Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chicken Enchiladas

The other day, I needed something for a potluck...going through my freezer, I found some cooked chicken and I knew I had tortillas and cheese, I just didn't have any enchilada sauce so I looked one up.  It turned out delicious!  Someone requested the recipe so I thought I'd share what I did (it's a little long, but worth the effort).

 Chicken Enchilada’s

1 onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
8 ounces unpeeled scrubbed ginger, cut into 1/2"-thick slices
2 garlic cloves, crushed
10 whole black peppercorns
1 3-pound whole organic chicken, cut into 7 pieces (2 breasts, 2 legs with thighs attached, 2 wings, 1 back)
Kosher salt

Fresh jalapenos, chopped (seeded, optional – leave in if you like it spicy)
Fresh or jarred cactus, chopped (if jarred, rinse before chopping)
Hot and spicy spice mix (I use my own blend)

¼ c oil
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp chili powder
8 oz tomato sauce
1 c water, more if needed
¼ tsp cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
Salt, to taste

Flour tortillas (1 pkg, gordita size)
Cheddar Cheese, shredded (@ 1lb)*

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large heavy pot. Add chicken, placing breasts on top. Add 6 quarts water (preferably filtered or spring water); bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover with lid slightly ajar. Reduce heat to low; simmer until chicken breasts are just cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken breasts to a plate; let cool, then cover and chill. Continue to simmer soup, uncovered, until broth is fully flavored, about 2 ½ hours longer. Return breasts to soup to re-warm, about 5 minutes.

Remove chicken from broth. When cool enough to handle, coarsely shred meat; discard skin and bones. Place a fine-mesh sieve over another large pot; strain broth, discarding solids in strainer (you should have about 8 cups broth). Season with salt.

Set aside the broth for another use.

Place chicken in skillet; add chopped jalapeno (I used approximately ¼ to ½ cup) and chopped cactus (approximately ¼ cup, fresh…jarred can also be used, rinse & chop and add to chicken). 

Add 2-3 tsp to 2-3 tbsp of a hot and smoky spice mix and a small amount of water (1/4 cup); stirring occasionally, cook over medium-low heat until water is evaporated.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat; stir flour and chili powder into oil.  Cook and stir until smooth.  Gradually add in remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low and cook until thick, about 10 minutes.

Lightly spray a baking dish (I used 10” x 15”) with cooking spray.

Heat a tortilla in microwave for about 10 seconds – remove and add a scoop of chicken, roll up and place in sprayed dish; repeat with remaining chicken and tortillas.  When dish is full and/or you are out of chicken/tortillas, spoon enchilada sauce over, covering well.  Top with cheese (the more the better, I say!!) and bake in 350 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

before mine went in the oven.

*Use non-Dairy Cheese for a non-dairy version.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Truly “My Little Corner of the World”

This past August, I received a double blessing and what has and is quickly becoming my little corner of the world.  My first blessing of August was a delightful little companion, a Chiwennie puppy at 7 weeks old.  I wasn't sure I was going to survive the puppy stage.  A Chiwennie is a cross between a Chihuahua and a Wiener Dog.  My little girl is Penelope.  She is now 7 months old and such a delight (most of the time).  She makes coming home less lonely.

7 weeks old

about 5 months old

My second blessing I received in August was moving out of my parent’s house one short year after moving back to the West Coast from Michigan…a move that I fought.  Even though I didn’t want to return, I’m glad I did.  I have a great job at the company I wanted to work at in 2008 when the economy slumped.  I just celebrated my first year anniversary of becoming an employee.  My apartment is just a few short blocks from where I work.  Even though it is on a busy one way street near the heart of downtown and in one of the not so nice areas of town (there are worse areas though…), I’m blessed in my apartment.  I celebrated Thanksgiving for once, being able to do more than just make mashed potatoes.  In addition to potatoes, I was also able to carry part of the load of one of the turkeys and 2 pumpkin pies.  I’ve only cooked a couple of turkeys before and it has been quite a few years.  It turned out beautifully.  My second attempt ever at making pies became quite the challenge.  The first pie dough ended up in the garbage…it wouldn’t roll out or cooperate in any other way.  My second batch rolled beautiful, but almost wasn’t enough for the two pies.  The filling and baking of them turned out okay and everyone seemed to enjoy them.  I’m so thankful I had a place of my own to help carry the family traditions.  I’ve also had friends and family over for meals in my new little corner of the world. 

Decorating my corner has been interesting; the decorating scheme seems to be whatever I have and some of what others have given.  My coffee table is a table I had that the original paint job had been ruined.  I sanded it and spray painted the legs brown; the top was painted a peach/apricot color that I used on three chairs that my parents gave me that they just had sitting around.  Thankfully, the three chairs are a matching set; the paint was just the thing to make them fit.

chair before

table before (after sanding)

chair after

table after (it's hard to see it, but it is the only picture I could find)

 One of my unique items I have is an old window in my living room.  A few years ago, at one of my old apartment buildings, when the windows were being replaced, I was given the old one.  I wanted to do a craft project with it someday.  When I moved in August, it came with me.  It was in my spare room for several weeks.  When I was working in there, unpacking, I moved it into my living area so I wouldn't break it.  I have grown to admire having it in my space.  It just seems to fit well. (I don't have a picture of it yet).

When I was moving, the lovely lady who lived across the street was planning her own move and shared many items of furniture, dishes and food with me (what a tremendous blessing!!!).  One of the items was a queen size bed.  It is on a metal frame, no head board or anything.  I really wanted to have something to cover the bare wall behind.  With minimal finances at that time, I came up with the following idea:  I had a set of decorative curtains – an “English Garden” scene looking through a set of French doors at that garden.  The only thing I purchased to make my headboard was a $10 curtain rod at Walmart.  I hung it on the wall with the curtains…it works perfectly.  My room is a mismatch of items with the colors leaning towards blue, pink and purple.  My brother, who is a painter, gave me one of his recent paintings as a house-warming gift…a blue background with a tree with pink buds growing on each branch - a perfect match for the room.    I recently purchased 20 small sparkly orbs on clearance and 6 huge ones.  I’m looking forward to hanging them from the ceiling.  I think the room will be mostly complete at that point, only needing newer bedding – another purchase and story for another time.

Dwell refreshed