Friday, January 27, 2012

Sopapilla Cheesecake

I recently joined Pinterest and tonight I made the first recipe that I found on there.  It was for sopapilla cheesecake.  It was very, very easy and will feed a crowd because the richness means you just need a small portion.  You simply spread crescent rolls on the bottom of the pan, spread the cream cheese filling, put more crescents on top, a little butter and cinnamon and sugar and voila, cream cheese pastries!  I think these are best for dessert rather than breakfast.  I will definitely make these again and I think next time some diced apples or berries would be nice in the cream cheese layer.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

We met at my place and Lauren and Mary were unable to join us.  Jen, Carol's daughter and frequent guest, was in attendance and the good news is that she is moving back to Houston and can join us in the future!

The theme was Kelsey's Essentials (Cooking Channel) and for a favor I gave the essential spice; salt.  I found black lava sea salt from My Spice Sage. I really like the website as it has every spice you can think of!  And with my order I received two free samples and I chose vanilla beans and fried chicken spice. Yum.

Carol and Jen - appetizer of Three Cheese Crostini with Honey and Roasted Asparagus as the side.
Tonya - Smoky Panzanella with Market Vegetables as the salad.
Angie - Chicken Cacciatore as the main dish with brown rice.
Janet - Individual Orange and Chocolate Cheesecakes for dessert.

The Three Cheese Crostini were delicious and addictive!  The flavor was mild with a touch of sweetness.  Carol and Jen left out the salt and pepper because they did not think it "fit" with the other ingredients. 

Tonya made a bread salad and it was delicious!  I have never had one before and I really liked this one.  Plus, all the colors on the plate were beautiful.  Smoky Panzanella with Market Vegetables is a serve right away salad as the bread will get overly soggy if you wait.  The dressing was very tasty as well.

For the main dish we had Chicken Cacciatore and this was a homey, one-pot meal.  I loved the mushrooms and the cremini (which look like slightly larger button mushrooms) held their texture despite over an hour of stewing.  I used thighs and breasts rather than an entire chicken.

Roasted Vegetables was the perfect compliment to the chicken.  Jen just used asparagus and cooked to crisp tender.

Last but not least was dessert!  Janet made Individual Orange and Chocolate Cheesecakes which she adorned with whipped cream and a sprinkle of Mardis Gras colored sugars.  YUM.  I had two and I am not ashamed to admit it.  Rather than the chocolate wafers in the crust Janet used the traditional graham crackers. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Enchilada Casserole

I had some left over corn tortillas and I found this recipe for Enchilada Casserole in my "to-be-made" recipe pile.  This recipe is based on Wanda of The Happy Cooker and below is how I prepared it.  Note that if you are not careful this casserole can have a lot of heat.  Do not choose hot enchilada sauce and hot taco seasoning unless you want a lot of heat.  I used medium for everything and there was a lot of spice.  Next time I will use at least 1 mild.  Even still, I loved this casserole.  It is healthy with all the veggies (beans and tomatoes) yet still very satisfying.  I used less cheese than the original recipe called for (FIVE CUPS) so you can add per your taste.  I think this casserole will re-heat and freeze well.

Enchilada Casserole

12 corn tortillas, cut in half
1 pound ground beef
2 - 10 oz cans enchilada sauce
1 package taco seasoning
1/2 cup water
1 small can diced tomatoes
1 - 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 onion, small dice, divided
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Cilantro and/or green onions for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown ground beef.  When browned, drain (if necessary - I found that 90% lean did not need to be drained) and add 1/2 cup water, taco seasoning, tomatoes and juice and 1/2 of the onion. Cook to reduce some of the liquid while you get the rest of the casserole ready.

Lightly spray cooking spray in 13 x 9 pan.  Pour 1 can enchilada sauce on bottom of pan.  Layer half of the tortillas, all the ground beef (I used a slotted spoon to leave behind the remaining liquid), all of the black beans, the remaining 1/2 of the diced onions and 1 cup of the cheese.  For the next layer put the remaining 1/2 of the tortillas, 1 can enchilada sauce and the remaining 1 cup of cheese.  Bake uncovered for 40 minutes until cheese is melted and lightly browned on top.  Garnish with cilantro or green onions, if desired.