Archive for November, 2012

November 21, 2012

Turkey-Spinach Casserole w/Tortilla Chip Topping

This recipe was created one night when we were running low on groceries and I didn’t feel like going to the store – and now it is one of our favorites! You can even make it all using only one pot 🙂 I highly recommend using a dutch oven or a non-stick pot if you can.

Servings: 4-6
Time: 35-45 minutes

Ingredients:
· 1-1.5 LBS Ground Lean Turkey, Fresh or Frozen (we buy 93% lean from Costco, always have on hand in the freezer)
· 4 TBSP Taco Seasoning, or 1 Packet
· ¾ cup water
· 10 Cups Fresh Spinach, Cooked & Chopped (or 1 frozen package, thawed out and drained… we use fresh because we buy one of those huge containers, use however much you’d like)
· 1 TBSP unsalted butter & ¼ Cup Water
· 1-1.5 Cups Milk
· 2 TBSP unsalted butter
· 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
· 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
· ½ – 1 can green chiles
· Any other leftover things you want to throw in..
· ~1 cup crumbled tortilla chips (I use the crumbs at the bottom of the bag!!)
· Dutch Oven or Large Pot
· Casserole Dish
· Salt & pepper, to taste
· + optional, but recommended: Glass of wine & music to enjoy while cooking 🙂

Directions

Step 1 – Cook Spinach: Heat large burner to medium, preheat your pan. Melt 1 TBSP butter and add fresh spinach. Stir to combine. Add ¼ cup water and cover. Stir every few minutes to make sure the spinach is cooking down. Once wilted, press spinach on side of pot to separate out water. Drain and place spinach on cutting board. Quickly rinse pot and return to stove for re-heating (still over medium).

Step 2 – Cook Turkey: Add turkey to pot and mash with your wooden spoon to crumble. Cover with lid to cook faster. While cooking, chop spinach finely. Add to casserole dish and cover with foil. Return to stir turkey every few minutes until there is no more pink. Drain all liquid from pan into container (do not pour into your drain or directly into trash – HOT). Add taco seasoning and ¾ cup water, stir to combine. Cook/thicken until all water is gone. Pour turkey meat into casserole dish and cover with foil.

Step 3 – Make Roux / Cheese Sauce: Quickly rinse out pot (doesn’t have to be completely clean, all going in the same dish), return to stove (still over medium). Add 2 TBSP butter, melt. Once bubbling, add 2 TBSP flour and quickly combine. Cook until flour is browned, about 1 minute or so. Add milk (min 1 cup, increase by ½ cup for more sauciness) and stir to combine. Stir relatively frequently, sauce will thicken (about 5 minutes). You have now made the roux! It doesn’t have to be super thick, just enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add your cheese (you can choose how cheesy or what kinds of cheese, I normally use whatever I have leftover). Stir to combine. Add green chiles and any other vegetables or beans you have (I added a half can of black beans I had leftover last time). Taste and season with salt & pepper, if you’d like. Remember that you’ll have the taco seasoning for flavor too.

Step 4 – Combine All Ingredients: pour cheese over meat and spinach in dish, mix well to combine

Step 5 – Top with Crumbled Tortilla Chips (regular or any flavored kind)

Step 6 – SERVE Immediately! 🙂 If you’d like it hotter, you can certainly bake it too.

Tip, it tastes great with some Cholula on the side!

Happy Cooking!

November 21, 2012

Cookware Staples!

After much research and a few years of cooking under my belt, I have decided that the best “cookware set” is a compilation of pots of different brands. There are a few staples that are a must. There are three types of cookware that I use: Cast Iron, Non-Stick and Stainless Steel. Below I have listed the specific kinds that I have in my kitchen – I fully recommend all of them! There are plenty of great pots/pans out there though, so it all depends on what type of cooking you do most! I most frequently use http://www.amazon.com for reading reviews.

Cast Iron Staples:

o 12” Skillet by Lodge, Purchased at Crate & Barrel for $29.99 (also avail. at Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Target, etc.)
o Best Uses: Searing Chicken & Other Meats(& finishing in the oven), Browning Vegetables, Steaks, Deep Dish Pizza
o 6 Qt Enamel Coated Dutch Oven by Lodge, Purchased at Wal-Mart for $49.95 (also avail. at Home Good’s, etc.)
o Best Uses: Browning Meat, Boiling Noodles & Vegetables, Soups/Stews, Making 1 Pot Dishes & Finishing in Oven to Brown (i.e. Macaroni & Cheese, Casseroles, etc.), Roasting Whole Chicken, Deep Frying, etc.

Non-Stick Staples (cannot go in oven):

o 10” & 12” Skillet (Set of 2) by Calphalon, Purchased at Bed Bath & Beyond for $59.99 (less the 20% coupon!)
o Best Uses: Omelets, Grilled Sandwiches, Pancakes, General Purpose
o 11” Grill Pan by Calphalon, Purchased at Bed Bath & Beyond for $39.99 (less the 20% coupon!)
o Best Uses: Indoor Burgers, Panini’s (use with cast iron press), Kebobs, Bacon, Grilling Meats (won’t brown the same as in non-stick or cast iron).

Stainless Steel Staples:

o Set: 10″ fry pan, 1.5-qt. covered sauce pan, 3-qt. covered sauté pan (“chefs pan”), and an 8-qt. covered stock pot

What I have today: Cuisinart Tri Ply French Classic 11pc Set at Bed Bath & Beyond for $299.99 (less the 20% coupon)

What I want someday: All Clad 7pc Set at Bed Bath & Beyond for $699.99 (less the 20% coupon)

o Best Uses: Everyday cooking set for all other purposes. These can start on the stovetop and go into the oven (like cast iron)! These brown meat better than non-stick or enamel coated and heat quickly. The chef’s pan/sauté pan is the most important because of the flat sides – you can do a sauce, sauté, pan fry, etc. Use the big pot for boiling or for soups, especially ones that require an immersion blender.

These are just the ones that work best for me! If you have any recommendations, please leave in the comments section or email me and I’ll add it to the post!

Happy Cooking! 🙂