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 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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Incredibly-Easy Tomato Salsa

I have posted recipes for Tomatillo Salsa https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/tomatillo-salsa/ and Tomato and Tomatillo Salsa https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/garden-fresh-tomato-and-tomatillo-salsa/. For those who either shy away from using tomatillos or do not have tomatillos on hand, of course you can also make salsa just using tomatoes. Remember the quality and taste of your taste will be directly proportional to the quality of the ingredients.

A couple of weeks ago, I used up the last tomatoes from our garden to make salsa with (except the cherry tomatoes that I roasted, I will post about those soon). These heirloom tomatoes were grown all organic and offered a variety of different tastes. Store-bought tomatoes will work, but they may not taste as amazing as home-grown tomatoes or tomatoes from a local farmer. Also, ideally use tomatoes that were bought in season, you can taste the difference.

Ingredients (Makes approximately 5 cups):
3 cups chopped tomatoes (I used a variety of garden-grown heirloom tomatoes)
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (2 frozen cubes of freshly squeezed lemon juice)
½ jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
salt and pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper, cumin, and chili powder, optional

Preparation (5 minutes):
1. Place tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapeno pepper in a blender. Add the lemon juice and blend until desired consistency.
2. Add spices (For this batch, I only added salt and pepper).
3. Enjoy fresh with chips.
4. Keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. Alternatively, the salsa can also be frozen or canned for longer storage. I will post a more detailed blog about storage under “Useful Ideas” (RECIPE WILL APPEAR HERE).

 

Note: I seeded the tomatoes before using them. Not because of the taste or consistency but in order to preserve the seeds. We want to be able to plant these heirloom tomatoes again next year. I will post how to save tomato seeds some time soon under “Useful Ideas”, see below.

Note: You can find two options for storing salsa here: https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/how-to-preserve-summer-time-salsa-for-winter/


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Garden-Fresh Tomato & Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo recipes continued. I searched online for a simple salsa recipe to modify and add tomatillos to. This is what I came up with:

Ingredients (Makes approximately 5 cups):
3 cups chopped tomatoes (I used a variety of garden-grown heirloom tomatoes)
1 cup (8 ounces) tomatillos, husked, washed, and chopped
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (2 frozen cubes of freshly squeezed lemon juice)
½ jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
cayenne pepper, chili powder, and garlic salt, to taste

Preparation:
1. Place tomatoes, onion, tomatillos, and jalapeno pepper in a blender. Add the lemon juice and blend until desired consistency.
2. Add spices (cumin, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and garlic salt).
3. Enjoy fresh with chips.
4. Keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. Alternatively, the salsa can also be frozen or canned for longer storage. I will post a more detailed blog about storage under “Useful Ideas” (RECIPE WILL APPEAR HERE).

 

Note: I seeded the tomatoes before using them. Not because of the taste or consistency but in order to preserve the seeds. We want to be able to plant these heirloom tomatoes again next year. I will post how to save tomato seeds some time soon under “Useful Ideas” (RECIPE WILL APPEAR HERE).

Recipe inspired by http://allrecipes.com/recipe/the-best-fresh-tomato-salsa/

Note: You can find two options for storing salsa here: https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/how-to-preserve-summer-time-salsa-for-winter/


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Homemade enchilada sauce

I thought it would be fun to try out to make home-made enchilada sauce. Or maybe it was to impress my mom who came to visit?! And whether it was intended or not, she was impressed. =)

So I went online and got some inspiration on how to make the sauce, see recipe below. For the enchiladas, I modified the recipe for the spinach & black bean enchiladas:  https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/spinach-black-bean-enchiladas/

Ingredients for the enchilada sauce:
1½ cubes veggie bouillon cube (alternatively use 3 cups vegetable broth)
3 cups water
¼ cup salsa
¼ cup organic all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
(Notes: I think next time I will try to use my taco seasoning instead of the spices mentioned above. I am hoping it will give the sauce a bit more heat.)

Preparation of the enchilada sauce:
1. In a small bowl, combine the flour and spices (except salt and pepper).
2. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the salsa and flour spice mixture. Cook 1 minute at medium heat, whisking continuously. Meanwhile, dissolve the veggie bouillon cubes in the 3 cups of water. (It may be best to slightly heat the water, the veggie cubes will dissolve faster.)
3. Whisk in the vegetable broth, increase the heat, and bring the mixture to a light boil. Reduce to simmer and cook 8 minutes, or until the sauce has slightly thickened. Whisk the sauce occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

 

Ingredients for spinach & black bean enchiladas:
1 pound frozen organic spinach, cut and drained
1 (15-ounce) can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup salsa
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon chili powder
approximately 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas (Note: I use a 13 x 9 inch Pyrex glass dish and fill it with enchiladas until the dish is full)
about 1 cup Mexican style shredded cheese

Preparation of spinach & black bean enchiladas:
1. Defrost spinach and remove as much water as possible. (Hint: I like to place the spinach into a medium-sized bowl and use a bowl one size smaller to press the liquid out from the spinach leaves.)
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the casserole dish with vegetable oil spray and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine spinach, black beans, 1 cup of salsa, cumin, and chili powder. Spoon mixture down the middle of one tortilla (approximately 1-2 tablespoons). (Note: If tortillas are slightly warmed, they will not break when being rolled up. I prefer heating them briefly individually in a non-stick pan on both sides.) Roll the tortilla around the filling and place it seam down in the prepared casserole dish. Repeat process with remaining tortillas.
3. Lastly, pour the enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. Bake, uncovered, at 350 °F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is fully melted. Enjoy. =)

Spinach & black bean enchilada with home-made enchilada sauce

Spinach & black bean enchilada with home-made enchilada sauce


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Spinach & Black Bean Enchiladas

Yum…enchiladas…maybe our favorite dish at the Mexican restaurant. This recipe combines healthful spinach and black beans. It also stores well and allows for healthy lunches.
(I just noticed that this recipe has no picture…I guess next time I make it, I will have to take a picture)
(Adapted from American Heart Association)

Ingredients:
Several quarts of water
8 cups fresh spinach leaves, stemmed (1 pound)*
Vegetable oil spray, if needed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups low-sodium salsa, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon chili powder
14 (6-inch corn) tortillas**
4 ounces shredded nonfat or low-fat Monterey Jack cheese (about 1 cup)
2 Italian plum tomatoes, diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced

* Substitute 1 (10-ounce) package of no-salt-added frozen spinach. Defrost spinach and drain completely, then continue with the recipe.
** Heat tortilla one at a time for approx. 30 seconds in microwave to prevent from breaking when rolling. Or place in hot non-stick pan and flip quickly.

Preparation
1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil over high heat. While water heats, thoroughly rinse spinach. Add spinach to boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well in a colander. Press out as much liquid as possible with the back of a large spoon.

2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray the casserole dish with vegetable oil spray and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine spinach, black beans, 1 cup of salsa, ½ teaspoon of cumin, and chili powder. Spoon mixture down the middle of one tortilla. Roll the tortilla around the filling and place it seam down in prepared casserole dish. Repeat process with remaining tortillas.

3. Combine remaining 1 cup salsa, tomatoes, and cumin; pour over tortillas. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 25 to 30 min. or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, and let stand for 2 min. Place ½ cup lettuce on each individual serving plate. Arrange 2 enchiladas over lettuce on each plate. Top each serving with one tablespoon sour cream.

Tip: This dish freezes well. After rolling the enchiladas, place them in a container and cover tightly with foil or put them in an airtight plastic freezer bag. Increase baking time to 35 to 40 minutes.

Healthful benefits:
* Spinach is a good source of beta carotene, vitamin C, iron, calcium, folate, potassium, and fiber.
* Black beans are rich in protein.
* Corn tortillas are healthier than flour tortillas. Corn tortillas have fewer calories, less fat (also less saturated fats), less sugar, and less sodium than flour tortillas. In addition, corn tortillas have more fiber and magnesium than flour tortillas.