Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

A favorite meal growing up was my mom's chicken enchiladas. It was not only my favorite but a favorite of our whole family. My mom also always saved the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving to make enchiladas so I was very excited to have leftovers to make it for my family.

Tortilla shells, shredded cheddar cheese, chicken stock (or water), 2 cans cream of chicken soup, 1-2 cans diced green chiles, cumin and leftover chicken (or turkey, in this case).These are the basic ingredients. I  decided to post about this after I had already started so sorry about the open cans!

In a medium saucepan combine cream of chicken soup and green chiles.

Add 1 tablespoon cumin (or to taste).

Stir in 1 cup chicken stock, broth or water; simmer on medium low (do not boil) . I usually just use a canful - why dirty another dish?

This is my leftover turkey breast. See all those great herbs? Yum! I did scrape most of it off for this recipe :(

Cube your chicken or turkey.

Fill tortilla shells with meat and cheese. I usually use about 3 cups cheese (total) in this recipe because I like things really cheesy.

Roll up your enchiladas and place them in greased baking dish.

Meanwhile, your sauce will continue cooking. This is what it should look like when it is ready. (I have no idea why this picture is orientated this way. I can't rotate it either!)

Pour your sauce over your pan of enchiladas. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

When about 15 minutes remain, cover with more shredded cheese.


Add sour cream and serve. I hope you love this - we all do. Even my two year old will eat tons of it! I'm eating leftovers right this moment and I think they're even better heated up the next day :)

Linking up to:

My First Thanksgiving - The Update

Well, Thanksgiving was a success. Unfortunately, I failed you. I didn’t take any pictures. To be fair to myself, on top of preparing the meal, I had a lot on my mind. My father-in-law ended up having to have a triple bypass on Wednesday and my thoughts were with him more than on this blog.

He made it through the surgery very well and is recovering like a champ. We had something to be very thankful for.

On to the meal – I was nervous about making the turkey, just because I’ve heard so many people talk about how difficult they are to make well. Honestly, the worst things about it were A) it was HEAVY and slippery, and B) I got the heebies when I had to reach in and remove the neck from the body cavity. Other than that IT WAS EASY!

Here is what I did (beyond the basic rinse and pat dry). On Wednesday night I softened three sticks of salted butter. To the butter I added about 2 tablespoons each of chopped sage and rosemary, about a third cup of thyme, the zest of one lemon and a half capful of Garlic Garlic. I then wrapped this in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to let it harden. The next day after the basic prep work, I gently ran my hand up between the skin and meat of the turkey and put slices of the butter mixture over the whole thing. I stuffed the cavity with two halved lemons, an onion (quartered), three bulbs of garlic and the remainder of the butter mixture. I brushed the outside of the bird with olive oil, lightly salted and peppered and added a light coat of paprika over the whole thing (to make it look prettier and browner). I tented the bird and roasting pan with foil (I was sure to seal it well) and let it roast. I didn’t bother basting, the butter under the skin kept the meat so moist and the herbs really gave it good flavor.

(from the Good Housekeeping website)

Wednesday night I made the cranberry sauce. I mentioned that I was going to use this recipe and I did. I didn’t have any whole star anise and although it would have been super pretty, I wasn’t about to shell out the money to use them on only one dish. In place of the star anise, I used about a teaspoon of Warm Up Mulling Spice. It was fantastic. This recipe tasted so good and made my house smell wonderful.

My mashed potatoes turned out well. I imagine that mashed potatoes are something that would be difficult to mess up but to be honest, I’ve never made them before. We rarely eat potatoes in my house so it just isn’t something I think about. I used a basic recipe with ten pounds of potatoes with butter, salt, pepper and buttermilk. Next time I do these I will do something to jazz them up a bit. Not that they were bad, I just like a little more flavor in my food.

I made my stuffing exactly how I planned to. I used four boxes of turkey flavored Stove Top, replaced half the water called for with chicken stock, and added a chopped onion and celery to the mix. I baked it at 350 for about a half hour to give it a crunchy crust and it was amazing. I love Stove Top J

(from the Better Homes and Gardens website)

For my sweet potatoes I ended up using this Sweet Potato Casserole recipe. It was super easy, I made it up the night before and just had it ready to pop into the oven the next day. Even though it was a little too sweet for me, it got rave reviews from my family and I think it will make a comeback next year.

I need to thank my mom for making the Green Bean Casserole and pies (apple and pumpkin!). They were fantastic and a great help! I ended up not making anything else, we had so much as it was. After all, there were only five of us (including a two year old!). I’m so proud of myself for doing this, I really proved that anything is possible!

How was your Thanksgiving? Did anyone else step outside of their comfort zone or host for their first time? I’m looking forward to Christmas and showing my craft projects. It is going to be a great season!

Monday, November 22, 2010

My First Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving. The day we are supposed to be reminded to stop and give thanks for everything we've been blessed with the prior year. Thanksgiving is also a sort of kick-off to the Holiday season. One family tradition growing up was on the day after Thanksgiving we would always watch a Holiday movie and put up our Christmas tree.

For many people, Thanksgiving means anxiety. I understand that feeling when you're expecting a house full of people and you want everything to be perfect and you're working full time but still trying to get everything done in time.

This year I'm hosting my first Thanksgiving dinner. It will just be my parents, daughter, husband and me so I'm lucky to be able to ease into my first major holiday. I've never cooked a turkey (or a chicken, for that matter!) or made mashed potatoes without using flakes. I tried to make green bean casserole once and it was a disaster. I don't bake so I had to ask my mom to bring the pies. I'm really looking forward to challenging myself this year. I turned 30 a couple months ago and feel like it is TIME for me to get this down! 

I've been searching the internet and all my magazines for great Thankgiving recipes and tips on how to roast a turkey. I think I've got a good menu planned. Here's what I'm thinking about doing -

Herb-roasted turkey with butter, olive oil, herbs and lemon zest spread between the skin and the meat. I found several different recipes and I think I'm going to go with a sort of hybrid of several of them. I know this is different from what my mom has always done so I'm looking forward to doing my own thing and making a recipe tradition of my own.

Cranberry sauce. We have always had the jellied cranberries that you pop right out of the can. I love them but am really looking forward to using this recipe I found in this year's Thanksgiving issue of Good Housekeeping. I'll let you know how it turns out! (Oh, and for the sake of nostalgia, we will also have the can-shaped jelly stuff!)

Mashed potatoes. I was planning on winging a roasted garlic mashed potatoes but I've found so many awesome variations from buttermilk mashed to garlic herb mashed (with cream cheese!) that I think I might just have to make a hybrid.

Stuffing/dressing. I'm sure this isn't something tough to do but I love Stove Top so I'm using it. I'll jazz it up a bit by dicing up some fresh celery and onions and baking it (instead of just letting it stay mushy in the kettle). Don't judge, I'm stepping out of my comfort zone enough as it is!

Sweet potatoes. I still don't really know what I'm going to do here. I think my mom usually just dices them up and bakes them with butter and marshmallows. I don't really know. I've found some great recipes for a sweet potato puree, sort of like mashed potatoes. Maybe I'll try something like that. I really don't know!

Green bean casserole. I'm not even going to mess with this one. I like it too much to screw it up. I asked my mom to make it :)

Pies. Because I don't bake, I considered purchasing these from a local bakery but my mom offered to make them. Love her! I will be making home made whipped cream - I'm NOT a fan of Cool Whip.

So there it is. I'm thinkinig of adding brussels sprouts because I love them. I might make glazed carrots. I don't know yet. I have a hard time following recipes so I usually end up making up my own. I'll let you know how it turns out and post LOTS of pictures.

Does anyone have any tips for me? How about any tried and true recipes?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fabric SCORE!

On a recent trip to Joann I was scouring the red dot (aka clearance) home fabric section. I was especially hopeful because they were having a massive sale that day :)

When I go to fabric stores I rarely have something specific in mind that I want. I have a few ideas floating around in my head that I think about but if I don't find something, I'm not crushed. Well, one thing I've been obsessed with lately is geometric prints, especially trellis and lattice so when I came across a bolt of Waverly's Ellis in Panther, I was so excited.

I looked at the price and saw that it was $6/yard.  Great deal! I figured that I might as well pick up a few yards to have on hand for something - surely there will be a project at some point I can use it for. Then, as I was doing a mental happy dance, I looked up and noticed that it was on sale for 50% off the marked price! Holy smokes! $3/yard????  I'll take all 9, thankyouverymuch!

So, here's my score - I don't know what it will be but it is wonderful and I'm sure enjoying seeing it every time I walk by.

So what about you?  Do you love fabric as much as I do?  Are you able to pass up a great bargain, even if you have no idea what it will become?

A New Table

So I've been obsessed with pedestal tables lately.  I love how they seem to take up so much less space and in my small dining area, that's a must. 

We had two older tables and the one we were using when we first moved into our house was a large rectangle shape farmhouse table and just took up too much space.  It was also a medium oak stain and I'm really not a fan of oak.  Now, if we had a different style home and a larger dining area, I would have painted it and called it good.  It was in such good shape and had a bunch of leaves so the thing got massive -  it would have been perfect for big family dinners.

Anyhow, I listed that sucker on Craigslist and sold it almost right away.  In the interim we've been using a small round colonial (I guess?) style set that we had in storage. 

This one was getting a little closer to what I wanted; it was round and a darker color. Unfortunately, I hated the chairs - hated them.

I used the money I made off the sale of the first table on some new Parson's chairs and set out searching Craigslist for a new table. My requirements were that it 1) be round, 2) be a pedestal and 3) have leaves.  I found this one for $25.  I wish I had taken a before picture. This wasn't in too bad of shape, there were a couple nicks that had to be fixed on the pedestal, the top was laminate and it was a really bad color. 

I set out to refinish this and get it in the house.  (It only took 3 months)

I used a spray primer made for plastic because of the laminate and topped that with a few coats of Krylon Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint. Here was the important part - I'm so glad I read Infarrantly Creative because Beckie had written a post about the importance of using an oil-based poly on your dining table. I know that if I hadn't read that I would be cursing a sticky table so thanks, Beckie!

Anyhow, this is the new table! I've still got my eye out for a super deal on a table I might like more but for less than $40, this one will do just fine for as long as it needs to.

Better, yes?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Been MIA

So, I realize I've been neglecting this blog lately.  I know that's a bad move for something I've been trying to get off to a good start.  I have a good reason, I swear!  I've been so sick with mono and pneumonia.  Now that I'm feeling a little bit better I'll be getting some new posts out.

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