Thursday, October 8, 2009

crispy southwest chicken burritos

We love us some Mexican food in our house and I love any kind of update that we can give to our usual repertoire. These are so yum and so easy. I love the nicely spiced rice and the fresh ingredients that really brighten things up. It can very easily be doubled to feed a bigger crowd or to have leftovers. Also, you totally have to use raw tortillas - they will make anything you cook taste like it came from a restaurant.
Crispy Southwest Chicken Burritos
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe
Makes 6 burritos
1 cup cooked rice, warm or at room temperature
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken on this day but have also made it with leftovers.)
1 green onion, finely sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Reduced -fat sour cream
6 burrito-sized tortillas
*You could also add a 15 ounce can of drained and rinsed black beans to the rice mixture. I didn't do that this time.
Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese in the middle of the tortillas and dot with about 1-2 tbsp. of sour cream, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla. (If you're using raw tortillas, you will have just heated them on both sides in a skillet or on a griddle before filling them with the mixture.) Fold in 2 sides of the tortilla to enclose filling and roll up into a burrito. Spray the tortillas all over with cooking spray.
Heat a griddle over medium heat. Arrange 2 burritos seam-side down on griddle and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining burritos.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

baked manicotti and make-ahead garlic bread

I'm having a bit of a dilemma. When you get a recipe from a recipe blog and then you make it, can you then post it on your own recipe blog? I was thinking the answer was no but then my friend Camie said the answer is yes. So here it is. Also, is the picture looking yummy or like a pile of glop?
It most definitely doesn't taste like a pile of glop. This manicotti is so fresh and delicious tasting. I think you will love it. It did take me a bit of prep (you could definitely cut down on prep by using your favorite store-bought marinara but I think this one was worth making for sure!) but I did it all in the morning and then put in the fridge. When it was time for dinner all I did was pop it in the oven and let it do it's thing. Do you ever do that? It makes things so much less stressful at the dinner-making hour, doesn't it?
Baked Manicotti
Tomato Sauce
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, in juice
1-28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed (use fresh! It makes a HUGE difference.)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried basil
Cheese Filling and Pasta
3 cups cottage cheese, pureed in a blender (I do this instead of ricotta cheese because I don't like it as well. I think this is really yummy but if you like ricotta use it instead.)
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
16 no-boil lasagna noodles (Barilla)
Heat oven to 375.
Heat oil, garlic and pepper flakes in large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, basil and 1/2 tsp. salt and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine cottage cheese (0r ricotta), 1 cup Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, eggs, salt, pepper and herbs; set aside.
To assemble, pour 1 inch boiling water into 13 by 9-inch baking dish, then add noodles one at a time. Let noodles soak until pliable, about 5 minutes. I didn't have any problems with my noodles sticking but if you do, separate them with a sharp knife. Remove the noodles from the water with tongs and place them in a single layer on sheets of foil. Discard water in baking dish and dry it.
Give the dish a little dust of cooking spray. Spread bottom of dish evenly with 1 1/2 cups sauce. Using a soup spoon, spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture onto bottom three-quarters of each noodle (with short side facing you), leaving top quarter of noodle exposed. Roll into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. You'll be able to fit 8 in each row so all 16 will fit. Top evenly with remaining sauce making sure all the pasta is covered.
Cover manicotti with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then remove foil. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Bake until cheese is browned and bubbly, 6-7 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving. For reals.
*The manicotti can be prepared right up until the baking step then covered with a sheet of parchment paper, wrapped in aluminum foil and refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw the manicotti in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. To bake, remove parchment, replace foil and increase baking time to 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Make-Ahead Crispy, Buttery Garlic Bread
12 tbsp. (yikes!) butter, softened
4 garlic cloves, very finely minced or pressed
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
12 slices Italian or French bread
Using a fork, beat butter, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in small bowl until combined. Spread butter mixture evenly over both sides of bread.
Freeze the slices on a large baking sheet until firm, about 15 minutes. After they are firm, transfer the slices to a freezer ziplock bag and freeze for up to one month.
To serve, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange bread on rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown on the first side, about 10 minutes. Flip and bake until golden brown on the second side, 6-7 minutes more.
*To serve bread immediately instead of freezing, bake buttered bread on rimmed baking sheet at 425 degrees for 8 minutes then flip and bake 5 more minutes on the second side.