Get Off The Couch and Cook

Get Off The Couch and Cook -

Enchilada Nachos

enchilada-nachos-titleThe flavor of enchiladas served nacho-style… it’s a Tex-Mex/Tex-Mex infusion! 🙂


 

I am really super ready for summer to be over.  Unfortunately, however, I live in the south where summer lasts from March though October so I’ve got a while for this heat wave to pass.  Because our electric company raises their rates in the summer and because I am in an older apartment that is not air tight, my A/C bill continues to be through the roof even with the thermostat set between 80ºF and 82ºF.

So Mr. O and I tend to sit with all the lights off save one low wattage accent lamp with multiple fans blowing on us.  It’s too hot to do much of anything so we’ve certainly become even more couch potatoes than normal.  While sweating through an episode or 2 of NCIS in the evening, though, I do spend some time catching up on emails and recipes.

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During one such online excursion, I came across a recipe for slow cooker enchilada sloppy joes that was basically ground beef, taco seasoning and a can of enchilada sauce.  My mind, of course, translated several ingredients into homemade but I couldn’t quite understand the slow cooker part.  The ground beef was already cooked and spending 8 hours in the cooker would make it more watery.

While I was contemplating the bun and trying to figure out a different way to serve that seemed less…. wrong, for lack of a better word, I had a vision of tortilla chips.  Tortilla chips?  Yes!  Nachos!  I could serve this as nachos!  Perfect!

And that’s what I did. 🙂

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I made my usual taco beef but did a thicker version of the enchilada sauce that did not need to be simmered.  Then I added some canned chiles, some tomatoes, and some black beans and let it simmer for a few minutes to meld and thicken.  After layering the beef mixture on the chips with cheese, I decided to let the meat mixture melt the cheese rather than turning on the Box O’ Hellish Heat.

I then added lettuce, tomato and sour cream to mine simple because that’s what I like on my nachos.  Of course, I made way more taco-enchilada meat than either of us could eat so I had plenty for leftovers which we ate as tacos on flour tortillas.

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This turned out to be incredibly satisfying in a number of ways, especially with the contrasting cold and creamy toppings.  You get salty, savory, crunchy, creamy, cool, and refreshing along with a combination of indulgent and healthy.  At least that’s the way I see it.

Oh, and by the way….

Happy Birthday, Mr. O!  🙂

Enchilada Nachos
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Makes: 4 large or 6 smaller servings
 
Ingredients
The meat
  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ¼ c water
The sauce
  • 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chipotle chile powder
The rest
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 10 oz can tomatoes with chiles, drained well
  • 4 oz can green chiles, drained well
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • Large bag of tortilla chips
  • Toppings: shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream, diced onion, sliced olives, etc.
Instructions
  1. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the ground beef over med-high, stirring and crumbling the meat as it cooks, until most of the pinkness is gone, about 5-7 minutes. Drain away any excess grease, if necessary. Add the chili powder, 1 Tbsp cumin, paprika, coriander, salt, cayenne and water. Stir to mix well and let simmer for about 5 minutes while mixing the sauce.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the tomato sauce, garlic, 2 tsp cumin and chipotle chili powder. Stir the sauce into the taco meat and bring to a simmer. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, while getting your toppings ready, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. To serve: layer tortilla chips in a nearly single layer on each plate, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with cheese and top with some of the meat mixture. Repeat with another layer of chips, cheese, and meat. Top with your favorite toppings.

 

Bacon Onion Jam & Bacon Salt (Bacon Week #2)

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I am in love.  It’s true.  And this is a love like no other I have ever experienced and I don’t know if I will ever be the same.  Even as I sit here typing this, my mouth yearns for the deliciousness shown in the picture above.  Sweet ~ but not too sweet ~ thanks to the caramelized onions and brown sugar and salty ~ but not too salty ~ due to the bacon.  It’s meant to be a condiment but I’ve eaten literally close to half of it just by the spoonful.

I’d actually never had bacon jam before this but of course it sounded heavenly to me.  I tried to find a way of making a bacon jam without onions for Mr. Onion-hater but onions are pretty much needed to make this.  So I did something I rarely do: made something just for me.  Mr. C liked it but I know that he won’t use this on purpose for anything and I am okay with that. 🙂

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Most recipes I had seen for this also called for coffee.  I am one of those rare people that does not like coffee or even the smell of coffee, though.  Coffee is one of those flavors that takes over everything so even just a bit in anything and it’s ruined for me.

I had a boss once who was determined, for some reason, to find something with coffee in it that I would like.  I think she went through the entire coffee menu at places like Starbucks even though I kept telling her to save her money.  She even tried lying to me a couple of times by calling the frozen drinks smoothies or shakes.  She failed.

So… anyway… when I found a bacon onion jam recipe in a Food Network magazine insert (March 2014, the Bacon Issue), it was love at first glance.  I tried to find their recipe online for you but I can’t find it.  The main difference is they added a tablespoon of thyme which I left out and I used black pepper instead.

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The bacon-onion jam has a much different consistency when cold that makes sense but still surprised me a little bit when I came home to find the cooled jar on the counter with solidified bacon fat on the top.  I skimmed as much as I could off the top then mixed it in.  It still tastes just as amazing but from a visual perspective, I think it looks a lot better when heated up for just a few seconds in the microwave.

This would taste amazing on the pork apple burgers I made a little while ago as well as a topping/dip for crackers.  I am quite happy to to just eat it with a spoon, too, though.

The same day I made the bacon-onion jam, I also made….

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Another idea I got from the same insert in the Food Network magazine was for bacon salt.  It sounds pretty much like what it is: salt with ground up cooked bacon.  I really liked the different level of savory that the bacon added to the salt.  It’s pretty subtle and, just like regular salt, a little goes a long way.  I made the mistake of using too much the first time because… well… bacon.

Now, while I didn’t necessarily need a reason to make these 2 things, I did have a reason.  Check back tomorrow to see what I did!

Edited to add: I just found out that today is Kevin Bacon’s birthday.  How funny that I chose this week for a Bacon Week without even knowing that!

 

Don’t forget about my giveaway I am doing this week…. You could win 1 of 2 items that I designed myself!

Bacon Onion Jam
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Makes: ~ 2½ cups
 
Ingredients
  • 6 slices of bacon, cut into ¼" pieces
  • 1 c. all-natural apple juice
  • ½ c. cider vinegar
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp, freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 medium onions, quartered then sliced as thin as possible (approx. 6 cups, sliced)
Instructions
  1. Heat a large pot, such as a 4-qt Dutch oven or stock pot, over med-high heat.
  2. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until almost fulled cooked, about 10 minutes.
  3. meanwhile in a small bowl, mix together the juice, vinegar, brown sugar and black pepper. Set aside.
  4. Add the onion to the pot and stir to coat with the bacon grease in the pan.
  5. Pour in the juice mixture and stir. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, 45-60 minutes. After the 45 minute mark, keep checking and stirring every 5 minutes until the mixture is thick and dark, golden brown.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and let come to room temperature.
  7. Skim and discard as much of the solidified white fat from the top of the mixture. Stir what's left in the pot and spoon into an airtight container.
  8. Keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
  9. To use: put the amount you wish to use in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave for 5-10 seconds.
Notes
Adapted from The Food Network's magazine insert "50 Bacon Appetizers", March 2014

Bacon Salt
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Makes: ½ - ¾ cup
 
Ingredients
  • 5-6 slices of thick cut bacon
  • ¼ c kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Cook the bacon until dark golden brown and crisp either on the stove top or in the oven (350° for 10-15 minutes per side). Drain on paper towels and cool completely.
  2. Using more paper towels, blot the bacon with paper towels to remove as much grease as possible.
  3. Slice the cooked bacon as thinly as possible, removing any large pieces of fat. Press the bacon pieces again to remove as much grease as possible.
  4. Add the chopped bacon to a mini food processor and pulse until the bacon is finely ground.
  5. Pour the bacon onto a paper towel and blot away any grease one more time.
  6. Add the bacon to a small bowl and add the salt. Use your fingers to incorporate the bacon into the salt as evenly as possible.
  7. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks
Notes
Adapted from The Food Network's magazine insert "50 Bacon Appetizers", March 2014

 

Hoisin Garlic Mushrooms (with homemade hoisin sauce)

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Every other Tuesday, my husband has standing plans with a friend of his so Mr. Onion-hater and I often have what we call “Foodie Night.”  Foodie night will sometimes entail going some place that Mr. Consumer* doesn’t particularly enjoy.  Like FLIP Burger**… it’s too trendy for his down-home tastes (I don’t disagree) and he had to wait 20 minutes for a table the one time we went there for dinner.  He’s not good at the waiting.  🙂

Foodie night usually involves cooking, though.  It can be something one of us is especially craving that Mr. Consumer isn’t a fan of, like chorizo and corn tacos (to be posted at some point), or something that is more cooking intensive for a normal weekday meal like the cottage pie.

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For the most recent Foodie Night, Mr. O and I were going to make pork dumplings for the first time and were going to try making baked egg rolls again since I wasn’t 100% happy with our last attempt.   We were also going to do my take on these mushrooms so he got those started in the slow cooker before I got home.

I ended up leaving work early that day for a doctor’s appointment which took a lot longer than I expected and got me home later than expected.  Plus, I forgot to grab my lunch that day so only had a yogurt for lunch.  By the time I got home, the last thing I wanted to do was spend an hour or more forming egg rolls and dumplings.  We ended up just cooking the ingredients together for some weird stir-fry hybrid which was pretty tasty and still went well with these mushrooms as a side.

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The mushrooms completely absorbed the flavors and had that perfect sweet-salty-tangy-spicy-earthy combination.  My taste buds were confused for a second with all the flavors that were going on so needed a 4th and 7th bite to just be sure.  They really weren’t confused.  Just greedy.

Dinner that night was very satisfying and made for a good lunch a couple days later as well.  It’s good to be adaptable in the kitchen, especially when menus are planned out. I just have to figure out what to make with the egg roll and wonton wrappers now. 🙂

Hoisin Garlic Mushrooms
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Makes: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ c reduced sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ c water
  • 3 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sweet chile sauce
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 24 oz whole button mushrooms
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together everything but the mushrooms. Set aside.
  2. Using a damp cloth, wipe the dirt off the mushrooms and place in a 4-qt slow cooker.
  3. Pour the sauce over the mushrooms and stir to coat.
  4. Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours or high 2½ - 3 hours.
  5. Serve warm.

 

I like to make my own hoisin sauce instead of getting the bottled kind which often has artificial ingredients and preservatives in it as well.  Plus, after figuring out my own hoisin sauce recipe, I’ll never enjoy the bottled stuff the same way again!

Hoisin Sauce
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Prep time: 
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Makes: ½ cup
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ c. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sweet chile sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Instructions
  1. Whisk together and use immediately

 

* Someone once asked my husband if he cooked.  He laughed and said, “No.  She’s the cooker.  I’m a consumer.” 🙂
** If you live in the Atlanta area, I highly recommend FLIP Burger.  They make as much as they can in-house and locally source much of their food items.  They have a handful of standard items on their menu but it seems to change monthly and everything I’ve had there has been incredible.  The chef and owner, Richard Blais, is incredible at putting flavors together between 2 buns.  For your first time, I recommend their sampler of 3 mini burgers so you can try more things.  Also get the side sampler.  The fries are cooked in beef tallow which is unlike anything I’ve had before.  It brings them up to another level, like french fry angels slam dancing on my tongue.  Or do like Mr. O I do and split 2 different burgers.  Their food isn’t 100% unprocessed/”real” so my stomach still hurts after eating there but it’s nowhere near the degree it hurts after eating at most restaurants.  

Roasted Curried Chicken with Spicy Potatoes & Cauliflower

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This is one of those recipes that I thought I would try, check off in my recipe book, and move on without much comment made.  That happens a lot, actually.  A number of recipes I try are okay but nothing to write home about… or blog about.  Even with my tweaks I make.  The flavor profile of this recipe, though, was so far outside my cooking experience that I followed it pretty darn close to the original.

I’m glad I did because this was goooooood!  And quick to put together. 🙂

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The chicken and the veggies are cooked at the same time but on separate pans so once you have them in the oven, you have a half hour to do something relaxing, like catching up on an episode of “How I Met Your Mother”.  You’ll just need to pause it after about 15 minutes to flip and stir and switch pans around.

I love Netflix.  I watch so much more TV and movies now, though, thanks to the big red screen but I am becoming a master at balancing being lazy and cooking good food that we shamelessly eat in front of the TV for a number of reasons, most of which are logistical.

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I originally saw this recipe in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of “Cuisine at Home” but I found an online version as well.  I didn’t veer away from this recipe very much but I did make a couple minor changes to it.

The next time I make this, I’m thinking the 10-Minute Tzatziki would be a great addition on the vegetables.  I’m also going to split this recipe up for you so you can quickly and easily just make either the chicken or the vegetables without having to resort to simple math. 🙂

Roasted Curried Chicken with Spicy Potatoes & Cauliflower
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Makes: 5 servings
 
Ingredients
For the chicken
  • 1 Tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 10 chicken drumsticks
For the vegetables
  • 2-lb head of cauliflower cut into large but bite-sized florets
  • 2 lbs red skinned potatoes cut into ¾" pieces
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Cover 2 large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Adjust the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Place the pans on each rack and preheat the oven to 475°.
Chicken
  1. If only making the chicken, place a single pan in the center of the oven while the oven is preheating.
  2. In a large resealable bag, combine the curry powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Add the chicken and seal the bag. Toss to coat the chicken well.
Vegetables
  1. If only making the vegetables, place a single pan in the center of the oven while the oven is preheating.
  2. Place the cut up cauliflower and potatoes in a large bowl. Toss the vegetables with the spices and oil until all are well coated.
Both
  1. As soon as the oven is preheated, remove the pans from the oven. Add the chicken to one pan and the vegetables to the other. If making both, place the vegetables on the top rack and the chicken on the bottom.
  2. Bake for 15 minutes then remove the pans from the oven. Flip the chicken pieces and stir the vegetable. Place back in the oven, this time with the chicken on the top rack and the vegetables on the bottom.
  3. Cook for 15 minutes longer or until the chicken juices run clear when poked.
Notes
From pg 10 of "Cuisine at Home" Jan/Feb 2014 issue

 

Gyro Pizza (with homemade tzatziki and Greek seasoning)

gyropizzatitleIf you are not familiar with the Greek sandwich called a gyro (pronounced YEER-oh), it is meat, usually lamb and/or beef, that is cooked on a vertical spit then the meat is shaved off and served on warm pita bread with onion, tomatoes, and a yummy yogurt sauce called tzatziki.  There are, of course, many versions of gyros but the one I described above seems to be pretty common here in the U.S.

The first one I remember ever having was from a food truck at the Park Point rummage sales as a kid.  Hmm… just like the egg salad from last week, Park Point holds another food memory for me…. I remember that first intoxicating bite like it was yesterday.  I’d never in my life had anything that tasted like that.  The sweet, garlicky, creamy sauce mixed with the warm pita bread and cold tomatoes and freshly carved meat with a unique yet familiar flavor (which I learned later in life was cinnamon being used in a savory form) made my mouth feel like it was dancing.

gyropizza1Since then, I’ve had gyros pretty much anywhere I’ve been able to get them.  Even the ones that were mediocre still made me happy.  I even tried some horrid boxed version when I was in my 20’s that you could make at home.  They were okay at best but still satisfied that occasional craving I get for gyros.

Now that I am older and wiser about food, I realized that I could make these at home fairly easily.  Minus cooking the meat on a vertical spit.  But… even better… I realized I could combine yet one more thing with my love for pizza.  A gyro pizza is certainly something I’ve never heard of before.  Gyro nachos, yes. In fact, Cassie’s post about her gyro nachos is what got me started on thinking about this gyro pizza.  I also made her Ten Minute Tzatziki as is.  All I did was double it to get enough for 2 pizzas.

gyropizza3I normally prefer a thin crust on my pizza so when I make my pizza crust, I typically split a single batch in half for 2 pizzas.  This pizza did better with a thicker, more substantial crust since it’s supposed to mimic the pita bread of a gyro.

I actually made 2 pizzas even though I’m going to give you the directions below for just 1.  This has worked out really well for lunches this week at work.  Because the crust is fully baked before being topped with the tzatziki sauce and because it is nice and thick, it held up really well in the refrigerator.  And yes, I ate it cold. 🙂

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Gyro Pizza
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Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 12 pieces
 
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe of Ten Minute Tzatziki (see recipe below)
  • 1 batch Quick Pizza Crust
  • 1 Tbsp Greek seasoning (see recipe below)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • ¼ c water
  • 2 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 c shredded lettuce
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Optional: chopped onion, sliced olives
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Make the tzatziki sauce and refrigerate until ready for use.
  3. Mix the yeast, sugar, and water for the dough.
  4. While the yeast is blooming, make the Greek seasoning and set aside. Spray a large 15"x10" baking sheet with nonstick spray and sprinkle with cornmeal. Set aside.
  5. Add the flour, salt and olive to the yeast mixture to form your dough and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  6. Just before you start to form your crust, heat a large nonstick pan over med-high heat.
  7. Press the dough evenly in the prepared baking sheet and poke holes all over it with a fork to prevent air pockets while the crust cooks. Place it in the oven and bake 15-22 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. After placing the crust in the oven, add your ground beef to the skillet and cook, stirring, until no pink remains and the meat is crumbled. Drain off any grease. Add 1 Tbsp of the Greek seasoning and water. Mix well and let simmer until the liquid has evaporated. If it has finished cooking before the crust is done, just remove it from the heat and set aside.
  9. Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool slightly. I use this time to shred my lettuce and chop the tomato.
  10. To build the pizza, spread the tzatziki sauce evenly over the warm crust. Top with the cooked meat, crumbled feta, lettuce and tomato.
  11. Cut into pieces and serve.

 
Ten Minute Tzatziki
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Makes: 1.5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • ½ large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced small
  • 1 c plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp minced jarred garlic
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients well.
  2. Cover and refrigerate at least 10 minutes before serving.

 
Greek Seasoning
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Cuisine: Greek
Makes: 2 Tbsp
 
Ingredients
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp dried dill
  • ¼ tsp dried marjoram
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp dried thyme
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Mix well in a small bowl.
Notes
Adapted from food.com

 

 

Build-Your-Own Burrito Bowls

chickenburritobowltitleFinally!  We get to the good part: the burrito bowls themselves.  There is no right or wrong way to build these.  If you think it would taste good, add it!  There isn’t even really a recipe for this… it’s more of a list of possible things you could include since everyone can add what they want to their own bowl.

If I would have been thinking, I would have taken pics of the ones the guys did to show the difference but I was too busy trying to make mine pretty for pictures.  LOL  After I took the picture, I added a ton of shredded lettuce to mine and mixed it up.  It was definitely not pretty as I shoveled it into my face ate it.

chickenburritobowl2So, without further adieu… here is the “recipe” for burrito bowls with links to the recipes I also have here on this site.  Just remember that you can add or leave out anything that your little tummy desires.  That’s the joy of “build your own”.

Build-Your-Own Burrito Bowls
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a bowl or plate, add the toppings of your choice in the quantity of your choice.
  2. Let each person do the same.

What else would you add?

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