Monday, June 23, 2014

Chicken Enchilada Casserole + That Game!

Did you SEE that game yesterday?

Oh wait. You don't know what I am talking about? The World Cup. I know, here in America it really isn't that big of a deal, but in our half-Brazilian / half-American household it is more than just a soccer tournament; it is pretty much what 95% of our conversation is centered around these days. And I love it!

I haven't always cared about it. In fact, I never had even heard of the World Cup until I was graduating college and a group of my friends didn't come to the graduation because there was a game on. Actually, they came. They just stayed in the back, all crowded around a pickup truck with a TV connected to it, cheering for whatever teams were playing at that moment. Technically they were there, but there weren't really there. I was fuming! These were some of my best friends, they showed up for my college graduation and didn't see me get my degree because of a soccer game?!

I totally get it now.

This household cheers for Brazil. All the way. I mean, my husband comes from a country where every time they play is equivalent to a national holiday. Schools are closed, businesses are shut down, and parties are going on everywhere. Imagine the 4th of July -- continuing on throughout a month. This is a big deal for him, and has become a big deal for me. But yesterday we cheered for the USA (Go, Team, go!).


I think my heart sank at minute five, and then soared from about the middle of the game on... until it almost stopped beating during the last 30 seconds. If you don't know what I am talking about you really should check it out. Man oh man, it was intense.

Objectively, it was a great game. Subjectively, it almost made me cry. So this is what it feels like to really care about sports...

But at the end of the day -- win, lose, or draw -- life goes on. And I don't know about you, but I work up quite an appetite while watching these boys battle it out on the pitch.

To help combat that, I bring you a chicken enchilada casserole.

The beauty of this casserole is that you don't have to really roll the enchiladas. Just stuff them, fold them in half, and layer them in the casserole dish. Quite simple to make and really delicious to eat -- even my husband who dislikes most Mexican food (he doesn't understand why cheese and beans go together, nor does he like spicy things) enjoys this. I guess it helps that I don't put jalapenos in even though the original recipe calls for them.

Some tips: (1) buy cooked, shredded chicken from the deli section of the your local grocery store. It is easier than buying it and making it yourself, and costs about the same; (2) substitute Greek yogurt in place of sour cream -- it is tangy and has the same consistency, and is a little bit healthier; and (3) start cheering on your team in the World Cup! Like I said earlier, go Team, go!!!

Recipe slightly adapted from Everyday Food, October 2011


  • 2 pounds tomatillos (husks removed), washed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 white onion, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 15-18 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a blender, puree tomatillos until smooth. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook until softened, 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add tomatillo puree and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is thickened slightly, 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Briefly run stack of tortillas under cold water, turning to lightly dampen. Wrap stack in a clean kitchen towel and microwave until pliable, 30 seconds. Fill each tortilla with about 3 tablespoons chicken and a sprinkling of cheese, fold in half, and arrange in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, overlapping slightly. Top with tomatillo mixture, cover with foil, and bake until bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream and 2 tablespoons water. To serve, drizzle casserole with sour cream mixture and sprinkle with cheese and cilantro.

COST: $13.09      COST PER SERVING (6): $2.18

Gluten Free    //    Mexican Food

Sunday, June 8, 2014

I'm Here! + Lime-Glazed Cookies

I'm here, I'm here! I hope you didn't forget about me while I was away... I know I didn't forget about you :) A lot has happened since the last time I posted something (on the first day of this year -- over six months ago). A lot has also not happened since then, as well.

Like cooking or baking. That pretty much did not happen at all.

Writing things for fun. Nope.

Doing anything blog related. Nada.

But I do have some good excuses, and I also have some good reasons for coming back.

The last time I posted I looked something like this:

But this time I look something like THIS:

That's right... we're having a baby!!!

So, you can see why I haven't been around for awhile. Between morning sickness for the first trimester and just overall tiredness at the end of teaching all day long while being pregnant for the rest of the time, I had no energy to spend doing something creative in the kitchen. There were many times when I just had no energy to go into the kitchen, let alone be creative. The second trimester was much easier and I started cooking again, but nothing newsworthy. I actually just visited my own blog each week and thought, "What are the easiest things I can make?" Which led us to a diet of fish tacos, leek-baked eggs, and lots and lots of pasta.

But now I am back, and I am back for real!

Last Friday I said goodbye to another group of students and locked my classroom door -- but this time I will not be getting another bunch in the Fall. This time I will be taking care of my own baby boy, my now full-time student as several friends have called him. My chosen career as a teacher was spectacular, and now my new chosen "career" as a homemaker/at-home-mommy will be a new adventure, equally spectacular yet very, very different.

So now, after growing a baby, teaching children to write essays and do multiplication, and writing a master's thesis (oh yeah, I did that as well this year), I am READY to be back in the kitchen. To help me get motivated and hold me somewhat accountable I asked my friends on Facebook if anyone was interested in joining a baking group with me. Nineteen of my friends said yes! The very first recipe we did was Martha Stewart's Lime-Glazed Cookies, and this household of two-and-a-half loved them. It was a nice blend of tart and sweet, and really great to enjoy on a hot summer day. Be forewarned, however... they are small and you might just eat the whole batch in one day. I mean, it's not like we did or anything. Shoot -- who am I kidding? We totally did. Feel free to do the same thing, too. You might just have to find a different excuse as my "I'm eating for two" doesn't apply to everybody at this moment ;)

Thank you so much for stopping by today and reading this. I am very happy to be back on this cooking journey with you, and hope that this finds you well, healthy, and happy. Cheers!

Recipe from Everyday Food, July/August 2004
(Glaze recipe slightly adapted)


Ingredients for the cookies:
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lime zest (from about 2 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Ingredients for the glaze:
  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest

  1. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until light, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add lime zest, lime juice, and salt; beat until combined. Add flour; beat until dough is just combined.
  2. Place dough on a 16-by-12-inch piece of parchment or wax paper. Using your hands, shape into an 8-inch log; flatten into a rectangle (1 1/2 inches high and 2 1/2 inches wide). Fold paper over log; flatten sides against work surface. Refrigerate dough until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Slice dough crosswise 1/4 inch thick; place on sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are puffed and barely golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool; glaze.
  4. To make Lime Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until spreadable. Using back of a small spoon, spread about 1/2 teaspoon glaze on each cooled cookie.

Store unglazed cookies in airtight container, up to four days. Glazed cookies are best eaten the day they are glazed.

COST: $3.82 (Less than 20cents per cookie)

Cookies    //    Dessert    //   Baking

Nutritional Information per Cookie
calories 107   •    total fat 6g    •    sodium 1g    •    sugars 6.8g   •    protein 1g

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