Saturday, August 25, 2012

Don't Worry, We're Not Starving

*I* might not have time to cook, but the bride and groom found time. My house smells wonderful tonight, as they spent all evening making these wonderful whole wheat blueberry cinnamon rolls for tomorrow's church picnic. SO good!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What is Leni Cooking This Week?

Nothing! Probably not actually nothing, but it feels that way. I did put some Salisbury steaks in the crock pot yesterday, but I was completely unimpressed by it, so it doesn't count. ;o)

I am probably calling on my back up to bring home a roasted chicken tonight. My days are filled with wedding plans and wedding projects. Lists and phone calls and emails. Shots of adrenaline as I remember a fine detail that was missed. Panic as I realize a self-imposed deadline has passed. And yet, we're still having fun. ;o)

It might have been much easier to hire someone to do all of this for us, but it has been a precious time of working with my daughter and our sweet friends who are helping us. Great memories being built here!

I will resume posting recipes about mid-September. Meanwhile, you get to hear about wedding food and wedding plans and anything else wedding related that I find the time to bore you with! ;o)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Crockpot Enchilada Casserole

First, an apology for the delay with this week's post. I fear as the wedding gets closer there may be more instances of this happening. 24 days to go!

Now I know that the picture below might cause confusion. I admit, I am recycling my photos! Today I'm sharing the recipe for the casserole that uses the sauce I posted last week

Who doesn't love an enchilada? Who loves taking the time to roll each enchilada? Always looking for a way to speed the process, we developed this crock pot casserole. It's cheap, it's filling, and if you've got a household full of teenagers, they will leave the table satisfied and not be back in 10 minutes claiming hunger again.

When we go camping (in a cabin, I do not do tents any more!) I make these either in the crock or in individual servings in foil cake pans. They can be popped in an oven or over coals to cook. I make them ahead and freeze, just thaw before cooking. 

Leni's Notes:
~Very versatile, feel free to change up the ingredients. Pick and choose from the lists below. Go wild and throw in whatever floats your boat!
~This can be done in the oven also, it's very much a "cook until done" recipe. When the cheese is melty and starting to brown, it's done.
~This is a terrific meal to keep in the freezer for those occasions when you want to send a meal to a friend who is laid up or for those nights when you just didn't have time to pull dinner together.

(for an 8 qt crock pot)

1/2 recipe of enchilada sauce (link above)
1 package whole wheat tortillas
1 large can fat free refried beans
2# browned ground beef
Shredded cheddar
Sour Cream and Salsa for serving


~Grease your cooking container of choice
~Spoon some sauce into the bottom of the container
~Combine the refried beans with some enchilada sauce to make it easier to spread
~Combine the meat with some enchilada sauce to make it easier to spread
Meat mixture
Bean Mixture
~Repeat until your cooking container is full, ending with tortillas
~Top with a good healthy dose of sauce, so it runs down in and saturates the casserole.
~Sprinkle some cheese on top, cook until done. (It can handle high for 4-5 hours, if it's going to be on longer than that, cook on low.)

Serve with sour cream and salsa.

It's not pretty to look at on the plate. My kids say that just scares off the people who don't know any better, leaving more for them. ;o)

Alternate Ingredients
Whole canned beans (black, pinto, navy...)
Rice (makes a great filler for stretching a budget!)
Grilled chicken (or leave the meat out altogether)

From my home to yours, enjoy!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Wish Me Luck!

Today I am doing a test-run of the mini cheesecakes I am making for the wedding. Trying a couple of variations, and seeing how they hold up to being frozen and thawed.

I shall report back with my results, no matter how bad they are! Meanwhile, the whole family is looking forward to eating the evidence when they get home. ;o)

If you have any tried and true mini-cheesecake recipes, do share!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Enchilada Sauce

The inspiration for today's recipe comes from my favorite California resident, Jeanette. She shared her recipe for enchilada sauce after I complained about how much it cost to buy it in those little cans. Her recipe tasted so much better than the store bought! 

Jeanette is a homeschooling friend from across the country. After years of sharing parenting advice and recipes with me, I finally got to meet her when hubby's company sent us to CA for a week. I can't tell you what a treat it was to meet some of her family and go explore Santa Monica Pier and the Promenade with them. Definitely the highlight of my trip. Now I can't call her an imaginary friend any more. ;o)

Pictured below is the finished product of our Crock Pot Enchiladas. I'll be posting that recipe next.
I made minor changes to Jeanette's recipe suit our family's tastes and to make it into a bulk recipe. Notes below. 

Leni's Notes:
~When we make enchiladas, they go fast, so we always make a huge batch. Hence, this sauce recipe is a quadruple batch.
~The resulting sauce will freeze well in casseroles, but I wasn't crazy about the texture if we just froze the sauce.
~This works great with gluten free flour and regular flour, so adjust to fit your needs.
~As written, this will give a mild heat to your dish. If you like things spicier, add in more chili powder at the end to reach your desired taste.
~Makes 12 cups

1/2 C oil
1/2 C flour (white, rice, GF blend - they all work)
1/2 C chili powder
32 oz tomato puree
8 C water
1/2 C dry, minced onions
4 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin 
1 tsp garlic powder

Heat oil in dutch oven. When oil is hot, add in flour and chili powder, whisking to combine.
Continue to heat mixture, whisking regularly, for about one minute.
Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 min., stirring occasionally.
You can start making enchiladas at this point or cool and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Enchilada Casserole recipe to come next week!