Mexican Vegetarian Rice Bake

On April 13, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

IMG_4697

Casseroles are a great way to make being a vegetarian more flavorful and interesting. Granted, I’m not a vegetarian.  However, we try to eat vegetarian or vegan for most of our dinners at home, doing about four or five a week without any meat.  What I like about casseroles is that they create flavor meals that feel more like meals and less like a side dish.  Plus baking something is usually easy and since there is no meat in the dish, the cooking time is pretty fast too.

IMG_4690

A few weeks ago I made a recipe I found that uses rice and a kale black bean soup from Pacific Foods. My post isn’t sponsored like the blogger who did the recipe for the brand’s website, but that’s fine. I really didn’t mind spending $3 for the soup and trying it out.  The recipe seemed foolproof and the cost to make this dish is pretty low, if you care about that.

What I enjoyed about this dish is the crunchiness rice gets when you bake it. Baked rice dishes enhance the texture of the rice and the soup added to the recipe gives the rice even more flavor.

IMG_4698

If you are looking for an easy, after work vegetarian meal you should give this one a try.  I’m sure I’ll make it again soon.

Full Recipe: [Mexican Vegetarian Rice Bake]

Tagged with:
 

Martha’s Mac & Cheese

On March 15, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

IMG_2523

This recipe is nothing short of humble… Martha Stewart’s website even went so far to name the recipe “Perfect” in its title.  Fortunately, that title is well deserved with this recipe that lived up to the hype.

I was on a conference call the night I was making this dish and everything was ready as I was jumping on a call with China as I dished out some for my wife to enjoy and put the rest back in the oven to keep warm until my call was over.

IMG_2533

From the family room, I heard my wife shout “this is the BEST mac & cheese you have ever made!”

Sounded great though I was disappointed as I was on my call for a good hour until I finally finished work and dished out some for myself.  My wife was right.

The sauce is cheesy rich almost fondue like sauce that is created while the noodles are cooking.

IMG_2528

I decided to divert from the recipe a little with the breadcrumbs. I kept the crust on and proceeded to heat the bread crumbles in a saute pan with a little butter to give it some crunch, being careful not to burn. I then took the bread and put in my min food processor in two batches and reduced it down to small bread crumbs leaving some slightly larger pieces in it.

IMG_2535

The rest of recipe I followed exactly. Enjoy!

Full Recipe: [Perfect Macaroni and Cheese]

Tagged with:
 

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

On January 4, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

 

IMG_2076

 

I love a good casserole.  Unlike the casseroles of my 1970-80s childhood, casseroles are far better than the tuna and enchilada casseroles of the past.  Take for example this delicious combination using fresh broccoli and quinoa.

The dish also uses shredded cheddar cheese and just a little amount of milk and mayo which leaves a dish that focuses the flavor mostly on the broccoli, and that’s a good thing.

IMG_2081

We enjoyed it with a simple side salad for a complete meal.  This works great if you’re into Meatless Mondays or Meatless whatever day.

Enjoy!

Full Recipe: [Broccoli Quinoa Casserole]

 

Tagged with:
 

Chicken Tinga Tamales

On December 21, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

 

 

IMG_1986

 

Nothing says Christmas like making Tamales. At least that’s the case for a lot of families, but not ours.  I wasn’t raised in a house that made tamales for the holidays. Nope. Instead we made spritz cookies and as a kid I would sneak into the garage freezer and eat a few just about everyday. Eventually my mom caught on and made an extra batch knowing her oldest son was eating a few as the holidays approached.

Back to the tamales.

This was my first attempt at making tamales.  I have a few places I love to go for them including Evie’s Tamales in Mexican Village in Detroit.  When I worked for DTE Energy we used to go their for lunch and often buy a dozen to take home.  Simple and delicious pork filled tamales are always a favorite.  I do have a place here in South Pasadena, California I go to and order tamales from.  Grass Roots Natural Market sells tamales for the holidays and they also sell mesa for making your own at home.

IMG_1975

I ordered a dozen from Grass Roots for Christmas Eve but also bought some mesa to try it myself.  One of my favorite tacos lately is the chicken tinga taco at Guisados.  I decided to make my own chicken tinga and while I still have a lot of work before I master Guisados’ version, what resulted here was pretty damn good and both my wife and I agreed they were the best tamales we ever had.

So here is my attempt at tamales.  One tip I found out after making them is to make sure you use the smoother side of the corn husk to wrap your masa and filling in.  The ridged side prevents the tamale from easily peeling the husk away.

Chicken Tinga Tamales
Serves 4

Corn huskes, 12-14
Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lb bag of mesa, store bought or find a recipe that uses lard
4 oz cotija cheese, crumbled
3 ripe medium sized tomatoes
1 tomatillo, peeled
1 can chipotle peppers, only need 1 pepper and 1 to 2 Tb of sauce from can
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, diced
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil in a large pot.  Remove from heat and submerge corn husks into the water and let it them sit for a hour.

First boil some water and poach the chicken breasts in boiling water for 12 minutes.  Remove and shred. You can also buy a rotisserie chicken from the store and shred the meat to use for this dish.

IMG_1969

To make the tinga sauce, bring the tomatoes and tomatillo to a boil in water then reduce to a gentile boil for 10 minutes.  Remove from water and place in a food processor.  Blend until smooth with no chunks.  Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic cooking for 3 minutes until translucent. Remove from pan and add into food processor.  Add the chipotle, 1 tablespoon of chipotle sauce, and spices to the food processor and blend until smooth.  Taste and add more chipotle sauce if you feel it is not to your desired heat.

IMG_1985

Put chicken and tinga sauce into a bowl and mix.  In another bowl add your masa and in another bowl add the crumbled cojita cheese.  Now take your corn husks and spread some masa into it then add about 3 tablespoons of the chicken tinga mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and fold the tamale placing it into a steamer.

Finish making the rest of the tamales and steam for 1 hour.  Serve with your favorite side dish.

Tagged with:
 

Gruyere Cheese Puffs for #SundaySupper

On November 1, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
50

IMG_1343

I was vigorously beating the eggs into the flour, water, salt, and butter mixture when my wife walked into the kitchen with a look of disappointment.

“I thought you were cleaning,” she shares with me.

“Nope, just making cheese puffs,” I reply.

It was long after dinner and we were getting ready to watch the film Chef. I was looking forward to the film since it premiered at SxSW earlier this year. Some warm cheese puffs and glass of wine was a great way to enjoy a film about a love of food.

This recipe is one I learned over 20 years ago when I took a French Bistro cooking course at the local community college. It had been a good 10 plus years since I’ve made it and well I still got it. They came out perfect and made for an excellent movie snack.

IMG_1348

Gruyere Cheese Puffs
Makes 30-40

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1 cup flour
4-5 eggs
3/4 cup gruyere cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add the salt, butter and water to a pot on high heat. Heat until a boil and immediately turn down the heat to low and add the cup of flour. Stir with a wooden spoon and add 3 eggs and beat vigorously until shiny and well blended. Add another egg and beat to combine until the mixture has a shine and drops from the spoon. Add the final egg if needed. Finally add half the shredded cheese and stir to combine.

IMG_1327

Place tablespoon sized drops of mixture on to a buttered cookie sheet and sprinkle with gruyere cheese.  Cook for 20-25 minutes until puffy and about to brown.

IMG_1345

Serve with a glass of wine and enjoy!

 


For more great #SundaySupper Recipes

Drinks

Appetizer or starter

Main Dishes

Side Dishes

Desserts

Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.
To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.



Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Tagged with:
 

Brown Rice, Broccoli and Cheese Bake

On May 23, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

 

brownricebroccoli2

 

While not the most appetizing looking dish, this bake had a wonderful flavor and made for a great weekday evening vegetarian main course.

The secret is to cook the brown rice the day before.  I use a rice cooker and brown rice take about a hour or so to cook. Fortunately it keeps well in the fridge for when you are ready to make this dish. There are some steamed carrots and broccoli too. The cheese sauce is quite simply to make with a couple cups of milk and some cheddar cheese and parmesan.

The dish finishes the last few minutes in the broiler where the top gets nice and crispy. It’s not a necessary step, but nice if you have the time. Our stove is an older turn of the century stove and has a small oven and small broiler next to it.  So this is fairly easy in our house. The crispy top is a nice touch to add some more texture to the dish.

Full Recipe: [Broccoli Cheddar Brown Rice Casserole from Oh My Veggies]

Tagged with:
 

Black Bean Quinoa Enchilada Bake

On February 15, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0



IMG_6128

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a recipe from the kitchen. Sadly 2014 hasn’t been the year of focusing much on my blog as I planned. Perhaps this first post of 2014 will change that and get me back on track as there is so much going on as we are getting ready for the boys to turn 8 next week and I’ve been having fun trying some new dishes out too.

IMG_6122

This was a Pinterest find from my wife’s collection. There’s a wonderful simplicity in this dish and versatility. It could easily be made as a main course, like we did the past week, or used as a chip dip.  With loads of gooey cheese and vegetables mixed with quinoa and an enchilada sauce, the dish can be enjoyed several ways.

IMG_6123

Full Recipe: [Black Bean Quinoa Enchilada Bake]

Tagged with:
 

San Antonio Puffy Tacos for #SundaySupper

On January 5, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
74

 

One of my favorite things about being part of the SundaySupper bloggers is how the weekly themes make me think beyond what I might normally do as a home cook.  This week was definitely one of those times as I had to consider what would I make from my Recipe Bucket List. Problem was I don’t have a Recipe Bucket List. So, I thought what to do? I’ve made fresh ravioli, homemade oxtail gnocchi, stuffed chicken, and a few other things came to mind, but all things I’ve done. Then it hit me.  Puffy Tacos.

When I was in San Antonio doing training for a potential wireline union strike at the phone company I had a chance to stop at Los Barrios, a well-known Mexican restaurant famous for their puffy tacos. At first, I wasn’t impressed with the place. It looked like a local Chi-Chi’s with tile tabletops, typical Mexican-American menu combo plates, and a focus on margaritas.  I was ready to be unimpressed and back to my true South of the Border love – street tacos (I have another blog where I review ‘street tacos’ found at Gas Stations.)

I ordered what I came for: Puffy Tacos.  They were great and the margarita was pretty good too.  They’re definitely different from the typical street taco I love and still prefer over a puffy taco, but the tacos at Los Barrios were pretty darn good and I left pleased with my evening out in San Antonio.

With a Recipe Bucket List decision to be made and my now living in Los Angeles, not Dallas, it was going to be some time before I returned to San Antonio so why not try doing this dish at home. Well that is just what I did and while they were not as perfect as Los Barrios; they were pretty good and a solid 4 out of 5 rating from this taco reviewer.

What might of helped is having a deep fryer and some additional experimentation. Plus I had trouble finding fresh masa corn flour. There was some at a local natural food market last week, but when I returned this week they said they only carried it during the holidays.  Too bad. So I went to the market and found some masa harina from Bob’s Red Mill that worked nicely, better than I thought it would.  So if you can’t find fresh masa, don’t worry just use a good quality masa harina and carry-on.

Puffy Taco Tortillas
Makes 6-10 shells

2 cups fresh masa or good quality masa harina
1 cup warm water (if using masa harina)
1 tablespoon lard or butter
2 Tablespoons baking powder
Vegetable oil for frying

You’ll need a tortilla press to make this recipe. I recommend finding an authentic Mexican market and find a press that is entirely flat, no lip or shallow cutout as some have. Also the heavier feeling the press the better – cast iron is preferred.

Mix the masa and baking powder together if using masa harina. If using fresh masa, just put into a bowl.  Slowly add the warm water to your flour constantly combining with your hands and finally add the lard or butter (I microwaved butter for 5 seconds, soft not melted.)

Continue kneading together and add a little more water if it is too dry and crumbly.  Add a little more masa if it is too wet. You want it to feel smooth and not sticky.

Combine into a large ball and put into a Ziploc bag for 20 minutes.

Open the tortilla press and place a sheet of parchment paper on each side of the press.  Take out about 1 ½” inches of tortilla dough and roll into a smooth ball.  Press in the center of the press.

Put the tortilla on a hot griddle or heavy non-stick pan.  Let it cook for 20-30 seconds on each side.  With a spatula remove it and place it into another pan with about a 1” of hot oil.

Let the tortilla fry for about 20 seconds it will begin to puff. With a spatula and some tongs navigate the frying tortilla to give it a center, “V” like form. Continue frying for about 1 minute working to maximize the puffiness of the tortilla. Remove from oil and place on a plate lined with paper towel.

Continue with remaining dough then fill with your favorite filling.

 

Puffy Taco Filling
Makes 6-8 tacos

1 lb ground beef
½ small red onion, minced
½ green pepper, minced
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp tomato paste
1 ripe tomato, diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups chopped lettuce

Mix beef with cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Heat ground beef in a pan over medium-high heat.  Break up the meat and cook for about 6-8 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper and tomato paste.  Mix in pan and cook for about another 2-3 minutes.

Put cooked beef mixture into a puffy taco then top with tomato, cheese and lettuce.  Serve with some hot sauce like Tapatio and a couple cut limes.

——-

For more Recipe Bucket List adventures checkout the other #SundaySupper bloggers and join the chat on Twitter Sunday at 7pm EST.

This Week’s Sunday Supper Recipes:

Sunday Supper Specialty Breads:

Sunday Supper Main Dishes:

Sunday Supper Desserts and Snacks:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the#SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Don’t forget to also check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Tagged with:
 

#SundaySupper Spooky Kid Pizzas

On October 28, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
52

So when I originally imagined doing some Halloween inspired pizzas for our twin boys Oscar & Theo I was thinking something a bit more spooky than a pumpkin.  Of course, the spooky factor kind of suffered since my “spider legs” were to be built form slices of green peppers. Sadly I failed to double-check we still had a bell pepper in the fridge.  We did not when it came time to make this week’s Sunday Supper.

Instead of spooky, we have a bit more of a ridiculous look. Fortunately, the boys didn’t mind and loved their jack o’ lantern pizzas. I just simply took some slices of carrot and triangle cut a tomato slice for eyes and noses.

 

Tomato Pizza Sauce

28 oz. can crushed plum tomatoes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste (avoid canned)
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 small or 1/2 med. onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, or 1 tsp. dried 1/4 tsp. each: salt, black pepper, sugar, dried oregano,
red pepper flakes

Mix together. Sometimes I sauté the garlic and onions in a little olive oil first. It depends upon what else I’m putting on the pizza. I sauté them if the toppings are more mild, and I don’t if the toppings are more aggressive. Basically, whatever you like.

 

Pizza Dough
(makes 2 — 12” rounds)

2 packets “rapid-rise” active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 – 110 degrees)
2 teaspoons sugar 6 cups all-purpose flour*
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons olive oil

In a bowl, proof the yeast by mixing yeast, warm water and sugar. Let stand until it becomes foamy. This will take about 5 minutes.

In a mixer or large food processor, mix the flour and salt. Add the proofed yeast mixture and combine. Add olive oil and combine until the moisture is well-mixed into the flour. Add as much additional warm water to produce a dough which is smooth and not sticky. When dough is smooth and can be formed into a ball, it has been sufficiently kneaded.

Place the ball of dough into an oiled bowl; turn to coat all over with oil; cover with a towel, or plastic-wrap, and set in a warm place. Allow it to double in size, which will take about 10-15 minutes, or 1 hour with regular yeast.

When ready to proceed, preheat oven to 450.

Punch dough down; cut into halves; form each half into a ball; roll-out each ball into about a 12” round. Oil pizza pans lightly, and place dough onto pans. Push the dough up slightly around edges to make a border to hold the fillings.

Top pizzas with desired fillings, and moisten top by drizzling on some olive oil. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until dough is golden-brown and fillings are slightly bubbling.

Spooky Kid Pizzas

Pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
Pizza sauce, homemade or store-bought
Mozzarella cheese
Toppings: Tomato triangles and carrot sticks for the mouth and teeth

Assemble pizzas with a layer of sauce and plenty of shredded mozzarella.  Then make your “spooky” or Halloween inspired masterpiece using toppings.

Heat in a toaster oven or oven at 400 degrees cooking for 15 minutes.

_______________

For more Halloween cooking ideas checkout this week’s #SundaySupper recipes

Bewitching Brews

Ghoulish Gruel: 

Haunted Snacks: 

Spooky Sweets: 

Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day, this Sunday (October 28th) during #SundaySupper.  We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm (Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about all things Halloween.  All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat.

Tagged with:
 

Sour Cream Enchiladas

On August 27, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

Sour Cream Enchilada served with Corn Chowder

I don’t make a lot of recipes that call for three cans of anything, but I decided to make an exception since these looked so good.  I did go with some different brands using some Pacific Natural Foods for the Cream of Chicken and Muir Glen Organics for the tomato and chilies.

The sauce in this recipe can be reduced by half since you really don’t need such a thick layer of it as it is presented in the source recipe.  Also, note the author’s comment, to stir the sour cream, cream of chicken and cilantro mixture regularly to keep a smooth texture.

You need about half the amount of shredded cheese too. Making these minor changes will make it slightly lighter, but this is sour cream enchiladas. No one is pretending this is a healthy choice.

The chicken mixture can also skip canned green chilies and substitute fresh chilies, preferably 1 serrano or 1 hatch chile, seeded and washed then finely diced.

Preparation is easy. Look for some decent locally made tortillas from a Mexican market, taqueria, or Farmers’ Market if available in your area.

The lesser amount of sour cream sauce and cheese will look something like this. I had ran out of tortillas, only making 5 enchiladas due to the boys and I eating a couple tortillas the day before I finally got around to making this dish.

This is definitely a dish worth trying with or without my edits. I don’t even particularly care for enchiladas but these were quite delicious and simple to make.

For the full recipe: Skinny Sour Cream Enchiladas.

Tagged with: