Enchiladas – Two Ways

Recently, I had a craving for enchiladas, so I started looking for recipes for fillings, sauce, etc. I came across a blog (RecipeTinEats) that had a recipe for pork carnitas, which I then modified a bit (see my modified recipe here) and pork carnitas enchiladas. Around the same time, some good friends of ours had a baby (and the wife is vegan), and we wanted to visit and bring dinner over. So – I thought – I could make an enchilada sauce that would work with either meat or vegan fillings (inspired by veganinsanity blog), and then I could make both! So, I used one of Rick Bayless’s recipes for inspiration, and I made an enchilada sauce that I was happy with (as a test batch), then doubled the recipe so that I could make both the pork carnitas enchiladas AND the vegan enchiladas!

Enchilada Sauce
Adapted from Rick Bayless
Makes enough for 1 recipe enchiladas (8 servings)

8 dried guajillo chiles
1 1/2 cups fire-roasted diced tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp sunflower oil
1 cup reduced sodium vegetable broth
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1. Toast the chile pieces a few at a time in a dry heavy skillet or on a griddle heated over medium, pressing them flat against the hot surface with a metal spatula until they are aromatic, about 20 seconds per side.

2. In a bowl, rehydrate the chiles for 20 minutes in boiling water to cover; place a small plate on the top to keep the chiles submerged. Use a pair of tongs to transfer the rehydrated chiles to a blender. Measure 1 cup of water (from the chiles), and set aside. Add the tomatoes and garlic and process to a smooth puree. Press through a medium mesh sieve into a bowl.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a medium (4 to 5 quart) pot or Dutch oven or a large (12 inch) deep skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add the chile puree, chile water, and spices and stir nearly constantly until reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, about 7 minutes. Add the broth, partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Season with sugar and salt.

Nutritional info (sauce only, per serving):
Calories: 37.3
Total Fat: 0.6 g
Saturated Fat: 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 286.9 mg
Potassium: 101.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 6.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.7 g
Sugars: 2.5 g
Protein: 1.1 g

Black Bean Enchiladas (Vegan)
A Karen original recipe inspired by vegan enchiladas by veganinsanity blog and enchilada sauce by Rick Bayless
Serves 8

1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
6 oz chopped cactus (nopalitos)
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
8 medium flour tortillas
1 cup vegan mexican “cheese” (I used Go Veggie Mexican shreds)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Heat olive oil in a pan over high heat. Add the onion, pepper, zucchini, cactus, and corn. Add salt, pepper, and spices. Saute until onion is beginning to soften. Stir in the black beans and cilantro.

3. Distribute filling into each tortilla and roll up and place in the baking dish.

4. Pour over the enchilada sauce, and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted (or appears soft).

Nutritional info (per enchilada, with sauce):
Calories: 274.7
Total Fat: 8.8 g
Saturated Fat: 2.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 808.9 mg
Potassium: 363.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 40.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.5 g
Sugars: 5.0 g
Protein: 7.9 g

Pork Carnitas Enchiladas
A Karen original recipe inspired by pork carnitas from Recipe Tin Eats blog and enchilada sauce by Rick Bayless
Serves 8

8 oz cooked pork carnitas
6 oz chopped cactus (nopalitos – see photo above in vegan enchilada recipe)
1 tsp sunflower oil
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
8 medium flour tortillas
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican-style cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan over high heat. Add the cactus and pork carnitas and cook until the bottom of the pork is nicely browned about 10 minutes. Do not turn, just make the bottom crispy (to keep the pulled pork as moist as possible), then remove the pulled pork into a bowl.

3. Add the carnitas, black beans, and 1/4 cup cheese into a bowl and mix to combine. Spread 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 13×9 glass baking dish. Distribute filling evenly into each tortilla and roll up and place in the baking dish.

4. Pour over the remaining enchilada sauce, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and golden.

Nutritional info (per enchilada, with sauce):
Calories: 298.7
Total Fat: 9.0 g
Saturated Fat: 4.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4 g
Cholesterol: 28.3 mg
Sodium: 803.8 mg
Potassium: 414.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 33.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.1 g
Sugars: 4.1 g
Protein: 19.2 g


Pork Carnitas

I love to find new recipes for pork, since it is so versatile for so many things. I wanted to make some pork carnitas so that I could use the meat for tacos, enchiladas, etc. So, I started searching online, and I came across a recipe that seemed like the perfect fit on Recipe Tin Eats. I modified it slightly (used a leaner cut of pork, and doubled the seasonings – see here for the original recipe), and it was fantastic! The meat is great on its own with rice, used in a taco, or used in enchiladas!  This is probably not the most authentic recipe, but we love it. Enjoy!

Pork Carnitas
Slightly adapted from Recipe Tin Eats blog
Makes 24 oz shredded pork

2 lb pork loin, trimmed
1 Tbsp oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 fl oz  fresh orange juice

1. Mix oregano, cumin, coriander, and olive oil in a small bowl. Rub over pork loin.

2. Place pork in a slow cooker. Top with remaining ingredients.

3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

4. Shred after pork is cooked.

Nutritional info (per oz cooked):
Calories: 51.2
Total Fat: 1.2 g
Saturated Fat: 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 20.8 mg
Sodium: 163.2 mg
Potassium: 198.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 1.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
Sugars: 0.4 g
Protein: 8.6 g

Bourbon Cherry Cocktail

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this enough, but my friend Lori makes some amazing things (mustards, spreads, sauces, etc) at her company Taste Elevated. One of my *favorite* products of hers is the Booze Thyme Cherries. They are fantastic with all kinds of cheeses, meats, etc. And when they’re gone, there is this amazing boozy cherry liquid left over! So, what to do? Make a cocktail with it, of course!

Lori told me that a new bar in the St. Anthony hotel in downtown San Antonio had started to make a cocktail with the juice from the Booze Thyme Cherries, and she and her husband tried it. They liked it so much that they got the recipe, and she shared it with me! We love it so much that we sometimes eat most of the cherries so we have the juice left over, just to make this cocktail! Enjoy!

Bourbon Cherry Cocktail
Recipe from the bar in the St. Anthony Hotel, San Antonio, TX
Makes 1 cocktail

1 fl oz liquid from Booze Thyme Cherries – Taste Elevated
2 fl oz bourbon
0.5 fl oz lemon juice
2 cherries (from the Booze Thyme Cherries)

Shake liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker, pour over ice.

Drop in a couple of cherries and enjoy!

Nutritional info:
Calories: 200.4
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Saturated Fat: 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 150.2 mg
Potassium: 49.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 16.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
Sugars: 15.1 g
Protein: 0.2 g

Poblanos Stuffed with Wild Boar

We don’t go out to eat often, but when we do, I like to be inspired by the foods we eat. A few weeks ago, we had poblanos stuffed with wild boar at a wine dinner hosted by Koch Ranches. A few days later, I just *had* to go to their store and buy some wild boar so I could re-create those fantastic stuffed poblanos. So, with only a description of the dish (from the menu) and my ability (or inability) to “wing it”, we came up with this. And I think we came pretty darn close to the original!

If wild boar is not available, you can easily substitute ground beef or pork instead. Enjoy!

Poblanos Stuffed with Wild Boar
A Karen original recipe, inspired by Koch Ranches wine dinner 2016
Makes 8 servings

4 large poblano chiles, stems and seeds removed, cut in half lengthwise
1 lb ground wild boar meat
1 medium jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium sweet red bell pepper, diced
½ cup frozen corn kernels
6 oz chopped nopalitos (cactus)
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 cup no-salt added canned tomato sauce
½ cup cilantro, chopped, divided
1 oz crumbled queso fresco cheese

1. Saute meat with peppers, onion, nopalitos, spices, salt, & pepper, and corn until onions are tender and meat is browned. Stir in tomato sauce. Let cool slightly, then stir in half of cilantro.

2. Meanwhile, bake poblano halves at 400 for 10-15 minutes, or until almost tender.

3. Fill poblano halves with meat mixture. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes, or until poblanos are tender and filling is warmed through.

4. Top with queso fresco and remaining cilantro, serve warm.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 143.3
Total Fat: 3.6 g
Saturated Fat: 1.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.8 g
Cholesterol: 1.9 mg
Sodium: 200.3 mg
Potassium: 87.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 8.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.8 g
Sugars: 3.1 g
Protein: 15.3 g

Zucchini-Tomato Gratin

Tomatoes! Zucchini! Summer is upon us, and this is one of our new favorite recipes to use the tomatoes and zucchini that are all around us! Enjoy!

Zucchini-Tomato Gratin
Slightly adapted from Vegetarian Times, July 2009
Serves 4

1 ½ lb. tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, seeded
1 ½ lb zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick diagonal slices
2 tsp olive oil, divided
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp roughly chopped kalamata olives
¼ cup thinly sliced basil leaves
3/4 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1. Drape tomato slices over colander, sprinkle with salt, and let drain 45 minutes.

2. Spread zucchini on baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt. Let stand 30 minutes to sweat out excess moisture. Rinse well, and pat dry.

3. Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat 1 tsp. oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté zucchini 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to plate. Do this in 2 batches if necessary.

4. Layer half of zucchini slices in 11×7 inch rectangular baking pan. Top with half of tomatoes. Sprinkle with half of garlic,1 Tbsp olives, half of basil, and 1/2 Parmesan cheese; season with freshly ground black pepper. Repeat with remaining zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, olives, and basil. Drizzle top with 1 tsp oil, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cheese. Cover with foil, and bake 10 minutes. Remove foil, and bake 20 minutes more, or until cheese is melted and gratin is bubbling. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 118.9
Total Fat: 5.2 g
Saturated Fat: 1.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.8 g
Cholesterol: 3.6 mg
Sodium: 218.0 mg
Potassium: 837.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 16.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.7 g
Sugars: 3.0 g
Protein: 4.8 g

Homemade Pasta

Ever since we got our Kitchenaid mixer, one of the first attachments we *really* wanted was the pasta roller/cutter attachment. And ever since we’ve had the attachment, we have had lots of fun making pasta at home. And John has become the pasta-making expert in the household as a result!

This is the base recipe to make any shape of pasta. We started off making whole wheat pasta, but we’ve also had success making white pasta using the same recipe (just with all-purpose flour instead of whole wheat). Both types can be made into spaghetti, fettuccine, ravioli, lasagna, and on and on… Serve it with your favorite sauce, and enjoy!

Homemade Pasta (whole wheat)
Recipe from Kitchenaid
Yield: 1 1/4 pounds dough
Number of Servings: 10 (2 oz each)

4 large eggs
2 tablespoons water
3 1/2 cups sifted whole wheat pastry flour (**Note** – to make white pasta, just sub all-purpose flour – we use Ultragrain)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place eggs, water, whole wheat flour, and salt in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and flat beater. Turn to Speed 2 and mix 30 seconds.

Exchange flat beater for dough hook. Turn to Speed 2 and knead 2 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 2 minutes. Divide dough into eight pieces before processing with Pasta Sheet Roller attachment. Wrap pasta dough in plastic wrap. Let rest at least 30 min (or for a few hours in the fridge).

To Roll Pasta:
1. Cut dough into about 8-10 pieces about 3/8 inch (1 cm) thick. Flatten each piece slightly.

2. Set adjustment knob on Pasta Sheet. Roller at 1 by pulling the knob straight out and turning to setting 1. Release knob, making certain pin on roller housing engages opening on the back of the knob, allowing the knob to fit flush to the roller housing.

3. Turn mixer to Speed 2 or 4. Feed flattened piece of dough into rollers to knead. Fold dough in half and roll again. Repeat folding and kneading process several times, or until dough is smooth and pliable. Lightly dust pasta with flour while rolling and cutting to aid in drying and separation. Knead and fold each piece of dough in the same manner.

4. Move adjustment knob to setting 2. Feed dough through rollers to further flatten. Change to setting 3 and feed dough through rollers again. Continue to increase roller setting until desired dough thickness is reached. Cut or press into desired shape (with cutter or by hand).

To Cook Pasta:
Add 2 teaspoons salt to 6 quarts boiling water. Gradually add pasta and continue to cook at a boil until pasta is “al dente” or slightly firm to the bite, about 6 minutes. Pasta floats to the top of the water while cooking, so stir occasionally to keep it cooking evenly. Drain in a colander. Serve with your favorite sauce.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 170.1
Total Fat: 2.8 g
Saturated Fat: 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.9 g
Cholesterol: 74.0 mg
Sodium: 144.3 mg
Potassium: 28.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 30.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.1 g
Sugars: 0.0 g
Protein: 8.1 g

For white pasta (sub Ultragrain all-purpose flour for whole wheat):
Calories: 182.8
Total Fat: 2.6 g
Saturated Fat: 0.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.7 g
Cholesterol: 74.4 mg
Sodium: 144.7 mg
Potassium: 27.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 31.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.8 g
Sugars: 1.5 g
Protein: 8.1 g

Rosemary Trout with Cherry Tomato Sauce

The first time we bought steelhead trout, I had absolutely no idea what to do with it. So, I started looking for recipes, and I stumbled on this one. It seemed like it would work well, and we liked the flavors, so we gave it a shot. The result? It was fantastic, and we’ve been making it ever since. Enjoy!

Rosemary Trout with Cherry Tomato Sauce
Adapted from Bon Appétit, June 2009
Makes 4 servings

1 pint cherry tomatoes (preferably assorted colors), halved
1 large shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, divided
4 tsp olive oil
Coarse kosher salt
4, 6-ounce steelhead trout filets (skin-on)

Mix tomatoes, shallot, vinegar, and 2 tsp chopped rosemary in bowl. Stir in 4 tsp oil. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle flesh-side of trout filets with coarse salt and pepper and remaining chopped rosemary. Place 2 rosemary sprigs on each.

Spray a large nonstick skillet with olive oil (I use olive oil in my misto sprayer). Place over medium-high heat. Add trout to skillet, flesh-side down for 4-5 min, then flip and cook on the skin side until opaque, about 1-2 more minutes. Transfer to plates. Spoon sauce alongside.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 182.7
Total Fat: 9.8 g
Saturated Fat: 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 3.4 g
Cholesterol: 45.9 mg
Sodium: 50.3 mg
Potassium: 201.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 5.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Sugars: 0.5 g
Protein: 16.8 g

Marinated Buffalo Strip Steaks with Wild Mushroom Ragout and Polenta

Did I ever tell you about the time I accidentally bought cookbooks from a cookbook club? This was back in the days when you had to mail a little postcard back every month so that the publishers *wouldn’t* send the book. And I forgot to send it back, of course. So this cookbook (the Omaha Steaks Meat cookbook) and another one arrived. I almost sent them back, but then I started looking at the recipes. And they sounded great! I thought – it wouldn’t *hurt* to try a few before sending it back… But by then, I was hooked – this is one of the best accidental purchases I’ve ever made! And this recipe is one of our absolute favorites from the book. Enjoy!

Marinated Buffalo Strip Steaks with Wild Mushroom Ragout and Polenta

Adapted from “Omaha Steaks Meat” cookbook
Serves 4

1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes
4 buffalo strip steaks, or 4 beef NY strip steaks

Wild Mushroom Ragout:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 oz chanterelle, cremini, or shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup low sodium beef stock
½ cup dry red wine*
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sundried tomatoes, minced
½ cup tomato puree
½ tsp adobo sauce (from canned chipotle chiles)
salt & pepper, to taste

2/3 cup instant polenta
2 2/3 cup water
1 tsp salt

Mix marinade ingredients, add steaks. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

To prepare ragout:
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan, and sauté onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add the stock, wine, thyme, and sundried tomatoes, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the tomato puree and adobo sauce, return to a simmer, and cook until thickened to a sauce-like consistency. Remove the thyme sprigs, and season with salt & pepper.

Prepare polenta. Bring water and salt to a simmer, lower heat, and slowly whisk in polenta. Whisk until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Divide onto 4 plates.

Grill steaks for 4-5 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. Spoon ragout over steaks and serve with polenta.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 539.6
Total Fat: 18.7 g
Saturated Fat: 5.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 5.1 g
Cholesterol: 110.2 mg
Sodium: 910.3 mg
Potassium: 293.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 27.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.0 g
Sugars: 4.0 g
Protein: 54.4 g

Crustless Smoked Salmon Quiche with Dill

This is one of my absolute favorite brunch recipes! We’ve been making this recipe for years, and it is always a hit. We even made these for a friend’s baby shower a few years ago, and the guests *loved* them! Enjoy!

Crustless Smoked Salmon Quiche with Dill
Adapted from Cooking Light, July 2002
Serves 12

1 1/4 cups fat-free half & half
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream (I use Lilly brand or Trader Joe’s brand)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gouda cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup thinly sliced wild smoked salmon, chopped (about 2 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in cheese, onions, salmon, dill, and pepper. Pour egg mixture into a muffin tin (12) coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for about 25 minutes.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 66.6
Total Fat: 3.4 g
Saturated Fat: 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.9 g
Cholesterol: 57.4 mg
Sodium: 159.0 mg
Potassium: 99.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 3.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Sugars: 2.0 g
Protein: 4.9 g

Individual Chocolate Soufflé Cakes

These are a fantastic dessert for a dinner for two, at Valentine’s day or anytime of year! We’ve been making these for *years*, and they are always one of our favorites! Enjoy!

Individual Chocolate Soufflé Cakes
From Cooking Light, April 2007
Serves 2

Cooking spray
4 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

Coat 2 (6-ounce) ramekins with cooking spray; sprinkle each with 3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar.

Combine 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes, stirring until smooth. Spoon chocolate mixture into a medium bowl; cool 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla.

Place egg white in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Add remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat). Gently stir 1/4 of egg white mixture into chocolate mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture. Spoon mixture into prepared dishes. Sharply tap dishes 2 or 3 times to level. Place dishes on a baking sheet; bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until puffy and set. Sprinkle each soufflé with 1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

**Note** To serve four, use five teaspoons flour and double the remaining ingredients. (Doubling the flour would make the base too heavy.)

Nutritional info:
Calories: 152
Fat: 0.6g
Saturated fat: 0.3g
Monounsaturated fat: 0.2g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.0g
Protein: 3.5g
Carbohydrate: 35.3g
Fiber: 1.4g
Cholesterol: 0.31mg
Iron: 0.8mg
Sodium: 35mg
Calcium: 26mg