Claudia and Hans Make Stuff

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Traditional Cheese & Bean Enchilada Dinner

Hans does not care for guacamole or pico de gallo. As I like both, it is nice to cook make it whenever we have dinner guests.

So below you will find a detailed description on how to make cheese and bean enchiladas, Mexican rice, refried beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo. Enjoy =)

Ingredients for the enchiladas:
8 medium flour tortillas (8-inch)
1 1/2 can refried pinto beans (We love the organic refried pinto beans from Trader Joe’s)
shredded Mexican cheese mix
1 small can enchilada sauce

Preparation of enchiladas:
1. Use about one tablespoon of refried beans and spread in the center of one tortilla.
2. Sprinkle beans with shredded cheese.
3. Tug the sides of the tortilla in and roll the tortilla.
4. Place in oven-safe glass dish. It is best to spread a little bit of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the glass dish to prevent sticking. Layer the rolled tortilla with the seam down into the glass dish.
5. Repeat steps 1-4 for the remaining tortillas.
6. Pour enchilada sauce over the rolled up tortillas. It maybe helpful to use a knife to gently lift each one and allow sauce to go in between each. Sprinkle with cheese on top.
6. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for 30 minutes.

Ingredients for Mexican rice:
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 cup salsa, blended
1 cup water
1 veggie bouillon cube

Preparation of rice:
1. Rinse the rice under running water. This will remove the starch and make the rice very fluffy.
2. Heat oil in dutch oven on stove. Check for the temperature of the olive oil by dropping a couple kernels of rice into the dutch oven. If they start to sauté right away, the temperature of the oil is at the correct temperature.
When the correct temperature has been reached, add the rice to the dutch oven. Stir frequently and sauté the rice until it appears translucent.
3. Add the water, salsa, and veggie bouillon cube. Heat until simmering while stirring constantly. Once the mixture is simmering, turn off the stove. Move the dutch oven into the oven at 350 F. Cook rice for 30 minutes. Stir once at 15 minutes.

Ingredients for refried beans:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon green chilies
1 1/2 cans refried beans
taco seasoning (we use our homemade taco seasoning https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/homemade-taco-seasoning/)

Preparation of refried beans:
1. Heat olive oil in small pot. Once oil is hot, sauté onion until translucent.
2. Add beans, sautéed onion, and green chilies into blender. Blend until smooth.
3. Transfer bean mixture back into small pot. Heat slowly. Add taco seasoning to taste.

Ingredients for guacamole:
2 avocados
¼ medium tomatoes, chopped
¼ small onion, chopped
Jalapeños/serranos, chopped (to taste)
5-6 sprigs cilantro, chopped
¼ teaspoon cumin powder
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Lemon/lime juice, to taste

Preparation of guacamole:
1. Cut and peel the avocados and take the flesh out in a bowl.
2. With a fork mash it up a little, be careful not to overdo it. It needs to have a little texture.
3. Add in the following: tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and cilantro.
4. Squeeze some lemon juice into it, and mix.
5. Add in cumin powder, salt, and black pepper. Mix well.
6. Chill and serve as a dip with some chips.

Ingredients for pico de gallo:
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/3 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
salt to taste

Preparation of pico de gallo:
1. Combine the ingredients. Be sure to taste the pico de gallo. If necessary adjust the seasoning by adding more salt or additional diced jalapeno pepper.

Serving of food:
1. Heat plates briefly in oven.
2. Arrange enchiladas, rice, beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo. Sprinkle with Coteja cheese and serve with sour cream (optional).
3. Enjoy =)

Cheese&Bean enchilada dinner_4_small

 

 

Recipe inspired by:
http://mexican.food.com/recipe/mexican-rice-117892

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/pico-de-gallo-recipe.html

 

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Restaurant-Quality Cheese & Bean Enchiladas

Everybody has a comfort food. Our comfort food is homemade cheese & bean enchiladas. Not just the enchiladas but the whole meal as served in a Mexican restaurant. For a week night dinner this dish includes: cheese and bean enchiladas, refried beans, and Mexican rice served with Coteja cheese.

Ingredients for the enchiladas:
8 medium flour tortillas (8-inch)
1 1/2 can refried pinto beans (We love the organic refried pinto beans from Trader Joe’s)
shredded Mexican cheese mix
1 small can enchilada sauce

Preparation of enchiladas:
1. Use about one tablespoon of refried beans and spread in the center of one tortilla.
2. Sprinkle beans with shredded cheese.
3. Tug the sides of the tortilla in and roll the tortilla.
4. Place in oven-safe glass dish. It is best to spread a little bit of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the glass dish to prevent sticking. Layer the rolled tortilla with the seam down into the glass dish.
5. Repeat steps 1-4 for the remaining tortillas.
6. Pour enchilada sauce over the rolled up tortillas. It maybe helpful to use a knife to gently lift each one and allow sauce to go in between each. Sprinkle with cheese on top.
6. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for 30 minutes.

Ingredients for Mexican rice:
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 cup salsa, blended
1 cup water
1 veggie bouillon cube

Preparation of rice:
1. Rinse the rice under running water. This will remove the starch and make the rice very fluffy.
2. Heat oil in dutch oven on stove. Check for the temperature of the olive oil by dropping a couple kernels of rice into the dutch oven. If they start to sauté right away, the temperature of the oil is at the correct temperature.
When the correct temperature has been reached, add the rice to the dutch oven. Stir frequently and sauté the rice until it appears translucent.
3. Add the water, salsa, and veggie bouillon cube. Heat until simmering while stirring constantly. Once the mixture is simmering, turn off the stove. Move the dutch oven into the oven at 350 F. Cook rice for 30 minutes. Stir once at 15 minutes.

Ingredients for refried beans:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon green chilies
1 1/2 cans refried beans
taco seasoning (we use our homemade taco seasoning https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/homemade-taco-seasoning/)

Preparation of refried beans:
1. Heat olive oil in small pot. Once oil is hot, sauté onion until translucent.
2. Add beans, sautéed onion, and green chilies into blender. Blend until smooth.
3. Transfer bean mixture back into small pot. Heat slowly. Add taco seasoning to taste.

Serving of food:
1. Heat plates briefly in oven.
2. Arrange enchiladas, rice, and beans. Sprinkle with Coteja cheese.
3. Enjoy =)

 

Cheese&Bean enchilada dinner_14_small

 


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Tasty Curried Lentils (aka Yellow Dal)

After the success (taste) of the last lentil dish (as well as failure as those green lentils did not become as soft as I remembered from brown lentils)…I was excited to come another recipe idea that used lentils.

This time red lentils. I still do not know what the difference between brown, green, and red lentils are. Obviously the color…but is one type of lentil better to use for one kind of dish over another?

Well, this recipe with some modifications turned out great.

 

Ingredients (3-4 servings)
1 cup red lentils, sorted and washed
2 cups vegetable broth (2 cups water and 1 veggie bouillon cube)
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ghee (if not at hand use another “fat”, such as olive oil or butter)
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large chili, seeded and finely chopped (optional, we left it out as we only had jalapeno pepper or green pepper)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tomatoes, chopped
½ cup coconut milk

Preparation:
1. Place the lentils, water, veggie bouillon cube, and turmeric in a medium pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer covered for 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Keep checking the mixture to make sure it does not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, if you are planning on eating rice with this dish, cook rice (we used Jazmin rice) according to package instructions.

2. While the lentils are simmering, heat the ghee in a small frying pan and add the onion. Cook until the onion is soft and golden, before adding the garlic, chili, cumin, and coriander. Cook, stirring 2-3 minutes and fragrant. Stir the onion mixture into the lentil mixture and then add the tomato. Simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Season to taste and add the coconut milk. Continue heating the mixture, until heated through. Stir frequently.

4. Serve with basmati rice and naan bread.
See two recipes for homemade Naan bread: plain https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/supereasy-homemade-naan-indian-flatbread/ or with garlic https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/supereasy-naan-bread-with-garlic/

 

Flatbread served with Dal

Yellow Dal with Homemade Naan

Curried Lentils_5_small


Health benefits of this dish:
* It is homecooked, therefore you get to choose all of the ingredients for this dish.
* Tumeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It also has antioxidant properties.
* Lentils are rich in fiber, copper, phosphorous, manganese, and iron. Additionally, they are a good source of protein.
* Coconut milk is rich in fiber and vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5, and B6. It also contains iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous.


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Delicious & Easy Chickpea Curry

So the semester has started…I am teaching four upper level division classes plus wanting to start a science outreach project at local high schools…oi…very busy.

I am supposed to be working on a review paper…but I am sitting in the train right now, commuting home from work and decided to write up a couple of recipes that we recently tried.

I love chickpeas…it’s a bit weird but I could eat them straight out of the can. So when I came across another chickpea recipe, of course I had to try it. I like the Curried Indian Chickpea recipe https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/curried-indian-chickpeas/ that I blogged about earlier. However, this current recipe suggested very different spices to experiment with. I modified the recipe to our liking and here is what I made:

Ingredients (3-4 servings):
1 tablespoon ghee (if not at hand use another “fat”, such as olive oil or butter)
1 yellow onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ to ¾ teaspoon chili powder
½ to ¾ teaspoon salt
½ to ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ to ¾ teaspoon paprika
½ tablespoon ground cumin
½ tablespoon ground coriander (as we thought we did not have any at home, we left this spice out, turned out we did have it…I will add it next time)
2 (14.5-ounce) can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can organic chopped tomatoes
½ to ¾ teaspoon garam masala (available as powder at Whole Foods)

Preparation:
1. Heat the ghee in a medium pan. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, using medium heat until onion is soft. Add all of the spices (except garam masala) and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

2. Stir in the chickpeas and tomatoes. Simmer over low-medium heat, covered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you are planning on serving the dish with rice, start preparing the rice. Rice usually takes about 20 minutes to be made. We used Jasmine rice following the instruction on the package.

3. Stir in the garam masala and simmer, covered, for an additional 10 minutes.

4. Serve with rice and naan bread. Enjoy =)

 

Note: This dish stores well in an airtight container in the refrigerator and can easily be reheated in the microwave.

 

 

Curried Chickpeas_3_small

Costco sells really yummy naan bread

 

Adapted from a recipe book that I used to own but rarely ever used, since I thought that most of the recipes wouldn’t taste good to me.


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Spaghetti Squash Made Easy

What is a spaghetti squash?

I had no idea what spaghetti squash is or how to make it. Hans’ mom gave us one a few days ago and tonight I learned why it is called spaghetti squash AND I learned one to prepare it.

The preparation was actually quite simple…ONCE you master getting through the rather tough outer shell. Make sure to use a sharp knife. Cut away from your body and watch your fingers. Or if you are like me, have someone else cut it…and meanwhile walk around the house nervously hoping nobody gets injured.

Once the fruit is cut open, the fun begins.

How to prepare spaghetti squash:
1. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, length-wise. Be careful to not cut yourself.

2. Scoop out all of the seeds and “guts” surrounding the seeds. If you are as obsessed with pumpkin seeds like me, you want to save those seeds and roast them later.

3. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Place both halves on a baking sheet with raised edges. Place the spaghetti squash on its cut side. Add a bit of water to the baking sheet to prevent the squash from drying out. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the “meat” is soft.

4. Remove from oven and eat with fork straight out of the shell. (Littlest clean-up that way). Hans suggested to sprinkle a bit of Himalayan Pink Salt on it and he was right it is REALLY DELICIOUS. Enjoy =)

Half was plenty for me. Hans ate the other half.

Half was plenty for me. Hans ate the other half.

Healthful benefits:
* Low in calories, but rich in fiber and various vitamins (including A, C, B2, B3, B6, and K). It is also rich in manganese, folate, and omega-3 fats.
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/spaghetti-squash-calories-nutrients-1883.html


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Yummy Butternut Squash Ravioli

It’s pretty obvious that I love butternut squash, but we also had butternut squash left over from making butternut squash risotto https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/scrumptious-butternut-squash-risotto/.

So after thinking about what to make with the left-overs, I decided that it would be worth a try to make home-made butternut squash ravioli. I couldn’t have done without the help of Hans. He did all of the hard work from making the dough to making the ravioli. So here is what we did.

Ingredients for the pasta dough (60 ravioli):
1.5-2 cups semolina flour
1.5-2 cups regular flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon olive oil (we used basil-flavored olive oil)
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Ingredients for the ravioli filling:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 butternut squash, sautéed
salt, pepper, and chili powder, to taste
grated Pecorino Romano cheese, to taste

Preparation:
1. Add flour to a medium bowl and create a deep, wide well in the center. Pour the eggs, olive oil, and salt into the well. Start by mixing the eggs with a fork and then slowly start mixing the flour in from the sides. Once the dough starts to move as a unit, empty the bowl onto a floured surface and knead the dough by hand for several minutes, or until the dough forms a nice ball.The dough should be smooth and homogenous. Knead in more flour, if it still feels sticky.

2. Cut the dough into smaller pieces to be run through the pasta maker. We started with size 1 and slowly increased the level to 5. Level 5 yields a thin layer of dough that we laid out flat to use to make the ravioli.

3. Peel the butternut squash and cut into cubes. Heat the butter and olive oil in medium-size pan. We sautéed the whole butternut squash and used half of the sautéed butternut squash for Butternut Squash Risotto and the other half for this recipe. Add the salt, pepper, and chili powder. Once the butternut squash has been sautéed, use potato masher to mash the butternut squash. Add a bit of freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese and stir until mixed.

4. Place about half a teaspoon of mashed butternut squash onto the dough. Leave some space between the mashed butternut squash to be able to shape distinct ravioli. Cover with another strip of rolled out ravioli dough. Gently press down on the edges to seal each ravioli. Cut the ravioli. This dough and half of the butternut squash will make approximately 60 ravioli.

5. Place ravioli into rapidly boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until dough is done. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small pan. Drain ravioli. Arrange on plate or in flat bowl. Drizzle with a bit of melted butter and sprinkle with more cheese shavings. Enjoy!

Note: We froze half of the raviolis before cooking them. We arranged them on a tray with minimal overlap and placed them in the freezer overnight. This should prevent the raviolis to stick to themselves. We moved the raviolis into a labeled freezer bag for later use. =)

Butternut Squash Ravioli_13_small

 

Ravioli dough inspiration came from: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/ravioli-pasta-dough.aspx


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Butternut Squash Kale Quesadilla

We enjoyed the butternut squash risotto a lot, but what else to make with the left-over butternut squash? Inspiration came from the Pioneer Woman http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/01/butternut-squash-kale-quesadillas/.

I love quesadillas. I love butternut squash. I love kale. And I love melted cheese. However, I would have never thought that a combination of all of these would taste good. Was I wrong.

So slightly modifying the recipe by Pioneer Woman, here is what I came up with.

Ingredients (1 large serving or 6 appetizer-sized servings):
1 cup of sautéed butternut squash (peel and cube butternut squash)
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt, pepper, and chili powder, to taste
2 large kale leaves, stalks removed and leaves torn
2 large tortillas
1/2 cup shredded cheese (more if needed), I like to use Mexican cheese blend

Preparation:
1. Heat butter and olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the squash and add salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste. Cook for several minutes, gently turning frequently. Cook until the squash is deep golden brown and tender. Make sure to not over-cook, squash should not be falling apart. Remove squash and set aside.

2. Add torn leaves to the same skillet. Toss the kale around and cook it for 3-4 minutes. Add the sautéed squash and heat through.

3. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 325 F. Arrange the first tortilla on a baking sheet (I used the round one for making pizza) and spread the butternut squash kale mixture on the tortilla. Sprinkle the butternut squash and kale mixture with sprinkled cheese. Layer the second tortilla on top. Bake in oven for 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is melted. I like “baking” quesadillas. It allows the tortillas to get hot and the cheese to melt, without adding fat (and their associated calories) by sautéing tortillas in a pan with butter.

4. Enjoy! =)

Butternut Kale Quesadilla_8_small

 

Why should you eat this?
* Kale is a super-food. It is low in calories, but rich in vitamins K, A, C, and B6. It is also packed with lots of manganese, copper, fiber, iron, calcium, etc. Read more here: http://www.wholeliving.com/134250/power-foods-kale and http://authoritynutrition.com/10-proven-benefits-of-kale/

* Butternut squash is another super-food. It is rich in vitamins A, B6, and C. It is also rich in fiber and antioxidants. Read more here: http://www.wholeliving.com/134734/power-foods-butternut-squash