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Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Meat, Mexican, Poultry, Sauces and Dips, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas Verde Con Pollo

Enchiladas Verde Con Pollo

Total time:  Plan for 3 hours your first time, 2 hours each time after that.

The 2010 May Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food, and they chose a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on and written by Robb Walsh.

6-8 fresh Anaheim chiles (or 4-5 pasillas)
4-6 tomatillos – peeled, with stems removed
4 cups Chicken broth
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons yellow onion, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ tsp Kosher salt (add more to taste)
¼ tsp Black Pepper (add more to taste)
Hot sauce, your favorite (optional)
2 Boneless chicken breasts (you can also use bone-in chicken breasts or thighs)
3 tablespoons Olive oil or other neutral vegetable oil (use more as needed)
Kosher salt and pepper
12 Small Corn tortillas (5-6 inch/13-15 cm). (you can also use wheat tortillas or other wraps)
6 ounces grated Monterey Jack, 170 grams (other cheeses (cheddar, pepper jack, Mexican cheeses) can be used. Just be sure they melt well and complement the filling)
Cilantro for garnish, chopped and sprinkled (optional)

Pureed Peppers and Tomatillos

Pureed Peppers and Tomatillos


Roasting Fresh Chiles

1. Coat each chile with a little vegetable oil. If you are doing only a couple chiles, using the gas stove works. For larger batches (as in this recipe), grilling or broiling is faster.
2. Lay the oiled chiles on the grill or baking sheet (line pan with foil for simpler clean-up). Place the grill or broil close to the element, turning the chiles so they char evenly. They should be black and blistered.
3. As they are completely charred (they will probably not all be done at once), remove them to a bowl and cover with plastic. Let them rest until they are cool, about 10 minutes.
4. Pull on the stem and the seed core MAY pop out. Open the chile and remove the seeds. Turn the chile skin side up and with a paring knife, scrape away the skin. Sometimes it just pulls right off, sometimes you really have to scrape it. (I kept the seeds in the pepper.)

Corn tortillas made with masa

Corn tortillas made with masa

Green Chile Sauce

1. Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil. Boil the tomatillos until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. You can also grill the tomatillos until soft. (I prefer to grill mine, along with all peppers, onions, and garlic.)
2. Drain and puree in a blender or food processor, add roasted green chiles, peppers, onions and garlic, and blend some more.
3. Return the tomatillo-chile mixture to the saucepan along with the chicken broth, oregano, salt and pepper.
4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Adjust seasonings and add hot sauce if you want a little more heat.

Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas

1. Heat a gas grill to medium high or build a medium-hot charcoal. Coat the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, 4-5 minutes a side for boneless chicken breasts.
3. Cool and then slice into thin strips or shred.

Uncooked Enchiladas

Uncooked Enchiladas

Skip steps 4-12 if you’re just rolling your enchiladas.

4. In a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil to check – it should sizzle immediately.
5. Using tongs, put a tortilla into the pan and cook until soft and lightly brown on each side, about 15-20 seconds per side (at the most).
6. Drain on paper towels.
7. Add oil as needed and continue until all 12 tortillas are done.
8. In a baking dish large enough to hold four separate stacks of tortillas, ladle a thin layer of sauce.
9. Lay four tortillas in the dish and ladle another ½ cup (4 ounces/112 grams) of sauce over the tortillas.
10. Divide half the chicken among the first layer of tortillas, top with another ½ cup of sauce and 1/3 of the grated cheese.
11. Stack another four tortillas, top with the rest of the chicken, more sauce and another third of the cheese.
12. Finish with the third tortilla, topped with the remaining sauce and cheese.
13. Bake until the sauce has thickened and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
14. To serve, transfer each stack to a plate. Spoon any leftover sauce over the stacks and sprinkle with cilantro, if you wish. The stacks may also be cooked in individual gratin dishes.

My combination of peppers and chicken broth yielded enough sauce for two dishes. I made these with homemade corn tortillas the first night, with shredded chicken, and then with store-bought flour tortillas and shredded pork the second night. I think the corn tortillas had better texture and flavor, but the shredded pork was far tastier than the plain salt&pepper chicken.

I always use extra sharp white cheddar cheese for “your choice shredded cheese”.

I prefer to boil my meats and shred them, rather than grilling or pan frying. I also feel it’s helpful to season them with at *least* salt, pepper, and some sort of chili powder.

I chose to roll my enchiladas instead of stacking them. If you choose to roll your enchiladas, it’s very important to put sauce on the bottom of the pan, under your rolled enchiladas.

I found this recipe and my adjusted process to be really easy and convenient for me, and it tastes better than the recipe I had been using, so it’s definitely a keeper.

Cuppylicious!, Meat, Poultry, Soup and Salad, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Sunday Chicken (or Beef) Broth

The optional recipe from the April 2010 DC Challenge.

From “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee

Makes about 1 quart (4 cups or 919.68 grams or 32.303 oz)
Estimated Time- 1 ¼ hours

Bones and trimmings, but not giblets, of one 3 ½- 4 ½ lb (1594.32-2049.84 grams or 56-72 oz) chicken, or 12-14 oz / 341.64-398.58 grams / approx. 2 cups chicken bones and trimmings
1 large onion, trimmed, peeled, quartered
6 large stems fresh flat leaf parsley
1 stalk celery, cut into 2” lengths
2 large bay leaves
5 cups / 1149.6 grams / 40.379 oz cold water
1 cup / 229.92 grams / 8.076oz crisp dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Place bones/trimmings in medium stockpot and add onion, parsley, celery and bay leaves. Add wine and water, liquid should cover all ingredients, if not, add more until it does. Bring to vigorous simmer over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer gently for roughly 45 minutes to an hour, skimming any scum or fat that comes to the surface.

Strain broth into bowl through fine mesh strainer. Discard the solids. Measure what you are left with, if not planning to further reduce, then salt and pepper to taste.

Store in tightly sealed container in refrigerator until the remaining fat congeals on the top. Remove the fat, and unless not using within 2 days, keep tightly sealed in the refrigerator. Otherwise, freeze, and it will keep for upwards of a month.

I used t-bones and fat scraps from my steaks and 1/2 cup sherry instead of a full cup of wine.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Indian, Meat, Poultry

Chicken Saag

Chicken Saag with rice and naan

Chicken Saag with rice and naan

Total time:  Approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Adapted from 1,000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra.

2-4 chicken breasts, quartered
2 small bunches fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 quarter-sized peeled fresh ginger root + one 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger root, julienned
3 large cloves fresh garlic, peeled + 1 clove minced
1/4 c water
1/4 c plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp melted ghee (or butter)
2 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 large cinnamon stick (about 3 inches)
5 green cardamom pods, crushed lightly to break the skin
1-4 whole dried red chile peppers, such as chile de arbol (optional)
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
1/2 tsp ground paprika
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

On medium heat, cook chicken pieces until they turn white on all sides (or lightly browned) and the juices run clear (about 5 minutes, depending on how big your chicken chunks are). Set aside.

In a large pan, bring spinach, onion, ginger slices, whole garlic and water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the spinach is wilted (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool 5-10 minutes. Pulse lightly in a food processor until just minced (don’t make a puree!!). Return the spinach mix to the pan.

In a small pan, heat the oil and ghee on medium-high. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, and julienned ginger, stirring until the ginger sticks turn golden brown (about 3 minutes). Add the minced ginger, coriander, garam masala, fenugreek, and salt and quickly stir. Slowly add the yogurt (one dollop at a time), stirring constantly to blend it in with the spices.

Immediately after adding all the yogurt, add the entire yogurt spice mix to the spinach mix. Add chicken pieces to spinach mix, cover and simmer on medium-low for 25-30 minutes.

In a small pan, heat the remaining butter and cook the dried chiles for about a minute. Remove from heat, stir in the paprika, then lightly swirl into the spinach mix just before serving. (If you’re doing without chiles, just sprinkle the top of the dish with some paprika before serving.)

Shown here with homemade naan and plain white rice.

You might want to pick out the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods before you serve this dish so someone doesn’t try to eat them; that’d be rather unpleasant.

I crushed my red peppers before putting them in the frying pan.

This recipe dirties up a lot of dishes. You could cut back on them by reusing your chicken frying pan to fry your spices, and you could probably skip the butter-frying of your peppers at the end, too. Just omit the butter entirely and add the peppers and paprika straight to the dish.

Cuppylicious!, Meat, Pork, Poultry

Chipotle Lime Chicken

Bacon wrapped around chipotle lime chicken, with rice and salsa.  Oops, forgot my beans!

Bacon wrapped around chipotle lime chicken, with rice and salsa. Oops, forgot my beans!

Total time:  40 minutes.

2 large chicken breasts, halved
4 slices of bacon
1-2 cups honeydew salsa
1 tsp ground chipotle powder
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 a lime, juiced

Preheat oven to 400.

Combine chipotle, oil and lime juice in a bowl or plastic bag. Add chicken breast halves and coat well. Set aside.

In a lightly greased baking dish, spread out the salsa evenly. Wrap bacon slices around chicken breast halves and place on top of salsa. Bake uncovered at 400 for 30 minutes or until the juices run clear.

Seen here served with Elise’s Spanish Rice and honeydew salsa.

Cuppylicious!, Meat, Poultry


It's really a chicken and potato hot pocket.

It's really a chicken and potato hot pocket.

Total time:  1 hour for prep, plus 1 hour per 10 Mexi-pockets.

For lack of a better term, that’s what I call these little crosses between hot pockets and empanadas. Make them with or without meat, with or without flavor. I do not recommend putting cheese inside of them, as the dough tends to soak it all up.

Keep in mind, all ingredients are optional; I use what I have available.

2 chicken breasts
3 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1-2 poblano peppers, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 habanero or serrano peppers

That’s where I always start. My preference is to put the meat, onions, seasonings and poblano peppers in my crock-pot on low, overnight with two cups of water.

Tonight, I boiled my chicken breasts with a tablespoon of lime juice, then separated and shredded the meat with two forks.

Boil your diced potatoes until they’re tender, but not soft, about 5 minutes. In a skillet, fry your onions and garlic until your onions start to turn clear, about 3 minutes on med-high. You can add any other vegetables or peppers at this time and fry them in the skillet – if you are not using a crock-pot, then I’d definitely fry all of your vegetables before putting them in your mixing bowl.

Place shredded meat and fried vegetables in a large mixing bowl. For potato pockets, we normally do the following for flavor:

1 tablespoon California chili powder (for color!)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
juice of one lime

It's the Empanadalamo!

It's the Empanadalamo!

Add to your vegetable mixture, mix well… or add nothing and use it as is!

I like to scoop my mix into empanada shaped pastries, but you could also just make burritos or lettuce wraps.

Typical accompaniments:
salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, green onions, lime

Try it with:
shredded beef, pork or tofu; black beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans; corn, carrots, peas, cabbage, spinach – frozen, canned or fresh (but not all at once!)

You can place your uncooked hot pockets or empanadas on a cookie sheet and freeze separately, then pile them all up in a freezer bag for later use. Or cook them all at once; they keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer, and they reheat amazingly well (must be the shortening in the dough?).

Meat, Pork, Poultry

Cordon Bleu Casserole

Total time:  Approximately 1 hour.

What a great use for leftover turkey!!

2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
4 cups cubed cooked turkey (we used chicken)
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
1 large onion, chopped (we used 1 medium)
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon ground mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 3/4 cups milk

1 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
1/4 cup butter, melted

In a nonstick skillet, saute ham for 4-5 minutes or until browned; drain and pat dry.

In a greased 2-qt. baking dish, layer the turkey, cheese and ham; set aside.

In a saucepan, saute the onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, mustard and nutmeg until blended. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Pour over ham.

Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over the top.

Bake, uncovered, at 350ºF for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Yield: 6 servings

So, I found this recipe before Thanksgiving, and tried it with chicken ( and FYI, if you use chicken, use a medium onion, otherwise the onion is a little strong). It was Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!! So, as a leftover dish, I think everyone will enjoy it. It is a one dish meal, but you can add broccoli in it for veggies and dinner rolls… but we ate it just as is, nothing extra… with no leftovers… mmmmmmmmmm .. -Marion

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Pasta & Rice, Poultry, Thai

Chicken and Ginger

Not my mom's chicken and ginger, but it makes me happy.

Not my mom's chicken and ginger, but it makes me happy.

Total time:  Approximately 35 minutes.

We eat a lot of spicy foods in my house, and one of my favorite quick meals is Thai chicken and & ginger (I’m half Thai).  I tend to omit the fish sauce in favor of just adding more salt when I add the water to the skillet.  My mom prefers chicken thighs and dark meat over breasts because it adds more fat to the dish.  I’ve found it tastes the same either way… I even did it with leftover turkey this year.  An alternative is to use carrots and ginger powder instead of ginger root.

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 chunk of ginger root the size of a child’s fist, peeled
Thai fish sauce (optional!)
1/4 teaspoon of salt (or less)
1/4 teaspoon of pepper (or more)
1 tbsp of vegetable or olive oil
4 cups of cooked rice

I have a rice cooker, so I typically get 2 cups of rice started and then begin cooking.  I peel my ginger with a cheap steak knife because the serrated edges are perfect for getting right under the skin.

1.  Cut the ginger julienne style.  Place in a small bowl.  Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of salt evenly across the top.  The more salt you put in now, the hotter your ginger will taste.  Too much salt will of course make it salty. 🙂

2.  In a deep skillet, heat your tablespoon of oil on Medium and add the chicken.  Cook the chicken until it just turns white, then cover for 2-3 minutes (just enough for the condensation to form and start to roll down the lid).

3.  Squeeze the salted ginger with your hand until you can’t feel anymore grains of salt.  You should see juice at the bottom of the bowl.  Add ginger and juice to the skillet, but keep the bowl.

4.  Pour three bowls full of water into the skillet.  Add pepper and cover for 5-10 minutes (it should be boiling really well by then).  Simmer until rice is done.

Cuppylicious!, Formal Occasions, Mexican, Poultry

Smoky Chicken Enchiladas

The picture doesn't do it justice.

The picture doesn't do it justice.

Total time:  Approximately 1.5 hours.

* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 12-14 Roma tomatoes, quartered
* 1 large onion, sliced
* 9 cloves garlic, peeled
* 2 tsp chili powder
* 3 tsp ground cumin
* 1 tsp ground chipotle powder (1/2 if you don’t like it too hot)
* 1 tsp salt

* 1 tsp paprika
* 2 tsp chili powder
* 2 tsp ground cumin
* 1 tsp olive oil
* 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, fat trimmed
* 12 medium (about 6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
*  3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
* 1/2 cup diced green chile (Anaheim chile- fresh roasted or canned)
*  garnish: sour cream, cilantro and scallions

For sauce (NOTE: I BBQ-roasted/smoked all these items with Mesquite wood to get an extra smokey flavor, but you can also use your oven).  Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with oil so veggies stick less. Place tomatoes, onion and garlic, Anaheim chilies on a baking sheet. Roast 20 minutes or until onion and garlic turn golden brown with a little charring. Remove vegetables from oven. Cool. Place in a blender along with chili powder, cumin, chipotle powder, salt, and puree until smooth. Set aside.

For the enchiladas, combine paprika, cumin, and chili powder in a small bowl. Add oil and 2 tsp water and mix to form a paste. Pat all of spice paste on chicken. Grill or broil chicken 5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Pull chicken apart into shredded strips. Pour 1/3 sauce in bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Lay tortillas on a flat surface. Place shredded chicken, 1- 2 tbsp cheese, and 1 – 2 tbsp of the green chiles on each tortilla, roll and place in the pan. Cover with rest of sauce. Sprinkle remaining cheese covering the top of the enchiladas. Reduce oven heat to 350°F. Cook enchiladas 20 minutes or until sauce is bubbly. Garnish with sour cream, cilantro and scallions on each serving!!

I served these with black beans and Spanish rice, guacamole, and chips and salsa at Jan’s aunt & uncle’s last week. They raved about them and said they were “the best they ever had” (and they’re all Mexican food addicts who grew up in CA).  Give ‘em a try!   Love,  Liz

Finally got around to trying these. Wow. Amazing!!!

– We grilled the vegetables the night before and stored them in the refrigerator.

– I put all my raw chicken in a bowl and then just smeared the paste all over them with my hands. Messy, but very effective.

– When I pulled them out of the oven, my initial reaction was “Oh, no! What happened to all the sauce!?”, but when we sat down to eat them, there was more than enough for me.