Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Super Easy Fish Tacos

***Added: June, 6, 2010: Since this post, I got brave and made tilapia on the stove since I found some recipes on the internet. It's actually pretty tasty if you season it right. I did this because I found out that the below tilapia isn't that healthy for you since it's breaded. It is quick and yummy, but plain old frozen tilapia fillets are really healthy for you.. and I'm trying to cut out things that we can make substitutions for. I haven't made fish tacos yet without the parmesan encrusted fillets though. I guess I'll find out soon.***

I have tried many times to cook salmon and tilapia, but I have never been very successful. It can get pretty pricey as well. All of the recipes that I have tried were not worth it. I am spoiled from Fish Daddy's. (One day I will figure out the bourbon glazed salmon recipe!)

One of my friends told me about these Parmesan Encrusted Tilapia Fillets at Sam's. I think they are about $10 for 9 fillets. That is three nights of fish tacos for us. They are really good. Like so good that I don't think I am going to try to make my own tilapia for a long time.

This is probably one of my fastest weeknight meals. I bake 3 of them in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. While I am waiting for them to bake, I make a sauce. I have tried this one a few times, but beware, it is very spicy. Whenever I don't have a can of chipotle chiles in our pantry, I just make one out of mayonnaise, sour cream, chipotle tabasco, cumin, old bay seasoning, and chili powder. You can add whatever spices you like, just taste as you add. You really can't go wrong. I also cut up cabbage and tomatoes while I wait. So easy. Dinner ready in 25 minutes. And you don't have to be in the kitchen but for about 5 minutes. Awesome. Go buy some Parmesan Encrusted Tilapia Fillets at Sam's! You'll be glad you did. :o)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce

If you know how I am with cooking, I don't usually go the easy way out. I have been looking for a good enchilada recipe, but I have refused to use a can of enchilada sauce. I have finally found an easy, delicious chicken enchilada recipe in which you make homemade enchilada sauce!

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce
Adapted from Tide and Thyme

1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine
1 tsp vegetable oil
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp sugar
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce (or one 15 oz can)
1 cup water
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts)
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (I used a mix of cheddar and monterrey jack)
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
Vegetable cooking spray
Ground black pepper

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the onion, jalapenos, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

2. Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the thickest part registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 12 to 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside to cool. Strain the sauce through a medium-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the onions to extract as much liquid as possible. (I would press, and then stir, scraping the strainer, over and over, until the liquid all went through.) Place onion mixture in a large bowl and set aside. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces. Add to the bowl along with the onion mixture. Add in 1/4 cup enchilada sauce, 1 cup cheese, and the cilantro. Toss to combine. (The original recipe has no fresh jalapenos, but 3 Tbsp pickled jalapenos, chopped. She adds them to this step. I thought that would be a lot hotter, so I skipped that step and added fresh jalapenos in with the onions in the beginning.)

4. Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40 to 60 seconds. Spread the warm tortillas out over a clean work surface. Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them seam-side down in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.

5. Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with vegetable oil spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 7 minutes until the tortillas are starting to slightly brown on the top. (If you don't like a bit of crunch in your enchiladas, just skip this step completely.) - I don't recommend skipping this step.

6. Reduce oven temperature to 400. Remove enchiladas from oven and pour remaining sauce over to coat them thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheddar down the center of the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.

7. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese browns, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sausage and Cheese Kolaches

My sweet friend Vicky gave me this recipe. It is a tried and true recipe from her mother-in-law. They are 300 calories each, and one is pretty filling in the morning. The first time I tried to make these, I didn't use a thermometer. If you have never made homemade dough before, I would recommend using a baking thermometer. If you don't want to buy one, make sure the milk/water is warm (not lukewarm), but not scorching hot. I burned and killed the yeast the first time I made these, and the dough never rose. The second time I made them, they turned out great!

2 envelopes yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp yeast)
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp sugar
2 cups milk
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
6-7 cups sifted flour
softened butter, as needed
20 sausage links (we like the already cooked Eckridge breakfast sausage)
10 slices of cheddar cheese

1. In a small bowl dissolve yeast in warm water (110 degrees). Sprinkle sugar (1 tbsp.) over water mixture and let stand ten minutes to proof yeast.
2. Warm milk to 110 degrees, stir in butter and 1/2 cup sugar. Let butter melt into milk mixture.
3. Pour milk and yeast mixtures into large bowl. Add salt and egg yolks.
4. Slowly add 6-7 cups of flour. Knead dough on a lightly floured board (10-15 min). Use extra flour if dough is too wet.
5. Place in bowl, cover and let rise until double (1-2 hours). Punch down dough.
6. Divide into 2 parts. Form each part into a ball and roll out like a pie crust only larger in diameter–about 1/8 – 1/4″ thick.
7. Divide each circle into 9-10 wedges.
8. Place a half slice of cheese on the wide end of the wedge. Then place a sausage on the cheese. Wind up wedge beginning at the wide end. Seal well, making sure that ends of rolled kolaches don’t have open spots where cheese can run out.
9. Place kolaches on cookie sheets and let rise, covered, about 1 hour.
10. Bake at 350-375 degrees 10-20 minutes.
11. Brush with softened butter and cool on a rack.

Store in a single layer in refrigerator as stacking the kolaches, especially if they’re still a little warm. You can put them into big freezer bags to keep longer. They only take about 45 seconds to heat up in my microwave. So quick and so yummy!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Best Cereal Ever

About a year ago, I was introduced to Mom's Best cereal. Delicious. And healthy. Well, healthier than all those other cereals. It is regular priced at $2.29 at Kroger, but about 2 weeks out of each month it is $1.99. There is usually a $0.75 coupon which you can print twice per computer on the website. That makes it $1.25 a box for delicious cereal. That's pretty exciting for me because I'm not a huge cereal person. Below are my favorites. (They only have four kinds at the Kroger in Bryan - Toasted Wheatfuls, Oats and Honey Blend, Mallow Oats, and Honey Nut Toasty O's, but they have a much bigger selection in bigger cities.)

This one is the best. Hands down. So much better than Golden Grahams. They had this in Dallas (Richardson) when we lived there last summer.

This one is my favorite of the ones available at Kroger.

If you are a fan of Lucky Charms, this one tastes just like it.. yum. I want to try the raisin bran one, and honey-ful wheat, but they don't have those here. I have tried the toasted cinnamon squares, but I like cinnamon toast crunch better than that one. They also sell oats. Go print a coupon and try some! (It's in the organic section, with the Kashi cereals.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sour Cream Enchilada Casserole

My mom has made this recipe for years, and my brother and I love it. It's my brother's favorite recipe.

Sour Cream Enchilada Casserole
Southern Living, 1982 Annual Recipes
Serves 8

1 cup water
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp picante sauce, divided
12 corn or flour tortillas
2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 to 1-1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup ripe olives, sliced (optional)
1/2 cup butter or margarine (my mom uses 1/4 cup smart balance)
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1 (16-oz) carton commercial sour cream (can use low fat)
2 cups (8-oz) shredded Cheddar cheese

Combine water and 2 Tbsp picante sauce in a large shallow dish. Place tortillas in picante sauce mixture; let stand 5 minutes. Drain.

Cook ground beef (or ground turkey) and onion in a heavy skillet until brown; drain off drippings. Stir in salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, olives (optional), and 1/4 cup picante sauce; simmer meat mixture 5 minutes.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat, and add sour cream; stir until well blended.

Place half of tortillas in a 9x13x2 inch baking dish. Pour half of sour cream sauce over tortillas; spoon half of meat mixture evenly over sauce. Sprinkle half of cheese mixture over meat mixture. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

Monday, March 8, 2010


So so so good. I still don't understand how these ingredients make such delicious, flavorful pork. I thought I had cilantro in our fridge, but it had gone bad. So, for those cilantro haters, you can still enjoy this recipe! I had it again for lunch, and it does great for leftovers too. Pork butt was on sale for $0.88/lb at Kroger this week, so that's what I used. I spend about an hour cutting all of the fat out though. I bet it would work just fine with a pork loin. Whenever it goes on sale for $1/lb, you know what I'll be making!


Tasty Kitchen member The Noshery

3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into cubes
3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 whole lime, juiced
7 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp cumin
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup chicken or beef stock
2 Tbsp olive oil

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients (except olive oil) and stir. (I browned the meat before I added it to the slow cooker, but this is not a necessary step.) Arrange the pork so it sits as a single layer at the bottom of the pot. Set slow cooker to High for 4 hours or Low for 8 hours.

Once the pork is done, it should be tender enough that you can shred it with a spoon. Heat a pan with the olive oil. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork from the pot to the pan in batches. Fry the pork until brown and crispy, breaking it up as you fry it. Do not crowd the pan with pork for best results. (You do not have to do this step. It still tasted delicious before this step, but I did it anyway.)

Serve on tortillas garnished with chopped onions, avocado, fresh cilantro and lime wedge. (I served them with guacamole, sour cream, Chipotle cilantro-lime rice, and cheese.)