Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas v. 2.0

Over the years since I was given the original recipe for Sour Cream Enchiladas from a co-worker, I’ve made a few changes. I’ve tried some different ingredients. Some worked. Some didn’t work. And depending on your personal, or families, preferences, you might make a few other changes.

My daughter isn’t a fan of chicken enchiladas, but likes the sour cream sauce. I had a cream cheese mixture* in the fridge that I formed into cylinders for the insides of her enchiladas. And yes, I did add more shredded cheese when I rolled them up. I didn’t put jalapenos on her two enchiladas to remind me which ones were hers.  

This is the recipe that I made last night.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas v. 2.0

2 cups sour cream
½ cup Herdez Salsa Verde
2-3 cups chicken, shredded or diced
1 Tbls. butter
½ onion, chopped, @ ½ cup
1 4-oz can Hatch chopped green chilies, drained
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
8-10 tortillas
Shredded Mexican cheese
Jalapeno peppers, sliced


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix sour cream and Salsa Verde in bowl.

Spray 9 x 13 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Spread ½ cup sour cream mixture on bottom of pan.

Melt butter in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in chilies and spices. Add chicken. Mix well until chicken is hot. Stir in ½ cup sour cream mixture. Turn off heat while building the enchiladas.

Lay tortilla on flat surface, spoon about 1/3 cup of chicken mixture down one edge of tortilla. Add handful of shredded cheese. Roll tightly. Lay seam side down in baking dish. Continue filling pan or until you run out of chicken mixture.

Spread remaining sour cream mixture over enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese and jalapeno slices.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until bubbly and slightly toasted.


*Cream Cheese Enchilada Filling

8 oz package Philly cream cheese, softened
Garlic powder
Mayo, small amount
Shredded Mexican cheese
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Fresh chives, snipped 

Mix all together. Taste. Add more of whatever, depending on preferences. Also makes a good dip for whole grain tortilla chips, or spread on a bread and broiled until bubbly.


Tips & Tricks

·         Use regular sour cream, otherwise it might ‘break’ on you. “Breaking” happens when the product becomes too warm and separates into liquid and solid. The resulting chunks are edible, though unappetizing both visually, and in texture.

·         Feel free to use more or less salsa, depending on your preferences. I use enough to make the sour cream sauce a little more fluid, plus add flavor.

·         This time, I poached 3 large chicken breasts in water with peppercorns, oregano, cumin, garlic, and a bay leaf. When cooked, dice or shred when cool to the touch. I’ve also used rotisserie chicken, but the result varies depending what seasoning the provider uses.

·         When I sauté, I tend to use my flat-bottomed wok. The higher sides keep the potential messes to a minimum.

·         I used Hatch hot chilies. They weren’t as hot as I’d hoped. I’ve also used a fresh chopped poblano chili instead of the canned chilies.

·         Alter the spices to your preference, though I tend to make recipes as written prior to tweaking. The good part about this recipe is that everything is cooked prior to building the enchiladas, so you can adjust the seasoning accordingly.

·         Since my family isn’t a fan of corn tortillas (I am. I like white corn tortillas.), I use flour tortillas fajita-sized.

·         Pour the shredded cheese into a bowl. Digging in and out of the bag is a PIA, plus you’ll be contaminating the remaining cheese with your chicken filling fingers.



No New Year's Resolution

Over my lifetime, I've made thousands of New Year's resolutions.

And have subsequently failed to meet them over the next 365 days.

This year will be different.

I won't make any resolutions. Instead, I'll borrow this wonderful idea from the talented author Holly Jacobs. Last year, her word was GLEE. This year, her word is RESTART.

Find one word that will be your mantra for the year.

For me, that word will be FOCUS.

It will be useful in many aspects of my life:
  • losing weight
  • becoming more active
  • work
  • and last, but not least, writing 
One word is easy to remember. Do you have one word that will allow you to make a New Year's resolution without making a resolution?

I found one word. I bet you can, too!



Foodie Friday--Strata or Breakfast Casserole

This recipe is called Strata—no, I have no idea where the name came from—or breakfast casserole, or simply baked eggy-bready-cheesy-goodness-made-from-refrigerator-leftovers.

Whatever it’s called, it’s yummy.

The beauty of this breakfast casserole is that you can make it any way you want. If you want to go a little Italian, then brown Italian sausage (mild or spicy) and add a teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Or make it using diced ham or bacon, instead of sausage. Add browned onions, or grape tomatoes, diced poblano or jalapeno peppers, or sauté spinach, drain and chop it. If you want more smoky spice then add chipotle powder. Or if you want a herbier type of casserole, add dried sage. Use whatever you happen to have on hand, it doesn’t matter. All you need is the basic eggs, milk, bread and cheese, leave the rest to your imagination.

This recipe calls for white bread slices, but I don’t like white bread, so I used a ½ loaf of French Country bread (weighed—about 8-10 ounces), or use Italian bread, or French bread, it doesn’t really matter. The staler the better since the eggy mixture is absorbed into the bread, like soaking French Toast.

The cheese can be whatever cheese you like. If you don’t have any idea what to use, use a sharp cheddar as the flavor will be a little stronger. And no, the cheese quantity is optional. Personally, I use far more cheese in my strata recipe than recommended . . . like two or three times the amount. This recipe is the perfect way of getting rid of those little chunks of random cheese left over from other recipes. I used a white cheddar cheese and a Mexican cheese blend, but I plan to use my leftover Gruyere and Fontina cheese the next time I make this recipe, which will be Christmas day . . . er, actually, I’ll make it Christmas Eve, but it will soak overnight before I bake it on Christmas day.  



Strata or Breakfast Casserole

8 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. white pepper
2 cups milk
1 lb. bulk sausage, browned and degreased
6 slices of bread, cubed, about 8 cups
2 cup cheese, grated 

Fry sausage, breaking apart until cooked. Drain fat, blot excess fat with paper towels. Set aside. Cube bread. Set aside.

In large bowl, whisk eggs, salt, mustard, and pepper. Whisk in milk. Fold in grated cheese and bread.

Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake Strata for 35 minutes until browned and set.

Serve immediately.


Tips & Tricks

·         Use LARGE eggs

·         I don’t drink regular milk; 2% milk works fine. I added a little cream to the milk to give it a slightly higher fat content.

·         Use spray oil for the pan. It’s easier

·         When I baked this for my work gang, I put the casserole in a cold oven and turned it on to 350 degrees while I showered and dressed. I wasn’t about to putter around while waiting for the oven to preheat.  I added 15-20 minutes to the stated baking time and kept an eye on it toward the end.

·         The dry mustard and white pepper give the casserole a little zing. Put your own spin on the basic recipe. Add whatever seasonings you feel like.  



Foodie Friday--Dad's Favorite Chili

I have been on the lookout for a chili recipe for over thirty years. I've tried many types of recipes, some cooked by the letter of the recipe and some made with my own twist.
None of them compare to this recipe.
Seven days later we are still eating this chili and enjoying it like we had on the first day.
Plus, this recipe makes A LOT OF CHILI.
I had used my regular 5 quart Calphalon pot that I use for everything . . . and it was too small.
Fast forward to the chili bubbling and dripping down the sides of the pot and burning on the stove to me hastily scooping the chili into my big ass crock pot--lined with a slow cooker liner because those wonderful heat resistant bags of nylon are the BEST!
Two hours later, and a supreme amount of elbow grease to clean the stove and pot, I had a fantastic scoop of chili poured over Fritos, a sprinkling of shredded cheese and a large pinch of bacon crumbles. I was in heaven.
My hubby thinks I might give his boss a run for the money when the chili cookoff rolls around.
Feel free to take this recipe and put your own spin on it.

Dad's Favorite Chili

2 lbs ground chuck
1 lb bulk Italian sausage
3 1-lb can Ranch-style chili beans
1 1-lb can chili beans with spicy sauce
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 Poblano chili peppers, chopped
1 Tbls minced garlic
1 Tbls. bacon crumbles
1 Tbls. beef Better Than Bouillon
1 12-ounce Corona beer
1/4 cup chili powder
1 Tbls Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbls oregano
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)
1 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp white sugar
In large stock pot (6 quart or larger), brown beef and sausage. Drain grease. Add all ingredients.
Stir to blend. Cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder.
Tips & Tricks
  • I didn't have Italian sausage, so I used bulk sausage. Next time, I'll try spicy bulk breakfast sausage for a different zing.
  • I picked up the Ranch-style (black label) beans thinking they were just beans. They aren't. They are in a sauce. I didn't drain them and just tossed them in the pot.
  • I think I used 4 14-ounce cans of diced tomatoes, but honestly, I think I might have only put in 2 cans. Oops. Do what floats your boat. 2 cans or 4 cans. It really doesn't matter, just make sure you have enough room in your stock pot!
  • Recently I bought fresh paprika. It was smoked paprika, because that was all they had. I like the nuance of the flavor.
  • Yes, I did have to add more salt. It will all depend on your beans, bouillon, and the sausage you use. Wait until everything cooks down a bit so you don't over season it.
Fritos and shredded Mexican cheese is handy, gooey and makes a great Frito chili pie!


Foodie Friday -- Sea Salt Caramels (redo w/pics)

Requested by my hubby's co-workers when I mentioned I wasn't making candy this year.

Last winter I posted a Sea Salt Caramel recipe, well, yesterday I needed to make a batch of them to "suck-up-to-her-teacher's" night, formerly called Back to School night.

And I needed to get a visual for a box of candy that I intend to donate next month.

Here's the recipe:  Sea Salt Caramels

And here are the pics:
Ingredients: salt, honey, sugar, butter, vanilla, heavy cream and Karo syrup
Ingredients added--the waiting starts
15 minutes later--almost there
salt, butter and vanilla were added; and pour into prepared pan
*Notice I didn't scrape the sides? *you don't want to scrape sugar crystals INTO the mixture. Yes, that's a Mickey Mouse on my scraper!
Cut, dip, and sprinkle with salt
Let chocolate dry, then trim excess around edges
Figuring out the right size for the 1 lb. candy boxes
Suck-up sampler boxes

I did discover a few things:
  1. My daughter's little camera takes better pictures than my cell phone. Though there are some issues, it's pretty good. Plus I can pop the chip into my computer and just pull them into my database
  2. Those little caramel squares in the 1 lb. box are TINY, less than an inch square.
  3. I'm out of practice
  4. I need to cut the caramel and then chill it to keep it from getting melty. The lights are very hot.
  5. I'm out of practice
  6. The sampler box candies are about 3-4 bites each--for a normal person, not a guy. A guy would eat it in one bite. Jus' Sayin' what I observe. Those candies are HUGE--the boxes are 3.5 X 3.5 inches.  
  7. Blogger hoses up at night and it's irritating
  8. I started at 10 AM, finished at 6:30 PM, not counting clean up.
  9. I'm out of practice of candy making

Later, Peeps!



Weight Loss is HARD

Losing weight is hard.

I won't lie.

And as we age it is harder to get the weight off due to a more sedentary lifestyle, menopause (men and women) and loss of calorie-burning muscle mass.

Add to the fact that humans ache for instant gratification of instant weight loss.

It's so easy to put it on, why shouldn't it come off as quickly?

This has always been the case, and as much as we want to blame it on the Internet we really can't. You can go back in time to the bizarre exercise equipment of the past, or the amphetamine craze of the 70's, or even the Romans with their vomitoriums.

Why do you think women wore corsets?

To enhance their attributes (tiny waist, pushing boobs up and out, and enhancing hips for child-bearing), along with the side effect of improved posture (I dare you to try to slouch while wearing a corset!) and a teeny-tiny appetite, "She eats like a bird, barely taking a bite."

No wonder women fainted so much. It wasn't due to their 'delicate' constitutions, but a too tight corset!

Back on topic.

Weight loss is hard.

Weight loss as an older (read: middle aged) is harder.

But I know I'll feel better when I lose the weight. I know I'll be more active. I'll be more flexible. And I'll have more energy over all.

While I will have some not so good eating days, my goal is to have more good eating days in the long run.

Until later. Have a great Weighty Wednesday!



Losing Weight . . . again

How many of us manage to lose a huge amount of weight, but then end up regaining the aforementioned weight?

*raises hand*

I have to admit that I'm really good at losing weight. Heck, I've managed to lose a lot of weight over my 50+ years.

First it was that pesky ten pounds, which, in turn, morphed into a twenty pound gain and loss, that has now become an off-and-on thirty pound issue.

In the past, I've done well on Weight Watchers. I'm a fan of their weight-loss program. I can lose the weight, but one problem that seems to rear it's ugly head is the fact that I can't seem to MAINTAIN my weight loss.

Weight maintenance is a different mindset than weight loss and I can't seem to wrap my head around the difference. I add back the calories to maintain, but over time I become lazy with my tracking, sloppy with my quantities, and lackadaisical with my weight-ins.

Enter Real Appeal.

There are a few perks to this particular program.

  • It's paid for by my insurance--BONUS #1
  • Meetings are online/phone--BONUS #2
  • It is a comprehensive program that includes nutrition, exercise and motivational encouragement
  • Plus the huge package of goodies is a bonus: exercise DVD's, food scale, weighing scale, and assorted booklets
  • The program is calorie oriented, but it breaks it down into usable information, such as fiber, protein, sugars, carbohydrates, etc.
  • Oh, and did I mention, IT'S FREE?!
Before I attended my first session, I downloaded the app to my phone.

Personally, I do much better with my weight loss when I'm accountable for everything that goes into my mouth by TRACKING everything I eat. I just feel stupid documenting "large spoonful of peanut butter", so I don't eat it.

Like most tracking apps they tend to be cluttered with other people's info, but the more you use certain products, the sooner the app learns to put your foods at the top of the list.

There are a few things I need to remember when I track:

  • Be honest with yourself--yes, you shoved that cookie in your mouth, it counts.
  • Be truthful with your quantities. Count, weigh and measure everything. Over time, we lose the ability to "eyeball" the correct amounts.
  • Be forgiving. We all have bad days. Just don't let the bad day turn into a bad week.
  • Be realistic. As an older, post-menopausal woman, it is harder to lose weight than it was when I was in my twenties.
That's a start for now!