Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Feast!

So this was my third year making Thanksgiving dinner (cumulatively), but each year it has been for a different size crowd and consisted of a different menu. This year I decided to give it my all. We only had 9 people, but my sister and I really wanted to make it special. Our guests included her in-laws and my boyfriend, so we really wanted to show off our culinary skills.
Luckily, the meal was a success. The menu was very traditional and used traditional cooking methods. I was more focused on making everything taste great and the way it was supposed to than to try modernized recipes and risk failure. So this is the menu run-down:

  • 18.5 pound turkey stuffed with rosemary, thyme, garlic and oranges. Skin separated and seasoned with a garlic herb butter sauce and zested with orange peels. Then it was laid on a bed of onions and chicken stock.
  • Stuffing with apples and walnuts
  • Green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup and french fried onions
  • Garlic and chive mashed potatoes
  • Sweet carrots in brown sugar
  • Sweet yellow corn
  • Cranberry sauce (out of the can - it's the best!)
  • Biscuits
  • Homemade whipped cream
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Apple pie
  • Cheesecake
  • Homemade cranberry bread

Only a few mishaps happened this year, but that all added to the fun and entertainment of cooking Thanksgiving dinner. We had a hole in the roasting pan, clogged the garbage disposal, and my sister badly burned her hand. Luckily there was enough wine, beer, and spirits to ease the pain.

Drink menu consisted of Beaujolais Nouveau 2011, Da Vinci Chianti, winter craft beer selection, and Johnny Walker Double Black limited edition.

Pre-dinner table settings

Next year the boys have volunteered to take care of the turkey and try to fry it. As for us girls, we will stay nice and cozy inside preparing the sides and drinking some fabulous wine.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Shredded Chicken Enchiladas

Picture taken from A Sweet Pea Chef
I'm going to start off by saying I have never made Mexican food from home before besides the occasional out-of-the-box taco dinner, so I was worried this was going to turn out horribly. Luckily, I was wrong -- it was delicious!

I didn't follow the recipe exactly because I couldn't find enchilada sauce at the grocery store (why do I always have this problem?) and I had to end up buying packaged enchilada mix and using it that way. I would still recommend trying it exactly as the recipe details it because I think it would give it a much more authentic and fresh taste.

My friend found this recipe on A Sweet Pea Chef and sent it to me to try because it was easy and didn't use a lot of dishes - both things I love to hear.

I highly recommend this recipe for an easy weekday dinner with the whole family. It is cheesy, meaty and very filling ... and the leftovers reheat superbly!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

Shredded Chicken Enchiladas
Serves 4-5

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (1 1/2 cups) enchilada sauce (I use Mild)
kosher salt
ground black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups Mexican shredded cheese
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
12 6-inch corn tortillas
cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Add the minced garlic to the enchilada sauce in a deep skillet and heat to boiling. Generously sprinkle kosher salt and ground black pepper over the chicken breasts and then nestle the chicken breasts into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the sauce, set aside and let both the chicken and the sauce cool.
  4. Using two forks, shred the chicken breasts by holding one fork steady and slowly scraping the other fork, prongs faced backwards, away from the other fork
  5. Transfer the shredded chicken to a large bowl. Add half the enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup each of the Monterrey jack and cheddar cheeses and the 1/2 cup of cilantro to the shredded chicken. Stir to combine.
  6. Wrap the corn tortillas in a damp cloth or paper towel and microwave on high for 20-30 seconds until pliable and warm. Using cooking spray (if desired), oil a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish.
  7. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture along the center of the tortilla. Gently, but firmly, roll the tortilla around the filling and place into the baking dish, seam-side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  8. Place baking dish in the oven, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until the tortillas begin to turn golden.
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove the baking dish from the oven. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle remaining cheese over the sauce. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro.
  10. Lightly cover baking dish with aluminum foil and place into the oven for 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil after 20 minutes and bake, uncovered, for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is golden.
  11. Remove and top with remaining cilantro and a dollop (or two!) of sour cream.
**Serve with Spanish Rice**