Stacked Enchiladas

This is one of my go-to meals when I don’t feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen. New Mexican-style stacked enchiladas are super easy, inexpensive (less than $5 for the whole meal), fast (20 minutes from start to finish), and delicious. I serve the enchiladas with black beans, which meshes really well with the enchilada sauce.

Stacked Enchiladas

3 tablespoons oil (I use canola)
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 cups water
8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

corn tortillas (3 or 4 per person)
shredded cheese (I used cheddar, Monterrey jack, or a Mexican blend)

To make the enchilada sauce:  Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and chili powder and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the ground cumin and garlic powder. Gradually whisk in the 1 1/2 cups of water. Continue to whisk as the sauce thickens. Add the can of tomato sauce and season with salt. Reduce the heat to low and keep the sauce hot, stirring occasionally, as you prepare to make the enchiladas.

To make the enchiladas:  Heat about an inch of oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Briefly fry the corn tortillas until they are soft, but not crispy. Remove them from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate.

To assemble the enchiladas:  Put a large spoonful (about 1/4 cup) of the hot enchilada sauce on a plate. Top with a softened corn tortilla. Top with another spoonful of hot enchilada sauce, making sure the whole tortilla is covered, and sprinkle with shredded cheese (about 2 tablespoons). Layer with another softened tortilla. Repeat the process….sauce, cheese, tortilla…..until you have a stack that contains 3 or 4 corn tortillas total. Finish the last tortilla/enchilada stack with more sauce and a little more cheese. Serve immediately.

Lentil Soup with Ham

Lentil Soup with Ham2

I cooked a ham for Christmas dinner this year. When I cook ham, I usually buy a very small boneless ham because only two of us will eat it. This year I bought a bigger, semi-boneless ham. It was actually less expensive than a smaller ham, but now I have tons of leftover ham. I’ll freeze some and then get creative with the rest. This should be interesting. : )

Lentil Soup with Ham

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
8 cups chicken(or vegetable) broth
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup of ham, diced
salt and pepper, to taste

In a soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the dried lentils and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the diced ham and zucchini and cook until the lentils have reached the desired level of  tenderness, 10 to 20 minutes. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Bacon-Corn Chowder with Shrimp

This is a super fast and super delicious soup.  It is worthy of  a special occasion, but easy enough to do anytime. Pair it with a nice BLT sandwich and you have a great weeknight dinner. This recipe makes about 4 servings.

Bacon-Corn Chowder with Shrimp

6 slices bacon, chopped
1 cup chopped  onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1/3 cup half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bacon and saute until the bacon begins to brown and get crisp. Remove about 2 slices-worth of the bacon to be used as garnish later and drain on paper towels. Add onion, celery, and garlic to the pot, and saute for 2 minutes. Add corn, and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth; bring to a boil, and cook for 4 minutes.

Place 2 cups of corn soup mixture in a blender. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape), and secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in the blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Return pureed corn mixture to pan. Alternatively, use a hand-held blender to partially puree the soup, leaving some of the soup chunky.  You will want to be able to see whole corn kernels.

Stir in shrimp; cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are done. Stir in half-and-half, pepper, and salt. Ladle soup into bowls and crumble reserved bacon over soup.

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

beef stroganoff

This is an excellent recipe.  I have made it numerous times and it is fabulous every time.  I have adjusted and experimented with this recipe in various ways.  I have made a decent vegetarian version using vegetable bouillon instead of beef and by replacing the beef with mushrooms and serving it over egg noodles.  I have also tried a meat analog (Worthington vegetable steaks) once and didn’t like that at all.  But for the most part when I cook this, I follow the recipe, except for using a less expensive cut of beef (sirloin, London broil, etc…).   To save money and extend the recipe, I add 16 ounces of sliced mushrooms around the same time I add the beef (which I use less than a pound of).  I cook double the amount of sauce and serve it all over egg noodles (with the fried potatoes on top).  Instead of cutting matchsticks, I grate the potato, squeeze out as much liquid as possible and fry in small batches until golden and crispy.  I usually do this before I cook the stroganoff.  Anyway, it’s a classic dish and one I am glad to have in my repertoire.

Beef Stroganoff

4 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 cup rich beef bouillon
1/4 cup sour cream
1 small yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, sliced into pieces 3″ long X 1″ wide X 1/8″ thick
salt and pepper, to taste
vegetable oil
4 russet potatoes, peeled ans sliced into 1/8″ matchsticks
2 T. chopped parsley

Melt 2 T. of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour and dry mustard and stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.  Gradually add bouillon, whisking constantly until thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in sour cream, remove from heat, and set aside.

Melt remaining 2 T. butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until soften and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.  Increase heat to high, add meat and saute until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add reserved sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, pour oil into a deep medium pot to a depth of 1 1/2″, and heat over medium heat to 365 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Fry potatoes in batches until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes.  drain on paper towels; season to taste with salt while still warm.

Spoon stroganoff onto a serving platter, and cover with a mound of jumbled straw potatoes.  Garnish with parsley

Recipe source:  Saveur (Sept./Oct. 2000 issue).  They adapted the recipe from Darra Goldstein’s Taste of Russia (Russian Life Books, 3rd edition, 1999).