#52NewEats :: Week 18 :: Black Bean and Green Chile Enchiladas

Black Bean and Green Chile Enchiladas

So here’s some news for ya – my husband and I are going VEGETARIAN for the entire month of May.  😱  *gasp*  😱  Yes!  We are!

Aaron adopted a project I did a few years ago, where instead of trying to abide by a few new year’s resolutions for an entire year, I tried to abide by a single one for an entire month – a different one every month – in the hopes of changing some bad habits and adopting a healthier lifestyle.  So far this year he has given up added salt (which was a MAJOR feat for him – as long as I’ve known him, he has salted EVERYTHING even before tasting it!), given up soda, attempted to do yoga or ROMWOD every day, and given up sugar.  I joined in with him during his yoga month and I definitely noticed a difference in how I felt!  Then we gave up sugar together – the month of Easter / Cadbury Crème Eggs – not quite sure what I was thinking there.  And this month we have decided to go vegetarian together.

In preparation for that I thought I’d try some vegetarian recipes so we had some new menu items to try this month.  This was the first one we tried and it was so good!  I’ll admit – it is hard to go wrong with enchiladas with me.  I love enchiladas.  The only thing that can really screw them up is the sauce (and I have made some questionable homemade enchilada sauces in my time).  But these were great and the BEST part about these?!  It gave me an excuse to make my daughter a cheese enchilada (there’s no way I’m getting black beans or green chilies in her at this time in her life), and she actually kinda sorta liked it!  She thought the sauce was too spicy (it was) but she liked it enough to ask me to make it again for her, but with a milder sauce.  WINNING.

So I did love these enchiladas but next time I would probably swap out manchego cheese for the topping with something a little more melty, like Monterey jack.  Or I could top with crumbled cotija cheese, another favorite.  She also mentions in her blog that she wasn’t a fan of the corn tortillas – I only had corn tortillas, but next time I would also make these with flour. This recipe is already on the Vegetarian Month menu for another round later this month!  Two thumbs up on this recipe – give it a try!  You can find the original recipe //here//.

Black Bean and Green Chile Enchiladas

Ingredients
12 small corn or flour tortillas* (she recommends flour and I would echo this)
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
1 28-ounce can red enchilada sauce, such as Las Palmas (I got two 15oz cans and only ended up using one)
1/2 cup grated manchego cheese + more for topping (or sub another Mexican cheese, such as Cojita or Pepper Jack)
1/4 cup light sour cream or greek yogurt
Topping Options: Diced green onion, cilantro, grilled fajita veggies, avocado, salsa, sour cream, lime wedges, etc.

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and position a baking rack in the middle of the oven.

2. Combine black beans, green chilies, sour cream and manchego cheese in a mixing bowl. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired. Set aside.

3. Pour a small amount of enchilada sauce to lightly coat the bottom of a 9×13 dish.

4. Transfer one tortilla at a time to the baking dish, scoop in 2 Tbsp of the black bean filling and roll up. Place seam side down and continue until the pan is filled – should be about 10-12 enchiladas.
Top enchiladas with a bit more enchilada sauce down the middle.

5. Top with a bit more cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

6. Serve with toppings such as avocado, guacamole, salsa, fajita veggies, sour cream, green onion, cilantro or lettuce.

#52NewEats :: Week 5 :: Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe

Over the summer, I took a girls overnight trip to NYC with my mom, sister, and daughter.  We had dinner at this amazing restaurant called //Cacio e Pepe//, and the whole reason we went was so we could eat… cacio e pepe.  I had seen some //videos on Instagram// of them mixing up the pasta in a giant wheel of Parmesan cheese and knew I had to have a dish.  The best part – my daughter got her own plate and she actually liked it!

So when I found this recipe by //smitten kitchen//, I knew I had to try it.

As much as I love everything smitten kitchen, I wasn’t sure I would be 100% sold on this recipe.  Would it even measure up to the cacio e pepe I had in NYC?  And also the last 4 recipes I’ve made were good but there was always something I wanted to change or tweak with them.  Well this recipe??  I wouldn’t change a single thing!

DON’T.  CHANGE.  A.  SINGLE.  THING.

This recipe is absolutely perfection the way it is.  Like Deb says in her post, I was not even sure how pasta water, olive oil, and cheese would all come together and make a delicious, creamy, cheesy sauce, but with some kind of kitchen science wizardry, it does.  I was never a fan of adding pasta water to sauces, as I prefer thick, creamy sauces – but I am now a believer in that starchy cooking water.

My husband is not a pasta eater, and even HE said “Wow, this is good.”

My daughter IS a pasta eater, but she said “Meh, it’s too peppery.”  She’s silly.  The one she ate in NYC had giant cracked peppercorns in it.  Maybe she flicked them all off though.  It is NOT too peppery.  It was just right.

This recipe is officially on the rotation in my house.  It was so easy to make, and it tasted so much like the one I had in NYC; it transported me right back there.  Please go check out smitten kitchen’s blog, she is a true inspiration to me.  And you definitely need to make this pasta!

Cacio e Pepe
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound dried spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
1 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
Salt (optional)
1 1/2 cups reserved pasta cooking water

Directions
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a small handful of salt. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. When the spaghetti is finished cooking, BEFORE DRAINING, measure out 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta and return the pot to the stove.

2. In the same pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add pasta back to the pot, and add about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Deb warns in her recipe it may splatter mightily, but I did not heat my oil that hot, so I did not experience this. But be warned, it could happen. Add the butter, 3 ounces of the cheese, and the ground pepper, and toss with tongs to combine. Be patient, it will come together. Keep tossing until it turns cheesy and delicious. Add more cheese if you’d like, or you can top each portion with some of the cheese just before serving.

#52NewEats :: Week 4 :: Creamy Asiago Cheese Garlic Tortellini

For this week’s 52 New Eats recipe, I chose – yet another – sorry not sorry but actually yes a little sorry – pasta recipe.  This week though, my daughter picked it out, and she wanted to choose because she hasn’t liked any of the recipes I’ve made so far.  🙄  I know, I know.  I need to work on her.  She’s getting there though.

So we picked this recipe and I wondered if it would be similar to my own //Creamy Roasted Garlic Tortellini// recipe, which is hands-down my favoritest pasta recipe on this planet.  And it is somewhat similar, but really only in that it’s a tortellini-and-creamy-sauce dish.

Maraea helped me prepare this meal – she has been very interested lately in helping out in the kitchen so I am giving her as many jobs as I can.  She wants to do things like grate garlic and shred cheese though, and it makes me nervous.  I will still occasionally grate my fingernail off or shred off a piece of my finger.  I’m worried she will do the same.  I don’t know though.  Maybe I’m being too overprotective.  #momstuff

Anyway, the original recipe is //here//, and below are my thoughts.  Oh, and in case you are wondering, yes, kiddo DID like this dish.  Finally, a winner!

🍴The sauce stayed pretty thin for us, so I ended up adding a handful of Parmesan cheese to see if it would help thicken a little.  It did, but just a little.  If you’re looking for a really thick creamy sauce, this is not for you.  It’s a thinner cream sauce, but still flavorful.

🍴10oz of tortellini was really only enough to feed the 3 of us, and we each had some pieces of a baguette as a side with some butter.  Ten ounces of tortellini is not enough for 4 servings in my opinion, unless of course you serve a couple other sides – like bread AND salad.  This could easily feed two hungry adults.  (Should it feed two hungry adults?  I think that’s another question entirely.  😉)

🍴I would recommend that if you’re interested in making this recipe, read the comments section at the original recipe’s website.  Several people had the same issue I had with the sauce never getting very thick – for some people it came down to the brand of Asiago used.

Creamy Asiago Garlic Tortellini
Serves 2-3

Ingredients
10oz refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter
5 garlic cloves, grated
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup grated Asiago cheese
Handful of Parmesan cheese (about 1/3 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste
Minced fresh parsley

Directions
1. Cook tortellini according to package instructions and drain.

2. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add grated garlic and cook for about a minute, stirring constantly so it won’t burn.

3. Add chicken stock and heavy cream, and stir. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add cheeses and reduce heat to a simmer. Continue to stir to keep from burning. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Add tortellini and stir together and continue to cook for a couple of minutes, until the pasta is well-combined with the sauce and warmed together. Stir in minced parsley. Then serve!

#52NewEats :: Week 3 :: Creamy Brie Mac and Cheese

Hey ya’ll!  For this week’s 52 New Eats recipe I chose another mac and cheese dish – primarily because my daughter LOVES Brie cheese, and LOVES Ritz crackers, and I though, why wouldn’t she LOVE this?!

Silly me.  🙄

She’s too picky I suppose.  She didn’t like this mac and cheese, but I thought it was pretty bangin’.  I like that it’s a little more grown-up than my mac and cheese – it uses slightly more ‘exotic’ cheeses.  Not so exotic you can’t find them in a supermarket, but more exotic than your average Joe mac and cheese.  I’m happy with the way this turned out and will file it in my ‘keepers’ column.  😊  You can find the original recipe //here//.

Here are my thoughts on the recipe:

🍴 I halved the recipe and it was plenty for me, my daughter, and two bowls of leftovers.  I’d only make the full portion if I was having people over.  It did reheat well, if you heat it gently on 50% power until warmed through.

🍴  The cheese sauce is VERY thick.  I would highly recommend measuring the cheeses accurately, and weighing the Brie as well.  Don’t eyeball it.  I sort of eyeballed it in the sense that I measured out the cheese I needed and then I had some leftover and thought eh, can’t hurt anything, but I think it helped contribute to making the cheese sauce very thick.  I don’t not like this – who doesn’t love a thick, creamy cheese sauce? – but it may not be what some are looking for.  I also used just over 2oz of Brie.  This also helps make it slutty and thick!

🍴  I have never had crushed Ritz crackers on top of a casserole before, though I have seen it many times.  You can now officially call me converted – it was the perfect topping for this mac and cheese, and I may even reconstruct my classic mac and cheese to have this topping!  I omitted the garlic in this step though, because I was trying to keep it as kid-friendly as possible.  I’m sure the garlic would have been a nice, sharp touch!  If you do add it, I would highly recommend grating it over mincing it.  It will melt into the butter much better.

🍴  I was unsure about the mustard powder and cayenne, but I added it anyway because like I said before, I like to make a recipe as called for the first time, and tweak afterwards.  I barely tasted them after the mac and cheese baked, but I do think I tasted the mustard powder – it was ever so slight, something that just made me go hm, is that the mustard powder?  Maybe that’s what my kiddo tasted when she made a stink face at me.  Whatever, I didn’t mind it at all, and it’s probably the kind of thing you would notice if it wasn’t there.  I could imagine this mac and cheese being rather plain without these seasonings – Brie, havarti, and fontina are all pretty mild, rich cheeses.

Below is the recipe as I made it.  Enjoy!

Creamy Brie Mac and Cheese
Serves 8

Ingredients
3.5 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cups crushed Ritz crackers
1/2 pound elbow pasta
1/8 cup flour
1.5 cups warm milk
2/3 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup fontina cheese, shredded
2/3 cups havarti cheese, shredded
2-3 ounces Brie, rind removed and chopped
1/8 teaspoon mustard powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.
2. Boil the pasta according to package directions and drain. Set aside.
3. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat and add 1.5 tablespoons butter. Allow to melt. Add in the crushed Ritz crackers, and stir to coat and toast, about 3-5 minutes.
4. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Allow the mixture to cook and bubble for about a minute, stirring a couple times so as not to burn it.
5. Add the milk. Whisk constantly, and raise heat up to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently, until the sauce has thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and begin stirring in all of the cheeses.
6. Once the cheeses are well-combined, pour the sauce over the drained macaroni. Stir together to combine, then pour into the prepared baking dish.
7. Bake for 20 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown and the sauce is bubbling.