Easy Enchiladas

If A-Tooch had it her way, every night would be Mexican night for dinner.

Unfortunately, this leaves no room for pizza, spaghetti or sushi, so I have to limit myself. My old roommate from California used to cook Mexi food quite a bit, so I’ve picked up some of her tricks along the way. When strategizing a weeknight dinner option for four, these classic enchiladas popped as an ideal meal (and the amount is perfect for that little rectangular Pyrex).

Some day, I will make these with homemade enchilada sauce. For now, store bought is doing the trick.

Classic Chicken Enchiladas
(serves 4)

2 large chicken breasts, roasted and seasoned to your liking
1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce (I prefer Old El Paso Medium Red Sauce)
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8-10 fresh corn tortillas
1/4 cup sour cream
4 tbsp. oil (canola or vegetable)
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. Adobo seasoning
hot sauce (optional)

Cook the chicken in advance and keep it refrigerated — you can even prep this a few days before. Remove the bones and shred the chicken into a medium size mixing bowl. Add sour cream, seasonings, 1/4 can enchilada sauce and a dash of hot sauce, and mix.

Allow the filling to sit. Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 7″ x 11″ pyrex and place the remaining sauce in a flat bowl or pan for dipping your tortillas. Also, remove about 2 oz. of your shredded cheddar cheese and place aside.

Warm oil in a frying pan on very low heat, making sure it does not get too hot and sizzle. Using tongs, warm up each side of a tortilla for 5-7 seconds and allow the excess oil to drip off before patting with a paper towel. Working quickly, dip the tortilla in the enchilada sauce, stuff with the chicken mixture and cheddar cheese, and roll gently but tightly. Place seam-side down in the pyrex.

Repeat these steps until the pan is full and enchiladas are touching, side by side. Cover the entire dish with the leftover enchilada sauce and cheese. Place in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Top the enchiladas with salsa, sour cream or both. We also served this with a fresh tomato, corn, bean and red onion salad.

Enchiladas are truly mix-n-match — you can stuff them with roasted vegetables, pork, beef, shrimp, or all of the above. You can also switch up the flavor profile and use a green enchilada sauce and Monterey Jack cheese. I think it goes without saying that their gooey deliciousness makes for very good leftovers.

Posted in Latin, Mexican, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

So, A-Tooch hasn’t quite caught on to the Pinterest trend. After finding this recipe through the Pinterest transom, though, she may be a convert.

It’s nearly strawberry season (but, clearly, not yet, as demonstrated by the not-too-ripe berries I used in this recipe). To get in the mood, I whipped up this decadent and really simple dessert.

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries
(adapted from Nutmeg Nanny)

1 box/pound large strawberries
8 oz. light cream cheese (don’t skimp and buy store brand, you NEED the real thing)
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs

Rinse the strawberries, cut off the tops and core out the center of each with a pairing knife. (Yes, this is very time consuming.) In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, vanilla and sugar. Place the mixture in a pastry bag or sandwich bag with the top cut off and pipe the filling into each strawberry. Dip the top in the graham cracker crumbs. Place on a baking sheet and slide into your refrigerator. Enjoy!

So, I wasn’t really on the ball with this one and couldn’t get my strawberries to stand upright. It didn’t seem to matter that they were chillen’ on the baking sheet, though. Nothing was dripping out and most importantly, they tasted the same :)

Posted in Dessert, Featured, Recipes | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Cheesy Quinoa Bake for Passover

Miss Yunks is trying to keep meals interesting during Passover and is using quinoa in ways she’s never used it before. The thought of cheesy quinoa came to mind as a dish with many servings to make for the week’s lunches at work.

Based on the easy baked mac and cheese recipe I used here, I adapted the recipe for Passover. It may not be the most photogenic dish, but it’s cheesy, full of flavor, and high in protein – three things not usually associated with Passover!

Cheesy Quinoa Bake for Passover

1 cup quinoa
1 cup cottage cheese
2 cups milk
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 cups spinach, finely chopped in food processor
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in quarters
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly butter a medium sized baking dish. Cook quinoa according to directions on box (boil in twice as much water as quinoa, then simmer for about 15 minutes until all water is absorbed.) Blend cottage cheese in blender or food processor until creamy.

It looks so creamy, so unlike cottage cheese.

Mix cottage cheese, milk, and spices in medium sized bowl. Blend mixture in food processor in a few batches, then pour into prepared dish. Add cooked quinoa, chopped spinach, and grape tomatoes to dish. Stir to combine. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top and gently mix to evenly spread the cheese and distribute the quinoa. Bake for 25-30 minutes until liquid is mostly absorbed and bubbly around the edges.

Posted in Cheese, Recipes, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Book Review: Muffin Tin Chef – Mashed Potato Cups and Quinoa, Spinach and Feta Cups

If you can’t tell from the blog posts, TFAW  use cupcake/muffin tins… a lot. When we each received a copy of the new Muffin Tin Chef cookbook, we were itching to put those tins to new use.

It’s a genius idea — manage portion control and present food in a much cooler way than just scooping servings with the ol’ ladle. What we also liked about this book is the attention to making things a little health conscious, without going overboard. For example, many of the recipes call for whole wheat flour or reduced-fat milk and sour cream. That very much aligns with our motto in life: Eat healthy when you can, but never sacrifice tasting the good stuff!

We had tried our hand at frittatas and non-cupcake desserts in cupcake tins before, but this book opens up a whole new world of recipes.

A-Tooch tried her hand at the Mashed Potato Cups with Curry Sour Cream — a new take on an old classic. They came out fantastic and are best served piping hot. For some reason mine nowhere near resembled the beautiful cookbook image, but tasted great.

Mashed Potato Cups with Curry Sour Cream
(adapted from Matt Kadey‘s Muffin Tin Chef)

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup flour (recipe calls for whole wheat pastry flour, I used all-purpose since it was the only thing in the pantry)
1 tsp. fresh sage
1 tbsp. grainy mustard
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp.  peppper

For the topping:
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1 tbsp. curry powder

Boil the potatoes until tender (about 10-15 minutes) and preheat the over to 375ºF while they’re cooking. Drain and transfer the cooked potatoes to a large bowl and mash together with all of the ingredients. Make sure to leave the mixture slightly chunky. Pour the mixture evenly into the muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before removing to help solidify.

*Note: As a muffin tin book should, this cookbook goes into pretty great detail about what type of tin to use, how to prevent sticking, etc. I had a minor freak out moment because of this and sprayed non-stick spray everywhere. It seemed to prove a good solution.

Blend the sour cream with curry powder and top each mashed potato cake with the mixture before serving.

The recipe produced exactly 12 perfectly sized mashed potato cakes. They were slightly crispy on the outside and soft, moist and delicious on the inside. The sage was a very dominant flavor and played well with the curry in the sour cream. BIG hit in the A-Tooch household.

I served these with homemade crabcakes and salad. We all went back for seconds.

Miss Yunks received this book just before Passover began and noted several recipes she wanted to make. Since it is Passover, I chose the Quinoa, Kale and Feta Bake, since quinoa is okay to eat during Passover. I had intended to make the spinach and cheese pie I made last year for Passover, but then changed my mind and made the quinoa recipe instead. I substituted the kale for spinach since I had just bought a big bag.

Quinoa, Spinach and Feta Bake
(adapted from Matt Kadey‘s Muffin Tin Chef)

1 cup red or white quinoa (I used red)
2 cups water
5 cups of spinach
1 1/2 cups finely chopped feta
3 eggs, lighten beaten
1 1/2 large shallots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
juice of half a lemon
1 T Sriracha hot sauce (optional – I omitted)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
EVOO, as needed (about 2 tbsp)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce to low heat and simmer, covered, until quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Using a food processor, pulse spinach until finely chopped. I did this in several batches in my little food processor. Put chopped spinach in a large bowl and mix with cooked quinoa, feta, eggs, shallot, garlic, lemon juice, hot sauce, thyme, nutmeg, and pepper. Coat jumbo muffin tin with EVOO and divide quinoa mixture evenly into cups. Matt Kadey’s recipe serves 6; I increased the amounts of quinoa and spinach to serve more than 6. My mixture filled 7 jumbo muffin tin cups. Bake for 25 minutes.

Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of muffins and set oven to Broil for 5 minutes.  Let cool in pan before removing – or else the quinoa cups will fall apart. The original recipe did not call for the extra Parmesan cheese on top but I thought I’d try it.  It tasted good!

The quinoa, spinach and feta bake made a hearty and filling vegetarian meal. I would say 2 jumbo muffins serve 1 person, so this recipe would serve about 3 people. I love the idea of chopping spinach in a food processor. I will definitely be doing that more often! I have a running list of other recipes in Muffin Tin Chef that I can’t wait to make after Passover.

What have you made in a muffin tin lately?

A complimentary copy of Muffin Tin Chef was provided to each of us.  We were not obligated to review the book and our honest opinions were not influenced.

Posted in Cookbook, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Product Review: Wicked Good Cupcakes in Jars

Remember this news story about the cupcake in a jar not making it through airport security? That cupcake was a from a bakery located outside of Boston and appropriately named Wicked Good Cupcakes. After tasting the Cupcakes in Jars, TFAW can confirm that they are wicked good.

Miss Yunks received Peanut Butter Surprise, Chocolate Guinness & Baileys, and Cuckoo for Coconut. We were both all about the Chocolate Guinness & Baileys – dense chocolate cake baked with Guinnness Extra Stout layered with Baileys infused cream cheese buttercream frosting.

Each layer was full of flavor and the different textures melded together flawlessly. I absolutely loved the chocolate fudge frosting on top and could really taste the Baileys in the creamy tangy frosting.

In addition to our beloved Chocolate Guinness & Baileys, A-Tooch received a Cookies n Cream and Chocolate Lab jar. The Chocolate Lab was so decadent and gooey I shared it with a friend (also totally do-able with these since there’s nearly 2 cupcakes packed into every 8 oz. mason jar).

We were impressed that the Cupcakes in Jars tasted fresh the day we received them, and still tasted fresh a week later. These would make an excellent and unique gift for any dessert lover; Wicked Good Cupcakes ships throughout the country.

Wicked Good Cupcakes Cupcakes in Jars were provided to us free of charge and did not influence our honest opinions.

Posted in Chocolate, Cupcakes, Dessert, Reviews | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Birthday Cake Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you tried Birthday Cake Oreos yet? To celebrate 100 years of Oreos, Birthday Cake Oreos are available for a limited time. The cream filling looks like funfetti and Miss Yunks just had to find out if it tastes as good as it looks.

Well, cookie fans, it’s true. The cream filling really does taste like funfetti cake. I love funfetti cake so naturally, I love Birthday Cake Oreos. The cookies are great on their own, but I wanted to bake something with them. I searched for a cookie recipe using Oreos. First, I found dozens of recipes for Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies, but I’ve already done that. I kept searching and found an easy recipe for chocolate chip Oreo cookies on the Southern Hospitality blog. I followed her recipe except I used regular sugar rather than Splenda and Birthday Cake Oreos in place of regular Oreos.

1 1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
6 T granulated sugar
6 T brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
8 Oreos crushed  into pieces
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheet with tin foil.
2. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together in mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. In electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until combined.  Beat in egg and vanilla.
4. Stir in Oreos and chocolate chips.
5. Scoop cookie dough onto baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

These Birthday Cake Oreo chocolate chip cookies tasted exactly how they sound – like birthday cake and chocolate chip cookies in the same bite.  The cookie dough recipe on Southern Hospitality is a real winner. The cookies baked up soft and fluffy  The recipe came out so well that I think it’s worth repeating, with or without Oreos. Next time I might double the chocolate chips if I don’t have Oreos in the kitchen.

These cookies are Foodie and Foodie BF approved!  He doesn’t usually get as enthusiastic as I do about desserts, but he says these may be the best cookies I’ve ever made. Thanks for the recipe, Southern Hospitality.

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies, Dessert, Recipes | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Choice Eats 2012

A-Tooch was super excited for Village Voice’s Choice Eats this year, and boy did the event deliver.

Luckily bf/cameraman M scored some tickets too and joined the fun. He did not, however, get into the VIP room and VIP Choice Sweets event that my press pass led me to :) Here are some highlights of stellar dishes that stood out:

Boudin Noir from new neighborhood fav Resto. (If you haven’t checked out Resto’s new little brother shop next door, The Cannibal, you need to get there ASAP.)

Braised beef rib on toast with pickled walnuts from fav in the old neighborhood, Jimmy’s No. 43. P.S. This place does a great, fresh Blue Plate Special on Mon. and Tues. if you’re ever in the hood.

Lamb (was it lamb? I think so) with the most delicious, tender, buttery rice I’ve ever tasted, and apricots and from Bi Lokma, same owner as Sip Sak. I recently discovered this little gem of a spot in an otherwise useless foodie neighborhood right by Grand Central. Affordable, traditional Turkish cuisine in a cute little space.

And how could we forget, our friends at Patacon Pisao were back with their moist, perfect tres leches cake, and the cachapas we have grown to adore. Last year they served meat and cheese cachapas and although I didn’t see the meat variety this year, I had no issues!

We didn’t take any shots of the desserts — totally unlike us! You should know that there was lots, though, and it was gooood. We all agreed one of the top was the sweet and savory, scrumptious Salted Crack Caramel ice cream from Ample Hills Creamery — salted butter caramel ice cream with pieces of buttery, chocolatey “crack cookies.” Booze was presented by some favorites, too, and I bee-lined to the Abita stand.

Posted in Blogger Event, Booze, Dessert, Events, NYC | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Product Review: Kraft MilkBite Bars

When we were asked if we wanted to sample Kraft’s new MilkBite bars, we jumped at the opportunity. We each received a box each of the strawberry and chocolate flavors, packed inside a little lunchbox size cooler.

MilkBite bars are made with real milk and need to be kept refrigerated (odd, but we gave it a go). Each bar contains the amount of calcium equal to an eight ounce glass of milk and five grams of protein. Essentially, each bar has the nutritional value of a bowl of cereal with milk.

The chocolate bars were sweet and moist with a taste of chocolate in every bite, without being overly chocolatey.

The strawberry bars tasted like a sweet strawberry cereal with a splash of milk. Yes, you can really tell there is liquid milk in there!

Miss Yunks likes to have a bite of something sweet in the morning before she leaves the house and these bars a made a great morning snack, or first breakfast, depending how you look at it. The bars are as filling as a serving size portion of cereal and milk. The only downside is that you can’t carry one in your purse for spontaneous hunger since they need to stay in the fridge. We weren’t sure how we felt about these little guys at first but found ourselves and live-in bfs munching our way through both boxes in no time at all. Yum.

Kraft MilkBite Bars are also available in oatmeal raisin, mixed berry, and peanut butter varieties (AT is all over picking up the PB variety). Find them in the dairy section of your local grocery store.

Kraft MilkBite bars were provided to us free of charge and did not influence our honest opinions.

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment
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