Grandmother’s Enchiladas…

These stacked enchiladas come from my great-grandmother; but not Baba, the one who’s recipes I post so often – my other great-grandmother (my Daddy’s grandmother). I probably owe a lot of my culinary curiosity to Grandmother. There were three things I always wanted to do when I visited Grandmother- 1. put on one of her long, comfy nightgowns, 2. root around in her jewelry boxes, and 3. get in her kitchen and make a giant mess. She would let me put practically anything I wanted in her frying pan and “cook” my own little recipes (under her supervision, of course…I probably would’ve burned the house down had I been left alone. I was that kid) – one time in particular I remember making an epspecially large mess with a tub of marshmallow fluff. There was nothing I enjoyed more than having free reign in a grown-up’s kitchen. Good times….

Anyway, on to the enchiladas. When I was first married, my mother gave me a stack of hand-written recipes (all of her favorites) in my stocking at Christmas. A lot of the recipes have little stories written along with them, explaining where they came from or how they got to be so loved. Here is the story my mom wrote on the back of the recipe card for these enchiladas:

“Grandmother would call us and say, ‘I’m making enchiladas” – usually sometime after Christmas when Mexican food tastes so good after all the rich Christmas food, or the first really cold day in Winter. She never had to ask twice; we couldn’t get there fast enough!”

The best thing about these enchiladas (besides the taste, obviously) is how easy they are. They’re made with simple stuff you probably already have in your pantry. I like to use ground turkey and turkey chili to make them a little healthier. They’re just perfect when the weather is really cold and you need a quick, comforting dinner. They also make a great Super Bowl meal – a couple of years ago we had our friends over to watch the game and I served these along with hubby’s homemade salsa, guacamole and margaritas. That was one successful Super Bowl party.

Grandmother’s Stacked Enchiladas

1 pound ground beef
1 – 2 tablespoons minced onion (I use onion flakes or onion powder)
1 teaspoon salt (you can also add a little cayenne pepper if you like extra heat….I do)
2 tablespoons flour
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can chili (we like the kind with no beans…these ain’t no “Yankee enchiladas”!) ;-)
1 can tomato soup
corn tortillas (I use flour)
shredded cheddar cheese for topping

Brown meat in skillet and drain fat; stir in onion, salt and flour. Add enchilada sauce, chili, tomato soup and one can full of water and stir over medium heat until combined. Cook for 2 or 3 more minutes then turn the heat off. On oven-safe plates, layer one tortilla, then the meat mixture, then another tortilla and more meat mixture, then top with cheese and place in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and the cheese is melted. * If you don’t have oven-safe plates, I’ve found just popping it in the microwave will work just fine too. Some good toppings are sour cream, jalapenos, cilantro…whatever you want! Enjoy!

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Chicken and Veggie Tostadas

Well, Renea over at Sweet, Savory, Southern hits another bullseye! I’m telling you folks, this has quickly become one of my favorite food blogs! I catch myself making her recipes all the time, and to top it off, everything of hers that I’ve made has been a huge hit! The woman can cook, I’ll tell you that! Well, this latest recipe was no exception – light and fresh and just plain delicious (not to mention, easy!)! 

Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas

by Renea at Sweet, Savory, Southern

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
12 ounces chicken breast tenders (I diced up the chicken into bite-size pieces before cooking)
1 cup chopped red onion (I omitted)
1 cup fresh corn kernels (I used frozen)
1 cup chopped zucchini (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup salsa
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas (I used 2 soft taco sized flour tortillas)
Cooking spray
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I used cheddar)

(I also added a can of black beans, drained and rinsed)

Preheat broiler.

Combine first 3 ingredients, stirring well. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over chicken. Add chicken to pan; sauté for 3 minutes. Add onion, corn, and zucchini (and beans-if using) to pan; sauté for 2 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in salsa and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently.

Working with 2 tortillas at a time, arrange tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet; lightly coat tortillas with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon about 3/4 cup chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla; sprinkle each serving with 1/4 cup cheese. Broil an additional 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas, chicken mixture, and cheese. Sprinkle each serving with about 3/4 teaspoon of remaining cilantro. Serve immediately. (I also topped mine with shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes)

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Ok, ok, I’ll admit it – when I had heard people talking about this recipe, I was a little skeptical – even snobbish, if you will. The title just doesn’t sound very appetizing to me – “Crockpot Salsa Chicken” – I always imagined it as throwing chicken in the crockpot with some jarred salsa and letting it go. Blech. Then I read the actual recipe – chicken…salsa…taco seasoning…cream of chicken soup…wait, WHAT?! Cream of chicken soup?!…..with SALSA?? Double blech!! But THEN I actually saw a picture of the stuff on Annie’s blog, Cooking For Fun and it looked creamy and delicious! How could something that sounded so unappealing look so very enticing and comforting?? Well, I decided I just had to find out for myself if this was as delicious as it looked on Annie’s blog! To get a second opinion, I even called up my sister and gave her the recipe and the idea to make it for her family’s supper too! (we would compare notes later – that’s what sisters do, right?) So she made hers and I made mine; the result: SUCCESS!!! It was completely delicious! Hubby gobbled it up over rice, and my sister’s hubby ate his with tortillas and chips. I was surpised at how moist and flavorful the chicken was. My sis and I both agreed that this would be an excellent filling for enchiladas. I’ll admit, even as I was combining the ingredients, I was still a little wary of it, but as it cooked and the smell starting filling my apartment, I knew it was going to be darned tasty! So thanks a heap, Annie – you convinced me! Next time, I’ll think twice before turning my nose up at a recipe!

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

-Cooking For Fun blog

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup salsa-Fresh
1 package taco seasoning
1 can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup (condensed) or cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

Add chicken to slow cooker. Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken. Mix salsa and soup (this was the part that looked a little iffy, but persevere! Its well worth it!); pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Shred chicken with a fork. Stir in sour cream until heated, then serve over rice or tortillas. I topped mine with cheese. De-lish!!

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“Holy Enchiladas!!!”

Sorry for the cheesy title….you can thank Joel for that. :-) Hey, I guess I should just be thankful he takes an interest in my blogging, right? Anyway, tonight’s dinner got off to a very rocky start, but finished strong. I had a hankering for chicken enchiladas and discovered a really delicious-sounding recipe from Renea of Sweet, Savory, Southern

So, everything was going along great – Joel had just walked through the door, I was really organized, dinner was just about ready – all I had to do was make the sauce and throw the enchiladas in the oven. I had just started my sauce – I added the oil to the pan, then the flour and spices, yadda, yadda… as I was stirring, I happened to notice the mixture seemed a little thin, even after adding the flour. So I went back and checked my recipe…um, ¼ cup of oil…NOT ONE cup!!! Yeah – I used an entire cup of oil as opposed to the ¼ of a cup that the recipe called for. I have no idea where I got that….so, to try to fix things, I just added a whole bunch more flour…and spices….and used up all the rest of the chili powder I had. I ended up with a giant saucepan full of MUCK. Poor Joel had to get back out and go to the store for me (since I had used up all my chicken broth and chili powder) so I could attempt the sauce again. Luckily, the second time around was muuuuuuuuch better (and didn’t end with me dumping the pan in the sink and throwing kitchen utensils every-which-direction).

This isn’t your usual, run-of-the-mill Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada – in fact, that’s why I chose this recipe – there’s no sour cream! Now, for those of you who can’t fathom a chicken enchilada sans the sour cream, don’t worry: this dish definitely delivers (Renea knows what she’s doing!)! The chili gravy topping is full of flavor and spice – topped with gooey, melty cheese and a dollop of cool sour cream (so, I guess there’s a little sour cream in the recipe…), its a perfect enchilada, in my opinion (and Joel’s). Even though this recipe calls for chicken, I think it would be fantastic with beef or ground turkey as well – whatever tickles your enchilada-fancy!

    Chicken Enchiladas

    (from Renea at Sweet, Savory, Southern)

    2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

    1/2 a green bell pepper, finely chopped

    1/2 onion, finely chopped

    2 Tbsp olive oil

    1 tsp garlic powder

    salt and pepper to taste

    2 cups chili gravy (recipe follows)

    4 flour tortillas (I had enough filling for 5-6 tortillas)

    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

    Preheat oven to 350. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

    Add onion and peppers and cook for about 5 min. Add shredded chicken and stir. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Remove from pan and set aside. Using the same pan, make the chili gravy as follows.

Chili Gravy

    1/4 cup lard (she used vegetable oil and so did I)

    1/4 cup flour

    1/2 tsp black pepper

    1 tsp salt

    1-1/2 tsp powdered garlic

    2 tsp ground cumin

    1/2 tsp dried oregano (Mexican oregano is preferred if it’s available)

    2 T chili powder

    2 cups chicken broth (or water)

    Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it makes a light brown roux.

    Add all the dry ingredients and continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring and blending ingredients. Add chicken broth or water, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens. Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes.

    Once the chili gravy is done, add 1/2 a cup to the chicken mixture and stir. Spoon the chicken mixture into the flour tortilla shells and roll up. Spread another half cup of the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish and place the rolled tortillas in the dish. Top with the remaining cup of sauce and shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 min. (I baked for 15 minutes minus the cheese, then added the cheese and cooked for 5 minutes more – just to melt the cheese)

Prep time: 12-15 minutes

Cook time: 20-25 minutes

Serves: 3 to 6 (depending on appetites)

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