Recipe: Easy Enchiladas

This is a recipe that I first saw on another blog (kevinandamanda.com) and knew I just HAD to try!  The original recipe called for a lot more cheese and enchilada sauce than I knew my family would like… plus, there was no wine in the recipe.  I just *had* to re-work it into something that would work for me and my wine-inspired blog.  Thankfully, it was a huge hit and has already been made numerous times to great positive acclaim.

EasyEnchiladas

What I love most about this recipe is that it truly is incredibly easy.  I’d always been a bit intimidated by enchiladas for some reason, but not any more when I use this recipe.  Much of this meal was done by simply assembling the ingredients, but first, I had to make some rice.

I used James River Cellars Gewurztraminer wine but could have easily used another favorite wine (Chardonnel, Vidal Blanc, or even Chardonay) to make the rice for this dish.  I used 1 cup of wine, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of Arborio rice.  I simmered the rice until the liquid was absorbed and the rice was fluffy.  I did add some parsley, salt and pepper, but feel free to add whatever flavors you like in your rice.  Just remember that the rice is a fairly tame part of this assembly line, so don’t go too crazy with the seasonings.

I also decided to use a pre-roasted chicken in this recipe.   I pulled off both chicken breasts and diced the meat small enough to layer in the enchiladas.

Overall, your ingredients are as follows:  tortillas, hummus, rice, chicken, cheese, and enchilada sauce.  As with all my recipes, please feel free to personalize things to your family’s tastes.  Red Pepper Hummus instead of a Garlic Hummus, Mexican cheese in place of Cheddar, Whole Wheat Tortillas as opposed to bulk purchased tortillas or even homemade tortillas. . .  it’s all about making a meal that will make you and your family happy.

Assembling your enchiladas. . . here’s where the fun starts!  Place the tortilla on a cutting board and begin the layering with hummus, a layer of rice (mine is fairly sticky and soft), some chicken, and a sprinkle of cheese.  You can see an example in the second photo from the left… I throw on a fair amount of cheese, but do whatever will make you happy.  I made all the enchiladas, laying them in the baking dish, then poured some enchilada sauce over top and finished by sprinkling on more cheese.  Note:  I loved the Cheesy Enchilada recipe that inspired this alteration but know that my guys would have balked if I had followed her recipe exactly. . .  hence the need for an “Easy Enchilada” recipe of my own.

Once your enchiladas are assembled and ready, you can wait a bit to bake them if you must.  I had a hard time not popping them directly into the oven (I was already hungry by this point) but I was “good” and waited until my darling hubby and son got home from work.  Once they arrived, I popped the baking dish into a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until the cheese was melty, I could hear sizzling, and there was visible steam rising from the enchiladas.  Seriously. . . I don’t usually use “exact times”, so use your best guess on cooking time, based on your own oven.

As you can see by the large photo of an enchilada, above, these things were really filling.  I thought everyone would end up eating two enchiladas each, but we could barely make it through one.  If you’re making this for a crowd, feel free to expect football players to eat two, but the average person will probably only make it through one.  They are aa-maze-ing!

Hope you find this recipe to be as amazing as we did. . . and, as always, be sure to alter the ingredients to make your own “family favorite”!

Recipe: Summer Crock Pot Roast

I’ve been rattling off the basics of this crock pot dinner to people for about two years now, but always forgot to take photos along the way and didn’t want to post this meal without proof of how yummy it looks.  Forget the taste… this dinner just looks tasty.  Add some crusty bread, a fluffy snowstorm, a warm fire, and this meal becomes the start of…. oh, wait… it’s JUNE!   I’ve been using this recipe as my favorite winter pot roast dinner for my crock pot, so I thought I would see how it would work if I “summer-ized” it by switching out the deep red wine I usually use and replacing it with white wine…

Summer Pot Roast

As it would happen, this dinner was really good with white wine!  Nothing like having an experiment go well, eh?

Ok… let me tell you about this simple dinner.  I started with a large bulk roast that I picked up on a huge sale at my local grocery store.  I honestly don’t remember what cut it was or just how much I had… I just remember that it was almost half of the original cost and “looked like a pot roast” to me.

I pulled out my crock pot and started the assembly of dinner before I left for work one morning.  I sliced up four golden potatoes into quarters, length-wise, and then added one thick sliced vidalia onion.  I separated the onion pieces and placed the veggies into the bottom of my crock pot before placing the frozen roast on top.  I had a quarter bottle of James River Cellars Chardonel and a quarter bottle of James River Cellars Gewurztraminer white wines in my fridge, so I poured the  ends of both bottles over the meat and potato/onion mixture.  I doused the meat liberally with garlic salt and some freshly ground pepper before I turned the crock pot on for 8-hours and left for work.

When I came home that evening, the house smelled wonderful.  I’d forgotten to add garlic to the roast, but it still smelled really tasty.   Now was my chance to finish the meal and pull everything together. I ladled out two cups of liquid from the pot and, using a whisk, blended in 3 Tablespoons of flour.  I poured this back into the crock pot and stirred in about a half bag of frozen peas.  After letting this cook for a few minutes, I realized that I needed something bright to make this dish really shine, so I quickly cooked some baby carrots in the microwave before stirring them into the thickening stew as well.  A quick taste of the broth gave me the chance to adjust the seasonings before dinner, then I let the crock pot work it’s magic for another 10-15 minutes.

To plate this meal, I carefully removed the roast from the stew and gently shredded the beef.  I ladled stew into a shallow bowl for each of us and added a portion of meat to top off our summer dinner.  If I’d had some crusty bread (or had taken the time to pick up bread sticks or make crescent rolls) this meal would have been over-the-top good… I wouldn’t have had to resort to using a spoon to sop up the ends of the stew!  This is another meal that will continue to taste wonderful as you warm up bowls over the next day or two, so feel free to make extra to share.  Your friends and co-workers will thank you!