We spent that last amazingly sunny, hot weekend in September at a beach house with our close friends and their families. It was perfect, lots of kids to keep each other busy (whether that was playing or fighting), lazy days at the beach and long, relaxing, adult dinners once the kids were in bed. We decided that each family had a night to cook. Works out great. The usual dinners for large groups are lasagna, spaghetti, meat on the grill with some sides. I decided I wanted something that could mostly be prepared ahead of time, therefore vacation time maximized.
I quickly choose chicken and black bean enchiladas with Mexican rice. As I have mentioned here before I love Mexican food. I usually buy canned enchilada sauce in the States. I knew I could make it, but had been too lazy to until I ran out. Now was the time!
Red Enchilada Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup salsa
1 (6 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onion, oregano, chili powder, basil, ground black pepper, cumin, salsa and tomato sauce. Mix together and then stir in the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. More simmering makes it taste better!
Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Ingredients: 1 tsp olive oil
1 green and red pepper diced
1 fresh tomato diced
1 onion chopped (the rest of the onion not used in the sauce)
10 whole wheat tortillas
2 diced chicken breast
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup low fat sour cream
1 cup grated light cheddar cheese
red chili flakes to taste
1/2 cup grated light cheddar cheese to top
Heat oil in a large frying pan, add chicken and cook until almost done. Add onion, tomato and peppers, sauté until onions appear translucent. Transfer into a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients and stir. Pour enough enchilada sauce to cover bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish. Fill each tortilla with about 1/2 to 2/3 of a cup of filling. Roll up, tucking in the ends. Arrange in dish. Pour remaining sauce evenly over enchiladas and top with cheese. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 min, remove foil and bake for another 10 min. Adapted from here.
1 cup brown rice rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, halved
In a medium sauce pan, cook rice in oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Stir in onion, green pepper, jalapeno, and diced tomato. Season cumin, cilantro, and garlic. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 40 minutes. Adapted from here.
It was a hit, fewf. This meal is low in fat and high in fiber because I used beans, whole grain rice , whole wheat tortillas and quite a bit of veg. I made the enchiladas the day before and saved the baking step for the day of. Next time I would double the sauce recipe and freeze the other half for another day. For sure this makes a lot of food. If you are only feeding your family then divide into two pans and freeze one for a quick and easy dinner for another busy night.
All the meals we had were delicious, but the company was truly superb. Until next summer...
Let's talk about salads. I am sure a lot of you started thinking green salad, Caesar salad, yeah, yeah, yeah. It's time to start thinking about salads in a new way. There doesn't always have to be lettuce involved. I like to make salads that are heavier on the vegetables. In our house there are not a lot of fans of cooked or steamed veggies. The plate of raw cut up veggies gets a little tiresome as well. I am always on the look out for new ways to do raw veg.
My mother-in-law was out for a visit a while ago and had a recipe for a carrot mango salad with honey lime dressing in her arsenal. Sounded good on all fronts. When I started taking photos she was excited about her recipe making it on the blog, and here it is!
3 large carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion (about 4)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts (optional)
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons liquid honey (Big D's is local and delicious)
1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Scrumptious. A great way to get in some vegetables and fruit. We served it with fish, grilled asparagus and new potatoes.
I love how recipes can be shared, traded and collected. Every time I make this I will be reminded of Jane's visit and how it was the catalyst for my in-laws impending move from Edmonton to here, closer to us and our growing family. How awesome is that?
One of my very best friends is getting married in about 9 days. For her bridal shower her mom bought her a recipe book that has folders so you can file all the recipes you gather and keep them relatively organized in categories (I have one myself, best thing ever). As guests we were supposed to bring a recipe to contribute. Guess what? I forgot. Really? This is what I do. So this is my make-up.
A little bit about Selena first though. We first met in dance class then went to high school together. We both headed off to Victoria in search of higher education. We ended up living together (where she told me I was fool for not using eye cream, I haven't stopped since). I was a pretty dedicated student and knew what a heavy work load was, I was in the sciences. Mmmm no, Selena was taking a program that would allow her to transfer to UBC to become a civil engineer. I have never seen someone so dedicated in my life, she was a marvel. After she headed off to UBC and so did I. She was in a male dominated field and kicking ass, loved it. Once we graduated we ended up buying condos a five minute walk apart.
By this time she was a full fledged engineer, awesome. She designs over-passes, off ramps and bridges (for real). At the same time coming over for a cook freeze frenzy before my son was born, dropping off Starbucks after he was born while I was still housebound and just pretty much being the best. She also loves to travel. She has managed combine her passions and travel the world for various work related tasks, I would call that living your dream. She is a dedicated blog reader/commenter/encourager and for that I am forever grateful.
I am so excited for her wedding because I know it will be everything she has hoped for.
So onto the recipe: home-made goat cheese. I know you are thinking that sounds crazy, time consuming and requiring some kind of pioneer training...wrong on all fronts. It is actually pretty easy and amazingly delicious. There is some time involved, but it is mostly passive time.
You do need a few things that may not be laying around your house: a thermometer and cheese cloth (found at any grocery store for under $2.00).
1 litre goat milk
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1. Line a colander with the folded over cheesecloth and set into a large bowl to catch the whey (the liquid portion).
2. Pour goat’s milk and buttermilk into a medium sized saucepan with thermometer attached (if yours doesn't clip on you can just check the temperature every so often).
3. Set heat to medium. Bring the milk to between 170°F-185°F. When the milk begins to bubble slightly and begins to curdle, remove it from the heat. You only have to stir occasionally.
4. Add 2 tbsp of lemon juice and stir, you should see it start to curdle.
5. Bring the heat down to 120°F. Ladle the curds into the cheesecloth lined colander and drain the whey into the bowl.
6. You can save the whey, it's high in protein. I threw it away, goat flavoured smoothies didn't appeal to me.
7. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and tie with with string or an elastic. Return to colander and place a plate on top of the cheesecloth. Weigh it down with a can or other heavy item.
8. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours to drain.
9. Remove from fridge, scrape into bowl and season with salt and herbs if using.
10. Use immediately or return to fridge and allow the flavours to intensify over the next 1-2 days.
11. Will keep for up to one week in the fridge.
A few notes: I was expecting large curds to form after I added the lemon juice, they are actually quite small, that is OK. The buttermilk adds a creamy texture, but I think it dulled down the goat taste so the cheese ended up having a milder flavour than what you buy in the store. I doubled the recipe when I made it to use the entire 2 liters of goat milk (I was pretty sure I wasn't going to drink it) and ended up with about 1.5 cups of cheese. Next time I am going with 100% goat milk (which you can buy at most grocery stores). You can season what ever herbs you want fresh, dried or add sundried tomatoes, endless ideas. I choose to just lightly salt mine, I wanted to try it straight up. I was thinking that I would be able to feel the texture of the curds, but you can't. It is very smooth and creamy.
I served it on bread with a drizzle of balsamic reduction as an appetizer. It was gone ASAP. How talented would you look brining this to a friends house? Oh it's no big deal, I only made fresh goat cheese. Little do they know...so easy.
Tiffany McFadden, RD