Enchilada Stuffed Shells

Enchiladas are one of my favorite things to make so I was intrigued when I read the title of this recipe–it sounds so good–and something a little different.  And they turned out delicious!! One thing I really like about this recipe is that you can really adjust the flavor of the filling to exactly what you want-spicy or mild, beef or turkey or vegetarian even. I opted for ground turkey as I had some on hand.

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Enchilada Stuffed Shells

Ingredients:

  • 1 12 oz box jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 lb ground lean turkey
  • 2 10 oz cans enchilada sauce
  • 1 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed  to a pulp
  • chili powder to taste
  • coriander to taste
  • salsita sauce to taste
  • 1 16oz can fat-free refried beans
  • 2 cup freshly grated colby jack cheese

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350.  Spray an 11×7 baking dish with non-stick spray and spread half of one of the cans of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan. Set aside. 
  2. Cook pasta shells as per box instructions. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat cook turkey. Drain excess fat, reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the onion, shallot and all of the spices.  When combined add one can of the enchilada sauce and the refried beans. Stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  4. Using a tea or tablespoon fill each cooked pasta shell with the turkey mixture.  Place the filled shells filling side up next to each other in the baking dish until the dish is filled. It’s ok to smush them in a bit-they should be tightly set in the pan. You may have a few shells left over. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the shells.
  5. Cover the pan with a sheet of foil and bake for 20 minutes. remove the foil, sprinkle with cheese, and return to oven for 10 more minutes.
  6. Serve either plain or with any toppings you’d like-sour cream, scallions etc..

This made about 20 shells but that # will depend on how much you fill the shells and how many you can stick into the pan.

I printed this recipe out years ago.  I don’t know who’s it is.

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Sunday Afternoon Chili

The fall bug has bitten! I can’t wait to make up all kinds of soups and stews and have a gray afternoon with something simmering on the stove all day.

As I wrote in the post for the cornbread that I served with this chili, Husband and I had a Sunday football day at home instead of heading out to the bar with friends. That cornbread and this chili was our dinner and it was delicious. This chili is meaty, it’s bean-y, it’s got some underlying spice and heat but it’s not spicY or hot. You can always add a squirt of hot sauce if you’d like but I like to keep the heat factor down a bit and go up from there.

The original recipe called for smoking the meat but since we don’t own a grill or a smoker we skipped that step.

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Sunday Afternoon Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1&1/2 lbs ground sirloin
  • 2 cups diced Spanish onion (about 1 large)
  • 2 cups diced green pepper (about 2 large)
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed to a pulp
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced, seeds and spine removed
  • 1&1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1&1/2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1&1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 2 15 oz cans dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 ozs beer (we used Belfast Bay Lobster Ale-a red ale)
  • toppings of your choice-fat free sour cream, grated cheese, scallions etc..

Instructions:

  1. Brown the beef until almost cooked through in a heavy bottomed stock pot, drain the excess fat, then add the onion and green pepper, garlic and jalapeno and cook until beef is cooked through.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 90 minutes.
  3. Serve as is or top with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheese, squirt of hot sauce, scallions etc……

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Adapted from Brother Jimmy’s BBQ cookbook Smoky BBQ Chili.

Black Bean Soup-slow cooker

I really am loving having a slow cooker that works perfetly. After years of thinking they were all like that old one that I had (which wasn’t old really) that sucked I had pretty much sworn off of them. But not anymore!

Black bean soup. Thick, yummy, hearty, a bit of heat, delicious. That’s it. Make it 🙂

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Black Bean Soup-slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 medium onions, minced
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped medium
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped medium
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 5 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound dried black beans (about 2 1/4 cups), picked over and rinsed
  • 2 medium smoked ham hocks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 cup hot sauce (to taste)
  • fresh cilantro leaves chopped for garnish
  • fat free sour cream for garnish
  • chipotle sauce for garnish

Instructions

Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, cumin, pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.

 Transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker and stir in the water, broth, black beans, ham hocks, and bay leaves until evenly combined. Cover and cook on low until the soup has thickened and the beans are tender, 8 to 10 hours. (Alternatively, cover and cook on high for 6 to 7 hours.)

Remove and discard the bay leaves. Remove the ham hocks and any portion of them that may ramin in the soup (there are fat pieces and small bones so be careful to remove everything-a spider works best), let cool and discard. Puree 2 cups of the soup with a stick blender until smooth, then stir back into the slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper and hot sauce to taste, and serve.

Note: I added some Frank’s Hot Sauce in the last step as the soup needed a bit of a kick. It didn’t make it spicy-just gave it some heat.  Add it a little at a time and stir and taste until you reach your desired heat level. When serving I added a few squirts of my Goya Chipotle Sauce, a spoonful of sour cream and cilantro. The Chipotle Sauce gave it another dimension of taste without adding too much more heat.

This soup also reheats well.

Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated. Their notes:

 Editors’ Choice Cookbook Collection.  From The Best Make-Ahead Recipe.

 Why this recipe works:

We found that unsoaked beans worked fine in our slow-cooker black bean soup recipe. It was well worth the time and effort to sauté the aromatics before adding them to the cooker; the black bean soup recipe that skipped this step tasted flat. As for flavor, we knew we wanted a robust smoked pork presence. We tested our way through porky ingredients like bacon, kielbasa, ham, and ham hocks before deciding that the latter contributed all the depth we wanted. Once the soup was done—eight to 10 hours later—we stripped the meat from the hocks and stirred it into the beans. (I did not do this as basically everything was off of the bone-I removed the pices of the hock from the soup with my strainer and discarded them).

PREP-AHEAD TRIPS:  can store the following ingredients together:

1. Cook the vegetables as described in step 1, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerator.

2. Pick over and rinse the black beans and refrigerate.

If the soup becomes too thick as it sits, thin to the desired consistency with either water or broth.

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

Years ago , I believe it was for my wedding shower (must’ve been 2005), I received a slow cooker.  It was from our registry, a Cuisinart 6qt, and it was pretty and shiny. Unfortunately it had the same problems many others had with the same cooker(so I see on the Amazon reviews)-a rattling cover, steam sneaking out and running down the side of the insert into the holder and making the screws rusty. In other words-I didn’t trust it. I used it maybe twice.

So recently I bought a new one–this gorgeous DeLonghi model from Amazon and I fired it up this weekend. It’s wonderful! It cooks evenly, it’s easy to clean and it’s gorgeous looking don’t you agree? I trolled the internet looking for reviews and this one consistently got the highest marks.  No rattling, no steam coming out. Just works like it says it will.

Here it is in action. I don’t have a lot of counter space but it still fits really well!!

Yummy Time!!

So anyway I wanted to use the new cooker and I looked all over for a good chicken soup recipe. As always, Gina at SkinnyTaste, came through. This is my adaptation of her recipe. It was delicious!! You can make it spicy or not, up or lower the veggies and beans or use different beans. It’s very versatile. I had a variety of fixings on the side to top it too-tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro, avocado and chipotle sauce too.

Note: the Salsita, chipotle powder and chili powder are all to individual taste in the recipe below.

Slow Cooker Enchilada Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups low sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp Salsita (chipotle hot sauce). Goya makes it. Or you can use 1 chipotle in adobo-but be careful-they’re hot. I found the Salsita gave a bit more control with the heat.
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (plus more for garnish)
  •  15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 15 oz cans corn
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 2 8 oz skinless chicken breasts (16 oz total)
  • shredded cheddar cheese for topping
  • fat-free sour cream for topping
  • tortilla chips for topping
  • avocado for topping

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 3-4 minutes. Slowly add the chicken broth, tomato sauce and Salsita and bring to a boil. Add cilantro and remove from heat. Pour into crock pot.
  2. To the slow cooker add drained beans, diced tomatoes, corn, cumin, oregano and stir. Add the chicken breasts; cover and cook on low heat for 4 hours.
  3. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Add chicken back into the soup, adjust salt,  cumin, chili powder, chipotle powder and Salsita to taste. Serve in bowls and top as desired.

Santa Fe Soup

Winner winner chicken dinner!! Not only is this chili-like soup very delicious it’s a SNAP to make!! The ingredients are similar to chili but the liquid is much thinner.  Feel free to switch other beans in or use turkey. This makes  4 quarts so, in my house, enough for 2 frozen containers and 3 containers for the next few days for lunch or dinner.  I think this would also be excellent with crushed tortilla chips on top or used to scoop out the soup. So versatile!! I will be making this all fall and winter!!

Santa Fe Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef or turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1 oz package ranch-stype dressing mix
  • 2 1&1/4 oz packages taco seasoning mix
  • 1 16oz can black beans, undrained
  • 1 16oz can kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 16oz can pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 small can green chilis
  • 2 16oz cans yellow and white corn undrained
  • 2 cups water
  • Garnish: sour cream, grated sharp cheddar (not pre grated as it won’t melt properly), sliced green onions

Instructions: (I said it was really easy didn’t I? 1 step)

  1. Cook meat and onion together in a large stock pot until meat is browned and onion is soft. Stir in ranch dressing mix, taco seasoning into meat and stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients with juices from all. Add water. Simmer for 2 hours.  If mixture is too thick gradually add additional water to desired thickness. Garnish with sour cream and/or cheese and/or sliced green onions.

Makes 4 quarts. Needs to simmer for 2 hours (but it’s worth it I promise!!)

Adapted from Recipies Worth Sharing cookbook. This is a GREAT book-all of the recipies are from various community cookbooks from all over the country. This particular recipe is from the community cookbook Food for Thought from Junior League of Birmingham, Inc.  Burmingham, Alabama.