Monday, February 28, 2011

Turkey Black Bean Enchiladas

A super quick meal to make any night of the week are enchiladas. Our family loves Mexican, Tex-Mex recipes. We usually make our enchiladas with beef and beans and cheese, last night I thought I would try it with ground Turkey and they turned out great so I thought I would post my recipe.

Preheat oven to 375 F.
12 flour tortillas
1- 19 oz. can mild enchilada sauce (medium can larger than a soup can)
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese (more if desired)
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 a can of black beans rinsed and drained
salt, pepper, cumin, Cayenne to taste
1-2 Tablespoons of dehydrated onions (I use at least 2 tablespoons maybe even a little more because we all love the flavor)

Thoroughly cook ground turkey with spices and onions added- add black beans and cook until warmed. Set mixture aside. Get out a plate with a tortilla, add a scoop of mixture, and fold like a burrito- put into a large baking pan 10 x 13 that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Continue until you have all the tortillas filled. Evenly pour can of enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. Then top with cheese. Cover with foil and put into a 375 F. Pre-heated oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and enchilada sauce is hot. Remove foil for the last 3-5 minutes if desired. Serve with Sour Cream and a Salad for a yummy and easy weekday meal.


Last year Gary and I were shopping at Walmart, and came across an interesting cut of beef that we had never seen before. It was called Milanesa. It was nice looking, very thinly sliced beef, and it looked like it would be tasty for some recipe, so we brought it home.

I went online to learn what it was used for and found a bunch of different ways to make Milanesa. I chose an easy method of preparing it using ingredients I knew I had, and it turned out great. It is now a family favorite, and I make it every couple of months, so I thought I would share the recipe.

Milanesa is made in South American and basically a breaded, shallow fried cut of thinly sliced beef.

1 package of Milanesa
3-4 beaten eggs in a glass pie pan (more eggs if you bought a large pack of meat)
2 cups of flour in another glass pie pan

Season the flour w/ Salt, pepper, a little garlic or onion powder 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, cumin 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, a dash or two of Cheyenne pepper
Using a sturdy pan for frying add about 3/4 of an inch of corn oil (vegetable oil is fine too)

A word about seasoning- this is something every home cook needs to learn on her/his own-it is based on family preference- some people love pepper, some people love garlic and want more, some people hate hot spices etc. When you first make something with a spice you aren't used to, go easy, next time you'll know if you want more- after awhile seasoning soups, sauces, breading flour etc. is just something you can do. Smell it, taste it, look at it, and decide. This would be a good skill to teach the kids and have them watch so they can get a feel for it from a young age.
Turn on oven to 200 F. Put a rectangle cooling rack on a baking sheet and set in warm oven.

Heat oil in pan. Coat meat w/ egg then flour- carefully fry in pan on both sides until a nice golden brown- Depending on the size of your pan, and the size of the meat you can do 2-4 pieces at a time. Carefully remove to a plate- test one for doneness-there should be no pink- if there is, return to pan and cook until not pink. Transfer cooked pieces to the pan in the oven to keep warm while you cook the rest. When complete- set the hot oil on the back of the oven to cool and serve it up. We have had this with mashed potatoes or Spanish rice and a veggie like corn or any other favorite veggie.
Great recipe to try- super yummy treat!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fried Dill Pickles

I love to mark special days throughout the year- even the small holidays are very important, as well as the changing seasons. Over the years as my children have grown up, we have incorporated many fun little traditions throughout the year. Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and other other major holidays have their traditions, but some of the funnest traditions we have are the small little traditions that happen throughout the year, and are associated with holidays that do not typically have the pressure of a large celebration. We celebrate Epiphany every year on January 6th with a king Cake, one year it was as simple as my daughter using her Christmas gifted Easy bake oven to bake for the family. We celebrate Groundhog Day every year with my Groundhog cookies or with Jelly Donuts (plain and glazed on the outside to represent the still frozen ground, berry filling on the inside to represent the fruit and seeds underground that are beginning to grow in preparation for spring). Chinese New Year in February we eat Chinese food, and I bake brownies every year and put a Chinese paper dragon pick in the center of the brownies. We then laugh at how brownies have nothing to do with the Chinese culture, but we have them every year because they are yummy! And there are many more little holidays through out the year- President's Day, St. Patrick's Day, and more.

This year, and for about the last three years we have also started having a little celebration for Super Bowl. Most people who know me, know that I am not a big sports fan, and for the most part would choose many other activities to do on the weekend other than watch a football game on TV (community High School football games being the exception, I love to watch a live game.)

Anyway, because it is such an American Past-time, it drew me in. So, I usually have to google who is playing- then pick the team I'm rooting for- based on some completely non-football reason-like the State they are from,and what historical event I associate with that state. Then the fun part- Appetizers!
The last couple of years one of the kids or hubby were off watching with friends, but this year we were all here. So we had make your own Taco fixin's, BBQ ribs (Gary's fave), and this year I decided to try my hand at Fried Dill Pickles. I kept hearing about them here and there, and they sounded interesting. So I Googled various methods for making my own at home, and how they are apparently very popular in the South. And came up with my own method- using what I had on hand here. They turned out Great- Us girls loved them- Hubby liked them, Son thought they were interesting, but a little weird-but glad he tried them.

What The Fried Dill Pickles were, even more, was a fun memory that we will all remember. This is something the homemaker can bring to her household- good food, good memories, taking the time to make a day a little bit special, creating traditions, even silly ones like Brownies on Chinese New Year & Fried Dill Pickles.
Here is how I made them-

1 jar dill pickle chips (the round pickle slices w/ridges)
1 egg
1 1/2 c. milk
2 cups flour
Salt, Pepper, and a few shakes of Lawry's Seasoning
1 large bottle of vegetable oil

Mix together the egg and milk in one bowl or shallow pan.
Mix together the flour & Seasonings in another pan.
Very Carefully heat the oil in a very sturdy deep pan- like a dutch oven.
Drain the pickles, and put them into the milk egg mixture.
Then in batches of 15-20 put the pickle chips into the flour and toss to coat.
When the oil is hot enough (I just put one coated pickle in to test, and knew it was hot enough to use when the pickle started to cook) carefully transfer the coated pickle chips to the oil- use a slotted spoon and gently lower them in -careful not to splatter the oil. I use an Asian Spider skimmer to carefully turn them part way through cooking, and then to remove to a cookie sheet covered with a layer of 3 paper towels, when they are light golden in color. Then I start a new batch until I have made them all.

I am always very cautious when frying with oil, No Children or Dogs in the kitchen AT ALL- they may look on from the living room- wear shoes, pick up anything around you first that could cause tripping, and start with a clean work space.

These were great dunked in Ranch, and next time I think I will try a little Onion Powder or Garlic Powder to give them a little more zest. Fun treat, and perfect to snack on during the game!