Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cheesy Turkey Enchiladas

Please forgive me, Mom, for calling these 'enchiladas' when they are closer to a Taco Bell-like abomination of 'gringo' food. They sure are tasty though. Traditional enchiladas are made with fried corn tortillas, dipped in sauce, then filled with ground beef or chicken, and topped with cheese and onions. My mother made some fine enchiladas. My version is made with flour tortillas, ground turkey, canned sauce, and a whole lot of cheese. But, after their meaty-cheesy-goodness seduces you,  you won't care what they are called.

Start by browning (and when I say browning, I really mean completely cooking) a pound of ground turkey. Then you will need: a packet of McCormick's Cheesy Taco Mix, milk, dried onion flakes (or fresh onion), enchilada sauce, cheese, and flour tortillas

After the turkey is cooked, add the onion flakes--or cook the fresh onion with the turkey

Then the Cheesy Taco seasoning

Then the milk

I rummaged through my fridge to find 3 bags with just a handful of grated cheese, add them to the pot

You want a sticky, stringy consistency (aka, meaty-cheesy-goodness)

Spray the baking dish with oil, and pour in enough enchilada sauce to completely coat the bottom of the pan. My kids are sissies, so I used mild sauce

Fill the tortillas with the meaty-cheesy-goodness

Roll them up, and fill the dish

Coat the rolled enchiladas with more sauce, any extra meat, and more cheese. More cheese! If you want to stop here and put this in the freezer for another night, it freezes beautifully. Just let it defrost in the fridge for a day or so, then let it come up to room temp for a few hours before heating in the oven

Pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes. Serve some fresh veggies as an appetizer. Then you won't have to harangue anyone about eating their broccoli, and you'll probably eat less of the meaty-cheesy-goodness

I recommend putting a try under your baking dish

Makes a great dinner, and plenty of leftovers

  • 1 lb ground Turkey
  • 1 packet McCormick's Cheesy Taco Mix
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/4 cup dried Onion flakes
  • 15 oz can Mild Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 cups Cheese, divided
  • 8-10 Flour Tortillas
  1. Cook ground turkey with onion flakes, add taco seasoning and milk. Stir in 1 cup cheese
  2. Spray baking dish with oil, coat bottom of dish with enchilada sauce. Fill tortillas with meat, roll them up, and fill baking dish. Coat enchiladas with more sauce, any extra meat, and the remaining cheese
  3.  Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Five-Star Oatmeal Raisin Pecan Cookies

This is a recipe I've been tweaking for the last five years. Since I've perfected it, I haven't shared it with anyone. In fact, when my boss asked me for the recipe, I brought her some frozen cookie dough instead. This recipe is my baby. It originally started out as a basic oatmeal cookie with dried cherries. The Captain complained, so the cherries were switched out for raisins, various nuts were experimented with, pecans were voted the best. It's taken dozens of trials to get the right ratios--so here it is!

You'll need: Butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, oats, pecans, and raisins.

Btw, I doubled the recipe and made an irresponsible amount of cookie dough, don't be intimidated by the pictures. Cream the softened butter, brown sugar, and granulated white sugar

 Add the eggs--large is the standard size for all baking recipes 

Stir until smooth. Mix in the vanilla extract and the almond extract

 Add the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon, and mix until completely combined--don't forget to scrape the bowl every now and then

 Add the raisins

 And the pecans--we like big pieces of pecan, so I just tear them in half as I add them to the measuring cup

Mix it well, then add the flour--to avoid a flour cloud, start and stop the mixer repeatedly until it starts to combine

It looks good, but don't eat it yet (raw eggs = salmonella)

Carefully mix in the oats--I've tried standard vs instant oats, they all seem to work fine; quick oats are what we keep on hand.

Same mixing concept as the flour--short bursts until it is all combined (unless you don't mind cleaning oatmeal explosions off the counter...). If you're doing this by hand use a sturdy utensil--its pretty thick

An ungodly amount of cookie dough, right? You can flash freeze it on a cookie sheet

After about 20 minutes, move them to a zip lock bag, they will keep in the freezer for months

Now you can enjoy a freshly-baked cookie whenever you want

 Chill the dough for about 20 minutes before baking

These delicious cookies will be slightly crispy on the edges, and moist and chewy in the center

The almond extract is the secret ingredient that highlights the raisins and the pecans

Best of all, since they have oats (high fiber), eggs (protein), nuts (omega 3s), cinnamon (heart healthy) and raisins (fruit), you can eat them for breakfast! Totally healthy, right? Well, maybe not, but after trying them you will be convinced by almost any excuse. They are that good.

Five-Star Oatmeal Raisin Pecan Cookies

Ingredients: Makes 3-4 dozen cookies
  • 1 cup Salted Butter
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Vanilla Extract 
  • 1/2 Tbs Almond Extract
  • 1 1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tbs Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Pecans
  • 1 cup Raisins
  • 3 cups Oats

  1. Cream together butter, sugars, and eggs. Add vanilla and almond extracts, beat until smooth
  2. Mix in salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add raisins and pecans, mix until well combined
  3. Stir in flour, then oats
  4. Chill dough for at least 20 minutes before baking
  5. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Apple Sauce

Ok, apparently last time I went shopping for fruit I got totally screwed was unlucky. Gala apples, 5 lb bag, mealy as heck. No one would eat them. They were starting to turn brown in my fruit bowl. My kids aren't big apple sauce fans, but I didn't want these things to go to waste. So apple sauce it is!

Wash the apples. Soap & water, people; rinsing isn't enough when you're a germaphobe

Peel them, but save the skins

Core and slice

Back to the peels--the most nutritious part of the apple. Add some apple juice and blend it up

It doesn't look so good now, but who wants to waste all that fiber? 

 Cinnamon, sugar, and peels

Stir and cover

 It starts smelling really good after a couple hours

After another hour or so you can blend it up, or just cook it longer to get the same results, I'm impatient

Now you have a kid friendly snack

Store in the fridge, it will keep for a week or so

  • 8 large Apples
  • 1 cup Apple juice or water
  •  1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  1. Wash, core, and slice apples. Add juice, sugar, and cinnamon.
  2. Set slow cooker to high, about 4 hours
  3. Mash or blend the cooked apples

Cheese Burgers

Burgers are a pretty simple meal that can go from fridge to table in about 20 minutes. I used what I had on hand, but you can make a healthy version that is super-tasty and still clocks in under 500 calories. 

I started with frozen patties sprinkled with seasoning salt. If you're going healthy use a turkey patty or a chicken breast

Broil from frozen for 8-10 minutes on each side. Next, a hot skillet meets buttered bread. If you're being virtuous, use whole wheat and just a spritz of oil

Mayo, pickles, lettuce and tomato. Or, ranch dressing, onion, tomato and spinach.

Serve with a side of fresh fruit or veggies

Friday, October 12, 2012

Homemade Bread and Blueberry Jam

Ok, the cat's outta the bag. Produce from Sam's stinks...either that or I just have terrible luck. Probably both. Anyhow. Remember the raspberry jam I made a few days ago? Oooohh it was special. I dare to say it was better than my favourite homemade Cherry Orange Marmalade. Yes. It was that good. I had a sour batch of blueberries so I thought I'd turn them into jam--the results? Pretty gosh-darn-good. 

Here's what you need: a pint of fruit, and a cup of sugar. Yup, that's it.

Wash the fruit and put it in a small sauce pan on medium high heat. Add in the sugar

Let it cook

It will start to get a bit messy

Cook it until you like the consistency

Set it aside to cool

Store it in a clean jar, in the fridge

Now that we have all this fresh jelly let's make some bread. This is one of the best bread recipes I've tried. It turns out light and sweet and a bit crumbly. 

Gather your ingredients: Flour, water, sugar, oil, yeast, and salt

Start by activating the yeast. Let the tap water run warm and pour it to the mixing bowl. Add the sugar and the yeast

Swirl this around and let it sit  to rise for a few minutes

Now you can add the salt and the oil

Mix in one cup of flour at a time. Scrape the bowl, and let it mix for about 5 minutes until it forms a ball

Turn it onto an oiled plate, spray the bowl with oil, and return the dough to the bowl. Put the bowl in a warm (not hot) place. I stick the bowl in the oven, turn the oven on warm (about 170°) for literally 30 seconds, then turn it off. 

Let the dough rise for an hour, it should double in size

The fun part: punch it down and knead it around

Put it in an oiled loaf dish and return to the oven to rise for about half an hour

Turn the oven on and bake it for about 30 minutes

Take it out of the loaf pan immediately or it will get soggy

Fresh bread is pretty difficult to slice prettily

Try the blueberry jam

Good stuff

Ingredients: 1 loaf
  • 3 cups flour (all purpose)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs oil
  1. Combine warm water, sugar, and yeast, allow to activate for 5 minutes
  2. Add salt and oil to yeast
  3. Mix in one cup of flour at a time on low speed, once it is all combined increase speed to medium, knead for about 5 minutes or until ball is formed and dough is pulled away from sides
  4. Turn dough out onto oiled surface, oil the bowl, and return dough to bowl
  5. Set bowl in a warm place to rise for an hour, or until doubled in size
  6. Punch down the dough and transfer to oiled loaf pan
  7. Set in warm place to rise for 30 minutes
  8. Bake loaf at 350° for 30 minutes
  9. Remove from pan immediately