The Baker Upstairs: July 2019

7.19.2019

Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

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These creamy and savory green chili chicken enchiladas are so delicious, and so easy to make!

These creamy and savory green chili chicken enchiladas are so delicious, and so easy to make!

What are your go-to recipes for when you have guests over for dinner? These days I generally seem to make either our favorite carnitas with homemade tortillas, or homemade pizza. For years and years though (especially when our budget was a little tighter),  I always made enchiladas whenever we had guests for dinner, and they were a universal favorite. They're easy to make, they're melty and cheesy, and everyone loves them! I love that there are so many options for fillings, sauces, and cheeses, so they're easy to make with whatever I happen to have on hand. These green chili chicken enchiladas are some of my favorites, and they are probably the enchiladas I make most often. 

These creamy and savory green chili chicken enchiladas are so delicious, and so easy to make!

The filling for these enchiladas is super delicious, with chicken, spinach, green chilies, white beans, and cream cheese. I love that it has so many different flavors mixed together! I prefer these enchiladas with corn tortillas, but you can make them with flour tortillas instead if you like. The semi-homemade green enchilada sauce is so creamy and delicious, and is perfect with a layer of melted cheese on top. I like to serve these enchiladas with a little sour cream and salsa on top, with my favorite Mexican rice on the side. They're a family-friendly dinner that's easy to make but still tastes fancy!

These creamy and savory green chili chicken enchiladas are so delicious, and so easy to make!

Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

filling:
4 cups fresh spinach
3 cups chopped cooked chicken (I used rotisserie)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces green chilies
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained

sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped finely
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14 ounces) green enchilada sauce

for assembling:
1 cup shredded cheese (jack, cheddar, colby, etc.)
12 corn tortillas, warmed and softened

Preheat oven to 375. In a large skillet, heat a few tablespoons of water. Add the spinach, cover, and let steam until spinach has wilted (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat, drain, and chop. In a medium bowl, mix together chicken, cream cheese, green chilies, spinach, and white beans. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook until softened. Whisk in the flour until a paste forms, and cook 2-3 minutes. Add chicken broth and milk, and whisk quickly to incorporate the flour mixture. Let cook a few minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened, then remove from heat. Whisk in the enchilada sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble, spread a few spoonfuls of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Fill each tortilla with about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture. Roll up and place seam side down in the baking dish. When all enchiladas have been rolled, top with remaining enchilada sauce and shredded cheese. Bake 20-30 minutes or the cheese is melted, and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.

adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
These creamy and savory green chili chicken enchiladas are so delicious, and so easy to make!

7.12.2019

Easy Swedish Meatballs

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These quick and easy Swedish meatballs are so savory and delicious!

These quick and easy Swedish meatballs are so savory and delicious!

When you think of comfort food, what kinds of food do you think of? My kids definitely think of my stovetop mac and cheese. It's what they ask for when they're sick or hurt or sad, and it's their favorite thing that I make (which is why I seem to end up making it at least once a week). My husband's favorite comfort food is turkey and mashed potatoes with gravy. He grew up eating traditional meat-and-potatoes type food, and it reminds him of home and family. For me, though, it's kind of an eclectic mix of things - chicken enchiladas, cheeseburger macaroni, and Swedish meatballs. They're three of the foods I remember eating most frequently in my childhood, and any of them make me feel happy when I'm having a hard day.

I've asked my mom a few times for her recipe for Swedish meatballs, and even though she's given it her best shot writing it down for me, it never seems to translate very well when I cook them at my house. I think it's probably because she's more of an intuitive cook, and just throws in a little of this and a little of that until everything comes together. They always taste great when she makes them, but I can't replicate her recipe myself. Because I still love Swedish meatballs, and my mom lives 700+ miles away from me, I've been developing my own recipe for them over the last few years, and I think I've finally cracked the code!

These quick and easy Swedish meatballs are so savory and delicious!

My Swedish meatballs are a little different than my mom's, but they're equally delicious! They have a silky smooth and savory sauce, with just the right amount of cream. A bit of worcestershire sauce adds some delicious umami flavor, and combines really nicely with the beef broth. I like to use homemade meatballs in these (which I try to always have on hand in my freezer), but if you're in a pinch, store-bought meatballs will work as well. My husband likes these meatballs over mashed potatoes (again, with the meat-and-potatoes type food!), but I love them over cooked egg noodles, just like my mom always serves them. These Swedish meatballs are one of my favorite meals!

These quick and easy Swedish meatballs are so savory and delicious!

Easy Swedish Meatballs

1 pound frozen meatballs (make your own with this recipe)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 3/4 cups beef broth
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
for serving: cooked egg noodles or mashed potatoes

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter is bubbling, whisk in the flour until no dry spots remain. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Slowly whisk in the broth, a little at a time, mixing well to prevent lumps. Add the meatballs to the skillet, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the meatballs are warmed through and the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and heavy cream. Return the pan to the heat and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened and creamy. Serve hot over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

These quick and easy Swedish meatballs are so savory and delicious!

7.10.2019

Turkey Sloppy Joes

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These simple turkey sloppy joes take less than 30 minutes to make, and they are so flavorful and delicious!

These simple turkey sloppy joes take less than 30 minutes to make, and they are so flavorful and delicious!

One of the weirdest things about my family's new house is that our kitchen has no accessible air vents. It appears as though the kitchen was remodeled 3-4 years before we bought it, and for reasons I can only guess at, they closed off the only air vent in the room and put the fridge in front of it. There's still a range hood over the stove (so there's some ventilation), but there's no way for air conditioning or heating to enter the kitchen. This means, of course, that it's freezing cold during the winter, and boiling hot during the summer. We moved in at the end of July last year, and we were so busy with house projects and getting unpacked that I hardly cooked at all during the rest of the summer. 

This year, though, I've been trying to keep up my normal routine of cooking dinner 5-6 nights per week, and it is getting sooooooo hot in there! Even with a portable fan going, it gets unbearably hot. (It doesn't help that the kitchen window is west-facing and blasted by hot sun all afternoon.) We're saving up the money to remodel the kitchen (and in the process relocate the vent so I can have some sweet, sweet air conditioning in there), but for now I'm just trying to stick to quick and easy meals that don't heat up the kitchen too much. These turkey sloppy joes are perfect! They take less than thirty minutes to make, and my whole family loves them. The simple homemade sloppy joe sauce is flavorful and delicious, with a perfect mix of sweet and savory flavors. These sloppy joes are one of my go-to meals when nothing else sounds good, and we eat them often. They're perfect served on a warm toasted bun (extra points if you butter your bun for maximum deliciousness!), and if I'm feeling extra festive, we throw on a slice of cheddar or pepper jack cheese. They're totally delicious!

These simple turkey sloppy joes take less than 30 minutes to make, and they are so flavorful and delicious!
Turkey Sloppy Joes

2 pounds lean ground turkey
3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup barbecue sauce (we like Sweet Baby Ray's)
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook the turkey in a large skillet over medium heat, crumbling it into pieces, until cooked through. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the ketchup, barbecue sauce, worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Pour the sauce over the turkey and mix until blended. Cook 2/3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly and darkened in color. Serve hot on toasted buns.
These simple turkey sloppy joes take less than 30 minutes to make, and they are so flavorful and delicious!

7.06.2019

Pear Walnut Gorgonzola Pizza

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This pear walnut gorgonzola pizza has a delicious combination of flavors, and is super easy to make!

This pear walnut gorgonzola pizza has a delicious combination of flavors, and is super easy to make!

Yay! It's another homemade pizza recipe! We've been a little on and off with pizza night lately, mainly because the temperature here keeps fluctuating wildly and some weeks it's just too hot to heat the oven to 500. One of my goals for the summer is to learn how to cook pizza on the grill, so if I can figure that out, I'll be sure to share my tips and tricks with you. For now, it's oven-baked pizza, and only on nights when it's not too hot outside. 

This pear walnut gorgonzola pizza is one of my favorites! I first had this combination at a friend's house a few years ago, and I have been hooked ever since. It's so sophisticated and delicious, and the flavors complement each other perfectly. Make sure to use a pear that is ripe and sweet, but not over-ripe, or it will be mushy when the pizza is cooked. I absolutely love the way the savory rich gorgonzola interacts with the sweet, mellow pears, and the walnut adds some delicious texture to the pizza. I know it's an unusual combination for pizza, but trust me, it is fantastic!
Pear Walnut Gorgonzola Pizza

1 ball of pizza dough (make your own or use store-bought)
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 medium ripe pear, thinly sliced
1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
fresh cilantro, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 500 with a pizza stone or overturned cookie sheet inside for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle a sheet of parchment paper with cornmeal. Gently stretch the pizza dough out into a circle that is 12-14 inches in diameter. Spread the olive oil over the dough, then spread the mozzarella cheese evenly over the top of the pizza. Layer the sliced pears over the top of the mozzarella cheese in an even layer. Sprinkle the gorgonzola and walnuts over the top of the pizza. Transfer the pizza to the pizza stone or cookie sheet using a pizza peel or a large cutting board. Bake the pizza for 8-9 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is lightly browned. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro. Serve hot.
This pear walnut gorgonzola pizza has a delicious combination of flavors, and is super easy to make!

7.03.2019

Fresh Blueberry Sauce

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This homemade fresh blueberry sauce is so flavorful, and perfect for topping ice cream, pancakes, waffles, and more!

This homemade fresh blueberry sauce is so flavorful, and perfect for topping ice cream, pancakes, waffles, and more!

It's summer in Oregon, which means it's finally berry season! I look forward to it all through the cold and rainy winter months, and it's one of my family's favorite traditions to go pick berries at a local farm. So far this year we've picked strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. I've already canned more than 50 jars of jam, and made cobbler and crumb bars. I'm even working on a berry ice cream recipe! We've picked all of the other berries multiple times, but we've always been out of town or busy with other things in previous years when the blueberries were ripe, so this was our first time picking blueberries. It turns out that they're really fun (and easy) to pick, and we had a great time!

I've made blueberry jam in the past and wasn't thrilled with the results (too soupy, and I didn't like the texture of the blueberry skins in the jam), so I've been trying to come up with fun ways to use the five pounds of blueberries that we picked. I'm definitely planning to make a batch of my favorite blueberry buttermilk muffins, as well as freeze some blueberries for smoothies, but I thought it would also be fun to make a batch of fresh blueberry sauce. I made it the same way I make my fresh strawberry sauce, and it turned out just as delicious! It's so simple to make, and lets the blueberry flavor shine. We like it on vanilla ice cream, as a topping for pancakes or waffles, or spooned over french toast (bonus points if you make your french toast with homemade french bread like I did). You can also mix a few tablespoons of the sauce into lemonade for a delicious and refreshing blueberry lemonade. The sauce will keep in the fridge for a few weeks, so it's a great idea to whip up a batch and use it for whatever you like. It's a must make this summer!

This homemade fresh blueberry sauce is so flavorful, and perfect for topping ice cream, pancakes, waffles, and more!
Fresh Blueberry Sauce

3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar (depending on the sweetness of your berries)
1/2 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons water

Add the blueberries and sugar to a medium pot. In a small bowl, whisk together the corn starch and water. Pour the corn starch mixture into the pot and stir to combine. Heat the sauce over medium heat, stirring frequently, until simmering. Simmer 2-3 minutes, gently mashing some of the blueberries with your spoon, until thickened. Serve warm and refrigerate any leftovers.
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