Friday, November 30, 2012

Turkey Enchiladas

thanksgiving week and weekend are such a busy time for us, as i'm sure they are for you too.  we always have a "fakesgiving" dinner with my dad, thanksgiving dinner with my mom, and then a turkey dinner with all the fixings with mr d's family a few days later.  this many dinners typically means lots of leftovers, woo-hoo!  but how many turkey sandwiches can you really stand to eat?  in the past i've thrown together turkey pot pies, but this year i decided to try turkey enchiladas.  i found this recipe earlier this summer after i had made my own enchilada sauce with a bunch of hatch chiles i got.  they were a pretty big hit, and i thought they would be the perfect experiment for turkey enchiladas.

Turkey Enchiladas
3/4 c onion, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 c turkey, cooked and chopped
1 15 oz can green enchilada sauce
3 oz cream cheese
1 tsp cumin
2 c mexican blend cheese, grated
5 flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350.  Saute onions in oil until tender.  Add chicken, 1/4 c enchilada sauce, cream cheese and cumin.  Cook and stir until cream cheese is melted.  Add 1 c grated cheese and remove from heat.  Divide mixture evenly among the tortillas, roll each tortilla tightly and place seam side down in a pan lightly sprayed with non-stick spray.  Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.  Bake for 15-20 mins until cheese is melted and enchiladas are heated thru.

the original recipe calls for 8 tortillas and (obviously) yields 8 enchiladas.  but they must be making pretty measly enchiladas.  i tend to fill mine pretty full to get more bang for my buck, so i only end up with 5 enchiladas.  which is perfect for the 2 of us for dinner with just enough leftovers for next day lunches.  also, since mr d complained about my last batch of crockpot chicken enchiladas not being spicy enough, i threw in a can of jalapenos in the mixture.  he thought they were awesome, they had a bit too much kick for me.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Glazed Carrots

i hope everyone had a happy thanksgiving, a full week ago, yes, sorry, it's been a busy week.  my assignment this year was to bring glazed carrots.  a few years ago my baby brother had just finished his first semester of culinary arts school, and he wanted to make our family a nice memorial day dinner.  not your typical memorial day bbq, he made chicken, mashed potatoes with pan gravy, and glazed carrots.  i hate cooked carrots, but i decided to try a few, so as not to hurt his feelings.  holy moly.  these glazed carrots were the most delicious thing i had ever eaten.  i went back for seconds, and probably thirds, and so did everyone else.  this recipe has become a staple at our house and at family dinners, and there are never leftovers.  there is also no picture, because they went that fast at thanksgiving.  so even without a tempting picture, you totally need to try these out.  my sweet 6-year-old nephew wasn't going to have any, until i told him they were his uncle's recipe, and then he took a huge scoop and ate them all.

Glazed Carrots
1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
1/8 c sugar
1/4 c butter

Place carrots in a saute pan and add chicken broth until carrots are almost covered.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add sugar and butter and cook until butter is melted.  Simmer until carrots are tender and sauce is a syrupy reduction, adding more stock if needed.

Chicken Pot, Chicken Pot, Chicken Pot Pie!

remember a few weeks ago when i bought a rotisserie chicken?  well, i threw togther a chicken pot pie and put it in the freezer so when we needed a quick, but still healthy weeknight meal, we had one on hand.  i would call this a semi-homemade chicken pot pie, because i used rotisserie chicken and pillsbury pie crust.  so it took maybe 5 mins of prep time. 

Chicken Pot Pie
2 c cooked chicken, cubed
1 16 oz package frozen mixed veggies, thawed
1 10 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 c cheese (optional)
pie crust
1 egg, beaten

Pre-heat oven to 450.  Mix chicken, veggies, soup and cheese, if using.  Line a 9" pie tin with the bottom crust and poke holes in it with a fork.  Fill with chicken mixture.  Top with top crust, making sure edges are sealed.  (If preparing to freeze, wrap tightly in saran wrap and place in freezer safe ziploc bag at this point.)  Before baking, brush top crust with egg.  Bake at 450 for 10 mins, then reduce temp to 350 and bake for an additional 35-40 mins.

i didn't let it cool before cutting it up and serving because we were hungry, so no pics of the slices on the plates because it looked like a train wreck.  but it tasted delicious!  and it was easy as pie to make, hahaha.  if you decided to cook this as a make-ahead-meal, remember to let the pie thaw in the fridge overnight before cooking.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Product we Love

Another product that both Mikelle and I agree is the best of its kind is Shot Bloks.  They are made my the Cliff Bar people.  They taste great and break off in easy to eat portions.  We both run distance and have found these to be the best electrolyte and energy food for long runs.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Product we Love

Mikelle and I were walking through the City Creek Harmons the other day, on one of the routine treat trips that any number of coworkers join us on, when I saw a little jar on an end cap.  I said "if there is one product I have learned to love while cooking it is..." Mikelle jumped in and said "chopped garlic...I know that is so..." then I cut her off saying "...such a pain to chop fresh garlic..." and Mikelle finished with " much faster to just throw in a little chopped garlic from a jar...".  The jar I saw on the end cap was not even chopped garlic, but it prompted a wonderful chopped garlic discussion between your humble bloggers, Matt and Mikelle.  Do your self a favor and go buy some today.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lucky 13

I got lucky with Mikelle during lunch today... Lucky 13 that is.  We went for lunch at a local bar on 1300 South and 135 West just west of the ball park.  I heard, on, about the chef winning a burger contest in Las Vegas in which he (or she) beat out like fifty other competitors to win a $10,000 burger prize.  Being burger lovers, and in keeping with the lunchwithmattandmikelle mission to explore food in the Salt Lake City area, we had to go.

Parking was a pain, the lot was full and there were no obvious places to park on the street.  We circled a couple of times while searching for a spot without a "no parking between signs" or "reserved", or simply "no parking", then found a spot a little south of the bar with a faded sign I think said "visitor." 

We had to show I.D. upon entering and sit at a raised table with three other patrons.  It was quite crowded and had more of a bar feel (duh) than a lunch place feel.  Good atmosphere, not too loud.  Mikelle and I could talk at a normal level (I hate it when you have to yell at your lunch-mate to be heard over pumpin' jams, or a T.V. turned up way too loud.  

The burger menu was broad.  A taste for everyone from super-spicey to 'shroomy to traditional.  I ordered the "Nut Buddy" or "Nut Butter", something like that.  It was a burger with bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, and...seems like there was something else...oh yeah peanut butter.  It might sound gross, but it was delicious.  Think thai food with peanut sauce.  The nutty flavor played off the salty bacon and the superbly spiced ground beef to round out the mouth experience and tie the whole burger together. The bun was soft and flavorful, but didn't take the spotlight from the real star, the meat.  As I mentioned in the sentence before this one, "superbly spiced beef", I need to say it again; there was the perfect amount of salt, pepper, and whatever else was in the beef as seasoning.  The seasoning was not the only great aspect to the meat, the size of the patty was huge and it was cooked to exactly medium rare (burgers are usually overdone).  The fries were good, and the dippy sauce was strong.  I think it was cayenne pepper and a little horseradish and mayo.  For a burger, I could not recommend Lucky 13 any higher.  Nummy!

Crockpot Philly Cheesesteak (French Dip)

it's the moment you've all been waiting for!  the grand finale of crockpot week:  philly cheesesteak french dip sandwiches.  this is my all time favorite crockpot recipe.  it is so good.  so when i decided that it was going to be crockpot week, this is the first recipe i added to the list.  after spending the day in the crockpot, the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender and the flavors are beyond words.  this recipe is for french dip, but i decided to up the ante a little this time and make it into my version of a cheesesteak sandwich.  either way you decide to try it, you won't regret it.

Crockpot Philly Cheesesteak (French Dip)
3 lbs Beef Round Roast
2 c Beef Broth
1 pk. Onion Soup Mix (Lipton)
1 Large Onion
1/2 c Red Wine
Seasonings to taste: Garlic Salt, Pepper, Seasoning Salt
1 green bell pepper, sliced
Rolls or Baguettes
Swiss or Provolone Cheese
Season and brown the roast.  Combine the broth, wine and the onion soup mix.  Slice Onion and place in the bottom of the crockpot.  Lay the roast on top of the onions.  Pour the broth/wine/soup mix over roast.
Cook on low 8-10 hours.  Saute sliced peppers in olive oil.  Place shredded beef on roll, top with peppers and onions and cheese, broil until cheese it bubbly and melted and bread is slightly toasted.

the original recipe indicates that the red wine is optional, but i highly recommend it.  usually i use a cabernet sauvignon in this recipe, but this time around i had a bottle of pinot noir needing to be used. 

it adds a depth of flavor, and all the alcohol cooks out, if you're worried about that.  but if you're not worried about that, you should totally have a glass of the red wine you used with the meal.  it is the perfect pairing and completes the meal. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Crockpot Chili

when i asked mr. d what he wanted for dinner this week, he chose chili.  how perfectly that fit into my idea of using my crockpot all week!  i decided to make the recipe as is, rather than make some healthy substitutions, such as ground turkey in place of the ground beef.  it turned out pretty yummy!  mr. d added some extra tabasco to his bowl.  normally while i have chili cooking on the stove top i make cornbread muffins.  because the chili was ready as soon as i got home, and i was starving to eat some, i didn't make any muffins.  the leftovers weren't the same without them.  i usually just make cornbread muffins from a boxed mix.  do you have a favorite cornbread recipe?

Crockpot Chili

1 pound ground beef

Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas

yeah, i know, the picture doesn't look that appetizing.  but i promise, these are good.  i made them for a work potluck once, and several people were asking for the recipe.  again, this isn't a recipe that i cook often because it calls for already cooked chicken, but i had the rest of the rotisserie chicken from the chicken and wild rice soup, and mr. d is always craving "mexican", so i thought these enchiladas would be a great addition to crockpot week.

Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas
4 c chicken, cooked and shredded
1 c sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can diced green chiles
12 tortillas, torn into pieces
1/2 c cheddar cheese

Mix chicken, sour cream, soups and chiles in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste.  Spray crockpot with cooking spray.  Layer tortillas, then chicken mixture and repeat, ending with tortillas.  Cook on low 5-6 hours.  Top with cheese and cook an additional 15 mins.

i didn't count how many tortillas i used.  my crockpot is bigger, so i'm sure i used more than 12.  Also, the original recipe calls for corn tortillas, but i use flour, so i'm sure either would work well, although why would you ever want to eat a corn tortilla??  i also didn't measure my cheese, but used enough to cover the top.  mr. d didn't think it was spicy enough, and he suggested that i add chiles.  when i told him there were chiles, he suggested that i add more.  so i'll have to try jalapenos or something next time to give it more of a kick.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

i'm kicking off crockpot week with an all-time favorite.  and remember that part about how much snow we got?  what sounds better than a nice creamy soup?  nothing, absolutely nothing.  my sister made a chicken and wild rice soup for my niece's 1st birthday party, so when i saw this recipe in my slow cooker bible, i knew i had to give it a try.  i don't cook it very often because it calls for already cooked chicken and only cooks for 4 hours, so it doesn't work well for us as a weeknight meal, which is usually my favorite time to use my crockpot.  but on a snowy sunday, it's always a big hit.

Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
1/2 c uncooked wild rice
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
5 1/2 c water
2 Tbsp chicken flavored bullion
1 c heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 c chicken, cooked and shredded

Combine rice, veggies, water and bullion in the crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours, or until rice is tender.  Combine cream and flour and mix well. Add to crockpot, along with chicken, and cook for 10-15 mins, until chicken is heated throughly.  Serve garnished with sliced almonds.

helpful tips:  i buy the already shredded carrots and use about 2 cups, and i use rotisserie chicken.  the actual recipe calls for canned chicken, but i've never tried it with that.  something about canned meat doesn't make my mouth water.  oh, and one thing i forgot to add about why i love cooking with a crockpot:  there's only one dish to wash!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It's Crockpot Week!

just like the discovery channel features its annual shark week, i have decided to feature crockpot week!  it is sure to be an exciting event.  why did i decide to do this?  we ended up with about a foot of snow this weekend, and with daylight savings last weekend, i need some comfort meals that will be ready as soon as we get home from work.  the main sponsor for this special week is:  my allclad crockpot.

i love this thing.  i am constantly telling mr. d that it is our greatest investment.  if you don't have a crockpot, or if you are in the market for the crockpot of all crockpots, i highly recommend this thing of beauty.  i splurged for the aluminum insert, which is safe to use on the stove top for browning meats or sauteing garlic and onions before cooking.  it is also oven safe, great for chicken and dumpling type recipes.  the crockpot has a digital timer that you can set on high or low, or set to cook on high for a period of time and then automatically switch over to low.  no matter how you set it, when the cooking time is done, it automatically switches over to a keep warm setting.  it has earned its permanent home displayed on our countertop.  my secondary sponsor for crockpot week is: the slow cooker bible.

i received this cookbook from a very thoughtful and generous co-worker for my birthday a few years ago.  we had been talking about how awesome it is to use the crockpot and come home to dinner being ready, so she shared with me one of her favorite cookbooks.  there are so many good recipes in this book, i'd have to have crockpot week once a month to feature them all.  so visit often this week and try some great crockpot meals.  what is your favorite thing to cook in the crockpot?

Chicken Salad Wrap and Sweet Potato Fries

i've been craving chicken salad, and i found this creative take on it, so i decided to give it a whirl.  the recipe is written to serve one, so i made some adjustments to make enough for dinner and leftovers for lunches, and i made some substitutions with ingredients.  the flavors were awesome, and it satisfied my craving.  my only critique is that because almond butter is thick, it was "thick" to eat, if that makes sense.  and if it doesn't, well, you'll have to try the recipe to see what i mean.  

Chicken Salad Wrap

3 c chicken, cooked and shredded
1 Fuji apple, chopped
4 Tbsp golden raisins
10 Tbsp almond butter
4 Tbsp mayonnaise
6 tsp honey
1 head butterleaf lettuce

Mix chicken, apple and raisins in a bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well.  Spoon into a leaf of lettuce, roll and serve.

i was looking for a side to go with this already sweet and fruity meal, and i decided to go with sweet potato fries.  the sweetness would tie in well, but the salty would make a nice contrast.  i've tried a couple of different recipes for making fries at home in the oven. and this one is my favorite.  the recipe calls for 5 Tbsp of oil.  in an effort to make this a little healthier, i reduce the amount of oil to 3 Tbsp, 2 on the cookie sheet and 1 tossed with the potatoes.

Broccoli Chicken Casserole

i had chicken, i had broccoli, all i needed was a recipe to use them.  off to the internet i went.  have you ever heard of the internet?  it's pretty amazing.  i have a feeling it's going to be a big hit.  in my search, i came across this gem.  seemed easy enough, and i had all the ingredients, or a suitable substitute.

Broccoli Chicken Casserole
6 oz egg noodles
2 tsp oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz broccoli florets
1 Tbsp butter
1 med onion, chopped
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 c chicken broth
1 c milk
12 oz chicken breast, cooked and shredded
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
3 Tbsp parmesan cheese, shredded

Cook noodles in salted water.  Heat oil in large skillet.  Add garlic and cook until golden, about 1 min.  Add the broccoli and a little salt, saute and cover the broccoli on medium heat until the broccoli begins to soften.  Set aside.  Preheat the oven to 375.  Lightly spray a 9 x 12 casserole with cooking spray.  In a large pot, melt butter and add the onion and cook until soft, 2-3 mins.  Add the flour and stir well, cooking an additional 2-3 mins.  Slowly whisk in chicken broth until well combined, then add the milk and bring to a boil.  Simmer on med heat, mixing occasionally until it thickens, about 6-7 mins.  Remove from heat and add cheddar cheese and 1 Tbsp parmesan.  Mix well until the cheese melts.  Add the chicken, noodles, and broccoli to the sauce and mix until evenly coated.  Pour into casserole dish and top with parmesan cheese.  Bake for 20-25 mins.

i thought this was pretty good.  some of the noodles on top got crispy in the oven, which was the best part.  mr. d liked it too.  although his review reminded me of my favorite 2-year-old.  this sweet girl loves to share whatever she's eating with you.  if you decline, she tells you, "but it's reelwee reelwee yummy!"  one night while she was gobbling up dinner, her grandma said to her, "is that really really yummy?"  so she thoughtfully said, "no, it's yummy, but not reelwee reelwee yummy."  mr. d. said that this casserole was good, but it would be delicious if it had peas in it.  when i asked if it's a recipe i should try again, he said, "only if you add peas."  so this might be on the blog again as Broccoli Peas Chicken Casserole.  we'll see.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pepper's Pita

last week we went to lunch at pepper's pita.  i drive by it on my way home everyday, and the idea of pita sandwiches, soups, and salads was too good to pass up.  and an added bonus, i had a coupon!  you do too, if you got a happenings book this year.  i decided to go with the turkey club, on wheat.  the sandwich came with turkey, provolone, bacon, apple butter, lettuce, tomato, onion, herbed mayo.  the flavors were awesome.  the apple butter added a sweetness in perfect contrast to the bacon.  the pita was toasted, which made the "bread" on the hard side.  i'm curious if the white pita would have been softer.  the sandwich was served with coleslaw, that i quickly turned over to matt.  i wanted to order soup as a side to my pita, but i was disappointed in the soup choices.  they had clam chowder or lentil, neither of which sound appealing.  i was wanting a potato cheese, or a cream of broccoli.  i would still recommend you try pepper's, and this is a place that i would go again.  with the coupon, our total for 2 pitas and 2 drinks was under $10, barely under $10, but under nonetheless.  so it was a good meal for a great bargain.  and as always, the best part of lunch was the company!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

yes, pizza, with a crust made from cauliflower, and it's actually good.  mr. d says it's better than california pizza kitchen.  i don't think it's that good, but considering the health factor, it's a good weeknight meal.  i found the recipe when i was browsing pinterest for recipes using cauliflower.  i'm not a huge fan of cauliflower, so i was trying to come up with a way to use it.  recipe girl had what looked to be simple and delicious.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
2 c cauliflower, grated (about 1/2 of head)
1 egg
1 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder

Place the cauliflower crumbles in a large bowl and microwave them (dry) for 8 minutes. Give the cauliflower a chance to cool.  Preheat the oven to 450.  Spray a cookie sheet or pizza pan with nonstick spray (or use a nonstick surface). In a medium bowl, mix the cauliflower crumbles (about 1 1/2 cups since they shrink after cooking) with the remaining crust ingredients. Pat the "crust" into a 9 to 12-inch round on the prepared pan. Spray the crust lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 15 minutes (or until golden). Remove the crust from the oven and turn the heat up to broil.  Add whatever toppings you'd like onto your pizza, and broil 3 to 4 minutes, or until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

in making this in the past, i've used 2 egg whites instead of one egg, but this time i just used the one egg.  also, i thought it would be fun to try pepper jack cheese instead of mozzarella in the crust.  i was expecting it to have some spice, but it didn't really add anything.  i should have used the pepper jack as the topping cheese.

this is the crust before baking.  the mixture holds together pretty well, but not like a pizza dough consistency, so you really do just kind of pat it and push it around into a circle on the cookie sheet.  as for toppings, i don't use any kind of measurements, i just use however much looks good.  i used more of my grandma's homemade spaghetti sauce for the sauce, then a layer of mozzarella cheese, fresh sliced pineapple, and some chopped canadian bacon.  mr. d's request was to "load on" the toppings, so i added another layer of cheese, pineapple, and bacon.  i cut it into 6 slices when it was done and served with a green salad with cucmbers and ranch dressing, yummy!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Apple Crisp

I was raking leaves yesterday and picking up apples in my backyard when it hit me... an apple hit me on the head.  Then it hit me, I should use these apples for Apple Crisp, a treat my mom used to make all the time.  I gathered apples this morning and made the crisp for a Sunday sweet tooth cure.

Four cups sliced thin apples (I quarter cut them, cleaned out the cores, then cut the fourths into about four slices each)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour

In a 8x8 inch greased casserole dish (I used margarine to grease the pan) place the apples. Mix the cinnamon and the water and pour onto the apples.  Mix the sugar, butter, and flour in a bowl just until crumbly.  Sprinkle the sugar, flour, butter mixture on top of the apples.  Bake at 375 for 45 or 50 minutes or until top is brown and the bottom is bubbly.

(I didn't have an 8x8 pan handy, so I used this 7"x11")

Friday, November 2, 2012

Easy Friday Dinner

I cooked tonight, and after a busy week, I was ready to make something fast, and popular with the kids.  This is one of the easiest meals since Tuna on a Plate.  I boiled chicken in one big pot, just getting it to a boil, and letting it go for about a half hour.  In another large pot I put in a bottle of italian dressing and two of the empty bottle filled with water.  I quartered small round red potatoes and added the potatoes and some carrots to the dressing and water.  I boiled that concoction until the veggies were soft, then added the chicken.  A note on the chicken.  I always shred it after it is cooked to get out the gross veins and connective tissue and fat.  It is worth the burning fingers and the little extra time. Also, I like to cook up egg noodles and have it more like a soup.  I make a bed of noodles in a bowl, then spoon on the italian chicken.  About half the kids take it with noodles.

I am going to try posting a picture of tonight's meal.  Here's hoping.  If only I was good at computer.

For those of you wondering what "Tuna on a Plate" is, my twin brother and I were sleeping over at a friend's house (I'll leave out his name to protect privacy).  It was the middle of the night, and we were all hungry.  I would say we were about eleven years old.  My friend said "I can make us something to eat, it is so good, you'll love it; it is Tuna on a Plate".  My brother and I waited while he sneaked upstairs, and prepared his masterpiece.  After a few minutes, he came back downstairs with a plate that had nothing but an pile of tuna on it.  It was obvious he had opened a can of tuna, upended it and put it on a plate, like he was feeding a cat.  He still sold it like it was a meal, and something to be admired.

Friday Lunch at Pepper's Pita

The company and conversation was set this lunch break at Pepper's Pita in Downtown Salt Lake, just west of Main on 300 South.  The space is small but not crowded; inviting.  There were a mix of people, some in business attire and others with hardhats and reflective vests.  There was not a lot of time to people watch, however, because our order was prepared very quickly.

I ordered the wheat pita with mozzarella, tomato, and pesto.  The biggest reason I selected it off the menu was to see how it would stand up to a similar sandwich made by the beautiful and talented Mrs. Lloyd.  It was not as good as her homemade, but yummy nonetheless.

Balance is the best thing my sandwich had going taste-wise. The cheese was not cut too thick, thus overpowering the tomato and pesto.  I could taste the tomato, but like the cheese, it did not take over.  The pesto was a nice complement to the whole.

Appearance it lacked.  It came out on a small pizza pan, with a plastic cup of passable coleslaw, the bread was brown and looked from the top and the side like a tortilla cut in half then stacked on itself. The sandwich was only about a half inch tall, and none of the fixin's were visible, without picking it up first.  It was kind of like looking at a half of a frisbee.

We don't go to a place like Pepper's Pita for the look of the food, but the taste and ability to eat between court and court, and other meetings. The food was good and just right for busy people in need of food.  I recommend it.