Saturday, March 26, 2011

Turkey Potato Enchiladas in Cheesy Sauce

Let me tell you this: I love Mexican food! However, I am a proud owner of a sissy stomach (plus there are people under 3 in my home) so the Mexican dishes I cook are not very spicy thus probably not very authentic. But hey, you can't have it all ;o)

The filling for those enchiladas (as well as burritos that I make) was born a while ago and evolved into it's current form just recently when my daughter was born. I used to prepare and arrange all the ingredients separately. Let me tell you, it took me forever to make burritos! Glad I figured out this dump-everything-into-a-bowl-and-mix approach. 
"But potatoes?! Really?!" you may ask. My husband loves potatoes. And whenever we ate at Taco Bell he was ordering Beef and Potato Burritos. (Not any more, they discontinued I think about 2 - 3 years ago.) So once I finally braved making Mexican food (long time ago), I decided to try to make something similar.

To make those enchiladas you will need:
  • 1 lbs ground turkey or beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • taco seasoning
  • corn starch (optional)
  • 4 medium-big potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground paprika
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lbs cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream, divided
  • 2 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cup water or chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon (optional)
  •  dash of paprika
  • 10 flour tortillas, soft taco size
  • bunch of fresh cilantro
  • salsa or taco sauce
  • sour cream to garnish (optional)
 Start by frying meat. This is turkey. That's all I had.

Fry it till it's dry. And please, for the love of everything that is yummy, do not drain that meat!
Am I crazy? Maybe but let me tell you this. Long time ago when I was a little girl in Poland meat was just meat but since then meat industry has changed and now when you buy meat it's not only meat, it has whole bunch of water in it. So when you want to fry it, you need to get rid of that water by evaporating it. If you drain it, you lose flavor.

Water =bad, flavor =good.

Chop an onion.

 Grab a jar of homemade taco seasoning. Yes, I'm reusing that jar. I'm cheap and thus "green" ;o)

Dump chopped onion into a pan and mix in with meat.

See? It's dry. No water and very little fat.

If your meat is dry like mine was, add 2 tablespoons canola oil.

Fry till meat and onion will start to brown.

Dig up a container with a corn starch if you have one. Yes, I'm reusing an old peanut butter jar. Again, cheap and "green" ;o)

When meat is ready sprinkle 2 tablespoons corn (or potato) starch on it.

Followed by 2 Tbsp of Homemade Taco Seasoning. As I mention before, I'm a sissy. You can use more of a seasoning if you can handle it.

Important! If you are using store bought Taco Seasoning skip corn starch. It's already in it.

Mix it in.

Add 1/2 cup of water and mix well. Set aside.

Next, peel, rinse and slice potatoes into quarter slices.

Dump them into a bowl.

Add oil, dry mustard, paprika and kosher salt.

Now stick your hand in that bowl and mix it all well.
Until all potato pieces are covered nicely and evenly with mixture of oil and spices.

Dump them onto a cookie sheet and spread into a one layer. Then put them into preheated to 350° F oven and bake for 15 minutes or so. Until they are soft on the inside and nicely brown on the outside.

Grate cheese. I usually use Monterey Jack for Mexican dishes but I had only about a quarter pound so I used it and added cheddar. Worked well too. Reserve 2 cups for the sauce and just dump the rest into a bowl.

Ok, potatoes are done. Let them cool a bit.

Remember the ground turkey? It's cool by now so go ahead and put it in a bowl with cheese. And on the pan (yes, I didn't wash it) melt 2 tablespoons butter or margarine and add 2 tablespoons flour. 

Mix well scraping all the meaty leftovers as much as you can. That's the flavor!

Slowly add 1 1/2 cup of cold water or chicken broth mixing vigorously.

Bring to a boil mixing all the time. It will thicken up.

Grab chicken bouillon. I love that stuff!

And add 1 1/2 tsp of it to the sauce. If you are using chicken broth just skip it. Or add some for the flavor. Your choice. Don't let me tell you what to do ;o)

Mix well. Now dump in those 2 cups of grated cheese you reserved.

Mix till melted completely.

Add 4 heaping tablespoons of sour cream and mix well. Cover and set aside.

Now, remember our bowl with cheese and meat? Add cooled potato chunks.

And sour cream. About 1/2 cup, roughly. Ok maybe more like a cup.

Mix it all well but do it gently less potatoes will fall apart.

Ok! Now we are finally ready to assemble those babies! Yay!

Grab 9 x 13 inches baking dish and a bag of 10 soft taco size flour tortillas.

Take one tortilla out of the bag...

...spoon 1/10 of the filling on a tortilla...

...roll it up and put in a dish. Do the same with remained tortillas and filling...

...till your dish looks more like this

Now back to the sauce. Check the seasoning. If you want it hot, go for it! I just needed a little sprinkle of paprika for color.

Pour the sauce over rolled tortillas.

Bake them at 350° F for 30 minutes.

You can top it with salsa, taco sauce, sour cream and fresh (ahem!) out of the freezer, cilantro. I keep it for Mexican food emergencies ;o)

Serve them with fresh salad.

Enjoy! :o)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars

Few months ago I was looking for a recipe for a protein bar when I stumbled upon a granola bar recipe. After few tries I adjusted it to my family's liking and that's how this granola bar recipe was born. I've already tried to put different fruits and seeds in it and so far this combination is my favorite. 

To make those granola bars you will need: 

Dry ingredients.
  • 2 cups rolled or quick oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (or 1/2 cup if not using flax seeds)
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash of ground cloves 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
 Wet ingredients.
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive or canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

First, dump all of the dry ingredients into a big bowl.

Then, in a small bowl whisk together wet ingredients.

Yes, I know, I should wash the stove...

Line 9 x 13 baking dish with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.

Pour wet ingredient mixture into a bowl with dry ingredients and mix well. It's best to use your hand.

Yes, I did wash my hands. 

Now dump the mixture into prepared dish.

Cover with plastic wrap...

and press it down to make an even layer

like this one!
Even is my middle name ;o)

Hello, my name is Agata and I have OCD. Thank you.

Remove plastic wrap

and bake it at 350° F for 15 to 20 minutes for chewy bars or 20 to 25 for crunchy bars.

Let it cool for 2 minutes or so and using pizza cutter...

cut into 16 more or less even bars. I know, they should be more even...

Now, when still warm, eat at least 2. That will make me feel better :o)
Warning! When they are still warm they are dangerously delicious. Last time I made them I ate 4. But I'm breastfeeding so... well, maybe, just maybe that have something to do with it. But maybe not :o)
Leave them in a pan to cool completely less they fall apart.

When they are ready remove them from the pan by lifting the foil (makes for easy clean up). Make sure to cut through all the areas pizza cutter couldn't reach in a dish. Wrap them in a plastic wrap and...

rejoice that you have 16 (ok, maybe 14 or 12 by now) yummy homemade granola bars and that you saved money and you don't have to google anything from ingredients list (unless you are a foreigner like me and you're not sure is the stuff in your cupboard a wheat germ or a wheat bran ;o))
Try them! They are easy to make and yummy!

Oh yeah, and don't forget to experiment with you favorite fruit and nuts. And when you do, leave me a comment, ok?