Thursday, August 23, 2007

Crockpot "Creamy" Chicken Enchiladas

Last night was a definitive "What Recipe?" moment in our house. I was going to make crockpot chicken enchiladas, using the broth that I was crocking the chicken breasts in to make the creamy sauce to add to the inside of the enchilada (with a bit left over to drizzle over the top).

Well, we got home later than I had planned and most of the sauce had baked away and what was left was already thickened. Time to make things up as I go along. I had also planned on making a corn salsa (corn, black beans, red peppers)... but our red peppers had gone bad and we didn't have any corn. So, uhm, mixed veggies were substituted instead.

What follows is definitely my best guess.....

Crockpot "Creamy" Chicken Enchiladas

~1 cup chicken broth (I had measured out a cup, then decided I needed more once I put the chicken in)
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 lb chicken breasts
green enchilada sauce

1 tbsp butter
all-purpose flour (measure out about 1 1/2 tbsp)
chicken broth
poultry seasoning

Pour chicken broth into crockpot, whisk in taco seasoning. Add chicken and cook on low for 6-8 hours until the chicken is done and sauce has thickened.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Shred chicken, mix in thickened sauce from the crockpot. Place in tortillas, top with with cheese and green sauce and roll. Place in baking dish, seam-side down.

Heat pan over medium-high heat. Add in butter and melt. Sprinkle in flour, whisking constantly, until it starts to thicken and form a roux. Add in chicken broth, milk, more flour, allow to thicken, again whisking constantly. Add in salt and poultry seasoning to taste.

Pour sauce over tops of enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese and green sauce. Bake at 350ºF for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and heated through.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Black Bean Soup with Cheese Quesadillas

Being sick of leftover lasagna from a week ago and also in the mood for "Fall" comfort food, I decided to make Black Bean Soup last night for dinner. The spouse requested quesadillas as well, so I used up some leftover pepper-jack cheese slices from when we made burgers and grilled 'em up on the George.

In true "What Recipe?" fashion, below is my best estimation of what I used.

Black Bean Soup
1 cup medium salsa
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed*
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Warm salsa in medium saucepan. Add in broth and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat, divide in half.

Place half the soup in a blender and toss in the freezer to cool (about 10 minutes). Blend until thick. Add back to saucepan with remaining soup and heat through. Serve with sour cream, cilantro and lime wedge for garnish.

* The last time I made this The Spouse said it was thicker. I can't remember but it's possible I didn't drain or rinse the beans that time, so you could try that if you'd like.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wine and Food

As requested, one of the things I'd really like to feature on this blog is wine pairings.

I've been "into" wine for around 9 years. My brother and sister lived in California for a decade, each. They came back with a love of wine. In fact, my brother was an engineer for a firm (Hensel Phelps) that helped build the Joseph Phelps winery (yes, that same Phelps). Anyone familiar with with JP knows their wines. I have a bottle of '98 Cab Sauv in my wine fridge, courtesy of same said brother.

I started taking wine tasting courses at Grapes & Grain in Mequon, WI. I took a variety of course, from basic wine tasting to wines of the world to wine and food pairings.

It's the latter I'd like to focus on in this blog. IMO, you can appreciate good wine but until you can appreciate wine with it's perfect counterpart - food (and ALL foods) - you don't know half of what you're talking about.

Personal wine preferences - I really don't have any! I like whites, red, sweet, dry, robust, simple, cheap, expensive...I try (and like) all sorts of wines - from $7 to $70. I think wine needs to reflect the mood you're trying to achieve. If you're looking for a simple apertif to unwind with after work, then I'll go suggest buying a bottle of $10 reisling from your local grocer. There's no need to spend $20 on a bottle for something so simple. If you want something "more" or something "exotic", I can suggest that too.

Nine times out of ten, if I offer a pairing, this is something I have tried and liked. But my palette does not equal yours (or even my husband's!), so what I may like, you may not. And that, ultimately, is the brilliance of wine. And if I get just one person to step outside the Merlot/Chardonnay box for one meal, then it's worth it.

Spicy Corn Bread

I based this off of a recipe on AllRecipe (Irish Spicy Cornbread). I wasn't thrilled with the shortening in the recipe, nor the amount. So I subbed in butter instead and halved the amount. Also, I just baked it in a regular 9x9 pan rather than a pre-heated skillet.

The bread turned out light and fluffy and perfect. Though it was more than "mildly spicy". For the faint of heart, I'd reduce the Tobasco sauce by about half. My husband and I love spicy food but even this took our breath away a bit.

Paired this with shrimp jambalaya - delicious.