Good Morning

I know things have been slow around here.  The last two weeks have been a whirlwind!  First of all my daughter needed a  minor surgery.  Which meant I was on  full time nurse recovery mode when we got home.  I don't know how many times I ran up and down the stairs to get her something and check on her.  But my quads are stronger for it.  We also took a short family trip to Billings, Montana to a pastoring conference for my husbands work.  It was a blast, but traveling with four little ones takes a lot of work.  I did have a moment of complete rest on the morning we left for our trip.  As we drove past The Ranch this amazing sunrise began to appear.
I've posted many pictures of sunrises here and blogged about how much I love and miss them.  This one sang to my soul and made the world right for a moment.  My husband and I just drank it up.  And I was kicking myself because I hadn't brought along my good camera!
Take a deep breath and rest for one minute.  Nothing like a sunrise to clear your mind.

Homemade Enchiladas

Enchiladas are by far my most favorite Mexican dish.  After many failed tries of making the perfect enchilada I have finally landed on a recipe I use over and over.  It is a melting pot of experiments and other cook's ideas.  I could eat these enchiladas every day of the week.  The best part is you can fill them with what ever you like.  The wonderful secret about enchiladas is that they are EASY to make.  Once plated they look scrumptious and complicated, but they aren't.  Complicated that is; they are however, scrumptious.  I love dishes like that.  They make me look good.
The first secret to these amazing enchiladas is homemade enchilada sauce.  I can't emphasize enough how glorious this made from scratch stuff is.  I guess if you were really in a pinch you could use the canned stuff.  But instead I suggest making two batches of this recipe (click to get recipe) and then freezing it.  You'll have enough for four enchilada recipes.   Here's the skinny on how to pull this all together...
12 corn tortillas
canola oil
2 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce
1 cups sour cream
3 cups grated Mexican cheese blend or cheddar cheese
Filling (pick a combination of what you like)
     2 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken, ground beef, shredded beef, or shredded pork
     1 can diced green chilies
     add another cup of sour cream
     1 small can diced jalapenos 
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix together sour cream, 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, chicken, green chilies, 1/4 cup of the green onions, cumin, and garlic powder.
Fill a small skillet with about half inch of canola oil.  Heat over medium heat.  In separate skillet heat enchilada sauce over medium low heat, just until warmed through.  Remove from heat.
Using tongs, flash fry tortillas one at a time.   Fry tortilla on each side for 3-5 seconds.  Do not allow to crisp.  Remove tortilla from oil and let drain on paper towel.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Spray 9 by 13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray.  Pour about 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the pan and spread around to coat the baking dish.
Dunk tortilla in enchilada sauce to coat.  Set on plate and spoon about 2 tablespoons of sour cream mixture/filling in the middle of the tortilla.  Roll up and place seam side down in baking dish.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.  (my pan usually looks like picture above)
Pour about 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce on top of enchiladas,  reserving some for dishing up.  Evenly spread remaining cheese on top of enchiladas.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbly.  Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining green onions on top.  Serve with a little more enchilada sauce if desired & enjoy!

You may also like...
White Enchiladas
Sour Cream ,Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas 

Braised Pork in Sweet Soy Sauce

If your looking for a quick and simple Asian inspired dish, look no further.  This is a super easy main course that is full of flavor and affordable to make.  The sauce is absolutely scrumptious, and folks will think you spent hours cooking.  Serve it over rice and everyone will have smiles on their faces and full bellies.  Here's the DL...
2-2 1/2 pound pork roast or loin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cup water
2 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
2 green onions chopped
sesame seeds for sprinkling
Cut the pork into one inch bite size pieces.  Saute in pan over medium heat in vegetable oil for about 3 minutes, or until no longer pink, stirring frequently.
In medium bowl whisk together garlic powder, olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, water, and sweet chili sauce.  Pour sauce over pork & bring to a boil.  Once boiling reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes, or until sauce is greatly reduced and there is only about 4 tablespoons left in pan.  Stir one more time to make sure pork is coated in sauce.  Sprinkle with green onion and sesame seeds.  Serve over steamed rice.  Enjoy!

You may also like...
Easy Lo Mein Noodles
Chinese Chicken Salad

Easter Nests

My daughter Maddie doesn't live by dates or months, but rather by holidays.  Here calendar year would look something like New Years, Valentines, Easter, her birthday, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  With such a holiday conscientious child I was reminded the other day how quickly Easter was approaching.  I thought I better get some recipes posted to celebrate this wonderful holiday.
These Easter treats are a great recipe to make with kids.  They are easy and look so cute.  And they make a great treat for your child's class or to decorate your Easter table.  Here's how...
1 cup milk chocolate chips
2 cups dry chow mein noodles
1/2 cup coconut
green food coloring
jelly beans or candy eggs
Line two cookie sheets with wax paper.  In a bow combine one drip green food coloring with coconut.  Stir until all the coconut is green.  
Using double boil method completely melt chocolate chips.  Stir in chow mein noodles & stir to coat.
Drop noodles by spoonfuls on wax paper, making an indentent in the middle with the back of the spoon.  While nests are still warm place a pinch of the coconut in the center.  Top with a couple of jelly beans, Robins Eggs, or even a Peep.  Allow to cool completely before serving.  Enjoy!

You may also like...

Fluffy Sugar Cookies

Easter Deviled Eggs

Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These cookies are my current obsession.  They have the perfect balance of sweet and salty.  And they're soft and chewy.  And you can't help but make noises when you eat them.  Best of all they are a cinch to whip up.  They stay chewy for a few days, but are definitely best warm out of the oven with a tall glass of cold milk.
One reason these cookies are so awesome is the use of a good dark chocolate.  The boldness of the dark chocolate mixes so nicely with sugar & salt in the dough.  I used one of these Ghiradelli "Intense Dark" chocolate bars.  The dark chocolate makes the cookie, so don't skip on this ingredient.
Here's the skinny...
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3.5 oz dark chocolate bar, chopped (or 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using electric mixer cream butter & sugar until fluffy & light in color.  Add egg & vanilla and beat until fluffy.  Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.
Using spoon stir in chocolate chunks.  (Make sure when chopping the chocolate not to get the pieces too small, you need those big hunks of chocolate in the cookie... you NEED them!)
On greased cookie sheet drop heaping tablespoonfuls of cookie dough about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are barely golden brown.  Do not cook longer than 10 minutes!  Let cool for a few minutes & enjoy!

Easy Lo Mein Noodles

This is a great Friday night dinner.  Easy and quick and everything cooks in two pots.  Bonus: it's healthy and tasty.  I often make this dish when I'm in a pinch or just don't feel like cooking and cleaning up.  I always keep a bag of frozen stir fry veggies on hand for this very reason.  This is an honest to goodness thirty minute meal.  Not like some of the thirty minute meals I've tried that actually take me ninety minutes because I don't have a commercial kitchen and a prep cook.  This dish really only takes thirty minutes, but you don't have to sacrifice your diet or taste.  Here's the skinny:
1 box (13 oz) thin spaghetti broken in half
2 cups chicken cut in bite size pieces
3 cups frozen stir fry veggies (Of fresh veggies.  Carrots, peas, mushrooms, red pepper, zucchini are all good options.  Throw in a can of water chestnuts if you have 'em)
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup sauce (teriyaki, Yoshida, soy sauce- whatever floats your boat)
2 tablespoon flax seed*
1 green onion, green part sliced
In large pot boil spaghetti noodles until al dente, about 9 minutes.  Once noodles are done, drain & rinse with cold water & set aside.  Meanwhile in large frying pan or wok heat up oil, add chicken & vegetables.  Cook stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  Turn heat down and add noodles, sauce, flax seeds.  Stir until everything is mixed together, coated with sauce and heated through.  Add more sauce to your taste preference.  Sprinkle extra flax seeds & sliced green onion on top to make it look pretty.  Serve and enjoy!
*I use flax seed because of it's health benefits.  But sesame seeds work just as good for this recipe.