Sunday, April 26, 2009

Enchilada Hot Dish

Yes, I'm in Minnesota and it's called a "hot dish."

When I got my second job at Norwest, it was in downtown Minneapolis. My first job downtown. The department that I moved to would use any excuse to host a potluck. Our crazy co-worker (seriously, she was nuts!) brought this one of our potlucks and it was delicious! I've made it many times over the last several years and have kicked it up a notch by switching out some of her ingredients for something a little more flavorful.

Here it is, Enchilada Hotdish:

2# ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can cream of mushroom soup (no minnesota 'hotdish' is complete without it!)
1 can of Campbell's Pepper Jack soup (or nacho cheese soup)
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes (with green chiles is good too)
1/2-3/4 cup salsa
2 bags of cheddar, co-jack or whatever cheese you like
16-20 corn tortillas

In a dutch oven, brown the ground beef, drain off the fat. Add chopped onion and celery, cook until soft. Add the two cloves of garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. To the ground beef, add the soups and the tomatoes and salsa. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes, until flavors incorporated.
While the soup and beef mixture is heating, begin to lightly fry the tortillas on a hot griddle or skillet. Add a couple spoonfuls of the soup mixture to a 9x13 pan sprayed with cooking spray.
Top with 4-5 tortillas and a 1/4 of the cheese. Repeat the layers until you have 4 layers of tortillas and you've ended with cheese. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes, remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes. (remember to spray the foil so the cheese doesn't stick).
Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to set and the layers will slice nicely. Serve with a little sour cream and salsa. This is really good the next day too!

My sister-in-law shared a recipe similar to this called "King Ranch Casserole" made with chicken. I'll see if she is ok with me posting that recipe and share that later. It's really good. An excellent dish to make with a shredded rotisserie chicken.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Enchiladas Verdes

Here's another recipe from the episode of America's Test Kitchen that looked amazing!

Enchiladas Verdes

You can substitute three 11-ounce cans of tomatillos, drained and rinsed, for the fresh ones in this recipe. Halve large tomatillos (more than 2 inches in diameter) and place them skin-side up for broiling in step 2 to ensure even cooking and charring. If you can’t find poblanos, substitute 4 large jalapeño chiles (with seeds and ribs removed). To increase the spiciness of the sauce, reserve some of the chiles’ ribs and seeds and add them to the food processor in step 3.
Serves 4-6

4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , chopped medium (about 1 cup)
3 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 to 3 breasts), trimmed of excess fat
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos (16 to 20 medium), husks and stems removed, rinsed well and dried (see note)
3 medium poblano chiles , halved lengthwise, stemmed, and seeded (see note)
1 - 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Table salt
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
8 ounces Pepper Jack cheese or Monterey Jack cheese, grated (2 cups)
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2 medium scallions , sliced thin
Thinly sliced radishes
Sour cream

1. Adjust oven racks to middle and highest positions and heat broiler. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering; add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons garlic and cumin; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Decrease heat to low and stir in broth. Add chicken, cover, and simmer until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking. Transfer chicken to large bowl; place in refrigerator to cool, about 20 minutes. Remove 1/4 cup liquid from saucepan and set aside; discard remaining liquid.

2. Meanwhile, toss tomatillos and poblanos with remaining 2 teaspoons oil; arrange on rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, with poblanos skin-side up. Broil until vegetables blacken and start to soften, 5 to 10 minutes, rotating pan halfway through cooking. Cool 10 minutes, then remove skin from poblanos (leave tomatillo skins intact). Transfer tomatillos and chiles to food processor. Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees. Discard foil from baking sheet and set baking sheet aside for warming tortillas.

3. Add 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, remaining teaspoon garlic, and reserved cooking liquid to food processor; process until sauce is somewhat chunky, about eight 1-second pulses. Taste sauce; season with salt and pepper and adjust tartness by stirring in remaining sugar, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Set sauce aside (you should have about 3 cups).

4. When chicken is cool, pull into shreds using hands or 2 forks, then chop into small bite-sized pieces. Combine chicken with cilantro and 11/2 cups cheese; season with salt.

5. Smear bottom of 13- by 9-inch baking dish with 3/4 cup tomatillo sauce. Place tortillas on 2 baking sheets. Spray both sides of tortillas lightly with cooking spray. Bake until tortillas are soft and pliable, 2 to 4 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Place warm tortillas on countertop and spread 1/3 cup filling down center of each tortilla. Roll each tortilla tightly and place in baking dish, seam-side down. Pour remaining tomatillo sauce over top of enchiladas. Use back of spoon to spread sauce so that it coats top of each tortilla. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and cover baking dish with foil.

6. Bake enchiladas on middle rack until heated through and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with scallions, and serve immediately, passing radishes and sour cream separately.

Steak Tacos

We watched the episode of America's Test Kitchen last night and this was one of the recipes. I'll definitely be giving this a try this summer, cooking the meat on the grill and heating the tortillas on the grill too. Served right up outside at the table with margaritas or cold beer! Sounds delicious.

Steak Tacos - America's Test Kitchen

For a less spicy dish, remove some or all of the ribs and seeds from the jalapeños before chopping them for the marinade. In addition to the toppings suggested below, try serving the tacos with Sweet and Spicy Pickled Onions (see related recipe), thinly sliced radishes or cucumber, or salsa.

Serves 4 to 6
Herb Paste

1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
3 medium garlic cloves , roughly chopped
3 medium scallions , roughly chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 medium jalapeño chile , stemmed and roughly chopped (see note)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


1 flank steak (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds), trimmed of excess fat and cut lengthwise (with grain) into 4 equal pieces (see below)
1 tablespoon kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


12 (6-inch) corn tortillas , warmed (see note)
Fresh cilantro leaves
Minced white or red onion
Lime wedges

See Illustrations Below: How to Warm Tortillas

1. FOR THE HERB PASTE: Pulse cilantro, garlic, scallions, jalapeño, and cumin in food processor until finely chopped, ten to twelve 1-second pulses, scraping down sides as necessary. Add oil and process until mixture is smooth and resembles pesto, about 15 seconds, scraping down sides of workbowl as necessary. Transfer 2 tablespoons herb paste to medium bowl; whisk in lime juice and set aside.

2. FOR THE STEAK: Using dinner fork, poke each piece of steak 10 to 12 times on each side. Place in large baking dish; rub all sides of steak pieces evenly with salt and then coat with remaining herb paste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

3. Scrape herb paste off steak and sprinkle all sides of pieces evenly with sugar and pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Place steak in skillet and cook until well browned, about 3 minutes. Flip steak and sear until second side is well browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, stand each piece on a cut side and cook, turning as necessary, until all cut sides are well browned and internal temperature registers 125 to 130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 2 to 7 minutes. Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.

4. FOR THE TACOS: Using sharp chef’s knife or carving knife, slice steak pieces across grain into 1/8-inch-thick pieces. Transfer sliced steak to bowl with herb paste-lime juice mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt. Spoon small amount of sliced steak into center of each warm tortilla and serve immediately, passing toppings separately.

Sweet and Spicy Pickled Onions

The pickled onions can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Makes about 2 cups 1 medium red onion , sliced thin (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
2 jalapeño chiles , stemmed, seeded, and cut into thin rings
1/4 teaspoon table salt

Place onions in medium heat-resistant bowl. Bring vinegar, sugar, jalapeños, and salt to simmer in small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Pour vinegar mixture over onions, cover loosely, and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Once cool, drain and discard liquid.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Chocolate Blackout Cake

Made this for dessert this past weekend. I saw the recipe on Cook's Country in January. I have been waiting for an occasion to make it, or waiting for a chocolate lover to appreciate it. Gracey's birthday is coming up and after last weekend, we thought she deserved it!

Be sure to give the pudding and the cake enough time to cool or you'll end up with runny pudding and gummy cake.


1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whole milk
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate , chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus extra for greasing pans
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , plus extra for dusting pans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Table salt
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. For the pudding: Whisk sugar, cornstarch, salt, half-and-half, and milk in large saucepan. Set pan over medium heat. Add chocolate and whisk constantly until chocolate melts and mixture begins to bubble, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla and transfer pudding to large bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.

2. For the cake layers: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl.

3. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Off heat, whisk in coffee, buttermilk, and sugars until dissolved. Whisk in eggs and vanilla, then slowly whisk in flour mixture.

4. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool layers in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Cool to room temperature, at least 1 hour.

5. To assemble the cake: Cut each cake in half horizontally. Crumble one cake layer into medium crumbs and set aside. Place one cake layer on serving platter or cardboard round. Spread 1 cup pudding over cake layer and top with another layer. Repeat with 1 cup pudding and last cake layer. Spread remaining pudding evenly over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle cake crumbs evenly over top and sides of cake, pressing lightly to adhere crumbs. Serve.

(Cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)