Beef Enchilada Mac’n’Cheese

Happy Tuesday! Tuesday is not really that great of a day, if you are in a traditional Mon-Fri workweek. It’s not quite “hump day” and it’s still just the blah beginning of the week and Friday is not in sight yet. Well, maybe that’s just Tuesday in my world…who knows?

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Something that’s NOT blah is this Beef Enchilada Mac’n’Cheese from Shugary Sweets! I get it…it sounds weird. Beef…enchiladas…macaroni and cheese…but really, who doesn’t love those things?? If that’s the case, then why not combine them, amirite? This Shugary Sweets blogger came up with this sheer genius idea to put Mexican into mac’n’cheese. Really, you can make anything into a fusion dish, and this is so simple and yet so amazing, so it totally works.

I made this a REALLY long time ago and don’t remember a lot of specific details, but I do remember it tasted exactly like enchiladas in the form of mac’n’cheese. So there’s that. I did use a different type of pasta because it’s what I had on hand, and I think the pictures would have come out prettier had I used the cute shells that the original blogger did, but if you want really good pictures, then I definitely recommend clicking on the link above.

This is super simple to whip together on an otherwise boring weeknight. By the way, the original blogger says it serves 6…I say it serves 6, only if you’re lucky – you’ll want to gobble this right up!

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Beef Enchilada Mac’n’Cheese

serves 4

Ingredients:
-1lb medium shells, cooked and drained
-2cu heavy cream
-2cu colby jack cheese, shredded
-1 can (10oz) red enchilada sauce
-1lb ground beef, cooked and drained
-1tsp ground cumin
-1tsp kosher salt

Directions:
-In a large pot, heat the cream, enchilada sauce, cumin and salt on medium heat. Whisking often, heat until mixture just begins to bubble.
-Reduce the heat to medium low and add in cheese, then stir until smooth. Mix in the cooked ground beef and the cooked noodles.
-Serve hot.

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Spicy Chipotle White Bean Dip

I recently made this spicy chipotle white bean dip from Damn Delicious for the NFC Championship game a few months back – when the Seattle Seahawks won!! Yeah!! Ok, that’s over now.

But I gotta admit: I omitted or substituted almost everything in this recipe, so it basically turned into a “Super Spicy Sriracha White Bean Dip” instead of the former. I omitted the 3 things that give the dish its name and spiciness (chili peppers in adobo sauce, cumin, and chili powder). However, I added in some red pepper flakes and lots of sriracha. So basically I made something entirely different. But whatever.

I’ll post the recipe as the original blogger created it – let me know if you make it and what you think of it!image

Spicy Chipotle White Bean Dip

serves a lot

Ingredients:
-1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
-1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, or more, to taste
-2 cloves garlic
-2tbsp lemon juice
-1tsp cumin
-1tsp chili powder
-1/4cu plus 2tbsp olive oil

Directions:
-In the bowl of a food processor, combine cannellini beans, chipotle peppers, garlic, lemon juice, cumin and chili powder.
-Add olive oil and process until blended.
-Serve with pita bread, tortilla chips, veggies, etc.

 

Sloppy Joe Tacos

I have weird tastes. I am fully aware of this. So much so, that I had no shame while making (and devouring) these sloppy joe tacos by Gimme Some Oven.  I love sloppy joes and I love tacos and I love fusion! This happened because I was going through my Pinterest recipes one day, deciding what to make for dinner (I’ve been really bad at meal-planning ahead lately), and realized I had basically all of the ingredients at home already. I decided to forego the red bell pepper, because they were really expensive at the grocery store and my husband doesn’t like them anyway.
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This recipe is really good!!  You can basically make anything into a taco (or pizza, as I have done many times before, as well!) and the outcome is almost always fabulous. For my friends that don’t like sloppy joes (yes, I mean you, Alysha!), I highly recommend that you give it a shot and throw it into a taco! It has some normal fixings you’d find in tacos (ground beef, onion, etc.) plus the addition of the sauce that makes it a “sloppy joe” and topped with shredded cheese. Seriously – how does that sound bad? 😉 😉
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Sloppy Joe Tacos

serves about 6

Ingredients:
-1tbsp olive oil
-1lb lean ground beef
-1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
-1 small red bell pepper, cored and diced
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2cu tomato sauce
-2tbsp packed brown sugar
-1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
-1tsp chili powder
-pinch of salt and pepper, to taste
-hard crunchy taco shells
-optional toppings: shredded Mexican cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream, diced avocado, etc.

Directions:
-Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned, breaking up the beef and stirring occasionally. Drain off as much excess fat as you can and discard it.
-Return the skillet to the heat, and add the onion, red bell pepper and garlic to it. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
-Meanwhile, While the veggies are cooking, whisk together in a bowl, the tomato sauce, brown sugar, worcestershire, and chili powder until combined. Once the veggies are done, add the tomato sauce mixture to the ground beef and stir until combined. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes (you may need to cover the pan to avoid red sauce splattering the stove). Season with salt and pepper, then remove from heat.
-Place the sloppy joe filling inside the taco shells and top with your desired accompaniments.

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas

I love Martha Stewart. She’s basically a cooking and organizational goddess in my book. But recently, she kinda failed me. A few weeks ago, I made these lighter chicken enchiladas by good ol’ MS, and later referenced to it on Facebook.
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To be clear, the recipe and dish itself was not a failure – the final product was quite good – and you’d truly never know that it’s “light.” BUT, her instruction on how to cook the chicken failed miserably and ended up taking forever to make this dish. She said to basically steam the chicken, and I had never done that before, so I followed her instruction to a tee, and ended up with not even half-done chicken. Like…the ENTIRE center was still raw and pink. Therefore, I had to kick up the oven and bake for about 30 more minutes until it was done. It really irritated me for several reasons. One, baking chicken is not unhealthy, so it would have been just as easy to do that in the first place. Two, it wasted a lot of time. I spent 20 minutes on the steaming method, then had to spend an additional 30+ minutes actually cooking the chicken, when it didn’t work. It would have been so much easier, and less time consuming, to just bake it to begin with.
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In any case, I digress. As long as you don’t steam your chicken (or maybe you have a tried-and-true steaming method – if so, please share!!), you will be fine, because like I said, the final product was truly quite delightful! Also, I omitted the chiles, because I didn’t want to buy a whole can just to use a small amount (hate that), plus my husband doesn’t like peppers.

Side note: I apologize for the terrible pictures. It’s kind of difficult to take a flattering photo of enchiladas!
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Lighter Chicken Enchiladas

serves 4

Ingredients:
-coarse salt and ground pepper
-3 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (I used 2 large ones instead)
-2tbsp vegetable oil
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1/4cu all-purpose flour
-1tsp ground cumin
-1 to 2tbsp minced canned chipotles in adobo
-1 can (14.5oz) reduced-sodium chicken broth
-corn tortillas (6-inch)
-1/2cu grated Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:
-To cook the chicken, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook chicken for about 30-40mins, or until done (I like to cut my chicken into smaller pieces about halfway through, to cook better, and makes it easier to shred/cut later). I lightly seasoned mine with salt and pepper.
-While chicken is cooking, make the sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Then add flour, cumin, and chipotles in adobo and cook, while whisking, for about 1 minute. Then whisk in the broth and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce it to a simmer, and cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
-Once the chicken is done, shred it with your hands or with forks, and toss it with 1/2 to 1 cup of the finished sauce, making sure to fully coat all of the chicken.
-Pour 1/4 cup sauce into bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside. Stack tortillas, and wrap in a double layer of damp paper towels; microwave until hot, about 1 minute (this helps make them pliable – you can also follow package instructions or your own method for making corn tortillas pliable). Fill each tortilla with chicken mixture, roll up tightly, and set it, seam-side down, in the baking dish. Do this for each tortilla, then cover with the remaining sauce, and top with cheese.
-Bake until hot and bubbling, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let it cool 5 minutes before serving.

Restaurant Style Salsa

Happy early-Thanksgiving!!  I decided to post a VERRRRRY easy appetizer/starter recipe for today, in case you are still looking for something to munch on before the big feast tomorrow.  And let’s be honest – who doesn’t love salsa? This restaurant style salsa recipe comes from Gimme Some Oven.  They are known for some delicious and fairly simple recipes!
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I made this a few weeks ago for a work potluck, and it was so yummy!  I actually doubled the recipe, so that I could have some for my husband and I to enjoy at home – which turned out to NOT be necessary, as the two batches made A LOT…so I am sure that one batch would have been plenty for both work and home.  Oh well, ya live and learn, right?

The only bummer: I bought cilantro as the recipe called for it (and I loooove cilantro), I prepped and made the entire double batch, made a HUGE mess in my kitchen (as you can see from the photos), cleaned up said mess entirely, separately packaged each batch in the fridge, and then realized it.  I FORGOT THE CILANTRO.  Well, let’s just say, I love cilantro, but not enough to make another huge mess in my kitchen, just after cleaning up the first one.  In any case, it was still tasty without it, but probably would have been better with!image

Restaurant Style Salsa

serves A LOT (according to the original blog, it yields about 4cu)

Ingredients:
-2 (14oz) cans fire-roasted tomatoes, drained if you like a thicker salsa (I blended my tomatoes in the blender, and only drained one can prior to doing so)
-3 cloves garlic, peeled
-1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
-1 bunch (about 2 cups loosely-packed) fresh cilantro
-1cu diced white onion
-1 jalapeno, stem removed (and seeded, if you want less heat, and adjust amount to your preference)
-1tsp ground cumin
-1tsp salt
-1tsp sugar
-1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:
-Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor or blender until smooth, or your desired consistency is reached. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
-Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

Two posts in a row of buffalo chicken recipes!  Anything buffalo chicken-esque is pretty amazing in my book (check out my buffalo chicken soup from the other day, along with my buffalo chicken pizza, my other buffalo chicken pizza, and my buffalo chicken enchiladas).  But, in true Whitney-form, I rarely make the actual, traditional dish (aka buffalo chicken wings)…instead I make fusion dishes.  However, if anyone does have a tasty buffalo wing recipe, let me know, cuz I’m willing to give it a whirl!
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In any case, this was a pretty simple dish.  It has minimal ingredients and minimal directions.  It is even quicker if you already have cooked chicken on hand (you can use my friend Alysha‘s crockpot chicken method, or bake at 375ish for 30ish minutes…or you could chop it up ahead of time and pan-fry it pretty quickly).  This is truly a “dinner on the table in a few minutes” recipe.

I omitted the tomatoes (because I don’t like them) and green pepper (because my husband doesn’t like them), but you can keep them in, or add other buffalo chicken-type things.  Adding carrot or celery might be an interesting touch! 😉
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Also, this post features my super cute new table decor and plates – thanks to Ikea!  I love them, and I feel like it all helps brighten up my kitchen.  You can also see my PartyLite bowl and candle – the perfect addition!  Check out my good friend Brandy’s PartyLite biz page to shop (I love giving plugs to my friends, in case I haven’t made that known over time). =)
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Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

serves 4

Ingredients:
-tortillas of your choice
-1cu cooked and shredded chicken
-1/4cu hot sauce
-3tbsp ranch or blue cheese dressing
-1/4cu green pepper, chopped
-1/4cu tomatoes, chopped
-1cu shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
-sour cream and salsa, for garnish

Directions:
-Mix together chicken, hot sauce, and dressing until well combined.
-Spray skillet with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray and place a tortilla shell in the skillet. Spread cheese, chicken, veggie mix, and top with another tortilla.
-Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes per side or until tortilla turns light golden brown and cheese is melted.
-Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
(If you have a quesadilla maker, like me, just spread some oil over each side of the maker, and follow the same layering instructions, then close the lid, usually the makers will tell you when it’s done, or you can periodically check).
-Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream and salsa.

Mexican Spiced Turkey Burgers

My husband and I had a busy and fun weekend!  I was excited to try out several new recipes this weekend, and I love enjoying company and cooking for others, as well.  On Saturday, I made Mexican Spiced Turkey Burgers from I Don’t Go To The Gym’s Blog.  We had a couple over from our old church, and their 3 kids (only the adults ate the burgers – the kids had hot dogs).  It was the husband’s first time EVER eating a turkey burger.  I am just flabergasted when I hear things like that, because it is so normal to me!  But then I remember, I didn’t eat turkey burgers as a kid or while growing up – probably once I really started cooking is when I started eating turkey burgers.  My husband also didn’t eat them before I came into his life! 😉

Our friends’ kids also don’t spend a lot of time around pets, and it was just adorable to see them so enamored with the cat and lizard, and even afraid of our sweet little dog!  It was cute to see them warm up to him, petting him, then proudly telling their parents that they were able to.  At first I was worried that we wouldn’t have enough to keep the kids busy, but with having 6 pets and a little play area outside, it turned out to be great for the 2, 4, and 6 year olds!
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Going back to these Mexican turkey burgers…I have had this recipe saved for about a year now, just kind of waiting to make it.  It involves SO MUCH STUFF.  Nothing really expensive or out of the ordinary, but it’s definitely a trashed up or fancied up burger.  I even had to text my friend ahead of time to make sure she was ok with it, or if they prefer “normal” burgers.  As many people know, I RARELY make a normal burger. 😉

There are some changes I would recommend from the original recipe – the original recipe says to use one pound of ground turkey to make 6 patties…um…how is that even possible?  Sometimes it can be difficult enough to make 4 patties out of one pound of meat!  I ended up using 1.25lbs (it was on sale for cheaper than the 1lb package!) and made 5 burgers.  Also, there is SO MUCH additional stuff in these burgers, that I actually had to cut it down a bit, because there would be literally almost no burger and all filling (which I suppose may have been their point, but it’s kind of hard to grill filling with minimal burger).  As it was, we had to grill these on foil (make sure to spray your foil!), so that they wouldn’t fall apart between the grates.  Also, I omitted the jalapeno (but kept the bell pepper – and my husband didn’t mind! Score!).  I also only used half a red onion, to save for a yummy watermelon salsa I also made (check the blog soon for that recipe), and only used half of the red bell pepper because, again, there was just so much filling.

Despite all the filling and despite all the changes – these were YUMMY burgers.  I mean it.  So filling, so flavourful, dripping with flavours.  My friend (the wife) said that she loved the “pockets” of cheese in the burger, and the husband said that he really liked it too!  Sure, he might have just said that to be polite, but he ate the whole thing, which I think says something. 😉

For the recipe below, I am going to post using my alterations, from what I can remember, but if you’d like to compare and contrast, definitely check out the original recipe – feel free to make it your own!

Bonus: we used fresh cilantro from our garden! Yay!
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Mexican Spiced Turkey Burgers

serves 4

Ingredients
-1lb lean ground turkey
-1/2 or 1 chopped red bell pepper
-1/2 or 1 chopped small red onion
-1/2 cup frozen corn
-1tbsp olive oil
-1-2tbsp cumin
-1-2tbsp chili powder
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-1 handful cilantro, chopped
-1 lime
-1 egg white
-1/4cu panko (I used a little more)
-4tbsp Mexican cheese blend
-buns

Directions
-Add one tbsp olive oil to saute pan over medium heat, then add red pepper, onion, garlic, frozen corn, 1 tbsp cumin, and 1 tbsp chili powder to saute pan. Saute until golden brown. Add juice from one lime and mix to combine flavors.
-In a mixing bowl combine lean ground turkey with the veggie mixture. Add remaining cumin and chili powder (if you want to – 1tbsp of each was actually pretty decent). Mix in chopped cilantro, panko, and egg white.
-Form patties, stuffing some cheese into the center, and then fold the meat around.
-Either grill or use saute pan with non-stick olive oil spray. Cook on medium high heat for 5-7 minutes each side
-Top with condiments of your choice, on the buns, and serve.