Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Huevos Goodness

I love Mexican food, I love breakfast, ergo, I love Huevos Rancheros. It has eggs. It has cheese. It has beans. It has all the yummy stuff that makes me smile. There are 100s of varieties, so I'm providing one of the easiest versions. Get creative with it, you can't go wrong. Trust me. You'll have new best friends if you make them this dish. Your kids will clean their rooms, your significant other will do their own laundry. You will become the most awesome person in the world. Well, at least till they finish eating. Go ahead, try it.

Huevos Rancheros

8 eggs
8 Corn Tortillas
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1 Can Refried Black Beans ( you want the flavor of black beans, trust me)
Favorite Salsa
Shredded Cheese

1.Heat the oil in a frying pan. Once hot, soften your tortillas. Just a few seconds on each side and remove. Place them on a plate layered with napkins. You want to soak up some of the grease.

2. Place two tortillas on each plate. It's okay if they overlap.

3. Cover each tortilla with the refried beans ( I suggest warming them up ahead of time)

4. Crack two eggs into your pan with the oil. You are wanting to make the eggs over easy or over medium. If you don't like fried eggs you can scramble them, but cmon live a little. Try them fried. I don't like runny yolk and over medium works perfectly for me.

5. Place two eggs on top of the tortillas.

6. Cover the tortillas with your favorite salsa.

7. At this point you can add anything else you like to the dish. I like to add sliced jalapenos, black olives or green chilies.

8. Cover. And I mean COVER the tortillas with shredded cheese. Cheese makes everything better.

9. To melt the cheese you can place it in the microwave for a few seconds. You don't want the tortillas to get chewy. I like to use heavy plates and put mine in the oven on broil to get everything bubbly and melty and heavenly.

10. You can serve topped with sour cream and/or guacamole.

11. Enjoy the goodness.

Easy. Cheesy. Yummyness.

You can make this with flour tortillas, pinto beans, or whole black beans if you prefer. I've made this with tostada shells when I was in a big hurry. Good, but more crunchy than I wanted. Use any type of shredded cheese you want. Go crazy with it. You cannot mess this dish up.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Did Someone Say Fish Tacos???

Fish Tacos are my new favorite things in the whole world. Think about it, fish tacos on a patio somewhere with a cold beer and great friends. Life doesn't get any better right? Well, I'm easy to please, so to me it sounds pretty damn good . Even if you don't like fish, I think you'll love these. I tend to be heavy with the spices and flavors when I cook, so it works great for these tacos. No fish flavor, so even your pickiest eater won't have an excuse. Though if you are friends with a picky eater, why are you cooking for them? Hand them some peanut butter and a loaf of bread and tell them to enjoy.

Oh yeah, I cannot take full credit for these tacos. It is a mixture of about five or six different versions I have read or have been told at some point or another. I'm sure my special touch is in there somewhere.

Grilled Fish Tacos

1 lb Mahi Mahi ( Tilapia works just as well)
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup canola oil
chopped cilantro ( use to taste, I personally am not a big fan, so I use about two tablespoons, of course if you love it, go for it and use as much as you want)
1 Fresh Jalapeno chopped fine
8 Corn Tortillas
Shredded Cabbage ( if you aren't a normal cabbage eater, buy the prepackaged coleslaw, it works perfectly)
1/2 chopped red onion
1 can drained sweet corn
1 chopped avocado

Place your fish in a baking dish.
Mix together in a bowl the oil, chili powder,cilantro, jalapeno and lime juice. This is your marinade for the fish.
Pour this over the fish and let is marinade for about 20 minutes.
Take the fish and place it on your preheated grill skin side up (yes the fish has skin, sheesh get over it). This should take about four to five minutes. If you are using thin pieces of fish, then lessen your time.
Flip the fish over and cook it skin side down for about another 45 seconds to one minute.
Remove the fish from the grill and you can flake the fish off the skin with a fork after it sits for a few minutes. ( see, you don't EAT the skin, ya dork)
Heat up your corn tortillas in the microwave or the grill ( i prefer the grill, but whatever floats your boat)
Put the fish, some cabbage, red onion, avocado and corn in the tortilla. You can also top with some additional cilantro, lime juice, and some salsa, hot sauce, pace, whatever you want to call it.

As far as a side dish for these, I would not suggest refried beans or anything heavy. I will usually make guacamole ( YES, we like avocado around here) and some black beans. You could also make a grilled vegetable medley of bell peppers, squash, mushrooms, onions, and zucchini. I like to season mine with olive oil, garlic powder, and ground black pepper.

So there you go, finally a healthy dish. It hurt me to write this, but I'll get over it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cream Cheese Makes Everything Better

Chicken and I have a love/hate relationship. There are times when I can't get enough of it, chicken enchiladas, chicken spaghetti, and of course, chicken fried chicken. The rest of the time, I'm usually less than excited about having chicken. If it is grilled, broiled, roasted or baked, I'm out. I'll eat it, but not with my normal enthusiasm. I know I know, it probably all has to do with the seasoning, marinade, rub, or whatever, but that still doesn't make me a fan. This being said, I have been attempting to spice it up a bit and try new things to make me love chicken all the time. This recipe came out of my love for cream cheese, jalapenos and tortillas chips. It received a "damn that was good" from The Boy!

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken

4 Chicken Breasts ( or thighs if you prefer dark meat)
2 Fresh Jalapenos ( chopped)
1 Pkg Whipped Cream Cheese (room temperature)
2 Cups Crushed Tortilla Chips

Preheat Oven to 425

1. Combine the cream cheese and diced jalapenos in a medium bowl.
2. Butterfly cut the chicken breasts. It doesn't have to be perfectly even, you just want to make sure that one half isn't obviously thicker than the other. This makes it easier to cook all the way through.
3. Place your crushed tortilla chips in a shallow bowl.
4. Take two big spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture and spread it on one side of each piece of chicken. I want to taste the filling, not have it as an after thought.
5. Fold the second half of the chicken on top .
6. Place each piece of chicken into the shallow bowl with the tortilla chips and make sure they are covered on both side. Chips do not stick as easy as bread crumbs or flour, so you may need to pat them gently into the chick to cover it.
7. Put the chicken in your baking dish and cook from 20-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the breasts.
8. When the chicken is cooked and the cream cheese is melty and gooey, plate it and you are ready to go.

You really don't want a sauce to go with the chicken, because it will make the tortilla chips soggy, so we just used salsa. I served it with a mix of black beans/corn and a big salad.

You can use pickled jalapenos if you don't like fresh. You can add chili powder or powdered ranch to the crushed tortilla chips if you want some extra flavor.

I know it's too hot to turn the stove on some nights, but this one is worth it. Leftovers can be reheated in the regular oven or toaster oven and it's just as good if not better.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Party People!!

It's that time of year when everyone starts having friends and family over for cook outs. Sitting on patios, hanging on back porches, relaxing by pools. My favorite time of year by far! Some of the best food you will have all year is made from May to September. Burgers, steaks, ribs, and the almighty hot dog. The best way to get invited to all the good parties? Bring good food. Sheesh. People don't like to invite the person who always brings chips or store bought potato salad. Cmon now, we want something homemade! Something good.

If you get invited to my house for a cook out you should at least take it out of the box or plastic container before showing up. KIDDING. Sort of. Not really. Seriously.

Here are a couple simple, but really good recipes to bring to the next party. You'll get invited back or at least more often. I promise.

Jalapeno Poppers

(My momma gets credit for this one)

12 Fresh Jalapenos (each pepper makes two poppers, so buy based on the amount of hungry mugs you are going to be feeding)
1 pkg fat free whipped cream cheese (room temperature)
12 pieces bacon ( you can use turkey bacon to be healthier, but it gets chewy not crunchy)

Preheat oven to 425 and line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

If you have never handled fresh jalapenos just remember DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE till after you are finished and can wash your hands thoroughly. You can use gloves if you have them.

Cut the stems off the jalapenos and then cut them in half long ways. Remove the veins and seeds from the jalapenos with a knife if you are good, or you can use a spoon. This takes the majority of the heat from the peppers and you still have the great flavor. I do not suggest putting the jalapeno stems or seeds in the disposal. Trust me. Your eyes will water and you won't be able to breathe.

Take a spoonful of cream cheese and put it in each jalapeno half. It's okay if it overflows, go for it.

Take the bacon and cut in half. Take the 1/2 piece of bacon and wrap it around the jalapeno. Place it on the cookie sheet seam side down.

Pop in the oven for about 30 minutes. The longer you cook them the sweeter the peppers and the crunchier the bacon.

Remove from the oven and let them cool for about five minutes before serving.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

2 Cans Sweet Corn
2 Can Black Beans
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
2 Fresh Jalapenos
3 Roma Tomatoes
1 Medium Red Onion
Garlic Powder
Lime Juice
Cilantro to taste

Chop the peppers, tomato and onion. Remove the veins and seeds from the jalapeno before you chop. Put all of these into a medium bowl.

Drain the black beans and rinse off all the juice. Add to the bowl. Drain one can of the corn and add both to the bowl.

Add salt, garlic powder, lime juice and cilantro to taste.
Mix everything together and chill for a few hours. Serve with tortilla chips.

If you are in a hurry, run by the store and grab a brick of cream cheese, a jar of jalapeno jelly and crackers. Place cream cheese on a plate, pour the jelly on top and serve. If you can't find jalapeno jelly, use raspberry preserves(seeds are a must!) and a jar of jalapenos. Pour jalapeno juice on top of the preserves.

Enjoy and you can always bring these to my casa!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Breakfast is for Champions

I love breakfast food. I can eat it anytime of day and actually prefer to have it for dinner. Cereal, oatmeal, french toast, breakfast tacos. You name it, I love it. Breakfast is easy and cheap and just admit it, makes you smile

Breakfast Tacos

1/2 lb breakfast sausage ( i like to use chorizo, but your normal folks can use breakfast sausage)
1 medium onion --i like chunky, but chop how you like.
1 can green chilies( this is optional, but trust me its really good)
2 large potatoes, peeled and grated
8 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 cups shredded Colby jack cheese

1. Brown sausage in a pan till its almost completely cooked. If you are using chorizo, its ok to go ahead and cook it completely through.
2. Add onions and cook till they are clear.
3. Add the green chilies and potatoes. You will need to cook for about 5 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
4. Crack the eggs and whisk them with the milk in a medium sized bowl.
5. Add the eggs to the pan and cook till done, set, whatever term you like to use. Cook them to your liking.
6. Put the mixture in a warmed flour tortilla and add cheese and your favorite salsa.

If you are feeling guilty for all the potatoes and grease and cheese you are ingesting, add some watermelon or orange slices on the side.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Not Good for You For But So Worth It

I didn't do any major cooking this week. Made a few standards that were quick and easy. I have however been thinking of a couple of things that I have made before and might add them to my menu in a couple of weeks. These recipes are SO not good for you, but you only live once and you don't have to make them all in the same week. Sheesh!

Sinful Burgers

1 lb breakfast sausage
1 lb ground beef
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/3 tsp course ground pepper
1/3 chopped onion
1/3 chopped bell pepper

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients.
Form into 8 patties. Cook over medium heat on each side. About 10-15 minutes each.
Serve on your favorite buns and add toppings. I like bleu cheese and jalapenos, but whatever makes you happy.

Turkey Bacon Salad

5 Slices Crispy Bacon--I like to use thick cut bacon, but you can use turkey or your normal bacon
2 Cups Sugar Snap Peas
1/2 Cup Mayo
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Fresh Dill
1 Diced avocado
Romaine Lettuce--coarsely torn ( NEVER cut lettuce, it makes it turn brown too quick)
1/2 Pound Turkey Breasts--cut into strips

Cook peas, covered in boiling salt water for about two minutes or until crisp.
Crumble one slice of bacon. Break the remaining slices. I know weird, but trust me.
In a bowl stir together the mayo, mustard, vinegar and dill. Add the crumbled bacon and stir. Arrange the lettuce, peas, turkey , avocado and bacon on a plate and top with the dressing. Gorgeous and awesome. I'm a fan of sprouts, so I like to add a few of them to my salad as well.

Chocolate Walnut Pie

2 Pkgs Instant Chocolate Pudding
2 Cans Condensed Milk
1/4 Cup Hershey Syrup
1 Prepared Pie Crust
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips--semi-sweet

Prepare pudding mix--whisk both boxes with the condensed milk
Add Hershey's Syrup
In the bottom of your pie crust create a layer of walnuts and chocolate chips.
Pour pudding mix on top.

I suggest letting this chill for at least an hour. When serving I like to top it with cool whip, walnuts and chocolate chips. This is OH so rich. A small piece will more than enough.

There you have it, some easy dishes for those nights when you want something different and don't feel like being good.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Soakin it Up!

This time of year we do not cook. We grill. A lot. I don't like a hot kitchen and it means that the boy is an active participant in the food making activities. I do all the chopping, marinading, potato salad making and he gets to play with the new grill he HAD to have. I will admit however, that he is much better at it then I am. This goes back to my lack of patience in the kitchen. I CAN do it, I just don't LIKE to do it. I cannot stand there and watch something cook, count how many minutes its been out there or check the internal temperature of a piece of meat. He gets the honor. I don't have any fancy recipes for the grill, but I love to mix sauces and spices to come up with a new marinade for meats and dips for the veggies.

Marinade-- I LOVE this marinade on chicken, fish, and pork.

2 Tbsp Soy Sauce ( if you don't have soy sauce, go buy some. I use low sodium)
1 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Chopped Garlic ( you can use the kind in a jar if you don't have fresh)
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Ground Black Pepper

*If you are feeding more than four people, than I would say double the ingredients. You can always put the extra in the fridge for next time. Also, if you want a sweeter sauce add more honey. More savory, add more soy sauce , garlic, whatever. Make it to your taste. I've used Teriyaki in place of the soy sauce and it's just as good.

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk. ( I would say stir, but I like using my whisk just so I look like I'm doing something creative and complicated. ) Pour over your meat and chill for up to two hours. Easy enough.

Two of my new favorites for the grill are squash and asparagus.

Cut fresh squash long ways. It's easier to grill that way. I season mine with Lemon Pepper or Cajun Seasonings. You can put olive oil on them if you want, but I prefer just the dry seasonings.

The asparagus goes in a bowl with sea salt, ground black pepper and olive oil. Toss.

Place them all on the grill and cook.

The Boy is all about dipping his grilled vegetables in some sort of sauce, which we argue about on a regular basis. To make him happy, well actually to get him to shut up, I will usually make Wasabi Mayo. I stole this from my little sister. Hey, give credit where it is due.

Wasabi Mayonnaise

1/2 tsp Wasabi Paste *
1/4 cup Mayo
1 tsp Lime Juice
2 splashes of Soy Sauce ( yes I used the word splash)

*start off with this small amount and add more to your taste-- I use the "hey, get in here and taste this and tell me if you want more kick" test. If you have a cold or allergies, load up on this stuff, you'll feel better in no time. Trust me.

Mix the wasabi and the mayo in a bowl. ( You can add more mayo if you are scared of the wasabi or feeding a larger crowd. ) Add the soy sauce and lime juice and stir. Place in the fridge till you are ready to eat. You get the sweet and the kick. My two favorite things in one.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mexican Night in the Rutledge Household

I'm one of those people who can eat Mexican Food at any time. No, I mean it at ANY time. All you have to say is chips and salsa and I will usually be the first one to show up. Due to my love of this fine cuisine, I also tend to be pretty snobby when it comes to Mexican restaurants. If I don't like the salsa, I probably won't be back to your establishment. Even if I like the food. I know, it doesn't make sense, but it's the way my brain and taste buds work. I'm also the idiot who always says "I can make this at home for much cheaper and healthier". Yes, I am that person.

With all that being said, usually if we want Mexican around here and don't feel like going out, we turn to enchiladas or tacos. Everyone once in awhile I will get in the mood to make tostados, but The Boy just crushes the shells and makes nachos out of them anyway, so they don't appear on my menu very often.

My beef enchiladas are quick and simple, but it gets two thumbs up every time. I know everyone has their own version of this beefy goodness, but this is for those times when effort is just not going to happen. If you've never made enchiladas before, this is an awesome way to start. I do have to give my momma credit for showing me how easy good Mexican food can be.

Beef Enchiladas

1 lb ground beef

1 pkg shredded cheese ( i use colby jack)

1 medium onion

1 bell pepper

2 cans red enchilada sauce ( I use one hot and one mild, but I will warn you, the hot is HOT)

10-12 corn tortillas

Canola Oil (enough to soften the tortillas in a frying pan)

2 Frying Pans

13x10 Cake Pan or Casserole Dish

Preheat the oven to 375.

1.Chop the onion and bell pepper. I usually will do bigger chunks because I like to taste them, but if you prefer, you can dice. Wuss.

2. Add the onions, bell peppers and beef to your frying pan and brown. The grease from the meat helps soften and saute the onions and bell peppers. Plus browning everything together gives them great flavor.

3. While the beef is doing it's thing, add about a fourth cup oil to the other frying pan and heat till hot. The idea is to have enough oil to soften the tortillas, but not deep fry them.

4. Once the beef is browned, drain the grease ( if there is excess, otherwise leave it in). Add both cans of enchilada sauce and simmer on medium heat.

5. While the mixture is becoming saucy deliciousness, you can now soften your tortillas. Make sure your oil is hot and it should only take about a few seconds on each side to get the tortillas soft. Place a tortilla in the oil and use either a fork or tongs to flip them. I always have a plate covered in napkins to soak up the grease as I pull them out of the pan. Repeat until you have softened all your tortillas. ( If all of this is too complicated for you, just grab some flour tortillas and heat them up in the microwave)

6. Take some of the filling ( about two spoonfuls) and put it in the bottom of your casserole dish. This keeps everything from sticking. Spread it around until the bottom is covered, it will be a thin layer.

7. Grab a plate and great ready to make greatness. Place a tortilla (soak up the excess grease prior with a napkin) on a plate and add a large spoonful of the mixture. Top with cheese(use your judgment on amount) and roll it up. Place the seam side down in the casserole dish. Repeat until the dish is full.

8. Take your leftover filling and pour it over the enchiladas. Cover it with the rest of the cheese and put it in the oven. It should cook for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted. They are gooey and messy and normally don't come out perfect like when you eat out, but they are SOOOOO much better!

I know it seems like alot of steps, but honestly, it doesn't take that long. Usually when I make the enchiladas I serve refried beans. Now I'm not a fan of canned foods, but I don't know to make homemade beans and if anyone has a good recipe please share! Until then, I usually buy canned black refried beans or vegetarian. I do have a secret to making them better however. When you put the beans in your saucepan to heat up, add jalapeno juice to them. It does not make them "spicy" or "hot" or whatever wimps like to say. It gives them great flavor and you won't want them any other way!

So there you have it. Enchiladas at home that are easy and normally better than what you get in a restaurant.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why Not Right?

I am horrible about sharing recipes. Not because I'm stingy or selfish ( though I will admit the few times I have given someone a recipe, I will sometimes leave out the extras I throw in to make it extra tasty) but because I'm lazy and have zero patience in the kitchen. I don't follow recipes, so I don't write down recipes. I believe everyone should cook to their tastes and make each dish their own, even if they are following a recipe. To me recipes are basically just an extended ingredient list and the rest is a suggestion on what to do with these ingredients.

With all this being said, it was suggested to me that I create a blog in which I post what dishes I am making, what is in it and how I made it. I guess what the rest of you would call a "recipe blog" Now I must warn you, I cook what I like. This means quite a bit of cheese, olive oil, jalepenos, and of course bread. You will not find any fancy recipes here. Just good old fashioned "throw it in a pot or pan and cook" type of recipes. On the few occasions that I do feel adventurous, it's either because I'm bored or I just watched the Food Network. You all know what I mean, don't pretend you don't.

I made sandwhiches for dinner tonight, so unless you are clueless on how to make a good sammich, I will spare you the details. Though, if from time to time I make a sandwhich that just requires a few minutes of bragging, you might see it here.

If anyone has suggestions on a recipe, by all means let me know. I'm constantly changing up what I do and trying to either make it less typical or just better.

Enjoy and you can NOT hold me accountable for any pounds gained during this blog.