Falling behind on my blogging

I took a few extra shifts at work last week, not a huge amount of hours since each shift is only 3 hours long, but enough that I was distracted from my usual routine in regards to cooking and blogging. So here is a make-up post of some of the things I have made since last week, up to today!

I'm finding certain blogs are more "useful" to me than others, though I enjoy reading alot of them and my list of blogs grows with every event. The recent comfort event yielded 7 new blogs for my list! Good thing I love to read! However for recipes I tend to actually print out and cook, one blog has been tagged by me several times: Elise at Simply Recipes. She was one of the first blogs I tagged on Bloglines.

So it was a copy of a recipe from Elise's blog I turned to when I decided to roast a whole chicken last week. She had recently posted about a roasted garlic chicken, and I had immediately printed it off and gone shopping. Of course it took me a few days to actually get around to making the chicken, but eventually I did.

This chicken sat in a brine in my fridge for 24 hours, the brine made up of roasted garlic, lemon juice, water, salt, pepper and a bayleaf. It smelled amazing, especially considering it was raw chicken! Once roasted, the chicken itself was very moist and had good flavor, but I did not notice any of the flavor, or any further odor of roasted garlic. Sad, so sad. I love garlic. Despite that, I will make this chicken again. I will simply add more garlic and roast it 10-15 minutes longer so that my chicken is the dark, golden color of Elise's chicken.

Friday was a PD day for both my children. They both went to work with me that morning, then came home to a lazy afternoon. That lazy afternoon included making cupcakes with Mom though, including icing. Not a bad way to spend a day off school.

Our cupcake choice that day was for carrot cupcakes, with a cream cheese icing, a recipe I had used before, which can be found online at Today's Parent. Both boys helped out, with my oldest measuring out ingredients carefully, and my youngest pouring things into the mixer. I probably should have taken a picture but really didn't want icing sugar all over my camera.

The final result looked like these ones in the picture - I did the icing, not one of the children, and the last of those cupcakes were eaten today, making them the longest lasting cupcakes this house has seen in awhile!

Saturday night was date night for my husband and I. I took along my camera to the restaurant and will blog about that at a later time, pictures included.

Sunday night I made hamburgers, by request, but put my own spin on them. Double cheese burgers, but not the usual double of two patties. Instead these had cheese stuffed inside them as well as melted on top of them.

I was after a Tex-mex flare to my burgers, and had intended to use some salsa in or on them (but was personally distracted by coleslaw for on them later.) Lean ground beef was seasoned with salt, pepper and cumin, then bound together with an egg. I can't for the life of me remember what else I put into the burgers for seasonings, but those ingredients I am sure of.

After mixing the meat mixture up, I shapped them into very thin patties, using some waxed papper, piled high the shredded Monterey Jack cheese in the middle, then topped them with another thin patty before sealing them closed and trapping the cheese inside. It was already black outside when I needed to cook them, so I opted for a frying pan rather than the bbq. Still these burgers ended up with good color and very little of the cheese managed to escape the center. Served with coleslaw and flavorful potato chips, dinner was simple but yummy, something we all neeed to have while watching the Grey Cup.

Now I skip ahead a few days to day's dinner, chicken enchiladas, again a recipe I have made many times before, though I always consult my printed copy before I ignore it.

At one point this recipe came from a Weight Watchers CD I own (somewhere - I like cookbooks in every form.) Though if someone who initially wrote this recipe were to come in and see my version, I suspect they wouldn't recognize it as their own. For starters, mine uses flour tortillas instead of corn. And I don't measure much. I swap out green peppers for any other color, and I like cheese, so I use more than is called for. Plus the original produced 8 - 6 inch tortillas filled. Mine produced 14, using 8 inch tortillas. More is better, right?

Today I did something else a bit different while making it, though - I poached the chicken in chicken broth with some pepper. This allowed me to work on my veggies while not paying attention to the chicken, and resulted in meat that was very moist and flavorful. I will be doing this again the next time I want precooked chicken of any kind, it was that good.

This dish was supposed to be served with a simple salad with a ranch dressing, but instead I had it alone with just some sour cream. One of my children now has a fever (and not much interested in eating,) and the other informed me that he just wanted tortilla with cheese to dip, no chicken, no veggies, no sauce. Since it meant more enchiladas for my husband and I, I was not going to argue.

I'll post the recipe for the enchiladas after I have had a chance to look at my original and figure out the changes I made. Then I'll post the recipe I actually made!

Chicken Enchiladas

1 1/2 cups canned whole tomatoes, drained, or 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained (but reserve liquid in case you need to thin out sauce.)
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloved, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon mild or hot chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch ground red pepper, or pepper flakes
pink cinnamon

In a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients and puree until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes, until thickenend.

1 teaspoon vegetable or olive oil
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup diced green bell pepper (I used yellow and orange instead of green.)
1 cup diced onions, I prefer red onion here
14 8" flour tortillas
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded (try poaching in a pan with some chicken stock and pepper, bring to a boil then reduce and simmer until chicken is cooked through. Allow to cool a bit before shredding with two forks.)
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 375F.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil. Add vegetables and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
Spread 1/4 cup tomato mixture into bottom of 13 x 9 pan (I prep two pans because one is two small.)

Place a tortilla onto a work surface. Spoon about 1 large tablespoon of bell pepper mixture into the center of the tortilla, in a line. Top with about equal amount of shredded chicken and cheese. Roll up to enclose filling. Place seam-side down in prepared pan. Repeat until out of tortillas, chicken and pepper mixture. You should still have about 1 cup of cheese left.
Top tortillas evenly with remaining sauce then sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese.
Bake 25-30 minutes, until heated through and bubbling.

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