Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ode to Grilled Cheese

Can one ever have enough grilled cheese sandwiches?  I think not.  I hit the ultimate jackpot this past weekend when my grocery store had marked down loaves of bread to $.19 and balls of fresh mozzarella for $.99.  I stocked up on english muffins and wheat bread, but I really wish I would have cleaned them out of the Onion Rye loaves.  This has to be the most delicious grilled cheese that I have EVER had...

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Super-Duper-Uper-Schmuper Big Idea...

Obviously I've been watching way too much PBS, but I was thinking about what I would like to do in the culinary world after I graduate.  A big part of the direction I go will depend on the kind of externship I get.  I would absolutely LOVE to be able to have an externship with a media group.  I would like to experience all the different aspects of food media.  I know that I don't want to work in a restaurant.  I've toyed with the idea of eventually starting my own catering business.  And of course there is always the very far-off dream of a cookbook or something.  Anyway, my big idea just happens to be a possible concept for a cookbook.  I'm sure that my professors will kill me for this, but I actually enjoy trying to create interesting and surprisingly good dishes from what I have in the pantry.  I'm talking making due with canned goods.  You always hear about people using the freshest ingredients to make exquisite dishes.  Well, single moms can't really afford those kinds of luxuries. 

Anyway, back to the point.  It would be called, "Pantry Raid," and it would be comprised of recipes using ingredients that most people already have in their pantry.  I'm sure that there is something like this out there already, but I sure haven't seen it.  I'm rather tired of watching cooking shows, drooling over what is being made, to only realize that I would have to spend $30+ to buy the ingredients.  So, let me know if you think I have something here.  Below is the recipe for what I made of dinner last night, using your everyday pantry items.  I thought it was pretty tasty...

Chicken Enchilada Lasagna

1 1/2-2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken (I deboned and skinned the chicken myself)
1 28 oz can Green Enchilada Sauce
6 Medium-Sized Flour Tortilla Shells
1 15 oz can Black Beans
8 oz Shredded Cheese (Cheddar or Monterey, whatever you have on hand)
1 10 oz can Rotel Tomatoes with Chiles

I marinated the chicken in the enchilada sauce for a few hours in the fridge.  Then, I placed the chicken and sauce into a baking dish and baked at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  This will take longer depending on the size of the chicken pieces.  Just bake until chicken is cooked through.  Then, I shredded the chicken using two forks to pull the meat apart, placing it back in the sauce once finished.  In a greased, 9X13 pan, I placed two tortilla shells, then half of the chicken mixture, half of the black beans, tomatoes, and cheese.  Follow with another layer of tortilla shells and repeat.  Finish with a final layer of tortilla shells and sprinkle with a little more shredded cheese.  Raise the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 15 minutes or so to melt the cheese.

*While this was really good, another idea would be to use tortilla chips instead of the shells.  I crushed some chips on my plate anyway, and the crunch was really nice.  I also had sour cream and guacamole for toppings.  Enjoy and I would love your comments :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's Been Too Long...

Sorry it has taken me so long to update.  Now that school has actually started, I've been quite busy...

I haven't been the biggest fan of getting up at 5 to catch a 6:00 bus, but it's the price you pay for public transportation.  Luckily, I only have to do it two days a week.  So far, it has been amazing, and well worth it.  We started by learning basic knife cuts and how to break down different cuts of meat.  I have personally filleted three fish, shucked a dozen oysters, "displaced" a live lobster, and broken down multiple chickens, a rabbit, duck, and basically a quarter of a cow.  That was just in the first two weeks.  Needless to say, we move pretty quickly.

Next, we moved on to the "Mother Sauces."  The basis for almost every other sauce that you can think of.  We used these sauces as the base for a handful of soups that we made, including Carrot Puree soup and Cream of Broccoli soup.  I'll make sure to update with those recipes later...

We have moved on to dry heat cooking methods, now.  My dad was pretty excited when I brought home sauteed chicken breast, flank steak, strip steak, and scallops the other day.  Yes, I get to bring home everything we cook :)

I'm also taking my first extra-curricular class is a couple of weeks.  It is about the origin of chocolate, and the guest speaker was a contestant on Top Chef: Just Desserts.  Pretty cool, I know...

Anyway, I promise it won't be another three months before I update.  Hope you all enjoy following my journey through culinary school!!