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Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Everyone Will Eat It | 0 comments

Sunday in the Kitchen: Enchiladas from Scratch

Tonight, I made enchiladas from scratch, and they turned out to be really yum. Mr. J asked me to jot everything down so we can have them again soon. Below you’ll find the spice mix, sauce method, enchilada recipe, and a bonus side idea.

I really like to do a big batch of something on Sundays. It serves two purposes – it gives us time to enjoy a meal together as a family before the craziness of the week starts, and it gets me started off right with either toddler lunches or one less meal to worry about through the week.

It was great to be back in the kitchen…workin’ on something from scratch. Just like the good ole days. At our house, an important part of this meal was toddler wranglin’ by Mr. J while I got everything prepared. Getting dinner on the table isn’t as easy as it used to be, people! (Which explains the lack of picture…sorry!)

Enchilada Sauce Spice Mix

4 tsp chili powder
3 tsp paprika + 1 tsp smoked paprika (or 4 tsp regular, if you don’t have smoked)
4 teaspoons cornstarch
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano (or Italian seasoning)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (based on your taste preferences and how hot your particular bottle of cayenne is)

Add all ingredients to an air-tight container. Shake or stir to combine completely.

To finish the sauce, you’ll need
1 – 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes + scant amount of water

In a small saucepan on low heat, add this entire dry mixture to 1 – 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce. Rinse out the can with a small amount of water to get the last little bit of tomato out and thin the sauce. Whisk the mixture until well incorporated. Keep on low heat until needed.

Notes: This makes a lot of sauce that is thicker than traditional enchilada sauce. That’s how we like it at Chez Ary. We keep it saucy.
Based on this recipe. You can double (or multiply to your heart’s desire) this recipe easily to always have dried mix on hand stored in an air-tight container.

To complete enchiladas, you’ll also need
1 package of 8″ flour tortillas (usually 10 count)
1 lb. ground beef
1 15 oz. can refried beans
To garnish: Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, cilantro, etc.

Brown 1 lb of ground beef, drain, and add 1 cup of sauce.

Add a little less than 1 cup of sauce to a 9 x 13 in baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.

To assemble: Spread a large spoonful of refried beans in a line on the center of an 8″ tortilla, and put meat on top. Roll up and place in pan. Continue on until pan is full and fillings are used. Add remainder of sauce on top, cheese (if using), and cover with aluminum foil. Place in 350* oven for 20-25 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted. To make this dish dairy-free, I baked without cheese and added it at the plating stage (popped in the microwave to melt before serving).

These beef and bean enchiladas taste great with Spanish rice on the side.

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Posted by on Jan 15, 2013 in Everyone Will Eat It | 0 comments

Pizza Pasta

Pizza Pasta

When I first started making this dish, it was crockpot pizza. Then I realized the crockpot aspect wasn’t really necessary, and I wanted put my own twist on the ingredients. So the dish you see in the picture there is like it’s 3 cousin, twice removed (or something). Now, when I tell Mr. J what’s for dinner, I call this “You know that thing that’s like crockpot pizza, but isn’t made in the crockpot…that’s what we’re eating.” So much for brevity?

Here I go again with one of those recipe “concepts.” It doesn’t really have a recipe, and you can do whatever you want. I realize that when you’re first starting out in the kitchen, you HATE this kind of post, but I’m hoping that this will give you an idea.

The base for what’s pictured is Campanelle pasta with a jar of spaghetti sauce and a pound or so of browned ground beef. Then, take your favorite pizza toppings, and bam! it’s pizza pasta. You can use any sauce you want, any pasta you want, and include meat (or not). If you’ve got leftover spaghetti that needs livening up, it’s a perfect candidate, too.

If you’re out of the store-bought stuff, here’s my pizza sauce recipe. You could also use this marinara sauce recipe. Or just open up a can of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes and throw in some herbs. Easy peasy.

For toppings, go with mushrooms, green peppers, sausage, pepperoni (the mini ones are fun), olives…the possibilities are ENDLESS! I think I’d forego the ham and pineapple on this one though! And don’t forget the cheese! I recommend mozzarella, Parmesan, and feta, if you’re feeling bold! Pop it in the oven for 15 minutes to melt the cheese and bring it all together.

This is a great make-ahead dish. However, we’ve found that the pepperonis turn brown in the leftovers so I make the base without them and add them on as we reheat throughout the week. Of course, you can do this in a large baking dish instead of individual servings. I just wanted to customize ours with our favorite toppings. Hey, that’s a fun party idea…the Super Bowl is just around the corner, you know!


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Posted by on Nov 9, 2011 in Everyone Will Eat It | 0 comments

Beef/Noodo Bake

This recipe is adapted from Pioneer Woman’s Sour Cream Noodle Bake. And by “adapted” I mean I left out the green onions and changed the name. It’s very comforting and very tasty. I described to to Mr. J as an American take on an Italian-style dish. It’s a great way to remix spaghetti for something a little different. Head over to P Dub’s for the recipe. It’s pretty darn good, and she has great process photos.

There is one more difference from PW’s. I used these egg noodles in lieu of the ordinary kind. They tasted like homemade. Make the switch, if you can find these noodles. You won’t regret it.

One more thing… instead of making a 9 x 13 casserole, I made two 8 x 8s. I baked one for dinner and froze one to be baked later. This really helps on nights when I don’t have any energy to cook, I don’t have any time, or I’m out of inspiration. Both versions turned out great. I think this recipe makes a great addition to a frozen meal plan, and I really liked this method of half and half. I think I’ll do it again.

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Posted by on Nov 3, 2011 in Everyone Will Eat It, Kitchen Tools, Try Something New | 0 comments

Fajita Chicken

Say you make the Veggie Fajitas from yesterday, but you live with carnivores. Make Fajita Chicken!

This chicken is so easy, and it’s quite tasty. All you need is a little time.

Take 3 or so chicken breasts (1.5 – 2 lbs) and lay them out horizontally in front of you on a cutting board. Cut strips vertically every 1.5 inches. The width of your strips will determine the length of your shred later on. Bust out the crockpot and load in the chicken for the adventure. Add 2 cups or so of water or chicken broth (just enough to cover the chicken), 3 T white vinegar (for tenderness, baby), and 3 T fajita seasoning. Season with S&P. Add some garlic (3 cloves, finely chopped) and onion (1 medium, chopped), if it floats your boat. Cook on low for 3 hours.

Remove the chicken from the cooking liquid. On a dinner plate or in a glass cooking dish (like a Pyrex) or on your countertop, take two forks and shred the chicken. Or (this is the best thing ever!!!)…stick the chicken in the bowl of a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the paddle attachment and turn it on low. Turn it up a notch or two once it gets going. Ta da! Shredded chicken in 30 seconds. (Disclaimer: this is not my idea, but I don’t remember where I read it. I think I saw it on Pinterest. They are a genius though! It works great!)

Now, the cooking liquid can be reduced on the stove top for a tasty sauce. Or you can store your shredded chicken in it to increase the flavor. Make a double batch and freeze in 1.5 cup portions in plastic bags.

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