Monday, August 30, 2010

Spicy Chicken Enchiladas; Chocolate Sheet Cake

I said that this weekend I was getting back on the exercise wagon and I did!

Saturday morning I woke up way earlier than I would have liked to watch Chuck compete in a shooting tournament.  Fortunately there was a breeze blowing so it wasn't too hot.  You could almost feel fall trying to peak through summer.  Or maybe it was wishful thinking on my part. :)

Chuck did great but he was very disappointed to have come in third place.  There will be other competitions so he can claim that first place later.

That evening we went window shopping at Bass Pro Shops and a local grocery store where I added an enamel coated cast iron Dutch oven to my wish list and purchased a chimney charcoal starter.  Some women buy shoes, I buy cooking and camping stuff.

Sunday we had breakfast and then it was off for a 2 mile walk.  That's not very far but it was in the 90s and there was a storm threatening.  It started raining just as soon as we were leaving the park.  Perfect timing.

We got cleaned up then took Rachel to buy Band Hero for the Wii.  Fun game!!  It came with drums, a microphone and a guitar plus a Guitar Hero game.  I tried singing to YMCA.  Wow, I had no idea my voice really sounded like that.  The suffering my kids have endured in the car.  Poor things.  Not going to stop me though. :)  I also got to unleash my inner drummer.  That was a sight. hehe

Oh, and while shopping for Band Hero I bought an instant read digital thermometer.  No more guessing when those steaks and chicken breasts are done.  This will tell me!  A nice buy for only $10 at Wal Mart.  I think I'd rather pay $14 somewhere else than have to go to Wal Mart again.  It's a cultural experience. I think there was a People of Wal Mart convention going on.

Sunday I made some pretty yummy Spicy Chicken Enchiladas.  They weren't exactly spicy and they're not what I would call enchiladas but they were tasty.  The recipe is from Family Feasts for $75 a Week. I was hesitant to make these since I tried another recipe for brownies in the book that were a disaster (the recipe makes it sound like you should add eggs to the flour when that's a big no no. I'll try it again but add the eggs to the wet ingredients).
This recipe makes more of an enchilada casserole than rolled enchiladas.  The family seemed to enjoy it.  The recipe makes two casseroles so you can cover one with foil and freeze it for a later meal.  I tried freezing one then cooking it later and it worked fine except that a few places on top seemed dry.
This is the casserole right out of the oven.  Pair it with a salad or a big bowl of fruit and dinner is served.

Spicy Chicken Enchiladas
adapted from Family Feasts for $75 a Week

2 Tbs vegetable oil
4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1" pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, minced (I used onion powder)
3-4 cups frozen corn or two 15-oz. cans corn, drained
one 28 ounce can tomato puree or three 8-oz cans tomato sauce and 1 cup water
1 cup spicy salsa, plus more for serving (I ran salsa through blender to get rid of chunks)
1/2 cup store bought or homemade taco seasoning (I just used two packets reduced sodium seasoning)
Twenty 8" flour tortillas
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
sour cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add half of the cubed chicken, waiting to stir until chicken begins to brown on one side. Stir chicken once, and let other side brown. Remove cooked chicken from pan, and set aside in a bowl.  Repeat with remaining half of chicken, and add to bowl.

In the same skillet, cook garlic, onion, and corn, stirring a few times until onion is tender, 5-7 minutes.  Add cooked chicken to pan, and stir well.

Pour 1/2 cup tomato puree into each of two 9x13 casserole dishes and spread to coat the bottom of each dish.

Add remaining puree to chicken in pan.  Add salsa and taco seasoning; bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Let it simmer 5 minutes or so.

While chicken simmers, put a double layer of tortillas in the bottom of each casserole dish.  Tear tortillas as needed to make them fully cover the bottom of each dish.  Once chicken mixture has simmered for a few minutes, layer one quarter of the mixture into each casserole dish.  Sprinkle 1 cup cheese over chicken in each dish, then add another layer of tortillas.  Divide remaining chicken mixture evenly between casserole dishes, and top chicken evenly with remaining cheese.

Bake casserole 30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese on top is nicely browned.  Let sit 10 minutes before serving.  Serve with sour cream and additional salsa.

Cover remaining casserole tightly with aluminum foil, label, and freeze up to 6 months.  To cook frozen casserole, thaw in refrigerator overnight and bake until casserole is bubbly, 30-35 minutes.  You can also cook it frozen for 50-55 minutes. (I cooked my casserole frozen and it turned out fine)

Earlier that day I made some chocolate sheet cake from America's Test Kitchens. This is good stuff and it really comes together quickly if you have the ingredients out and ready.
Mmmmm.  This is while the cake is barely warm and the icing hasn't quite set yet.  It was a little dry for some reason but full of flavor.  Of course, it's chocolate cake so everyone loved it.

Chocolate Sheet Cake

3/4 cup cocoa, preferably Dutch processed (I only had natural cocoa)
1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used chocolate chips, no chopping necessary)
12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (!!!)
4 large eggs
 1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (I was out of buttermilk so I added 1 Tbs vinegar to 1 cup milk and let set for 10 minutes)

Creamy Milk Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows)

*Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 13x9" baking pan.

*Sift together the cocoa, flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.  Heat the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl covered with plastic wrap for 2 minutes at 50% power; stir until smooth.  Whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Whisk in the buttermilk until smooth.

*Whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until combined.  Whisk the dry ingredients until the batter is smooth and glossy.  Pour the batter in to the prepared pan; bake until firm in the center when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack until room temperature, at least 1 hour; ice with the frosting, if desired, and serve.

Creamy Milk Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch salt
1 Tbs. light or dark corn syrup
10 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (I used chocolate chip, no chopping necessary)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) confectioners sugar
8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

*Heat the cream, salt, and corn syrup in a microwave safe measuring cup on high until simmering, about 1 minute, or bring to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat.

*Place the chocolate in a food processor.  With the machine running, gradually add the hot cream mixture through the feed tube; process 1 minute after the cream has been added.  Stop the machine; add the confectioner's sugar and process to combine, about 30 seconds.  With the machine running, add the butter through the feed tube. once piece at a time; process until incorporated and smooth, about 20 seconds longer.

*Transfer the frosting to a medium bowl and cool, stirring frequently, until thick and spreadable, about 1 hour.

*Things I did wrong:
1) used my stand mixer and beat the hell out of the cake ingredients instead of whisking by hand.
2) baked the cake for too long
3) didn't stir the frosting while it was cooling
STILL made an awesome cake.

It was a great weekend and it felt awesome to get outside and sweat a little.  I will be exercising a lot this week and especially next weekend when I get to go camping!!! I haven't had a camping trip since spring and it's way overdue.  The whole family is excited.  We got the last camping site at a local state park.  Of course I'll be posting pictures when we get back. :)

The thermostat is still on "bake" outside so I'll probably be doing a lot of my exercising indoors this week.  As long as I'm moving, right?


  1. I stopped reading the People of WalMart cuz I ws afraid I would see my own pic there one day!
    Love the recipes!

  2. I can't do WalMart anymore. They remodeled our store and sent out $5 gift cards so we went there - never again. Just not worth it, on so many levels.

    I have an instant thermometer and it's awesome - you will love it!

    It WAS cool on Saturday morning - sure, it might have been a tease for Fall, but it's coming!!!

    Glad you are getting to go camping - I know you've been withdrawal!


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