I have no book reviews or recommendations this week for you, which is odd since I’ve been off my feet all week. But I’ve been in a reading slump. I think partially because I’m finishing a series that I recently found and love, and part burnout from working on the blog and diving deep into social media. It’s quite a process and I love it, but I’ve been wearing thin.
Fridge, Freezer, Pantry & Garden Finds! I made a complete Chicken & Spinach Enchilada meal without a trip to the store!
I joined a pantry & freezer clean-out challenge and I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t quite finish. But I’m still on a mission! Mom came over and helped me use up some chicken thighs, almost expired tortillas, a frozen chunk of a bag of spinach, the last of my frozen instant pot black beans, 1/2 block of cream cheese, (shredded Monterey cheese will also work) an onion, 1 T toasted cumin, 1 ts Mediterranean oregano, 1/4 t cayenne pepper, 1 ts each granulated garlic and granulated onion, about 1/2 carton frozen boxed chicken broth, frozen fire-roasted poblanos from last month, about a 7 oz chunk of Tillamook Cheddar (that I shredded) that I bought in excess with iBotta rebates, and jarred tomatillo and poblano salsas. I would usually use shredded white cheddar or Monterey cheese for green enchiladas but grated orange cheddar worked just fine!!
We chopped up an onion and sautéed it in a large pan with a tad of avocado oil. Then we diced up the boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 7 of them) and sautéed them in with the onions.
I added a good sprinkle of salt, 1 TB of cumin (use toasted cumin if you can find it!) 1 ts of dried Mediterranean oregano, 1 ts each of granulated garlic & granulated onion, 2 seeded & skinned fire-roasted poblanos chopped, about a 1/2 ts of cayenne and pinch of black pepper. Add about 1 pound of (thawed drained & liquid squeezed out) spinach. Add 1/4 cup green salsa. Pour some chicken stock over the chicken mixture, just enough to sort of braise it until it’s tender! Simmer over medium heat until tender and liquid is mostly cooked out. Taste, adjust for seasoning and remove from heat. I really love cumin so I usually add more of that & cayenne! Stir in your cream cheese and taste again. I find the cream cheese reduces the spiciness a little.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Spray a little cooking oil in the bottom and sides of your baking dish. I used a large square CorningWare dish for us, and a small disposable pan to send home with mom. Add a few tablespoons of green salsa, just enough to coat the bottom.
Once the filling is cool enough to touch you can roll the enchiladas. A trick I learned from my husband is to lightly butter both sides of the tortillas. Wow, does that make them delicious, but in place of butter, I recommend lightly brushing both sides of about 8 large flour tortillas with avocado oil or spraying with cooking oil. This keeps them from getting too soggy. Add 1 TB or 2 of drained black beans down the center of each tortilla. Add a sprinkle of shredded cheese to the outside edges of the tortilla. (That will glue them shut nicely and keep them from tasting like you have too much bread.) I use a measuring cup to add the chicken & spinach filling. Spread a generous amount down the middle on top of the beans. Starting from one long side fold the tortilla over the center with the filling and start rolling it fairly tightly. Don’t bother trying to make it look like a burrito unless you want too.
Place them seam side down in the pan. Repeat until you have filled the pans or run out of filling. They can be crowded and touching. You can separate them with a spatula when you serve or just cut them like a casserole. Spread any excess filling over the top of the enchiladas.
Top with some green salsa, any extra beans and cheese. I had spicy poblano salsa and a jar of tangy tomatillo salsa. I would normally cover the top with spicy salsa but I know mom doesn’t like it too spicy so I just dolloped! I had visions of guacamole with jalapeño & bacon to spice things up on my plate later anyway!!! I tossed on some more black beans and sprinkled over the remaining cheese. I wished I had sliced black olives in my pantry because they are amazing on top! Red salsa would be fine too!
Since they are already warm they won’t take long to brown and crisp a little around the edges (my favorite part). Bake uncovered for about twenty minutes or until bubbly and brown. You could also skip baking for now and refrigerate or freeze them.
Guacamole Topped with BACON!
We vacationed in Florida earlier this month with my mother & father in-law. They always take us to their favorite restaurants and cook some amazing meals for us. (They missed their calling, I think they should have opened a chain of highly successful Bed & Breakfasts or restaurants! With JoAnn’s recipe collection complete with personal notes, she’s an original “food blogger”. ) …While we were visiting them, they took us to a Mexican restaurant and recommended the table-side guacamole with BACON. It was amazing. I make BLT’s with bacon and avocado all the time, but I never thought to put it on guac! Did I mention, I NEVER want guac without bacon again!
Here’s how I made Guac with Bacon!
I fried up four strips of bacon. I diced about 2 T diced red onion & soaked in it ice water for several minutes. (I heard that mellows them out a bit.) I added the drained red onion to a medium bowl. I took 2 avocados and diced them into a bowl. I mashed them up a bit, leaving some large chunks. To that I added 1 diced jalapeno, 1/2 diced & smashed garlic clove, 1 diced fresh garden tomato, a small pinch of salt, about 2 T chopped cilantro from the garden and added a squeeze of lime.
Serve the guacamole with bacon crumbled on top, extra cilantro and a dollop of sour cream or better yet, Greek yogurt. We had the guac like a salad alongside the enchiladas but some crunchy tortilla chips would have been awesome!
Bill still selects all the wines & Jo Ann makes amazing meals and desserts. There is always room for dessert!
I was a ground meat taco person, converted by my husband into a maker of awesome enchiladas.
Enchilada are pretty easy. You can use jarred or canned enchilada sauce, rotisserie chicken, tomatoes, spinach, pretty much anything you like rolled up in a tortilla!
Am I the only one who had never tried bacon on guac until now? If so, why have you not told me before now!?