CHICKEN AND CANNELLINI BEAN ENCHILADAS

My oldest sister says I’m overly fond of using cheese in my recipes. She’s right, but it’s one of those foods I find hard to resist and, since my guys have high metabolism (yes, makes me sick too), I get no complaints from them. Though this dish was a hit, I’ve made adjustments to the recipe to improve on it (could have used more chicken).

CHICKEN & WHITE BEAN FILLING:

1 tsp olive oil

1/4 cup diced onion

1-4.5 oz can diced green chiles

1-15 oz can Cannellini beans, drained

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tsp cumin

2-13 oz cans chicken breast, drained

GREEN CHILE SAUCE:

1 tbsp butter

1/2 cup diced onion

2 tbsp flour

1 cup chicken broth

3/4 cup half-and-half

1-4.5 oz can diced green chiles

2 tbsp diced jalapenos

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup light sour cream

MORE GOODIES:

6 oz cheddar jack blend cheese

10 large flour tortillas

Optional topping: 2 cups shredded lettuce, 2 tbsp minced cilantro, 1 green onion (sliced thin)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2) CHICKEN & WHITE BEAN FILLING: Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat; add onions and cook 2-3 minutes; add green chiles, beans, chicken broth, and cumin; stirring occasionally, cook 10 minutes; add chicken and cook 5 minutes; set aside

3) GREEN CHILE SAUCE: Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat; add onions and cook 2-3 minutes; sprinkle flour over onions and stir well; cook 1 minute; stir in chicken broth and half-and-half and cook 4-5 minutes until sauce thickens; add green chiles, jalapenos, and salt; cook 1 minute and remove from heat; stir in sour cream

4) Pour 1/2 cup of green chile sauce in bottom of a 9×13″ casserole dish and spread evenly across the bottom; lay out tortillas and divide chicken and white bean filling among them; roll tortillas and place seam side down in casserole dish

5) Pour remaining green chile sauce over enchiladas and top with cheese; cover casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake 25-30 minutes; remove aluminum foil and bake an additional 3 minutes; remove from oven and either serve as is–Yum!–or go the extra mile and scatter shredded lettuce, cilantro, and green onions on top; ring the dinner bell!

Servings: 6-8 (depending on how many guys and how hungry they are)

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 07/17/12–the one that disappeared into a black hole (which is the reason WordPress and I met up).

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SUPER (EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK) SALAD

I recently came into possession of (yes, another way of saying I dished out dollarsa fabulous cookbook: Steak With Friends: At Home With Rick Tramonto. A cruise through its pages yielded a recipe for “Chicago-Style Garbage Salad,” and I had to give it a read through. Inspired by Rick’s variety of ingredients, I concocted my own version, renamed it something more appealing, and served it to family and friends. We had leftovers (that was one humongous salad bowl), but everyone went back for seconds. The only negative comment–if it can be called that–was when Senior said it was “too green.” But then, he does like his protein.

NOTE: Take a deep breath before perusing the list of ingredients–but, trust me, the salad that lands on your plate is worth all the chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing.

4 cups iceberg lettuce, chopped

3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped

3 cups baby spinach

3/4 cup radishes, thinly sliced

1-1/2 cups cucumber, peeled and diced

1-1/2 cups roasted red peppers, chopped (I used ready-roasted in a jar)

1-1/2 cups celery, diced

1-1/2 cups tomatoes, diced

1-1/2 cups green onions, sliced thin

4 oz provolone cheese, sliced thin and chopped

4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, sliced thin and chopped

3 hard-boiled eggs, cooled and chopped

1-1/2 cups deli-roasted chicken, chopped

1-1/2 cups salami, sliced thin and chopped

1-1/2 cups garbanzo beans (I used canned)

1/2 cup shelled edamame

1/2 cup pepperoncini, sliced thin

1-1/2 cups croutons (I used Texas Toast Brand: Asiago Cheese)

2 tbsp parsley, minced

1) Here’s the easy part. Now that you’ve exhausted your cutting board, assemble your salad as follows: In humongous bowl, layer salad in order of ingredients listed (or however you like) and serve with your favorite dressing

Servings: easily 8 dinner-sized portions

SCALLOPS WITH MUSHROOM-GREEN BEAN-KALAMATA BALSAMIC SAUCE

As pricey as scallops are, the recipe had better be good when I plunk down hard-earned money for these delectable treats. Enter mushrooms, green beans, kalamata olives, and balsamic vinegar. Good recipe 🙂

Note: Consider warming oven-safe dinner plates in oven (170 degrees works well) while you’re cooking. It’s very little extra work and prevents the entree from cooling on its journey from kitchen to dining room (no excuse for scarfing down your lovingly prepared creation).

1 lb sea scallops

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 tbsp dried minced shallots

1 tsp dried basil

1-1/2 cups fresh green beans, sliced into 1″ pieces

8 oz sliced white mushrooms

1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives

1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp minced parsley

sea salt

ground black pepper

1) Preheat oven to 170 degrees

2) Pat scallops dry (very important for a pretty seared surface)

3) Heat 2 tbsp olive oil (reserving 2 tbsp) in large skillet over medium heat; right before skillet starts smoking, add scallops and cook 1-2 minutes each side; transfer scallops from skillet to oven-safe plate and pop in oven to keep warm

4) To skillet add reserved 2 tbsp olive oil, shallots, and basil; stir; add green beans and cook 2 minutes; add mushrooms and Kalamata olives and cook 3-4 minutes; add balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and butter; stirring often, cook 2-3 minutes; stir in parsley and lightly season with salt and pepper; remove from heat

5) Divide scallops between plates and spoon sauce over those lovely little gems; serve immediately

Serves: 4

FRENCH ONION AND BLACK PEPPER STEAK

Our family has been in a bit of a steak-feeding frenzy since it’s my guys’ favorite and our grocery stores have been rather generous. Shoot, it doesn’t seem that long ago $7.99 a pound made me cringe. Now it’s a great deal. Hmm. Anyway, I toted steak home again, but this time with a different end in mind. What, I wondered, would steak taste like smothered in french onion soup? I found out–yum and yum again!

STEAK:

1-3/4 lb steak (whichever quality steak is on sale–in our case, top sirloin), about 1″ thick

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 tsp ground black pepper, divided

2 tsp sea salt, divided

FRENCH ONION SMOTHER:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, quartered and sliced thin (I used a white onion)

1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup red wine (I used semi-sweet)

1/4 tsp dry thyme

1 cup croutons (I used Texas Toast brand)

4 slices provolone

1) Crank up grill

2) Rub 1 tbsp olive oil into one side of steak, followed by 1 tsp black pepper and 1 tsp sea salt; flip and repeat on opposite side; set aside

3) In large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp olive oil; add onions and saute 15 minutes until they soften up and begin to caramelize; stir in beef broth, red wine, and thyme; reduce heat to low and cook additional 15 minutes (or roughly equivalent to the length of time it takes to grill your steak–coming up next), stirring occasionally

4) Meanwhile, preheat oven to broil and toss the steak on the grill (for medium, we grilled 7-8 minutes each side); when meat is cooked to your taste, transfer from grill to oven-safe skillet

5) Add croutons to onion mixture and immediately pour over steak in skillet; top with provolone; place in oven and broil 1-2 minutes until cheese melts and begins to go gold; remove from oven, slice into individual portions and enjoy!

Servings: 4

GROUND BEEF KABOBS

Kabobs are fun and tasty, and with the warm weather, they’re perfect to transition from spring into summer. My guys absolutely loved these. Thumbs up!
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1 egg

1/2 large onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

1 tbsp finely chopped jalapeños (I used Mezzetta’s “tamed” brand)

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1 lb lean ground beef

8 skewers (I used bamboo)

 

1) In large bowl, lightly beat egg; mix in remaining ingredients, except ground beef; when well combined, gently mix in ground beef (I used my hands)

2) Divide mixture into 8 equal portions; form ground beef mixture around skewers (about 5-6″ long); place kabobs on plate lined with parchment and refrigerate 30-60 minutes

3) Heat the grill; carefully place kabobs on grill and cook 3-4 minutes each side until just cooked through; remove from grill and serve with a nice salad (I made a spinach-mushroom-green onion-tomato one); enjoy!

Servings: 4

CAJUN PECAN-ALMOND CRUSTED SALMON

This Cajon Pecan-Almond Crusted Salmon is so yum, and that’s saying a lot since I’m not big on seafood. Was it the cajun seasoning? The pecans? The almonds? Regardless, it really lit up the tastebuds.

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1/2 cup flour

1-1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning

2 eggs

1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped

4-6 oz pieces salmon, skin removed

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

1) Mix flour and Cajun seasoning in a shallow bowl; beat eggs in a separate shallow bowl; mix pecans and almonds in a third shallow bowl

2) Dip both sides of salmon in flour, then egg, then nuts; set aside on a plate

3) To an oven-safe skillet (I used cast iron), add olive oil and butter and heat over medium-high; add salmon to skillet and cook each side 4-5 minutes; squeeze lemon juice over salmon, sprinkle with parsley, and serve

Servings: 4

ALBACORE CHICKPEA SPINACH SALAD

Ooh, warm weather coming, and that means lighter, cooler meals. This Albacore Chickpea Spinach Salad fits the bill. And it’s so easy to put together. I did get thumbs up from my guys, but I’m the real fan here. Yum!

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2-7 oz cans Albacore tuna packed in water, drained

1-14 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

3 green onions, sliced thin

3 Roma tomatoes, diced small

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced small

1 cucumber, peeled and diced small

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

juice from 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

4 cups fresh baby spinach

1) Gently mix all ingredients, except spinach, in a large bowl

2) Divide spinach between 4 plates; top with tuna-chickpea mixture; and enjoy!

Servings: 4