Saturday, August 6, 2011

Potato and Bean Enchilada Casserole

     This is a great meatless dish that is quick to prepare.  The original recipe is for enchiladas but I have a confession - I HATE working with corn tortillas.  They always crack and it takes forever to roll individual enchiladas.  So, I layer them instead, it takes about 1/50th the amount of time  (Don't quote me on that quick time calculation).  Anyway, this is a fun casserole and I used queso fresco for the first time.  I approve of the cheese because I don't have to shred it, I can just crumble it in my fingers drop it in.  Also, this is proof that I'm no expert and am still a learner myself - no one has ever taught me how to chop cilantro.  Somehow I got it in my head that you have to pull all the leaves off individually because the stems aren't meant to be eaten (I've never noticed any stems in my cilantro that I've eaten in restaurants or at friends houses... ).  In case you were wondering, this takes a ridiculously long time to pick all the leaves off and get them onto a cutting board rather than sticking to your fingers.  With these enchiladas the impending task of pulling cilantro leaves led me to google how to chop cilantro.  Well, you just chop it.  That's all.  Stems and all.  (But make sure you wash it first!  Cilantro is one of the dirtier herbs and it needs a good swishing around in a bowl of water and maybe a 2nd bowl of water)  So, laugh it up, I've been doing things the hard way this past year of cooking! 

1 pound potatoes, diced
3 tsp. Delicioso Adobo Seasoning (recipe below, or buy some already made)
1 Tbl. ketchup 
2 (10 oz.) cans green enchilada sauce
1 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped, divided
18 corn tortillas 
1 (15.5 oz) can pinto beans, drained
1 (8 oz.) package queso fresco 

1 Tbl. lemon-pepper seasoning
1 Tbl garlic powder
1 Tbl. onion powder
1 Tbl. dried oregano
1 Tbl. parsley flakes
1 Tbl. achiote powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbl. salt 

Combine the spices in a small glass jar and seal with an airtight lid.  Shake to blend and store in a cool, dry place.  Makes about 1/3 cup. 

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a bowl, toss diced potatoes together with adobo seasoning (you can use this seasoning for lots of different mexican dishes that you make in the future, it's pretty versatile and adds great flavor) and ketchup.  Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.  [NOTE: I don't really know how much 1 lb. of potatoes is so I just estimated how much I would need and mine fit in a single layer of a 9x13 pan with a bit of room to spare)

2.  When potatoes are cooked through, remove from oven and in a bowl, mix potatoes with pinto beans, 1/2 of the cheese, 1/2 of the cilantro and about 1/2 c. enchilada sauce. 

3.  Pour some of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish, enough to cover the bottom.  Arrange half of the tortillas on top of sauce, overlapping as it fills up.  Spread potato mixture evenly on top of tortillas.  For the top layer, tear remaining tortillas into fourths and arrange on top of potato mixture.  Pour remaining enchilada sauce on top, spreading to cover evenly.  Crumble remaining cheese on top.  Bake for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Garnish with remaining cilantro. 

This comes together really fast with minimal clean up.  It's tasty and a nice change from the typical green chile chicken enchiladas.  Enjoy! 

Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken Curry

     I love curry.  I especially love curry that allows me to smell it all day as it sits in the slow cooker!  I got this out of a slow cooker recipe book that I'm borrowing from a neighbor.  My husband loved it and licked his bowl clean.  Twice.  

1 Tbl olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
3 medium potatoes, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
1 c. chicken broth
2-3 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce (I used Louisiana hot sauce)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 package (10 oz) frozen peas

1.  Heat oil in medium skillet.  Add chicken breasts and brown on both sides  (Just brown the outsides, don't cook all the way through since it will cook in the slow cooker).  Place potatoes and onion in slow cooker.  Place chicken breasts on top.  Combine coconut milk, broth, curry powder (I always end up adding lots more curry powder than a recipe calls for to get a legitimate flavor.  The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp. so you can add to taste if you'd like, I used closer to 3 tsp), hot sauce, salt, and pepper in medium bowl.  Add to slow cooker.  Cover and cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours. 

2.  About 30 minutes before serving, add peas to slow cooker and stir.  Cover and let cook for 30 minutes.  Serve over hot cooked couscous or rice.