#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 11 :: Beef Enchiladas with Chipotle-Pasilla Gravy

Beef Enchiladas with Chipotle-Pasilla Gravy

I’m not sure if you’ve paid much attention or not, but, I love Mexican food.  LOVE.  Mexican food.  Nachos are my absolute favorite food ever, but, enchiladas come in as a close second.

I typically prefer chicken enchiladas, but these beef enchiladas caught my eye some time ago, mostly because of the enchilada sauce recipe.  Most enchilada sauce recipes I’ve seen use Ancho or Guajillo chilies, and this was the first I’d seen using Pasilla and Chipotle chilies.  I’ve been on a hunt to recreate my favorite Mexican restaurant’s enchilada sauce, and this combination sounded unique enough that I thought I’d give it a shot.

Well, I wasn’t disappointed!  I thought these enchiladas were pretty damn tasty!  I would make them again, for sure.  The only thing I would change is I would stir more enchilada sauce into the beef mixture prior to stuffing them.  I like the innards of an enchilada to be somewhat saucy.  Also, I forgot to add cheese to the inside, and I would definitely do that too.

I always struggle with corn tortillas, and in fact I was half expecting them to fall apart once I scooped them out of the dish to serve them, but they held together very well.  I heated them up according to package directions (not recipe directions) prior to rolling.  Maybe that was the trick.  😊

You can find the original recipe //here//.  I am actually so excited to have found this blog, because so many of the recipes look amazing!  I shall go troll now and pin like a fiend!

Beef Enchiladas with Chipotle-Pasilla Gravy
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
For the pasilla-chipotle chili gravy:
1 or 2 dried chipotle chiles (depending on how hot you want it), seeds and stems removed
4 dried pasilla chiles, seeds and stems removed
1/4 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
3 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the enchiladas:
1 pound ground beef
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced and divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of lard or vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (8 ounces)

Directions
1. In a dry skillet heated on high, toast the pasilla and chipotle chiles on each side for about 10 seconds or just until they start to puff. Fill the skillet with enough water to cover chiles. Leave the heat on until water begins to boil and then turn off the heat and let the chiles soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Once hydrated, discard the soaking water and rinse the chiles. Place in a blender.

2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, in heat up the vegetable oil and while occasionally stirring cook the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Place cooked onion and garlic into the blender, along with the cumin, oregano, and the broth. Blend until smooth.

3. In a pot, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil on low heat, whisking in the flour until well incorporated. Pour in the sauce and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and black pepper to taste and adjust other seasonings as needed.

4. Meanwhile, in a skillet on medium heat (I use the same one that I used for the onions and garlic) add the ground beef, half of the diced onions and garlic. While stirring occasionally, cook the meat until browned, about 10 minutes. (If you like, you can drain the extra fat once the meet is browned.) Stir in the cumin and cook for 2 more minutes. Taste and add salt and black pepper to taste and adjust seasonings. Stir into the meat 1/4 cup of the chili gravy.

5. To make the enchiladas, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a large baking dish. Heat tortillas according to package directions, and keep warm in a towel as needed. Lay each tortilla on a plate or clean cooking surface and add about 2 tablespoons of beef and some of the cheese. Roll the tortilla and place in greased baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour sauce over enchiladas and top with remaining grated cheese and diced onions. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbling.

Chicken Taco Salad Bowls

My sister loves taco salads.

Sometimes, when we go out to pig out on Mexican food, she will gravely disappoint me and order a taco salad.  Meanwhile I’ll order 3 enchiladas, 2 tacos, rice, queso, and who knows what else.  But she just loves taco salads and sometimes that’s what she gets while I sit there looking like a fatty.  THANKS CAITLIN.

But it’s ok.  Because at some point, somewhere along the line, I got it into my head that maybe a taco salad could be pretty good.  I didn’t get one at a restaurant to try it though, no – why would I do that?  Why would I waste precious time and money at a Mexican restaurant by getting a salad?  Pfft.  I was sure I could make it better myself.

So I tried!  And I did.  And these chicken taco salad bowls are probably one of my favorite lunches that I bring to work.  You start off with something that looks like the picture above – some crispy, cold iceberg lettuce, some chopped veggies, cheese (duh), sour cream (duh), some hot sauce to give it a kick, and some saucy shredded chicken.  Then, I like to stir it all up so it becomes a big messy thing that looks like this:

You see that?  Look how that delicious sour cream covers everything in the salad and makes it all creamy and delicious.  NOMZY.

I normally like to drown my salads in creamy dressings, but this takes the cake man.  The sour cream plus that hot sauce?  Jeez my mouth is watering right now and I just finished lunch a couple hours ago.

This is one of the easiest recipes I make for office lunches – very transportable, and very easy to prep for a few days’ worth of lunches at a time.  Give it a try!

Chicken Taco Salad Bowls
Makes 4 salads

Ingredients
1 large head iceberg lettuce, washed, dried, and shredded
2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 pound chicken breasts
1 16oz jar of your favorite salsa (I like //this one//)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese)
1 can black beans, drained (optional)
Other optional toppings include hot sauce to taste, chopped scallions, and sliced black olives

Directions
1. Poach Chicken: Place chicken breasts into a slow cooker and pour the jar of salsa over top. If using, also add the drained black beans. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours (or LOW for 8 hours). When the chicken is finished cooking, remove it from the slow cooker and shred it with two forks. Return it to the slow cooker and mix it with the salsa mixture that’s remaining. Keep warm. (Alternatively, if you already have about a pound of shredded chicken, you can put the shredded chicken into a skillet and add the jar of salsa and the drained black beans, and saute it all together until the chicken starts to turn red like it’s soaking up the salsa.)

2. If you are prepping these salads for lunches: Divide the shredded lettuce evenly between four containers. Top each with diced tomatoes, diced red onions, and shredded cheddar cheese. Put lids on those containers and store them in the fridge. Get a separate container for your 1 cup of sour cream. You will add the sour cream to your salad at work as you’re mixing it all together. Then divide the chicken mixture evenly between four containers. I store the chicken separate from the salad because a) you don’t want the chicken making the lettuce wilted and soggy; and b) I like to warm my chicken up a little before dropping it into the salad. When you warm up the chicken, microwave it on 50% power for 2 minutes, and let cool slightly before adding it to the salad. Add the sour cream and hot sauce to taste, then mix it all up to make a gloriously creamy and slutty taco salad!

3. If you are making these to eat right away: Simply prepare everything at the same time without separating into different containers. Just prepare it into the bowl or onto the plate from which you’ll be eating.

Slutty Game Food, Episode 3: Guacamole

I have a confession to make.

Until about 5 years ago, I totally hated guacamole.

I know.  Can you forgive me?

Interestingly enough, what changed my mind was going to Mexico.  We went to Cozumel for Aaron’s 30th birthday, to a beautiful all-inclusive resort, where I felt like hey, if I don’t like it, at least I didn’t pay for it.  So I tried a few new things there, one of them being guacamole.  And I felt like my mind was changed with just one bite – if this is what guacamole tasted like back in Philly, I’d order it all the time!

But we were too scared to try any guacs back in Philly.  Let’s be honest.  Philly is not known for its Mexican food, let alone guacamole.  We both thought it was gross.

Fast forward a few years to when we tried Distrito for the first time.  We were feeling adventurous.  So we ordered the guac.  And again.  My mind was changed about guacamole! Jose Garces can do no wrong.  Seriously.

On a side note, I love Distrito.  If you ever get to Philly, it should be restaurant numero uno on your list of places to eat at.

So back to the guac.  Distrito puts a lovely little snowfall of shredded Cotija cheese on top – it’s like icing on cake.  So nomzy.  And the guac is so creamy, a little bit chunky, lots of fresh citrusy lime flavor – ugh my mouth is watering now just thinking about it.

Guacamole

I set out on a mission to find a guac recipe that most closely resembles that of Distrito, and I think I found it.  I have modified this recipe from Truly Mexican – a fantastic cookbook if you are looking for a good Mexican cookbook – to make it more like Distrito’s guacamole.  It gets rave reviews every time I make it.

And what is better game food than chips and guac‼  Enjoy!

Guacamole
Servings: 4-6
Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients
2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup diced white onion, diced fine
1 serrano pepper, seeded and diced fine
1 big handful of cilantro, minced
Juice from 1-3 limes
2-3 tablespoons finely shredded Cotija cheese
Kosher salt

Directions
1. Make onion-pepper-cilantro mash: If you have a molcajete, add the onion, serrano pepper, a few pinches of cilantro, and a few pinches of kosher salt to the bowl. (If you don’t have one, pile everything up onto your cutting board and use a fork to mash it all together.) Mash everything together until it’s combined well. The salt will help to break down the vegetables and soften them, so add more salt as needed to get everything mashed together nicely.

2. Prepare the avocados: First, slice a lime in half, and squeeze the juice of one half into the bowl you will be mixing your guacamole in. Using the flesh of the squished lime, rub the juice around the sides of the bowl as well. Next, slice an avocado in half lengthwise, cutting around the pit, and twist the halves apart. Pop the pit out (there are many ways to do this, but I am a fan of sticking the point of my knife between the pit and the flesh and popping it out), and slice cross hatches into the avocado. Using a spoon, scoop the avocado flesh into your lime-juiced bowl. Toss the cubes around to get a light coating of lime juice. Repeat with the other avocado.

3. Make the guac: Using a fork, pastry cutter (I find this works best), or hand-held potato masher, beat up the avocado cubes until they turn into a dip-like consistency. Add the mashed onion-pepper-cilantro mix, and the juice from the other half of the lime in step 2. Add another pinch of salt and mix well until combined. Add more cilantro as desired, and more lime juice as desired. I typically end up using a lot of lime juice (from 2 limes total) and a lot of cilantro (probably about half of a bunch, minced).

4. Finish the guac: Scoop the guac into a serving bowl and top with shredded Cotija cheese. Serve with tortilla chips of course!

5. Storing the guac: If you are not serving it right away, leave the cheese off until ready to serve. For storing: If you can’t store it in the same bowl you mixed it in, then slice another lime in half, squeeze the juice into the storage bowl, and use the flesh of the squeezed half to rub the lime juice around the bowl. Scoop the guacamole into the storage bowl and press down with a spatula or back of a spoon to squeeze out any air bubbles. Squeeze a little more lime juice on top of the guac. Take a piece of plastic wrap and press it directly on top of the guacamole, sealing out all the air. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

**NOTES**
1. If you have never cut/peeled/pitted an avocado before, please do some Googling and YouTubing to see the process beforehand. Avocados can be slippery, and slippery + sharp knives isn’t always a safe combination. Also you don’t want to get an avocado pit stuck on your chef’s knife (like I once did).
2. One serrano pepper will make a pretty mild guacamole, depending on how big it is. I usually look for big serranos, and use two, for a medium-heat guacamole.