Mushroom Spinach Enchiladas

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It probably sounds a little funny and hugely un-revolutionary to many, but seeing as I grew up in two extended families of carnivores, and living in the Land of the Almighty Cow, vegetarian fare is somewhat novel to me. But I have to say, it’s grown on me more and more, to the point where I will actually seek it out. Those who knew my youthful self would never have predicted this, but it’s true – I love vegetarian cooking and I’ve even purchased several vegetarian cookbooks.

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And so it goes with these extremely tasty enchiladas. Instead of just being meat-free and cheese-filled every which way, they have actual vegetables in the filling (not that cheese isn’t there aplenty; it is). The mushrooms have something of a meaty texture. While mushrooms themselves don’t taste like beef per se, and you won’t be fooling any of your diners, the texture is quite pleasing to the chew. They give the enchiladas heft.

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The spinach provides a nice leafy background note, and its slight bitterness contrasts nicely with the bright, acidic tomatillo salsa. And of course both the filling and the enchiladas themselves are ensconced in creamy cheesiness that we all love. It’s a filling meal! Without a lot of guilt. That always works in my book. Enjoy!

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Source: slightly adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain

Ingredients:

SALSA:
1 poblano chile
1 large jalapeno
½ lb. fresh tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
½ cup cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp lime juice
1 cup vegetable stock
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp canola oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

ENCHILADAS:
1 tsp canola oil
10 oz. white button or cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
½ medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano or small jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
1 (10 oz.) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (16 oz.) container ricotta cheese, full-fat or low-fat, but not fat-free
1 tbs lime juice
¼ tsp cayenne
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican canela
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
12 corn tortillas
2 cups (about 8 oz.) Monterey jack cheese, shredded

Directions:
First make the salsa. Roast the poblano and jalapeno either under the broiler or on an open flame from a gas stove, until the outside skin is blackened all over. Place them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let them steam for about 15 minutes. Using either your hands or a paper towel, scrape the blackened skin off. Cut off the stems and remove the seeds from inside the chiles, then add the flesh to your blender.
Meanwhile, add the tomatillos to a small pot and cover with water. Bring the pot to a boil and cook about 5 minutes, until the tomatillos are tender but not gone to complete mush. Drain, and add the tomatillos to the blender, along with the cilantro, garlic, lime juice, vegetable stock, and cumin. Blend until smooth.
Heat the oil in the pot you used for the tomatillos and place over medium-low heat. Pour the salsa into the pot and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then turn the heat to very low and just keep it warm until you need it again.
Now make the filling. Heat the oil in a medium-to-large skillet on medium. Add the mushrooms and sauté about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Add a pinch of salt and remove to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the onion to the skillet and cook about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and chile and cook another minute.
Place the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring it out over the sink, until you’ve gotten most of the excess water out. Add the spinach to the skillet and cook about 2 minutes, just to remove the excess water. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Shut off the heat and add the spinach mixture to the mushrooms in the large bowl. Allow to cool about 5 minutes, then add the ricotta, lime juice, cayenne, cumin and cinnamon. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir to combine everything. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a large casserole or baking dish. Warm the tortillas either in the microwave or on top of your gas stove. Store them in a tortilla warmer or wrapped in a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm.
Take a heated tortilla and drag it through the salsa, coating both sides. Use tongs if it’s too hot for your fingers. Shake off most of the salsa back into the pot, but make sure the tortilla is pliable. Lay the soaked tortilla on a clean work surface and add about ¼ cup of the mushroom spinach mixture to the center of the tortilla. Roll the tortilla and place, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining 11 tortillas. Pour the rest of the salsa over the enchiladas and top evenly with the shredded cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbling. Serve immediately. Leftovers are good.

Mark Bittman’s Veggie Fried Noodles

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Secret Recipe Club reveal day is here!! This month I was assigned Tea and Scones, which is a baking blog that certainly lives up to its name. Many, many beautiful and drool-worthy scones recipes featured. And given my love of scones, you’d think I would have picked one to make, right?

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Well, I strongly considered it, believe me. Very, very tempted. But, I have been striving to eat much healthier the past few months, so when I also ran across this Mark Bittman recipe, which is incredibly healthy yet uber-delicious, well, I was sold.

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Once I reach my goal weight, I’m coming back to make one of your scones! I’m a huge fan of Mark Bittman, too, so I was very excited to see this recipe. I love that we’re using soba noodles instead of rice – nice creative twist there – and that this recipe fit perfectly with my current eating habits. And the dish was truly wonderful. It didn’t feel like a “healthy” dish, if that makes sense, it was just some good, clean eating. Very filling and satisfying, and one I would definitely make again.

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Definitely check out Tea and Scones, y’all! Enjoy!

Source: Tea and Scones

Ingredients:
8 ounces buckwheat (soba) noodles
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 cup chopped green onions
2 large carrots chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups snow peas, or sugar snap peas, cut into halves or thirds crosswise
1/4 cup chicken stock or water (more if you need it, I didn’t.)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 egg, beaten
black pepper
1/4 cups chopped peanuts for garnish

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the noodles according to package directions, but make sure they don’t get mushy. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water. Toss them with sesame oil to prevent sticking.
While the noodles are cooking, heat the canola oil in a large, deep skillet or a wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, and scallions. Cook for about 15 seconds.
Add the carrots, celery, snow peas, and stock or water and turn the heat to high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 5-10 minutes. If the mixture gets too dry, add more liquid a tablespoon at a time.
Stir in soy sauce and beaten egg(s) and let the egg lightly scramble in the pan. Add the noodles, sprinkle with pepper, and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with the peanuts and serve.


Austin-Style Black Beans #SundaySupper

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Welcome to a Budget Friendly edition of Sunday Supper! Up front, I have to confess something. I don’t really ever budget when it comes to our food costs. Now I’m certainly not buying things like caviar and lobster every week, and I’m very cognizant of what is and isn’t on a special sale that week, but I don’t enter the grocery store with a number in mind that I can’t or shouldn’t exceed. I’m a firm believer in the principle of pay more for your food and less for your healthcare. So I’ll cut back in almost every other area of life, but not food.

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True story to illustrate my point: several years ago I noticed that my everyday boots had a not-so-insignificant hole in the sole. Fortunately they were thick soles, so the situation wasn’t as dire as it sounds, but still – that’s not great. I ventured into a shopping mall with the express purpose of buying a new pair of shoes. Two hours later I walked back to my car, without any new shoes, but carrying in hand a bag of goodies, including a bottle of $11 gourmet barbecue sauce, from Williams-Sonoma. Yeah. You can see where my priorities lie.

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Eventually I did replace the shoes, but I didn’t on that particular day because I was being mindful of our overall budget, and well, I wanted the barbecue sauce more. So this week’s theme was a little bit out of my wheelhouse!

In the end, I decided I couldn’t go wrong with dried beans. They are extremely cheap, and once cooked they stretch to either feed a small army, or let a few people eat for a week, easy. These were delicious – full of flavor, incredibly filling, high in protein, and you will not feel like you are “eating cheap”, if that makes sense. They work wonderfully as a side dish, but I ate a more substantial-sized bowl for lunch today, and was a perfectly happy camper.

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I hope y’all enjoy them! And definitely check out the rest of the Sunday Supper gang for some fantastic ideas on budget friendly, yet delicious recipes!

Source: slightly adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain

Ingredients:
1 lb. dried black beans, rinsed, picked over and rocks discarded
1 tbs canola or vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped, plus a nice spoonful of adobo sauce
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbs tomato paste
¼ cup lime juice
Kosher salt, to taste
Crumbled Cotija cheese, for garnish (optional – this will make it non-vegan)

Directions:
Place the beans in a large bowl and fill with water, covering them by about 1 inch. Soak at room temperature overnight. Drain the beans well, then transfer to a large soup pot. Cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes.
Drain and rinse the beans in a colander in the sink.
Return the empty pot to the stove and heat to medium-high. Add the oil, then the onion. Saute the onion and cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
Lower the heat to medium, then add the beans, chipotle plus adobo sauce, and ¼ cup cilantro. Cover with 2 inches of water, bring to a boil, and then turn the heat down and simmer uncovered for 1 ½ hours. Adjust the heat around as necessary and stir occasionally to prevent scorching on the bottom. You want to keep things at a gently rolling simmer.
After 1 ½ hours, add the remaining cilantro, cumin, tomato paste, lime juice and salt to taste. Cook uncovered 30 minutes more, or until the beans are tender. Taste again for seasoning and adjust as needed. Garnish with Cotija if you desire, noting that it will no longer be vegan if you do so.
Note: you may need to go longer than the stated 2 hours cook time, just keep tasting and see. Mine went an extra 30 minutes purely because I got distracted cooking the rest of our dinner that night, and they were not overcooked at all.

Scrumptious Mains (Breakfast and Dinner)

Satisfying Sides

Sweet Treats

Sips, Spreads, and Snacks

Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.
To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.



Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Game Day Grub Recipe Round-Up

Happy Friday!! It’s almost the weekend, so you know that means FOOTBALL this time of year! So today I’m offering you a Game Day round-up to give you some ideas for this weekend, or for the rest of this football season. Enjoy! Sic ‘em Bears, go Cowboys!

Dips:

Chipotle Pinto Bean Dip with Jicama "Chips" 069

Chile de Arbol Salsa
Chipotle Pinto Bean Dip with Jicama “Chips” (pictured above)
Pimento Cheese Spread
Queso Flameado with Ranchera Shrimp Salsa

Wings and Other Apps:

buffalo chicken wings

Balsamic-Lacquered Baked Chicken Wings
Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Chili Cheese Fries
Chocolate-Chipotle Braised Chicken Wings
Duck Fat Chex Mix
Hot and Sticky Slow Cooker Wings
Jalapeno Poppers
Julie’s Famous Buffalo Wings (pictured above)
Pepperoni Pizza Toasties
Proper Texas Nachos
Soy, Dijon, and Blue Cheese Chicken Wings
Three Peppercorn Grilled Chicken Wings

In a Bowl:

Barbecue Beef Chili (pictured above)
Black Eyed Pea and Chorizo Soup
Chicken Pozole Verde
Cincinnati Chili
Dr. Pepper Turkey Chili
Green Gumbo
My Mom’s Taco Soup
Nacho-Topped Chili
Pork Neck Bone Stew
Short Rib Chili
Shrimp and Crawfish Etouffee
White Chicken Chili

Bread on the Side:

Bacon Cheddar Chipotle Biscuits 236

Apple, Jalapeno and Cheddar Scones
Authentic Southern Cornbread
Bacon, Cheddar, Chipotle Biscuits (pictured above)
Hatch Chile Cheese Bread
Hatch Chile White Cheddar Scones
Three Cheese Beer Bread
Tomato Cornbread

Between the Bun/Bread:

Pimento Cheese and bacon burgers 185

Bacon Blue Cheese Burgers
Buffalo Turkey Burgers
Chili Dogs
Cumin-Cilantro Chicken Sliders
Italian Sausage Hoagies with Caprese Relish
Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Meatless Muffulettas
Pimento Cheese and Bacon Burgers (pictured above)
Pulled Lamb Barbecue Sandwiches
Pulled Pork Sliders
Southwestern Turkey Sliders

Between the Tortilla:

Tacos de Lengua

Beef Puffy Tacos
Better than Taco Bell Mexican Pizza
Gas Station Pork Tacos
Mexican Lamb Barbacoa
Pork Tinga Tacos
Soft Cheese Tacos
Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos
Tacos de Lengua (pictured above)

Ribs and Other Mains:

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Cheeseburger Egg Rolls with Russian Dressing Dipper
Chipotle Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
Classic Barbecue Chicken
Kansas City Barbecued Spare Ribs
Maple Glazed Baby Back Ribs (pictured above)
Margarita Glazed Baby Back Ribs
Mole Poblano with Chicken Thighs
Tex-Mex Cheesy Chicken Tart

Side Dishes:

Frijoles Borrachos

Cornmeal Fried Okra
Frijoles Borrachos (pictured above)
Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Desserts:

Bacon and Hazelnut Buttermilk Caramels

Bacon and Hazelnut Caramels (pictured above)
Funnel Cakes
Mexican “Hot” Chocolate Ice Cream

Beverages:

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Apple Cider Margaritas
Beer Margaritas
Chipotle Bacon Margaritas (pictured above)

Louisiana-Style Shrimp and Andouille One Pot

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A random grocery store run to Fairway a couple weeks ago turned out to be a major score, when I found a rare-to-this-area item sitting nonchalantly on the shelves: Abita Pecan ale. Now, I can find Abita regular brew, but the company also puts out a pecan harvest ale, and that I could never before locate anywhere in NYC. Happy dance time!

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Before buying it here, I’d only had it one time in my life. That time was with Matt in New Orleans, where the beer itself is brewed, and their pecan ale is seriously the best beer I’ve tasted, ever. With sincere apologies to the Shiner.

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I figured it was perfect for this recipe, a simple one pot that can be thrown together for tons of Cajun flavors, and one that really requires a Louisiana beer. Obviously, using regular Abita (or another brand of Louisiana style beer) would be perfectly fine.

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This was a very lovely dish. Bold flavors, just saucy enough, just messy enough, and pairs so perfectly with that amazing pecan beer. I’m still excited over it. And yes, I’m rationing my stash, trying to make it last, since who knows if I’ll ever see it in NYC again… Anyways, I hope you enjoy this easy one-pot! Oh! Very important – puh-leeze don’t forget a hunk of bread to mop up the delicious holy trinity sauce.

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Source: adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
Olive oil
½ lb. Andouille sausage, thinly sliced or chopped
3 tbs unsalted butter
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 thyme sprigs
2 fresh bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed red chile flakes
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tbs sweet paprika
2 tbs flour
1 (12 oz.) bottle of beer (I used Abita, from Louisiana, which I highly recommend)
1 cup chicken or seafood stock
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
Louisiana-style hot sauce, to taste
1 ½ lbs. medium-to-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Sliced scallions, for garnish
Crusty bread hunks, for mopping sauce

Directions:
In a Dutch oven or deep, large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and the fat rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
Add the butter to the hot pan and swirl or stir to combine it with the sausage drippings. Add the bell pepper, onion, celery, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Cook, stirring frequently, until completely softened and cooked. Add the garlic and chile flakes, and cook 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Now add the paprika and flour. Stir 1 minute to cook the pasty taste out of the flour. Stir in the beer and cook 2 minutes, stirring to scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the stock and Worcestershire, reduce the heat to low and simmer about 3 minutes to combine the flavors. Stir in hot sauce to taste. Add the reserved sausage back into the pot.
Lightly toss the shrimp with a little bit of kosher salt, then add it to the simmering pot. Cook over medium heat until the shrimp are opaque and firm to the touch, about 3-5 minutes.
Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves, and ladle into either deep bowls, or wide shallow bowls. Garnish with scallions and dig in!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Anchovy Marinara

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Spaghetti squash doesn’t have a terribly long season here in New York, and for many years I’ve only made it once per season (this fabulous dish, every time). And then I woke up and realized, that is rather dumb of me. This year we will have it at least twice! And not the same way twice.

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Spaghetti squash is named so because after you roast it, you scrape out the insides with a fork, and it comes out in strands, like spaghetti. And it happens to pair well with thick, hearty pasta-type sauces. But that is not because it tastes like pasta (it doesn’t), it’s because its inherent flavor is very mild, enabling it to take on bold, saucy flavors without masking or marring anything about the squash itself, and because it is easy to toss with sauces, due to the strands and all.

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I adored this dish. And best of all, it’s very customizable to you and your family’s palates. Want it less spicy? Cut back or eliminate the crushed chile flakes. You can also leave out the anchovies, but unless you’re wanting this to be vegetarian, please don’t. They are so delicious and not at all fishy tasting. And they melt into the sauce – no chunks to be worried about when you serve dinner. Enjoy this one, y’all!

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Source: adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
2 medium spaghetti squash
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tbs olive oil, plus more for drizzling
6 flat anchovy fillets
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 generous tsp crushed red chile flakes
Leaves from 2-3 sprigs of fresh oregano, chopped
2 tbs tomato paste
½ cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 parmesan cheese rind
1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes, with their juices
A few fresh basil leaves, torn
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 450 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle lightly with oil, or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
Using a *very* sharp and large knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Using a regular cereal spoon, scoop out the seeds. Season the cut sides of each squash with salt and pepper. Place them, cut side down, on the baking sheet and roast for 45-60 minutes. Mine were very good to go after only 45 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a paring knife into the skin side of the largest squash half. It should go in with no resistance.
Turn the squash halves over, and use pot holders or oven mitts to hold them while you scrape the flesh out into a bowl with a fork. Drizzle a little olive oil onto the “spaghetti” and taste for seasoning. Stir the “spaghetti” to evenly coat it with the oil. Do not discard the squash shells.
While the squash is roasting, make the marinara. In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the anchovies and shake the pan a bit to get them heated and moving around a little. Stand back because they spit daggers, and when they start to melt, lower the heat and mash them with a stirring spoon. Add the onion and saute at medium heat until softened. Add the garlic, chile flakes, and oregano, and cook 1 minute more. Add the tomato paste and stir 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine, then add the stock, tomatoes, and parmesan rind. Use a potato masher to break up the tomatoes. Keep at a gentle simmer and let the flavors meld for about 10-15 minutes.
Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Remember the anchovies are very salty, so you may not need anything.
To assemble, spoon the “spaghetti” evenly back into the squash shells and top with marinara. Toss some torn basil over each and garnish with parmesan cheese to your heart’s desire. Serve immediately.
Leftovers will work if you transfer the “spaghetti” out of the shell and into a food storage container.

Pat LaFrieda’s Filet Mignon Sandwiches

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There are many, many celebrity chefs and cooks, but there are few celebrity butchers. Besides Pat LaFrieda, anyway. His family-owned company supplies meat and poultry to most of the high-end restaurants in the Northeast United States. In fact, a few weeks ago Matt and I were grabbing a quick lunch at the Shake Shack in the Upper West Side and looked out the window to see a LaFrieda truck unloading ground burger patties by the box.

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This fall, the company decided to publish one of the more beautiful books I’ve ever held in my hands. It’s all about their company philosophy, how to butcher different animals, and gives a detailed breakdown of different parts of animals (lamb, cows, calves, pigs, chicken, turkey, duck, and more).

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And with each chapter on each animal, there are recipes! This is the first one I tried from the book. This sandwich is a best-seller at LaFrieda’s retail space in Citi Field, where the New York Mets play. I’ve never been to their restaurant, because I’ve never been to a Mets game. I may have moved to New York, but my sports loyalties stayed in Texas.

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Upon tasting, I can completely understand the popularity of this sandwich. If you do ever find yourself in Citi Field, please seek one out. Or make it in your own kitchen! Either way, this sandwich is delicious happiness. Just going through and editing the pictures is making me drool. I have to make this again… Enjoy!

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Source: slightly adapted from Meat: Everything You Need to Know by Pat LaFrieda

Ingredients:
2 tbs canola oil, plus more as needed
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
About 3 deli slices Muenster cheese
1 cup beef stock
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
¾ lbs. beef tenderloin, cut into ½-inch thick medallions
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
2 hoagie rolls, toasted if desired, cut open but not completely split in half

Directions:
In a large skillet, heat 1 tbs oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick to the pan, until they are soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Spread the onions out in a somewhat flat, rectangular shape and then top with the cheese, cutting it to fit if necessary. Shut off the heat and let the cheese melt.
To make the jus, in a small saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat once it simmers and add the vinegar. Cover the pot to keep the jus warm.
Season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper.
In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the remaining 1 tbs oil over high heat. Add as many tenderloin medallions as will fit, not crowding them, and sear them on both sides until they are caramelized, 1-2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate or cutting board and repeat with the remaining medallions. Remove them to a plate or cutting board.
Chop the first batch of medallions into bite-size chunks (they do not have to be pretty) and set aside. Now chop the second batch as you did the first.
To assemble the sandwiches, lay beef tenderloin chunks across the bread, then use a very flat spatula to transfer half the onion and cheese on top of the beef on each sandwich. Again, pretty isn’t a requirement here, just get the meat covered. Drizzle a tablespoon or so of the jus on each sandwich, close them and serve immediately.
Makes 2 sandwiches.

Chicken Pozole Verde

Chicken Pozole Verde 5176

Today finds me rather upset with myself, seeing as it’s another Sunday Supper, but one I’m unable to officially participate in. Last weekend I made and photographed this lovely recipe, specifically for today’s Sunday Supper, and then thanks to a high-octane work trip for my other job, completely forgot to sign up in time. Go me…

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But, since I have the purty pictures and all, I thought I would still share today’s Slow Cooker menu. (That’s the #SS theme today – Slow Cookers. And one of my favorite things in my kitchen, which ensures some extra bummed-out-ness for me that I’m not technically participating. Oh well, life happens, doesn’t it?)

So let’s talk about the ingredient that makes pozole a pozole: hominy. I couldn’t stand, and this cannot possibly be overstated, could not stand hominy as a child. Now, one of the running themes on this blog is my triumph over childhood picky eating, and my triumph is probably at least in part due to the fact that my parents simply didn’t tolerate the behavior. I had to eat what was on my plate, and if I dug in my heels and refused, I went to bed hungry.

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Picky eater that I was, the first time I was served hominy, of course I was highly skeptical. It was a peculiar looking veggie with (to me at least) a highly repulsive smell. Of course I voiced my objections and of course they were met with a nonchalant, “eat it anyway.” So I took a bite, and literally chucked my up, right at the dinner table. It tasted that gross to me. From that point on, hominy was placed in a special category all its own – my parents never again told me to “eat it anyway.”

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So then I grew up, and became a grown-up who still vividly recalled that fateful hominy incident, but also a grown-up who learned about pozole. A Mexican soup/stew that always looks delicious, but isn’t pozole without the addition of hominy. What to do?

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Solution: dried hominy. I gave it a try and found it to have blessedly little in common with its canned cousin. It doesn’t smell bad and tastes wonderful. Of course it is more time consuming, but unsurprisingly well worth it to me personally. I’m giving directions for using dried, but if canned doesn’t bother you, then of course feel free. I hope y’all enjoy it!

Chicken Pozole verde 5219

Source: adapted from The Mexican Slow Cooker by Deborah Schneider

Ingredients:
SOUP:
12 oz. dried hominy
2 whole bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
1 medium onion, peeled and halved, with root end intact
1 tbs kosher salt
1 tbs ground cumin
4 cups chicken stock
5 cups water
4 sprigs cilantro
SALSA VERDE:
½ cup raw pepitas, roasted
6-8 tomatillos, husked and washed
1 cup diced white onion
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
2 serrano chiles, stemmed
1 small bunch fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges, for serving
Chopped Hass avocado, for serving

Directions:
Place the hominy in a large bowl and cover with water by about 4 inches. Set aside at room temperature at least 4 hours, and up to overnight.
In a 6-quart slow cooker, combine the chicken, garlic, onion, salt, cumin, chicken stock, and water. Drain the hominy well and add it to the slow cooker. Let it cook on LOW for 4 hours, until the chicken is tender and cooked through but not falling apart. Remove the chicken and let cool. Add the cilantro sprigs to the slow cooker. Discard the chicken bones and skin and shred the meat into pieces. Store in a food storage container in the refrigerator.
After you have removed the chicken and added the cilantro, let the soup cook for another 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the Salsa Verde. Place the tomatillos in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and simmer 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and place in a blender, along with the pepitas, onion, garlic clove, serranos, and cilantro. Add ½ cup broth from the slow cooker and puree, scraping down the sides as needed, until very smooth. Pour the salsa into the empty pot you used for the tomatillos and cook over medium to medium-low heat until the sauce is thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir the salsa into the soup and let it go at least another 3 hours, or until the hominy is done. You know the hominy is done when it bursts and is very tender with a soft chew to it. Taste the soup for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Add the shredded chicken into the slow cooker for about 30 minutes to warm back through, then ladle into bowls. Serve with lime wedges and avocado.

Whiskey Buttermilk Pie

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I have one, major, not-so-fond memory of buttermilk as a child. I was vaguely (very vaguely) aware that it was used in baking things like biscuits and pancakes, but I never put much thought into exactly what buttermilk was. Until one fateful day, I was at my grandparents’ house. I opened the fridge looking for something, I don’t remember what, and there sat a carton of buttermilk. And so I pondered it… buttermilk… Buttermilk. Why hadn’t I had this before? It sounded just delicious. And since my parents had never stocked it nor offered it to us, I automatically assumed it must be fatty and rich and delicious, because why else would those health nuts deny me this beautifully-named dairy beverage?

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I helped myself to quite the tall glass. So excited was I, I took a pretty decent-sized gulp. And this is where the story gets extremely predictable, even more so than during the first paragraph. Oh the horror. The sourness, the bitterness, it was so unbelievably terrible! It wasn’t just thick, it was gloppy. And so sour and bitter!! Needless to say, I did not finish my glass, so my sincere apologies to Nina and Pawpaw for wasting that buttermilk.

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This little incident seared into my memory, so you can understand that I was always reluctant to try buttermilk pie. I mean, why would you ruin pie? Or so my thinking always went… Turns out, no – buttermilk does not ruin a pie. Au contrare, it actually makes it quite delicious. And the whiskey didn’t hurt anything. Of course. I’m now happily in love with buttermilk pie, though if I ever again express desire to drink buttermilk straight out, please just dial 9-1-1. Something is terribly wrong… Enjoy!

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Source: slightly adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English

Ingredients:
½ recipe of this amazing pie dough
3 large eggs
1/3 cup plus ½ cup granulated sugar
2 tbs all-purpose flour
6 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-2 tbs whiskey
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Directions:
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and fit it into a regular 9” pie plate. Trim and fold the crust overhang as needed and decoratively crimp the pie edges. Or, flatten the pie on the edges of the pie plate and make pretty indentations with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate the pie shell while you make the filling.
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and flour, making sure there are no lumps. Add the melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla, whiskey, nutmeg and salt. Whisk to combine.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell and place in the preheated oven. It’s best to set the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet, just in case of spill-over, and it makes it easier to remove later.
Turn the oven down to 325 F and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center is still a tiny bit wobbly, but not liquidy.
Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool for at least 30 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature.
Store leftover pie in the fridge.

Chipotle Chicken and Chorizo One Pot

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So let’s talk about one-pot meals today. Since I love cooking – it’s a passion and a therapy for me – I don’t mind elaborate meals that dirty up several pots and pans simultaneously, or even those meals that make it look like a tornado ripped through my kitchen and dining area. No, I don’t even remotely enjoy doing dishes, but it’s always worth it to me, even as I eyeball the stack of dirty dishes piling up in the sink with a hint of dread. Okay, fine, a lot of dread. I really do despise washing dishes…

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But every once in a while, I too want a one-pot meal to avoid the mountains of dirty pots and pans to wash. Let’s face it – no matter what your schedule or your cooking level, one-pots are just nice. They are necessary for everyone’s culinary repertoire.

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But for me, they cannot skimp on flavor. I can’t compromise on using good ingredients and producing a dish that I’ll truly enjoy eating. And today’s recipe completely fits that bill. The flavors are seriously bold, a touch spicy, and very hearty and comforting. Very, very perfect fall food here. I hope y’all will enjoy it too!

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Source: adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed
Kosher salt and black pepper
Olive oil
4-5 oz. chorizo, cured or raw; diced if cured, and casings removed if raw
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbs smoked Spanish paprika
1 chipotle in adobo, minced, plus 1 tbs adobo sauce
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted variety
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Guacamole or chopped fresh avocado, for serving

Directions:
Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of olive oil to a Dutch oven or other large, deep skillet. Heat over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pour off all but about a tablespoon of chicken fat. Add the chorizo to the pan and cook. If using cured, cook until it is crispy and the fat has rendered. If using raw, cook until crumbled and no traces of pink remain. Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and add it to the plate with the chicken.
Now add the carrot and onion. Cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and paprika. Cook 1 minute more.
Add the tomatoes and bring to a bubble, then return the chorizo and chicken to the pot. Simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, 7-8 minutes. Double check with a meat thermometer – it should read 165 F.
When the chicken is done, garnish with cilantro, spoon it into shallow bowls and serve immediately with lots of sauce.