Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Easiest Green Chili Chicken, 5 ways

This isn't the most photogenic food. But dang, is it ever delicious-and SO easy! It's actually so easy I'm not sure if it qualifies as a "recipe" but I love love love it. I especially love that it's so versatile, you don't feel like you're eating the exact same thing every time. I live alone and cook for myself, so often by the time I get done with days of leftovers, I am *really* tired of them!

What you need (ingredients)

  • chicken breasts
  • jar of green chili-505 is a good brand. I have to settle for this green salsa, but I like green chili better! Buy whatever you like, from mild to spicy
  • green chilis (canned or dehydrated)
  • optional, depending on variation (see below): tortillas, sour cream, cilantro, tortilla chips, and/or eggs. The sky is the limit!
You can make this to feed any size of crowd. When I first had this camping, we had two giant crockpots full. I have a smaller crockpot, and only cook for myself so I used 4 chicken breasts, one small jar of salsa, and 1/2 cup dehydratred chilis, plus about 1/3 cup of water. 

*Crockpot tip* Your food will cook best if your crock is at least 2/3 full.

What to do (instructions)
Cook on high for about 3 hours or low for 6. If your chicken is frozen, cooking on high for 4-5 or low for 8-10 hours should suffice. When it's done, shred the chicken with forks or just cut into smaller pieces.

Here's the rundown of some different ways to eat this tasty dish.

#1 Out of a bowl, with a spoon
Top with some sour cream and cilantro and gobble this up as a stew.

#2 On top of tortilla chips, nacho style
-nuff said.

#3 Scrambled up with eggs for breakfast or dinner
One of my favorite post-workout dinners when I'm so hungry I'm ready to gnaw off my arm.

#4 In a taco or burrito (with or without eggs)
Also delicious topped with cilantro and sour cream. Because really, what isn't??

#5 Use it to smother something else
I had leftovers of this when camping and used it to smother these breakfast burritos. It was to die for!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

Living overseas has certainly changed my experience at the grocery store. Things I've taken for granted my whole life are suddenly really, really exciting. Example: corn tortillas. This is one item I just haven't been able to find here in Paraguay. I brought some masa down with me, but haven't yet taken the plunge. So, when I saw this happy little package at the grocery store I was thrilled! And yesterday was a great tropical rainstorm-cooler temperatures, lots of rain and even more thunder and lightening. Perfect cooking weather! I also had a friend over, who couldn't leave until the rain stopped-always good to have a captive audience when cooking. :)

What you need (ingredients):

2 chicken breasts, or leftover cooked chicken
1 can black beans, drained
1 can green chilis (I had to use dehydrated equivalent)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1-2 packages of taco seasoning
10 small corn tortillas (of course you could use flour instead)
1 can enchilada sauce
grated cheese
toppings: sour cream and cilantro

What to do (instructions):

  • If your chicken is raw, cook it. I just cooked mine up in a little olive oil. It gets plenty of seasoning later. When cooked, cut into small pieces and return to pan. 
  • Preheat oven to 375 F or 190 C.
  • Add the next 4 ingredients, through taco seasoning, to the pan. You'll probably need a little bit of water to "activate" the taco seasoning. 
  • You can use enchilada sauce straight out of the can, but the mild is a little too mild for me, so I toss it in the blender with a few canned chipotle peppers and find it much more flavorful! Spray the bottom of  9x13 cooking dish with some non-stick spray, then spoon a few tablespoons of sauce across the bottom of the pan.
  • Microwave the tortillas between paper towels to soften them up a little. Then add a few spoonfulls of the mixture to each tortilla, roll it, and place it in the pan. I ended up with 10 enchiladas, and some extra stuffing, which I just put in the end of the baking pan!
  • Top with enchilada sauce
  • Top with cheese
  • Bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly. I think mine took about 15 minutes but I forgot to time it. 
  • Top and enjoy!

  • Tell your drooling roommate he can have some, but only after he retracts his facebook photo and statement taking credit for said enchiladas. ;)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Make Ahead (If You Want) Breakfast Burritos...Great for Camping!

Everything I love in the world pretty much fits into a breakfast burrito! I made a huge batch of these today to bring camping with me for the 4th of July weekend. I *love* camping, and cooking while camping-but when it comes to breakfast sometimes it's nice to have something hot without too much effort.

Makes 8-10 burritos

What you need/ingredients:
1 package tortillas
2 potatoes
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 to 1 pound of breakfast sausage or bacon (I took a picture thinking I'd use both, then I realized that would be WAY too much meat, so I just used the sausage!
about 8 eggs (or more! see note)
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
jarred green chili sauce (roughly half the jar, but save some for smothering!)
cheese-I used pepperjack

*a note on eggs: this dish was not very "eggy" at ALL-you could barely taste them! I could have added a lot more, but I already was ending up with 10 breakfast burritos. If you are cooking for a crowd, go for it! If you like an "eggy" breakfast burrito you could also cut down on the other ingredients a bit. It just depends on personal preference!

What to do/instructions: 

-Scrub the potatoes, poke with a fork, and pop in the microwave. I just used the "baked potato" button, but you don't want them so soft they totally fall apart when you cut them.
-While the potatoes are in the microwave, start browning meat in a small pan over medium heat.
-When potatoes are done, let them cool a bit and cube.
-In a large pan, heat some oil and add the potatoes. Let them sit enough to get brown-no need to flip constantly. When they start browning, add the onion. Once the onion is soft, add the cooked sausage (drained), bell pepper, and green chili sauce.
-Scramble the eggs up in a bowl and pour into the mix. Add in grated cheese.
-Cook over medium heat until the eggs are cooked.

If these are for now:
Load up into tortillas, roll, smother with chili and cheese if desired, put under the broiler for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese,

and eat!

If these are for later:
Roll into tortillas and wrap individually in foil if for camping. *TIP* If you're planning to throw these onto a campfire or grill, use some nonstick spray on the foil-otherwise it can stick! If not you can put them in a baking dish like enchiladas and pop into the oven to heat when you're ready to eat. I wrapped in foil for storage, then the baking dish when I was ready to serve-just smother in green chili and cheese and put in the oven until bubbly-it was a hit!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Modified "White" Chicken Chili

As the weather is cooling off here in the southern hemisphere, I had a hankering for some white chicken chili. I went looking over my two other white chicken chili recipes (here and here) for ideas. I modified it for stovetop instead of crockpot, and of course available ingredients. I picked smaller sized beans for faster cooking. It takes quite a while, but once you get it started, it requires minimal work.

What You Need (Ingredients):

  • 2-3 cans (drained) or about 8 ounces of dry beans, soaked overnight or quick soaked. I prefer white beans but today could only find small red beans! The pot pictured was a full 500g. bag. They expanded a LOT while soaking. After soaking, I used half the pot, about 3 cups.
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • two onions, chopped
  • 3-5 cloves for garlic, chopped
  • 1.5 T cumin
  • 2 chicken bullion cubes and 3-4 cups of water, or 3-4 cups of chicken broth
  • a pound of chicken breasts (4-5), trimmed of fat and cut in half
  • 1/2 t. white pepper
  • 1 jar of green salsa (or, in the U.S., 2 cans of diced green chilis)
  • for a little more heat, a diced jalepeno of a couple diced hot red peppers
  • a bell pepper, diced
  • optional garnishes: tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro
What To Do (Instructions):
  • If you haven't soaked your beans, see the link above to quick soak (takes one hour).
  • Heat oil in a large stock pot over low heat and add onions. Stir until they're soft. Add garlic and cumin and stir for about another minute.
  • Add water and bullion cube (or broth) and heat. Add chicken, beans, white pepper, green salsa, and diced pepper. Make sure broth covers everything, but it shouldn't be too much higher than the level of the other ingredients.
  • Cook on medium (simmering) for at least an hour to two hours, until beans are soft, stirring occasionally. I cooked covered for about a half hour, and then uncovered as it had more liquid than needed. Chicken will easily tear apart. Add bell peppers and cook for a few minutes more.
  • Garnish and serve! 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Beef Barley Soup (Version 2, Stovetop)

Another cold, drizzly day made me so glad my mom sent me back from the U.S. with a bag of barley. This is beef barley soup weather for sure! Maybe the only good thing about the dreary weather. Since my only recipe is for the crockpot, here is the stovetop recipe. I feel like every time I make soup it is slightly different based on available ingredients, but this is a good starting point.

What you need/Ingredients:
  • 1 lb beef, cut into small pieces
  • about 1 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 C. red wine
  • 1/2 C. barley
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 t. thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tomatoes and 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
What I'd add if they were available: a few stalks of chopped celery and some cut up mushrooms.

What to do/Directions

  • Cut up the beef into small pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Warm some olive oil in a pan over medium heat and cook beef, stirring frequently. Drain fat if necessary and add onion, stir. After a few minutes, add garlic and cook until fragrant; remove from heat.
  • While the beef is cooking, put broth into a pot and put on high until the broth is bubbling. Add barley, potato, carrots, wine, thyme, and bay leaves.
  • Add cooked beef into pan. Lower heat to "low" and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour, until barley is soft. Add tomatoes and bell peppers and cook for a few more minutes. (You can add these at the beginning but I prefer them a little less cooked)
  • Add salt and pepper if necessary and enjoy with warm, fresh bread. Or, if you're like me, store-bought bread. I don't judge.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Make Ahead Quinoa Breakfast "Porridge"

I am trying to eat healthy, but there is this problem. Actually, two problems when it comes to breakfast. They are called chipa and mbeju. They are these super delicious, bready, surely too tasty to be good for you things they make here in Paraguay that I just can't get enough of. AND, they make them and sell them where I work. So I need to bring something to work to help me fight those mid-morning mbeju cravings. I just made my breakfast for the next week. It took about 30 minutes and only a few ingredients.Also, quinoa is very filling and it will keep away those morning munchies.

What You Need

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups of your favorite type of milk and/or water. I used about a cup of coconut milk and a cup of water.
  • Toppings of choice: I like raisins, cinnamon, and a tiny bit of brown sugar. Sometimes I throw on a few almonds, too.

What to do
  • RINSE the quinoa. Most people who don't like quinoa didn't rinse before preparing.
  • Put the rinsed quinoa and your 2 cups of liquid into a pot, and boil over low heat until the quinoa "pops." Optional, but not recommended step: go to turn on the stove, realize you are out of propane, and go cook your quinoa outside on the grill instead.
  • Serve, or dole out into your dishes for the week. I always eat my breakfast at work so I like to have it ready to grab from the fridge to go. The hardest part of this whole recipe (for me) was finding 4 clean containers with lids!

  • Heat when ready to serve, if you aren't eating it right away. (I like to eat it hot, but I guess you could eat it cold too).

Monday, April 28, 2014

How to turn your thin, runny yogurt into thick, Greek-like yogurt

This is so simple I'm not even sure it counts as a recipe. But I didn't know it before, and now I do, and I am happier for it! So it stays.

For some reason, all the yogurt in Paraguay (and I assume, all of Latin America) is a liquidy drink. Now I admit, this comes in handy if you only have one hand free because you have coffee in the other hand, or if you don't have a spoon. However, I *love* thick, creamy yogurt with berries and other goodies mixed in. Sometimes the fancy stores here have Greek yogurt but only the flavored kind, and I'm really a flavor-it-yourself kind of girl.

I'm not sure if it counts as "Greek" but it is delicious. And all it takes is a coffee filter and some time.

What you need:
Regular yogurt
coffee filter or cheesecloth
clothespins and a container

What to do:
Put your coffee filter over the top of a container, and secure with clothespins or a rubber band.
Pour yogurt in.
(I put it in before going to bed so it's ready in the morning. I don't like waiting that much)
When the majority of the liquid has drained into the cup, it's done! Dump the liquid, and pour/squeeze the yogurt in the coffee filter into a container. Wallah! It's so easy!

I don't have the "after" picture yet...I'm too impatient. Hopefully I won't oversleep and I'll take it in the morning.

Has anyone tried this with the metal reusable coffee filters? I haven't, because, well, you know, I need it to make coffee. High priority in this house. But leave a comment and let me know if you have.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Recipe Mashup: Quinoa Shrimp + Red Lentil Curry = Yum!

So first of all I wasn't planning on blogging this recipe, so I didn't take pictures or exactly measure things. Think of this as a "rough draft" of a recipe to come. Basically, I was cleaning out the fridge to prepare for a vacation. I recently made this yummy Garlic Butter Shrimp Quinoa recipe, from Pinch of Yum. It was really good but made a ginormous amount so I still had a lot left. And freezing quinoa? Didn't sound like a good idea. So I thought if I could add it into some kind of stew, there would be freezing potential. I found Hummusapien's Curried Quinoa Red Lentil Soup, and I made a plan. Oh yeah, since I'm not very good at following directions, and I love curry, in the Garlic Butter Shrimp recipe I used curry paste instead of chili powder, so that's why I was looking for a soup with curry flavors. In case you were wondering.

Anyway, geez, why don't I just get to the recipe already instead of blabbing on and on?

Remember how I told you this is a rough draft until I make it again with measuring and pictures and stuff? So here's kind of the gist of my recipe. I kind of mostly followed the Hummusapien recipe with the following changes: I didn't use tomatoes or almond milk. I used about 250-300 grams coconut milk and 2 cups of water and a chicken bullion cube. I also added some chopped green onions. I would have added fresh tomatoes and red bell peppers too, only they were not so fresh after all when I took them out of the fridge! Since I was using precooked quinoa, I just added it in at the end. This had a little bit of shrimp in it, but it would also be a great meatless or chicken meal. The blend of spices and flavors is delish!! I will try to incorporate some of these ideas next time I make this dish, but wanted to share it now so you can experiment, and so I don't forget.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Make-ahead Quinoa and Bulgar Wheat Breakfast Porridge

Not my finest food blog photo moment. I was at work, using my camera phone,
and it was a Monday morning....what do you want? :)
I've been having yogurt and fruit for breakfast every day for approximately the last three years, so I decided it was time to change it up a bit. Also I was out of fruit. I need something filling to keep me going through teaching reading and math to a bunch of 11-year olds and this yummy "porridge" did the trick! I'm totally not a morning person and this is perfectly fine to make the night before and just top and heat up in the morning! Also, quinoa and bulgar wheat are both super good for you-it's a great way to start the day.

What you need-ingredients
2 Servings

  • 1/2 C dry quinoa, rinsed in a seive
  • 1/2 C bulgar wheat
  • 1 cup of water and 1 cup of whole milk is what I used because I had it on hand. You could also use 2 cups of skim milk, or, even better, almond milk. I love almond milk. Paraguay has never heard of almond milk.
  • toppings: I used about a tablespoon of brown sugar, a sprinkle of cinnamon, golden raisins, and a few almonds. I also topped it with a little more milk when I heated it up.
What do do-Directions
  • Add the first three ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil, then turn down heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa "pops." If you are doing this the night before, put into single-serving bowls and refrigerate until ready to eat.
  • If eating immediately, add toppings, stir, and enjoy! If not, heat up, then add toppings and eat. Tasty!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Chicken Red Lentil Enchiladas

This recipe was mostly born due to ingredients I had in the fridge and wanted to use up. I know, I've been on a major Mexican kick lately! But I guess that's why I had homemade enchilada sauce just waiting to be used up. This comes together pretty quickly, especially if you have leftover chicken. Even if not, you could boil or grill some up while the lentils are cooking.

What you need/ Ingredients:

  • About 30 ounces of homemade or premade red enchilada sauce (3 cans)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
  • 1/4 onion, chopped

  • 1.5-2 cups of cooked, chopped chicken
  • optional: chopped up bell pepper and/or grated carrot
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • grated cheddar or other cheese (1.5-2 cups)
  • garnishes: sour cream, black olives, and/or chopped cilantro

What to do/ Directions

  • In a medium pan, over medium low heat, stir one can (10 ounces) or enchilada sauce with one cup of water, and bring to a simmer.
  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Add the lentils and onion and let cook on low, stirring often, for about 15 minutes or until lentils are soft.
  • Add cooked chicken and veggies, stir until heated through.

  • Spread one can or about 10 ounces into the bottom of a casserole dish, sprayed with non-stick spray.
  • Put lentil mixture into tortillas, roll, and add into pan.
  • Spread remaining sauce over enchiladas and top with grated cheese.
  • Cook for 15 minutes or until bubbly.
  • Garnish and enjoy!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Tamale Chicken Casserole

I found this recipe for Chicken Tamale Pie on Pinch of Yum. And it looked really, really good. But small problem, about 8 of the 10 ingredients are not locally available here in Paraguay. So this is my adaptation. It seemed like it took half the day to make! But now I have leftover homemade enchilada sauce. If you already have chicken or use a rotisserie chicken, that will save time too. But this will tell you how to do all of those things, somewhat simultaneously. If you have a lot of the ingredients in Lindsey's original recipe, you can definitely whip it out faster. If not, I'd save it for a weekend meal and enjoy the leftovers all week!

Tamale Chicken Casserole
Inspired by Pinch of Yum
Serves 8 (or less if you have seconds...so good)

What you need (ingredients):
For the enchilada sauce: I used this recipe from Alaska from Scratch. I made it exactly as specified except I can't get fresh jalepenos, so I had to use a couple out of a can. All the other ingredients were easy to find. I had a little bigger container of tomato sauce as well-and after tasting it (spicy!!) I added the extra in to tame it a bit. But here are all the ingredients, so you can add them to your shopping list a little bit easier.

For the enchilada sauce
  • 2 teaspoons neutral-flavored oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeƱo, seeds removed and chopped (or 1-2 canned jalapenos, chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce (I used 520 grams which is more like 18 ounces. It was fine!
  • 1-2 cups water (I used 1 cup)
For the casserole: 
  • 1/3 C milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T taco seasoning (divided)
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 can of corn or creamed corn. I couldn't find creamed but guess what-put it in the blender and it turns that way! I creamed about half (with a little bit of the water from the can) and left about half of the can whole. Nice mix.
  • 1 8.5 oz. box of corn muffin mix such as Jiffy. I was preparing to make this, too, and surprisingly found a box in the gluten free section. But pretty easy to find a recipe online if you don't have access to such things!
  • original recipe calls for a 4 oz. can of chopped green chilis. In my dreams. In my real life, I found some canned serrano peppers and chopped them up a bit in the blender.
  • 10 oz. of red enchilada sauce-see above. The above recipe will have leftovers too!
  • 2 shredded chicken breasts or equivalent of any chicken parts
  • grated cheese
  • sour cream and cilantro for garnish
What to do (Instructions):

  • If you don't already have cooked chicken, cook some up quick. Any kind works; I use chicken breasts because I like white meat. I grilled them up in a frying pan with some oil, salt, and pepper. When I flipped them I added a little chicken broth an covered them up, and cooked for about 6-7 more minutes. I let it cool while I started everything else, and then shredded with a fork.
  • Next, start on the enchilada sauce if you're making your own. 
  • When that's underway, mix the first 7 ingredients for the casserole (through the peppers) in a bowl until ingredients are combined. *only put 1 T of chili powder in this mixture.* Once combined, spray non-stick spray into a baking dish and evenly spread mixture in the bottom. I only had a 9 by 13 inch dish, but you could use a square dish or pie plate as well.
  • Bake at 400 degrees (205 C) for about 25 minutes, or until browned.
  • Poke lots of holes into the crust, and pour about 10 ounces of enchilada sauce on. Then mix the shredded chicken with the other tablespoon of chili powder with the chicken, and spread evenly. 
  • Top with cheese and bake for about another 15 minutes. 
  • Take it out of the oven, garnish with cilantro and sour cream. Enjoy with a green salad.

    Verdict: Delicious! Even with all the modifications, I was thrilled with how this came out!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Traveling and Wandering

So sorry for the long absence here. First, I up and traveled the world (well, just South America) for 5 weeks. Then I got back and had to return to work. And I've been trying hard to get caught up on my travel blog! So what is next here in my culinary adventures? I'm going to be working on my empanada technique after getting a lesson from this cool lady in Mendoza, Argentina.

Then I'd really like to expand and work on learning more traditional Paraguayan dishes, such as mbeju and chipa. I'll alternate those with food that "tastes like home" so no readers feel left out as far as available ingredients are concerned! To be continued....I have a good rainy weekend coming up so I hope that means lots of delicious dishes in my future!