Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vegetarian Enchiladas with Sour Cream Sauce


What do you do when you’re stressed out from school/work or having a really bad day? Well, I generally bake :-)… shopping helps too, but baking is always better! So yesterday, after arguing with my apartment management folks to no avail (didn’t know carpet cleaning could be so complicated!), I came home and decided to bake. I was thinking of making a simple chocolate cake, but didn’t have all the ingredients (that rarely happens!). I realized that I had not baked anything savory in a while, so I figured I’d experiment with a tomatillo and sour cream sauce for enchiladas… it turned out pretty delicious! The recipe might seem long, but it is very simple and quick. The sauce can be modified as per taste and desired consistency. Also, the filling for the enchiladas is completely customizable to your taste, or ingredients available in your pantry :-). Here’s what I used:

For sauce
6-8 tomatillos (can use canned)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 ½ cup vegetable stock (or water)
1 – 1 ½ cup fat free sour cream (depending on how thick you want the sauce to be)
Diced Serrano pepper (to taste)
½ cup chopped cilantro
Cumin powder

For enchiladas
1 tbsp olive oil
Paprika (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
1 tsp cumin powder
(You can use fajita seasoning or other spices of your choice)
2 cloves of garlic - chopped
1 small onion sliced/diced
½ red bell pepper sliced
1 zucchini chopped
1 cup cooked black/kidney beans (or 1 can)
Any other vegetables/meat of your choice
Shredded cheese (I used the Sargento 4 Cheese Mexican blend)
6-8 corn/wheat tortillas

To make the sauce:
Cut tomatillos in half and broil on both sides until soft (Took me about 5 minutes per side). Heat butter in a saucepan. Add chopped Serrano peppers, flour. Add vegetable stock once the flour is golden brown. Whisk to avoid lumps. Let the mixture boil and reduce till the vegetable stock is thickened. Add sour cream and cilantro, mix well and take off the heat.  Puree the mixture with tomatillos in a blender. Season with salt as required.

Making the filling:
For the filling, heat oil and add onions, garlic. On medium-high heat, sauté onions and garlic for a minute, then add peppers. After the peppers have softened a little, add zucchini, beans, salt and spices. Sauté for a couple minutes and turn off the heat.

To assemble:
Pour about ¾ cup of sauce in a baking dish. Lay the filling in the middle of a tortilla, sprinkle cheese (optional), and roll. Lay it seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat for all the tortillas. Pour rest of the sauce evenly and top with more shredded cheese if desired.

Bake in the oven at 350 deg F for 20 min followed by broiling until top is golden brown (only about a minute). Let it cool for a few minutes before serving.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Stuffed Peppers

Sadly, there isn’t a particularly noteworthy back-story for posting this recipe. I simply wanted to try my hand at stuffed peppers. I’ve had lots of stuffed vegetables before – stuffed zucchini in Italy that was to die for, stuffed baby eggplants that I still need to learn from Gayatri how to make, stuffed tomatoes, etc. Peppers seemed like a good place to start – mix a bunch of stuff together, put inside peppers, and bake. Easy, right? Right! :-)

6-8 bell peppers (red, yellow, and orange all taste better than green, in my opinion)
~2 lbs ground turkey
~ ½ - ¾ cup chopped spinach (fresh or frozen)
~2 cups cooked brown rice (I used 2 bags of the 10-minute boil-in-a-bag kind)
~ ½ cup chopped onion (I usually use dried)
Black pepper to taste
Ground red pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
~ ¾ - 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
~2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Small jar pimientos (optional)
Low-fat or fat-free Feta cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice the peppers in half and clean out the insides. Place them cut-side-up on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

While the peppers are baking, cook the ground turkey in a pan or skillet over med-hi heat. Add in the spinach, chopped onions and spices. The brown rice can also be cooked at the same time according to the boil-in-a-bag directions (bring water to a boil in a pot, add the rice – still in the bag – and let boil for 10 minutes). When the rice is done, drain the water. In a large bowl, mix the turkey and rice, and stir in the ricotta cheese. Add pimientos and Feta cheese if desired.

After the un-stuffed peppers have baked for 30 minutes, remove from oven and let cool before stuffing. Stuff each pepper – be sure to get filling into every nook and cranny! You will more than likely have a bunch of extra filling that can be used to make delicious wraps, sandwiches and pasta.

Top the stuffed peppers with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake the stuffed peppers for another 15-20 minutes. Let cool before serving…then enjoy!