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{mid-week dinners} green enchilada chicken casserole

Dear {mid-week} Dinner,
Sometimes you are really hard to deal with. Getting through the middle of the week can be tiring and figuring out dinner can be a drag. I guess I do need to keep thinking about actually meal planning to avoid this. Until then I love meals like casseroles or breakfast-for-dinner. Here is one of my favorites from Nana {my mother-in-law} that we have made for years. You can make it the night before or with leftover chicken…it only has a few ingredients…so it comes together quickly! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do. See ya next Wednesday!
Sincerely {and with a full belly},
::Paula’s Green Enchilada Chicken Casserole::
– Shredded cooked chicken (leftover or a few boneless/skin-less breasts boiled or baked)
– Corn tortillas (torn or cut into strips…about three strips per tortilla if small)
– Green enchilada sauce
– Cheese (cheddar, jack or shredded Mexican cheese mix, whatever you have on hand)
*optional: sliced black olives and/or one small can of cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken soup
Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees. Layer a bit of the sauce on the bottom of an 8×8 pan (larger if making a large batch). Layer tortilla, chicken, sauce & cheese…repeat layers making sure to end with cheese on top (*if using the soup be sure to mix it with the green sauce before hand and if using olives add slices to top layer of the cheese).
Cover with foil and bake 20 – 30 minutes until heated through (removing foil for the last 5 minutes to let cheese bubble & brown). Yum!
**optional garnish toppings: avocado, cheese, sour cream, corn chips, green onions, cilantro
31 days (250)

{comfort food}

Dear Comfort Food,
I have missed you all summer. I am so glad that you are coming back now that the weather is looking like it may be cooling off. I certainly don’t need you…but I sure do love you. Can you show up from time to time this Fall and Winter? I would really appreciate it. And here is one of my favorite recipes…while we are on the subject!
Sincerely {and thankfully},
 DSC_0158 DSC_0175
::Mama Morse’s Chili Cook-Off 1st Prize Winning Chili::

    • 2 lb. ground beef {or turkey}
    • 1 clove garlic (grated or minced) {or more if you like garlic}
    • 1 large onion (chopped)
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • 2-3 Tbsp. chili powder
    • ¼ tsp. red pepper (cayenne)
    • dash cloves
    • 2 cans kidney beans w/ liquid (16 oz. cans)
    • ¼ tsp. black pepper
    • 1 tsp. paprika
    • 1 tsp. dried basil
    •  4 cups tomato juice (look for this in the juice aisle at the store…not with the canned tomatoes)
    • 1 can crushed tomatoes
Brown the meat w/ the garlic & onion. Add all ingredients to slow cooker or large pot {adjusting seasoning to taste}. Simmer for at least 30 minutes & serve! For a variety you can add some spicy cayenne pepper. Or for some smokey heat include some chili’s in adobo sauce.
*optional toppings: cheese, sour cream, corn chips, green onions, cilantro*

 By the way, my mom really did win 1st prize at the annual church Chili Cook-Off one year with this bad boy!

31 days (704)


spicy chicken pasta {YUM}

::KATRINA’S Spicy Chicken Pasta::
{make it a Chicken Chipotle Pasta “knock-off” from Cheesecake Factory by reading my notes below}

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4-1/2 T crushed red pepper (depending on how hot you want it)
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 T chopped garlic
6 oz chicken, sliced
3/4 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup alfredo sauce (you can substitute plain Greek yogurt or sour cream)
2 T butter
1/4 cup peas
1lb rigatoni or penne {I used gluten-free penne}

Cook pasta as usual…

Saute oil over medium heat.  Add crushed red peppers, salt, pepper and garlic.  Saute just long enough for garlic to caramelize and red pepper to release flavor into oil.  Add sliced chicken and sauté briefly to coat in spices and garlic.

Add Marinara sauce first.  Then add alfredo sauce.  Cool until sauce thickens and chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Turn off flame and add butter and peas to sauce.

Mix sauce and pasta and garnish with red pepper flakes (just be careful, it gets hot quick) 😉

*to give it a chipotle flavor I added some ground chipotle pepper seasoning {about 1 tsp at a time} that I always have in my pantry…sprinkle, taste and add more if you like a good chipotle kick!

*I also love to crumble a few tortilla chips on the top of my serving {that’s what I love about the Cheesecake factory dish}! Yum!

I hope you can appreciate this yummy recipe that my friend Katrina sent my way after our last visit!
She is an amazing cook. She throws great parties and always serves delicious food! I knew we would be good friends when I first met her and saw that she owned several of my favorite cookbooks. In many ways her and I are opposite.  She is neat & tidy…and I am a mess. She is a planner & always get’s things done way in advance…and while I am a planner I tend to do things at the very- last-minute. She is organized…and I am disorganized! But we just click. We get each other. We are good for each other. She took me in like a sister when I moved to Fresno. I was lonely and pregnant with Paige and I did not know a soul. Honestly, if she had not pursued me & checked in on me in those difficult, early months of living there I may have crumbled. She was God’s hand in my life in the most tangible way and I will always be so, so grateful! And…she fed me. When Aaron was working long hours…she fed me. During holidays away from our families…she fed me. She always feeds me. Good food. My kind of food. She is my kind of friend…and I just love her {oh and I love her little family too}. Thank you sweet friend!

cooking with fresh HERBS

{here are a few of my favorite recipes that include fresh HERBS…yum}
::Grilled Chicken with Herbs::
fresh herbs
EVOO or canola oil
garlic, salt & pepper

Take your favorite cut of chicken (for this I prefer boneless/skin-less breasts) and slather it with oil (ExtraVirginOliveOil), garlic, salt & pepper and fresh herbs.  My favorite combo for this is rosemary, basil and sage…but just use whatever you have on hand…thyme or dill would be great too.  Let the chicken and herbs marinade as long as you can (at least 30 minutes) but no longer than 24 hours.  Grill…indoors on a grill pan or outdoors on a BBQ (being sure to leave the herbs on the chicken when possible).  The herbs will crisp up and add a nice flavor as you eat it.

Serve with your favorite sides or even room temperature next to a huge salad! This is one of my favorite ways to grill chicken & a great left over for wraps or chicken salad the next day! Enjoy!

I talked about this recipe {pictured above} last 4th of July.
I also used it for a baby shower {pictured below} a few years ago. We made it the night before & served it cut up {room temperature} along side of Aunt Ev’s Strawberry Salad & a variety of delicious bread. It was filling & tasty!

::Home-made Croutons::

For these easy and yummy croutons I simply cut up some bread of choice (or whatever I have on hand), toss the bread lightly with EVOO (ExtraVirginOliveOil)and sprinkle with fresh herbs (such as rosemary) and salt & pepper. I bake them on a sheet pan in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until toasted.If I am making more than one dish in the oven, I actually just pop these in at whatever temperature the oven is already on and adjust the time based on the temp {if it is a lower temp I add time and if it’s a higher temp I set the timer for about 5 minutes and go from there}. You will smell them when they are done!

These are perfect on soups or salads! Good luck not burning them (I’ve done that a few times too)!



the BEST flank steak marinade in the world!

 Do you want a full-proof recipe that will be good EVERY. SINGLE. TIME that you make it? Seriously? Yes. Seriously! This is the BEST flank steak marinade in the world! It really is. Be sure to make a lot because it goes quick with a crowd. My mom made it with two steaks last night and that only fed 6 adults {there were only a few pieces left over}! I’m not even a huge beef person and I cannot stop eating this stuff when she makes it! Yum! Yum! Yum!
Schopeck Family
::Flank Steak Marinade::
flank steak (typically about ½ lb. per person) + marinade
make one batch of this marinade per steak:
¾ cup oil
½ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
1 tablespoons garlic powder
2 green onions (sliced)Directions:
Score flank with a knife in a diamond pattern on both sides of each steak.  Mix marinade ingredients in a zip lock bag and add flank steak (one recipe of marinade per steak).*** Massage mixture into the steak & marinade for at least 24 hours (the longer the better). Grill it on a BBQ at medium temperature. Sear for 30 seconds and flip leaving it on one side for 7 minutes. Flip back to the original side and leave for 5 minutes. Remove from grill. Let rest for about 5 minutes or so {under foil} before slicing at an angle. {If you do not have a BBQ I’m sure this can be done on a grill pan over your burner. It may not get the same results but I’m sure it will be close.}

***This is my mom Marilyn’s family recipe and she makes it this way, but I believe that the rest of her family does it a little bit different! They blend the marinade in a blender before adding it to the flank and reserve part of the un-used marinade to put on the steak afterwards. This was one of those stories where my mom read the recipe wrong and for years she made it her way. When we all discovered that her sisters made it the other way we were not as happy with the results! Gotta love family recipes! Both versions really do taste great and I think they have all had a good laugh about it from time to time.Either way I hope this becomes one of your family’s favorite recipes too…ENJOY!

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