Recent Recipes

Taco Lasagna Casserole A la Bowmans in Bavaria

Comments (0) | Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My lovely friend Melinda, of Bowmans In Bavaria, asked for folks to test out her Taco Lasagna recipe. I jumped on the opportunity, and boy am I glad I did. It's basically anything you'd want from taco night in one place-cheesy, meaty, tortilla-y, you know. The whole nine yards. Here we go:
"Taco Lasagna Casserole - by Melinda Bowman
1 pound ground meat (like hamburger, turkey or mix of pork and hamburger)
3 tomatoes, chopped*
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, diced (or feel free to use more or spicier chilis if you like)
Juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small bell pepper, chopped*
4 Tbsp taco seasoning (I like Penzeys)
(optional: 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder, 1/4 tsp chipotle powder, if you like more chili flavor)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup hot water*
1 cup sour cream (can substitute plain yogurt)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded Colby Jack or Mozarella cheese (no Colby Jack in Germany, sniff sniff)
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese

Corn or Flour Tortillas for two layers in a 9 x 13 dish (about 10 small tortillas, maybe 6-8 larger ones?) --It only took me 4 eight inch tortillas! Plenty left over for quesadillas and wraps.

*I omitted the tomatoes and bell peppers and, instead, used about 1/2 cup of salsa. If you do this, make sure you up the water to 1 cup so that you get a good, saucy consistency.

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius, 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Grease a 9x13 baking dish.
3. In a skillet, brown the meat. Add tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, bell pepper, lime juice and garlic. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are soft, stirring to keep from sticking. Add the water, spices and tomato paste. Stir well, bring to a simmer, then set aside.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream and eggs. Then add 1 and 3/4 cup of the cheeses (set aside 1/4 cup of the cheese). Stir well.
5. Spread a very thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of the 9x13 pan. Cover the sauce with a layer of tortillas. Then spread with cheese, then meat sauce. Put on another layer of tortillas, cover with cheese and meat sauce. Then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
6. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly.

I used ground turkey and light sour cream, so really this is a relatively healthy dish. Well, healthy by my standards at least. It also yields quite a bit, so you might consider halving it and using an 8 x 8 baking dish instead if you're only feeding yourself. As it is, I have enough taco lasagna to last me the rest of this week! Which works out, because it is much too hot here to heat up the oven.

I have to thank Melinda for sharing her recipe with me. I've already sent it on to my parents, and filed it away to use when I move in with my boyfriend later this year. It's very versatile, very tasty dish. I think the next time I make it, I'll throw in some cayenne pepper to up the heat. It would also be great with some pepperjack instead of colby jack.

I have spicy on the brain, can you tell?

Thank you again, Melinda!

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Look What I Made: Pesto Pizza with Roasted Garlic and Potatoes

Comments (0) | Saturday, May 22, 2010

I don't think I've ever mentioned it before, but I am a big fan of StumbleUpon, which is sort of like internet roulette with your relevant interests. You install a toolbar into your browser, hit the "Stumble!" button, and get taken to a random website. I have found so many excellent food sites this way. My food bookmarks through StumbleUpon are so full of stuff that I will never be able to cook it all.
A couple of week ago, StumbleUpon brought me to this pizza recipe, and I knew I had to make it. It has so many things I love: pizza, pesto, potatoes, and garlic. I couldn't resist it, especially since I had just received a mandolin slicer in the mail and had yet to test it out.

Now, I have a few things to say about the logistics of the recipe. I think it's more complicated than it has to be. Admittedly, I used store bought dough, which immediately made quite a few of the instruction irrelevant. There was no need to let it rise, for example. There was also no need to knead the dough or to flour anything or to find a pizza peel (peal?). I just rolled my crust onto a standard cookie sheet and spread it out to meet the edges. Easy, and it tasted just fine. Oh, and I also baked the pizza on the cookie sheet. No worrying about trying to slide the pizza onto the baking stone. My baking stone wasn't large enough for that, anyway.
What I'm getting at here is that you can follow the directions precisely if you'd like, but you don't have to.
I also want to comment on the amount of potatoes this calls for. Granted, I sort of halved the recipe, since I didn't need to make two pizzas (one alone is going to feed me for the next few days). However, I didn't even make it to two potatoes before I said, "This is way too much potato." Maybe the authors were slicing their potatoes more thickly than I was, but one potato would have been sufficient for me. As it was, I probably sliced one and three-fourths potatoes, and ended up with enough slices to cover the pizza, make microwave potato chips, and STILL have a good two dozen slices left over.
My new mandolin slicer rocks, by the way. This could be the source of my issue:

Look at those! They're translucent they're so thin. They may even be waffer thin. (I will give ten points to anyone who gets that reference)
Anyway, my experience is that 2 thinly sliced potatoes is too much.
Dough and potato opinions aside, this pizza was pretty awesome, if a touch salty. The potatoes had a really great texture, and the garlic was soooo good.

I did make one major mistake, though. I over-oiled the baking sheet when I should have floured it instead. Therefore, my crust was a little overly oily on the bottom. Overall, though

I can't complain.

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Quick Cooking: Cream Cheese and Bacon Cups

Comments (0) | Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This week, I did something I've never done before: I mapped out my dinner menu for each night. It went really well for the first few nights. I stuck to the plan, I shopped for the plan when I went grocery shopping. I had my spaghetti and my mom's enchiladas. Tonight, I was going to make those knishes from Broke-Ass Gourmet, when I remembered that I didn't pick up potatoes because my grocery store doesn't sell red potatoes individually. Then I came home from work and discovered that the outlets on one side of my kitchen had stopped working, and, of course, the fridge was without power. So after I fixed that (hello, extension cord), I didn't feel like making knish dough or going to get potatoes or doing much of anything. That's when I remembered I had some all purpose Pillsbury dough in the refrigerator. Assembly to cook time took me all of 20 minutes, and then I had these little puffs of delight:
Cream Cheese Bacon Cups
1 roll of multi-purpose dough, cut into 12 squares
5 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Onion powder
Shredded cheese
Cream cheese (I used whipped, because I like it)
Penzeys Fox Point seasoning (or whatever you like, but really, get some Fox Point)

Preheat your oven to 375F and grease a muffin tin! Place one square in each muffin indentation and form a little cup. Divide the bacon crumbles evenly amongst the twelve dough cups, sprinkling some in the bottom of each. Add a dash of onion powder to each cup. Add a pinch of shredded cheese (about a Tablespoon) to each cup. Place a dollop of cream cheese on top of each cup. Finally, add a dash of Fox Point on top of the cream cheese.
Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from the muffin tin to cool.

These would be really great little appetizers, or you can do what I did and eat them for dinner. I have no shame.

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Mom's Enchiladas

Comments (2) | Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Most of the people I've met in my life have one dish that makes them think of home. It varies from person to person, tastebud to tastebud, but it's one of the things that everyone has.
For me, it's my mother's enchiladas. Mom often makes these when I'm going home for an extended period of time. She also used to make up a pan, unbaked, and send them with me back to college to bake for my roommates.
I love my mom. She spoils me.
Mom has always insisted that these are really easy to put together. She's right, but even without a ton of effort, mine weren't as good as Mom's. Of course. They are still my favorite meal, though. My home meal.
Mom's Chicken Enchiladas
8 Flour tortillas
2 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 or 3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 4oz can diced green chilies, drained
1/2 c. sour cream
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 c. cubed cooked chicken
1 c. shredded cheese, divided
1/4 c. milk

Remove tortillas from refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Saute the onion & garlic until tender. Stir in the chillies, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup. Stir thoroughly, and set aside 3/4 cup of the soup mixture. To the remaining soup mixture, add 1/2 of the cheese and all of the chicken.

Grease a pan (I used an 8"x8" for four enchiladas, you can use an 8"x12" for eight enchiladas). Fill your tortillas with a few spoonfuls of chicken mixture. Roll them up and place them seam side down in the pan. Take the reserved soup mixture and mix with the milk. Spoon over the enchiladas, and bake for 30-35 minutes until bubbly. Turn off the oven, sprinkle enchiladas with the remaining cheese, and let set in the oven for another 5 minutes while the cheese melts.

Serve with hot sauce and sour cream.

Mmm. Home.

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Look What I Made: Spaghetti with Cheese and Black Pepper

Comments (0) | Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sounds and looks simple, doesn't it? It is, really. I wasn't looking for complicated last night when I was thinking about dinner. I just got back from my service trip, and there is very little for food in my house. I was really excited when StumbleUpon pulled up this Smitten Kitchen recipe.
The only changes I made were halving(ish) the recipe and using some Dubliner aged cheddar instead of Pecorino Romano.

I successfully used the last of my spaghetti. It's very strange to think that I have no spaghetti in my house right now.

The pasta was good. Peppery. Cheesy, Creamy. Simple. I love dishes like this, dishes that are borderline fancy because of their simplicity.

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