Quick Homemade Enchilada Sauce

enchsauceDespite living just 4 miles from the Taco Bell Test Kitchen, we were not among the lucky few who were able to get one of the 32 reservations to the, usually closed to the public, secret spot to eat for free. #Damn! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Since we missed that #GoldenOpportunity, I decided to make a favorite Taco Bell guiltytaco-bell-logo pleasure of my Mom’s for #CincoDeMayo, the Enchirito the only problem?  I forgot to buy enchilada sauce. UGH!

I’m brave and my husband was hungry, so into the pantry I waded for some staples and the result was a thick and flavorful sauce.  Overall, it wasn’t bad at all!

Last Minute – Forgot to Buy it Enchilada Sauce

  • 1 – 15 oz Can Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1/3 Cup Canola Oil
  • 2 TBLS All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 3 TBLS Chili Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt to taste
  1. In medium saucepan, heat tomato sauce and oil over medium-high heat
  2. Whisk in flour, stirring until well blended
  3. Stir in water and return just to a boil
  4. Add the spices and reduce heat to low
  5. Simmer for 10-15 minutes
  6. Add salt as needed

Tip:  If sauce is going to be used for enchiladas in a casserole, you may want to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more water to thin it down a touch.

Sauce will keep up to a week in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator.

If you’re interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to like:  health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, gadget reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a community page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Artichokes With Roasted Garlic Wine Dip

home-artichokeI love living in Southern California where there is the availability of local fruits and vegetables in the stores, as well as what is trucked and flown in from around the country and from other parts of the world, pretty much year-round.  It really makes cooking and eating fun! #ThisGirlLovesToEat 

One of the few things that I do have to be patient for are artichokes.  Nowhere grows them as big and meaty as we do in California.  In fact, 99.99% of all commercially grown artichokes are grown in California. 

CAF_fest_logo-2017Since I happen to love them, it’s a pretty good thing that Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom named artichokes the Official State Vegetable of California on April 10, 2013.  Artichokes from California are so fabulous that they’ve had their own festival for the past 56 years: Castroville Artichoke Food & Wine Festival.

Some people dip their leaves in mayonnaise (which makes me want to gag), others in various aiolis, dips or other concoctions, but I’ve been a ridiculous creature of habit for as long as I can remember, eating my artichokes one way and one way only: dipping each succulent leaf into a bowl of melted butter.  Occasionally I may deviate in the preparation of the steam that surrounds my artichoke, adding some white wine, maybe some garlic or some lemon to the water, but I never deviate on my buttery leaf bath.  Until now.

This long forgotten recipe I’d clipped from the May 2007 edition of Cooking Light Magazine convinced me to change my ways (at least temporarily).

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Artichokes With Roasted Garlic Wine Dip

  • 2 whole garlic heads
  • 4 medium artichokes (about 3 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  1. Preheat Oven to 400° F.
  2. Remove white papery skin from garlic heads (do not peel or separate the cloves). Wrap each head separately in foil. Bake at 400° F for 45 minutes; cool 10 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Discard skins.
  3. Cut off stems of artichokes, and remove bottom leaves. Trim about 1/2 inch from tops of artichokes. Place artichokes, stem ends down, in a large Dutch oven filled two-thirds with water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until a leaf near the center of each artichoke pulls out easily. Remove artichokes from pan.
  4. Combine half of garlic pulp and wine in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes. Add broth; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 8 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in butter and salt. Pour mixture into a blender; add remaining half of garlic pulp. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Sprinkle dip with parsley, if desired. Serve dip with warm artichokes.

If you’re interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to like:  health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, gadget reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a community page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Houston’s Hawaiian Rib-Eye

Someone at Bon Appétit was able to sweet talk the people in charge of the vault of recipes for some of the most ordered favorites at Hillstone’s (Houston’s Steakhouse) and I couldn’t be more excited!

One of my favorite items on the Houston’s menu is the Hawaiian Rib-Eye Steak.  It’s obviously one of their most popular items as well, since it it the featured photo on their website!  It’s juicy, full of flavor and hits the table with a hint of sizzle from the grill. What more could anyone ask for? #ThisGirlLovesToEat

hawaiian-rib-eye-steak

Houston’s Hawaiian Rib-Eye Steak (Serves 4)

Steak

  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • ⅓ cup chopped white onion
  • 1 – 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 – 1-inch-thick bone-in rib-eye steaks (about 3 pounds total)
  1. Whisk pineapple juice, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and oil in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved.  Add onion and ginger.
  2. Set aside 2 Tbsp. marinade for butter.
  3. Transfer remaining marinade to a large resealable plastic bag. Add steaks and seal bag, pressing out excess air. Chill at least 1 day.
  4. Remove steaks from marinade, pat dry, and let sit until room temperature, about 1 hour.

Do Ahead: Steaks can be marinated 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Butter

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Kosher salt
  1. Whisk butter and oil in a medium bowl to combine. Vigorously whisk in reserved marinade; season with salt.
  2. Transfer to the center of a sheet of parchment paper and roll up into a log. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Do Ahead: Butter can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Preparation

  1. Build a two-zone fire in a charcoal grill for direct (medium-high coals) and indirect (medium-low coals) heat.  Alternatively, heat a gas grill to high just before cooking, leaving one burner on low.
  2. Season steaks very lightly with salt (omit this step if marinating more than 24 hours).
  3. Grill over high heat, turning, until steaks are well browned and beginning to char around edges, about 4 minutes.
  4. Transfer to cooler part of grill and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of steaks registers 120° for medium-rare. (Alternatively, cook in a grill pan over medium-high heat, turning steaks every couple of minutes.)
  5. Transfer steaks to a wire rack.
  6. Slice butter into ¼”-thick rounds and divide between steaks.
  7. Let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Serve alongside a baked sweet potato with a pat of butter & a dusting of cinnamon and sugar (or a splash of maple syrup) and a simple mixed green salad.

If you’re interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to like:  health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, gadget reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a community page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Salmon in Parchment

If you are always on the lookout for quick and easy weeknight recipes, and don’t stop here first, do what I often do when I am looking for inspiration and follow Food Porn on Twitter.

Today there was a quick and easy to follow video for Salmon Baked in Parchment that will help you get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes!

4salmonrecipes

  • Pesto Salmon
  • Teriyaki Salmon
  • Lemon Dill Salmon
  • Garlic Butter Salmon

 

I’ve done the lemon dill salmon and it came out perfect.  Next on my list to try is the pesto salmon.  This girl loves pesto and this girl loves salmon!  Let’s face it, #ThisGirlLovesToEat 

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active community page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf

I wanted to make something healthy for an impromptu, no occasion, mid-week family gathering but didn’t want to spend all day in the kitchen prepping.  I thought about a simple ground sirloin meatloaf and a salad, but meatloaf, even with ground sirloin, screams, “Boring!”.

Having just gone to the grocery store yesterday, I was SO not in the mood to go again today.  Thankfully a dive into the freezer led to a discovery of 2 pounds of frozen ground chicken breast and 3 pounds of handmade gourmet chicken sausage I’d had to freeze due to family drama derailing a dinner a couple of weeks ago!  A quick check of the pantry confirmed that I still had a jar of the amazing Gia Russa Hot Sicilian Marinara I’d come across at World Market, I always have pasta, Parmesan & mozzarella and the makings for a green salad, so dinner is handled!  Whew…

chixparmml3

Spicy Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf

  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil or butter
  • 2 pounds ground chicken breast
  • 3 chicken “Italian” sausages
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 – 14.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, drained (these are a bit spicy, you can use diced tomatoes instead)
  • 3/4 cup seasoned Panko crumbs
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1+1/2 cups marinara sauce (I use a spicy sauce)
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

First Prepare the Sausages:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Place the sausages into a rimmed baking pan.
  3. Cook for 30-45 minutes (depending on how big the sausages are) until casings begin to brown.
  4. Remove sausages from the oven and set aside to cool.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F
  6. In the bowl of your stand mixer, with the paddle or dough hook attachment, combine the ground chicken, eggs, Panko, tomatoes, garlic, 1/4 Cup of the marinara sauce, and Parmesan cheese.
  7. Using a sharp / serrated knife, slice the sausage links into rounds.
  8. There isn’t much fat in the ground chicken breast, so, using about a tablespoon of le-creuset-heritage-covered-square-cherry-red-baking-disholive oil or butter, grease the bottom and sides of your chosen baking dish. NOTE:  I use a Le Cruset® square 3 QT Covered Baking Dish so I can keep it warm out of the oven and at the table.
  9. Take approximately 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce and spread it along the bottom of the pan then layer 1/2 of your sausage slices on top of the sauce.
  10. Mound 1/2 of your ground chicken mixture into the pan then layer the rest of your chixparmml1slices on top of that. (This is why I use the larger, square shaped pan.
  11. Mound the rest of the ground chicken mixture on top of the second layer of sausage slices then, using your hands (or a pair of rubber spatulas) shape the meat in from the sides to form a loaf mounding up towards the middle.
  12. Top the meatloaf with the rest of the marinara sauce allowing it to spill down the sides.  NOTE:  You can prepare up to this point, cover and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook.  If you are going to do that, allow to sit on the counter while you are waiting for the oven to preheat.chixparmml2
  13. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until chicken is cooked (insert instant read thermometer into the center of loaf should read 165°F).
  14. When done remove and add the mozzarella cheese on top.
  15. If you have extra marinara sauce, put into a small saucepan and warm to serve alongside slices if desired.
  16. Return the meatloaf to the oven until the cheese is melted.
  17. Remove from the oven and let the meatloaf rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  • Prepare some wide egg noodles, fettuccini, angel hair, spaghetti, or spaghettini.
  • Drain.
  • Toss warm pasta with some butter or olive oil and grated parmesan cheese.
  • Pile some pasta in the center of the plate, then lay a thick slice of the meatloaf atop the pasta.
  • If you have warmed some of the extra sauce, ladle a bit of it on top of the meat and grate a bit more fresh Parmesan (or shake some out of the green can) cheese on top.
  • Toss a crisp green salad and dinner is served. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

The meatloaf came out moist and didn’t end up needing the extra sauce.  When I reheated the extra slices in the microwave the next day I added the sauce.

If you are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to like:  health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a community page on Facebook you can visit: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Buffalo Spinach Artichoke Dip

Tasting Table is one of my favorite Twitter follows.  I love browsing their website for restaurant reviews, recipes, new spins on classic drinks, and guides to cities I am planning to travel to.

I was surfing their website today and came across an appetizer that included 4 of my favorite tastes in a single dish: bacon, Buffalo sauce, spinach and artichoke hearts!  Add to that the ability to make ahead, the reviewers rated it 100% make again, and it didn’t call for any hard to get ingredients and this girl who loves to eat was sold!

Note:  I did adapt the recipe from the original:

    1. I prefer a bit more bacon (and I buy mine from the butcher case, never pre-packaged because we don’t have great options in my stores);
    2. I made the blue cheese optional (it’s not a favorite of mine) and offered some substitution options; and
    3. I added a bit more hot sauce to mine.

bcartdip

Buffalo Spinach-Artichoke Dip

  • 3 slices (5 ounces) thick-cut bacon (I use 6 slices)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 9 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and finely chopped
  • 6 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces smoked blue cheese, softened (I don’t care for Blue Cheese, so I substitute Gorgonzola.  You can also use Goat Cheese, Feta, Stilton, or Brie)
  • 1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons Franks Red Hot Sauce (I like mine spicy so I add a couple TBLS more)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the bacon over medium-high heat.  Cook, turning as needed, until the bacon is golden and the fat has rendered, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then finely chop and set aside.
  4. Add the garlic and onions to the pan and cook, stirring often, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Add the artichoke hearts and spinach and cook until the spinach is lightly wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir the cream cheese, blue cheese (or whatever cheese you’ve substituted), 1 cup of the Parmesan, sour cream, and hot sauce until smooth.
  7. Fold in the spinach and artichoke mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Transfer to a 1½-quart casserole dish and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
  9. In a small bowl, mix the remaining ½ cup of Parmesan with the chopped bacon, panko crumbs and olive oil.
  10. Sprinkle the panko crumb topping over the dip and place the casserole dish on a sheet pan in case any cheese bubbles over.
  11. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes, then serve.

tt_logo_image_1The recipe calls for serving with chips.  I like to eat this dip with really thick, freshly made tortilla chips, Triscuits, carrot chips, thick bell pepper slices or celery.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Oatmeal Cookies With A Sweet Surprise

oatmealcookiesI was feeling a little down today so I headed to the kitchen to change my attitude.

What better way to do that than bake some cookies?

Not content to make the usual “off the lid of the oatmeal container” recipe, I decided to tweak it a bit and came out with a cookie that smelled fantastic while it was baking, let me sneak in an ingredient my husband says he doesn’t like but I love (coconut), and went great with an ice cold bottle of Guinness while I settled in to watch USC Basketball play Providence #BeatTheFriars.

Oatmeal Cookies With A Sweet Surprise

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1+1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 (12 oz) package milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup packed shredded coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In the bowl of stand mixer (or a medium bowl if using a hand mixer) cream the butter, sugars, and vanilla. Mix on low speed for about a minute, then on medium for an additional minute until light and creamy.
  3. Add the eggs mixing on low between each addition. Mix on high for about a minute. The mixture should be pale yellow and very fluffy.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing on low until the flour disappears. Add the oats and mix on low again, just until blended.
  6. Add the coconut and chocolate chips mixing on low just until blended.
  7. Use a medium-sized cookie scoop (overflowing the scoop a bit) and place the dough on ungreased non-stick baking sheets about 2″ a part.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven for 12 minutes, or until the tops and edges start to turn a light golden brown.
  9. Remove the cookies sheets from the oven and allow the cookies to cool about 5 minutes on the pan before removing to a plate to finish cooling.
  10. When cookies are completely cool, store any you haven’t eaten in a tightly sealed container on the counter.

If it matters, the cookies even got my labs’ seal of approval.  After I spilled half a bag of coconut on the kitchen floor, which my labs were more than happy to help clean up, they were hounding around when they came out of the oven.  I gave them their own “cookies” but my black lab wasn’t satisfied with that and, even though she was SO BUSTED, I caught her standing up at the IMG_1743counter, as quietly as she could, eating as many cookies as she could (1 big one) before I got to her to get the plate out of her reach!

Before I get #HateMail, I know chocolate is bad for my babies, and she only got 1 cookie before I got her away from the plate, so don’t call the ASPCA on me.  It wasn’t dark chocolate so it was “less” bad, she’s a 90 pound dog so plenty big to handle digesting the minimal bit of theobromine in the maybe 5 chocolate chips in the cookie she managed to eat.  I love my dogs much more than I love cookies.  If you want to make them puppy safe just leave the chocolate chips out of a few.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood