Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kale, Spinach, Greek Yogurt Pasta (TJsD)

One easy Trader Joe's run= delicious veggie Good Friday dinner
(and way out-dated blog post! haha)

I am so lucky to live in a city where we have access to pretty much any ingredient or food item under the sun. I know this, and appreciate it very, very much...even the "little" things like having access to Trader Joe's- a store that I know is not in every state. I love TJs because they have great food items at reasonable prices.
This meal is 100% TJs items- which is what makes it SO quick, easy and affordable! However, I plan to deconstruct the dip soon- just to make my own version- so stay tuned for that if you live somewhere with no TJs. Or if you do your own, please post about it so I know how it turned out! I also took a photo of the ingredients in the dip and the dip itself so you can try to come up with your own version to make this yummy weeknight dinner~

Orchette pasta
2 spoonfuls kale spinach dip
Olive oil
2 handfuls of mini heirloom tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
Tomato paste (2-3 tablespoons)- Trader Joe's also has a great squeeze tube of tomato paste for when recipes call for just a bit- or try this trick


Add a few tablespoons olive oil to a pan, over medium heat- add the garlic and sautee a few minutes, until tender. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a a sauce pot and cook pasta (how ever long it says on the pasta package- deduct 1-2 minutes)
Add tomatoes and bell pepper to garlic in the pan and stir about 5 minutes.
You could totally add some chili flakes here too for a little kick!
Drain pasta and reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
Put hot pasta in a large bowl add a splash or two of the water, add the contents of the garlic, tomato, pepper pan, 2-3 T of tomato paste, a handful or two of grated Parmesan, and a few spoonfuls of the spinach dip.
Add salt and pepper to taste, top with additional Parmesan and dried chili flakes.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Enchiladas (..and enchilada pies) & Fiesta Rice

This is one of my favorite freezer meals- homemade, easy and really freezes beautifully!
You'll never buy "enchilada sauce" again- this is so delicious!!
Of course I got a little busy with my active wild-man Logan and made this for Thursday night's dinner- which is my "go-to-Bar-Method-and-get-my-butt-kicked" night (daddy does bedtime solo every Thursday so I can have this much appreciated me-time, he's awesome)- and I didn't get a photo of the enchiladas! HA!
After said Bar Method class, I got home, ravenous and ate..... Oops. Sorry folks. Mama was HUNGRY.

I did make a pan to give to my friend Kristen, because she is another amazing Bar Method Mama and I had to do something to thank her for the priceless advice, guidance, baby gear and gloriousness she has brought into our lives.
This recipe is great because it can feed a big family, or sever small families like mine & Kristen's, or make several freezer meals- which I loooooove.
Kristen was so sweet to post this pic on FB so at least you get SOMETHING- haha!

I was initially inspired by THIS recipe via Food Network by Emeril Lagasse- but changed it to make it easier for me to make.

Here's what you'll need:
This will make 14-16 enchiladas OR 10 enchiladas and 4 enchilada pie's (oh, ya, I owe you an explanation of that top photo!!...it's coming...)

1 15oz can of tomato puree OR crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup New Mexico Chili Powder*
3 T olive oil
1 T whole wheat flour
16 oz chicken or veggie broth
1 heaping tsp dried oregano
1/2 heaping tsp cumin

10-16 tortillas- traditionally corn tortillas are used- I used whole wheat flour tortillas from Trader Joes- which are delicious in this recipe- or get crazy and make YOUR OWN (click here)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cooked chickens - shredded (I get mine from this amazing Peruvian rotisserie place on Venice that takes these to the next level- but just grab two hot chickens from the grocery and shred in your mixer while they are still warm- SO EASY)
4 cups shredded cheese- a mix is best- pepper jack, cheddar, etc.- 3 cups go in the filling the 4th is to top em & garnish
1 8oz package low fat cream cheese- at room temp
5 green onions, chopped (for garnish)
Sour cream or fat free Greek yogurt (for garnish)
(disposable pot pie containers from the baking aisle if you want to make the enchilada pies!)

Make the sauce:
In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat, add flour and whisk for about a minute. Add chili powder and stir another 30 seconds.Stir in broth, puree (or crushed) tomatoes, oregano, cumin- bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, simmer 15 minutes.

Make the filling:
While the sauce simmers, in a large bowl, mix the chicken, onion and cheeses.

Assemble the enchiladas or pies-
If you are using corn tortillas or if your tortillas are a little on the hard side then soften them by microwaving 20 seconds on a plate stacked with moistened sheets of paper towel between each tortilla. you don't want them hot, just soft and easy to roll around the filling.
Pre heat the oven to 350
Add a few spoonfuls of sauce to the bottom of a baking dish & spread to make a thin, even layer.
Lay a tortilla on a plate and add a few scoops of the chicken mixture in the center- roll like a burrito (with open ends though- just roll it)
Place stuffed enchilada seam-side down in the baking dish- repeat until the pan is full- do this in a 9 x 13- or several 8 x 8s
Top liberally with enchilada sauce and shredded cheese.
Wrap with press n seal and freeze for another night or cook for 30 minutes and enjoy!

For the "pies" (photo at the top of the post)
Add a big spoonful of the sauce to the bottom of each pie foil.
Press one tortilla down into the little pie foil (you have to use full "burrito size" tortillas for this)
Fill with 3 big spoonfuls of the chicken mix.
Fold the corners/sides of the tortilla into the center (there will be a space in the middle where they will not meet up) cover with more sauce and shredded cheese- freeze or cook as noted above & enjoy!

For frozen enchiladas bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes (until hot all the way through)

*You may or may not know in the grocery store there is a whole OTHER section where they sell spices! Not located on the baking aisle- usually near the beans, or ranch/dressing mixes there is a section of spices in plastic baggies- not jars- and they are WAY less expensive (hopefully your market has this!!) Always a great go-to for cinnamon, garlic & onion powder, paprika etc- and in my store that was the only place they had specific "New Mexico" chili powder! If you don't have that section or want to just use the regular chili powder you have on hand- that's all good

2 cups brown rice
3 cups chicken broth, veggie broth or water
1 can pinto beans drained rinsed
1 can fire roasted tomatoes w green chilies, drained, as much liquid as possible pressed out w paper towel
5 green onions chopped
2 bell peppers (any color), chopped
1 jalapeno, membrane and seeds removed, chopped
salt & pepper
Hot sauce

Prepare rice and let cool
In a large bowl toss in the onions, beans, bell peppers, jalapeno and tomatoes- stir until all are well combined.
Add salt & pepper & hot sauce to taste.
You can warm it up in a sauce pot or make it ahead (my favorite method) and refrigerate an hour or so- the flavors really combine well that way- it's also good cold, perfect for summer/ 4th of July picnics and BBQs!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Carnitas Cornbread Pie

There's nothing better than using leftovers to make a fabulous freezer meal so when you need it, there will be a whole day of not doing a thing about dinner till you have to pop it in the oven and set the table.

We got a HUGE pork loin on super sale and Nate cut it into 3 pieces so we could freeze 2 and use the one we needed that day for our Root Beer Pulled Pork.

A few weeks later I still had the two tenderloins in the freezer and decided to use both of them to make a big batch of Crockpot Carnitas.
This was awesome because then I had tacos for Monday & Tuesday- and plenty leftover to make this recipe of two pies- we ate one of the pies Wednesday & Thursday night and the other went in the freezer!
This was a recipe I made up, with Nate's help, on a recent freeway drive.

You will need 1/2 of the carnitas from the above recipe to make 2 pies.

Each pie is 4-6 servings.
Meaning, it should be 6 servings but it's really good, you're gonna pile it on, and it will really only be 4...

Here is what else you will need:
Cooked, shredded, cooled carnitas
2 green chilies (I had Anehiem on hand, use any mild to medium green chile)
2 cups salsa verde
3-4 green onions chopped 
1 large jalepeno chopped
1 cup corn meal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Shredded cheese about 3 cups

Spread a layer of salsa verde at the bottom of each pan.
Add a layer of carnitas.
Add the diced green chilies & more salsa verde.
Then make the cornbread layer;

In a medium bowl whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Using a hand mixer, blend in the egg, then milk then oil- until each ingredient is incorporated.

Pour the cornbread mix over the carnitas- sprinkle the chopped green onion and jalapeno over the cornbread.

Top with cheese.....

At this point I made one of them for dinner and froze the other for two weeks from now- cover in press n seal then into a ziplock freezer bag. (just add about 20 minutes to cooking time for the frozen pie).

For the "straight into the oven" pie- cook for 25 minutes or until golden brown and you can insert a butter knife in to the cornbread layer that comes out clean.

This was really, really, really yummy- great way to maximize a fantastic crockpot recipe!! Enjoy!! 

* for a veggie option; make the bottom layer with black beans or meatless-meat seasoned with chipotle peppers and adobo seasoning and add more chilies/veggies!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tuesday Tips- Dry out electronics that took an unexpected bath

I thought this was a very widely known common POSSIBLE solution for drying out your iPhone, camera or other electronic device if it unwillingly takes a quick dip in the pool, bathtub or toilet- but it happened recently and I was surprised that no one I mentioned it to knew about it!

This is in no way a 100% / guarantee that the item will get all the way dry or even ever work again- so the first and most important tip here is, if we're talking about your phone BACK IT UP- talk to your wireless service provider to make sure any activity (contacts, photos, calendar) that you want to be backed up/saved in case the phone is destroyed- ask them how to do this.

I know three people personally that this has worked for (one iPod and two iPhones), but for us... (see the above photo) it was not an all-the-way fix. The camera does still work and takes BETTER photos than it did, but it is not like new...

If a little water gets in to your device- take out the battery and any memory card.
Pour some rice into a bowl- just a small layer.
Add the phone, iPod, or camera.
Cover with rice and leave for 24 hours.
HOPEFULLY the rice will draw out and absorb any moisture in the item.

For much greater detail & more tips visit click HERE