Monday, September 30, 2013

Chicken Chili Tamale Pie

As much as I would love to take credit for this recipe, I stole it from Food and Wine but I tweaked it a little.  It was amazingly good and really easy.  There are a couple of steps, but you basically cook the chicken, make the chili, make the cornbread and bake.  You can also use pre-cooked chicken if you have it on hand.

Chicken Chili Tamale Pie (serves 4-5):
4 chicken thighs, or 2 breasts
Mexican Spice Mix - equal portions of chili powder, coriander, cumin, oregano brown sugar, salt,  and pepper (should be about 2-3 tbsp)
canola oil

Heat oven to 400 F.  Sprinkle the spice mix on both sides of the chicken (if you have some left over, save it for the chili), drizzle a couple drops of oil over each thigh and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.  Let cool slightly and shred with two forks.

1 tbsp canola oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup frozen corn
salt and pepper
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
few dashes of red chili flakes
2-3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup (or a little more) of chicken broth
shredded chicken from above
chopped cilantro

In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute the onion, garlic and bell pepper.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the frozen corn and stir for a minute or two.  Add the spices (and any left over spices from the spice mix above), let toast for a minute.  Add the tomato paste and chicken broth.  Let cook on low for 5 minutes or so, add the chicken and the cilantro.  Taste for seasoning.  Keep on low while you make the cornbread.

3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1-2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
few dashes of red chili flakes
couple pinches of pepper
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp milk
1 tsp half and half
3 tbsp canola oil
1 large, or 2 small eggs, beaten
2 hand-fulls of shredded cheddar cheese plus more for sprinkling on top

In a bowl mix the dry ingredients with a whisk.  Combine the wet ingredients and pour those into the dry, whisk to incorporate.  Add the cheddar cheese, stir to combine.

Turn oven down to 350 F.  Coat a ceramic baking dish with non stick spray.  Transfer the Chili to the dish and top with the Cornbread.  Sprinkle a little more cheese on top and bake for 40 minutes, until the cornbread is done and has a nice color to it.  Let rest for 5-10 minutes to set and garnish with some more cilantro.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Esquites is like Elote but off the cob, much easier to eat but has the same yummy creamy, tangy, spicy flavor that I love.  While the Boy won't touch this with a 10 foot pole (he's mayo-phobic), I love it and it's a super easy side dish to go with tacos, enchiladas, or even huevos rancheros.  You can either use corn on the cob, or for an easier version, I used sweet white frozen corn.

Esquites (serves two):

2 cups of frozen corn
1-2 tbsp low fat mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 scallion, thinly sliced
5 cilantro sprigs
1 lime, zested and juiced
queso fresco or Parmesan, freshly grated

Heat up a frying pan super hot, add the frozen corn and be careful, they will pop.  Cover and "saute" for a few minutes, until the corn has a little char on it.

Add to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients and taste for seasoning.  Serve warm immediately.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stuffed Squash

Lately, some of my girlfriends and I have been doing ladies dinner.  Each person brings something, appetizer, entree, side dish, dessert, wine, etc.  It is always super easy, we keep it pretty small, and we all have an amazing time.  This past time we decided on a Fall Theme for our dinner.  Perfect time to use some fall vegetables such as squash, kale and sage.

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Apologies for the quality of the photo, I only had my phone with me

Stuffed Squash (serves 4-6):

2 acorn squash (or small pumpkins), halved vertically and seeds scooped out
.75 lb breakfast chicken sausage links, removed from the casings
1 sweet onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups of raw kale
1 heaping cup of diced stale bread
1 cup of chicken broth
chili powder
5-6 sage leaves, minced finely
1/2 cup or more of graded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400F.

Brush the halved squashes with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Dust the squashes with whatever seasonings you like (I used nutmeg, cinnamon and chili powder) maybe 1/4 tsp of each.  Flip over so they're face down and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the squash is soft but not mushy.

Take out of the oven, flip over and let cool for a few minutes.

While the squash is roasting, heat a little oil in a deep skillet and brown the chicken sausage, breaking it up with the back of your spoon into smaller bits.  Once browned, take out with a slotted spoon and let cool and drain on a paper towel.

Add the diced onion, carrots and garlic, season with salt and pepper and saute for 4-5 minutes until the onion is translucent.  Add the kale and cook for another few minutes.

Add the bread and the chicken broth and stir to combine.

Now it's time for the squash, take a spoon and carefully scoop out some of the flesh, not all of it, and contribute it to the stuffing mixture.  Be careful, the squash is still very hot and it's easy to puncture the skin, we need the skin in tact.  Once you scoop out all four squash halves, add half of the Parmesan cheese mixture, a little more salt and pepper along with the minced sage.  Stir together and taste for seasonings.

Return the stuffing mixture back to the hollowed out squashes equally distributing the stuffing.  Sprinkle the remaining of the Parmesan onto each squash and bake for another 10 minutes.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pea Crostini Dip

I really don't know how to name this post...

This pesto like dip/spread/appetizer literally came out of what I had in my freezer and pantry.  We were hosting an impromptu Wine Wednesday night and I didn't have time to go to the grocery store beforehand and it was just a small party so, I winged it.  This dip was nutty and sweet with a little bit of heat from the red pepper flakes and it had a lovely green color.  Perfect with Pita Chips, toasted bread, or crackers with some cheese.

Pea Dip/Spread

1/2 an onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 - 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 bag of frozen peas
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
1 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
few handfuls of mint
few sprigs of parsley
2-3 tbsp half and half
1/2 cup graded Parmesan cheese

In a sauce pan, melt the butter and olive oil on medium heat.  Add the onion and saute til translucent.  Then add the garlic and the breadcrumbs and saute for a minute or two, until the breadcrumbs start smelling nutty. Add the peas and cook for one more minute.  Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Let cool for a few minutes.

While waiting for the peas to cool, in a food processor pulse the toasted almonds until a paste.  Season with bit of salt.  Add the cooled peas, onions, etc into the processor, add the mint and parsley and puree until smooth.  Taste for seasoning.

Transfer to a serving bowl and fold in the half and half along with the graded Parmesan cheese.  Let refrigerate (because let's face it, I didn't wait until the peas were completely cool) until ready to serve.

Yeah, go devour

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Prosciutto wrapped Figs

The Boy and I had some friends over for dinner a bit ago and I needed to make an appetizer to fend off hungry guests while I finished cooking.  My parents had given me some figs from their tree so I went with that.  Wrapped them in some Prosciutto, put a little dolop of bleu cheese on top and drizzled with some really well aged balsamic vinegar.  Bam, appetizers served!

Prosciutto Wrapped Figs

4 figs, cut into sixths
8 slices of prosciutto, sliced into thirds long ways
2 tbsp blue cheese or gorgonzola
good balsamic vinegar
3 basil leaves, sliced very thinly

Wrap the prosciutto around each fig, crumble some blue cheese on top.  Drizzle the balsamic vinegar on top and garnish with the basil.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Baked Pasta and Veggies

This recipe appeared one night after facing a perfect storm of (1) lots of veggies and very little meat in my fridge (2) lack of inspiration, and (3) craving pasta.  Trying to convince yourself that eating pasta with "lots of veggies" somehow reduces the carb intake may be cheating a bit, but who cares.  This dish couldn't have been easier to make and The Boy and I were really happy with the turn out.  We may have even eaten it cold the next day.

Baked Pasta with Veggies

Veggies and Pasta:
4 slices of bacon, cut into strips
left over cooked shredded chicken (if you have it) - optional
1 onion, sliced
6 - 8 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 bag of chopped kale
4 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper

1/2 bag of penne pasta

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a dutch oven (like my fancy new Le Creuset), cook the bacon strips with a little oil on medium heat til crispy.  Remove with a slotted spoon.  Dump the onion, mushrooms and pepper into the pot and saute with the bacon fat for 4-5 minutes, until cooked a little bit.  Add the kale, garlic and optional chicken, continue to cook.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.  Return the bacon to the pot and keep everything warm on low heat

While this is cooking down, cook your pasta in salted boiling water until a few minutes before al dente.

Now onto the Bechamel Sauce.

Bechamel Sauce:
3 - 4 tbsp butter
3 - 4 tbsp Wondra flour
2 cups of non fat milk
1/2 tsp graded nutmeg
1/2 tsp powderd mustard
Salt and Pepper
1/2/ - 3/4 cup shredded cheese (I used gouda and white cheddar)
couple dashes of chipotle hot sauce

Melt the butter in a sauce pan on medium heat, add the Wondra and whisk for 2 minutes.  Add the milk, nutmeg, mustard and S&P and whisk until the milk thickens (a few minutes).  Add the cheese and hot sauce, let it all melt and get acquainted with one another, finally taste for seasoning.

Dump the pasta in with the veggies and add the Bechamel sauce as well. Mix to combine.  Shred a little bit of cheese on top if you wish and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Let rest for a few minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012