Claudia and Hans Make Stuff

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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

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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Dutch oven risotto

So far…after checking numerous dutch oven recipe books…I have been rather disappointed by the lack of variety in vegetarian dishes for the dutch oven. However, there seems to be an abundance of meat dishes. In a dutch oven cook book from the 1950ties, one can even find a recipe for “oven-fried squirrel”–a recipe that reminded me of the “Hunger Games.”

In an attempt to introduce more variety to vegetarian/vegan dutch oven cooking, I was determined to use the recipe as a start.

Hans and I tried it with a little backyard fire and during our recent trip to Canyonlands. Two of our friends totally approved of this recipe.

Ingredients (Makes 2 servings):
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup uncooked Arborio (short grain) rice
¼ cup sliced green onions, or regular white onion
1 vegetable bullion and 2 cups of water, another cup of water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium (½ cup) Roma tomatoes, chopped
Grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, if desired. Salt and pepper to taste

1. Coat Dutch oven (8-inch for two servings) with 1 table spoon of butter. (This may be easiest after warming Dutch oven briefly in camp fire. Make sure that the lid is closed. After warming Dutch oven, remove from fire and spread butter.)

2. Place Dutch oven over camp fire. Melt 2 tablespoons butter; add rice and green onions. While stirring, cook onion and rice briefly. Add beans, water, vegetable bullion, and basil. Cook for approximately 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. If mixture becomes too dry, add a little bit more water (approximately 3/4 cup of water).

3. Stir in tomatoes and continue cooking until rice is done. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.  (Note: vegan option possible, just use vegan butter and do not sprinkle with cheese.)

Dutch oven risotto

Dutch oven risotto

Health benefits:
* This recipe is low in fat, but bursts with flavor.
* In addition the beans are rich in vitamin C. (Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron and to maintain healthy skin, teeth, and bones. It is also an antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and helps fight infection.)
* The beans also have potassium and magnesium, which help regulate body fluids and maintaining muscle, bone, and teeth health, respectively.
* Compared to white long-grain rice, Arborio rice has more dietary fiber. Fiber can help with hunger control and may also lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
* Tomatoes are rich in vitamins C and E. They also contain beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Cooking enhances some of the health-giving qualities of tomatoes, particulary the effectiveness of lycopene (a bright red carotene).

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Easy, no-fail vegetable risotto

Afraid of making risotto? Or not having enough time to make risotto? Try this simple and fairly quick recipe for yummy risotto.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup uncooked Arborio (short grain) rice
¼ cup sliced green onions, or regular white onion
1 (14-ounce) can vegetable broth*
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves**
1 cup frozen cut green beans***
2 medium (½ cup) Roma tomatoes, chopped
Grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, if desired. Salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet until sizzling; add rice and green onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened (2 to 3 min.). Add vegetable broth and basil. Continue cooking until mixture comes to a boil (2 to 3 min.). Reduce heat to low. Cover; cook 15 min.
2. Stir in green beans. Cover; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed (10 min.).
3. Stir in tomatoes and remaining butter; continue cooking until heated through (1 min.). Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

* Substitute 1 vegetable bullion and 2 cups water
** Substitute 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil leaves.
*** Substitute 4 ounces (1 cup) fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces.

Vegetable risotto with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Vegetable risotto with Parmigiano-Reggiano