Monday, August 19, 2013

Spaghetti Casserole

I made this tonight because I had some leftover, cooked angel hair pasta, a couple of slice of prosciutto, and some cheese that I wanted to do something with. It was a really yummy side dish.

350

Serves 4-6 as a side

3-4 cups of cooked pasta, chopped up if necessary
2 slices prosciutto, chopped 
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 egg 
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tbl worcestershire
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 shredded cheese (I used some Parrano, sharp cheddar, and a little Huntsman)

Mix all together. Place in a greased casserole dish, cover, and bake at 350 for 45 - 60 minutes.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Aztec Casserole from Pati's Mexican Kitchen

This sounds really good, like a Mexican Lasagne.  It serves a crowd and is relatively easy. I will probably omit frying the tortillas. I don't think that it will make any difference to the flavor or texture, and will save calories.

CHICKEN AND TORTILLA AZTEC CASSEROLE
Cazuela Azteca
Serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS
For the sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and pureed, or whole canned tomatoes, drained and pureed (to make about 5 cups tomato puree)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

For the tortillas
1 cup vegetable oil, or more as needed, for frying the tortillas
8 to 10 corn tortillas (9 ounces total)

For assembly
4 cups cooked, shredded chicken
4 cups fresh corn (may substitute frozen; see NOTES)
1 pound poblano chili peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and cut into rajas (see NOTES)
1 cup Mexican cream (crema), Latin-style cream, creme fraiche or heavy cream
12 ounces grated Oaxaca, mozzarella, Monterey Jack or mild white cheddar cheese (about 3 cups)

TO PREPARE
For the sauce: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, oregano, bay leaf and salt and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and darkens in color. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf.

For the tortillas: Cover a large plate or baking sheet with several layers of paper towels. Pour the oil into a medium 10-inch skillet to a depth of 1/4 inch (about 1 cup). Heat over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, about 2 to 3 minutes. Working with one tortilla at a time, use a pair of tongs to pass the tortilla through the oil for 10 to 15 seconds per side; this will make the it pliable and resistant to the sauce. The tortilla will first appear to be softening and then will become barely crisp, and its color will darken. Drain on the paper towels.

To assemble: Spread one-third of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or the equivalent. Cover with half of the cooked chicken, half of the corn, half of the poblanos and one-third of the cream and cheese. Top with half of the tortillas, tearing them into large pieces if needed to make an even layer without much overlap. Repeat, adding one-third of the tomato sauce; the remaining half of the cooked chicken, corn and poblanos; and one-third of the cream and cheese. Top with a layer of the remaining tortillas, the remaining one-third of the sauce and the remaining cream and cheese.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover the casserole dish with a lid or with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the lid or foil and bake for 15 minutes or until the top is bubbly and the cheese has melted. Serve hot.

NOTES: To create rajas, or strips, char or roast the chilies, either by placing them under the broiler or directly on a grill or hot skillet. Roast for 6 to 9 minutes, turning every 3 to 4 minutes, until they are charred and blistered but not burned. Immediately place in a plastic bag; close the bag tightly and cover with a kitchen towel; this will facilitate skinning. One by one, remove each chili from the bag, peel off the skin and lightly rinse the chili with water. Cut out the stem and cut each pepper in half. Remove and discard the seeds, then cut the peppers into strips 1/2-inch wide and an inch long.

Frozen corn will make the dish watery if it is not precooked to remove moisture. First, defrost the corn completely. Heat a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter; when it has melted, add the corn and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Spanish Chicken

I made this for dinner last night, and I thought it was really delicious. I served it with rice pilaf and green beans. This is a keeper!

Serves 2-3

2 tbl olive oil
6 chicken thighs
1/2 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flavorful ham
1 1/2 - 2 tsp Smoked paprika
1/2 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup sherry
1/4 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper

Season chicken thighs with salt, pepper, and 1/2 tsp or so smoked paprika. Brown chicken in olive oil on both sides. Add onions, ham, garlic, and saute til onions are transluscent. Deglaze the pan with sherry. Add chicken stock and remaining paprika. Taste and correct seasonings.  

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Deviled eggs

I got this idea from Steel Magnolias in Valdosta, Ga. We stop in Valdosta on the way to Florida, and we ate at Steel Magnolias the last time. Their deviled eggs topped with crumbled bacon were delicious. There are no measurements because I didn't measure anything. Just taste and correct.

Serves 4
2 slices bacon, cooked til crisp and crumbled
4 eggs
1/4-1/4 cup Mayo
2-3 tbl Dijon mustard
1 tbl adobo sauce from Chipotles in adobo 
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon, drain, and crumble. Set aside.

Place eggs in saucepan covered with water. Bring to a boil, turn off, cover, and let sit 15 minutes. Drain and run cold water over the eggs. Crack the eggs all over and let sit in cold water til cool. Peel under running water.  

Cut eggs in half, remove yolks,  mash yolks with remaining ingredients. Taste and correct seasonings. Fill whites up and top with crumbled bacon.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Chiles Rellenos

I made this for my friend, Kathleen's, birthday. I sort of made this up as I went, and it turned out great! It's a little time-consuming, so make the picadillo (I did a double batch so I could freeze it) one day and do the sauce the next.  

Serves 6-8

Picadillo
1-2 tbl olive oil
1 lb ground pork
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 hungarian pepper (chile xcatic), deseeded and chopped
Big handful cilantro stems, chopped
1 tomato, chopped (or 2-3 spoonfuls of canned, chopped tomatoes)
1/2 cup pimiento stuffed olives, chopped
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup currents or raisins
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4-1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp mexican oregano
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbl vinegar

Saute onion,garlic, hungarian pepper, and cilantro in olive oil. Add pork and cook until it begins to brown. Lower the heat and add all the remaining ingredients. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Uncover, raise heat and evaporate excess moisture. Set aside to cool.

Tomato sauce
1 grilled onion
3 grilled cloves garlic
Handful of chopped cilantro stems
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 chipotle chile in adobo
2-3 tbls adobo sauce from chipotles
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4-1/2 tsp cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp mexican oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Turn your gas grill on high and roast the onion and garlic until blacked, about 10 minutes for the garlic and 20 minutes for the onion. When cool, peel the onion and garlic. Roughly chopped the onion and put it and all the other ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and simmer for 20 or 30 minutes.

Assembly

8 poblano chiles, tops cut off and seeds removed
Oaxacan cheese, 8 strips, plus some for the top

Stuff the pepper with the strips of cheese and the picadillo. Lay the on their sides in a greased, oven-proof casserole dish. Top with sauce and crumble more of the oaxacan cheese on top. At this point, you can cover this and refrigerate for a day. Bake at 350, covered for about 1 hour.