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Zucchini Enchiladas

I apologize for the lack of posts this week.  I was actually planning on putting this recipe up on Thursday (Cinco de Mayo), but unfortunately I was not eating Mexican that evening but at a work function.  It’s been a busy week!

We love Mexican food.  We (more like Sam, but I’m getting there) cannot find anything spicy enough in restaurants.  So, homemade is usually better since it is spicy enough.  In this recipe, we added the adobo chiles and jalapeños in the sauce, but feel free to omit them if super spicy is not your taste.

These are excellent vegetable enchiladas, I would have not thought to shred the zucchini before adding it to the dish.  But it gives it a meaty and soft texture, even though there is no meat in there.  Excellent idea!

We plan on making these again, but adding either shredded pork or chicken, we’ll make sure to share it with you!

Zucchini Enchiladas
Adapted from: Skinny Taste

Non-stick Cooking Spray
2 tbsp olive oil
7 garlic cloves, chopped
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (optional or more if you want spicy)
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 zucchinis, sliced or grated
1 onion, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups Mexican-blend cheese
4 large tortillas
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Preheat the over to 400°F degrees.  Spray a baking dish so the tortillas do not stick (appropriately sized dish to fit the tortillas).

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil.  Then add 3 chopped garlics and sauté.  After a minute add: chipotle chile, jalapeño, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, 1/2 tbsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Then reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Set aside until you are ready to pour over the enchiladas.

Either grate the zucchini with a grater or in a food processor.  In a saucepan, add 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Once it’s heated, add 4 garlic cloves and onion and sauté.  Then add the zucchini, green onions, 1/2 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp chili powder and 1 tsp ground cumin.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese.  Mix well, until the cheese has melted in the mixture.

Divide the zucchini mixture between the 4 tortillas.  Roll each tortilla and place, seam side down, into the baking dish.  Once all of them have been arranged, pour the sauce over the tortillas.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the dish.  Bake until the cheese has melted, and enchilada sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes.

After plating, sprinkle chopped cilantro on each enchilada.

Tomato Soup with Basil

As the days get warmer, and the sun shines longer, no one wants to be stuck in the kitchen.  Especially with the oven on…too hot!  As I mentioned before, I try to search out recipes that are fast, simple, and require very minimal cooking.  But just because you want a simpler recipe, does not mean that flavor has to be lost.

This is a very simple soup, although I’ve noticed I say that quite a bit!  Nonetheless, it’s hearty enough to fill you up (thanks to the rice)- but not too much that you feel stuffed.  And, it’s easy since I cooked it between going for a run.  Once all the ingredients were boiling, I grabbed my shoes for a quick run around the Mall.  By the time I came back, the soup was done cooking.

We let it cool off a bit before we ate, a bit more “gazpacho” style.  And even though it was cooler, it still had the great flavor.  Tomato season hasn’t started yet, but this would be a great one to do with fresh tomatoes rather than the canned.  It would give the soup more flavor.  But that’s something we’ll have to wait for, and enjoy over the summer.

We bought some bread from the Farmer’s Market, and ate it with the soup.  The bread was dense, and it absorbed some of the liquid from the soup, giving it a little more flavor.  Yum!

Tomato Soup with Basil
Adapted from: A Chow Life Blog

4 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans whole tomatoes (28 oz each)
1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 chicken bouillon
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1/4 cup rice

In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic, let it sauté for about 8 minutes, until the onions are translucent.  Then add the tomatoes, basil, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Cook for about 1 minute.  Then add the bouillon, broth and water.  Stir in the rice, and cover the pot until the soup is boiling.

Let it simmer for 15-25 minutes.  Remove the tomatoes from the soup and add them to a food processor (or blender).  Blend until it turns into smaller chunks (choose the consistency to your liking).  Pour back into the pot, cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes.

When serving, feel free to sprinkle some basil as a garnish.

No-cook Spaghetti Sauce

I definitely get bored with just using spaghetti sauce on my pasta.  No color, no texture difference, no bursting flavor.  This will definitely change your next pasta experience!  I’ll give some credit to Sam for this one.  While I was traveling a number of months ago, he was the one who combined pasta and arugula together- and loved it.  Therefore, when I saw this recipe (very similar to his) I decided to try it from this angle.  Of course, the recipe can be altered with different vegetables at various times of the year, depending on what’s in season (when zucchini are in season, this would be a great addition).  But since it’s winter here in D.C., there isn’t too much to choose from.  But this is still doable in the winter- capers, olives give that salty taste (I did put it the tomatoes- it needed some red)!  The best part about this recipe is that the cooking time is almost nonexistant, so it’s a quick middle of the week dinner recipe!

No-cook Spaghetti Sauce
Adapted from: Kalyn’s Kitchen Blog

3-4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
8 oz jar of Kalamata olives without pits, sliced
2-3 cups Arugula
2 tbsp capers
3 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp red pepper flakes (more/less to taste)
8 oz spaghetti (wheat or reagular)
salt & pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil, and cook the spaghetti until it’s barely al-dente.  Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, arugula, capers and olives in a bowl.  In a small bowl mix the olive oil, garlic, chile flakes with a whisk.  Stir to combine the dressing ingredients with the vegetables. 

Drain the spaghetti and return to pot.  Add the sauce-vegetable mixture, and stir gently to combine.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Serve hot. 

This is best eaten right away, since otherwise the arugula will wilt.

Cranberry Bake

 Although everyone is already sick of craberries, this is a great way to use up whatever might be left over in your freezer.  It’s a great baked dish that is slightly tart, and not too sweet (a delicious treat for breakfast!).  I like cranberries, so this would be something to do throughout the year, not just for the winter holiday, in order to incorporate this delicious fruit. 

Cranberry Bake
Adapted from: The Kitchen Sink Blog

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp Rose water
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 cup sour cream
1 package of frozen cranberries, defrosted
confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the over to 375 degrees.  Butter (or spray with oil) a cake pan (I used the 9-inch).  In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. 

Using a mixer, beat the butter and both of the sugars until light and fluffy.  With the mixer on low, beat in the eggs (one at a time), until well incorporated.  Then beat in the vanilla, Rose Water and lemon zest.  Then add half of the flour mixture, and some of the sour cream.  Until well combined, add the remaining flour and sour cream; beat for 1 more minute. 

Spread the batter into the pan, keeping the top smooth.  Toss the cranberries in a bowl with 2 tbsp of flour, and then sprinkle them over the batter.  Bake until cake is golden, then tent the top with aluminum foil and bake for another 30-40 minutes.  Let the cake cool completely in the pan, then dust with confectioners’ before serving.

Hello world!

It’s nice to meet you!  This is my first post, and I am very excited about this blog.  It’s been in the making (in my head) for quite some time, so it’s nice that it’s actually being put together. 

My goal is to try out recipes I have come across, post them, and hopefully someone will try them out and love them also!  If you have any great recipes, definitely let me know.