Thursday, September 20, 2012

Week 2: Enchiladas, Corn Casserole and Heartburn

Wow.  I have heartburn, and it’s not from the food.  

Okay, we will start with some good news.  Tom Brady threw for 316 yards and a TD.  Welker surpassed Troy Brown and is now #1 on the Most Receptions as a Patriot list, and after the game we resigned fan favorite Deion Branch.

Now for the bad, and there is a lot of bad.  We lost.  Hernandez is out for at least 6 weeks with an ankle injury.  There were numerous incomplete passes. Brady overthrew both Lloyd and Gronkowski in second quarter for what should have been touchdowns and Gostkowski, the most accurate kicker in Patriots history, missed a game winning 41 yard FG. 

I would like to take a moment to address the Patriots fans that spent their Sunday evenings whining about the loss.  Get over it.  We didn’t deserve to win that game.  And if you happen to be one of the fans who was ranting about 1. Brady’s decline, or 2. Your desire to bring back Vinatieri, please feel free to go jump off a bridge, you spoiled fairweather jerks.  Arizona played a tough, physical game.  Give them some credit for winning, because that is exactly what they did.  Kudos to them for preparing and executing a well thought out game plan.  

To celebrate Arizona food, you need one of two things. Cactus or Prickly Pear.  However, grocery stores in Massachusetts don’t sell either in September (... or ever?) so we went with Jalapenos and Green Chilies instead.  Today we made Spicy Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, Chicken Enchiladas and Corn Casserole. 

Pico de Gallo

1 ½ Cups Tomato, diced and seeded
¼ Cup Onion, minced
1 Jalapeno, minced
2 Limes, juiced
¼ Cup Cilantro, chopped
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

1.Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Sweet and Spicy Guacamole

3 Avocados
1 Lime, juiced
½ Cup Cilantro, chopped
1 Serrano, minced
½ teaspoon Salt
¼ Cup onion, minced
½ teaspoon Cumin
½ teaspoon Cayenne
½ Cup Mango, minced
Dash Chili Powder

1. Combine and let sit 30 minutes before serving.

We loved this Corn Casserole recipe.  It is not mine, I grabbed it from Paula Deen off the Food Network site.  The only difference between our recipes is that she puts all the cheese on top while I put ½ a Cup into the Corn Mix before baking.  You can find the original here:

Corn Casserole (Paula Deen)

1 Can Whole Kernel Corn, Drained
1 Can Cream Style Corn
1 Box Jiffy Corn muffin Mix
1 Cup Sour Cream
½ Cup Butter, Melted
1 ½ Cups Cheddar Cheese, Shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl combine Corn, Corn Muffin Mix, Sour Cream, Butter and ½ Cup Cheddar Cheese. Pour into a greased or sprayed 9x9 or 9x13 Casserole Dish. Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown. Top with the remainder of the cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. 

Chicken Enchiladas
(Makes 6-8 Enchiladas)

2 Boneless Chicken Breasts, Boiled, Shredded and Chopped
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Green Onions, Chopped
½ Cup Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
½ Cup Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 4-Ounce Can Chopped Green Chilies
½ Cup Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
2 tsps Ground Cumin
½ tsp Garlic Powder
2 Cups Mexican Style Shredded Cheese
6-8 Flour Tortillas (8”)
4 Ounces Cream Cheese
1 Can or Bottle Enchilada or Picante Sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 and Spray a 9x9 Pan (for 6) or a 13x9 Pan (for 8).
2. In a skillet, cook Bell Pepper 3-5 minutes or until slightly soft. Remove from heat.  
3. In a large bowl combine Chicken, Sour Cream, Green Onions, Bell Peppers, Chilies, Cilantro, Cumin, Garlic Powder and 1 Cup Shredded Cheese.
4. Lay 1 tortilla flat.  Smear ½ Ounce of Cream Cheese down the middle and top with ½ Cup Filling.  Roll and place seam side down in the pan. Repeat until Pan is full.
5. Top Enchiladas with Picante or Enchilada Sauce. Bake 45 minutes.  Top with the remainder of the cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Let rest 5 minutes before serving.  

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Week 1: Winners! Sin Dip, Marinated Salad and Chicken Chili

Winners! The Patriots notched their ninth consecutive season opening win on Sunday, dominating the Titans 34-13.   Brady threw for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns while passing John Elway on the list of Career Wins by a Quarterback to maintain sole possession of 5th place with 125 wins.  The best part?  He did it all with a bloody face.  As so eloquently put by Wes Welker after the game, “He’s probably the toughest metrosexual I’ve ever come across.”  Well said, Welker.  While this won’t prevent fans from opposing teams from calling Brady pretty boy names, it does give me more justification for telling them off after said comments.  

You know who else was a winner on Sunday?  ME.  Okay, not just me.  My friends Jess Ciola, Courtney Connery and I combined our super powers to create a feast that would make even Jake Locker forget about his problems.  (How’s the shoulder, big guy? He He He)

Jess Ciola started us off with one of the best dips I have had the pleasure of stuffing my face with.  Tennessee Sin Dip.  Admittedly, this looked better before we all started eating, but trust me when is say it was so good that it was half gone before I remembered to take a picture.

Tennessee Sin Dip

1 Loaf Sourdough Bread
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
2 Cups Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
8 Ounces Sour Cream
½ Cup Bacon, Cooked and Chopped
⅓ Cup Green Onions, Chopped
⅓ Cup Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
⅓ tsp Worcestershire Sauce
½ tsp Seasoned Salt

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Cup the top ¼ off of the Sourdough bread and hollow out.  Chop the bread top and the innards into cubes. Bake Shell for 10 minutes and set aside.
3. Beat Cream Cheese until softened.  Add Sour Cream and continue to beat until Creamy.  Stir in Cheddar Cheese, Bacon, Green Onions, Red Bell Pepper, Worcestershire Sauce and Seasoned Salt.  
4. Spoon mixture into pre-baked Shell.  Wrap in foil and bake for 30 minutes.  
5. Serve with Bread Cubes and Assorted Crackers. 


Matt Hasselbeck can officially thank me for getting into the game on Sunday.  Yes, some people would say it was due to Locker’s shoulder injury.  Those people would be wrong.  It was clearly because I decided to make Matt Hasselbeck’s Comeback Chicken Chili for the game.  I had never made a White Chili before, and this one was so simple and delicious, I would recommend trying it out if you are a newbie like I was.   You can find the recipe a few different places on the web, but I used the Food Network recipe, found here:

Comeback Chicken Chili (Matt Hasselbeck)

1 Can White Cannellini Beans
6 Cups Chicken Broth
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Medium Onions, Chopped and Divided
1 Tbsp Oil
2 4-Ounce Cans Chopped Green Chilis
2 tsps Ground Cumin
1 ½ tsps Oregano
¼ tsp Cloves
¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
4 Cups Chicken Breasts, Cooked and Shredded
3 Cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated.

1. Combine the Beans, Garlic, Chicken Broth and half the Onions in a soup pot. Bring to a boil.
2. In a skillet, saute the remaining Onions in Oil until soft.  Add Chilies, Cloves, Oregano, Cumin and Cayenne. Mix thoroughly and add to the soup pot.  Add Shredded Chicken, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
3. Serve topped with Grated Cheese. 

We ended the meal with Baby Back Ribs and a Marinated Tomato and Cucumber Salad.  The Ribs were my recipe and the Salad was made by Courtney Connery.

Marinated Tomato and Cucumber Salad

2 English Cucumbers, Peeled and Sliced to ¼” thick
1 Small Red Onion, Sliced Thin
3 Medium Tomatoes, Wedged
½ Cup Vinegar
¼ Cup Sugar
¼ Cup Oil
1 Cup Water
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss well.  
2. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. 

Oven Baby Back Ribs

2 Racks Baby Back Ribs
8 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Salt
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
½ teaspoon Cayenne
½ teaspoon Smoked Paprika
½ teaspoon Old Bay
½ teaspoon Thyme
½ teaspoon Onion Powder
½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 Cups BBQ Sauce (see Zesty BBQ Sauce)

1. Combine dry ingredients and rub into Ribs.  
2. Create a large foil packet and place Ribs inside.  Refrigerate 8-48 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 250.  Leaving the Ribs in the foil packet, bake 3 hours.
4. Remove Ribs from foil and place on foil lined pan.  Increase temperature to 300 and bake for 1 hour, basting with BBQ Sauce every 10-15 minutes.
5. Broil for 5 minutes just until sauce until bubbly and charred.
Serve with extra sauce on the side.

Happy Cooking!