Subway Spanish And Indulgent Chicken Enchiladas Suiza

enchilada cuida green chiles mexican cooking

Oven Ready

When I first moved to NYC I lived in Brooklyn and commuted each day on the subway to midtown. The :20+ minute ride on the subway each way gave me time to read all of the ads on the trains. Not only did I learn that Dr. Jonathan Zizmor could help with anal warts and fissures (uhm…ewww) but I also picked up a little subway spanish. See, back then a lot of stuff on the subway was translated from english to spanish.

I learned very important phrases like ‘No Se Apoye Contra La Puerta’ = ‘Do Not Lean Against The Door’

and ‘No Pasar Entre Los Cochas‘ = ‘Do Not Pass Between Cars’

Very good information to know in any language.

decision subway campaignBut, I think the best spanish language lessons I ever received were from Julio and Marisol, the main characters in a then AIDS awareness campaign, ‘The Decision’ / ‘La Decision’.

La Decision was a cartoon soap opera that ran in both english and spanish. Every few weeks a new episode was released and we followed Marisol, Julio and their family and friends through the challenges of protecting themselves against HIV/AIDS.

Because the english and spanish versions ran side by side, I was able to read and memorize the spanish while comparing it to the english translation.

In ‘The Decision: I’ the dialogue in spanish goes something like:

chicken enchiladas suiza

Good Choice, Marisol

Marisol: Te amo Julio, pero si tu me amas, tu usas un condon.

An infuriated Julio responds: Un condon!?! Un condon! No!

Ultimately, Marisol wisely determines that though she loves Julio, she doesn’t love him enough to die.

There aren’t as many spanish translations on the subway anymore. A shame because I feel like I’ve maxed out the use of the three or so phrases I do know. I mean how often can I tell people not to lean on something?

I miss those La Decision cartoon episodes whenever I ride the trains now.

One big decision I have to face is how often to make super fattening, indulgent foods…

Warning: the following recipe is more than fattening…use sparingly.

Chicken Enchiladas Suiza (serves 6-8)

Small Space Smarts:

  1. It’s fried….so, your apt will smell like fried, but the aroma dissipates and is worth it. Use a deep pot when frying the tortillas to minimize fry splatter
  2. Buy the Goya Salsa Verde – yes, you can make your own, but it’s labor intensive and means more dirty dishes, expensive ingredients and hassle
  3. Use a rotisserie chicken – even in NYC the rotisserie chickens are more cost effective than buying and roasting a whole chicken or chicken pieces. Not to mention the rotisserie chix are better than you can make at home and time saving.
  4. Bonus – the enchiladas can be prepared well ahead of time and baked off later. So the work will be out of the way and your kitchen can be clear and cleaned when your guests arrive.

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Cooked White Meat Chicken shredded (you can use dark as well – your call)
  • goya salsa verde enchiladas

    Let Goya do the work

    mild green chiles la preferida

    Roasted, Peeled and Diced

    1 4oz can La Preferida Mild Green Chiles – roasted, peeled and diced

  • 1 jar Goya Medium Salsa Verde
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Cups heavy whipping cream…you can use half/half as well, but not whole or skim milk
  • 12 Corn Tortillas – 8 inches in diameter – the medium sized ones from Mission work perfectly here
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying – do not use Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups Monterrey Jack Cheese – shredded
  • 3-4 Green Onions – chopped
  • Sour Cream and Salsa as Condiments

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

1. Shred the rotisserie chicken and put into a bowl

Price Chopper rotisserie chicken enchilada

Carne de pollo blanco

2. Pour the chiles and salsa verde over the chicken and mix well. Your hands are your best tools here – so dig in and mix!

enchiladas suiza chiles le preferido brand

Add the Canned Chiles and Salsa Verde

mixing chicken enchiladas suiza

Mix with Las Manos (those are not my hands)

3. Mix together the whipping cream and tsp of salt in a round baking dish – pie plate or similar would work nicely here

chicken enchiladas suiza

La Crema

4. Fry the tortillas in 1 inch of very hot oil just until blistered and limp. Try not to over-fry because the tortillas will then be hard to roll

fried flour tortillas for enchiladas

Tortillas Frita

5. Drain the fried tortillas on paper towels and blot to remove excess oil

6. Dip the fried tortillas into the cream/salt mixture

7. Place the fried and cream dipped tortilla onto a flat work surface and add about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture in a line to the center of the tortilla

chicken enchiladas suiza

Enchiladas Del Balanceo

8. Roll fairly tightly

9. Place the enchilada into an ungreased 9×13″ pan, flap side down

chicken enchiladas suiza nestling

Nestle the enchiladas

10. Repeat until all 12 tortillas are stuffed and rolled and nestled into the pan – depending on thickness, you may have to use two pans

nestled enchiladas suiza

Final Nesting Place

12. Pour the remaining cream/salt mixture over the rolled and nestled tortillas

13. Sprinkle the cheese over all of the enchiladas

14. Sprinkle the sliced green onions over the cheese

enchilada cuida green chiles mexican cooking

Oven Ready Enchiladas Suiza

15. Bake in the oven for :20 mins…until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are well heated and bubbly

chicken enchiladas suiza out of the oven

Del Horno

16. Serve with a garnish of tomato salsa and sour cream…and refried beans and spanish rice on the side

I know this recipe says ‘serves 6’….but they really are rich, creamy and delicious and each of our dinner guests needed just one or one and a half. It depends how much chicken you put in each enchilada.

La Decision Uno here might be to make these enchiladas just once or twice a year. I wish I spoke more Spanish, because all I can tell you is that if you eat these enchiladas too frequently, you may not want to apoye contra la puerta – or against anything else.

Roll ‘Em Up: Stuffed Chicken Breast

spinach stuffed chicken breast

Rocked and Rolled

There’s a great scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation. Chevy Chase (Clark) and his fictional Wally-World-headed family get lost and end up driving through ‘The Hood.’ With the windows

chevy Chase vacation movie

Roll ‘Em Up!

wide open, and over the din of hooker cat calls and maybe even some jive from stereo-typical drug dealers and street pimps, he tells his family that being lost in such a neighborhood will make the Griswold’s appreciate what they have. Suddenly, through the cat calls from hookers on the street…there’s  a gun shot. Clark immediately urges his family to ‘roll ’em up’.

It’s important to know when to quit. When to call it a day. When the fat lady is singing. When the party’s over. When to ‘roll ’em up.’

I think we can all (sadly) agree that after about 2 minutes into the second quarter of last night’s BCS National Championship Game…It was time for Notre Dame to ‘roll ’em up’. I mean it was 21-zip. Even my cousin – the die-hardest of diehard Irish fans texted asking if there was a ‘mercy rule…or something.’ Brutal.

And so the 2012 season comes to a close. The Fighting Irish can head back to South Bend, a little battered, a lot bruised and, yes, without the title of National Champions. Time for them to roll ’em up and regroup for 2013.

As they rolled up their season, I rolled up some chicken.

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Rolls (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts – I bought the Perdue individually wrapped ones, but I think they’re small and might choose just the regular Perdue breasts next time
  • 1 10oz Package Birdseye Frozen Chopped Spinach
  • 1/4 Cup Progresso Panko Style Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Cottage Cheese – you can use Ricotta Cheese, but, seriously, the cottage cheese was AOK here
  • 1 TBSP Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

1. Using the flat side of a meat tenderizer, pound the chicken breasts out to about 1/4 inch thick. The best way I’ve found to do this is to sandwich the breasts between either two pieces of Saran Wrap or two pieces of parchment paper on a cutting board. Pound from the center and sort of push out at the end of each pound.

perdue chicken breasts

Don’t pound it too thin!

2. In a microwavable bowl, defrost the frozen spinach – remove from package and zap on high for 3 minutes….stir and zap another 2-3 mins

birdseye frozen chopped spinach

Thawed and Smokin’

3. Squeeze the spinach to remove the excess water. I do use a kitchen towel for this and as long as you rinse the towel in cold water immediately after the squeeze process, the green ‘stain’ will come out easily in the wash

4. In a small fry pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Can you use oil instead of butter? No, it won’t brown the bread crumbs as nicely

5. Add the bread crumbs to the buttery goodness and toast them up. This doesn’t take long…just let them sit in the butter and stir after a few minutes. You want the bread crumbs sorta crispy…

progresso panko style bread crumbs

Toasting ‘Em Up

6. Once toasted, add the bread crumbs to the spinach

7. Stir in the cottage cheese and parmesan cheese. Add about an 1/8 tsp of salt and pepper.

Perdue stuffed rolled chicken breasts

Mix ‘Em Up

8. Place a heaping spoonful of the mixture into the bottom third of each chicken breast and carefully roll the breasts around the stuffing

9. Secure the rolls with a toothpick or two

perdue chicken breasts stuffed with spinach and cheese

Package ‘Em Up

10. Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a medium fry pan

11. Brown the stuffed rolled chicken breasts on all sides – about 2 mins per side

perdue stuffed chicken rolls dinner

Brown ‘Em Up

12. Transfer the browned, stuffed, rolled chicken breasts to a baking dish and put into the oven

13. Bake until cooked completely – about :10 mins

perdue individually wrapped chicken breasts

Bake ‘Em Up

14. Remove the toothpicks, slice and serve.

For the Fighting Irish 2012 was a pretty good season –  and in the spirit of Clark Griswold, I will appreciate what we had – a 12-0 regular season for the first time in forever. Even evil Brent Musberger admitted that Coach Kelly had returned the team to a position of leadership. Last night was tough times. And, there is no mercy rule in college football. In spite of being rolled over, Notre Dame didn’t roll ’em up until the very end. They even scored 14 points in the second half – a little pride saved.

It’s on to 2013 for the Irish. Until then, try rolling up some chicken.

Thai-ing To Lose Weight: Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Gluten Free Chicken Ground

Thai these to help lose weight

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know that the trip to thinner isn’t always a direct route. I mean, let’s face it life isn’t linear. Sometimes it’s the most circuitous of routes that leads us to our desired destination. Sometimes it’s the countless number of times that we hit the wall of a maze that brings us to the end of our journey.

So in the quest to lose my Sandy 15lbs, I took a detour to Thanksgiving – read: ate lots of stuffing, mashed potatoes and pie. Look! There I am on Nantucket with Veep Joe Biden:

VP Joe Biden on Nantucket

Look at his shiny teeth!

Do you think he thinks I look fat? Nah, he’s too nice and shiny to think that!

So now that my favorite holiday has passed and my time with Biden (or, more accurately, my time stalking the vice president on the tiny island) is over, I’m taking the right steps to shed a few lbs.

Recent meals have featured Carnival Squash and Simply Grilled Shrimp.

squash week

Lo-Cal Carnival

Marinated Grilled Shrimp
Lo-Cal Grilled Shrimp

But last night I wanted to do something a little more interesting. So I tried a taste of lo-cal Thai.

You will want to prep ahead cuz this is easy but takes like :90 mins in total.

Pretty Lo-Cal Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps (serves 4)

Oh! And they’re gluten-free as well!

OK…First and foremost, there is a lot of prep of ingredients in the chicken wraps – so do yourself a favor and mise en place.

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

A Mise En Place to make Chef Anne Burrell Proud

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 TBSP lime juice
  • 1-2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1/8 Cup of sugar
  • 2 TBSP Asian Fish Sauce, like Ka*Me found in the Asian area at Fairway
  • 1 1/2 TSP Chili Pepper Paste, like Amore – hard to find this – had to ask nice Fairway worker guy
  • Vegetable oil – not Olive Oil
  • Peeling fresh Ginger

    Ginger

    2 TBSP grated fresh ginger – remember, you should have some peeled ginger stored in your freezer

  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 TSP kosher salt – or less
  • 4 Scallions thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot grated
  • 1/2 cup canned, drained water chestnuts, diced
  • The recipe also calls for 3 TBSP chopped fresh mint leaves and 2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro – I prepped both of these ingredients…but then forgot to stir them in at the end. So you can skip it if you like.

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lemon juice, fish sauce and chili pepper paste and set aside. The recipe called for Asian Chile Paste…but I couldn’t find it at Fairway, so I bought Amore Chile Pepper Paste – I think that’s the same thing?

Lo-Cal Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

The liquids

2. Heat about 2 TBSP of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

3. Add the garlic and the ginger and stir until fragrant (about 2 mins)

Thai lettuce wraps

Don’t Let the Garlic Burn! Cuz you’d have to start over

3. Add the chicken and salt and cook completely – about 6 mins

NOTE: the recipe called for a ton of salt…but, I used just shy of a tsp and it was more than enough

Gluten free ground chicken

Browning the Gluten Free Chicken

4. Stir in the scallions, carrot and water chestnuts and heat through (about 2 more mins)

thai chicken lettuce wraps

OOOH! Look at the pretty colors!

5. Transfer the chicken mixture to a bowl and let cool about :05 mins

6. Add in the lemony-limey-fish saucy liquid mixture, 1 tbsp at a time. Once the chicken mixture is moistened, but not swimming, stop adding the liquid. I added too much and it was delicious, but a little messy to eat

thai chicken lettuce wraps

A little too liquid-y

7. Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge for about an hour

8. Prepare 8-10 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves – you know, like wash them and stuff

9. Put a heap of the chilled chicken mixture inside each lettuce leaf and serve

Thai Chicken Lettuce wraps

Beautifully Tasty and Lo-Cal

My journey to weight loss like most of life’s journeys has not been via a direct route. But, in spite of stops at Beef Wellington and Thanksgiving Stuffing, I’m getting there. It’s not easy at this time of year what with the Lincoln Center Winter’s Eve fest last night featuring fab food fare from all of the local restaurants (like the toasted gnocchi tastes from Bar Boulud’s Tent – OMG!). But, I am Thai-ing so that maybe next time I see Veep Joe B, I’ll be just a little bit thinner.

Now That’s a Crock of Publicity and White Chili

Chicken Chili

White Chili: Chicken & Beans

This past week, Chanel No 5 debuted its new ads featuring Brad Pitt. Yep, in case you missed it – which might have been impossible…cuz the spots are running constantly – even targeting men – during Sunday’s morning news programs and the afternoon and evening football.

Is it a men’s fragrance? No. It’s Brad waxing confusingly – I think about not being able to get a woman out of his mind. But, I’m not really sure…

What I do know, though, is that everyone’s talking about it.

Brad Pitt Channel No 5

He Does Look Good

Jen Chaney of the Washington Post describes it as: “what it looks like when Pitt tries really hard to make pretentious sentences sound meaningful while wearing a casual button-down shirt.”

No easy feat.

The use of a man and the ad itself have been a little polarizing. People either think that Brad’s careful, slow delivery is uber sexy OR they want to know ‘what the hell does this all mean?”

What it means – whether you love the ad or hate it  – is that Chanel has launched its most iconic fragrance into the forefront of conversation for people of all ages. People who would have never before considered Chanel No 5 might now. People who have never heard of Chanel – have now. Chanel has garnered more press, more chatter, more engagement than it probably ever had.

And that’s a big crock of free media – well they reportedly paid Brad Pitt a cool $7mill….so, sorta free.

Speaking of big crocks….it’s crock pot season and I guest crocked at a friend’s recently.

White Chicken Chili (serves 6-8)

1. In a large saute or fry pan over medium heat, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil

2. Stir in:

  • two medium onions chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers – deveined and seeded – and then chopped – best to either wear gloves for this or wash your hands immediately after working with the peppers.
  • 1 tbsp + 1tsp dried oregano – crush the oregano in your palms to release the flavors
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
Saute vegetables

Saute Veggies

Saute until moderately tender – about 5 mins

3. Add in 7 chopped garlic cloves – don’t worry, you’re going to slow cook this. The garlic will not overpower. And, saute until fragrant – about 2 mins.

4. Add in 4 cooked chicken breasts – shredded. I used a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods, because it’s just easier.

If you want to cook the breasts yourself – you can cube them and cook with the onions in step 2.

White chicken Chili

Whole Foods Roti Chicken makes this easy!

5. Add in Salt and Pepper

6. Once heated through and all flavors are combined – about 4 mins – transfer to the slow cooker

7. In a small bowl, mash up 2 15oz cans of cannellini beans (rinsed and drained) with 1 cup of Pacific Organic chicken broth.

white chicken chili beans

Mash the Beans

Pour into the slow cooker.

8. Add in 1 additional can of Cannellini bean and 3 more cups of chicken stock to the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Crock Pot White Chili

Everybody in the Pool!

9. Cover and cook on low for 2hrs :45mins

10. After 2hrs :45mins, add about 1 1/2 cups of shelled frozen edamame and stir. Cover again and allow to cook an additional :15 – :20 mins.

I used 365 brand shelled edamame.Whole Foods Brand

11. Serve with a garnish of chopped parsley and shredded cheddar cheese

White chili with chicken

Pretty Presentation

The chili certainly isn’t as pretty as Brad Pitt. And, like the new Chanel ads, it could have used a little more spice. Next time I’d add a little hot sauce or maybe some cayenne.

As for Brad and Chanel – I’m still not sure what it all is supposed to mean. Some may think it’s a crock full of crazy – but I think it’s a crock full of free press.

Because Smaller Things are Cuter: Petite Lasagna

Little things are cuter! Petite Lasagna

Small things are somehow cuter. Babies are cuter humans. Puppies are cuter dogs. Doll houses, cuter houses, cake pops, you get it….all cuter simply because they are smaller.

If that is true, than why are we so intimidated and fearful of cooking for fewer people. Or, God forbid, cooking for…gulp…one.

There’s a song about a breakup that I first heard in the ’80s when forced to listen to a quasi-muzak station at work and its lyrics have always stayed with me. Though originally written by Burt Bacharach, the kids today may know it because it was also featured on Glee in 2010.

Burt Bacharach Week on Glee

That aside, the lyrics are ridonk:

One less bell to answer / One less egg to fry / One less man to pick up after / I should be happy / But all I do is cry.

Seriously. Those are the lyrics. The singer lost her man and it is so so sad. And, the saddest part is – sigh, wipe tear – that now, every morning she only has to fry ONE egg. One – the loneliest number – the most feared amount of eggs to ever have to fry. Breaks me up every time I hear it.

But then, I think, first of all, what man eats only one egg for breakfast? And, secondly, who cares?!?!? You’ll find someone else to fry an egg for. Until then, enjoy the peace, quiet and fewer plates to clean.

I’m relatively certain that the saddest part of the single egg fryer’s life isn’t having a plethora of unfried eggs in the fridge. I’m actually completely sure of it.

Cooking for fewer people just isn’t sad. Embrace it. Last night I wanted lasagna. I had most of the ingredients already but I didn’t have six people coming to dinner.

Here’s what I did:

Petite Lasagna with Spinach and Chicken (serves 2 – even if 2 is you and your leftovers)

Preheat Oven to 450 degrees

1. Make the spinach mixture:

  • Cheesy Spinach Mixture pre-Chicken

    Heat a saute pan over med heat with 2 tbsp of butter + 2tbsp olive oil

  • Saute 2 cloves of garlic diced and 1/2 shallot diced until fragrant – about 2 mins
  • Add in one 10oz package of defrosted and squeezed dry chopped spinach – stir
  • Add in 2 tbsp of cream or milk – last night I only had 2% and it was fine
  • Add in 1/2 cup of Ricotta Cheese – stir to combine
  • Turn off heat and add 2 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese
  • Add salt and pepper to taste – remember that the parmesan cheese is salty
  • Stir in 2 breasts of cooked chicken meat diced or shredded – I used a rotisserie chicken – face it, you’ll never make chicken as good at home.
  • NOTE: I also didn’t stir the chicken in, because I thought there would be some left over and I didn’t want it all spinach-ified

2. Make a Bechamel Sauce

  • Bechamel Sauce Perfectly Coats Back of Spoon

    In a sauce pan over medium heat melt 2.5 tbsp of butter

     

  • Using a whisk, stir in 3 tbsp of flour – cook for about 2 mins
  • Whisk in a combination of 1 cup whole milk (again, I only had 2% and it was fine) + 1 cup of chicken stock
  • BTB (bring to a boil) RTS (reduce to a simmer) and continue to stir until the béchamel sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Remove from heat and add 1/4 tsp of Salt and about the same of Pepper. You can add a pinch of nutmeg here as well

3.

Sweet Potatoes, because that’s what I had

Cut 1/2 of a peeled sweet potato into fry size pieces, lightly cover with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for :20 mins – tossing a couple of times during the roasting.

I only had sweet potatoes but roasted squash or zucchini or egg plant or whatever you have and like would be just fine.

TURN OVEN DOWN TO 350 degrees

4. Shred 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. I didn’t feel like getting the cheese grater dirty, so I just cut the cheese…into small cubes

Get out a 9x5x3 loaf pan (see Banana Bread Recipe)

5. Use no-cook noodles. I had some fresh ones in the freezer that I defrosted in the fridge earlier in the day. Place 4 noodles (or enough to create 4 layers of noodles in a 9x5x3 loaf pan) in warm water just for 1 minute to soften

4. Layer the lasagna

Mise En Place for Lasagna

  • Put enough of the béchamel sauce to thinly cover the bottom of the pan
  • Put one layer of lasagna sheet(s) on top
  • Spread on a layer of the spinach, cheese and chicken mixture

Petite Lasagna Layer 1

  • Add a few of the roasted sweet potato fries – or whatever veggies you have and have roasted. There are no rules here. I like the sweet potatoes because they’re pretty.

Add the Sweet Potatoes – Pretty Colors!

  • Sprinkle on some of the mozzarella cheese and pour about 1/4 cup of the béchamel sauce over it
  • Layer on another layer of the lasagna sheet(s)

REPEAT – creating a complete second layer of spinach, chicken, sweet potatoes and cheese…and a little béchamel sauce

5. On top of the second layer, add the final layer of lasagna sheet(s), cover with about 1/3 cup of béchamel sauce, a sprinkle of mozzarella and some grated parmesan

Oven Ready Petite Lasagna

6. Cover with tin foil and bake for :35 minutes

7. Remove the tin foil and bake another :10 minutes

8. Remove from the oven – it will be bubbling – and let stand uncovered for :10 mins before serving

Lasagna out of the oven ready to cool…

If dinner is for you and someone else, great. If it’s just you dining with your leftovers….Go ahead and pour yourself a glass of wine. Sit in front of the TV. Eat and enjoy. See, was that so sad?

NO! No it was not. This lasagna is petite, smaller than most, and thus, cuter and better.

By the way, this morning for breakfast, I had one, absolutely deliciously fried egg.

One Happily Fried Egg