Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rice and Beans: The base for Chile Relleno Bake and Meatless Enchiladas!

Spanish Rice and Beans leftover from making Meatless Enchiladas

I made a big batch of rice and beans on Sunday.  Then 2/3 of the batch went into my rice and bean enchiladas, which are hanging out in the freezer, waiting for next "meatless Monday".  Besides trying to integrate fish more into our diets, we also have added one meatless day. We don't always eat it on Monday, but it's a catchy name!  This is what is left from my enchilada making, and could be frozen.
I love eggs, and this is an egg based dish.  Kind of a cross between scalloped corn and Spanish rice.  It bakes up light almost cakey in consistency.  It gets a gooey top of melted cheese to go with the whole green chiles that are layered inside, and hence the name Chile Relleno Bake.
On it's own, this Spanish rice and beans is a great side dish for other Mexican food.  It's just a basic kind of Spanish rice recipe with black beans added.

Spanish Rice and Beans
1 14 1/2 oz can/pint of diced tomatoes
1 1/2 C water
1 1/4 C uncooked rice
1 T butter
1 T chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed and diced
2 14 1/2 oz cans black beans rinsed and drained

Combine all ingredients except beans in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, and stir to combine.  Lower heat to medium, and cover with a lid.  Cook 20 minutes or until rice is done.  Remove from heat and stir in black beans.  This would be great piled into green peppers and topped with pepper jack cheese.

Bean and Rice Enchiladas
When this mixture cools, I spoon it into whole wheat tortillas, along with a couple strips of queso fresco cheese and place seam side down in a jelly roll pan (11x15) that I have oiled with canola oil.  I top it with salsa, or green enchilada sauce.  This makes a dozen large enchiladas.  At this point, I cover it with foil and put it in the freezer.  On the night I bake it, I will cook it at 375*F for an hour, and then remove foil and add shredded cheese and cook until the cheese melts and it's bubbly hot.

Chile Relleno Bake
Approx 2 C Spanish rice and beans
8 eggs
1/2 C buttermilk
1 14 1/2 oz can of corn drained
Salt and pepper to taste
2 7 oz cans whole green chiles drained
In a greased casserole dish, whisk together the eggs and milk.  Add in the rice and beans and the corn.  Mix well.  Carefully layer  the whole chiles in the mixture.  Bake at 375*F for on hour, or until it pulls away from the side, and is golden brown like this:

Chile Relleno Bake before the addition of cheese

 Top with shredded cheese, and put back in the oven long enough to melt the cheese.  Makes six servings.  I served it with Dutch Style Slaw, and hot sauce.  This is a great dish to serve at brunch!

Chile Relleno Bake, the finished product served with Dutch Style Slaw (see tomorrow's blog)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Turbo Cook Sunday: Sicilian Style Mahi Mahi over Couscous

The quality of frozen fish these days is very good.  Being land locked, we don't have many options for fresh fish.  Trout is about the extent of it.  I really like fish, and try to encorporate it into at least one meal a week.  The best thing about fish is that it cooks very quickly, is versatile in the ways you can use it, and if all else fails, you can hack it up when it's still frozen if you forget to get it out to thaw.  (Gee, I wonder who does that? *wink*).
Today is my turbo cook day.  We are getting close to lambing, and I have three babies to take care of every day.  I have to plan ahead to keep from getting behind.  My little kids start coming before seven, and don't go home until 5:30 or 6:00 at night.  I can't spend a large amount of time in the kitchen while they are here, so I turbo cook on the weekends, and then I am free to play, and properly care for them, and still put a nutritious hot meal on the table. 
I have already filled the crockpot with Swedish Stewed Lamb, and made a big batch of rice and black bean enchiladas(I will post recipes later this week), and have leftover rice and beans for a chile relleno casserole on roping night.  Now I can turn my attention to lunch today.  I like to double cook for my daycare.  I make a recipe for eight instead of four, and then I have hot meals for my babies' lunch.  They will love the tangy Sicilian Style Mahi Mahi, and it will only require me to heat up the saucy fish, and boil water to make the Couscous.
This fish would be equally good with pasta, or even served over boiled potatoes mashed with a little butter.  I'm sure if I were true Italian, I would make polenta or something fancy. It has a tomato based sauce with sliced garlic, green olives and capers, sprinkled with fresh parsley.  This recipe makes eight servings, but only uses two portions of frozen fish. It is economical, as well as convenient, because it uses pantry staples like tomatoes, olives and frozen fish.  It is also a one pot meal.  Well, one pot and a bowl to make the couscous in.  Best of all, it takes less than thirty minutes to prepare!

Sicilian Style Mahi Mahi with Couscous

Sicilian Style Mahi Mahi with Couscous
3 T olive oil
twelve cloves of garlic thinly sliced
Three 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
1 C chopped green olives drained
1/2 8 oz jar capers rinsed and drained
1/3 C chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp black pepper
 Two thawed portions of Mahi Mahi, cut into cubes (you can get away with hacking it up frozen if you forget to thaw)
zest of one lemon divided*
juice of 1/2 lemon
In a large skillet or dutch oven with the heat off, add the oil and thinly sliced garlic and bring the heat up to medium high.  When the garlic starts to get a tiny bit golden, add the tomatoes, capers, olives, parsley and pepper.  On high, bring it to a boil, and reduce the heat to simmer for ten minutes.  Add in fish and cook until fish turns opaque and flakes easily, about ten minutes more.  Just before serving, add the zest and juice of lemon.  If you add it in sooner, it can become bitter.  Serve with extra lemon wedges, and over couscous.
Lemon Couscous:
Put tea kettle on to boil.  In a medium size mixing bowl, put 1 C uncooked couscous, 1/2 zest of one lemon, 1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash, 1 T butter, and salt and pepper to taste. When the water boils, add 1C boiling water to the couscous, and cover the bowl with a plate or lid.  After a few minutes, take off the plate and fluff couscous with a fork.  Dish into a pasta bowl and top with Mahi Mahi sauce. Makes four servings.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Buttermilk Pumpkin Mac N Cheese

This is hands down the daycare favorite meal.  Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese made with lowfat buttermilk.  It's tangy and filling, and full of vitamin A. According to Libby's webpage:  http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/libbys-pure-pumpkin-15-oz-can-22647796
a 4 oz serving of pumpkin only has forty calories, and provides 300 % of the vitamin A needed in a day. 
 I have a three year old, two year old and a one year old baby, and they all cleaned their plates! 

Buttermilk Pumpkin Mac N Cheese
1 box short cut pasta, like macaroni (I only had penne, but it works great too) cooked and drained
3 T butter
3 T flour
salt and pepper
3 C buttermilk
1 tsp grill seasoning
pinch of ground nutmeg
4 C grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 15 oz can libby pumpkin (make sure it's not pie filling)

In the pot you boiled the pasta in, melt the butter and add the flour.  It should foam and start to smell nutty.  You are building a bechamel sauce.  Add the buttermilk in small increments, whisking to encorporate and avoid lumps.  Let the sauce come to a bubble under medium high heat while you whisk, and then add more buttermilk, let it return to a bubble, etc... until all of it is used.  It should resemble a medium bodied gravy.  It will thicken when you add the cheese and pumpkin.  Season and then add the shredded cheese.  Stir well until cheese is melted.  Finally, add the pumpkin and stir well to encorporate.