Bryan’s Mom’s Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Woops! It’s been a little more than a month since I last posted. How time flies! We’ve been super busy around here. Most of my time has been occupied by studying for a big exam that’s coming up in December. I’m loving being a teaching assistant — I look forward every week to my two hour lecture.  I’m also taking a professionalization course and learning so many things about academia that I was unaware of before. And so much more! (I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I had any free time!)

One of the recent highlights was a potluck with Bryan’s colleagues. I love potlucks because they’re a good time to showcase your best recipes. I also like when to see a large diversity of foods from other cultures. We had just the right recipe to fit the bill: Bryan’s Mom’s Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole! It was perfect because I was able to find fresh Anaheim chile peppers at the grocery store that week, it’s difficult to find Mexican or Southwestern food here, it’s one of our favourite meals, and I was sure it was something that no one else would contribute to the potluck. (We also made Green Chile Pepper and Tomato Soup for ourselves while I was roasting all those chile peppers).

We had a fantastic evening full of good food and fantastic company! I hope we get an invitation to the next potluck despite that Bryan has now graduated.

I’m happy to report that the dish was well-received! We took one enchilada casserole with us to the potluck and kept one at home. Good thing I made extras, because there weren’t any leftovers to bring home.

Bryan’s Mom’s Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Changes from the original recipe:

  • The original recipe calls fora package of frozen “Bueno Hot Autumn Roast green chile.”  These chiles aren’t available here and the closet thing I can get is fresh Anaheim peppers.
  • The original recipe calls for wrapping some cheese and chicken in each of the (large size) tortillas. I could only find the small corn tortillas and opted for the casserole style used in Bryan’s Step-Father’s Red Chile and Enchilada Casserole. Thus, all the cheese went into the sauce instead of reserving some to fill the tortillas.
  • The original recipe calls for a Mexican cheese blend. The blends that I found either have chili or jalapeño peppers in them, which I didn’t want because this dish is spicy enough as is… so I opted to make my own blend using Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.
  • I doubled the quantities because we wanted lots of leftovers for lunch!

Green Chile and Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter– approximate cost $0.50
  • 4 (slightly rounded) tablespoons flour– approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt– approximate cost $0.05
  • 4 cups whole milk– approximate cost $3.00
  • 7 cups cheese (a blend of medium Cheddar and Monterrey Jack), shredded – approximate cost $9.00
  • 1 onion, chopping– approximate cost $0.75
  • 2.2 kilograms (4.85 pounds) fresh Anaheim (Green) chile peppers – approximate cost $20.00

Method

  1. Preheat your oven’s broiler.
  2. Roast the Anaheim chile peppers.
    1. Arrange the chiles in a roasting pan.
    2. Roast under the broiler for 5 minutes.
    3. Turn the chiles.
    4. Roast for an additional 5 minutes.
    5. Turn the chiles.
    6. Roast for an additional 5 minutes.
    7. Turn the chiles.
    8. Roast for an additional 5 minutes.
    9. Note: The chiles should be blackened on all sides at this point.
    10. Allow the chiles to cool.
  3. Peel the blackened skin off of the chiles.
  4. De-seed the chiles as necessary (more seeds = more heat).
  5. Chop the chiles into 1/4″ pieces and set aside.
  6. Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat until melted.
  7. Turn down the heat.
  8. Stir flour and sea salt into the butter.
  9. Stir constantly until the flour dissolves.
  10. Add milk.
  11. Stir until hot, but not boiling (the sauce should be quite thick)!
  12. Add cheese blend.
  13. Stir frequently until melted.
  14. Add the roasted chile pieces.
  15. Remove from heat.

Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1.2 kilograms (2.6 pounds) boneless, skinless chicken breasts – approximate cost $24.00
  • 48 small corn tortillas – approximate cost $1.80
  • Green chile and cheese sauce
  • Cooking oil– approximate cost $1.00

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare the chicken.
    1. Bake the chicken breasts until cooked through (about 15 minutes)
    2. Allow the chicken to cool until you can handle it.
    3. Chop the chicken into small, approximately 1/4″ pieces.
    4. Set chicken aside.
  3. Prepare the corn tortillas.
    1. Heat 1/4″ oil in a frying pan.
    2. Very lightly fry the corn tortillas.
    3. Place on paper towels as they come our of the frying pan to remove some of the oil.
  4. Assemble the casserole!
    1. Distribute half the fried tortillas into an even layer in the bottom of 2 9×13 baking dishes (it’s ok if they overlap).
    2. Top with half of the chicken.
    3. Smother with 1/2 of the green chile and cheese sauce.
    4. Distribute the second half the fried tortillas into an even layer in the baking dishes.
    5. Top with remaining chicken.
    6. Cover with remaining green chile and cheese sauce.
      1. Note: Once assembled, you can refrigerate the casserole and bake it at another time.
  5. Bake about 30-45 minutes, or until the sauce begins to bubble.
  6. Remove from oven.
  7. Let stand on the counter for a few minutes.
  8. Serve and enjoy! (Optional: Serve with beans, rice, and flour tortillas)

Makes about 24 servings, or 2 9×13 casseroles (approximate cost: $2.51 per serving).

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Fluster Buster

Main Dish: Duck Breast with Port Reduction

And now for the main attraction! (Sorry to my readers who don’t eat meat, I don’t have any alternative suggestions for you today)

I’ve made duck a handful of times, using the same recipe time-after-time. Why? Because it’s delicious, savory, and not too complicated. I’ll admit, it’s not exactly pretty. But it tastes wonderful.

The first time I was going to make duck at home (about 4 years ago when I was still living with roommates), I went through hundreds of recipes online, looking for just the right one. My Nana had suggested duck l’orange, immediately afterwards reminiscing on how the duck was oily and she only made it the one time, never revisiting the recipe. I was determined not to make the duck using this recipe for fear of a similar lackluster experience.

Instead, the recipe I’m sharing today came about by researching like crazy then making something entirely different. I wish I could recall which recipes are mashed-up to create this dish, but it’s changed so often over the years that the recipe has since become my own.

Have you recently made a dish that started as a found recipe but has, over time, become your own?

Duck Breast

Ingredients

  • 3 duck breasts – approximate cost $30.00
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3 teaspoons grapeseed oil – approximate cost $0.30

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Score the skin on each duck breast.
  3. Season each piece with sea salt and black pepper.
  4. Heat 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil in a frying pan on medium-low heat.
  5. Place the duck breast, skin side down, in the frying pan.
  6. Cook until the layer of fat under the skin begins to reduce and the skin is browned.
  7. Turn and cook until the flesh is browned.
  8. Remove to a baking dish.
  9. Pour any remaining oil/fat into a separate pot.
  10. Repeat for the remaining duck breasts.
  11. Move baking dish with duck breasts to the oven.
  12. Bake until the juices run clear (about 15-20 minutes).
  13. Allow duck breasts to rest at room teamperature for 5 minutes before serving.

Port Reduction

Ingredients

  • Leftover duck fat/grapeseed oil from cooking
  • 2 cups chicken stock – approximate cost $2.00
  • 3/4 cup port wine – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme – approximate cost $0.25

Method

  1. Combine chicken stock, fat/oil, port, and thyme in a pot.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium heat.
  3. Cook for about 30-45 minutes (or until reduced by about half), there should be about 1 1/4 cups of liquid
  4. Strain thyme from mixture.
  5. Drizzle over duck breasts and pour remaining sauce into a bowl for serving.

Makes 3 servings (approximate cost: $11.60 per serving).

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Very Belated (American) Thanksgiving

Back in November, when I was taking a break to focus on school, we hosted a small dinner party to celebrate American Thanksgiving. Even though it is now just after Christmas, I’d still like to share this meal with you. Why? Because it was delicious and I feel like it was generic enough to serve for any special occasion.

Last year, our American Thanksgiving dinner was much more traditional.

The Appetizer: Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Lemon Juice

The Side Dish: Accordion Potatoes

The Other Side Dish: Spaghetti Squash with Lemon

The Main Course: Turkey with Lemon and Rosemary

The Sauce: Cranberry Raspberry Sauce

The Dessert: Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust

This year, we decided to change things up for a number of reasons… a whole turkey is just too much for 3-4 people (we got sick of the leftovers) and I worked until 7 pm and needed something that could be prepared quickly.

So this year, the menu consisted of things I could (mostly) prepare the night before and cook quickly when I arrived home.

The menu:

  • Appetizer: Deviled eggs
  • Main dish: Duck breast with a port reduction
  • Side dish: Roasted potatoes with fresh thyme
  • Side dish: Spicy green beans with garlic

Our dear friend W brought home-made treats made by his mother. They were a fantastic way to finish off the meal!

Over the next few posts, I’ll share each of the recipes!

Butter Chicken Inspired Burgers on Basmati Rice

I’ve been meaning to make these burgers since the summer. If you recall, I was making a lot of burgers including:

I took a short break from burger making. So we didn’t get sick of eating them (and so you didn’t get bored of reading about them). I was excited to finally get around to trying out this recipe. Because curry and burgers are both awesome… so they must go well together, right? I’ve been planning this recipe for months and was very excited for the opportunity to try it out.

While these burgers tasted amazing, I was disappointed that they were soft and fell apart easily during the cooking process.

Life’s been super busy since I went back to school. I’ve found myself cooking larger meals that we can eat for a few days. I feel like I’m running out of things to share. With Thanksgiving weekend coming up, I won’t be home to cook. We’ll be visiting my mom’s side of the family on Saturday and Sunday. My cousin is making cherry cheesecake, one of my favourite desserts! Monday, I’ll be having dinner at dad’s house. I’m in charge of making the pumpkin pie. In all the chaos of the holiday, I’ll try to grab a few pics to share. That said, I likely won’t be posting on Monday.

Hope all the Canadian readers have a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend! And a fantastic weekend to those not celebrating!

Butter Chicken Inspired Burgers on Basmati Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 can tomatoes, drained – approximate cost $1.25
  • 4 medium-sized potatoes, diced – approximate cost $0.60
  • 1 pound ground chicken – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon cane sugar – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1/4 cup cashews – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.20
  • 2 cups cooked Basmati rice – approximate cost $0.30

Method

  1. Boil the potatoes until tender.
  2. Combine the onion, tomatoes,  potatoes, ginger, chili powder, cane sugar, garam masala, cumin, coriander, cashews, sea salt, butter, and dried cilantro in a blender.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Combine the ground chicken and egg in a mixing bowl.
  5. Work in 4 tablespoons of the blended sauce until chicken is well-coated.
  6. Divide the chicken into 4 portions.
  7. Form each portion into a burger patty.
  8. Move the blended mixture into a pot and cook on medium heat until heated through.
  9. Cook the burger patties until cooked through (I cooked mine in a frying pan).
  10. Heat the remaining sauce in a saucepan.
  11. Serve burger over cooked Basmati rice and top with curry sauce.

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.24 per serving).

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From my cookbook collection: Chicken Jalfrezi

Happy Birthday Bryan (The Official Taste Tester here at The Cook’s Sister)! Today, I’m going to celebrate his birthday by sharing links back to some of his favourite foods that I’ve blogged about and share a new recipe that he was very fond of. Check out some of Bryan’s favourites:

As you can probably tell, he really likes Southwest inspired foods and flavours. But… today I’m going to share a recipe from an Indian food cook book that I received as a birthday gift from my best friend a few years ago.

The book is Cooking School: Indian (ISBN 978-1-4075-6263-6 from Parragon Books). Why do I love this book? All of the recipes are formatted to fit on one page. There are beautiful pictures of the dish on the 2-page fold. The directions are broken down to be simple and clear. And best of all, everything I’ve made from this book has bee delicious, tasting just as good as the Indian food at our local restaurants (sometimes the recipes are a variation of what we’re used to, but always fantastic). I’ve made the Tandoori chicken, butter chicken, and now, the chicken jalfrezi.

This book has sat on my shelf for a while. I’ve read through and bookmarked recipes of my favourite dishes at restaurants when I first got it. I’ve thought about giving a few things a try, always dismissing it for one reason or another. It looks too time consuming, I don’t have time to marinate the meat, or I don’t want the apartment to smell like curry for a week were a few of my excuses. So, about a month ago, I finally cracked the cookbook, leafed through the recipes I had bookmarked, and decided on one that I would make.

Afterwards, I contacted the publisher to see if I could share the recipe with you (and, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, they said yes!). And so the cooking began. I’m not very familiar with cooking Indian food, so I made a  trip to the grocery store and stuck mostly to the original recipe. I added some yellow pepper for colour and used fresh grape tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes. The result? A yummy chicken jalfrezi!

This recipe is about a medium-spicy dish. If you want to turn up the heat,  add more tumeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and garam masala. Similarly, use less of these ingredients if you want the dish to be more mild.

Do you stick to a recipe when making new dishes? Or do you feel comfortable making substitutions?

Chicken Jalfrezi

Recipe from Cooking School: Indian (ISBN 978-1-4075-6263-6, http://www.parragon.com), posted with permission from the publisher

Ingredients

  • 1 pound /9 ounces /500 grams skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or breasts) – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder – approximate cost $0.10
  • 5 1/2 ounces / 150 grams canned chopped tomatoes – approximate cost $1.10
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch / 2.5 centimeter pieces – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 small or 1/2 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch / 2.5 centimeter pieces – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala – approximate cost $0.10
  • Indian (naan) bread or cooked basmati rice to serve – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Cut the chicken into  1-inch / 2.5 centimeter cubes and put in a nonmetallic bowl. Add the lemon juice and half the salt and rub well into the chicken. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 8-9 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic paste and ginger paste and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the tumeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the oil seperates from the spice paste.
  3. Add the marinated chicken, increase the heat slightly, and cook, stirring, until it changes colour. Add the warm water and bring to a boil, Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a small saucepan or skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until browned. Add the bell peppers, increase the heat to medium, and stir-fry for 2 minutes, the, stir in the garam masala. Fold the bell pepper mixture into the curry. Remove from the heat, and serve immediately with Indian bread or cooked basmati rice.

Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.80 per serving).

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Roasted Squab with Balsamic Vinegar, Honey, and Italian Seasoning

I wanted to start this post off with a witty comment about being at the end of the school year and so poor I had to resort to eating pigeons… but when I calculated the approximate cost of the meal, it became very apparent that this meal is a bit on the expensive side of my usual budget.

Loki thinks this dinner is for her

Loki thinks this dinner is for her

A few weeks ago we were selling squab at work. I wasn’t quite sure what it was at first, but not entirely surprised when I was told it was domesticated pigeon. Naturally, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided I needed to try it, even though I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. It looked kind of like a small chicken, so I thought that roasting it might be nice (and the evenings have cooled off enough that I can justify turning on my oven again). The recipe that caught my eye called for the squab to be marinated and grilled, so I adapted it. I didn’t have time to marinate the squab, so I skipped that step. And I roasted the squab whole instead of breaking it into pieces and marinating it.

Loki must be thinking: "Food Girl, this smells like chicken, my favourite. You're going to share, right?"

Loki must be thinking: “Food Girl, this smells like chicken, my favourite. You’re going to share, right?”

So, what did I think of it once it was cooked? It was yummy! The squab is all dark meat, tasting similar to chicken/turkey.  The balsamic and honey was very nice basted over the squab as it cooked. The sweet and tangy sauce was good, but had mostly evaporated by the time the squab was fully cooked, so I’d probably take the time to marinate the squab next time I make it.

Roasted Squab with Balsamic Vinegar, Honey, and Italian Seasoning

Adapted from Honey-Thyme Squab from MyRecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 squab – approximate cost $11.50
  • 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon honey – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 3/4 cup water

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rise whole squab well.
  3. Place in baking dish.
  4. Pour water over squab.
  5. Drizzle honey and balsamic vinegar over the squab.
  6. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and sea salt.
  7. Bake breast side down and covered until mostly cooked through.
  8. Baste squab in liquid.
  9. Flip squab so the breast is facing up.
  10. Turn oven to broil.
  11. Uncover and return squab to oven.
  12. Broil until skin is crispy and squab is cooked through.
  13. Remove from oven.
  14. Allow squab to rest for a few minutes.
  15. Serve with sides of roasted potatoes and green beans.

Makes 2 servings (approximate cost: $6.20 per serving).

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Chicken Burgers with Smoked Paprika and Rosemary

One of my blogging goals I set for myself is to post three times per week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), except on those really busy weeks when I can’t meet those goals. To help me continue motivating myself and working towards my blogging goals, I’ve decided to start participating in Mangia Mondays – a weekly blog hop/link party hosted by Delightfully Dowling & Shine Your Light. I’m excited to be participating!


June is a busy month for occasions in my family with both mom and dad’s birthdays and father’s day (not to mention it can be a bit expensive). Yes, yes, I know July is mostly over, but I want to share the chicken burgers that we made for mom’s birthday a few weeks back and I’m just now getting around to sharing the recipe.

This year, my brother and I set out to celebrate on a budget. For each occasion, we made a home-cooked meal (instead of eating out) and took care of the clean-up. This way, we treated out parents to a delicious, healthy meal and they didn’t have to do any work. We’re pretty sure they appreciated it as well as enjoyed the visit.

I didn’t get any photos from dad’s dinner, there were no leftovers for me to bring home and share with you, so I will only be posting about mom’s dinner.

When I shared the recipe for Chicken Roasted with Rosemary and Smoked Paprika, I mentioned that I might have been adding smoked paprika to just about everything I’m cooking. When coming up with the seasoning for these burgers, I insisted on using smoked paprika and consulted with my brother about what else we might use, what toppings we should buy, and what condiments would go best with the burger.

I topped my burger with mayo, lettuce, and a slice of tomato. The one in the photo is one of two that were leftover at the end of the meal, and it was surprisingly delicious the next day (I was worried it would be dry).

What do you cook for your parents on their birthday?

Chicken Burgers with Smoked Paprika and Rosemary

Recipe co-created by me and my brother

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground chicken – approximate cost $10.00
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.35
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 8 hamburger buns – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Combine the ground chicken, egg, smoked paprika, rosemary, sea salt, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix thoroughly using your hands (but be careful not to over-work the meat, that will make it tough).
  3. Divide the chicken mixture into 8 portions.
  4. Shape each portion into a burger patty.
  5. Cook the chicken burger patties any way you like!
    1. Barbecue the burgers until cooked through and slightly toast the buns.
    2. Fry the burgers over medium-high heat.
    3. Grill the burgers on a counter-top grill.
    4. Broil the burgers in the oven, turning once to cook both sides.
  6. Serve on hamburger buns with your favourite toppings!

Serving Suggestions

Serve with slices of your favourite vegetables and condiments.

Vegetables

  • Onion
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado

Condiments

  • Mayo
  • Avocado mayo
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Relish

Makes 8 servings (approximate cost: $1.66 per serving + toppings and condiments).

Check out the other posts for Mangia Monday!

Also linking to Makin’ You Crave Monday and Made by you Monday!

Red, White, and Blue Chicken Enchiladas

It’s Wednesday and I’m still reminiscing about last weekend. What made last weekend so special? I had a visit with my childhood best friend. The visit was much too short, but I’m still so glad we got to see each other. We hadn’t seen each other for two years. However, we frequently keep in contact through Facebook and blogging (check out Rhi’s blog, she has a super funky post about how to create vibrant and colourful hair). I love how even after so much time apart, conversation comes naturally. We catch up on every day things as if we’ve never been apart. We realize coincidences that, despite being so far apart, we have come to have so many similarities in our lives (from music to pastimes and more). I feel very fortunate that, even after all these years, we remain close friends.

Rhi and Me at her wedding (back in 2007)

The dish I’m featuring today reminds me of Rhi. Not because of any childhood memories, but because of the theme (red-white-and-blue). I made this dish to Celebrate the 4th of July with Bryan. Rhi is living in the United States.

So, what are the red-white-and blue ingredients?

  • Red: Tomatoes, Red enchilada sauce, red peppers
  • White: Chicken, tortillas, mushrooms, cheese
  • Blue: Blue corn tortilla chips

Did you make red-white-and-blue themed treats to celebrate the 4th of July? Please link me to your recipes, I need ideas for next year!

Red, White, and Blue Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 8 white tortillas – approximate cost $2.00
  • 3 small boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 700 grams) – approximate cost $7.00
  • 1 can diced tomatoes – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 can tomato sauce – approximate cost $1.25
  • 2 red peppers, diced – approximate cost $2.00
  • 500 grams crimini mushrooms, diced – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil  – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.40
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Spices – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.10
  • 300 grams Monterey Jack cheese, shredded – approximate cost $4.00
  • 300 grams Old Cheddar cheese, shredded – approximate cost $4.00
  • 100 grams (about 1 1/2 cups) blue corn tortilla chips, crushed – approximate cost $1.50

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. Bake the chicken until cooked through.
  3. Shred the chicken.
  4. In a large pot, sautée the onion in olive oil until softened.
  5. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, crimini mushrooms to the pot and bring to a simmer.
  7. Simmer for 15 minutes (the liquid should reduce and the sauce should become sort of thick).
  8. Add the red peppers, Italian spice, dried cilantro and chili powder.
  9. Remove sauce from heat.
  10. Fill each tortilla with a portion of the chicken and sauce (you want to have some sauce left over).
  11. Roll the tortillas and place seam side down in a 9×13 baking pan.
  12. Sprinkle with the shredded cheeses.
  13. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
  14. Bake for 15-20 minutes (the cheese should be melted).
  15. Remove from over and sprinkle with blue corn tortilla pieces.
  16. Let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Makes about 8 servings (approximate cost: $3.36 per serving).

Chicken Roasted with Rosemary and Smoked Paprika

I’ve been working in a butcher shop this summer. It’s a big change from the last few years, I’ve mostly worked office type jobs. It’s been a long time since I worked in customer service. Yet, I can’t complain at all about being back in that line of work! The hours are irregular, but they work around my academic schedule. The people I work with are all fantastic! The customers are pleasant. Some of them like to talk to me about cooking and even ask me for cooking advice. And, I get a discount on meat.

Each week since I’ve started, I’ve brought home something different. So I can try it and give an honest opinion to the customers. I also just want to have good food (all the product is local, free range, hormone free and antibiotic free). Last week I brought home a whole chicken. Despite my ambition to keep the apartment cool by not turning on the oven… I broke down and roasted a lovely whole chicken.

I can’t get enough of this chicken! It’s so delicious. I’m also a bit obsessed with smoked paprika at the moment (I just bought my very first bottle of it this month). I love paprika to begin with, but smoked tastes and smells delicious! I may be going a bit overboard with the ingredient at the moment… I’ve been adding smoked paprika to just about everything!

After picking apart the chicken over a few meals, I used the bones and bits of leftover meat to make chicken stock. Actually, I’ve learned more about making soup stocks recently. One of my co-workers and I were discussing it the other week. Apparently I’ve been doing it wrong the last few years since I started cooking for myself. Apparently you should never let the stock boil, only simmer. A slow cooker will bring it to a boil, so you should always make stock on the stove-top. If it boils, the stock will become cloudy. I kept this in mind while making chicken stock the other day.

What are your favourite spices to use when roasting a chicken?

Chicken Roasted with Rosemary and Smoked Paprika

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken – approximate cost $15.00
  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika – approximate cost $0.75
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. In a small bowl, combine smoked paprika, dried rosemary, sea salt, and black pepper and mix well.
  3. Add olive oil to the spices and stir well.
  4. Gently loosen the skin from the chicken (breast, legs, back), being careful not to tear it.
  5. Place the chicken in a roasting pan.
  6. Rub the spice mix under the chicken’s skin.
  7. If you have extra spice mixture, pour it over top of the chicken.
  8. Add about 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the roasting pan.
  9. Roast the chicken, covered, until cooked through.
  10. Remove cover (lid, aluminum foil).
  11. Turn the oven to broil.
  12. Continue to cook until the skin becomes crispy.
  13. Remove from oven.
  14. Allow to stand 5 minutes.
  15. Serve with your favourite side dished and enjoy!

Makes about 6 servings + stock (approximate cost: $2.70 per serving).

Chicken Hearts, Gizzards, and Liver Stir-fry

The weather has been so gorgeous here lately, that I’ve been taking the opportunity to walk more often rather than driving or taking the bus. I decided to take a detour through the park on my way from school to UpTown the other day, expecting to make a short stop by the petting zoo and continue on my way. Somehow, I’d forgotten that there would be baby ducks and geese everywhere, and stopped to take a few photos of the fuzzy ducklings and goslings. So cute!

I think the ducks thought I would feed them, which worked out well for a close-up photo!

The geese, as you could imagine, weren’t as welcoming. The adult goose was hissing at me while I snapped this photo. They are very protective of their goslings. I managed to get this photo and get away safely. The babies are just so adorable, I had to stop! Seeing all the animals return after winter, and the cute little ones is one of my favourite things about spring!


While I was out taking pictures, dinner was marinating in the fridge at home. I’m quite excited to share this recipe with you. It looks like a giant mess of a stir-fry, but it was really tasty. Bryan thought so too, but he rarely complains about anything I serve him, he’s such a good sport when I try out new recipes!

Normally, I avoid cooking liver. It’s cheap, yes, but it’s not always my favourite. It tends to have a weird texture and a strong flavour. It’s one of Bryan’s favourites, so I make try to buy it every month or two and eat it for one meal, leaving Bryan to finish off any leftovers. However… this adapted stir-fry recipe is a hit. I enjoyed it and didn’t really notice the things I normally dislike about liver. I will be making this again. In fact, I will probably make this often. On top of being delicious, it was very affordable!

How do you usually prepare liver? Any tips for having it turn out delicious every time? Please link to recipes if you can!

Chicken Hearts, Gizzards, and Liver Stir-fry

Recipe adapted from Simple Chicken Liver And Gizzard and How to make the green seasoning paste that’s so unique to Caribbean cuisine, both recipes from Caribbean Pot

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken livers – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1/2 pound chicken hearts – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 pound chicken gizzards – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 Vidalia onion, diced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, halved – approximate cost $3.00
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.45
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, de-seeded and minced – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 lime, juiced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 cups of uncooked Basmati rice – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 cup water

Method

  1. Cut the chicken hearts, gizzards, and livers into bite-sized chunks.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken hearts and gizzards (set the liver pieces aside for now), lime juice, salt, pepper, tomato pieces, garlic, jalapeño pepper pieces, thyme, cilantro.
  3. Mix well and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours (or longer).
  4. Cook Basmati rice according to directions.
  5. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  6. Add the onions and cook until softened (about 5 minutes).
  7. Add the chicken and marinade to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes, the chicken pieces should brown a bit.
  8. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce and reduce heat to simmer.
  9. Cover the pot with a lid and allow mixture to cook for 30 minutes (stirring occasionally and adding water if liquid begins to boil away).
  10. Turn heat up to medium.
  11. Add liver pieces.
  12. Remove lid from pot and cook for 5-10 minutes (until the liver is cooked through, watch it closely at this point, because liver cooks quickly).
  13. Serve over Basmati rice and enjoy!

Makes 5 servings (approximate cost: $2.13 per serving).

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