Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

I'm not sure where the base for this recipe came from -- my mother makes really delicious enchiladas and she probably got the initial recipe from some kind of housewife magazine. Over the years I've added and changed things about a zillion times, all based on what I happen to have in my fridge/cupboard. These enchiladas are always a hit with everyone in the family, I swear they're one of the few things that every single person gets excited about for dinner. Add whatever you want to it as far as veggies/flavouring go -- a dab of mashed sweet potato is good and it's fun to play with what kind of salsa you throw in.

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

1 cup store-bought or homemade salsa of your choice (I like using salsa verde)
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic
2 - 3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
veg oil
1 bunch spinach, baby or otherwise
3/4 cups shredded cheese (any combo of cheddar/jack/mozza -- I often get lazy and just buy the Kraft shredded Tex Mex)
6 flour tortillas (I used spinach in the photo)
guacamole, more salsa, and sour cream for serving

First cook the chicken. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan on med-high heat and throw the chicken in. Cook it until there's no pink left in the middle of the chunks. At the same time, throw the spinach into another pan with a splash of oil. Cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted (just a couple of minutes). Take off heat and cool a bit. When the chicken is done cooking and the spinach is cool enough, chop the cooked spinach up coarsely.

To make the sauce, put the salsa, cilantro, lime juice and garlic in a food processor. Whizz it up until the herbs and chopped and everything is uniformly combined. Put half of the sauce aside and combine the other half with the chicken and 1/4 cup cheese. Spoon the chicken mixture evenly into the six tortillas. Fold 'em up and put them in a baking dish. Spoon the rest of the sauce over your enchiladas and sprinkle the rest of the cheese over top. Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Backseat Gourmet Borscht

The Recipe: Borscht (Just Like My Baba's) from Blog Aid: Recipes For Haiti. The recipe was contributed by the blog Backseat Gourmet and can be found here.

The Substitutions: Not a thing. I didn't use the ham bone, which was optional. I used half water and half chicken stock. So it's not strictly vegetarian, but I think veg stock or all water would still turn out deliciously.

The Verdict: Delish! I've been hankering to make borscht for ages, but I'm not sure if I ever actually have (if I have, it was years ago). As a good Ukrainian girl (well, 1/4 Ukrainian), I figure I should have it in my repertoire. Plus, our organic food delivery frequently drops off large bags of beets. So, after receiving my Recipes For Haiti book the other day, I saw that the borscht was the first recipe in the book and I hopped to it.

I like the simplicity of this soup and while it was time consuming (though, I roasted the beets the night before), it was easy. And very nutritious. I loved every bite, though the rest of my crew were a little skeptical, mostly because it just seemed a little weird to them. I think next time I'll add a little extra dill and eat the whole pot myself.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ditali in Tomato Chickpea Sauce

The Recipe: Ditali in Tomato Chickpea Sauce from the March 2010 Canadian Living (online here)

The Substitutions: I used Canneroni instead of Ditali (I think the tubes are slightly shorter) and also increased the amount of pasta to stretch out the recipe. I also added some water at the end because it was a little thick for my taste. And I skipped the garnish. Of course.

The Verdict: This recipe is on the cover of this issue of Canadian Living, which is a little odd considering how unremarkable it is. Essentially, you've got mushrooms, chickpeas, and tomatoes. No big whoop, eh? Unsurprisingly, it's tasty, but not phenomenal. I found the cooking times in the mag to be a little off -- they seemed to want you to cook the mushrooms and onions forever, but barely simmer the sauce to combine the flavours. I think this recipe could easily be adapted to add other flavours and ingredients. But as it stands, it's a pretty decent weeknight standard recipe and my gang seemed to like it. If you use extra pasta, there's definitely enough for lunch the next day, which is always a good thing. Plus, it's veggie, which makes it less expensive and healthier (though I felt the need to serve it with a salad because the actual veg content is low). Will I make it again? Sure. Will my family be begging for it? Probably not.