Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

It has been quite a while since my last post. The weeks leading to Christmas I wasn't doing a whole lot of cooking and didn't feel inspired by very many recipes. However, as Christmas drew closer things became quite hectic and while I was cooking/baking up a storm I did not have the time to write this post. It has been in my head for at least 4 days. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I have a ton of Holiday pictures to share. There will not be a recipe today but hope to share lots of the recipes in the upcoming weeks that I made over the Holidays.

The Holiday season was kicked off by a cookie swap with the gals at school. It was quite successful and I came away with lots of delicious goodies.

For the cookie swap I made gingerbread biscotti. They were a big hit with my family, so I made extra to have around the house. After a family Christmas party, they were all gone! I made another batch to take to my boyfriends house, and for my Mom to give to her friends. I think I made about 8 dozen in total in the lat month. I have a feeling these will be made next year as well.

Every Christmas my close friends from high school get together for  Christmas dinner. This was the 5th year in a row we have had this event. A while ago I saw a pin on pinterest for 'lumps of coal'. I immediately knew I wanted to make this for my friends at the dinner. They weren't the tastiest rice crispy squares I have ever had but they were a cute idea.

This year we decided to make sushi together! Everyone but myself had made sushi before so I was the newbie for once. It was absolutely amazing and was also a lot of fun. I enjoyed making sushi so much that I also made it with my family on my birthday 3 days later. Every year there is at least one person not able to make the dinner because they are off on another part of the world. This year Dani was in New Zealand and not able to come home for Christmas. She was there in spirit!

Christmas Eve in my family is a low key affair which usually includes dinner at home, church, and watching a classic Christmas movie. This year I wanted to have a part in preparing dinner. Alongside my Dad's scallops and calamari, I made three veggie dishes so I had a nice variety. They all turned out fantastic.

Balsamic Glaxes Butternut Squash
Spaghetti Squash and Peas with Parmesan
Caramelized Brussel Sprouts

Roasted Potatoes with dill

And of coarse there was dessert. I made pumpkin gingerbread cake with caramel sauce. It was absolutely delicious. I hope to share all the recipes soon. 

On Christmas Eve I also baked a loaf of bread, so needless to say I was busy. But with some Christmas music on I was loving it. I baked bread because I was making baked pumpkin overnight french toast. This was my first time making baked french toast and was fantastic. Perfect for Christmas morning.

Last but not least I wanted to share some books a received as gifts. Miraculously, I managed to not make any purchases at Chapters like last year. I am really looking forward to reading Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, as I have been making the same bread recipe for a year now and am looking for some diversity. Plate to Pixel is a food photography book I have heard great things about. Hopefully the information will translate into better photography on the blog, because I definitely have a lot of room to improve. And then there is Plenty. This book is all vegetarian recipes, and they look AMAZING. I flipped through the book already and cannot wait to try out a lot of the recipes. Many of them look just delicious and rich and flavourful. I feel like this book will be used a lot next Christmas.

I hope everyone had a great Holiday, I know I did. Stay tuned for some of the recipes that I mentioned in todays post!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Enchilada Lasagna

I am really excited to be sharing this recipe with you today. I have seen the idea of an enchilada lasagna around for a while, and after making some homemade tortillas, I thought, why not try it out! The tortillas that I made were not the roundest and most even looking tortillas so I thought they would fare well in this recipe.

Tortillas are actually really easy to make and taste infinitely better than most of the grocery store varieties. Not to mention the short ingredient list. Flour. Oil. Milk. Baking Powder. Salt. That's it. No glycerides, no fumaric acid or a number of other presumably preservatives. I used this recipe from the Homesick Texan. I used half whole wheat flour and they seemed to turn out well. When you make these, don't forget to have one when it is still warm and fresh. You will not regret it.

This recipe from Perry's Plate was the inspiration for using the tortillas for an enchilada lasagna, instead of making just plain old enchiladas. The recipe is totally adaptable to your taste and preferences, but this is how I did it:

Enchilada Lasagna adapted from Perry's Plate and Simply Recipes
serves 4-6

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves
1 cup of salsa
1 can of crushed tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2-1 cup of water

Tortillas (I suggest you make these; I doubled the recipe)

1 tbsp olive oil
red peppers
black beans
shredded cheddar cheese

1. Heat olive oil on medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until cooked. Add salsa, tomatoes, tomato paste and water. Add water to make the sauce according to your desired consistency. You don't want it too thick because it will thicken up even more in the oven, but too thin will result in soggy tortillas.
2. Reduce heat to low and keep warm while preparing the lasagna.
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
4. I decided to do sautéed vegetables. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add all vegetables except for the spinach and beans. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the black beans and stir to combine.
5. In a large greased baking dish, add a little bit of the sauce to the bottom and spread around. Place a layer of tortilla. Add 1/2 of vegetables, top with sauce and spinach. Place a layer of tortilla, add the rest of the vegetables, add sauce and spinach. Place the final layer of tortilla, add a little bit of sauce, and sprinkle some shredded cheddar on top.
6. Bake at 450 degrees F covered with foil for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

This is an amazing dish. It makes great leftovers, and is very easy to assemble. I cannot wait to make it again!