Friday, January 29, 2010

Chicken, Black Bean, and Spinach Enchiladas


Chicken, Black Bean, and Spinach Enchiladas
adapted from {good life eats}

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
5 ounces baby spinach, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup Monterrey jack cheese, grated (a Mexican blend works great too)
8 large flour tortillas or 12 corn tortillas 
Tomatillo Salsa, recipe follows
Sour Cream Sauce, recipe follows

Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the chicken, black beans, spinach, salt and pepper in a medium to large bowl.  Stir until ingredients are just combined.  Add the beans and carefully stir in so as to not mash up the beans.

If using corn tortillas, steam them in a tortilla warmer or place them in a damp flour sack cloth and heat in the microwave.

One by one, fill a tortilla with a handful of filling.  About 1/4-1/3 cup depending on what type of tortilla you used.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cheese on top of the filling and roll tortilla up, placing the seam side down in the previously prepared pan.  Repeat until all tortillas have been filled.  Drizzle sour cream sauce on top, followed by the tomatillo salsa.  Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.   

Tomatillo Salsa
This tomatillo salsa is simple to prepare and can be served alone with tortilla chips for dipping.

6 tomatillos, husks removed (I buy a can of tomatillos)
1/2-1 jalapeno, remove seeds to adapt heat 
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, packed
2 cloves garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

If using fresh tomatillos, place them in a medium sized sauce pan.  Cover with hot water and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove tomatillos from water and place in a food processor with remaining ingredients, starting with only half the jalepeno.  Process until smooth.  Test for heat and add the remaining half of the jalepeno if desired.  Set aside.  

Sour Cream Sauce
To save on fat calories, feel free to substitue low-fat sour cream.  However, I would not recommend fat-free sour cream.

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add the flour, whisking until golden and bubbly.  The flour will start to clump, but don't worry, add the chicken broth and whisk until smooth.  Stir in the sour cream, whisking if necessary to remove any lumps.  Simmer until sauce is thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.


{cooks note}
You asked for healthy, I'll give you healthy.  We really enjoy these enchiladas.  They are packed with fiber, iron and calcium.  I do not use the jalepeno for a few reasons.  I am nursing and I didn't think my boys would like the heat too much.  It turns out great if you want to leave it out.  Since I had leftover spinach I decided to make a green salad using spinach, romaine, carrots, tomato, avacado and cucumber.  Great way to use it up if you are trying to think of what to do with it.

You can definitely make the sour cream and tomatillo salsa a day or two ahead of time. Just give the sour cream sauce a little whisk to smooth it out before pouring over the enchiladas and you should be good to go.

I cook my chicken in the crock pot for about 6 hours. Add about 1/2 cup onion, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and a couple of shakes of garlic do you like that for a measurement?  The chicken comes out very tender and is easy to shred.

For this particular meal I used 6 tomatillos from this can.  I am saving the rest in the fridge for another recipe.  I wouldn't go to the trouble of buying fresh.  Takes too long and this does the trick.

I use flour tortillas (made with whole wheat durum flour).  They are the uncooked kind you can purchase at the grocery store.  I have only seen the whole wheat durum one's at Costco.  Of course!  You can also use corn tortillas, but I like these.

Seasoned shredded chicken.

Just after I add the flour to the butter.  It gets pretty clumpy, but smooths out once you add the chicken broth.

Chicken broth.  I usually make my own, but this is expiring soon, so I used it .  If you have chicken bouillon, follow the directions on the label and make your own.  

Since I buy the uncooked tortillas, I have to cook mine beforehand.  Don't forget about them and burn them like I did.  

I like to cook them on my pancake griddle.  Cooks two at a time.

Sour cream sauce ready to go.

Drain and rinse the black beans.

Chopped spinach.  Did you know that spinach is one of the most abundant sources of iron and calcium.  
Eat up!

All three ingredients ready to be lightly mixed.

Ready for the tortillas.

I did not have Monterrey Jack cheese, so I used what I had left of this and added a Mexican blend that had Monterrey Jack in it.  One of these days I'll have exact ingredients for recipes, but until then, this is real life for me, people.  

The dish I used to cook the enchiladas in.

Packed and ready to roll...

After all the enchiladas are assembled, place a piece of tin foil over the top and cook in the oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Here is an avacado cut in half.  I am going to make a healthy green salad to go with the enchiladas and thought that some of you might enjoy learning how to cut an avacado. I'm sure there are many ways, but this is how I do it.

Slice the avacado like so...

Take a spoon and dish it right out.  It's as easy as that.  

But how do you get the pit out?  You jab it with a knife, give it a little twist...

and out comes the pit.  Please don't jab your hand.  That would really hurt.

The beautiful healthy salad, because you asked for healthy my friends.

Some friends of ours introduced us to this brand of dressing and we have never looked back.  We like the Light Champagne...we are crazy like that.  Not really.  You should try it, it's really good.

Not your typical enchiladas, but great nonetheless. And they're easy to prepare ahead of time.  

And the winner is....


Hopefully this will brighten your day a bit.

Please email me your address at

A BIG thank you to everyone who participated.  

There is more where this came from...  

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wheat Grinding

Meet my wheat grinder.
The Nutrimill. She is very easy to clean and very easy to clean up.

You pour the grain in the top (also known as the hopper)...

and out it comes freshly ground in the container at the bottom...after a few minutes.

This is where you insert the bowl. They have conveniently placed a "yes" and "no" to make sure you have the bowl in all the way. If you can still see the word "no" that means you need to push your bowl in a little more. Nifty, huh?

This is the bowl that captures all of the freshly ground wheat. It can hold up to 20 cups of flour.

This is the top of the bowl. The black circle is a sponge-like filter that captures unwanted particles from the grain.

This is the inside of the bowl. You can see some of my leftover flour. I never clean mine out when I am done with it. I just dump all of my flour into a storage container I have and put the bowl back in the Nutrimill.

Another convenient feature is the way the cord stores inside the machine. No messing with cords all over the place. They sure did get this one right. I have never had a problem with mine going back inside either...and I have had mine for 4 years.

This is white hard wheat.

This is red hard wheat.

You can choose to have super fine OR course flour. The Nutrimill has the ability to grind super fine flour (much finer than any other impact mill) and also adjust to produce the courser flour you may need for things such as cornbreads. Nutrimill has a 400% range of adjustment from fine to course, ten times greater than other mills. The possibilities are endless!

I LOVE white hard wheat because of its sweetness; however, I like the strong flavor of red hard wheat. Sometimes I mix the two together when I make whole wheat bread, or sometimes I just stick to the white hard wheat. Either way, you will have a great end result that is very good and nutritious. If you want to read more about the differences between the two wheats, go here.

Go here to get your very own.  Valentine's Day?

{Apron giveaway ends tonight!  Go here to enter}

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Creamed Red Potatoes with Petite Peas

Creamed Red Potatoes with Petite Peas

8-10 red potatoes
16 ounce package of petite peas
4 cups of milk
1 cube of butter
salt and pepper to taste

Wash and cut your potatoes.  I cut mine in half and then in half again, so I get four wedges out of each potato.  Once they are cut, put them in a pot and fill half-way with water.  Salt.  Boil for 15-20 minutes.  While the potatoes are cooking, make your white sauce.

White Sauce:
Melt 1 cube of butter and add 1/2 cup of flour whisking until smooth.  Add 4 cups of milk and whisk until thickened.  Once thickened, add salt and pepper to taste.

While you are making the white sauce, cook the peas, but don't overcook them.  They will continue to cook a little more once you add them to the white sauce and potatoes.  Once everything is done, pour the peas into the white sauce, give it a little stir and pour over hot potatoes.  Serves 6.


{cooks note}
I made this meal a lot in college.  I obviously scaled down the portions, but it was a great dinner for me.  I serve this with the Salmon Timballs and they go perfectly together.  Definitely a keeper in my book.

Washed red potatoes.  I really love red potatoes.

Potatoes cut up and placed in a large pot.

Add water and salt.  I covered these ones in water because I prepared them about 4 hours before we ate.  I didn't want the potatoes to turn brown from the cut parts being exposed to the air (oxygen in the air reacts with the starch found in the potato), so I covered them.  Once I was ready to cook them, I poured out half the water and added about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt.  Boil for 15-20 minutes.

Getting the white sauce started. Make sure your butter is nice and melted before adding the flour.  Once you add the flour give it a good stir with a wire whisk until there are no clumps then add the milk.

I love petite peas. If you do not like peas, then leave them out.  You will not hurt my feelings.  I think petite peas are the only way to go.

Add the peas to the white sauce and stir gently.  Once they are combined...

pour over the potatoes.  Wasn't that easy?  I thought so.  A delicious complement to many dishes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Salmon Timballs

Or what I like to call "Salmon Souffle".

Salmon Timballs
from my Grandma Lybbert

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1 1/3 cups milk
1 pound canned salmon, flaked
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Melt butter in saucepan, add breadcrumbs and milk.  Cook until slightly thick, stirring constantly.  Mix salmon, parsley, eggs and seasonings together.  Add sauce to salmon mixture.  When you are adding the sauce to the salmon mixture, pour a little bit in and stir it up good before adding the rest.  This will prevent your eggs from cooking.  Put into greased custard cups or ramekins and place in a pan of hot water.  You want the water to go at least half-way up the ramekin.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Place on a platter and pour creamed peas over the top if desired.


{cooks note}
This dish not only looks pretty, but it tastes really good too.  Good enough that my four year old requested it for dinner.  Hot dog!  You can purchase canned salmon at any grocery store, but Costco sells it in packs of 6 for $9.99.  They are 7 ounce cans and the recipe calls for 1 pound.  I use two cans to equal 14 ounces and it turns out great every time.  I make my own breadcrumbs for this dish, and others, because it is super easy and cheap.  I blend the bread in my blender and freeze it in freezer zip lock bags.  Here, let me show you.

Plain white bread for a $1.

The place on my Bosch where the blender attaches.

Another view of my Bosch.  I have the older series.  There is a much cooler one out now.

Twist the cap off and voila, you are ready to put the blender on.

I introduce to you, the Bosch blender.

This has nothing to do with the blender, I just wanted to show you.  The cord conveniently winds up for easy storage.  Please don't judge me on how dirty it is.  My husband did it.

Tear your bread up into large chunks.  I usually blend 3 slices of bread at one time. If you do more than that, the blender can't reach all of the bread on the top.  Trust me.

The three slices of bread in the blender.

In about 3 seconds your bread turns to this.

Store it in air tight containers or freezer zip lock bags.  Now onto the Salmon Timballs, aka Salmon Souffle.

Two cans of salmon.  This stuff is really good.

The salmon, fresh parsley (you don't have to use fresh, I just happened to have some in my refrigerator) salt and pepper. I didn't show you the picture of the eggs in with it because it looked really gross.

My ramekins.  You can also use custard cups or any other small glass cup that is oven safe.  I use my ramekins for a lot of things.  I'll show you more sometime.

Everything mixed together and poured into greased ramekins.  I use a 9x13 glass dish for my water.  I fill the dish up so the water is at least half-way up the ramekins.

Hot out of the oven.  Notice how the top is slightly browned.  You will want to use tongs, or something similar to take them out of the hot water.

Don't these look lovely?  I know there are a lot of people out there that do not like seafood, but I'm telling you  these are divine.  They should pop right out of the dish when tipped upside down, but don't worry if you have to use the help of a knife to pull away the edges.  I serve mine with creamed peas and red potatoes.  Recipe for that coming soon.

{Don't forget about the giveaway...ends Thursday at 11:59 pm}