mix the honey (tip: spray your measuring spoon with cooking spray before measuring out the honey), lime juice, chili powder and garlic together and toss with the shredded chicken. Let it marinate for at least 1/2 hour (or toss together in a ziploc bag and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours).

Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Fill flour tortillas with chicken (approx. 1/4 cup) and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and leftover marinade. Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Meal Plan...err.. Tuesday

Slacker over here.  I was away for a few days, so things were sort of on hold, but here's what's up for the rest of the week:

Tuesday:  Frozen Ravioli (Hubby's request; what can I say?)
Wednesday:  Creamy Shrimp Rolls
Thursday:  Honey Lime Enchiladas (These didn't get made last week for one reason or another... trying again!)
Friday:  Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza
Saturday:  Birthday Party Day!  (I can't believe my guy is going to be 4)
Sunday:  Cheesey Chicken Shells

Have a great week!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Strawberry, Orange, and Grilled Chicken Salad

When meal planning for this week, I went to my Google Reader and this recipe from Sarah came up in the feed.  It was so perfect, considering the heat has me looking for something light, and more importantly, I'm looking for meals that won't heat up the kitchen too much.

The only cooking this required was the chicken; I chose to cook it on the grill so the kitchen stayed cool and I did too, since I only went out to flip and check the chicken.

This was absolutely delicious.  So light, so refreshing, and moderately healthy.  My husband loved the vinaigrette. I had no pineapple in the house, otherwise I would have added it. It wasn't super filling, so I really wish I was good at accompanying dishes and could think of something to serve alongside it. 

Strawberry, Orange and Grilled Chicken Salad
Adapted from The Cookaholic Wife, via A Taste of Home Cooking

6 cups baby spinach leaves
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 cups strawberries, diced
1 cup mandarin oranges, chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup gorgonzola, crumbled
Raspberry vinaigrette (recipe below)
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Add desired amount of dressing, toss well to coat. Season with pepper, to taste. Serve cold.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon raspberry preserves
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Fresh tarragon, minced
Black pepper
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Honey, to taste

Blend all the ingredients, except the sugar or honey, in a food processor, adding water as necessary to adjust the consistency. Add honey to taste at the very end.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Pasta

This is an incredibly late submission for a recent recipe swap for Fourth of July inspired meals. 

When I saw this recipe from Melissa was my assignment, I was excited to make something deemed "Sicilian."  my grandfather, while born in America, was Sicilian, and I don't know a whole lot about it, other than that could be where my temper comes from.  I was late in making this for my own slacker reasons, but it's been delayed so much because of my grandmother's passing; losing her has made me think a lot about when my grandfather passed.  So, even though Mom Mom's family was from northern Italy, I felt I was honoring her by making this dish from her beloved husband's heritage.

This is probably the first recipe that I've really made some changes to in order to make this my own.  I typically don't have anchovies around, and didn't really feel like getting some when I had an idea of something that would be a good substitute.  I chose to use some kalamata olives instead; I definitely used too many and so the sauce was a bit too salty.  My basil plants are going crazy, so I threw some of that into the sauce too.  I figure a sauce can't be too garlicky, so added some of that with the onions. 

My finished product came out pretty well.  I do wish I'd added some broccoli as instructed, so maybe next time.  The great thing about this recipe is that it has some interesting textures--you've got the crunch of the nuts, the squish of the raisins, and the softer textures of the tomatoes and pasta.

Ha, I just remembered I meant to add cooked chicken to this.  Oops!

Thank you, Melissa, for a great starting point recipe!

Dad's Sicilian Summer Pasta, adapted from I Was Born to Cook
1 pound penne
2-3T extra virgin olive oil
5-10 kalamata olives, drained, pitted, and finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
5-10 basil leaves, chopped
1T Italian seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup pignoli nuts
1 cup raisins, soaked first in water or liquor (rum, vodka)
1/2 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes

Cook pasta until al dente.  Drain and set aside.  

While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, cook the olives in the oil until fragrant, then add the onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent.  Add the tomatoes, pignoli nuts and raisins.

Cook all ingredients for a few minutes, then add crushed tomatoes, basil, and spices.  Stir until combined, and simmer for a few minutes, until desired consistency.  Add pasta to skillet, combine and cook for a few minutes on low.  Top with grated cheese and serve.

This dish can be served immediately or at room temperature.

Banana Blueberry Bread


I found this in my Betty Crocker cookbook, bridal edition, see it online
here.. I had three very overripe bananas, and decided we would make banana bread. Then I forgot about it. They were moved to the refrigerator for "later," so the fruit flies would go away. Later came, and they were beyond overripe and I was afraid they were gross. They smelled sort of sour. But I decided to go with it anyway.

The book in my recipe suggested to add blueberries as an option, and since I have a freezer full of them, I went with it. I didn't even have to defrost, but I don't recall the amount--I believe it was a cup. I added them when the original recipe suggested to add the nuts.

Despite the sour ick of the bananas, this came out great. It looked gorgeous when it came out of the oven, and it's really tasty. The Boy has asked for it for breakfast every morning since we made it.


1 1/4cups sugar
1/2cup butter or margarine, softened
2eggs I think the book says to use three...not sure.
1 1/2cups mashed very ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium)
1/2cup buttermilk I used 1/2 c plain fat free yogurt
1teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1teaspoon baking soda
1teaspoon salt
1cup chopped nuts, if desired Omitted

Print these coupons...

About Concordance™

1.Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 8 1/2x4 1/2x2 1/2 inches, or 1 loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches.
2.Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Pour into pans.
3.Bake 8-inch loaves about 1 hour, 9-inch loaf about 1 1/4 hours, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top side up on wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Crab, Corn, and Tomato Salad

With the heat wave we're having round here, I turned to the internet looking for no cook meals.  This came up from Cooking Light,  in my searching, and it looked so fresh and delicious plus uses a lot of in season produce.  I thought it was really tasty, light, and had great texture too, and it's great that it can easily be adapted to what's in your fridge, on sale, your tastes.  You could easily take out the crab, or substitute shrimp. 

I love the lemon dressing that goes along with this, though I have to admit I probably went a little heavy on the lemon here.  I'd have to say that it's really important to use fresh lemon here because it is so forward in the salad.

Crab, Corn, and Tomato Salad, Cooking Light, June 2008
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed
  • 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices ripe beefsteak tomato
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1. Combine zest, 3 tablespoons juice, and next 5 ingredients (through black pepper) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons juice mixture. Add remaining 2 tablespoons juice, corn, and next 4 ingredients (through crab) to remaining juice mixture; toss gently to coat.
  • 2. Arrange 2 tomato slices and 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes on each of 4 plates. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon reserved juice mixture over each serving. Top each serving with 1 cup corn and crab mixture.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Eggplant Panini

My friend Lishie posted this diner recreation a few weeks ago, and I thought it would be perfect for such a hot day, since it requires so little time at the stove.  You could make it even cooler and make the eggplant cutlets early or in the evening when the heat isn't so intense, then just use the stove to toast the bread and melt the cheese.

I made a few changes to suit my desire to "make it my own," since I'm watching (and loving) this season of Next Food Network Star, though this is about as far as I go at making anything my own.  And if you, like me, are hesitant to make a panini because you have neither a panini press nor a grill pan, remember that you're basically making a squished grilled cheese.  I used a pot and a teakettle to act as the press, flipped when crispy, and then pressed again.

Eggplant Panini, slightly adapted from Delish

  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/2 cup Panko Bread crumbs
  • Black pepper
  • 1t Italian seasoning
  • 1t crushed red pepper
  • 1t garlic powder
  • Approximately 3 TBSp Olive Oil
  • Italian Sub Rolls or full Italian Bread, sliced into sandwich sizes
  • 1 Beefsteak Tomato
  • Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
  • Fresh Basil
  • Approximately 2-3 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Approximately 2-3 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

Clean, peel, & slice the eggplant length-wise. Set up your bowls for dredging:  place the egg in a shallow dish (8x8 Pyrex dish works great!), and combine the bread crumbs and spices in another.  Dip the eggplant slices in the egg, then in the bread crumb mixture, pressing to stick. Heat the 3 TBSp Olive Oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat. Place the eggplant in the saute pan, and cook until it is golden, about 2-3 minutes each side. Allow to cool on a paper towel lined plate.

After the eggplant is cooled, assemble the sandwiches... Bread, eggplant, peppers, tomato slices, basil leaves (I leave them whole) & finally the splashes of extra virgin olive oil & balsamic vinegar.

Close the assembled sandwich & cook it either on a panini maker OR on a grill pan with a weight on the sandwich (another pan or heavy plate) until the mozzarella is melted.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cucumber Salad with Tomatoes and Mint

Summer's bounty and the generosity of friends has come our way, so I figured I'd put the abundance to good use and make a cucumber salad.  A friend of my dad's has given us four cucumbers so far, and I picked up some mint from a woman on freecycle, and figured this find on allrecipes would be a perfect fit.

Oh, how delicious it was. The mint was a really interesting twist and brought a lightness and freshness to this salad.  This was my first time using our homegrown mint, so I was thrilled to give it a try, and now I'm curious how swapping it for other herbs would go in other recipes.  Of course, the mint could be swapped for what you have around; dill, cilantro, basil, parsley would all work well too.

Cucumber Salad with Tomatoes, Red Onion, and Mint from allrecipes

  • 2 large cucumbers - halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, toss together the cucumbers, vinegar, sugar and salt. Let stand at room temperature for an hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add tomatoes, onion, mint and oil to cucumbers and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Grilled Chicken Caprese

Have I told you how much I love the combination of mozzarella, basil, and tomato?  Five or twenty times, you say?  Oh.

Well, I do.  Nothing says summer like these flavors, which is why I so love having them in the winter too, even though the tomatoes aren't in season, because I just can't get enough, both of the combo and of summer.

I've tried several incarnations of this, most notable being Rachael Ray's version (It came from one of her early cookbooks, but check out that super awesome video!  It's not the same recipe, as an aside), which just never came out right.

This version from Cook's Country involves making a (delicious, I drizzled it over my salad) vinaigrette and marinating the cheese in it then dressing the cooked recipe in it in addition to grilling the tomatoes and chicken.

I really loved the addition of grilled tomatoes, though my husband wasn't a fan.   The three year old, well, dinner has been a struggle for us and him.  He refuses, hubby threatens taking away his tv time, and we all end up angry or upset.

I was out of foil, so attempted to "tent" using my Silpat mat.  It softened, but didn't melt the cheese.

Grilled Chicken Caprese Source:  Cook's Country August/September 2011

2T chopped fresh basil
1T red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
salt and pepper, to taste
3T olive oil
6 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4" slices, halved, and patted dry
1-1/2lb chicken cutlets, trimmed
2 tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2" slices

1.  Make your vinaigrette by combining basil, vinegar, garlic, 1/2t salt, and 1/4t pepper in a bowl.  Slowly add oil, whisking gently until completely mixed.  Combine 2T with mozzarella, and reserve the rest of the vinaigrette.
2.  Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.  Grill chicken and tomatoes over medium heat, about 2 minutes per side, until chicken is browned and tomatoes have a light char.  Transfer chicken to a serving platter and top each cutlet with two tomato slices.  Drizzle with reserved vinaigrette, then top with an even layer of cheese.  Tent with foil and let rest until cheese is melty, about 5-10 minutes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Margarita Cupcakes

Every year, we attend a Fourth of July party hosted by a really creative friend.  Last year, the theme was Mexican, and this year the theme was luau.  Definitely not what you'd expect of an Independence Day party, but definitely fun, and unlike Fourth parties you've been to in the past.  I offered to make either Aloha Mini Calzones or one of two cupcake recipes from Annie's Eats, my party go to starting place.  She chose either of the cupcakes, so I asked my husband which I should make and he chose these.

Of course, you have to know your audience, and be aware that boozey cupcakes won't go over with just any crowd.  I knew, however, that the liquor would surely be flowing and the hostess loves her buckets of margaritas, so these would be a perfect fit.

I made the cupcakes themselves the night before, and my husband kept tasting the batter.  I guess he liked it.  then my mom came and tasted the batter... she kept sticking her finger in again and again.  I figured she REALLY liked it until she said, "I can't even taste...  A (my four year old) can have these," because there's no booze in the cakes themselves.  I'd considered putting it into the cake batter, but decided to keep it as a nice side flavor in the frosting.  I'm glad I did so.  Annie's suggestion is to brush with tequila before frosting, but we held back on that.

These were really tasty, though from my pictures, they really don't look that great.  Folks at the party really enjoyed them, and yes, we did give A a taste of the cupcakes WITH frosting... the one year old had some too.    The frosting didn't come out as great as it could have, probably because I'd written the recipe as notes for myself, but my husband was the one who made it from my notes... a few of the directions were omitted because I knew they'd happen.  Nonetheless, they were delicious and fun to make and enjoy!

Margarita Cupcakes source:  Annie's Eats
Yield: about 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 limes, zested and juiced
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
For the frosting:
2 cups sugar
8 large egg whites
Pinch fleur de sel (coarse salt)
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2-4 tbsp. tequila
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir with a fork to blend.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.  Blend in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in the lime zest, lime juice and vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat each addition just until incorporated.
Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ full.  Bake 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  If desired, brush the cooled cakes with tequila to emphasize the true margarita flavor.
To make the frosting, combine the sugar, egg whites, and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (don’t worry, it will come together, though it may take a long time!)  Stir in the lime juice and tequila and mix until fully incorporated and smooth.
Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.
Frost the cooled cupcakes with the buttercream.  Garnish with lime zest and lime slices as desired.
Source: adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, who adapted it from Martha Stewart

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

I hope you have a fun and SAFE Fourth of July!

On this day, in Philadelphia, the 13 American colonies ratified the Declaration of Independence in 1776.  They were in the midst of a seemingly disastrous war against one of the strongest militaries in the world.  In this document, the Founding Fathers set forth some of our most important ideologies as Americans, that "all men are created equal," that we believe no government may take away a person's "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" without due process, and that the people have the authority to overthrow any government that is not protecting those rights.

So while you're celebrating, don't forget that first American army and also all those who have served in the American armed forces since!

Coming off my history teacher soapbox, we're having a very low key day here.  We ran some errands, are doing some cleaning, and are relaxing.  We may load the boys up in the car for fireworks, but haven't yet made up our minds.  This is the first Fourth in a really long time that we're home for the holiday, usually celebrating at my parents' house--who have a deck from which we can see the fireworks, so no need to wake the boys.

Happy Independence day, everyone!
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