Feb 26, 2007

A little bit of homemade! Chicken Enchiladas!

Lately I have been doing some cooking on weekends at home with the sister and the niece. Last weekend, it was chicken enchiladas and Spanish rice.

The enchiladas recipe I use is actually one put out by Crisco. I found it in a magazine a few years ago.

I've developed a few shortcuts to this recipe, as the entire process from start to finish takes a couple of hours if you follow the recipe exactly and are as slow a chef as me.

Firstly, since I don't usually have a lot of cooked chicken meat handy for shredding, I use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. They're fully cooked and seasoned, and the meat is usually very tasty and tender. Also, one average sized rotisserie chicken is the perfect amount for doubling this recipe, which is what I always end up doing.

Secondly, I don't fry the tortillas before filling them. This is more of a calorie saver than a time saver, as you still have to heat the tortillas on a skillet, etc. before making the enchiladas or they will split all over the place and will be unsightly as well as dry when done. You also have to make sure that when you cover the filled enchiladas with sauce, you do it completely thoroughly so that the tortillas can get some moisture that way. I've made them both ways, and if you're careful about it, they taste pretty much the same with or without the frying.

Also, notice the improved quality of this post's photos. They were taken with my niece's camera, a Canon Powershot SD600 6 MP. That night was the night I discovered the joys of macro mode. Food world, WATCH OUT.

Here is the recipe:

Chicken Enchiladas

3 cups Enchilada Sauce (recipe follows)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1 can (4 ounces) diced green chiles
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Crisco® Oil
12 6-inch corn tortillas
CRISCO No-Stick Cooking Spray

Enchilada Sauce (makes 3 cups)
2 tablespoons CRISCO Oil
2 tablespoons PILLSBURY® Best All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (14 ounces) chicken broth
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Enchilada Sauce
Heat CRISCO Oil in large saucepan; stir in flour and chili powder. Cook for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl mix together chicken, green onions, 1/2 cup Cheddar, 1/2 cup Monterey Jack, sour cream, chiles and cilantro. Stir in 1/2 cup Enchilada Sauce; stir until well blended.
Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat 1/2 inch CRISCO Oil in large pan. Fry tortillas, one at a time, until soft (10 seconds per side). Drain well on paper towels.
Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with CRISCO No-Stick Cooking Spray. Spread a small amount of Enchilada Sauce over the bottom of dish. Spread 2 heaping tablespoons of the chicken mixture in each tortilla and roll up.
Place enchiladas, seam side down, side by side in prepared dish. Pour remaining sauce over. Top with remaining cheeses.
Bake until bubbling, 15-20 minutes. Garnish with sour cream, sliced green onions and chopped cilantro.

We usually make some kind of rice or bean side for these enchiladas. My sister had tried a recipe for Spanish rice earlier that week that she enjoyed, and made it again to pair with the enchiladas. It was tasty, with lots of onion flavor, though she said that turned out too moist for her liking this time around. The recipe is from Simply Recipes and goes a little something like this.

Spanish Rice

2 tablespoons olive oil (can use up to 1/4 cup)
1 onion, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups of medium or long-grain white rice
3 cups* chicken stock (or vegetable stock if vegetarian)
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste or 1 cup of diced fresh or cooked tomatoes, strained
Pinch of oregano
1 teaspoon salt

*Check the instructions on the rice package for the proportions of liquid to rice. They can range from 1:1 to 2:1. If your rice calls for 2 cups of water for every cup of rice, then for this recipe, use 4 cups of stock for 2 cups of rice.

In a large skillet brown rice in olive oil, medium/high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook onion rice mixture, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes, or until onions are softened.

In a separate sauce pan bring stock to a simmer. Add tomato sauce, oregano, and salt. Add rice to broth. Bring to a simmer. Cover. Lower heat and cook 15-25 minutes, depending on the type of rice and the instructions on the rice package. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.


Feb 2, 2007

Food Seminaring

Food Seminar at San Francisco
During The Unbalanced One's first semester at Cal, she had the opportunity to go on an amazing seminar that brought her two farmers markets, two farmers, a cheese factory, and a feast at a professor's house. Twas the trip of dreams, and it was it really was...

Because it was still peach season, those velvety globes of sweet juice were still out in full force. The Unbalanced One hadn't eaten anything that morning so she was slightly overwhelmed when she saw all of them staring at her. She admits that there were, indeed, more than one tear of happiness shed. After no hesitation, she quickly handed over $3.00 for a peach of her own. Light and extremely fragrant, this organic fruit was completly worth it. However, will she be spending another $3.00 for one piece of fruit anytime soon? Probably not.

Towards the end of our Ferry Market Plaza adventure, we were standing around waiting for the bus to take us to our next adventure. Little did we know that lurking around the corner (well, actually sitting at a stand right behind us) were these beautiful hand-held pies. We surmise that one was filled with strawberry and another with blackberry goo. One lucky girl bought a one. Much jealousy was directed from The Unbalanced One to this unsuspecting individual.

A short while after leaving the Ferry Plaza Farmer's market, we went to a farm where rows organic strawberries were ripe for the picking. The gentleman who owned the farm discussed the difficulties involved with farming (owning the land, making sure the soil wasn't depleted of its nutrients, picking the berries in time, etc.) At one point, he allowed the each person to pick ONE strawberry. At first, the emphasis on only "one" strawberry unnerved The Unbalanced One. What if she accidentally stepped on one? Would that be the ONE? What if she picked one that looked ripe on one side, but revealed itself to be a hideous GREEN when exposed from its leafy breathren? Would that be the ONE? With these fears in mind, she carefully walked among the strawberry rows and finally selected this little fellow. Notice the resembalance to one of man's greatest inventions--the handbag. Oh and yes, it was delicious.

As we sat on a haystack, we listened to a grass-fed beef farmer talk about his farm and his grass-fed cattle. Just hearing him talk about how great grass-feeding is for cattle made me wish I were a grass-fed freshman. He also showed us his abundant apple orchard where I sank my eager teeth into thee most crisp and fresh apples I have ever tasted. Then again, I did grow up going to Lion's asian supermarket where the word "organic" is a rarity indeed.
Biting into a grass-fed beef patty, surrounded by organic veggies, all mushed together by an Acme baguette reminded me of why I shall never go into the land of zee vegetarians. So sorry, Babe.

Bruschetta with mozzerella, tomatoes, and pesto?!?! Sometimes when I think of this when I feel I don't have enough religion in my life.
I'm not such a fan of cold cheese, but when it tastes like lemon frosting and is called "lemon quark," I have one word for you: GIMME!