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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Red Enchilada Sauce

My stepdaughter Morgan made this enchilada sauce this afternoon.  She'll be using it to make a chicken enchilada casserole.  This sauce has a beautiful deep red color, is full of flavor, and is easy to make.  It has a nice, smooth consistency, both when warm and when cooled.  It's just perfect for enchiladas and enchilada casseroles.

Morgan used regular old chili powder, Sprout's organic version, which is very mild.  I can envision experimenting with flavor options using specific varieties or blends of chile powders to taste.

You can make this with chicken broth or make a vegan version with veggie broth.  Morgan used Pacific brand low sodium organic chicken broth.  Obviously homemade chicken or veggie broth would add more flavor, but we don't have any homemade on hand at the moment.  No one will ever mistake me for Martha Stewart!

Here's the recipe, slightly adapted from a recipe on

Red Enchilada Sauce


2 T olive oil
2 T flour
4 T chili powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground cumin
1/4 t oregano
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
6 oz. tomato paste


Heat oil in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add flour and whisk together over the heat until the mixture turns golden brown, at least one minute.  Stir in the remaining seasonings (chili powder through oregano).  Gradually add in the broth, whisking constantly to remove lumps.  Add the tomato paste and whisk to blend.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes until sauce thickens.

Use immediately or refrigerate.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chilean Sea Bass With Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes And Hatch Chile Peppers

This dish has so many things I embrace wholeheartedly:  fish caught using sustainable methods, locally grown cherry tomatoes, and seasonal Hatch chile peppers.  This is Chilean Sea Bass from trusted local supplier TJ's Fresh Seafood Market, which sources its seafood responsibly; cherry tomatoes from one of the local, organic farmers at the Coppell Farmers Market; and roasted seasonal Hatch chile peppers from Central Market.

This isn't really a recipe, more of a suggestion.  The fish, three portions approximately 6 oz. each, was sprinkled on all sides with Penzey's Ruth Ann's Muskego Ave Chicken and Fish Seasoning, a blend of salt, black pepper, garlic, lemon peel, and onion.  Any subtle seasoning like that would work well.  The fish is so nice it doesn't need to be overpowered by spices.  I  rinsed a bunch of cherry tomatoes.  I removed the blackened skin, stems, and seeds from a couple of mild Hatch chile peppers and diced them.

I heated a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat for a long time to make sure that it was evenly heated, coated it with good olive oil (in this case a basil-infused Texas olive oil), then added the Chilean Sea Bass filets.  (Interestingly enough, Chilean Sea Bass is neither bass nor Chilean.  Check out this Wikipedia article if you're interested in knowing more:

The filets were really thick, maybe 2", so I cooked them skin-side-down for almost 10 minutes, then flipped them and cooked about 5 more minutes.  It's a relatively fatty fish, so it's pretty forgiving if you "overcook" it.  I removed the cooked filets from the skillet, put them on a plate, and tented it with aluminum foil.

I put the pretty yellow cherry tomatoes and diced Hatch chiles in the skillet and cooked them, giving everything a good stir now and again, until most of the tomatoes burst, then poured in the juices that had accumulated on the plate the fish was resting on and stirred that in.  Then I just plated and served.

This is a quick, easy, healthy, and responsible dinner that anyone can make in no time.  There's little prep and few ingredients.  High quality, sustainable fish isn't cheap; however, its flavor is so good you only need a small portion.  Plus when you eat well you're making an investment in your future health and the health of our planet.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Almond and Parmesan Chicken Tenders

This one is kid and adult approved.  It's a great, more healthy alternative to flour-laden, carb-dense recipes.  Yummy!

Recipe For Almond and Parmesan Chicken Tenders

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
3 eggs
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup of almonds, chopped in a food processor to a coarse meal texture
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic or onion powder
big pinch of kosher salt
couple of grinds of black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Set up a breading station:

  • Whisk eggs and then whisk in lemon juice and put in a shallow bowl. 
  • Mix the almonds, parmesan, paprika, garlic or onion powder, salt, and pepper and put in a shallow bowl.

Working a couple at a time, coat chicken tenders with egg mixture, then with almond mixture, and shake off excess.  Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet; no crowding.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.

Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Crustless Quiche

This is a breakfast/brunch dish for those of us who have childhood issues with runny eggs and need them to be thoroughly cooked and disguised with plenty of cheese.  Our picky kids seem to like this one too since it has the flavors of broccoli cheese soup.  You can bake this recipe in individual ramekins, which I think makes it kinda fun for kids, but you can also bake it in a pie dish.

Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Crustless Quiche Recipe

10 ounces fresh broccoli
6 large eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half
big pinch of salt
couple grinds of black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of your favorite seasoning:  nutmeg, toasted onion powder, garlic powder, etc.
3/4 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
butter for greasing ramekins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter four 8-ounce ramekins or a 9-inch pie dish.

Bring a stockpot of salted water to a boil.  Add broccoli.  Return to the boil and cook 1 minute.  Drain well. Transfer broccoli to a cutting board and blot dry with paper towels.  Chop broccoli coarsely.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, a big pinch of salt, a couple of grinds of pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of your favorite seasoning.  Stir in broccoli and cheese.

Place ramekins or pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet.  Ladle the broccoli/egg/cheese mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly, or ladle it into a pie dish.  Bake until golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out pretty clean, about 35 to 40 minutes for individual ramekins, 10 to 15 minutes more for a pie dish.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Maybe not the healthiest shrimp recipe, but seriously delicious!  This is better than any shrimp scampi you can get at a restaurant!  This recipe is slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa's Baked Shrimp Scampi Recipe.

Recipe For Baked Shrimp Scampi

2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick butter, at room temperature
4 minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 extra-large egg yolk
2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried breadcrumbs)
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish.

Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter-crumb mixture evenly over the shrimp.
 Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

Cucumber, Tomato, and Feta Salad with Vinaigrette

This recipe has it all.  It's crisp, cool, and refreshing.  It's ridiculously easy.  And it's really nutritious.  Enjoy!

Recipe for Cucumber, Tomato, and Feta Salad with Vinaigrette

2 cucumbers
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 package of feta cheese, 6 to 8 ounces
1/4 red onion

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (I like Penzey's pasta sprinkle)
salt and pepper to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, remove 4 strips of peel from the length of each cucumber (giving a striped appearance).  Trim away the ends, cut each cucumber in half diagonally, and scoop out all the seeds.  Thinly slice the cleaned cucumbers.

Put the sliced cucumbers in a colander set over a bowl.  Sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt and shake the collander.  This will help to draw extra moisture out of the cucumber.  Give the collander a shake now and again to disperse the salt evenly over the cucumber.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.

Cut the feta into small dice.

Very finely dice the red onion.  Rinse the onion in a collander to remove some of its pungency.

To make the vinaigrette, mix the red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, Italian seasoning, freshly ground pepper, and salt (go easy on the salt until you taste the finished salad, since you've already sprinkled salt over the cucumber).  Drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil while wisking to make a nice emulsified vinaigrette.

Combine the sliced cucumbers, cherry tomato halves, diced feta, and diced onion in a salad bowl.  Drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the salad (you may have extra vinaigrette left over that you can dress another salad with).  Taste the salad and add extra salt if necessary.

Green-Lentil Curry

This is a Madhur Jaffrey recipe that I found online at Food & Wine.  I love vegetarian eating and this is a main dish for me.  For my devoutly carnivore husband, this is a great side dish.  There are many beautiful spices in this dish and they're all used in moderation so the flavor is beautifully subtle and balanced.

Green-Lentil Curry Recipe

1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 garlic clove, mashed to a paste
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
1 1/4 cups dried green lentils (I only had regular brown lentils, so I used them for this recipe)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 ounces green beans, cut into 3/4-inch lengths
4 ounces kale, stemmed and leaves finely chopped
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt to taste

1.  In a small bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, coriander, and ground cumin.  Sitr in 1/4 cup of water to make a paste.  In a small skillet, heat the oil until shimmering.  Add the cumin seeds and cook over moderately high heat for 5 seconds, just until sizzling.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute.  Add the spice paste and let cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, abour 2 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook until thick, about 1 minute longer.

2.  In a saucepan, combine the lentils with the turmeric and 5 cups of water; bring to a boil.  Cover partially and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are barely tender.  Add the green beans, kale, carrot, three-fourths of the cilantro, and the cayenne and season with salt.  Cook until the lentils and vegetables are tender, 15 minutes.  Scrape in the spice paste and the remaining cilantro.  Simmer for 5 minutes, then serve.

Serve with steamed basmati rice, warm naan, and plain yogurt.