Mexican Lasagna

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Date: January 21, 2019

Recipe: Marginally based on this recipe, but here’s what I did:

Ingredients:
3 cups prepared rice (I used basmati)
2 bell peppers, chopped
1-2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
chili powder, paprika and cumin (or taco seasoning if you have it)
1-2 cups frozen corn
1 lb. ground turkey
Chopped spinach
1 large jar salsa (I used regular salsa but the original recipe calls for salsa verde)
6 flour tortillas (I cut into strips)
2-3 cups shredded cheese
8 oz. enchilada sauce (used this recipe – it really is not hard and is the best enchilada sauce I’ve ever tasted – you can freeze the leftovers)

top with sour cream, cilantro, and chopped green onions

Directions:
Prepare rice using any method you want. I used the instant pot method from A Couple Cooks.

In a large skillet (I used a dutch oven), melt a tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat.  Add the bell peppers, onion and garlic to the pan and sauté until tender.  Add in chili powder (approx. 1 ½ tablespoons), paprika and cumin (approx. ¾ tablespoon of each), or taco seasoning to taste.  Stir to combine.  Add the cans of beans and stir to combine.  Remove from heat and add cooked rice.  Stir to mix well. Mix in the frozen corn.

In a skillet, brown the ground turkey (mine needed a bit of olive oil in the pan)  Mix with chili powder (approx. 1 ½ tablespoons), paprika and cumin (approx. ¾ tablespoon of each) and salt to taste, as well as 2 oz. of water. At this stage I added a bag of fresh spinach I chopped up, just because I had it leftover, and tossed til it was wilted.

To assemble the lasagna, pour half of the jar of salsa in an even layer over the bottom of a casserole dish.  Layer evenly with flour tortillas to cover.  Spread approximately half of the rice mixture evenly over the tortillas.  Sprinkle with a layer of shredded cheese.  Add another layer of flour tortillas.  Pour a layer of enchilada sauce over the tortillas.  Spread turkey/spinach mixture evenly over the enchilada sauce.  Top with the remaining rice mixture in an even layer.  Spread the remaining salsa evenly over the rice, and sprinkle with a layer of shredded cheese to finish.

Bake at 375° for 25-35 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and begins to brown a bit.  Allow to sit 10 minutes before serving.  Top individual servings with sour cream and fresh cilantro, for garnish.

Time to table:  About an hour

Servings: The amount above made one 8×8 pan (fed us for one dinner, and I think I’ll get 2 lunches out of the leftovers), and then one pan that’s about 13×9 that I froze prior to the baking step.

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Erin: Like

Ben: Like

Kids: Seemed to like it okay but no one was raving about it.

Notes: As I was reading very, very old posts on my blog, I was reminded of this dish and wanted to try changing it up substantially. This version ended up slightly dry but I think that’s because my rice sat out a for a bit before I mixed it in with the beans/veggies. I think I’d go back to salsa verde if I made this again and also add a bit more of a it and also more enchilada sauce. The change to ground turkey and the addition of the spinach were great.

Apparently we’ve made several versions of mexican lasagna and none have stuck as a favorite – maybe we should just stick to classic enchiladas??

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Posted in black beans, cheese, cilantro, green onions, onion, red pepper, rice, salsa, spinach, turkey | Leave a comment

Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo

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Date: January 17, 2019

Recipe: https://pinchofyum.com/lemon-chicken-soup-with-orzo

Time to table:  About an hour

Servings: 6-8 adults

Modifications: Added 2 chopped celery stalks, and used a full onion (Does anyone actually use half an onion??) I didn’t have pre-cooked chicken, so after sautéing the vegetables, I added 2 chicken breasts, sautéed for a bit after seasoning them and then added the broth. After it started boiling, I turned the heat down to low-medium and kept simmering for about 15-20 minutes, until the chicken was cooked through. Took them out, chopped up, returned to the pot and proceeded with the recipe as written.

Erin: Love (I didn’t eat a whole serving yet, as this was made to bring to a friend and I was going out to eat that night)

Ben: Like

Kids: Dislike! LEMON! DIFFERENT FLAVORS ARE SCARY!! Major eye roll emoji to them.

Notes: I was very nervous about adding the eggs, but followed some of the instructions in the comments to temper the egg before adding back to the soup. SLOWLY added some of the broth mixture to the egg while stirring constantly, and then I actually added a cup of cold water back to the soup to cool it down, and then added the egg mixture in, slowly, while stirring. I really loved the lemon and dill flavors in this soup, a much more interesting version of chicken noodle. My children obviously did not agree, but the adults enjoyed (as usual).

Posted in carrot, celery, chicken, eggs, lemon, onion, pasta, spinach | Leave a comment

Cheeseburger Soup

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Date: January 13, 2019

Recipe: https://iowagirleats.com/2018/11/28/healthy-cheeseburger-soup-recipe/

Time to table:  About an hour

Servings: 2 dinners for the whole family, plus 1 lunch serving

Modifications: I used a full pound of ground beef because that’s the amount we had in the freezer, and thus increased the veggies quite a bit to compensate. I ended up having to use maybe 2 cups more broth, maybe a bit more – I just put it in until the veggies/beef mixture was submerged. I also used a bit more cheese than called for, and used a cheddar and colby blend because it was leftover from the mac and cheese.

Erin: Like

Ben: Like

Kids: They all seemed to really like this one! It has some sneaky veggies in there with all the pureed cauliflower, but generally they usually enjoy most soups. Charlie loved the toppings, and adding those to his soup, especially the pickles.

Notes: This was a solid meal, nothing particularly fancy or mind-blowing, but we all enjoyed it. I’d definitely make it again.

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Posted in carrot, cauliflower, celery, cheese, ground beef, onion | Leave a comment

Spicy Collard Greens

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Date: January 12, 2019

Recipe:https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/51803/kickin-collard-greens/

Time to table:  1-1.5 hours (most of that simmering time)

Servings: 8 side dish sized servings.

Modifications: Used 4 slices of bacon instead of 3. A bit more garlic, and a bit more red pepper flakes – 2 very large pinches.

Erin: Like

Ben: Like (he mixed with the mac and cheese)

Notes: We made this before, more than 10 years ago, back when we use to get a CSA and got collard greens a few times. That was right when I first started actually cooking, so I think this version was quite a bit better. I did make sure I had enough collard greens this time (I got 3 bunches). I think you could cut back on the amount of broth – the liquid didn’t cook down as much, 2 cups seem like it would be enough. The flavor was good this time around – not too mushy, but greens were still tender, they had a good kick to them and weren’t too salty.

Posted in bacon, collard greens, garlic, onion | 1 Comment

Southern Baked Mac and Cheese

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Date: January 12, 2019

Recipe: https://divascancook.com/southern-baked-macaroni-and-cheese-recipe/

Time to table:  1-1.5 hours (mostly baking/sitting time)

Servings: This was a side dish – you’re supposed to use a 9×9 dish but I used an 8×8. It would easily serve 8 people as a side dish.

Modifications: I used slightly more of everything except the smoked cheddar. A bit more of all the cheeses, pasta, milk, cream etc. The spices I added were garlic powder, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes and paprika.

Erin: Love

Ben: Love

Notes: We have made several mac and cheese recipes – for this meal, I wanted one that most closely resembled the mac and cheese at Revival to go with fried chicken sandwiches, collard greens and coleslaw. This fit the bill, and was quite delicious – I think I should have used a bit less pasta, and taken it out of the oven after 35 minutes. I wanted it to be a bit creamier than it was. The ideal for me is a crust on top, no breadcrumbs (there is a time and a place for breadcrumb mac and cheese but this wasn’t it) but once you get through that crust I wanted it to be super creamy. I’ll keep trying til I get it!!! I also forgot to add the eggs to the milk mixture and then just kind of shoved them in the pasta mixture – I think the eggs bind the whole thing a bit more so I may have preferred this version without them. Don’t get me wrong, this was still extremely good – the crust on top was perfect, flavor was right on and not bland at all, but more of a casserole that could be cut into pieces.

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Posted in cheese, milk, pasta | Leave a comment

Lentil Soup with Sausage, Kale and Garlic

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Date: January 8, 2019

Recipe: https://smittenkitchen.com/2013/01/lentil-soup-with-sausage-chard-and-garlic/

Time to table:  About an hour total. Maybe 25-30 minutes to prepare, 30 minutes to cook.

Servings: The amount we made will be nearly 3 dinners for our family (we froze one)

Modifications: Added some chopped yellow potatoes because we had them. I also used 3 sausage links instead of 2, and we added far more kale than called for.

Erin: Like

Ben: Love

Kids: They ate it. (Except Annie, who has strep which I feel she used as an excuse to eat nothing)

Notes: This made a TON and our 6qt Instant Pot was filled nearly to the max line. I’m wary of how it’ll thaw with potatoes in the soup, but other reviewers said they froze without potatoes and it was great. Great thing to make on a Sunday and have for lunches for the week in addition to one dinner. I actually did the garlic olive oil and that WAS a great addition.

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French Onion Beef Stroganoff

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Date: November 9, 2018

Recipe: https://hostthetoast.com/french-onion-beef-stroganoff/

Time to table: I don’t remember, but it used caramelized onions, so certainly over an hour.

Servings: Enough for dinner and some leftovers.

Modifications: None!

Erin: Like

Ben: Love

Kids: They ate it.

Notes: For some reason our cheese did not melt up as nicely as in the source recipe’s pic, we’ll just have to try it again! The caramelized onions really put this dish over the top for me.

Posted in beef, cheese, pasta | Leave a comment

Chicken Broccoli Yellow Curry

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Date: January 2, 2019

Recipe:

Curry paste: https://pinchofyum.com/easy-homemade-yellow-curry-paste
Kind of used this as the basis for the recipe: https://pinchofyum.com/thai-yellow-chicken-curry-with-potatoes

Time to table: About an hour total including chopping and prep – could have been sped up if I went faster though.

Servings: 5 adults I think. We have leftovers after feeding our family of 5.

Modifications: I used the basic idea of the curry – chop and saute an onion in oil, add chicken, add curry paste and cook for awhile. Then instead of potatoes, I used broccoli. I also made mine a bit soupier than the recipe and added an additional can of chicken broth (just water with better than bouillion mixed in). Then realized we had some spinach that didn’t have a use planned for it, so threw that in there at the endtoo.

Erin: Love

Ben: Like-Love?

Kids: Meh, they ate it. It wasn’t met with outright disgust so I’ll call that a win. I let Annie have it without rice. They all thought it was ‘spicy’ aka contained flavor. This prompted a very long discussion with Annie about the difference between spicy heat and flavor.

Notes: We’ve had this curry paste in the freezer for a super long time, need to use it up! This is always an easy, healthy meal and I’m not sure why we don’t make it more often.

Posted in broccoli, chicken, coconut milk, onion, rice | Leave a comment

Garlic Butter Mushroom Risotto

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Date: November 17th, 2018

Recipe: https://pinchofyum.com/garlic-butter-mushroom-risotto

Time to table: About 15-20 minutes of chopping time, 30 minutes of cook time

Servings: I increased it a bit from the original recipe, ours would have served at least 8 adults

Modifications: I added an onion because I don’t know why you wouldn’t have one here. I also put some of the mushrooms in while cooking the risotto. I added the onion to the pot first, then the garlic, then mushrooms. Once those were cooked, added the rice and then the white wine (I always use vermouth for risotto), and then proceeded with the broth/stirring steps until it was done. Then I did the butter, garlic, and the rest of the mushrooms with the spinach and topped with that.

Erin: Love

Ben: Like

Kids: They hate rice. I don’t get it either. They all tried one bite and proclaimed it disgusting, even though I gave them just the plain risotto without the mushrooms and spinach. WHATEVER CHILDREN.

Notes: I really loved this and it was a great side dish for pork. Would also work with steak, or on it’s own. I am very proud of myself for finally enjoying mushrooms (although I still chop them very small because I don’t like the huge hunks)

Posted in cheese, garlic, greens, mushrooms, onion, parmesan, rice, vegetarian | Comments Off on Garlic Butter Mushroom Risotto

Instant Pot Beef Stew

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Date: October 28th, 2018

Recipe: https://pinchofyum.com/instant-pot-beef-stew

Time to table: Her estimates are always insanely off. I think it took probably 20 minutes to prep (depends on how fast you chop), and over an hour total in the instant pot including coming to pressure and cooking, and resting. I didn’t do the oven step because the oven was occupied.

Servings: Would be 2 dinners for our family

Modifications: I added more veggies than it called for by a bit, used a can of tomato sauce (instead of juice) and maybe a can of broth. The recipe as written sounds dicey with the low amount of liquid but I shouldn’t have messed with it quite so much because ours got pretty soupy. I did thicken it with the cornstarch slurry and simmered a bit at the end and the consistency was pretty good. I also added some garlic powder and pepper and I think it could benefit from some additional spices during cooking too.

Erin: Like (but I liked this one better – the beef was kind of tough, and I prefer it to get really tender)

Ben: Like

Kids: Surprisingly pretty okay with it.

Notes: This was decent, but my main issue was the tenderness of the beef. I think maybe giving it like 10 more minutes at high pressure would have helped. Definitely liked it with potatoes, and without would not feel like a complete meal to me.

Also, we keep just not posting the recipes we make, and then I forget if we’ve made them… trying to be better about it!

Posted in beef, carrot, celery, garlic, onion, potato, tomatoes | Comments Off on Instant Pot Beef Stew