Southwest Enchiladas

Taco salad is a staple in my household.  We probably have it 3-4 times a month.  I cook and season the meat and make a bean salad, then it’s a free-for-all where we each get to build our own salad.  The only problem is we ALWAYS have leftover meat and beans and, even though we love it, we get kind of bored after the 2nd day of taco salad leftovers.  That in mind, I decided to work on a dish that would use all those leftovers and turn it into something new.  SUCCESS!  Those same savory southwestern spices carry over beautifully into this dish, but in the form of a hot, gooey, delicious enchilada.  And the best part is, they are so easy, even if you don’t have a bunch of leftovers to use up.  Prep takes about 20 minutes and baking is minimal since the filling is already hot.  We still love Taco Salad, but now we also look forward to “leftover” enchiladas.

This full recipe makes a about 18 enchiladas.

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef or turkey, or pre-cooked shredded chicken*
2 Tbs taco season
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn**
3 green onions, chopped
¼ cup fresh diced tomato
½ cup fresh cilantro
1 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
3 +/- Tbs coconut or canola oil
18 +/- corn enchiladas
2 10 oz cans red enchilada sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mexican blend cheese

*If you want to make this a vegetarian dish, simply replace the meat with an additional can of beans or about 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.

**You can also use grilled sweet corn when it’s in season, which is what I prefer.  The grill adds so much flavor!

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

If using ground beef or turkey, brown meat in a skillet.

Add taco season and 1/4 cup water to meat and allow to simmer about 5 minutes.

To the skillet add beans, corn, tomatoes, 2 of the onions, cilantro, lime juice and spices. Reduce heat to medium low and allow the mixture to heat through.

In a separate small frying pan, heat oil on medium-high heat.  Once it’s hot, fry the tortillas one-by-one, about 10 seconds on each side.  Drain on paper towels and allow tortillas to cool enough to handle.

Coat the bottom of a 9×13 pan (or 2 8×8′s as I did) with a few tablespoons of enchilada sauce.

Spoon about ¼ cup of filling mixture into each tortilla plus a pinch of cheese.  Fold over filling and place enchiladas seam-side-down in the pan.

Top with remaining enchilada sauce.

Cover with remaining cheese and green onion.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and starts to brown.  

Pile on sour cream, diced avocado, shredded lettuce, black olives, jalapeno’s or whatever toppings your prefer.  Eat up!

Bacon Cheddar Sliders

Sliders, the little brother to the burger.  But just as flavorful and you don’t feel guilty having more than one!  Not that I could eat more than one hamburger in one sitting but just the thought of being able to have two of these delightful little buggers makes me feel powerful!  Like I can do anything I want, like have fries with it!  No not really but they are very satisfying.  This is my latest and best recipe for beef sliders.  I usually use Hawaiian sweet rolls because they are sweet and fluffy.  They provide a really good palate-pleasing flavor when combined with the salty, tangy and spiciness of the meat.  This time however, I didn’t us Hawaiian sweet rolls, I used regular hamburger buns and used a canning jar ring as a cutter to cut them down to size.  My husband says these are the best burgers he’s ever had, and that includes regular sized burgers.  These are definitely kid friendly as well, even with the added jalapeno! Which is really amazing because my kids think ketchup is spicy!! ~Janna
Slider Ingredients

Makes 10 sliders

Ingredients:

1 Lb lean ground beef (don’t go too lean, the fat is where the FLAVA is)!!  I usually use
85/15 beef for burgers
6 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 1/2 oz finely shredded medium or sharp cheddar cheese (you could also use pepper jack or really any shreddable, meltable cheese that you like) plus more if you want cheese on top of sliders.

1 1/2 Tbs Ketchup
2 tsp yellow or Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Dash of salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
1/8 c pickled jalapenos, finely diced
Hawaiian sweet rolls or hamburger buns, cut to size

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix the mixture around with your hands to fully integrate and disperse the ingredients.
Slider Mixture

Take some of the meat mixture and form a ball about the size of a golf ball, each ball of meat should be about 1.6 oz.  You should get about 10 meat balls.
Slider Ball 1

Heat an electric griddle or skillet to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once the skillet is heated place the meat balls a couple inches apart, let cook for a few minutes (don’t flatten them yet), when browned on bottom, smash each meatball with a spatula and flip over to cook the other side.  Cook until desired doneness.
Slider Ball
Slider grill

When cooked through, add the remaining shredded cheese (this part is optional).  Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.  Scrape grease off griddle and place buns on to warm them (or you can just toast them).  Top your sliders with whatever condiments you like and enjoy!
Sliders with Title

Soft Pretzels & Beer Cheese

Soft Pretzels

Janna:  I love soft pretzels.   I’m a sucker for the ones at the mall that are served with piping hot spicy “cheese!”  So when Joanie and I were discussing great Super Bowl food, naturally I thought of soft pretzels.  They are fairly easy to make, and go great with cheese or assorted mustards for dipping.  Plus you can make them the day before you need them.  In this case I am pairing pretzels with beer cheese!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 ½ tsp)
  • 4 ⅓ to 4 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 ounces butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • Large pot of water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt or coarse kosher salt

Directions:

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for a few minutes or until the mixture begins to get bubbly.  Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth, approximately 4 minutes.

Oil a large bowl with vegetable oil, put dough into oiled bowl and turn once, coating with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 45 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Line two cookie sheets or large shallow pans, spray lightly with cooking spray or lightly coat with vegetable oil.  Set aside.

Bring the water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8 quart sauce pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto an oiled work surface (I spray my clean counter top with cooking spray) and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other until each end is back where it started and press onto the bottom of the U to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the cookie sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for about 30 seconds each. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula.

Return to the sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt.

Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 11 to 13 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack for about 7 minutes before serving.  These are easily reheated in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes.  I don’t recommend reheating them in the microwave because they will get soggy.  Below you will find the recipe for beer cheese.  Enjoy!!

Beer Cheese

So, I did a little research on beer cheese and discovered that it originated in Kentucky in the 1940’s.  It’s been a Kentucky staple ever since!  I’ve put my own spin on this beer cheese, adding cream cheese for a creamier texture.  Also, please note that this works best using a cheaper beer and it works best when beer is at room temperature and flat.  Mine was cold so I put it in a microwave safe cup and microwaved it till room temp and then stirred it a lot to flatten it.  I used Pabst in mine, you can use whatever you like!


(Note: picture shows a mini food processor, it ended up being too small so
I used a bowl with emursion blender instead).

Ingredients:

½ Lb sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
4 oz cream cheese (softened)
1-2 small garlic cloves (minced)
2 tsp Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (or any hot sauce)
¼ tsp worcestershire sauce
½ tsp cayenne pepper (add more to taste if you like it spicier)
½ tsp dry mustard
8 oz flat beer (room temperature)

Start by combining the cheddar and cream cheese in a large bowl.  use emulsifier, food processor or hand mixer to blend together until creamy 20-30 seconds.  Add all ingredients except beer and combine.  when well blended, slowly add beer and mix.  Add more hot sauce and cayenne pepper if you like it spicier.  Refrigerate for about an hour.  To heat, you can either microwave for about 20 seconds at a time until hot, or on low heat on stove top being careful not to scorch.