Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole - sweetheatchefs.com

The very moment I stumbled upon this recipe I knew it was a keeper and in fact I went out and bought the ingredients that same day. I love casseroles, and the cheesy crunchy top that reveals itself after baking so nicely in the hot oven! MMMMMMM I am a cheese & crispy bits  lover! I changed the recipe up some to suit my taste.  To see the original click here. For my edited version…READ ON!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tsp Paprika, I like hungarian but any will do even the hot stuff
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 head green cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (I cooked in chicken stock instead of water to add more flavor)
  • 2 cups low-fat mozzarella cheese

stuffed cabbage casserole

(Love this shot)

stuffed cabbage casserole 6

DIRECTIONS – Preheat oven to 350°F.

  1. Spray a large glass casserole dish with non-stick spray. I used a 10×13″ pan and it was full!
  2. Cook rice and when it is finished set aside (use chicken stock instead of water for more flavor!)
  3. Heat a large frying pan on medium heat; add 1 tbs olive oil, and garlic. Cook until just fragrant (about 1 minute or less) Add salt, pepper, paprika thyme and finally ground turkey. Cook until browned.
  4. To the pan add the diced tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce and chicken stock.
  5. Simmer until thickened, around 15 minutes give or take.
  6. While meat mixture is thickening, cut up cabbage and make sure to cut out the core, and chop coarsely.
  7. Heat remaining olive oil in a large frying pan, add the cabbage and cook over medium heat until the cabbage is wilted (I added a lid to help the process along). You want the cabbage about half-cooked, turning it over several times so it all wilts and cooks. Season with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.
  8. Add your cooked rice to your meat mixture and stir to combine well.
  9. Take 1/2 of your wilted cabbage and place in your casserole dish, then 1/2 of your meat mixture and repeat until all is in pan. Mix together gently with large spoon.
  10. Add cheese to top and bake for 40 minutes uncovered.
  11. Let casserole sit for a few minutes before cutting, the cheese will stay in place better this way and you get nice even squares for everyone to enjoy, serve hot.
  12. This dish is freezer friendly if you have leftovers. (which I did) I stored in a Tupperware container, air tight.

stuffed cabbage casserole - sweetheatchefs.com

stuffed cabbage casserole - sweetheatchefs.com

stuffed cabbage casserole - sweetheatchefs.com

Fresh Vodka Spritzer Recipe:

1 oz Pinnacle Cake Vodka
1 oz Pinnacle Whip Cream Vodka
2 oz Seltzer Water
Juice of 1/2 lime
Basil & lime slice for garnish

Blend first 4 ingredients together and garnish with basil and lime slice. Light and refreshing!

 

If you liked this recipe, check out more from Sweet Heat Chefs and tell a friend!

 

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Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken - sweetheatchefs.com

With my new-found mission to a better healthier lifestyle, that rules out my love of frying and eating fried foods. After all , that is what got me where I was. Moderation is key, but having a good defense is the best offense! Meaning, I need a ton of good go to recipes that feel indulgent but aren’t. That way I can trick my body (and mind) into thinking I am eating things I shouldn’t be but am able to without regret and guilt. I initially founded this recipe with my daughter Jasmine as we were in final competition mode on the Rachael Ray vs. Guy Fieri cooking show. Our mission, was to cook the best chicken cutlet, which we did cuz we WON! Any who, that version was pan-fried and this one is low-calorie baked chicken tenders. Same great taste, without that pesky guilt I was talking about earlier 😀 Click here for the original version of the deliciousness!

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken 4

This version was obviously thought up since I am now eating healthier, but also was inspired by a secret ingredient swap. Some blogger pals got paired up and had to send the other one something that represented their state. I received this jar of golden deliciousness! Sweet & Spicy Stone Ground Mustard. As soon as I saw the jar I opened it, smelled it tasted it, smelled it tasted it and fell in ~love~

This jar came from Mishmawshandotherthings.

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken 3

INGREDIENTS

8 chicken tenderloin breasts
1/4 cup golden deliciousness aka Raye’s Sweet & Spicy Stone Ground Mustard
2 cups pretzels, ground semi fine (salted or non salted per your preference) I use the matchstick kind and pulse them in the food processor until I get the consistency I like.
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
salt/pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS –  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  1. Using a sheet pan, line the bottom with foil, and top with a bakers wire cooling rack. Spray rack with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl add mustard and chicken. Mix together so chicken is well coated. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor pulse the pretzels and Parmesan cheese until desired consistency. I like mine chunkier to be able to taste the pretzels. Add pepper to taste (and salt if using unsalted pretzels)
  4. Add the pretzel coating to a bowl and take 1 chicken strip at a time and coat with it.
  5. Place the pretzel crusted chicken tender on the baking rack and repeat until all chicken is coated. Be sure to discard leftover mustard and pretzel mixture as you can’t re-use it do to be contaminated with raw chicken.
  6. Drizzle olive oil over the tops of the chicken strips. You can use non stick spray for this too.
  7. Bake chicken for 15 – 20 minutes or until cooked through. You will want to turn chicken over 1/2 way through and drizzle with olive oil to crisp both sides.
  8. Serve with Honey Mustard Dipper Sauce and sliced scallions!

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken - sweetheatchefs.com

 

Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagne - sweetheatchefs.com

Well here we are several years later and the weight I feverishly fought so hard to get rid of (and did get rid of) is back on this bod like white on rice! When I found out I was preggers in 2009, I swore I would still go to the gym….that did not happen. I always saw this woman at my gym super cute, tiny, and a baby belly bump. I thought well that will be me soon, but it wasn’t and it never was.

Now my son is 2 1/2 and I have yet to return to the gym, don’t you know how easy it is to get away with an infant, then a toddler? Not to mention my 4 other kids. So they gym was not in the cards for me and I guess in my own mind I gave up. Sad really. I worked so hard to get rid of years of weight that I had gained for no real reason. Then in the blink of an eye I am close to being back to “that” person again, I vowed I would never let that happen. Before my clothes don’t fit and before I lose any more self respect, I am back in the game folks!

Zucchini Lasagne - sweetheatchefs.com

I have signed up to be in a 5K run that is so popular around here I found my MOJO. I gave myself enough time to train and get in shape before hand, so as not to feel like a dweeb when that day comes. In honor of my new goal I have made lasagna…I know lasagna is not low fat or low cals, but this one is 😀 The very thought of taking away food one loves, is the very reason people don’t stick with eating healthy. Here you can have your good stuff and eat it too! No carb, no noodles, gluten free, low fat, low cal lasagna

~YOUR WELCOME~

By the way…VEGETARIAN? Lose the chicken 😀

Zucchini Lasagne - sweetheatchefs.com

INGREDIENTS

1 cooked chicken breast, cooled and diced
1 sweet yellow onion, diced
3 medium Zucchini or Squash, sliced ( I used 2 green 1 yellow)
1 garlic clove, minced (I used the microplane)
2 cups of your favorite red pasta sauce
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs
2/3 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS

  1. Over medium heat, saute onion, garlic, and 1/2 of the salt/pepper until golden.
  2. Add zucchini and remaining salt/pepper and saute until fork tender.
  3. Pull off stove and set aside.
  4. In a 9″ x 9″ glass Pyrex dish begin layering zucchini in rows until the bottom is covered.
  5. Next add a layer of sauce, then diced chicken, then mozzarella cheese and repeat until all zucchini is used. Leave enough mozzarella cheese for the top.
  6. Top with remaining mozzarella, parmesan, and bread crumbs.
  7. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Serves 6

Zucchini Lasagne - sweetheatchefs.com

Zucchini Lasagne - sweetheatchefs.com

Zucchini Lasagne - sweetheatchefs.com

I decided to include the nutritional information for the dish. It will change slightly based on what type of red sauce you choose. I am not a dietitian or a Doctor, but this is one yummy dish! I used Calorie Count to find the nutritional information for the dish.

Zucchini Lasagne Nutritional Info

Mexican Red Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Mexican Red Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers5 - sweetheatchefs.com

Using leftovers in my house is ALWAYS a chore. 1:  My kids and hubby hate leftovers, 2:  it is hard to make only myself leftovers while they eat crap (aka boxed mac-n-cheese or cup of soups which my kids would live on if I’d let them) So today I decided I wouldn’t tell them I was using leftovers to create this dish, and see how that went over.

Mexican Red Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers2 - sweetheatchefs.com

I had leftover ground turkey and some sweet peppers. I am rummaging through my fridge to see what I can make to go along with it. I always turn everything into a Mexican type meal so I was determined NOT to make this dish that way. Now I see your brow furrowing and your mind racing saying…wait the name of the dish begins with Mexican.

Mexican Red Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers - sweetheatchefs.com

And…You are right, because there is simply no way for me to NOT make a Mexican based dish, I simply love it way too much. My favorite quote of the night was from my daughter, who upon returning home from the mall, ate dinner and stated: “It tastes like a party in my mouth” I do not know 1 chef who would not like that type of review! #missionaccomplished!

Now, this dish is packed full of flavor and guess what? FULL of nutrients too! How awesome is that?! Common, get your shopping list ready and get this dish done!

INGREDIENTS

  • 18 sweet peppers, cleaned, top off and de-seeded
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 can diced green chilis
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I use microplane)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 2 tbs fresh cilantro chopped & washed
  • 1/2 cup Red Quinoa
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup jack cheese, shredded

Mexican Red Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers4 - sweetheatchefs.com

DIRECTIONS

  1. Line a sheet pan with foil and drizzle olive oil over it, about 2 tsp.
  2. In a skillet brown ground turkey
  3. Add garlic, onion powder, and salt/pepper.
  4. Once almost browned, add lime juice and green chilis.
  5. Continue to cook over medium high until thoroughly cooked.
  6. While cooking stuffing mixture, rinse  1/2 cup red quinoa in a strainer
  7. Add to pot with beef broth.
  8. Bring to boil and reduce heat cooking on low simmer for about 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
  9. Once stuffing mixture is finished remove from heat and let cool.
  10. Once quinoa is finished add 1/4 cup to stuffing mix, combine well and add 1 tbs chopped cilantro.
  11. Using a teaspoon measure stuff the peppers until filled to the top.
  12. Roll in olive oil on sheet pan and continue until all peppers are stuffed.
  13. Top all peppers with shredded jack cheese evenly. (I push them all together to cheese is not wasted on pan, but ooey gooey goodness all over peppers) 
  14. Bake for 10 minutes on 375 degrees, then broil for 5-7 minutes.
  15. Let cool for about 5 minutes. Serve peppers on top of remaining red quinoa and remaining cilantro, and prepare to lick your plate clean!

Mexican Red Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers6 - sweetheatchefs.com

Mexican Red Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers7 - sweetheatchefs.com

Additional Hint:

IF your kids are anti-peppers (I have 2) whether they are sweet or otherwise, wrap the filling into a corn or flour tortilla and heat up and roll like a burrito. They will be just as pleased with the dish as you. You still are getting that quinoa in them and a healthy meal!

 

Yummy Pics

What Is A Blog

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Hello friends!! I have been made aware that some of my wonderful readers are unsure about what a “blog” really is. I hope to clear that up for you and arm you with the information necessary to proceed with signing up to my actual “blog”.
 
I have a Facebook fan page for fun that I show off my culinary creations in the kitchen. To get the full benefit of and find the recipe along with additional pictures and commentary I have a “blog” to read. A blog is an online record, which is short for web log. It is a website that a single person or a group of people use to record information. It is usually based on a single subject, and mine, of course, is cooking and recipes. You can join websites or blogs directly or in some cases, they will have a fan page on:
 
 
It does not cost money to join my blog, it is simply a way to ensure you see each new yummy post I publish.
I hope this clears things up for anyone, unsure, of what a blog is. I welcome any of you to join me at http://www.sweetheatchefs.com, or just continue admiring our fan page on Facebook. There is no requirement to sign up to my actual “blog”, it is just nice to see you all off of Facebook and over in another venue. Which ever way you choose to visit Sweet Heat Chefs, we welcome you and thank you for being great friends  followers, commentaries and family.  So sit back and enjoy our yummy food and there are always new foodies to meet! I appreciate each one of you, and each one of you make Sweet Heat Chefs what it is. Cheers my friends!
 
I want to thank a great foodie friend, Christine from Foodthoughtsofachefwannabe. She inspired this post and I appreciate her taking time to explain what a blog is to her readers and mine. The truth is, we are doing this for one simple reason…WE LOVE IT! Please, take a moment to visit her page and see all the goodies she has cooking up in the kitchen too.
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3-Way Whole Wheat Buns, Never buy from the store again!

Whole Wheat Buns5 - sweetheatchefs.com

I’m serious when I say you will not want to buy store made buns or rolls again. This process is not only easy, but you can make a double batch and freeze what you don’t use. They will keep for 2 months time in an airtight container. You can also use unbleached all-purpose flour in place of the whole wheat, this gives the bread a fluffier texture. 

I have always been intimidated with making bread or any type of dough that deals with yeast. I found this to be a super easy dough especially using the bread machine. Even when you go to roll out the dough, it is soft and pliable with not stickiness. 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup of milk
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup melted butter
4.5 cups whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat white)
1 packet, or .25 ounce instant yeast
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1.5 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten

Whole Wheat Buns2 - sweetheatchefs.com

DIRECTIONS

  1. Warm milk slightly in the microwave (approx 40 seconds) and place in bread machine
  2. Melt butter and place in bread machine, add water, sugar, salt, and egg.
  3. Add flour and stir a little to combine
  4. Turn bread machine on dough setting. *Mine has a 1 hr rise/rest period after it has mixed* If your’s doesn’t place in greased bowl and let rise for 1 hr.
  5. Turn dough out onto a cutting board and cut into 12 – 16 pieces. Depending on if you are making burger buns, hot dog buns or rolls will depend on how you create the pieces.
  6. After you have your desired shapes and pieces, brush with a little melted butter.
  7. Top with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic powder, or Parmesan cheese
  8. Then bake for 10-12 minutes. Mine all took 10 minutes from the get go. These are a dense bread due to the whole wheat, if you let them bake too far along you will have a rock.

Burger Buns

  • place on a greased sheet pan, cover and let rise 20-30 minutes
  • bake as above

Whole Wheat Buns4 - sweetheatchefs.com

Hot Dog Buns

  • shape the 12 pieces into approximately  6″ x 4″ rectangle shapes. This can vary depending on the size of the dogs you use.
  • starting at the long end facing you, roll tightly away from you
  • pinch and tuck the ends
  • place on a greased sheet pan, cover and let rise 20-30 minutes
  • bake as above

Whole Wheat Buns3

Whole Wheat Buns

Rolls

  • cut into 16 pieces
  • shape into smooth round balls
  • place on to a greased sheet pan, cover and let rise 20-30 minutes
  • bake as above

Whole Wheat Buns6

You might also like:

Chocolate Chip Nutella Banana Bread

Choco Chip Nutella Banana Bread - sweetheatchefs.com

Be prepared to WOW your taste buds! I made some mini tarts with Nutella and topped with banana slices. After that it was on to see what else I could make with Nutella besides my spoon inserted into the container <blushing> So while sitting in the kitchen looking for inspiration I see browning bananas calling my name. I remembered seeing a recipe somewhere recently for Nutella muffins, from my good friend Becca over at It’s Yummilicious. If you want to check out her fantastic page click HERE. If you want to see all her amazing Nutella recipes click HERE.

This is a great recipe to share on Valentines Day for that special someone. Perhaps a neighbor who helps you out, your kids’ teacher, your daycare provider, or even your spouse! Imagine opening up a cute little box of this homemade treat instead of boxed candy this year!! It is quick, easy and ooey gooey bites of chocolaty deliciousness! Here is how…

Choco Chip Nutella Banana Bread4 - sweetheatchefs.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, or coconut oil; or 1/4 cup coconut oil and  1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup Nutella (heaping)
  • 2 overripe bananas, smashed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (no buttermilk? no problem, see additional notes at bottom of page)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup mini milk chocolate chips

Choco Chip Nutella Banana Bread - sweetheatchefs.com

Choco Chip Nutella Banana Bread - sweetheatchefs.com

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare two loaf pans by lining with parchment paper. Or you can just spray the tin, I use the parchment because I think it is easier to get out and makes the bread better when cooking.
  2. Mix oil, Nutella, and sugar in a large bowl with a stand mixer.
  3. Add the bananas, eggs, buttermilk, and baking soda to the Nutella mixture. Mix well.
  4. Slowly add flour and chocolate chips, just until combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans.
  6. Top with a few mini chips or Valentine’s candy or colorful sprinkles.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Make sure to let cool before slicing

Choco Chip Nutella Banana Bread - sweetheatchefs.com

Choco Chip Nutella Banana Bread5 - SWEETHEATCHEFS.COM

Additional Notes:

How to make your own Buttermilk:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbs vinegar

Combine ingredients and let sit for 5 minutes. Then add to recipe. That’s it!

 

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Manic Monday Button

Carnitas & Cheese Tamales

Tamales For Beginners - Sweetheatchefs.com

**FIRST OFF, please bear with me on the formatting of this post, I have tried everything I know to get it to look right, but it is not working. This post should have been published a week ago! Sorry The Mystic Blue Spice Co.

I took the past week of my life to try new adventures in the kitchen, keyword adventure. From crying, laughing, cursing, to smiling; it took place here. I never knew how much was at stake when I started this blog. I want to please my readers with quality food and ingredients along with perfect pictures to match what goes on in my kitchen. This week has been all but forgiving on my sanity, from losing the cotton twine to tying my tamales (subsequently finding it a few weeks later!) to losing 58 of the pictures for all my recipes and to put the whip cream on top, my blog formatting has all gone haywire! *insert BIG SIGH*! What technology can not take from me, is my recollection of my experience and the tricks and tips I can pass on to you, which I do wholeheartedly LOVE to do.

I thought the idea of making tamales sounded not only fun, but accomplishing. I read reviews and tips and ideas on how and what to do. I got advice from my mom who had made them for my son. I personally didn’t care for them. I have had a few in my day that were ok but nothing like knocking the ball out of the park delicious. So as with anything if it isn’t really that good why bother to eat it. Well my son and daughter both love them, so I decided I should probably figure out this feat.

After researching I compiled my list of ingredients, planned the day to do it, because after all it takes all day unless you break it into 2 – 1/2 days. I got all my equipment sorted, cleaned laid out and ready. I am telling you I could not be more ready for this than I was…or so I thought. I started at 11:30 cooking the meat, and all the sauces. By 7:00 pm that night I was still…steaming…tamales! Keep  in mind, in between I am running to and from school picking kids up and dealing with a 2-year old with a short attention span!

I suppose if you grow up in a household which makes these all the time or if you do this enough times you will be a pro. A beginner, will feel like it’s your first time writing your own name…remember that? I don’t want to deter you from trying to do this, I am just forewarning you it is tedious, time-consuming, rewarding, messy, frustrating and FUN!

If you have leftover sauce, meat and or masa, freeze it and the next go round won’t be as time-consuming. The goods will keep int he freezer for about 2-3 months!!

Now for the lowdown…

Things to know about making tamales, for tamale making dummies, aka beginners!

  1. Get all your ingredients laid out before you begin.
  2. Have your meat prepared ahead of time, this will save you time when taking on this project. Make the night before and refrigerate. Then you only have sauce to make and assemble day 2.
  3. Organize a large work space for assembling the tamales and a place to put them before steaming begins.
  4. Get yourself some type of cotton ties to secure the tamales. If you are not using cheese or a sauce, you won’t need this. If you are using cheese or a sauce you will WANT these!
  5. If you are making more than 1 type; meat & cheese, green sauce meat & cheese, red sauce meat & cheese, then be sure to label them or keep them grouped together, so you know what is what when you are done.
  6. Buy the largest corn husks you can find. The small ones are useless, unless you use 2 together  but when using sauce, it creates more of a mess (in my opinion!)
  7. Keep unused corn husks soaking in water the entire tamale making adventure.
Tamales For Beginners - Sweetheatchefs.com

INGREDIENTS

Meat
  • 2# pork picnic roast
  • 1 medium red onion large chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced in half
  • 2 tbs oregano
  • 1 tbs The Mystic Blue Spice Co. tamale seasoning

Mystic Blue Spice Co - Tamale Seasoning

Masa Dough
  • 3 1/2 cups dried masa harina for tamales
  • 3 3/4 cups hot reserved pork broth or hot water
  • 10 ounces or 1 1/3 cups vegetable shortening softened
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 package dried corn husk leaves
Filling Green
  • 4 Poblano Peppers
  • 4 Anaheim Peppers
  • 4 tomatillos
  • 12 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 19 oz verde enchilada sauce (mild) Las Palmas
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
Filling Red
  • 2 tbs. vegetable shortening
  • 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 ancho chiles, toasted, stemmed, seeded, soaked in very hot water for 15 minutes, and drained
  • 2 guajillo chiles, toasted, stemmed, seeded, soaked in very hot water for 15 minutes, and drained
  • 1 cups canned enchilada sauce Las Palmas
  • 1 1/2  cups (approximately) reserved pork cooking broth or lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 tbs. masa harina
  • 1 tbs. brown sugar or honey; more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp The Mystic Blue Spice Co. tamale seasoning
  • 12 oz Monterrey jack shredded cheese
DIRECTIONS

Meat
  1. In stock pot, add 8 cups water plus all ingredients.
  2. Bring to boil and continue to cook for 2 hours covered.
  3. KEEP ALL COOKING LIQUID
  4. Add meat to baking pan add 2 cups liquid and place in oven on 275 F. degrees for 1-2 hours. Check to make sure liquid does not evaporate and add more if so.
  5. When done remove from oven allow to cool and shred with fork.
Filling Green
  1. Roast the peppers under a broiler, turning occasionally until all sides are charred really well nice and dark.
  2. Place the charred peppers into a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 15 minutes to sweat and make the skin peel.
  3. In a medium stock pot, add olive oil and garlic, heat on medium heat until aromatic; about 2-3 minutes. keep heat low, do not burn garlic.
  4. Add verde enchilada sauce and bring to a boil, then simmer covered on low.
  5. While the sauce is simmering, peel the skins off the peppers and tomatillos. For the peppers remove all seeds, then roughly chop and add to verde sauce, for tomatillos, peel skin and rough chop. Add peppers and tomatillos in food processor and blend until smooth. Add to simmering sauce, cover and continue to simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  6. When done, take off heat and set aside to cool.
Filling Red
  1. Place dried chilies in a bowl of hot pork broth or hot water for 15 minutes.
  2. When chilies are done, heat 1-1/2 tbs. of the shortening in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until beginning to brown, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the masa and stir creating a thick paste.
  4. Add in soaked chiles & broth they soaked in, enchilada sauce, sugar, oregano, tamale seasoning, and the broth.
  5. Continue simmering on medium low until the sauce has darkened in color, 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally  (The sauce may be made up to 2 days ahead; keep refrigerated.)
  6. Set aside and let cool.
  7. Once cool place in batches in the food processor until a smooth consistency. Replace in stockpot and set aside to cool.
 Masa Dough
  1. Combine the masa harina and 1.5 cups hot broth or hot water stir until mixed well.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the lard or shortening with the salt and baking powder until light in texture, about 1 minute.
  3. Continue beating as you add the masa mixture in three additions.
  4. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add additional broth or water 1/4 cup at a time and continue beating for another minute or so, until a 1/2-teaspoon dollop of the batter floats in a cup of cold water (if it floats you can be sure the tamales will be tender and light).
  5. Beat in enough additional broth to give the mixture the consistency of soft, but not runny cake batter; it should hold its shape in a spoon.
  6. Taste the dough and season with additional salt if you think necessary.
  7. Refrigerate the batter for an hour, then use an electric mixer to beat enough additional broth to bring the mixture to the soft consistency it had before. About 1/2 – 3/4 cups worth.
Corn Husk Leaves
  1. Unfold the husks and place in a baking dish full of hot water, for approx 1 hr before ready to roll tamales. I placed a second dish on top to hold water and husks under water.
  2. Remove husks, a few at a time from the water, dry completely before use and set aside.
  3. Place 2-4 tbs of masa dough on the husk and work into a square or rectangular shape to lay the base for the meat and sauce mixture.
Steaming
  1. Work in batches; Use a large steamer or collapsible vegetable steamer set into a large, deep saucepan
  2. Line the steamer with leftover scraps of corn husks to protect the tamales from direct contact with the steam and to add more flavor, but make sure to leave small spaces between leaves so condensing steam can drain off.
Preparing the Tamales
  1. Lay out a corn husk
  2. Spread 2-4 tbs of masa dough over it creating a rectangle or square depending on size of husk.
  3. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the meat, 1 tbs cheese, and 1 tbs sauce over the dough
  4. Roll the corn husk away from you starting with the long end and work away from you.
  5. Tuck the left skinny side of the husk under and set aside. This leaves the top open and exposed. If you have cotton or corn ties, use these to tie each end instead of tucking under. (The tie is an optional step and the tamale will cook and be perfectly fine if this step is skipped)
Steaming the Tamales
  1. Place as many tamales as you can fit into the steamer. Stand them upright so the open end is up. (If using ties the placement of ends will not apply) Once in the steamer, set the lid in place and steam over a constant medium heat for about 1 1/4 hours. (Watch carefully that all the water doesn’t boil away, add more water if necessary)
  2. The tamales are done when pressed are a firm consistency. If mushy, they are not done.
  3. Let tamales stand in the steamer off the heat for a few minutes to firm up.

Tamales For Beginners - Sweetheatchefs.com

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Skinny(er) Scalloped Potatoes

Skinny(er) Scalloped Potatoes - sweetheatchefs.com

INGREDIENTS

Non stick cooking spray
10 medium peeled Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced thinly. I used my food processor attachment at 2mm
2.5 tbsp butter
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1 clove of garlic, or if you are a garlic lover (like me) 2 cloves minced or microplaned (if you don’t have cloves, 1/2-1 tsp garlic powder)
1 cup shredded reduced fat Cheddar or Gruye cheese or a combo of both
1/4 cup large grate parmesan cheese
2 cup fat-free milk
1 bay leaf
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
3 tsp thyme
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 green onion, thinly sliced for garnish
 
 
sweetheatchefs.com
DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray a 9″x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl add potatoes, salt, & fresh cracked pepper. Toss well so everything is coated.
  3. The placement of the potatoes will happen in 4 different batches. First batch take 1/4 of the potatoes and layer them on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add 1/4 of the cheese on top, repeat until all potatoes and cheese are in pan.
  5. In a small saucepan, bring milk, butter, dijon mustard, thyme, bay leaf and nutmeg to a boil over medium heat stirring very frequently so it does not scaldpour over potatoes (remove bay leaf)
  6. Top with the Parmesan cheese and green onions.
  7. Bake uncovered, for 40 – 50 minutes (depending on how thick your potatoes were) or until potatoes are tender. 

sweetheatchefs.com

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Turkey Skewered Meatballs with Pomegranate Sauce

sweetheatchefs.com

sweetheatchefs.com

This week in my kitchen has been a trial and tribulation week. Trial, error, success, mess, crying, laughing and doing it all over again. This recipe was no exception, including all the pictures that went with it that got erased! All I can say is if you don’t try you won’t succeed, AND make sure you read a recipe in its entirety before buying ingredients AND proceeding to make it. This recipe was adapted from one I saw recently on a blog, click here for the original version. I adapted it to fit our household and you can too. This is a healthy meal and pretty filling with just 2 meatballs served with the rice and a salad.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pomegranates (do not use pomegranate juice as it will not reduce)
  • 1 clove garlic, slightly pressed
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 lb ground turkey
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese (divided)
  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup plain breadcrumbs or panko crumbs (divided)
  • 1 cup stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts (can use pecans or walnuts instead)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped baby spinach, fine chop
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS – Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cooks for 30 minutes (or see alternate cooking method at the end)

  1. Halve the pomegranates and over a fine mesh strainer squeeze the juice into it until you get 1 cup. 
  2. In a heavy (or non-stick) saucepan or skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add a sprig of rosemary and 1 clove of garlic.When the garlic is golden brown, discard it and add wine and the pomegranate juice to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and allow to reduce over medium heat, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Chop the hazelnuts and add 2 tbs bread crumbs and 1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese and set aside.
  4. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet, add the shallots and garlic and cook until translucent over low and make sure not to brown.  Dump the shallot and garlic mixture into the fine mesh strainer and let set aside to let drain and cool.
  5. Soak the bread in broth until soft, then drain by squeezing all the liquid out, and set aside.
  6. In a bowl, combine the ground turkey with the cooked shallots and garlic, the salt and pepper, spinach, drained bread, nutmeg, egg and additional breadcrumbs as needed to firm up the mixture. Mix everything together really well.
  7. Allow to rest for two minutes until it firms up, making the mixture easier to shape. 
The consistency of the mixture should be soft and wet and hold together in a ball.
  8. Shape into 1″ to 1 ½” sized meatballs.
  9. Roll the meatballs into the hazelnuts and bread crumb mixture.
  10. Line a baking tray with a sheet of foil and brush with a small amount of  olive oil.
  11. Thread the meatballs onto skewers (If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before cooking)
  12. Arrange the meatballs on the foil in one layer and lightly drizzle the top with a little more olive oil.
  13. Bake until golden brown about 30 minutes. Drizzle pomegranate sauce over the top and serve over my coconut rice and side of salad greens.

Alternate Cooking Method

You can skewer the meatballs and place over indirect heat on the BBQ. Using a medium heat cook the meatballs for approx 25 minutes, checking frequently to make sure they don’t burn. I placed them on an old cookie sheet lined with foil and oiled generously. I turned them every 5-10 minutes to avoid one side from getting too done at a time. Mine took about 30 minutes but remember all ovens & BBQ’s vary in temperature, so your cooking time might not be the same as mine. The flavor you will get from grilling these will add that much extra to the lean protein you are working with here.

This recipe is being shown at Bobbi’s Cozy Kitchen, Manic Monday Party!