Honey-Lime Chicken Enchiladas and Green Enchilada Sauce

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For the latest Blogger’s Choice recipe swap, I was assigned Prevention RD. Her blog is awesome and it’s not just me that thinks so – Nicole recently announced that she’s writing a cookbook based on her blog. How cool is that!

The hardest part of this swap was settling on just one recipe. I decided on these because, as much as I love enchiladas, I’d never made them with a green sauce.  Nicole used canned enchilada sauce but mentioned in her post that next time she would try making it herself. My garden is currently over-flowing with tomatillos so I decided to make these a totally-from-scratch endeavor. The recipe I used for green enchilada sauce is below. You can see the recipe I used for the tortillas here.

These are probably my favorite enchiladas to date. The honey lime works so well and gives it a really light, summery feel. Hubby and I totally fought over the leftovers!

Honey-Lime Chicken Enchiladas
(from Prevention RD)
Serves 5 (2 enchiladas each)

5 T. honey
5 T. lime juice, from 2-3 limes
1 T. chili powder
1/2 T. cumin
1/2 t. garlic powder
12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
10 flour tortillas
1 1/2 c.  Colby/Monterrey Jack blend, shredded, divided
2 c. green enchilada sauce (recipe below)
1 c. fat-free half & half

In a medium bowl, whisk together honey, lime juice, chili powder, cumin and garlic powder. Add cooked, shredded chicken and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or several hours) to marinade.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Add 1/2 c. green enchilada sauce to the bottom of a 9″x11″ baking dish and spread out to coat the whole bottom.

Stir half of the cheese into the marinated chicken. Divide chicken mixture between 12 tortillas. Roll up and place seam-side down in baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.

Whisk together half and half and remaining enchilada sauce. Pour evenly over the enchiladas.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Green Enchilada Sauce
(from Our Best Bites)
Makes about 3 cups

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and membranes removed
3/4 lb. tomatillos, husked and quartered or halved
1/4 c. cilantro, coarsely chopped
3/4 t. Kosher salt
Pinch of black pepper
3/4 t. cumin
2 c. chicken broth

In a large saucepan, heat oil until shimmering and then add onions and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine tomatillos, green pepper, jalapeno and cilantro. Blend until smooth. (If it’s not blending well, add some of the chicken broth to help smooth things out.)

Add tomatillo mixture to cooked onions and stir in cumin, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until sauce is reduced to about 3 cups.

Linked up with Eat at Home’s Ingredient Spotlight: Tortillas 2013


Blueberry Barbecue Sauce

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This time of year, I try to make an extra effort to plan our menus around what’s on sale. I mean, who can pass up two pounds of locally grown blueberries for $4? Certainly not me!

I turned some these beautiful berries into a barbecue sauce for part of our 4th of July barbecue. Everyone was a little skeptical – blueberries? In barbecue sauce? But they were all completely won over at first bite.

I cooked a turkey breast the night before and then slathered it the blueberry barbecue sauce, wrapped it in foil and tossed it on the grill to warm up the next day. This sauce was great with the turkey, but it would also be fantastic with chicken or pork.

Blueberry Barbecue Sauce
(from Grilling Companion)
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 c. fresh blueberries
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. Kosher salt
2 T. red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
3 T. ketchup
3 T. sugar
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. chili powder

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat.

Once you hit the boiling point, turn the heat down and simmer for around 15 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken and the berries break down, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Pour the sauce into a food processor and blend the ingredients until liquified.


Mayonnaise & Good Stuff Sauce

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Did you know May is National Hamburger Month?

I love a good burger. I’ve shared several fun burger recipes before, but a basic burger is just as fantastic when you use the right ingredients. Spike Mendelsohn’s The Good Stuff Cookbook  is my favorite source for burger basics (and not so basics). This Good Stuff Sauce is the perfect burger topping, and so quick to make.

I really like whipping up his homemade mayo to use as a base, but he recommends Hellman’s in the book if you don’t want to put in the extra effort. Either way, this is an easy sauce to whip up for your National Hamburger Month or Memorial Day feasts!

Homemade Mayonnaise
(from The Good Stuff Cookbook)
Makes about 2 cups

2 large eggs
4 t. Dijon mustard
2 t. white wine vinegar
1 t. sea salt
2 c. grapeseed oil

Add the eggs, mustard, vinegar and salt to a food processor. Process for 30 seconds. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil slowly at first, then add a thin, steady stream until the oil is added and mixture is smooth.

If too thin, process a little longer. If too thick, it can be thinned with a little hot water.

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week.

Good Stuff Sauce
(from The Good Stuff Cookbook)
Makes about 2 cups

2 c. mayonnaise
2 T. ketchup
2 T. molasses
2 T. rice vinegar
1 t. salt

Add the mayonnaise, ketchup, molasses, vinegar and salt to a food processor or blender.

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week.

Linked up with Eat at Home’s Ingredient Spotlight: Eggs


Classic Strawberry Jam

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My Mom has a strawberry patch in her yard so for a few weeks in the early summer they’re completely inundated with strawberries. This year, they ended up being really busy during strawberry season so when I stopped in one day she passed off several pounds of strawberries to “do something with” - so I decided to make up some jam.

This was my first time making jam – and only my second time canning – but it went incredibly well. I recently picked up Put ‘em Up! and it’s an excellent guide for anyone learning to can. This took a bit of time to make, but it was very much worth it – I’ve been loving having the fresh jam on toast for breakfast!

Classic Strawberry Jam
(from Put ‘em Up!)
Makes 7 half-pint jars

8 c. strawberries, hulled and halfed if large
2 c. sugar
1/4 c. bottled lemon juice

Toss the strawberries and sugar in a large bowl and let sit in the refrigerator overnight to coax out the fruit’s juice.

Transfer the mixture to a large nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring and crushing to release the juice. Stir in the lemon juice. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the jam reaches the desired gel, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let rest for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to release air bubbles. Skim off any foam.

Use the boiling water method to can: Ladle into clean, hot half-pint canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Release trapped air. Wipe the rims clean; center lids on the jars and screw on the jar bands. Process for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, remove canner lid and let jars rest in the water for 5 minutes. Remove jars and set aside for 24 hours. Check seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.


Bourbon Glazed Steak

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Another great grilled recipe from another cookbook we picked up on vacation. This book came from our trip to Disney a few years ago. I had grand intentions of recreating a nice meal we had there but we ended up doing mostly burgers and chicken fingers so the book got shelved.

The worst thing about this book is that it makes me want to go back to Disney – badly. Of course, all of the recipes make you feel like you’re there (just throw on some Disney music and pretend). This marinade gave a nice, sweet steak. You’ll want to turn the steak for the first two minutes to keep it from sticking and to cook it over indirect heat to avoid charring.

Bourbon Steak Marinade
(from Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs)
Marinade for 12 Steaks

3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. Jack Daniel’s
1 c. pineapple juice
2/3 c. soy sauce
4 c. water

In a bowl, combine the brown sugar and Jack Daniels and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Mix in the pineapple juice, then the soy sauce, then the water – stirring to combine between each.

Place steaks in a 9×13″ pan and pour the marinade over. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Grill steaks as desired.


Fish Stick Tacos with Jalapeno Coleslaw

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Mark and I aren’t big fish eaters – he’ll eat some shrimp and I like fried clams. The only mutually agreeable fish dish is frozen fish sticks, so they usually make their once-a-year appearance on a Lenten Friday. This year, we switched things up and made them into fish stick tacos topped with jalapeno coleslaw.

They were good and a welcome change from the usual but the coleslaw was the shining star – it would also be awesome on a pulled barbecue beef sandwich.

Jalapeno Coleslaw
(adapted from cdkitchen)
Makes about 2 cups

8 oz. cabbage, shredded
1 medium carrot, grated
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
3 T. sour cream
3 T.  mayonnaise
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 t. salt
Pinch of pepper

Toss together grated cabbage, shredded carrot and chopped jalapeno in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, mix together remaining ingredients and combine well. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Valentine’s Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette

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The online book club I participate in does quarterly challenges to get everyone reading outside of their comfort zone. One of this quarter’s challenges was to read a book about food and then cook a meal based on it. Pretty fun, right?

I chose to read Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America by Steve Almond. The book follows the author’s journey to uncover the truth about the candy business – and how much he really loves candy. As a nod to the book, I decided to do an all-chocolate meal.

We started with this salad. The salad alone is really awesome but the vinaigrette makes it extra special. You can absolutley tell it’s chocolate, but it’s not over-powering or too sweet. It would be perfect for a Valentine’s Day meal.

Valentine’s Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette
(from The City Sisters)

Salad

Spinach
Arugala
Cucumber
Strawberry
Feta Cheese
Walnut halves and pieces

Toss together spinach and arugala. Top with sliced cucumbers, strawberries, feta and walnuts.

Chocolate vinaigrette

1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
1/3 c. castor sugar
1/4 c. dark chocolate chip

In a small saucepan, combine vinegar and sugar over low heat until sugar is disolved. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Leave to cool at room temperature. Do not refrigerate – the chocolate with solidify. Stir gently before serving.

Note: Castor sugar is finer than regular sugar but not as fine as powdered sugar. You can make your own castor sugar by running some regular sugar through a food processor for a few seconds.

Linked up with Ingredient Spotlight: Chocolate at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.


TGIFridays’s Style Jack Daniels Grill Glaze

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My favorite thing on the TGIFridays menu is the Seasame Jack Chicken Strips. When I saw this recipe, I wasn’t convinced it would take the same – but it’s dead on.

I made chicken nuggets with the same method I used here, but substituted plain panko. After they’re done, drizzle the warm glaze over for a great restaurant copy-cat.

The glaze is also great on steaks and burgers.

TGIFridays Style Jack Daniels Grill Glaze
(from Insider’s Recipes Master Edition e-cookbook)

1 head of garlic
1 T. olive oil
2/3 c. water
1 c. pineapple juice
1/4 c. teriyaki sauce
1 T. soy sauce
1 1/3 c. brown sugar
3 T. lemon juice
3 T. minced white onion
1 T. Jack Daniels Whiskey
1 T. crushed pineapple
1/4 t. cayenne pepper

Cut about 1/2 in. off the top of the garlic. Cut the roots so that the garlic will sit flat. Remove the papery skin for the garlic, but leave enough so that the cloves stay together. Put garlic into a small casserole dish or baking pan, drizzle olive oil over it and cover with a lid or foil. Bake at 325F degrees for 1 hour. Remove garlic and let it cool until you can handle it.

Combine water, pineapple juice, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until mixture boils then reduce heat until mixture is just simmering.

Squeeze the sides of the head of garlic until the pasty roasted garlic is squeezed out. Discard remaining skin and whisk to combine.

Add remaining ingredients to the pan and stir.

Let mixture simmer for about an hour or until sauce has reduced by about 1/2 and is thick and syrupy. Make sure it doesn’t boil over.


Cranberry Apple Chutney

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Thanksgiving at my parents’ house is very traditional. Every year the list of food gets divided up amongst the families coming and every year we have the same things. There’s comfort in the familiarity.

So, I wasn’t sure how well it would go over when I told my Mom I wanted to try some new things this year. Lucky for me, she was more than agreeable and we’re ditching the canned cranberry sauce in favor of this dish.

This can be served warm or cold – we’re going for cold because a) it’s one less thing to heat up on Thanksgiving and b) we usually chill the canned cranberry sauce so it’ll be more familiar for our crowd.

Cranberry Apple Chutney
(from Taste of Home October/November 2010)

1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1 (12 oz.) package fresh or frozen cranberries
2 large, tart apples – peeled and finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 c. golden raisins
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. ground allspice
1/8 t. ground cloves

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes.

Carefully stir in remaining ingredients. Return to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until it reaches desired thickness, stirring occasionally.


Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Cheddar Mustard Sauce

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Do you remember your first cookbook?

I remember reading my Mom’s cookbooks and magazines when I was growing up. I know I made some things out of them but things didn’t reall seem to stick with me until I had cookbooks of my own. I got my first real cookbook junior year of college; I used my Christmas money to buy Rachael Ray’s 365: No Repeats.

I poured through that book over and over and the first thing I made is still my favorite – this pretzel crusted chicken.

Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Cheddar Mustard Sauce
(adapted from Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats)

2 small, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 5-ounce bag of salted pretzels, any shape
1/2  tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 eggs
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup extra sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 heaping tablespoon spicy brown mustard
2 dill pickle coins, finely chopped

Preheat a large non-stick skillet with a 1/4-inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.

Pound out chicken breasts until thin.

Place the pretzels in a food processor or blender and grind until fine. Transfer the ground pretzels to a shallow dish, add the thyme and some salt and pepper. Crack and beat egg in a second shallow dish with a splash of water. One at a time, coat each chicken breast in pretzels, then the egg and then again in the pretzels.

Add the pretzel-coated chicken breast to the hot oil. Cook about 3 or 4 minutes on each side, until the juices run clear and breading is evenly browned.

While the chicken is frying, in a medium saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour to it. Cook flour and butter for 1 minute and then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese and mustard. Season with a little salt and pepper, and remove cheese sauce from the heat.

Transfer the fried pretzel-crusted chicken breast to a serving plate and top with chopped pickle. Drizzle with cheddar mustard sauce.