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  • Have a Spooky Halloween!

    Cheddar Witches Fingers - Cheese straws in the shape of fingers, complete with a black almond "finger nail." Delicious and totally spooky.

    Candy Apples - You don't need to go to the fair to get my favorite treat because you can make these at home. Black food coloring gives them a festive touch.

    Pumpkin Caramel Sauce - Having a not-so-scary Halloween party? Serve ice cream with this pumpkin infused caramel sauce on top.

Monthly Archives: March 2009

Pinot Noir Caramelized Onions

Eric and I love caramelized onions. They are sweet, flavorful and add wonderful texture to any dish. When I saw this recipe, I knew before I even made it that it would be a winner. Pinot Noir is our favorite wine, so we really couldn’t go wrong adding our favorite wine to caramelized onions. The wine gave the onions a beautiful color and a deep flavor that went perfectly with our Goat Cheese Turkey Burgers.

Pinot Noir Onions
1 large vidalia onion, sliced
1 sprig thyme
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2/3 cup pinot noir

-In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
-Add the onions and the thyme.
-Reduce the heat to medium low and cook with a pinch of salt until the onions are soft golden brown, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-Pluck out the thyme sprig and then increase the heat to medium-high.
-Add the wine and cook until it’s almost completely absorbed, about 5-10 minutes.
-Serve on top of your favorite burger.

Source: Elly Says Opa!

Chicken and Rice Wraps

Eric and I are usually pretty good about taking our lunches to work. It saves money and is usually healthier than eating out. We often take leftovers or sandwiches, but that can get old quickly. This recipe is a great way to spice up your lunch routine. It’s also quicker than making a sandwich because all you have to do is grab it right out of the freezer! Not only are these wraps convenient, they’re also delicious!

Chicken and Rice Wraps
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups salsa
1 packet or 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
4 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 cup shredded mexican cheese blend
8-12 tortillas

-Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
-Scoop into tortillas and fold into a burrito shape.
-Wrap with foil and freeze in a freezer bag.
-To re-heat, unwrap from foil and microwave until heated through (about two minutes), flipping over halfway through.

Source: Proceed with Caution

Taco Seasoning

When we were in college, Eric and I had tacos once a week. We called it “Taco Tuesday.” We’d eat tacos, obviously, and watch Bones. I looked forward to it every week. It’s funny to think how different we are now than we were back then, especially in terms of our eating habits. We were dependent on those taco kits, which seems pretty ridiculous now considering how easy it is to make tacos without them. I didn’t even know it at the time that I had everything I needed to make taco seasoning right in my pantry. Long gone are the days when we picked up a taco kit (or two, since Publix always had them by one get one) every week. We still watch Bones, though, so not everything has changed. This seasoning has become a pantry staple for us, and we use it on more than just tacos.

DIY Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning
¼ cup chili powder (I like the ancho variety.)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and store in an air-tight container. Use 2½ tablespoons in place of any recipe that calls for a packet of taco seasoning.

For tacos, brown 1 pound of ground beef or turkey in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in 1 cup of water and add it, along with the seasoning, to the skillet. Simmer over low heat until the liquid has thickened.

Source: Adapted from Allrecipes

Chipotle Rice and Black Bean Enchiladas

It’s been a little over a year since Eric and I moved from Texas to Florida. I am not ashamed to admit that I still miss Tex-Mex food. It’s just not the same anywhere else. Eric and I often joke about flying to Dallas for a weekend just so we can go eat at our favorite restaurants (and buy tons of stuff from Central Market, the best grocery store ever).

Shortly after our move, I discovered an amazing blog called Homesick Texan. I saved her chili gravy recipe, but I kept telling myself that there was no way I could make enchiladas that tasted like the ones I loved so much in Texas. I am seriously kicking myself for not trying this sooner. The chili gravy is simple, but it exemplifies so well everything that makes Tex-Mex food delicious. It’s smoky and full of flavor.

Instead of going with cheese as the filling, I decided to use Elly’s Chipotle Rice and Black Beans. They were perfect as a filling, and Eric didn’t even miss having meat for dinner. The chipotle definitely gave the rice some kick, but it went well with the smokiness of the sauce.

This meal did take some time to put together, making the chili gravy, then the filling and then assembling the enchiladas, but it was worth every second.

Chipotle Rice and Black Beans
1/2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle in adobo, minced
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup uncooked rice
2/3 cup water or broth
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper

-Heat the oil in a shallow pot/saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid.
-Add the onion and cook until tender.
-Stir in the garlic, chipotle, and bay leaf, sauteing an additional minute.
-Stir in the rice, and toast it until just a little golden.
-Add the water (or broth), black beans, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.
-Bring to a boil, cover, and then turn the heat down to low.
-Simmer for about 15 minutes.
-Remove from heat (but keep the lid on) and let sit for about 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Source: Elly Says Opa

Chili Gravy
1/4 cup lard (or vegetable oil)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered garlic
2 teasponns ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (Mexican oregano is preferred if it’s available)
2 tablespoons chile powder
2 cups chicken broth (or water)

-Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
-Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it makes a light brown roux.
-Add all the dry ingredients and continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring and blending ingredients.
-Add chicken broth or water, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens.
-Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes.
-Add water to adjust the thickness.

Makes 2 cups.

Source: Homesick Texan

To assemble the enchiladas:
-Preheat oven to 400°.
-Cover the bottom of a 13×9 baking dish with 1/2 cup chili gravy.
-Heat tortillas (corn or flour) over stovetop or in microwave.
-Fill each tortilla with chipotle rice and beans (how much will depend on the size of your tortilla).
-Place in baking dish seam side down and cover with remaining chili gravy.
-Top with shredded cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted.

Cheesy Muffins

There’s a restaurant in Alabama that has the best cheese muffins ever. They’re served with honey butter, and they’re just absolutely divine. When Eric and I decided to make Brunswick Stew, I thought cheese muffins would be the perfect accompaniment. These were utterly delightful. The crusty, cheesy top gave way to a fluffy, even cheesier inside.

We easily halved this recipe to make six muffins, but I’ve included the original recipe below.

Cheese Muffins
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded colby-jack cheese
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter

-Whisk together dry ingredients, then stir in cheese.

-In a separate bowl, whisk egg, milk, and butter together.
-Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir with a spoon to combine.

-Bake in greased muffin tins at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 12.

Source: Pioneer Woman