Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Enchilada Pasta Recipe - With home made sauce!

Sean and I are trying to get back into meal planning for the week, and while it hasn't been a very good start We've managed 2 meals for 3 days. Since there's only the two of us we always have left overs anyways so if we don't do them for lunch we already have another dinner that week, even if its just as a side. Since pinterest has come into my life, meal planning has been a bit easier. This week, our new recipe is Enchilada Pasta. I went to eight grocery stores and NONE of them had Enchilada sauce. (Shame on them) Turns out its pretty easy to  make and can be adjusted to your taste for spice. So I've added that recipe in here in case you can't find sauce either, or just want to try your hand at it. I only made a half order, since that's all the pasta recipe called for.

The recipe says it served 4, but we didn't even eat 1/4 of it for the two of us. Plenty of left overs! I would say 6-8 depending on appetites.

Enchilada Pasta
(Adapted from here)

1 pound extra wide egg noodles (or whatever you have!)
1 1/4 cups enchilada sauce (Recipe below)
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1/4 cup 0% Fat Greek yogurt
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles - drained
1 pound lean ground beef
4 ounces light cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon chipolte chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

I made this in my braiser to go from Stove to Oven, but you can switch is out into a baking dish at the end!

Boil up your water and cook your pasta according to the package. Drain and set aside till needed.

In a large bowl, combine enchilada sauce (below, if making), corn, beans, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, Greek yogurt and green chiles; set aside.

Heat braiser to medium heat, add ground beef and cook until browned, about 5-8 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks to ensure even browning.

Cut cream cheese into cubes to evenly disperse and easier melting.
Stir in cream cheese, chili powder and cumin until cream cheese has melted.

Stir in pasta and enchilada mixture until well combined; season with salt and pepper as needed. Stir together and cover on the medium heat for 5 or so minutes to bring everything to temperature and combine the flavours.

Top the pasta with the sliced Avocado and the remaining two cheeses. Bake in the oven, un-covered until nice and bubbly, about 15 minutes, with a high broiler for 1 minute at the end.

Let sit for 5 minutes (we used this time to make some margaritas) and slice it up and serve.

Red Enchilada Sauce - Hot! 
(Adapted from Emeril)

Ok, this isn't the hottest sauce I've ever had or anything but its pretty warm. Really flavourful and the smell fills your house while its cooking. This is the half recipe with the ingredients I used. If you only have one type of chili powder that's totally ok, If you have 4 kinds, use them all! Adjust it here for spice, I like the warmth and "smokiness" of the chipolte chili powder. I had garlic tomato paste and thought why not add another layer of flavour in there? Also, a few of the other recipes I checked had garlic powder in them anyways.

This will make 1.5 Cups of Sauce depending how long you boil it out for, the extra mixed with greek yogurt for a drizzle would be pretty (I promise).


1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon flour
1 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP Chipolte Chile Powder
1 cup chicken stock
5.5 ounces garlic tomato paste (plain is fine)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch salt to taste


In a small saucepan heat oil, add flour, smoothing and stirring with a wooden spoon, will look sort of like a rue - on the runny side. Cook for 1 minute.

Add chili powders and cook for 30 seconds - will look more like a rue now, a tight one.

Add stock, tomato paste, oregano, and cumin. Stir to combine.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Put the lid on now so you don't have red sauce all over your stove! It bubbles and shoots up.

The sauce will thicken and smooth out. Add salt and stir in.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cinnamon Buns or "Cake"

Cinnamon Buns are probably my most requested recipe that I make. This year for Sean's birthday he wanted a giant Cinnamon Bun Cake (As seen on Stefano) but I wanted to use my go to recipe to make it. So this is that recipe and I'll tell you how and where to change it for buns vs. a cake.

Cinnamon Buns
(Bread base adapted from Here)

1 cup warm milk (110º)
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour

1 cup brown sugar, Packed
2 1/2 tablespoons Cinnamon
1/3 cup softened butter

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 packages cream cheese, 16 oz total (Room Temp)
1-2 cups icing sugar (depending on how sweet/consistency you like)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip attachment, add a spoonful of the 1/2 cup sugar. Let rest for 10 minutes or until yeast appears to puff up.

Mix in the remaining sugar, butter, salt, and eggs until there are no clumps of yeast. Use a fork to "whisk" these in if you see any remaining before adding the flour.

Switch whip attachment out for dough hook.

Add flour and mix for 2-4 minutes until the dough forms a loose ball and pulls away from sides of the bowl.

Dump on to your work surface and knead a few times by hand (No more than 10) to ensure everything is mixed in well.

Put in a lightly oiled bowl (I spray with pam), cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon until mixed thoroughly.

Roll dough into a 16x21-inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter (I use my hands to smoosh it around) and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Roll dough from the bottom edge towards the top like a jelly roll.

If you want to make Cinnamon Buns:

Cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a 9x13 inch baking pan lined with parchment. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

If you want to make a Cinnamon Bun Cake:

Lightly grease (with butter) a 9 inch round cake pan And preheat oven to 375º F

Pinch ends to keep that goodness together. Roll with your hands to make the log skinnier, I found inching my hands down it while stretching and rolling worked the best to stretch it out. The log needs to be 35 inches long and about 2 inches across.

Roll log up like a pinwheel and place in the prepared pan.

Brush top with soft butter.

Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cover loosely with foil (to prevent over browning) and bake another 30 to 40 minutes. I found mine got a little bit crispier and browner then I would have liked, next time I'll cover it after 20 Minutes.

Cut into wedges and pass around with frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Beat cream cheese with electric beaters until smooth, add in 1 cup of icing sugar and continue mixing.

Add vanilla and any remaining icing sugar you'd like and beat together.

Good to go!

One Pot Lasagna Casserole

I pinned this recipe quite a while ago and finally decided to give it a try. It says Skillet but I certainly don't have a skillet that big so I used my 3.25qt Braiser. It goes from stove to oven which is ideal. however, I've made this a couple times and have once let it cool and put it in a baking dish to bake all together at a later time. Its definitely a dish you can play with and add or subtract things at your leisure.

One Pot Lasagna Casserole
(Adapted from Here)


1 diced onion
5 Cloves grated garlic
1 Tbsp oil or butter
1 medium sized zucchini - grated
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
Salt & pepper to taste
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tsp sugar
1 (20 oz) can or jar tomato sauce
1 (12 oz) can diced or crushed tomatoes
12 lasagna noodles, give or take a few
1 cup 1% fat cottage cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano
1 egg
1 tsp basil
2 cups beef broth
1/3 cup red wine (or substitute this much extra beef broth)
1 Mozza ball, about 450 grams


Saute diced onions and garlic in oil until soft.  Add in some seasonings now, not all. I would recommend layering them in different places to build the flavours.  Grate the zucchini into the pan.

To the vegetables, add in the ground beef. Break apart the beef while it's cooking until evenly browned.

Once the beef is browned and mixed in to the vegetable mixture, break apart the raw lasagna noodles into pieces. Add to the pan.

One top of the noodles, add in the broth and red wine.  It might look soupy, but the noodles will absorb most of it and some will evaporate out. Add the tomatoes and the tomato sauce, these can be anything you like. I like to add a primivera type sauce to add to the veggie count and flavours. Add the sugar to the sauce over the tomatoes to cut the tomato acid. Add another layer of the seasonings here, and bring it up to a boil, making sure that the noodles are down in the sauce.  Once boiling reduce down to a medium and allow it to simmer for about 20 - 25 minutes so the noodles are cooked.  Give it a couple stirs through out the cooking and add more liquid if it feels too dry.

While the noodles are cooking, throw together the cheese mixture:  Cottage cheese, low fat shredded mozzarella, and freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano.  Add in an egg and torn basil (or from a jar is fine!).  Seasonwith a little kosher salt (Cheese is salty) and black pepper.

Once the noodles are cooked, turn off the heat.  Drop the cheese mixture by big globs onto the meat and noodles and coarsely stir them in. I agreed completely with the original blogger, keeping it in pockets of cheese - I didn't want it to be too mixed, as I like seeing "pockets" of cheese.

Now cover with slices of fresh mozzarella and some additional parm is you have any left over and put this whole skillet into the oven under the broiler until the cheese gets a bit brown and bubbly - about 10 mins on low.  Garnish with some freshly chopped basil leaves.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Superbowl! (3 Recipes)

I tried to reign in my "crazy" this year and only made 3 things. We were away for the weekend until about 4 hours before the Superbowl so I had to make sure I prepped everything first and picked some easy things. I have to apologize in advance because I didn't take any pictures. None. Hopefully I'll make all these things again and will get some then. They just can't be in front of a hungry, football crazed crowd. So here we go! I have linked to the originals if you're wondering how they come out. Even though the game didn't go my way (I still love you Broncos), these things all helped that!

Fried Pickles
Adapted from Here

We made these because I had even more than three jars of homemade pickles in our pantry and the idea of these on Pulled Pork Sandwiches was pretty great. I don't know that I would use this recipe again, it was good but the coating didn't stay on the pickles that well and I think I would go the batter route for a bit more coverage, crisp and flavour. Maybe if you used sliced pickles with ridges the coating will stick a little better. That being said, it was still a good recipe and a good start to fried pickles, it was also super quick and easy if you're running short on time before the party!

3 Jars whole pickles or 1 large jar sliced pickles
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup bread flour
1/4 teaspoon Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Drain, Slice and dry your pickles on paper towel, making sure they're fairly dry.

In a large bowl stir together the batter ingredients, the Cornmeal, flour and spices.

Add the pickles to the bowl and toss so that each pickle gets coated, let them sit for a couple minutes and stir again to get more coverage on the pickles.

Fry them in oil or a deep fryer that is heated to 375°F for 3-5 minutes.

Remove to a plate covered in paper towels and sprinkle on a little salt and pepper.

Pulled Pork
Adapted from Here

Pulled pork was originally going to be the only thing that we took (obviously I have problems doing that) but we chose it because we could do the prep work before we left and my Mom had no problem throwing it in the slow cooker for us so it would be ready on return. I changed alot about the posted recipe, not that I doubt it was great. I've made pulled pork with a can of Soda before and I usually find it to be a little too sweet and that wasn't what I was going for this time. It turned out great and feel free to adjust the seasonings and liquid to what you have. I used a bit less BBQ sauce then it suggested because I don't like it too Saucy so if you like it looser, you'll need to add more sauce.

1 pork shoulder - about two pounds
1 Onion chopped
1 pint can Guiness Beer
6 Cloves Garlic peeled
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Freshly-ground black pepper
Chili Flakes
375 Ml barbecue sauce, we used a "Touch of Heat"


Salt, Pepper and sprinkle chili flakes on your pork on all sides (and any other spices you'd like) and make 6 slits around the pork shoulder, 1-2 per side. Place the Whole Garlic cloves in each hole, let sit while starting on the onions.

In a large, cast iron or heavy pan over medium-high heat, begin to saute the chopped onions until they start to brown, around 10 minutes.

Once the onions have started to colour, move them aside (still in the pan) and place the pork in. Sear the pork well on all sides, 1 - 2 minutes per side. Remove pork from pan and place in slowcooker (or dutch oven), add honey and vinegar on top of pork.

Pour beer into the pan and deglaze, scraping up anything on the bottom of the pan. Let cook for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom occasionally. Pour over pork in slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 7 hours, high for 3 hours.

After the pork has cooked, drain off any excess liquid and shred the meat into small bits with two forks. Add the barbecue sauce to the pork and stir well.

Cover the slow cooker and cook for 1 more hour.

That's it! Ready to go! Serve on slider buns with fried pickles.

Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Footballs
Adapted from Here

I saw this on pinterest and knew I had to make them for so many reasons. One, this would be my last excuse to make something football shaped for a while. Two, Peanut butter, Chocolate rice krispies?? Really. The reasons go on. Anyways, you could definitely make this into regular squares and maybe just drizzle the chocolate on the tops. Coating them in chocolate seems easier than it is. I don't know that I would do it again. You need a lot of chocolate but it does take them the extra mile.

1 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cup light corn syrup syrup
1 cup smooth peanut butter (I used skippy)
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 c. Rice Krispies

Coating - you can skip this part or cut down and just drizzle with chocolate
20 oz chocolate candy melts
2 oz white chocolate or vanilla candy melts

In a small saucepan mix sugar and corn syrup; bring to a boil.

Add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until melted and combined.

Put Rice Krispies in a large mixing bowl. Pour Peanut butter syrup mix over Rice Krispies and stir until well combined.

Spread in a 9x13 in. pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, or greased lightly with butter.
Let bars sit about an hour or until firm(ish)
Cut bars out with football cookie cutter, or into squares as needed. I went the football route. You can push together scraps to make more footballs. Doing this, I got 28 2 inch (ish) footballs.

Melt chocolate candy melts in a double boiler. Dip footballs in chocolate, let drip off and place on wax paper. Let sit until chocolate is set, around an hour.

Melt white chocolate melts in a small ziplock in the microwave. 30 seconds on medium power till melted. Take the bag out in between each and squish in the bag to help move along. Usually takes 2 - 3 times.

Cut a very small piece off the tip of the bag. Use this to pipe on the football laces.

Store in a airtight container or devour immediately.