Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rick Bayless Crusty Chorizo and Black Bean Subs

This isn't a new recipe, but my original post just had pictures taken with my cell phone. the husband and I had this for our date night dinner last week, so I seized the opportunity to get some new, better pictures of it. This is hands down one of my favorite sandwiches ever. The husband might not like me sharing this, but after we finished our sandwiches, he went into the kitchen and made a bite sized sandwich with some of the bread I tore out of the middle of the rolls. Yeah, it's that good. I normally make my own tomatillo salsa to go with these, but I knew I had some salsa verde in the fridge, so I just used that this time.

I know this is already on my blog, but I feel like it needs a new entry with the better pictures. So, here's the recipe again!

Crusty Black Bean Chorizo Subs
aka Tortas de Chorizo y Frijoles Negros
Copyright 2005, Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday

8 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed (about 1 cup)
3-4 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil (divided use)
Two 15-ounce cans black (or other) beans
4 bolillo rolls, crusty French rolls or submarine sandwich rolls (6-7 inches long, 3 inches wide)
6 ounces queso fresco or other fresh cheese such as feta or goat cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and cut into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 cup Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (recipe to follow)

Set a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat and add the chorizo. Cook, breaking up the clumps, until browned and thoroughly cooked, about 8-9 minutes. Add 1-2 Tbsp of the oil (depending on how much fat the chorizo has rendered) and the beans. As the beans come to a simmer, mash them to a smooth paste with a Mexican bean masher, old-fashioned potato masher or the back of a large cooking spoon. Cook, stirring nearly constantly, until the consitency of very soft mashed potatoes--expect about 10 minutes after adding the beans. Taste and season with the salt if you think necessary. Keep warm over the lowest heat, covered to keep the beans soft and moist.

Heat a large griddle or skillet over medium. Slice the rolls open. use fingers or a spoon to scrape out some of the soft bread in the center of each half, making a small hollow. Brush the insides with the remainig 2 Tbsp oil, then lay them cut side down on the griddle or skillet to crisp to a rich golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Smear about 1/2 cup of the chorizo-bean mixture over the bottom half of each roll. Top with slices of the cheese and the avocado. Spoon on the salsa or dash on the hot sauce. Set the top of each roll i place, and you're ready to serve.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Copyright 2005, Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday

4 medium (8 ounces total) tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
Hot green chiles to taste (2 serrano or 1 jalapeno), stemmed and roughly chopped
About 1/3 cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped

Set a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lay in the garlic and tomatillos, cut side down. When the tomatillos are well browned, 3-4 minutes, turn everything over and brown the other side. The tomatillos should be completely soft.

Scrape the tomatillos and garlic into a blender or food processor and let cool to room temperature, about 3 minutes. Add the chiles, cilantro, and 1/4 cup water. Blend to a coarse puree. Pour into a salsa dish and thin with a little additional water if necessary to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency.

Scoop the chopped onion into a strainer and rinse under cold water. Stir into the salsa. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 tsp.


I don't really need to say anything about these because I already have. So delicious!!!

Muffin Mix

I've been on a huge muffin kick lately. I found a recipe from an online friend for zucchini, carrot, raisin muffins (recipe coming at some point). I sent her a note saying I was making them, and she told me that she makes muffins every week for her kids to have for breakfast. I thought it was genius! Especially the next day when all I had to do was throw a muffin, some fruit, and some yogurt on a plate for each of my kids. Voila! breakfast was ready. I don't handle breakfast well. I'm not always caffeinated when my kiddos want to eat, and a lot of times there are fights about what they're going to have. But no one fought the muffins! I mentioned this at one of my bible study groups, and my friend Sarah said she had a recipe for an all-purpose muffin mix, that you just mix up a huge batch and keep it in the pantry or freezer and pull from it as needed and mix in all sorts of things to make different kinds of muffins. Genius!! I copied it down immediately and mixed it up the next day. I just used the last of my mix this morning (well, almost...there's maybe 1/2 a cup left in the container I was storing it in) and figured it was high time to type out the recipe so I didn't always have to look for my scrap of paper on which the recipe is written when I want to make these up. I'll have to mix up some more tomorrow--I don't want to be without my mix!

Sarah's Muffin Mix
Source: My friend Sarah (who runs full marathons!)
Yield: 4 batches of muffins

8 cups flour
3 cups sugar
3 T. baking powder
2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. nutmeg

Combine above ingredients. Store in pantry or freezer up to six months.

For each batch of muffins:

2-3/4 cups muffin mix
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted

Place muffin mix in bowl. Whisk egg, milk, and butter together and stir into dry ingredients. Include whichever mix-ins below (mix any dry ingredients in with mix, wet ingredients or fruit into wet ingredients or at the end). Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-21 minutes.

Banana: 1 cup mashed bananas
Cranberry Pecan: 1 cup chopped cranberries, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 3 T. sugar
Cappuccino: 1 cup mini chocolate chips, 2 t. instant coffee granules
Apple Cheese: 1/2 cup shredded apple, 1/2 cup colby jack cheese
Blueberry: 1 cup blueberries
Carrot Raisin: 3/4 cup shredded carrots, 1/3 cup golden raisins


Sorry if the directions for when to mix in what are vague. I didn't copy that part down because it all seemed self-explanatory to me. For most of the varieties I think I'd mix everything in at the end, except the banana I'd mix in with the wet ingredients, the coffee granules I'd mix in with the dry ingredients. I think that's it.

So far I've made blueberry muffins, chocolate chip muffins, and this morning I made banana chocolate chip. I know, I'm fancy. I think the banana chocolate chip have been our favorite so far. I'm dying to try the apple cheese, but my kids ate all the apples I bought last time at the store. I'm also looking forward to the carrot raisin--I LOVE carrot raisin muffins!

I did make a few substitutions to the mix recipe. I used half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. I also cut the sugar down to 2.5 cups. Three cups seemed like a lot (I think I figured it out to be about a tablespoon per muffin if your batch made 12 muffins...mine usually made 18-24 though), and plus the day I went to mix it up I only had 2.5 cups of sugar on hand. I figured I'd try it and see how it turned out. Now I think I'll keep it that way. I had meant to add in some ground flax seed to the mix but forgot when I mixed it up and then kept forgetting each time I make a batch.

This was super, super easy and it's so nice to have on hand! I've even made muffins first thing in the morning when I get up to have for breakfast if we were out, and it wasn't time consuming at all. My kids don't even mind waiting a little longer for breakfast knowing they're going to get a tasty warm muffin out of the deal!

If you make these and try any other variations that you love, leave me a comment and let me know what they were!

Hmnmm...apparently in all the batches of muffins I've made, I haven't taken a picture of any of them. Next time!

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

It's 7:30 in the morning right now which is by no means an optimal time at my house for me being on the computer, but this dinner last night was so good that I couldn't wait! Plus my kids are upstairs (supposedly getting dressed, but I think in actuality they're watching Pink Panther cartoons) and I'm waiting for my coffee to cool off a bit, so I figured I might as well jump on the computer. I'm sure I'll regret it when I'm scrambling an hour from now to get us out the door. Oh well.

This, of course, came from Pinterest. Boy #1 LOVES sweet and sour chicken when we get Chinese take-out, so I thought he'd be all over this. I was going to make it one night last week until I saw it had to bake for an hour and knew that just wasn't going to fit into the time frame I had to prepare dinner that night. Boy #1 was disappointed, but he was super excited to come home from school yesterday and find out we were having it last night.

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken
Source: Life As A Lofthouse blog via Pinterest.com

The chicken coating:
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
salt + pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

The sweet and sour sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
4 tbs ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees. Rinse your chicken breasts in water and then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat then dip into the eggs. Heat your 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook your chicken until browned but not cooked through. Place the chicken in a 9x13 greased baking dish. Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken. Bake for one hour and during the baking process you will need to turn the chicken every 15 minutes.


I have to say that this was pretty time consuming to make. It took me awhile to find a groove with the breading/egg wash/frying. Eventually I figured out to move a batch to the egg wash once I had put a batch in the skillet and start a new batch then in the cornstarch. When I flipped the chicken in the skillet, I flipped the chicken pieces in the egg wash, then they were ready to go once I took the skillet batch out. Did you follow that? I also had to adjust the cooking time and temperature. My chicken took longer to thaw than I anticipated, and we had to eat at a certain time last night. I ended up baking it for 30 minutes at 375, and it turned out great. I stirred it around once during baking and then again once it came out of the oven.

We all really liked this. REALLY liked it. Boy #1 is taking the leftovers in his lunch today. The husband and I were both standing over the baking dish taking bites last night once we were done eating. My only real concern with it was the 3/4 cup of sugar in the sauce. It seems like a lot. Next time I may try to scale that back a bit and see what happens. This is definitely something I'll make again, I'll just be sure to allow enough time for all the steps!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pimento Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I was going back through the pictures for my blog to see what I hadn't posted about yet and couldn't believe I hadn't done this one! This came from our no carb week a few weeks ago. I found it on Pinterest.com and thought it looked awesome--and low carb! I'm pretty much a sucker for anything pimento cheese, so I knew we had to have it. Oh yeah, and it had bacon in it. Sign me up!

Pimento Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Source: Weight-Watchers-Recipes.net via Pinterest.com

1 slice applewood-smoked bacon
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons minced green onions
1 1/2 tablespoons diced pimientos
1 tablespoon canola mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Cook bacon in a large ovenproof skillet until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving drippings in pan; crumble bacon. Combine bacon, next 6 ingredients, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cut a 1-inch-wide slit into the thick end of each breast half; carefully cut down to the center of chicken to form a deep pocket. Divide cheese mixture evenly among pockets. Secure with wooden picks. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

3. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Add oil to drippings. Add chicken to pan; saute 4 minutes. Turn chicken over. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes; let stand for 5 minutes.

Makes 4 Servings

Nutritional Info Per Serving: Calories 204, Carbs 20 g, Fat 11 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 7 g


I changed this up just slightly, like by adding more bacon. Actually I was making another dish that used bacon, so I cooked up quite a bit to be included in both dishes. I love cooking things in bacon grease. I'm sure it's a fast track to a heart attack, but it's so delicious. This recipe worked out great with the dish I had planned to go with it because there were a lot of similar components. Don't you love when that happens?!

This was something we all really loved, and I will definitely make it again. Ooey, gooey cheese and bacon and bacon drippings?! Hells yeah!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chinese Five Spice Turkey Lettuce Wraps

I'm super multi-tasking this afternoon...sitting here with hair color in my hair (my roots were in a sorry state of affairs), updating my blog, and watching the most recent Glee episode. Oh, how I love me some old school Michael Jackson!! I also love Aggie's Kitchen (how's that for a transition?!) and was excited when she recently posted this recipe. When we did our low carb week last week, this was the first dinner I planned. I love lettuce wraps but hadn't ever made them myself. They fit the low/no carb diet perfectly, though.

Chinese Five Spice Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Source: Aggie's Kitchen website

1 lb ground lean turkey breast
1 medium red onion, chopped small
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 carrot, chopped small
2 tablespoons chopped water chestnuts
1 1/2 teaspoon 5 Spice Powder
2 teaspoons low sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
3 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons black bean sauce
1 teaspoon agave or honey
chile garlic or chile sauce (like sriracha), for serving
Boston or iceberg lettuce leaves, washed and dried
shredded slaw mix (optional)
chopped green onions (optional)

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray and add onion and carrot. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, add ground turkey. Using a wooden spoon, break up ground turkey and sprinkle 5 spice powder over meat. Continue to cook until cooked through completely, about 7 minutes.

While turkey is cooking, combine tamari, rice vinegar, black bean sauce, agave, ginger and garlic in a small bowl. Add to ground turkey during the last few minutes of cooking and stir until all combined.

To serve scoop ground meat mixture into lettuce leaves, top with slaw mix, green onions and chili sauce.


I couldn't find black bean sauce, so I substituted hoisin sauce. These were super tasty!! My kids got a little frustrated trying to keep the lettuce wrapped around the filling, so they resorted to just eating the filling and lettuce separately. I'm glad I finally made these...they are definitely something we'll eat on a regular basis!