Thursday, September 29, 2011

Honey-lime Chicken Enchiladas

Lately, I have been on a quest to find super easy, super quick, and (most importantly) super delicious meals. I found a recipe for chicken enchiladas on Pinterest and decided to make them for dinner. The ingredients were common enough, and when I saw pre-cooked chicken in the case at the grocery store, I was sold.

So yesterday, I made the honey-lime chicken enchiladas. They came together ridiculously quickly, and by buying the chicken already cooked, I only got two dishes dirty. This recipe contains a bit of honey, so they are sweet, but I added a tablespoon of cayenne pepper. This combination was a sweet, smokey, spice that just hit the spot. They tasted great as left-overs today, and my husband thoroughly enjoyed them last night. As I've mentioned before, he's a tough critic, but these receive his full seal of approval. Save these for a day when you don't feel like cooking, and you will be so happy you did.

Here's the recipe:

Honey-Lime Enchiladas
Adapted from Just Cook Already
Also photo source

1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 large limes)
2 teaspoons to 1 Tablespoon chili powder (I used cayenne)
2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large br
easts), cooked and shredded
12 corn tortillas (I used flour)
2 cups of Mexican cheese blend, shredded (1 small bag usually is 2 cups)
1 14-oz can of green enchilada sauce (mild or medium, to your taste)
1/2 to 3/4 cup of heavy
nonstick cooking spray
1 Tablespoon of chopped cilantro, to garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chicken in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl, place the honey, lime juice, chili powder and minced garlic or garlic powder. Whisk together thoroughly to combine. Pour this mixture over the chicken and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to marinate while you prepare the tortillas, 30 minutes or up to 1 hour, in the refrigerator.

Heat a large griddle till a drop of w ater skitters across (about 350 degrees F). Spray the surface with non-stick cooking spray or a oil it with a little bit of canola oil in between each round of tortillas. Heat tortillas about 20 seconds on each side till warm and flexible and some golden brown spots have appeared. Remove the tortillas from the griddle and keep them between a couple of paper towels until ready to use.

Spray the sides and bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish lightly with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl combine the enchilada sauce and the heavy cream. Spread about 1/2 cup of the mixture in the bottom of the oiled baking dish.

Add a large spoonful (about 2 tablespoons) of the chicken mixture to the center of each tortilla in a line. Cover the chicken with a big pinch of cheese, then roll the tortilla up from one side to make a rolled enchilada - it will be more of an over lap on the seam side that rolled tightly. Place the enchilada seam side down in the baking dish starting at one end with the long edge parallel to the longest side of the pan so that you end up with two columns of six enchiladas each.

Repeat with the remaining chicken, cheese and tortillas. You will use about 1 1/2 cups of the cheese for the filling and set the remainder aside for topping the enchiladas in the pan. Add the remaining marinade mixture to the enchilada sauce and cream mixture, if desired. Pour this mixture over the top of all the enchiladas. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake the enchiladas for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly and starting to brown on top.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cracker Barrel Memories

Today, I pay homage to my lovely former roommate. Every fall, we would tromp into our local Cracker Barrel, have the broccoli cheddar chicken with hash brown casserole and carrots (you know-- to make it a balanced meal.) (wink wink.) To make our evening complete, we would share a piece of the coca-cola cake with ice cream. This meal was the epitome of the perfect fall evening. We would also show up in our pajamas, but no one looked twice... it's how we rolled.

My friend and I are far apart now, but every time I make this cake, I think of her. It's a delicious cake though, and it may not have sentimental value to you, but you will make it again and again just because it is that good... and easy too. I've mentioned this cake before, but making it yesterday reminded me of it again. I thought you could use a refresher too.

Click here for the cake's directions.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Raspberry Truffle Cake

I've stated before that I am mildly Pinterest obsessed. I've had a picture saved to my desserts board, and I couldn't stand simply looking at it any more. The one thing about making a cake of three layers is that you really need an excuse to make it. It would be considered glutenous to make a cake for just two people, so I needed a large group; enter snack week.

Yesterday was my turn to bring snacks to my community group, and I decided to make a raspberry chocolate truffle cake. I saw this cake on Annie's Eats, but I tweaked it slightly. I have a chocolate cake recipe that I love and will never stray from. I used the raspberry filling and frosting recipe and the chocolate ganache recipe that hers called for. I decided not to add the chocolate glaze just because I thought it had enough chocolate and richness as it was. Below is my finished product. If you would like the original recipe, you can find it here.

Photo Compliments of my Lovely Husband :)
He does a much better job than me.


Chocolate Cake:
Click Here

Raspberry filling:16 oz. frozen raspberries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. lemon juice

Ganache filling:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

Raspberry frosting:
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
21 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup strained raspberry puree
½ tsp. vanilla extract


To make the raspberry filling, drain the thawed berries, reserving the juice in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough water so that the total liquid equals 1¼ cups. Add the liquid to a medium saucepan with the sugar and cornstarch. Heat over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Continue whisking so no lumps form. Once thickened, remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice. Fold in the drained berries with a spatula. Cover and chill until ready to use. (The filling will continue to thicken as it chills.)

To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Let stand 1-2 minutes, then whisk together until a smooth, thick ganache is formed. Whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated. Let the ganache sit to thicken a bit so that it is suitable for spreading and piping. (To speed thickening, place the bowl in the fridge or freezer and whisk every 10 minutes to ensure even cooling until the desired consistency is reached.) Transfer about ½ cup of the thickened ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip about ½-inch in diameter. Reserve another ½ cup of ganache in a small bowl or container. (This can be used later for decorative detailing, if desired.)

To assemble the cake, place one of the cooled cake layers on a cake board or serving platter. Spread ½ cup of the ganache in an even layer over the cake. Using the reserved ganache in the pastry bag, pipe a border around the perimeter of the cake layer. This will act as a well to help hold in the raspberry filling. Spoon some of the raspberry filling inside the ganache border in an even layer. Top with another layer of cake and repeat this process, layering with another ½ cup of ganache and additional raspberry filling. Top with the remaining cake layer.

To make the raspberry frosting, combine the sugar and egg whites in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. (I used my mixer bowl here to dirty one less dish.) 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. (The bowl should be cool to the touch.) 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 (or longer – don’t worry, it will come together!) Blend in the raspberry puree and vanilla until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Frost the top and sides of the assembled cake with the raspberry buttercream, smoothing the surface as much as possible. Chill until ready to serve.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

White Chicken Lasagna

The other day, I stumbled upon a recipe for White Chicken Lasagna. You may have noticed in reading my blog that I have a love for all things cheese, so when I saw this recipe, my heart skipped a beat. It requires some of my favorite things, and so I deemed it perfect. I made it on Wednesday, and my husband and I have been eating it since. That says a lot because normally Scott gets sick of leftovers quick, but the two of us have nearly devoured the whole pan like a swarm of locusts.

I did make a few changes to the original recipe though. When I first saw the picture, I was drawn to it (for the cheese) and for what I thought was sweet potato. Upon further investigation, I found that it was butternut squash. Now I love butternut squash just as much as another, but my heart was set on sweet potato. So that's what I decided to add. You do what you'll like, but I will say the sweet potato was divine.

So on to the recipe...

White Chicken Lasagna
Adapted from One Ordinary Day

*Lasagna noodles (I used one box-get two to be safe though.)
* 1/2 c. butter
* 1 onion, minced
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 c. flour
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* ground black pepper, to taste
* 2 c. chicken broth
* 2 c. milk
*4 c. mozzarella cheese, divided (I didn’t actually measure out my cheeses…I stopped when I hit cheese capacity)
* 1 c. shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, divided
* Italian spices
* 1 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
* 2 c. cooked and shredded chicken
*1 small box frozen spinach, thawed and drained; liquid squeezed out (Buy a good brand. I bought Kroger's - and normally Kroger brand is awesome - but this time the spinach was all stemmy. Next time I will consider sauteing my own.)
2 medium sweet potatoes, boiled then whipped - butter or milk aren't necessary

(I used the sweet potatoes in place of 1 small box frozen butternut squash puree, thawed)

butter in a large sauce pot. Add onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add flour, salt, and pepper. Cook flour mixture 1-2 minutes. Add chicken broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 1 minute. Turn off heat and add 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese.

Lightly spray a 9×13″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Ladle some cheese sauce onto the bottom to thinly cover. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Layer with more cheese sauce, sprinkle with spice, & add the chicken and the ricotta cheese. Add another layer of pasta. Top with cheese sauce, spinach, and 1 c. mozzarella cheese. Give another sprinkle of spices. Add another layer of pasta. Top with cheese sauce. Using a spoon, spread the sweet potato puree over the cheese sauce. Top with remaining 1 c. mozzarella cheese and 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese. Add another sprinkle of spice. Add final layer of lasagna. Top with remaining cheese sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly. If cheese doesn’t brown on top, turn on the broiler for the last couple minutes. Allow lasagna to sit about 15 minutes before serving for easier slicing.

Photo from One Ordinary Day

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bean Soup & Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Bread

Tonight for dinner I made a very easy meal, and it was really delicious. I found a recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup on the Better Homes and Gardens website, and to accompany it, I made Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread from the Let's Dish blog. This was the perfect Sunday dinner because all that I had to do was chop up a few ingredients, and dinner was good to go. It was filling and my farmer's market spinach tasted so fresh on top of my hearty soup.

Here's how to make the soup:

Tuscan Bean Soup
adapted from BHG

*2 carrots, coarsely chopped
*1 small onion, chopped
*3 Tbsp. olive oil
*2 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
*1 32-oz. box reduced-sodium chicken broth
*2 t0 3 tsp. dried Italian seasoning, crushed
*1 5-oz. pkg. baby spinach
*Freshly cracked black pepper

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a 4 quart pot. Add onions and carrots and cook until onions are translucent. Add beans, broth and seasoning. Simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil. Toss spinach until it is just wilted. Ladle the soup and top with the sauteed spinach.

And here is the cornbread:

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread
adapted from Let's Dish

*3 cups flour
*1 cup yellow cornmeal
*1/4 cup sugar
*2 tablespoons baking powder
*2 teaspoons salt
*2 cups milk
*3 eggs, lightly beaten
*1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
*2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
*1/2 cup sliced scallions, divided
*3 tablespoons fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced


Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and butter. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until most of the lumps are dissolved. Do not over-mix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated cheddar cheese, about 1/3 cup scallions and the jalapenos. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.