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I know I’ve said on more than one occasion since I’ve started this blog that one thing or another is “one of my favorites,” and today I’m going to say it again. Since I moved out of my parents house, whenever my mom said that she was making or had made enchiladas, I always made sure to drop by to score some leftovers. Her not very traditional enchiladas (they’re stacked like lasagna, not rolled) are one of my favorite home cooked meals. They’re full of flavor, including way too hot green chili, and really creamy with crispy edges. On top of her awesome enchiladas, my mom makes a pretty mean green chili sauce for someone who doesn’t have an ounce of Mexican in her blood.

In the years since I moved out of my parents house (and more recently, since I’ve become obsessed with cooking), there are some meals I just haven’t attempted to recreate. Mom’s enchiladas were always one of them — until now. While putting our menu together this weekend, Billy and I got the urge to give them a shot. The results definitely weren’t my mom’s, but they were pretty awesome.

Here’s what you’ll need:
Serves: 4 to 6
Green Chili Sauce
– olive oil
– 1 onion, diced
– 2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 4 oz. fresh (roasted) green chili, diced (if you can’t find fresh, canned is fine, it just won’t be as spicy so maybe add more)
– 2 to 3 tbsp flour
– about 1/2 cup chicken stock
– splash milk
Enchiladas
– 1 onion, diced
– 2 oz. green chili
– 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (any leftover chicken (or turkey or any other meat you like) will work, too)
– 1/2 cup Monterey Jack, shredded
– 1/2 cup Velveeta, cubed
– 1 can cream of mushroom soup
– cumin
– salt and pepper
– corn tortillas

My mom’s green chili sauce is killer and is good for so much more than just enchiladas. With that being said, it’s probably the tastiest component to these enchiladas. It’s also really simple. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onions and garlic until the onions begin to sweat out, then add the green chili and continue to saute for three to five minutes or until the onions are translucent and the green chili has cooked down a little. Add the flour to the pan and stir until it has completely cooked out, about one minute. Poor in the chicken stock (start with a 1/2 cup and add more if you prefer a thinner consistency — it’s all based on preference), stir to combine and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for a few minutes until the sauce begins to thicken, then smooth out using an immersion blender (or regular blender if you don’t have an immersion). Stir in a splash of milk and add more liquid if necessary. Set the sauce aside until you’re ready to assemble the enchiladas.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

I said before that my mom’s enchiladas aren’t exactly traditional, and it’s probably going to become very apparent in the next steps so I’ll apologize now to any traditional Mexican-style cooks who may be reading this. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix together the onion, chopped green chili, shredded chicken, cheese, cream of mushroom soup and seasonings. Grease a large casserole dish, then begin layering the enchiladas.

Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with some of the green chili sauce, then completely cover with a layer of tortillas. Spoon over half of the chicken mixture and spread an even layer over the tortillas. Spoon over more green chili sauce, cover again with tortillas, and finally the rest of the chicken mixture. Add one more layer of tortillas and finish with plenty of green chili sauce. Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until all the cheese has melted and the edges of the tortillas begin to brown.

Enchiladas with Accoutrements

Yum. Our version of my mom’s enchiladas were definitely not the same, but they were pretty dang close and for sure delicious. They really hit the spot, and the leftovers made a delicious lunch the next day. One of the best things about my mom’s enchiladas is how creamy they are (thanks in part to the cream of mushroom soup, but mostly because of the Velveeta), and in terms of creamyness, ours were spot on. The crunch of the onions and the crispy edges of the tortillas gave the enchiladas a little texture.

I know these may not be traditional or restaurant-style enchiladas, but they aren’t lacking anything in flavor. They may also sound a little weird (Velveeta? Cream of mushroom soup?), but I promise if you give them a shot you’ll see why they’re one of my favorites. :)

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I haven’t always been a fan of fish tacos. That’s probably because my first experience with them was sub-par. Since then, I’ve had many variates of fish tacos — grilled, fried, shrimp — and I’ve determined that when they’re done right, they’re delicious. One of the best fish tacos I’ve ever had came from Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill restaurant in Vegas. They were served with three different sauces and a slaw for garnish. They were totally awesome, and from then on I knew I wanted to find a recipe for fish tacos that was easy but full of flavor.

When looking through our collection of cookbooks and recipes (including Bobby’s Mesa Grill cookbook) none of the recipes for fish tacos really stood out to us. So, we turned to the interwebs. We settled on Tyler Florence’s recipe made with mahi mahi and panko bread crumbs. After all, he does make the ultimate everything, right?

Here’s what you’ll need:
Serves: 2 to 4
– 1 lb mahi mahi, skinned, boned and cleaned
– 1 cup flour
– 2 eggs
– 2 tbsp water
– 1 cup panko bread crumbs
– salt and pepper
– vegetable oil

To prepare the fish, cut it into strips of about one ounce each. Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a heavy-bottomed saute pan. While the oil is heating, set up a breading station — flour, eggs beaten with water, panko (season each with salt and pepper) — and dredge each strip of fish. Test the oil by dropping in a piece of bread or a small piece of fish, it should be about 375 degrees. Once the oil reaches the right temperature, fry the fish in small batches and drain on a paper towel. Season with salt while still hot.

Serve the fish in toasted corn tortillas with Tyler’s pink mayo (find the recipe for the may here) and other accoutrement (I love these with cabbage and avocado). Tyler also suggests a mango-radish salsa, but we weren’t huge fans of it and preferred the tacos without.

The Ultimate Fish Tacos

These are amazing. We’ve had them twice since the first time we tried them, and we still can’t get enough. The fish is so crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. All it takes to make a perfect taco is a little pink mayo, a few strips of nice crispy fish, some avocado (although, Billy would disagree with that one) and some shredded cabbage. A little bit of seasoned rice is also a great addition. One bite and we were sold on these amazing fish tacos. They taste so fresh, and the crispness from the cabbage adds a great crunch to the already crispy fish. It doesn’t take much effort to make these, but the little effort it does take really pays off in flavor. I guess that’s why their called the ultimate fish tacos.

Tyler’s complete recipe, including the pink mayo and mango salsa, can be found on the Food Network Web site. I strongly suggest you check out the recipes and try them ASAP! You’ll be addicted, I can almost guarantee it.

Have you ever been experimenting in the kitchen and you end up coming up with something that seems to stick? That’s what happened when my sister-in-law (Jenni) made us this Mexican version of pulled pork a few years ago. There is a brand of salsas and sauces that are made in Colorado called Religious Experience, and that’s where this recipe originated. It requires almost no work at all, and the end results are always delicious. Plus, the leftovers make perfect lunches!

Here’s what you’ll need:
Brace yourself…this is probably one of the more difficult recipes I’ve posted.
– 1 jar Religious Experience (or any other brand you like) green chili sauce
– 1 pork tenderloin

Place the pork tenderloin in a crock pot and cover with the green chili sauce. Set the crock pot to cook for 6 to 8 hours on the lowest setting and…you’re done! When you return to the pork after it’s done cooking, shred it using two forks or a set of tongs.

The pork will come out of the slow cooker nice and moist and with a ton of flavor. Depending on the heat level of the green chili sauce you use, the pork will have a nice kick to it, but it won’t kill you with spice. The cooking process really lets the flavors from the sauce penetrate the meat and the heat is just a background note.

Juicy, Flavorful Jenni Pork

We usually make tacos or burritos, with the pork as the main ingredient, but I would imagine it would be perfectly tasty by itself or with a tortilla on the side. Check out my blog on homemade tortillas for the perfect food marriage!

Jenni Pork Taco

We’ve never tried it, but I would imagine that this would be just as good made with red chili sauce. You can also make a chili sauce from scratch to use in place of the jar, but then it just wouldn’t be the Religious Experience!

Never again will I buy tortillas from the store. I never knew that making flour tortillas could be so easy! We received a tortilla press (which is only used for corn tortillas — never knew that before) and a tortilla warmer for Christmas as we were dying to try them out. So as soon as we got back to town over the weekend, we put our tortilla-making skills to the test. What an easy test! If you are a fan of Mexican food (or any food that requires a tortilla) you have to give these tortillas a shot.

Here’s what you’ll need:
– 2 cups flour
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 3 tbsp shortening
– about 3/4 cup hot (145 degrees or more) water

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. Using a fork or butter knife, cut the shortening into the dry ingredients. Continue to mix until the mixture looks like a coarse meal. Finally, add the water, a little at a time (important!), and mix until you get a soft — but not sticky — dough.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and kneed, 10 to 15 times, until the dough is smooth. Divide the dough into 8 to 10 evenly-sized balls. Set the dough balls aside and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

Once the dough has rested, begin heating a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Using a wooden rolling pin, roll out each dough ball fairly thin. Make sure to turn the dough as you roll it in order to get the right shape.

When all the dough has been rolled out at the skillet is hot, carefully place one of the dough rounds in the center of the skillet. Let it fry up for about 30 seconds, then flip, letting the second side fry for another 30 seconds. Make sure to keep an eye on each side, as they can burn fairly easily. Within 30 or 45 seconds, the tortillas should have brown speckles and be cooked to perfection!

Tortillas!

Seriously? These were so simple! I honestly don’t see a reason for buying tortillas ever again. And they were delicious! They were fluffy, yet light. They had a crisp outer “shell” but were light and airy inside. They had a great texture, and an even better taste. They tasted like a fresh-cooked tortilla you would get in a real Mexican restaurant. No store bought tortilla can match up to a hot, fresh, steamy tortilla fresh off the stove.

I encourage you to try making tortillas! It was fun and so exciting when they came out looking like the real thing. Not to mention the way the tasted!

We got this recipe from a book from the Santa Fe School of Cooking that we picked up during our anniversary last year. The book, Salsa and Tacos, has a lot of great recipes. Check it out if you like…well…salsa and tacos!

We’ve been looking for new recipes lately, and this was pretty much us just throwing stuff together and hoping it turned out okay. The idea actually came from a dish that Billy used to get at some Mexican restaurant in Colorado Springs…and it actually turned out pretty damn good! It’s basically some bone-in chicken breasts with a sauce made from tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and chipotle peppers.

Here’s what you’ll need:
– Bone-In Chicken Breasts (one per person)
– 1 onion, diced
– 2 bell peppers, cut into strips
– 1 can stewed tomatoes
– 1 or 2 chipotle peppers, finely chopped, plus adobo sauce
– 1 serrano pepper, finely chopped

Using a high-sided skillet, the first thing you want to do is brown the chicken breasts to get a crispy skin and to lock the juices in. Throw them in a hot pan with a little oil for a few minutes on each side, you’ll know when to turn them when they’re no longer sticking to the pan. Once browned on both sides, remove from the pan and set aside.

Next, saute the onions in the same pan (adding more oil if necessary) until translucent. Next, add the bell peppers and let them cook down, but not all the way through. Finally, add the tomatoes, serrano pepper, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Add the chicken back to the pan, lower the heat and cover the pan to let everything simmer for at least 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Mexican Chicken over Rice

Mexican Chicken over Rice

For making something up with nothing to go off of…this turned out pretty awesome! (All thanks to Billy, of course.) The entire dish had a bite to it, thanks to the serrano and chipotle peppers with adobo sauce, but was evened out by the acidity of the tomatoes. The smoked flavor of the adobo sauce gave the dish the familiar smokiness of classic Mexican dishes. The onions and bell peppers gave the dish a little crunch, while the tomato sauce was perfect for sopping up with some rice. This dish is definitely a do-over!

Sunday morning we were going about our weekend morning tradition of relaxing, cooking breakfast and watching Food Network when Paula Dean came on. I’m not usually a fan of Paula Dean (sorry Southerners), but Sunday was an exception. Well, sort of. Paula had a “guest chef,” that I had never heard of, on her show for some odd reason and she couldn’t stop mimicking her Mexican accent. Anyway, I digress. The guest, Patricia Jinich, made rolled tacos, salsa verde and Mexican white rice. Her taco filling was cooked in a red sauce, something I had never had before, and her rice was cooked with onions, celery, chili and lime juice. It all looked so delicious that we made our own that night.

The filling for the tacos called for boiled chicken, tomatoes, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, onions, cream, and bread crumbs. Easy enough. While the chicken was boiling, we combined the tomatoes, cloves, peppercorns, and onion and pureed until smooth. Once the chicken was cooked through, we shredded it then combined it with the puree in a pan. The mixture simmered for about 10 minutes before we added the cream and breadcrumbs. Once the cream and breadcrumbs combined with the mixture, it was time to start rolling. Yum!

We heated the corn tortillas in a dry pan for about a minute until they were warm (this prevented them from cracking and falling apart when we rolled them together). We then put some of the chicken mixture (a few tablespoons) in the center of the tortilla, rolled it up, and fastened it with a toothpick. The tacos fried for about three to five minutes each (we did two at a time in our little fryer). And…that’s it! The tacos drained on a paper towel and were best while they were still hot.

Tacos: Pre-Frying

Tacos: Pre-Frying

The flavor of the sauce that the chicken cooks in is…different. Not bad different — really good different, actually. I’m not sure how to describe it really. It was tomato-y, but also had a lot of flavor from the cloves, bay leaves and peppercorns. It didn’t remind me at all of Mexican food at all, but it was so much better than any other taquitos I’ve ever tasted. We had three dipping “sauces” for them: regular red salsa, queso and guacamole. My personal favorite was the guac.

Tacos: Post-Frying

Tacos: Post-Frying

The rice cooked just like normal white rice except that we sauteed onions and the rice in the pan before adding liquid. Once the onions turned translucent and the rice turned bright white, we added the liquid, celery, chili, lime juice, and parsley. The rice simmered away and cooked to a lovely, fluffy, limy bowl of deliciousness.

A Bowl of Fluffy Goodness

A Bowl of Fluffy Goodness

Note: Sorry for my not so informative post. I feel odd writing about a recipe that’s not mine or at least a variation on something we learned from someone else. Nevertheless, the tacos was yummy and I hope you try them too!

Recipe Links: Click here for the rolled taco recipe and here for the Mexican rice recipe. (We didn’t do the fried plantains that the rice recipe calls for.)

So, as you all know by now, we made fajitas (or as I like to call them, delicious pieces of heaven) – of the steak variety- the other night. I think this is probably one of the most simple home-cooked meals ever, but not many people make them.

This is how it goes down in the Martin house:
You’ll need some kind of Mexican seasonings…whatever you like will do. We use a few Cholula products: the chili garlic powder for the veggies and the original hot sauce for the meat only. Those plus a little salt and pepper will probably do you good. You can also buy a jarred fajita marinade that works just as good.

Cut one or two (based on how many veggies you like in your fajitas) bell peppers into fairly thin, long strips. Cut one onion in half, then slice it into strips of about the same thickness. Try to separate all the layers of onion before you put them in the pan (it won’t ruin anything if you don’t do this, I promise). Cut your meat into, you guessed it, strips. If you’re using steak, cut against the grain so that the meat isn’t chewy when you’re biting into it.

Next, heat some oil – a couple tablespoons – in a heavy-bottomed pan, such as a wok, over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, drop the onions. Cook them until they’re tender, but not all the way cooked (you can do this based on the way you like to eat onions). Season the onions with salt, pepper, and whatever Mexican spices you’re using. Next, add the bell peppers. Cook them until they’ve become tender, but still have a bite to them. Season the peppers with the same spices. By this time, the onions will be all the way cooked. Now, make a hole in the center of the pan by pushing all of the veggies to the sides. Drop the meat here and leave it alone (except for seasoning, of course). At this point, add whatever liquid marinade or chili sauce you’re using. Give the meat at least two minutes to cook, then flip it over. After the meat has cooked for about five to seven minutes, mix everything together and cook for a minute or two more, adding more spices or sauces if desired.

And…that’s it! My favorite way to eat fajitas is to make a burrito – starting with mashed avocado and sour cream, then cheese, and finally the meat and veggies. Wrap it up and you’re good to go!

I hope you all enjoy making, and eating, fajitas as much as I do. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Until next time, happy eating!

Homemade fajitas are probably one of my favorite meals ever. They’re nothing special. They’re just simple, delicious pieces of heaven entering my mouth.

More on my favorite way of making fajitas later. :)