Monthly Archives: November 2008

Gringo Chipotle Enchiladas

food-0501First, a disclaimer. These are not “chef-y” enchiladas. They are not likely something you will ever find at a fancy-schmancy restaurant. They are also not anywhere near authentic Mexican food.

That being said, they are a household favorite. In their history, there have been a lot of variations, but this most recent version has been one of the best. Feel free to substitute the meat for chopped up chicken or turkey. (great way to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving!) Feel free to adjust the chili powder, chipotle chili powder, or other seasonings as you desire. The way I have written this recipe makes for a pretty spicy sauce, so beware. But ultimately, be prepared for a cheesy, melty, comfort-food style enchilada dish. It may not be the most eloquent dish you will ever prepare, but I hope it will become a favorite at your house as well!


1 T oil, preferably vegetable or peanut

½ onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 can diced tomatoes

1-2 T Chipotle powder

2-3 T chili powder

½ T cumin powder


½ c to a cup of water or broth



1 lb ground beef

1 t chili powder

1 T cumin powder

1 T garlic powder

Salt and pepper

4 oz Cream cheese


12 flour tortillas

About 2 c Grated cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350.


Coat a large skillet with oil, heat to medium and sauté onions until translucent, about 3-4 minutes, add garlic, sauté a minute longer. Put onion, garlic, and tomatoes into blender (I use a hand blender, makes it easier) and puree. Pour back into skillet and simmer. Add chipotle powder and chili powder, tasting until you like the flavor. For me, it was 2 T of the chipotle powder and 2 T of chili powder, but I like it pretty spicy. Use less chipotle powder for a milder sauce. Dilute sauce as it simmers with water. Add salt to taste. Simmer about 30 minutes.


As sauce is cooking, heat another pan and brown ground beef. Season with chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Once meat is browned, add a little sauce (about ½ cup), about ¾ c grated cheese, and 4 oz cream cheese. Mix until melted.


Assemble the enchiladas by laying the tortilla flat in one hand, and using a spatula or spoon, placing a thick strip of filling down the middle. Roll the enchilada and place it in a 13X9 inch baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas.


Pour sauce over enchiladas, and top with shredded cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes or until bubbly.


Top with sour cream and/or cilantro, if desired.



Filed under Beef, Main Dishes

Sour Cream Coffee Cake and Grandma’s Recipe Box

food-0341I remember when I was younger, my family would travel to my grandparents’ house to visit during the summers. I can only imagine the hours of planning, shopping, and baking that occupied my grandmother’s days prior to our visits. She always had carefully planned meals, and an array of baked breads, coffee cakes, and other goodies to share with us. When my grandparents were downsizing their home recently, she gave me her recipe boxes and other recipe books. I spent hours reading every recipe she shared with me, carefully noticing how some of the recipe cards showed signs of repeated use (including spots, or her hand-written notes). (Those are the GOOD ones!) Her recipe cards included not only handwritten cards but also many a newspaper clipping. I thought, what better way to enjoy what she shared with me than to create some of the goodies described in these recipes!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake is one of those recipes found in Grandma’s recipe box. The only change I made was to reduce the baking time (it was done in 47 minutes for me). It came out wonderfully moist and crumbly, with a crispy sugary-cinnamon crust. Yummy.

1 c (2 sticks) butter or margarine

1 ½ c sugar

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 c dairy sour cream

1 t vanilla

2 c sifted flour

1 t baking powder

½ t baking soda

½ c chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

2 T sugar mixed with ½ t cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Thoroughly cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla, mixing well. Blend in flour, baking powder, and soda. Mix until smooth. Spoon half of batter in well-greased 9-in angel food pan. Sprinkle with half of the nuts and half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Spoon in remaining batter. Sprinkle remaining nuts and cinnamon-sugar mixture on top.

Bake in oven about 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool about 20 minutes before removing from pan. (optional: sprinkle with powdered sugar)

sour cream coffee cakethe recipe


Filed under Baked goods, Budget-Friendly, Quick and Easy

Roasted Lamb with Anchovies and Garlic

food-0121Texas doesn’t get fall weather…we have hot, not-quite-so-hot, and then all of a sudden it gets chilly for a day or two. I keep waiting for those chilly days to stick around, and we’re not quite there yet. Alas, I felt I would get more into the fall mood if I roasted some lamb and had a glass of cabernet. This recipe is adapted from Gourmet magazine. I think it’s a wonderful, savory way to enjoy a lamb roast. I served it alongside some baked acorn squash and steamed asparagus. Tasty eats indeed! Chilly weather or not, it’s fall at my house!

6-7 garlic cloves, minced

12 canned anchovy fillets, drained and patted dry

¼ c olive oil

2 ½ T fresh rosemary, chopped

4-5 lb boneless leg of lamb, tied

2 t salt

¾ t freshly ground black pepper



Mash the garlic and anchovies into a paste, then stir together with olive oil and rosemary. Pat lamb dry and rub marinade all over the surface of the lamb, pushing the marinade into the meat as much as possible. Marinate lamb, loosely covered, at room temperature for an hour. (you can marinate for up to six hours, refrigerated. Just bring lamb out to bring up to room temperature one hour before you plan to cook it.)



Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle lamb all over with salt and pepper, and then roast in a roasting pan with rack until a meat thermometer registers 125 degrees for medium rare, 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours. Let stand 20 minutes before slicing.


Filed under Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Lamb, Main Dishes

Cooking Class with Tre Wilcox

Grilled Swordfish with Celery 3 Ways

Grilled Swordfish with Celery 3 Ways

OK, so those non-Top Chef fans will likely have no idea what I am talking about here. For those that do, Tre Wilcox was a contestant on season 3 of Top Chef. He was (wrongfully) eliminated in the second part of Restaurant Wars. I have been a fan and have appreciated his style ever since I saw him on Top Chef — first of all, he’s a local guy from the Dallas area, and second of all, he had a lot of talent that showed in his dishes and in many of the elimination challenges…

Which brings me to Wednesday night. My friend Nicole and I attended a cooking class hosted by Tre at Central Market in Plano, Texas. This was my first cooking class…ever…and so it was a great way to initiate myself! I was a bit starstruck (ok he probably wondered why there was this crazy chick taking multiple pictures of him while he was trying to talk…) I also furiously wrote down notes on top of the recipes he provided for us. He prepared: Seared Sea Scallops and Bacon-Scallions with Pomegranate Brown Butter, Grilled Swordfish with Celery 3 Ways and Bernaise (my favorite!), Monkfish “BLT” with Fresh Avocado, and for dessert, a wonderful Strawberry-Rhubarb Soup with Vanilla Foam and Sweet Basil (with a splash of champagne in it). Let me tell you, the food was simply wonderful.

So, here you can see a few pictures of Tre cooking, but you’ll have to forgive the quality…I am apparently camera-handicapped. (I used the “Indoor” selection, so I don’t know why so grainy, but anyways…) There’s also one of Nicole and me with Tre. After that picture, I stammered out, in my starstruck manner, that I enjoyed his class. (I also asked him about whether his cookware he was selling – Chantal – was safe for a smooth cooktop, but jumbled up my words in the process. Go me.)

But what a wonderful experience! If you ever are wondering what to do one evening in the Dallas area, and you like cooking, I encourage you to check out the cooking classes at Central Market. Tre actually teaches there quite often, and it’s a treat.

Now, to summon the courage to try one of his recipes…

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