Stacked Green Chili Enchiladas

Hola!  Here’s dinner with a crowd of friends who came in last week.  Happily, it was pretty easy to make two big pan-fulls–using pre-roasted chicken from the market.  Instead of rolling all those enchiladas, you just stack the ingredients in a baking dish and pop it into the oven.

And I think they all loved it because there was only 1 serving leftover to take a picture to show you!

STACKED GREEN CHILI ENCHILADAS
1 grocery store roast chicken,
deboned & cut to bits
1/4 cup butter
2 tab. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup flour
14 oz. can chicken broth
1 cup milk
4 oz. can diced green chilis
1/2 cup salsa verde
2 cups grated cheddar jack cheese
12 to 14 corn tortillas
garnish: avocado and a little more sour cream

Remove the skin, debone and cut the chicken to small chunks.  Cut the tortillas into 6 triangles each.

Melt the butter in a large skillet of pot.  Add the olive oil and garlic.  Bring it to a simmer and stir in the flour until it’s a thick paste.  Keep simmering and stir in the chicken broth a bit at a time.  Then add the milk the same way.  Continue to stir until it thickens.

Mix in the green chilis and salsa verde. Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream.

In a 9″x13″ baking dish, pour 1/4 cup of the sauce to coat the bottom of the dish.  Layer 1/3 of the tortilla triangles to cover the bottom the baking dish.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the chopped chicken over the tortillas.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese on top.  Then drizzle 1/3 of the sauce over the cheese.

Repeat the same layer process two more times, topping with a full cup of cheese.

Tent foil over the baking dish, so that it doesn’t touch the cheese on top.  Bake it all up at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Take off the foil and cook 10 minutes more to melt the cheese completely.

Cut into squares and serve with a dollop of sour cream and a little avocado.

Blackberry Shortcake

Hello all– Is is summer where you are??  School ended here yesterday.  The grand-girls and I had a water squirting adventure in the front yard this evening.  We’ve been eating dinner out back under the maple trees.  And there are mounds of berries at the market here.  We’ve made it to summer!

So Monday night when friends came in for dinner, this is what we had for desert.  Sweet tender little cakes, just a bit crispy around the edges — with cream and ripe black berries.  What’s more summery than that?!

BLACK BERRY SHORTCAKE

Shortcake:
1  1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2/3 cup buttermilk*
1 tsp. vanilla

Toppings:
12 oz. blackberries (2 small cartons)
2 tab. sugar
1 point heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. powdered sugar
2 tsp. instant vanilla pudding mix**

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, 1/3 cu sugar, baking powder and salt.  With a pastry blender (or 2 forks), cut in the butter until it resembles pea size lumps.  Then stir in the buttermilk and vanilla.

Drop mounds of dough onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray (makes about 8 medium shortcakes).  Bake them in a 400 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes until they’re nicely browned and crispy around the edges.

While they are baking, wash the berries and mix them with the 2 tab. of sugar.

With an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla pudding mix.  Set it into the fridge to firm up until your ready to serve the shortcake.

Set each shortcake on a pretty place and top with berries & cream.

*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand (like me), pour a tablespoon of cider vinegar in with whole milk  to make 2/3 cup.  Let it sit a couple minutes to thicken.
**The instant pudding stabilizes the cream, so it will stay firm when you serve it.

 

Chicken with Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

Hello hello–  All I can say it–the Sauce!!  I poured the extra over my tortellini and sopped up every last drop.  This dish is easy enough for everyday, beautiful enough to share with a table full of friends.

CHICKEN WITH SUN DRIED TOMATO SAUCE|
4 to 6 chicken thighs
2 tab. olive oil
sale & freshly ground pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. fresh thyme*
1 tsp. dried basil*
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped to bits
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup cream or half & half
1/2 cup grated parmesan romano
garnish: thyme sprigs, a sprinkling of parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and then drop in the chicken thighs.  Salt and pepper them liberally while they cook 5 to 7 minutes on each side (until they are cooked through).  Remove them to a plate and cover to keep warm

In the same skillet add the garlic, thyme, basil and dried tomatoes.  Stir for a minute to blend the flavors.  Then mix in the broth and cream. Let the sauce simmer on low for 3 to 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.  Stir in the parmesan romano.

Pour the sauce over the chicken.  Garnish with a bit of parmesan and sprigs of thyme.

We ate this luscious chicken with tortellini and a hearty salad.  Perfect.

*I just used thyme because it is growing in the side yard, basil, marjoram, mined rosemary, any fresh Italian-ish herb would be fine.
**Of if you have Italian seasoning, oregano…

Triple Chocolate Black Forest Cake

Hello all– Chocolate cake, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce with fresh cherries and cream.  That about sums it up.  Loved this rich and creamy cake and I’m hoping you will too, while cherries are at the market bright and juicy.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BLACK FOREST CAKE
1 chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/4 cup water
3 eggs
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup chocolate ice cream topping*
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted, chopped
2 tab. almond kirsch or amaretto
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tab. powdered sugar
2 tab. vanilla instant pudding powder**
garnish: fresh stemmed cherries

With an electric mixer, make the cake according to the directions on the box (mine called for 1/2 cup oil, 1 1/4 cup water & 3 eggs).  Spoon the batter into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish or a 10″ spring form cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake the cake according the directions on the box.  Out of the oven let the cake cool completely.  Then poke holes into the cake with the handle end of a wooden spoon.  Drizzle the ice cream topping over the cake and into the holes.  (If the topping is too thick to drizzle, put it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds).

Chop the pitted cherries and mix them in a bowl with the kirsch or amaretto.  Then spoon them evenly over the top of the cake.

Whip the cream with the whisk attachment of an electric mixer until it is well set.  Beat in the powdered sugar and pudding mix.  Then spoon the thickened cream over the cake and set it in the fridge for 30 minutes or more to make sure the cream is firm.

Garnish with the stemmed cherries and then serve it up to friends…

*I used Smuckers Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Topping
**The pudding mix thickens and stabilizes the cream.

Jessica’s Morning Oatmeal

 

Good morning!  We were staying with our kids recently and Jessica pulled this dish of oatmeal from oven, hot & fruity & just a bit crunchy.  Add some warm milk and it’s the loveliest breakfast.

So I brought that recipe home and here’s my version– the best baked oatmeal yet!  (and we’ve eaten our share of baked oatmeal, let me tell you…)

JESSICA’S MORNING OATMEAL
2 cups oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup kefir or buttermilk
1 cup water
1 egg
3 tab. unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly
2 tsp. vanilla
1 pound fruit (pears, nectarines, blueberries)*
garnish:  a pitcher of cream (or milk) to serve/more syrup (optional)

In a bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In another bowl, stir up the maple syrup, buttermilk, water, egg, vanilla and 1/2 of the melted butter.  Set aside.

Cut the fruit to small chunks and spread it on the bottom of a 9″ square of 9″ deep round making dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Spoon the oat mixture over the fruit.  Then carefully pour the liquid mixture over the top of it all.

Bake the oatmeal at 375 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes until the oats are cooked through.  Drizzle the remaining butter over the oatmeal and serve with cream and syrup if you want a little more sweetness.

*I used 2 nectarines, 1 pear, 1 cup of blueberries (all unpeeled–easy!)

Thai Curry Chicken Skewers

 

Hi all– It was a wacky wonderful weekend.  Family pulled in from Ojai, San Francisco and Wisconsin to celebrate John & Laurel, about to get married!!  A Bachelorette Party and two festive showers–it couldn’t have been sweeter.

Now it’s back to real life.  And here’s an straight forward everyday dinner to throw on the grill.  Mix the marinade, drop in the chicken and skewer it up when you’re ready to grill.  A little spicy, and so flavorful.

THAI CURRY CHICKEN SKEWERS
2 to 3  pounds chicken boneless chicken breast
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tab. brown sugar
2 tab. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. curry powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tab. Thai sweet chili sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
garnish: lime wedges & chopped cilantro

Cut the chicken breasts in to chunks.  Set aside.

In a gallon zip loc bag, add in the other ingredients– soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, garlic, curry powder, ginger, Thai sweet chili sauce and salt.  Squeeze the bag until they all is thoroughly mixed and then drop in the chicken.

Marinate the chicken in the sauce, for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Thread the chicken onto 3 or 4 skewers and grill the chicken on a bar-b- que until the it’s charred around the edges and cooked through.

Move the chicken to a platter and sprinkle on the chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Here’s a simple summer supper on the coffee table (Angel baseball on the tv).

Caramel Pear Cake

 

Hello there– It’s that time of year when dinner can shift from leaning in around the family room table, to catching cool evening breezes under the maple trees in the back yard.   So last week friends came over the share an outdoor “pot luck salad supper” — perfect summer kick off!

And for dessert we had Miriam’s tart, Glenda’s legendary lemon bars, Joanne’s super strawberry cake and this caramel pear cake.  Sweet ending to time around the table with friends.

P.S. The best thing about this cake is that there is more pears, nuts mixed in than batter– so it’s fruity sweet crunchy sweet.

CARAMEL PEAR CAKE
2 large pears, peeled, seeded & cut in bits
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1  1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
garnish:  powdered sugar,  1/4 cup salted caramel*

Prepare the pears and walnuts.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the egg, oil and vanilla (batter will be very stiff!)  Fold in the pears and walnuts until it’s thoroughly combined.

Spoon the batter into a 8″ or 9″ cake pan** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes until a thin knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for an hour or so.  Then dust on a little powdered sugar through a sieve.  Drizzle the salted caramel over the top.

If you serve it with ice cream, be sure to have a little pitcher of warm caramel to top it all!

*You can make your own caramel– I used Smuckers salted caramel from a jar!
**I like a springform pan because it’s easier to extract the cake and set it on a pretty plate.