Chicken Enchiladas

chickenchiladas1Chicken Enchiladas is one of my go-to meals to gift.  You know…the meals you make for other people.  Easy to freeze and reheat.  I like to make a couple different meals/casseroles for families/couples who have just had a baby, this meal is always included.

Last week, though, we had Bob’s cousin, Dave and his fiance, Christine over for dinner and this is what I made.  Here’s how I do it.

Ingredients

  • ≈ 1 lb. chicken, cooked and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 4 oz. can diced green chiles
  • 1/2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 can enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups (or more) shredded Mexican cheese
  • 10-14 small flour tortillas

First, I chopped the onion and chicken.  I love this recipe to use up leftover grilled chicken, so mine was also marinated, but you could even boil/broil some chicken and shred it.  Whatever you like/works for you.onion.chickTo the onion and chicken, I add the can of diced green chiles and minced garlic (I use the pre-minced because I think it’s easier.  1 clove = about 1/2 tsp), sour cream, 1/2 cup of cheese (I just use a bag of the Mexican blend), and one can of enchilada sauce.chile.garlic.mixNow that we have the filling, spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray. (Yes, that’s  my huge hand…)spray.dishNow, you want to use flour tortillas.  They are much easier to roll.  For some reason (pregnancy brain?!), I told Bob to get corn tortillas.  This is what happened…enchiladafailCorn tortillas just don’t have as much give as flour tortillas so they just cracked and fell apart on me when I tried to roll my enchiladas.  So I just had Bob grab flour tortillas on the way home from work.  I like to use the small ones.  When you’re rolling, you want to go pretty quickly and kinda tuck them snug next to each other in the casserole dish so they don’t unroll.tortillasrolledOnce you’ve got all the tortillas rolled (how many you end up with just depends on how much you use to fill them, I usually end up with about 12-14), pour over the other can of enchilada sauce and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Cover them with foil and bake in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes, removing the foil for the last 5-10 minutes.  I was so anxious to get them in the oven, I forgot to take a picture.  This was after I removed the foil.sauce.cheese.addedLooking so good already!!  I served our’s with a side of Cilantro-Lime Rice.  They were SOOOO good!withriceThis recipe is a great freezer meal too.  Freeze them for a few hours after rolling in the casserole dish, then put them in gallon size freezer bags and take out however many you need at a time.  Just cover them with enchilada sauce and cheese and bake covered with foil for about 1 hour, removing the foil for the last 5-10 minutes.

Hope you enjoy these as much as I do! Olé!

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2nd Annual Clark Jackson Invitational

1-CJI

About a year ago, right after we had Clark, Bob’s brother Brian was coming to visit (and meet Clark for the first time) from Florida.  He went to Virginia Tech also, so we have a lot of mutual friends that live in the Baltimore/DC area.  As he and Bob were discussing his upcoming visit, they decided to get some guys together to play golf.

One thing led to another and the Clark Jackson Invitational was born!

Last year they played 2-man scramble with about 12 guys and while the men were on the course, the ladies came to hang out with me and Clark and get ready for the BBQ after!  Some pictures from last year:

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Original CJI golfers

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Bob’s cousin Paul and brother Brian with Clark

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Receiving the winning cash

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Winners! Jeff and Bob’s cousin, Dave

Because everyone had such a great time last year, we decided to do it again this year.  And we weren’t messin’ around!  I mean, Bob even got a trophy made with the winners of last year engraved on it!DSC03182But we’ll get to that…

This year there were 16 guys and they played 4-man scramble, with some other challenges like longest drive, etc.  We have a really good friend who works as a golf pro in Florida.  He wasn’t able to make it last year or this year, but he has officially been name the commissioner of the CJI and he made awesome score cards again this year using photos of Clark and all the guys playing.  nonameThe girlfriends/fiancés/wives came to our house to hang out with me.  We basically had a baby/dog play date with margaritas!  Seriously, there were 4 girls (and one who came a little later), 4 dogs, and 2 babies.  And we lost count of the margaritas :-)!

We could not have asked for a better day for the guys to golf.  It was just gorgeous!  When they got back, the winners were announced for each of the categories and the 4-some that took it all.DSC03172 DSC03169DSC03174 DSC03179

Oh the winners?  Yea, it just so happens that both my hubs and my little brother were on the winning team.  The 4-some from back left: Andrew Atman, Ben Grossman, Sam (my bro), and Bob.  We’ll get the winners’ names engraved on the trophy each year, but keep it at our house for safe-keeping.

Then we ate!!  DSC03166We had all kinds of BBQ foods, and one girl even brought Georgetown Cupcakes from DC!!!  Those were obviously a hit!

Once the BBQ started and the keg was tapped, I didn’t get a whole lot of pictures.  We had an awesome time hanging out in the beautiful weather, watching babies and dogs play together, and catching up with old friends.  Not to mention eating large quantities of food.

In the end we had 26 adults, 4 babies, and 9 dogs who made appearances at our house at some point on Saturday.  It was a blast!  Let’s just say we were exhausted on Sunday, but we can’t wait till next April for the 3rd Annual Clark Jackson Invitational!

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Herbed Basmati Rice

Yesterday I shared my recipe for Sausage Stuffed Peppers.  I served them with this super simple Herbed Basmati Rice.

Rice is a great starchy side and it is so versatile.

I can’t take credit for this recipe.  I actually got it from Bob’s grandmother.  She said she got it from the back of a bag of Basmati Rice years ago and hasn’t seen it since, but because it’s so easy, she remembers it and makes it a lot.  This quantity serves 2, with a little bit left over.

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup Basmati Rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 T butter/margarine
  • 1 tsp minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • salt to taste

You literally just throw all ingredients in a pot and cover it.  Bring the water to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 15-20 minutes (or however long your bag of rice says).  Fluff with a fork and serve.  It’s that simple.  And it’s so good.  Very flavorful!

Note: You could definitely use fresh herbs, but you may have to use more.  Maybe, a full tsp as opposed to 1/2.DSC02752 DSC02754

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

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Recently, I’ve been thinking of new meals to try.  I seem to go through phases where I make the same things and we eventually get bored with it.  I made these last night.  They were YUM!

Ingredients:

  • 4 green peppers, washed
  • 1 lb. Italian Sausage
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatos, halved
  • 3/4 cup shredded Italian cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko)
  • Salt and Pepper

First, preheat the oven to 400F.  While that’s heating up, cut the top off the green peppers and remove the seeds and ribs.DSC02743When the oven is preheated, pop the peppers in for 10-15 minutes. (20 if you don’t want any crunch.)DSC02747While they are in there, brown the sausage.DSC02740Once it’s browned, in a medium bowl, combine the sausage with the onion, tomatoes, 1/2 cup of cheese, bread crumbs, and some salt and pepper to taste.  Because I used Italian sausage, I didn’t need any other seasoning.DSC02745

Carefully stuff the peppers with the sausage mixture.DSC02748Then top them with the remaining cheese.  (You can never have too much cheese!)DSC02749Another 10-15 minutes in the oven and you’re done!DSC02756I served our’s with Herbed Basmati Rice (will post that recipe tomorrow, couldn’t be easier!).

A couple things I might tweak for next time: I might add some tomato sauce either to the sausage mixture or just on top for some more flavor.  And Bob suggested an all-in-one meal by adding the rice to the inside.  They were great just like this, but I like to play around with recipes to find our favorite version.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Bob works in a really cool neighborhood in the city.  For Halloween, they organized a “pumpkin patch” for children to get a free pumpkin.  Because of Hurricane Sandy, the event was postponed until November 1.  I think this meant a lot of people didn’t want/need a pumpkin so there were a TON of leftover.

So Bob brought a bunch home for me.

That’s A LOT of pumpkins!

Which means I’ve been pinteresting pumpkin recipes.  Today I made this yummy pumpkin coffee cake.

You can find the recipe here. (Which is where I got the picture above.  Mine wasn’t as pretty)  It is so so good.  I had some for dessert and you can bet I’ll be eating a huge piece for breakfast tomorrow!!

The recipe calls for a 15oz can of Pumpkin Puree.  I just substituted about 2 cups of fresh pumpkin puree.  I made that by following this “recipe”.

Pioneer Woman has a similar how-to for fresh pumpkin puree.

SUUUUUPER easy!  I only pureed one of the pumpkins as a test.  But tomorrow I think I’ll puree the rest and freeze some using Pioneer Woman’s method.

I’m planning to make some Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and some Pumpkin Soup.  Any other pumpkin-using recipe suggestions?

*Want to turn this post into a drinking game?  Take a sip every time you read “pumpkin” or “puree”.  Party Hardy.

Mmmm…Cereal

Last night was a milestone for Clark!  And I didn’t even cry!  Now THAT is a milestone for me.

Clark was 5 months old on Sunday.  Since he’s nursing, we didn’t have to start him on cereal yet but lately he has seemed so interested in food and eating.  His pediatrician suggested that we may want to take advantage of that interest.  Bob was excited.  I was resistant…but eventually came around.

Plus it was so darn cute watching him gobble it up.

We realized we didn’t have any baby spoons so we used this 1/2 tsp measuring spoon.  Can we say “ghetto”?  It worked fine but I picked up some spoons at Target today to use from now on.

We all thought the whole thing was a success!!

Happy Boy!!

Here’s a video of Clark’s first “meal”.

Eat Mor Chikin**

Did you know that Friday was Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A?  All you had to do was dress like a cow to get some free food.  I LOVE Chick-fil-A.  Plus I thought it would be adorable to dress Clark as a cow.  We didn’t have full cow costumes just laying around the house so we went with just some black electrical tape on white tees/onsie.  I made utters out of hot pink card stock too, but Clark ate both his and mine.  Bob was not thrilled about the “costumes”, but it was a fun family affair.

Well…kinda.  The food was amazing, as usual.  It was fun and kind of silly to dress up together, but there was a little…situation.  While we were waiting in line to order, we heard a ruckus behind us.  Apparently, two guys had a…shall we say “disagreement”?  There was a full blown fist fight and one guy threw his drink at the other.  Bob (who was holding Clark) obviously moved to the other side of the restaurant.  He also called the police (as did a few other patrons.)  It didn’t last very long as a few bigger guys jumped in to break it up, but needless to say, it was not the evening we expected.  We got the food to go and enjoyed it at home.

Thanks Chick-fil-A for an exciting partially free meal!

Next year I think I’ll put a little more effort into the “costumes”.

Did anyone else take advantage of Cow Appreciation Day?

**Trademark of Chick-fil-A

COOOOKIES!!

The post about my cookies!  Finally…it only took me forever!

So…I co-hosted a bridal shower for my friend Tori.  Her wedding was this past Saturday.  It was BEAUTIFUL!  Her colors were yellow and grey.  (Her favorite color is yellow.  It’s one of the first things I learned about her when I roomed with her in our sorority house freshman year.)  The groom, Stephen, is from Northern Ireland, so the shower was the Wednesday before so that his family (mother, aunts, etc.) would be able to attend.

Anyway…I was put in charge of deserts and favors.  I decided to kind of combine the two by making sugar cookies as favors!  Okay, so it wasn’t an original idea to have cookies as favors.  My sister-in-law’s shower a couple years ago had cookies for favors and I thought it was great.  Lots of times you get something cheap and/or useless as a favor.  This way, you get something YUMMY!  🙂  I also brought lemon sorbet with blueberries, and brownies to actually serve at the shower for desert. The cookies were bagged and handed out as each guest left.

So let’s see them!

Click on picture for a closer view.

I made two cookies per guest.  Plus a few extras in case more people RSVP’d last minute.

I piped/flooded with yellow icing, then went back and used a brush embroidery technique for the flowers and just piped dots in white icing.  (Because grey icing is NOT appetizing.)

I still had extra cookies and icing so I had some fun.

I just put those cookies in Bob’s lunch that week.

I got the bags from Party City for pretty cheap.  100 for $3.99 I think?

The twist ties came with the bags.  I debated using grey ribbon, but the silver twist ties actually looked pretty nice once I curled them.  Here’s how I did that:

Drop the cookie(s) in the bag and twist a couple times to secure. (I gave each guest two cookies.)

Then just take something small and round to wrap the twist tie around.  I wanted tight curls, so I used the end of my paintbrush.  But you could always use a pen or pencil if you want bigger, looser curls.  The twist ties are made with wire so the curl just stays.  It literally took me about 5 minutes to curl the twist ties on all 18 bags.  Easy Peasy!

Pretty right?

The shower was so fun and, not to toot my own horn, but the cookies were a huge hit!  People couldn’t believe they weren’t professionally made.  Plus, they were delicious.  One of these days I’ll have to post the recipe I use for the cookie dough and icing.

TOOT TOOT!  (Couldn’t help it, I’m pretty proud of myself)

Congrats to Tori and Stephen!

Sometimes I cook…

Actually, more than sometimes.  Currently I’m a stay-at-home mom so I definitely feel the responsibility to have a cooked dinner most nights.  Even if that means just marinating a meat to put on the grill.  I also enjoy cooking.  Usually.  Some nights I am just way too tired lazy to cook dinner.  Anyway, I made a super easy dinner that was yummy and easy clean-up the other night.

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

I know that soup is kind of a cold weather meal, but it really doesn’t have to be.  Especially when it’s Mexican.  Mexican food always reminds me of warm weather.  I adapted it from Pioneer Woman’s recipe.  Here’s what I did:

First I chopped up some veggies and threw them into the crock pot (already turned on low).

  • 1/2 cup green pepper
  • 1/2 cup red pepper
  • 1/2 cup onion (I used red, but any kind would be great)

There’s also a minced clove of garlic in there.

Then I chopped up some chicken.  I had some pre- marinated and cooked.  It doesn’t have to be marinated, or cooked, for that matter.  You could throw it in raw and just shred it before serving.  You could also just get a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and shred some of that to throw in.

  • 2-3 cups of chopped or shredded chicken

Side note: How cute is my sous chef??

Yes, he’s in a stroller.  He’s not quite strong enough to keep his head up if he’s sitting in the Bumbo for a long time and he got bored with being on the floor/rolling over.

Back to the soup…

To the veggies and chicken, I added some Taco seasoning.  You can make your own (I often do), but I had this on hand, so..why not?

  • 1/4 cup Taco Seasoning
I stirred that in.  Look how pretty!!
Then I straight up copied Pioneer Woman and added a can of Rotel.  Like she says…a can diced tomatoes and a can of green chillies gets you the exact same thing.
  • 1 15oz can o’ Rotel
Next, (we are almost done…) Chicken Broth.  It totally doesn’t have to be organic.  Again, this is just what I had in the pantry.
  • 1 32 oz. box of Chicken Broth

Then, my camera died.  Awesome-sauce!  I did take pics with my Ipad, but I guess I deleted those? I’m horrible with technology.  OBVI!

Here’s what else I added but don’t have the proof:

  • 1 15 oz can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 T tomato paste

I totally thought I had frozen corn in the freezer, but I was wrong :-(.  If I had it, I would have added about 1/4 cup.

  • With the crock pot on low, let it simmer for a few hours.  In my case, the chicken was already cooked so I just wanted the flavors to come together and for the whole thing to get hot.

To serve it, I put some shredded pepper jack cheese at the bottom of a bowl and ladled in some soup.  Then on top, I added some chopped up avocado and squeezed a slice of lime over it all.  MMMMmmmm.  It was delish.  We just ate it with a spoon, but you could also try it with tortilla chips.

Seriously, I had an awesome picture of the soup all served up and pretty.  Maybe it’s out there in cyber space somewhere.  Trust me, it was good!

Bob had three bowls.