Get Off The Couch and Cook

Get Off The Couch and Cook -

Enchilada Burgers


The flavors of an enchilada in the convenient hand-held form of a burger!  Just have a few extra napkins on hand.


Good heavens but it has been HOT here in Atlanta lately…hotter than usual!  And it’s only June which means it’s just going to get worse.  Thank goodness for A/C but it’s killing me money-wise even with keeping it set at 78ºF.  My electric bill for this month is almost $200!  $200 to keep my tiny 2 bedroom apartment at 78 degrees.  And that’s even with turning the A/C off when we leave. Since I’ve only been in the apartment for 6 months, the power company won’t allow me to go on the budget plan until I’ve been here for 12 months.  I’ve begged asked.

Because my apartment is fairly tiny and the kitchen is open to the living room, turning the oven on heats up the entire living area.  It never occurred to me how often I use the oven until this summer.  Apparently, I really like baking and roasting things!


Thankfully, Red Gold reached out to me again recently to take part in their Red Gold Summer Grillin’ Party that takes place June 24th – July 22nd on their Facebook page where they will give away a Large Big Green Egg each week, as well as 1,000 insulated tote bags.  As part of their event, they sent blogger kits out that contained an insulated tote bag like they are giving away, a bunch of canned tomato products and a coupon from Laura’s Lean Beef!


As soon as I opened the kit, a recipe formed in my head: Enchilada Burgers!  I’d been craving my first enchilada recipe ever since I made the ones from last week but really, really, really didn’t want to turn the oven on so this was the perfect use for some of the maters and the beef coupon.  And, since I already had everything I needed to make them in my pantry and freezer, I wouldn’t have to spend anything additional.

Yay!  Every little bit helps. 🙂


So, about these amazing burgers… I just drooled a little thinking about them.  The patties are made with ground beef, black beans, tomatoes with chile, and cheese and are basted with enchilada sauce.  They are then topped with more cheese and sauce.  It’s seriously like a beef enchilada on a bun but comes together so much more quickly and, best of all, no oven needed!

Even though Red Gold sent me a free blogger kit, all thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.

Enchilada Burgers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 servings
  • 15 oz can no-salt-added black beans
  • 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 3 oz cheddar cheese, shredded (3/4 cup)
  • 3 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded (3/4 cup)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 4 hamburger buns, split
  1. Drain and rinse the black beans in a strainer or colander. Add the tomatoes with chiles to same strainer and set over a sink or bowl to drain as much as possible.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the tomato sauce, garlic, garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and chipotle chile powder until well blended. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add the beans and tomatoes and mash the beans lightly with a fork until they are mashed about halfway. Add the ground beef and about half the cheese. Using your finger tips, gently mix the ingredients until well blended.
  4. Form the beef and bean mixture into 4 patties that are ¾" thick and packed as tightly as possible. Place on a plate and refrigerate while heating a large flat nonstick skillet pan over medium heat.
  5. When ready to cook, pour about half of the sauce into a small bowl. Use this sauce to baste the top of each uncooked burger patty.
  6. Place each patty on the heated pan, basted side down. Cook 7 minutes then baste the uncooked tops with more of the sauce. Flip the burgers so the enchilada sauce is down again. Cook for about 3 minutes then top the burger patties with the remaining cheese.
  7. Cook 4-5 minutes or until the burgers are cooked through and the cheese is melted.
  8. Serve on buns with reserved enchilada sauce and sour cream.


Chicken, Cheese, & Chile Enchiladas

chicken-cheese-chile-enchiladas-titleChicken, cheese and chiles… cha cha cha!  Don’t have chicken cooked already?  Just sprinkle a couple chicken breasts with salt, pepper, garlic, cumin and chili powder and bake at 400º for 20 mins.


The apartment complex that I live in is primarily Hispanic.  In fact, when we get notices from the office, they are in Spanish with the English translation on the back.  Being a fat white girl with pink hair gains me a lot of stares as I come and go but the other residents here have started warming up to me and I get acknowledging waves from a few of my neighbors.

Since moving here, both Mr. O and I have been craving Mexican and Tex-Mex food a lot more than usual because of all the delicious smells wafting from our neighbors’ kitchens.  It’s not uncommon on a Friday or Saturday night to look out our back door and see several people standing around a grill just outside the apartment downstairs cooking carne asada and carnitas.

chicken-cheese-chile-enchiladas-4Walking outside the building around dinner time and you can smell cumin, coriander, and chiles.  I’ll have something planned for dinner but just walking to the apartment makes me want something else for dinner more of the time and Me. O, who is here from start to finish of the neighborhood dinner hour, gets the brunt of it so it’s worse for him.

I didn’t really realize how much it was effecting us until I sat down to work on the pics for the post on Monday, this post and an upcoming post: they are all Mexican inspired!  Oops! 🙂


Just like the recipe I posted on Monday, these aren’t exactly the healthiest of enchiladas but, since I don’t plan on eating these every day, I’m okay with that.  They are still so much better than drive-thru tacos!

The creaminess of these works really well with the peppers so you get a nice bite which is cooled by the cheese and sour cream.  I think caramelized onion would be amazing in these, too, but alas!  I call him Mr. Onion-hater for a reason.  If you makes these with onion, please let me know so I can live vicariously through you, okay?


Chicken, Cheese, & Chile Enchiladas
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 16-18 enchiladas
  • 2 ~ 4 oz cans green chiles, drained
  • 1 ~ 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 c sour cream, divided
  • 12 oz shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (3 cups), divided
  • 1 lb cooked chicken breast, minced
  • 16-18 flour tortillas
  1. Preheat the oven to 425º. Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the chiles, tomatoes with chiles, garlic, cumin, pepper and 1 cup of the sour cream. Stir to mix well.
  3. Spoon half of the sauce into a smaller bowl and set aside.
  4. To the sauce in the large bowl, add the chicken, 2 cups of the cheese, and the remaining 1 cup of sour cream.
  5. Spoon ⅓ cup of the chicken-cheese mixture down one side of 1 tortilla. Roll gently but tightly and place seamside down on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tortillas until all the filling is used.
  6. Spoon the reserved sauce over the rolled tortillas and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.
  7. Bake for 10-15 mins or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Inspired by


Jalapeno Chicken with Bacon

jalapeno-chicken-bacon-titleYour slow cooker does most of the work with the chicken while cream cheese melted into the juices at the end create a fast and amazing sauce.  And don’t scared of the jalapenos!  This is only as spicy as the ones you use.


As I was scooping the jalapenos out of their jar to make this, I thought of meal times we had when I was a kid.  You see, my family had dinner together every night.  It was just the 4 of us: my parents, my little sister and me.  I can only think of a few instances when I was really little where this didn’t happen and that was when my mom first went back to work and had to work the occasional evening.  But the only thing I really remember about that, though, was begging my dad to learn to make something other than mac & cheese and hot dogs.

One of the funniest parts of almost every dinner was the fact that whatever condiments we had on the table ended up in front of Dad, like little condiment soldiers protecting his plate.  The man LOVES his condiments and that’s something that I definitely got from him.  I also picked up his love of spicy, bold flavors so I often think of my Dad when I make a lot of my food.


I rarely use jarred jalapenos but, like most people, I always have jar floating around the fridge.  Fortunately, they keep forever.  I also think they do have their place, though, especially for late night cravings for nachos.  I typically get the mild because I enjoy the flavor and think mild can be used in more types of things.  When I stumbled upon this recipe, I was glad that I had that jar.

I’ve cooked chicken breasts in the slow cooker before but still had chicken quarters in the freezer which I think are more forgiving, anyway.  I knew the original recipe was going to taste under seasoned, even with the pickled peppers, so I added garlic powder, salt, and pepper to the chicken itself and a bit of brine to the sauce which turned out A-mazing!


I almost left out the bacon for this…whaaaa?  I know, me leaving bacon out of a recipe is unheard of but don’t worry.  I left the bacon in.  🙂  The salty crunchy bits played really well with the creamy, slightly spicy sauce.  If you want this spicier, use spicier jalapenos.  Don’t like heat?  Well, some brands actually make a no heat version which are pretty tasty.

I just served this over couscous with my beloved roasted broccoli.  The sauce worked really well with all of that and also worked perfectly in leftovers for lunch later in the week.

Jalapeno Chicken with Bacon
  • 4 chicken leg quarters, skin removed
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ c reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ c pickled jalapeno slices, drained
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp cold water
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temp and cut into small pieces
  • 1 Tbsp brine from jalapenos
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  1. Sprinkle chicken with garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper.
  2. Arrange chicken in the bottom of a large slow cooker (5-7 qt) overlapping as little as possible. Arrange the jalapeno slices evenly over the top of the chicken.
  3. Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours or on high 3-3.5 hours.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a platter, leaving the jalapeno slices and cooking liquid in the slow cooker. Cover the chicken with foil to keep it warm.
  5. Turn the heat up to high. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Quickly whisk into the slow cooker. Add the cream cheese pieces to the slow cooker and whisk until smooth. Stir in the brine, salt and pepper. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve the chicken with the sauce and crumbled bacon.
Adapted slightly from


Not-a-Reuben, or the Reuben-esque, Sandwich

not-a-reuben-sandwich-titleLean roast beef, Swiss cheese, shredded cabbage, and homemade sauce on rye bread come together for a lightened version of a classic Reuben sandwich.

I love messy food and that’s one of the many aspects about a Reuben that I enjoy.  It’s the kind of sandwich that once you pick it up, you really can’t put it down again.  It’s not until the last tangy bite is in your mouth that you can wipe the dripping dressing from your arms and chin.

Okay, maybe it’s not that messy but I know I’m too far off.  The only “problem” with a classic Reuben is they tend to be somewhat high in fat and calories and who knows what chemical concoctions are in the sauce.


Not only that but Reubens don’t really travel well and I like sandwiches that can be portable which, to me, is kind of one of the novelties of sandwiches.  So, to save some calories and to make this a sandwich that could theoretically be brought on a picnic, I came up with  this version.

Since it’s not technically a Reuben, I’m just not sure what to call it so it goes by both names around our place.  It’s also a great way to use up any remaining burger & fry sauce, though that rarely happens.  You could also use your favor 1000 Island dressing as well, if you prefer.


Now, I know that prepackaged deli roast beef is high in sodium but it’s much lower in fat than traditional pastrami.  Since I rarely buy deli meats, I always end up having to read all the packages to find the one that has the pronounceable ingredients with the lowest sodium possible.  These meats are such a rarity in our house that I don’t feel too guilty when we do actually have them.

When I make these at home, I stick them under the broiler for a few minutes but for picnic-friendly fare, I assemble them on site to keep from getting soggy bread.  Soggy bread makes me sad.

Not-a-Reuben, or the Reuben-esque, Sandwich
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 sandwiches
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • 1 c burger & fry sauce or your favorite 1000 Island Dressing
  • 8 oz sliced roast beef
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1 c finely shredded cabbage
  1. Preheat broiler on high.
  2. Arrange the 8 slices of rye on a rimmed baking sheet
  3. On 4 of the slices, spread 1 Tbsp each of the fry sauce.
  4. Top each with 2 ounces of the roast beef and 1 slice of cheese.
  5. Place under the broiler about 6" from the heat for 3-4 minutes or until cheese begins to melt and the bare slices of bread start to toast slightly.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven.
  7. Arrange ¼ c of the shredded cabbage on top of each piece of melted Swiss. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp each of the remaining fry sauce.
  8. Top with the toasted pieces of bread and serve.
  9. Variation: leave them untoasted and save yourself extra heat in the kitchen!



Creamy Stovetop Mac & Cheese

creamy-stovetop-mac-cheese-titleNeed comfort food fast without resorting to a blue box?  This just takes a few minutes beyond the time it takes to boil the pasta!


Happy Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day!  It kind of snuck up on me this month since the 3rd Monday of the month is earlier than normal but it worked out.  This month I was assigned the blog Join Us, Pull Up a Chair  run by Heather.  Heather has a full time job, owns her own business, has a husband and kids AND manages to cook some delightfully delicious dishes.  I admire SuperMoms like Heather!

When I do my menu planning for the week, I always seem to forget about lunches on the weekends so when Mr. O and I were trying to figure out what to eat, it also dawned on me that I needed to pick something for my SRC assignment so I quickly checked Heather’s index to see if there was something that would save our afternoon appetites.

I had considered the Wingless Buffalo Chicken Pizza and the Upside-Down Sausage & Mushroom Pizza because I had pretty much everything on hand but I ultimately decided on the Creamy Stovetop Mac & Cheese because we’d both been craving macaroni & cheese and this was a much quicker version than the one I usually make.


Doesn’t that look good?!  Heather used sharp cheddar which would be really good but I used a Colby-Jack blend which is more mild but, I think, melts into a creamier end product.  Next time, I will probably do a blend of the cheeses.

Since Mr. Onion-hater’s aversion to onions is so strong that we treat it like an allergy, I had to leave out the shallot but increased the garlic which was a good call on our part.  This ended up being a very satisfying lunch with leftovers that made for a tasty breakfast the next morning while I watched “Parenthood” on Netflix. 🙂


Creamy Stovetop Mac & Cheese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 servings
  • 12 oz dried elbow pasta
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz Colby-Jack, shredded (or whatever cheese you like)
  • 2 oz freshly grated Parmesan
  • ¼ c + 1 Tbsp light cream
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water over high heat according to the package directions.
  2. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and pour the rest of the pasta through a colander to drain off the water.
  3. While the pasta drains, put the pot from the pasta back on the burner and reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter and swirl the pan until the butter is melted. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 30-60 seconds until the garlic is softened. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  4. Return the pasta to the pot along with the 2 cheeses. Stir to mix. Add the cream and yogurt and stir until the cheese is melted and the mac & cheese is creamy.
  5. If needed, add 1 Tbsp of the reserved pasta water to adjust the consistency.
  6. Season with salt & pepper and serve.

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Apple Cider Braised Cabbage


Cabbage gets a bad rap!  Here it is braised in apple cider and bacon drippings giving it a wonderfully tangy flavor for very few cents.


As you can probably guess, I am a huge fan of shows like “Top Chef,” not so much for the competition aspect but because I love to see the flavor combinations the contestants come up with.  I love picking up hidden cooking tips and hearing of techniques that I wouldn’t ordinarily be exposed to, like sous vide.

Through Top Chef, I’ve become a huge fan of one of the judges: Chef Tom Colicchio.  I enjoy the way he treats and speaks to the contestants and he speaks about food in a way that is passionate and intelligent without being pretentious.  He is in my top 5 list of chefs that I’d love to share a meal with.


When I saw his recipe on, I was immediately hooked and knew I’d have to make it as soon as possible.  I’m something of a convert went it comes to cooked cabbage thanks to Alton Brown’s Good Eats and my SRC assignment from January.  Cabbage has no fat or cholesterol and is high in calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and vitamins B6, C, & K as well as fiber.  Plus, it’s inexpensive so my grocery bill likes that!

My cabbage fell apart after it was cooked so I didn’t get the pretty wedges but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I make ugly food. 🙂


I adapted this recipe very slightly, mainly because I had to the omit the onions for Mr. O and more bacon is usually a good thing.

Apple Cider Braised Cabbage
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 - 6 servings
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ - 2 lb head of green cabbage, cut into 6 wedges though the core
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp jarred, minced garlic
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • ½ c apple cider vinegar
  • 2 c apple cider or juice
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the cabbage, cut side down, and turn the heat down to medium. After 3-4 minutes, turn once and cook until 3-4 minutes, Transfer the cabbage pieces to a plate.
  2. Add the bacon pieces t the skillet and cook, stirring, until rendered but not yet crisp. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 30-60 seconds.
  3. Stir in the apple cider vinegar and simmer over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes or until reduced by half.
  4. Add the cider and stir. Bring to a boil and return the cabbage to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover the pan to braise until tender, about 20 minutes, turning the cabbage once about halfway through.
  5. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to transfer the cabbage to plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
  6. Turn the heat up to medium-high and stir occasionally until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Stir in the butter and remove from the heat. Once the butter has melted, season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the cabbage and serve.
Adapted slightly from


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