Dinner By Dagny

Not just food, food with flavor

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

Baked Chili Rellenos

The last time I made green chili salsa for enchiladas, I had a lot of leftover sauce.  Instead of using it on another batch of enchiladas, I decided to branch out.  I came up with the idea to make chili rellenos with the green chili salsa.  Traditionally, it’s made with a red chili sauce, but the filling is pretty flexible.  My hunt for poblano peppers was a little difficult in my regular grocery store.  I picked up 10 on the smallish side.  I’m sure I would have gotten larger ones, and had a better selection at a Hispanic market or the International Food store, but that didn’t work into the schedule.

One of the first things I learned when looking for a recipe is that chili rellenos is usually battered and fried.  I apparently had selectively forgotten that.  After searching for baked variations, I most closely referenced this one.  I used ground turkey and queso blanco, but you can really fill these with anything you want.

Ingredients

10 medium poblano peppers

1 lb ground turkey

1 lb queso blanco

1 medium onion, chopped

2 1/2 – 3 cups green chili salsa

Adobo, cumin, oregano to taste

Directions

1.  Char chilis under broiler on each side until blistered (~approximately 5 mins per side)

2.  Remove charred chilis from pan and place in sealed plastic bag.  Let stand for 15 minutes.

3.  Remove skin from chilis. (I prepared the chilis the night before)

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4.  Remove the stems and as many of the seeds as you can.  Cut a slit about an 1 inch long so that you get to more of the seeds and stuff them.

5.  Prepare filling by browning turkey with chopped onion.  Season to taste.  Add about 1/2 – 1 cup of green chili salsa to the turkey

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6.  Shred queso blanco and use about 1/2 to stir into the meat mixture.

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7.  Spread 1 cup of green chili salsa on bottom of pan.  Stuff peppers and layer on top.

8.  Drizzle remaining green chili salsa on top of peppers, sprinkle with remaining cheese.

10.  Bake for 20-25 minutes on 375 until cheese is melted, sauce is bubbling and there are brown spots.

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Results

We really enjoyed this meal.  Next time, I think I would use a “mexican” blend cheese to add a little sharpness to the flavor.  But it is definitely an easy meal that allows me to substitute as I see fit.

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Grilled Romaine Salad

xMy kids have been gone for the last couple of weeks so the house has been quiet and my husband and I have found plenty to keep us busy.  Unfortunately this means I’m not getting to cook as often as I’d like.  The alternative of eating out almost every day does wear on you.

On a rare occasion during this period, I was home for lunch.  I was pretty bored of the lunch options and thought I would try something that I had been thinking about periodically.  I wanted to grill my salad.  While initially odd, there are all sorts of Food Network chefs preparing grilled caesar salads.  I figured it couldn’t be all bad.

The other factor in all of this is that our garden is turning out a great crop of tomatoes this season.  And with us not being home as often, and there only being two of us, we have an excess of tomatoes.

Ingredients

1/2 head romaine lettuce

olive oil

Parmesan cheese to taste

8-9 cherry tomatoes (these are hartman yellows)

salad dressing of your preference (I used a homemade roasted red pepper dressing that I made from the marinade of jarred roasted red pepers, olive oil, oregano, 1-2 crushed garlic cloves, Adobo and pepper)

Directions

1.  Preheat broiler

2.  Drizzle olive oil on cut side of romaine lettuce

3.  Broil lettuce until it starts to brown (~5 minutes)

4.  Remove lettuce from oven, layer with tomatoes (cut in halves), drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with cheese

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Results

I was happy to be at home that day, eating that lunch.

Fun with Food (baked sausage, sorrel & parmesan crusted tomatoes)

Over the last couple of weeks, I have tried a couple of new cooking techniques and ingredients. While I’m going to talk about them together they were definitely 3 different adventures.

We still haven’t fixed our grill so when we decided we were going to have bangers and mash for dinner I was figuring that I would do the usual stove top cooking method. The downside to the stovetop method is that you have to focus on your cooking, regularly turning the sausages or adding liquid if the sausage was cooking too quickly. It crossed my mind that there had to be a oven baked cooking method where you could pretty much ignore it. The Internet is a wonderful thing. I found this recipe and decided I would give it a try.

We have good friends who participate in a CSA, where they get fresh vegetables, fruit and eggs from a local farm each week. They were going out of town and Offered us their share for the week. The only caveat is I had to use the ingredients to cook two servings for one of them. Obviously I agreed and went on a grand adventure with my father to pick it up. I got onions, potatoes, peppers, peaches, plums, apples, tomatoes, two types of basil, garlic, and sorrel.

Neither my father or I have never had the sorrel green So we tried it. It had a tart flavor. We took a large “as much as you can eat” portion and went our our way. We started talking about adding it to our salad or using it solely as the leafy green, but then I thought about sautéing it with garlic and olive oil like I would spinach and stuff some chicken breasts with it. I didn’t know that it turns brown and gets slimy when you cook it. It also shrinks significantly. With the addition of spinach, roasted red peppers, feta and cream cheese, I was able to salvage it for dinner. It made a nice flavor combination.

My husband is growing hartman yellow cherry tomatoes in his garden. We brought in about 1 pound of those a day this week so I wanted to use the CSA tomatoes quickly. I got inspired for lunch and did a quick crusting of Parmesan before broiling them. I was a happy girl.

Oven Baked Sausage Directions

1. Remove the sausage from the refrigerator 10 – 15 minutes before cooking
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius)
3. Layer the baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper
4. Place the sausages evenly on the cooking sheet
5. Bake sausage for 30 minutes, turning them once at the 15 minute mark
6. Remove from oven, let rest for 5-10 minutes

Note: the original recipe says 20-25 minutes unless sausages are especially thick and then it should be 40-60. I cooked them for 30 minutes as that is how long it takes on stovetop or grill. For us it was the right timeframe.

 

This is super simple and resulted in juicy, browed sausage.  The biggest issue for us was that the butcher wrapped all the different types of sausage together so we couldn’t tell them apart without tasting them.

Sorrel with Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Feta

1. Remove stems from large portion (enough to fill a colander) of sorrel
2. Heat olive oil in large skillet
3. Add 3-4 cloves garlic crushed or minced
4. Add sorrel and spinach
5. Season with adobo and pepper
6. Add in 1 roasted red pepper, cut into strips
7. Remove from heat, stir in 2 tablespoons cream cheese and 1/4 cup crumbled feta

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Despite the looks of this, it made a good filling for the chicken breasts.  I brushed thai basil pesto (olive oil, lemon juice, walnuts) on the outside and broiled the chicken for 6-7 minutes on each side.  The one complaint was the “bones” of the sorrel, AKA strings that appeared.  However, it was only “found” by one diner and only on the first bite.  The sorrel added a unique flavor to the spinach mixture, and the spinach added some texture and cut down on the sliminess of the sorrel.  Dinner was not only salvaged, it was unanimously considered delicious.

Parmesan Crusted Tomatoes

1. Cut tops off tomatoes and any bad spots
2. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise
3. Dip tops of tomatoes in grated Parmesan cheese


4. Lay on baking sheet, cheese side up
5. Broil on high for 5 minutes

This was easy to prepare and took very little time.  I ate it with some steamed fingerling potatoes and then had plums and peaches for desert.

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