Enchiladas Verdes

There is one requirement for this recipe. You must say the name with a nice, suave, Spanish accent...go ahead..."Enchiladas Verdes!".  This is another one Elise and I made when she came to visit. We spent the better half of our day putting this dish together, but it was well worth it! I got the recipe from my America's Test Kitchen book. If you don't know much about ATK, it is great for someone learning how to cook because first, they travel the country to find the best recipes for a particular dish, and then they give detailed instructions on how to make it. So without further ado, here is the recipe that they found (and some entertaining pictures of our attempt to make it).

This is the picture from my cook book...as soon as we saw it, we were off to the grocery store to buy some tomatillos!

4 tsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2-3 breasts), trimmed of excess fat
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos (16-20 medium), husks removed, rinsed well and dried
(look for pale green tomatillos that fill and split open the fruit's outer papery husk)
3 medium poblano chiles, halved lengthwise, stemmed and seeded
1 - 2 1/2  tsp sugar
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves 
8 ounces pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese, grated (2 cups)
12-15 (6-inch) corn tortillas 

2 medium scallions, sliced thin
Sour cream

1. Adjust the oven racks to the middle and highest position and turn the broiler on. Now, poach the chicken (which is just a funny way of saying, 'cook in a flavored broth').

Heat 2 tsp of the oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering; add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 6-8 minutes. Add 2 tsp of garlic and the cumin. Cook and stir for about 30 seconds. Decrease the heat to low and stir in chicken broth. Add the chicken (raw), cover, and simmer until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees (15-20) minutes, flipping half way through. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl; place in the refrigerator to cool, about 20 minutes.  Remove 1/4 cup liquid from the saucepan and set aside; discard the remaining liquid.
 2. Meanwhile, toss the tomatillos and poblanos with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil; arrange on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, with the poblanos skin side up. Broil until the vegetables blacken and start to soften, 5-10 minutes, rotate the pan halfway through cooking. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove the skin from the poblanos (leave the tomatillo skin intact). Put them all into a food processor.  Set the oven to 350 degrees. Discard the foil from the baking sheet and set the baking sheet aside for warm the tortillas.

3. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, the remaining teaspoon garlic, and the reserved 1/4 cup cooking liquid to the food processor. Pulse until the sauce is somewhat chunky, about eight 1-second pulses. Taste the sauce; season with salt and pepper and adjust tartness by stirring in the remaining sugar, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Voila, you have made green chile! You should have about 3 cups. (note: we added some jalepenos because it needed some spice).

4. When the chicken is cool, pull into shreds using your hands or 2 forks, then chop into small bite-sized pieces. Combine the chicken with the cilantro and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese; season with salt.

5. Smear the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish with 3/4 cup of the tomatillo sauce. Place the tortillas on 2 baking sheets. Spraying both sides of the tortillas lightly with Pam. Bake until the tortillas are soft and pliable, 2-4 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Place the warm tortillas on a clean countertop and spread 1/3 cup filling down the center of each tortilla. Roll each tortilla tightly and place in the baking dish, seam side down. Pour the remaining tomatillo sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Use the back of a spoon to spread the sauce so that it coats the top of each tortilla. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and cover the baking dish with foil.

6. Bake the enchiladas on the middle rack until heated through and the cheese is melted, 15-20 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with scallions, and serve immediately.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a recipe I made a while ago (a couple of times) but thought it was appropriate as fall is now upon us and it's time to start making some warm comfort food. A long-time friend, whom we like to call Ms. Shelly, offered this recipe for my cook book. It's a bit spicy for me, so I just cut back on the jalapenos and top with plenty of cheese, sour cream and avocados!  Of course, the best part about it is that it makes plenty. I like to make the whole recipe and then divide it into freezer bags and store it for a later time. The key is to freeze it laying down, it will take up less room in your freezer.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 Tbsp minced garlic
3 cups chicken (or leftover turkey!)
2 cans diced tomatoes (Rotel has a type with chilies already in it)
4 cans diced green chilies (or less)
1 can diced jalapenos
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder (or less)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cans chicken broth (adjust this amount if you like a stew vs. soup)
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 tsp lime juice

1) Brown the garlic and onion with oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven
2) Add chicken and continue to brown. Keep on eye on it so it doesn't burn! Add the tomatoes and chilies. Add the spices and chicken broth. Simmer all of this for about 15 minutes. Continue to stir occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn. (Can you tell I've burnt it a couple of times??)
3) If you're going to freeze some, divide it now. If you're going to eat it, add the cilantro and lime juice. (Add this fresh the next time you serve it).
4) Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, avocado, etc. to your liking.

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Poppy Seed Chicken

This has become a famous dish at the Atkins household, passed down from Mama Omi. It is one of our favorites and never gets old. Actually, it was the first meal I made for Stuart when we were dating...awwwww...and now he can't get enough of it. If you're a picky eater, give this one a try. There are several variations of this recipe out there, perhaps you have your own. I love to make it when people join us for dinner. Easy. Yummy. Makes great leftovers.

This is Blake, Victoria, and Macey enjoying some PSC...they're pretty awesome. 

4-6 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
8 ounces sour cream
1 stick melted butter
1-2 stacks Ritz crackers, crushed
1 stick of butter
2 Tbsp poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 F. After you cook and cut up the chicken, put it in the bottom of a 9x13 dish. Mix together soups and sour cream; spread on top of the chicken. Stir together the melted butter, crushed crackers, and poppy seeds. Spread that on top of the chicken. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Serve over hot rice and with some veggie sides. I usually like to make it with broccoli or green beans and a salad.  So what do you think? Do you have your own variation of this simple casserole? Let me know!

The best part about this meal....Stuart can make it too!! I'm so proud. 

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