Chicken Verde Enchiladas

I know, I know.  It’s siete de mayo.  Enchiladas were so two dos days ago.

But they were so delicious and easy that you can eat them any day of the month, any month of the year.

Well, maybe not Christmas day.  But maybe.  I’ll leave that up to you.

Chicken Verde Enchiladas come together in no time thanks to a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.  (Tip:  Go ahead and shred the chicken while it’s warm – it’s so much easier – and simply store in an airtight container until you’re ready to use.)  And the fact that they only need to broil for a few minutes instead of baking for many minutes.

The enchiladas start by bringing chopped onions, chicken stock, pre-made salsa verde, chopped cilantro stems, cornstarch (or flour), cumin, and garlic to a boil.  Simmer for a few minutes until thickened.  Add in the chicken and allow it to warm through.  The chicken mixture is then removed from the heat and the tomato, Greek yogurt (or sour cream) and avocado are added to the mixture.

Warm the tortillas in the microwave for a quick 30 seconds.  In the bottom of the baking dish, add about a cup of the chicken mixture and spread evenly.  Then fill each tortilla with 1/3 cup of the mixture, roll and place seam-side down in the baking dish.  Top with cheese and broil until browned and bubbly.  Finish the entire dish off with a sprinkle of cilantro.

Delicioso.

I had never added avocado to the inside mixture of an enchilada but I loved this twist on the recipe.  Every bite had a little bit of everything.  I also loved the fresh pop of the tomatoes.  Since they didn’t cook for very long they were still juicy and sweet.  By broiling the enchiladas they got a little crunchy on the edges and that plus the cheese were my favorite bites.

Carbs + Cheese = Everything

 

 

 

Roasted Garlic Mac and Cheese

Mac ‘n Cheese, please!!!

Ultra-cheesy, garlicky, luscious and creamy.  I present to you your new favorite mac ‘n cheese recipe.

I’m a lover of all garlic – raw or roasted.  But even if you’re not a fan of raw garlic, give roasted garlic a chance.  It’s extremely mellow and absolutely addictive.

The recipe gives you the option of roasting the garlic in the microwave (say what!?!?!) but I had the time to roast it in the oven so I went that route.

Simply slice the top portion off the garlic head, drizzle with EVOO, wrap in foil and baked at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Your house will smell amazing.

With the roasted garlic you’ll also need noodles (I used gluten free brown rice noodles), milk, cornstarch or flour, salt, and pepper.  Oh, and cheese.

You can’t have mac ‘n cheese without cheese.  For this recipe, you’ll need 2 ounces of mozzarella and 4 ounces of cheddar (I used white cheddar).

If you use fresh mozzarella, like I did, freeze it for about 15 minutes – it’ll make grating the cheese so much easier.

And I apologize, this recipes uses a few pots and pans – but it’s worth it.

I had to practice patience once this bubbling, hot casserole dish came out of the oven.

I could hardly wait to dive head fork first into this cheesy-noodle-garlicky goodness.

 

 

Pan-Seared Shrimp and Arugula Risotto

Risotto makes me feel a little fancy.  Risotto makes me want to uncork (or unscrew) a bottle of wine and pour a glass so that I have something to do while I stir.  And stir.  And stir.

On this particular evening, I selected a light and crisp 2013 Pinot Blanc from Elizabeth Spencer.  While we did visit Elizabeth Spencer during our visit to Sonoma this is not a bottle from the trip.  I actually saw this bottle at a wine shop here in Eastern NC and had to buy it after the lady in the wine shop highly recommended the bottle.  And I don’t regret the purchase.  Easy on the wallet but absolutely delicious.  After all the red wine we’ve been drinking, I had forgotten how much I love a light white wine – especially as the weather is becoming warmer and warmer.

And this white wine went perfectly with the risotto.  The Pan-Seared Shrimp and Arugula Risotto was full of flavors and insanely creamy.  I decided to pan-sear the shrimp in the Dutch oven that I planned to cook the risotto in – genius.  It only gave the risotto an even more intense flavor.  I used red onion instead of shallots (simply because my onion had gone bad).  The key to risotto is patience and warmed stock.

It’s so sad how un-photogenic risotto can be.

risotto

Buttery with a little earthiness from the arugula and basil, this dinner is totally worth opening a bottle of wine.

Pubbelly Sushi {restaurant review}

It’s Wednesday but I’m still on a high from a wonderful weekend full of sun, laughter and relaxation.  Oh, and a few mojitos.

It was honestly exactly what Big Guy and I needed.  A weekend away from reality that recharged our batteries.  In true Emily fashion I did as much research as possible (around food and drink) when it was set in stone that I would be meeting Big Guy in Miami to celebrate our anniversary.  Sometimes his work schedule isn’t so bad.  wink wink.

I have a “secret” list of restaurants that I want to visit all over the world.  But I did not have one restaurant in Miami on the list.  Don’t worry, I dug a little bit and we had a great weekend of eating and drinking.

Pubbelly Sushi was a definite eating spot for the weekend the moment I stumbled across their menu.

Pubbelly Sushi is the second restaurant by the Pubbelly Restaurant Group and takes inspiration from the original gastropub in its style and ambiance. We refer to the restaurant as a sushi tavern and the cuisine reflects both rustic and creative sushi preparations and classics interpretations.

I seriously wanted to order everything on the menu.  And while we didn’t order everything – we tried so many small plates – our favorite way to eat.

To start:

shishito

SHISHITO PEPPERS
miso & pistachio

I’ve been kind of obsessed with the idea of roasted shishito peppers since I found out they were a hybrid of a bell pepper and jalapeno.  One in ten of these bad boys is spicy.  We lucked out and didn’t burn our mouth on any of the peppers but we literally wanted to lick this little cast iron clean.  The sauce was out of this world.

carpaccio

WAGYU BEEF CARPACCIO
asian pear, garlic, cherry tomato, yuzu soy, hot sesame oil

Absolutely delicious.  But incredibly hard to eat with chopsticks.  Just being honest.  I wanted a little more heat from this dish but I loved all the textures.

Round Two:

salad

SOFTSHELL CRAB BLT
bibb lettuce, tomato, bacon, blue crab tartar sauce

I have to be honest – not our favorite roll.  It reminded me a lot of chicken salad.

pork belly

PORK BELLY & CLAMS
bbq pork belly, kimchee coleslaw, fried clams

Such a unique roll.  I adored the pork belly flavor and texture – it was perfectly cooked.

Round Three:

salmon

BIGEYE TUNA
spicy tuna, “arroz pegao,” truffle oil, sea salt

Hands-down, my favorite roll of the night.  A little “patty” of rice is fried for the base and then topped with the spicy tuna.  So, so good.  I can’t even describe the flavor.  But the tuna was so fresh and melted in your mouth.

lobstah roll

MAINE LOBSTER
yuzu & celery

On the menu there was a section for “New England Style Rolls” which meant they were served on a bun instead of rice.  I was obviously intrigued and this was the roll we decided to try.  The roll was soft and doughy while the lobster mixture was sweet and succulent and the fried “straws” on top gave it an incredible texture.  This was perfect for Big Guy and I to share (one bite each) but would be awkward for a group of folks to share.

salmon 2

NAVARRO SALMON
crab, serrano peppers, mozzarella, crispy onions, spicy mayo, eel sauce

I simply had to try this since I probably won’t be back to Pubbelly Sushi in the near future.  Such a twist on traditional sushi.

Pubbelly Sushi was an incredible eating experience.  We were able to take our time and order several rounds of food.  Like I said, Big Guy and I love to eat this way – small plate, after small plate.  It’s the perfect way to eat your way through a menu without feeling completely miserable.

A must-try for any food lover.

And I must say, I’ve never seen nor eaten at an Asian-fusion gastropub.  Until Pubbelly Sushi.

Dijon-Herb Chicken Thighs

You have no idea how happy this plate of food made me and Big Guy.

Not only is it a fuss-free dinner but Big Guy got to fire up the grill and I was able to use herbs from the garden.

Soon enough I’ll be able to whip up salads like this with veggies from our backyard.

The Dijon-Herb Chicken Thighs start with a quick marinade of olive oil, parsley, chives, Dijon mustard (I used a sweet balsamic dijon mustard that I brought home from Sonoma), and garlic.  And while the chicken doesn’t require any marinade time – I decided to put it all in a large zip-lock bag about an hour before it was time to throw them on the grill.  A little infusion of flavors is always a good thing.

And for the salad, I simply sliced up a handful or two of grape tomatoes and quartered cucumber slices before dressing them with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Before serving, I chopped up some of our purple basil and sweet basil to complete the salad.

 

chicken

 

 

The marinade would be great on any cut of chicken, pork chops or fish.  But you know I love a good chicken thigh.

And while the chicken could totally be cooked in the kitchen, it’s grilling season.

And if Big Guy grills outside, my kitchen stays a lot cleaner.

Sweet and Hot Pepper Open-Faced Egg Sandwich (plus a sneak peek)

This super simple meatless dinner (or breakfast or lunch) is from the latest issue of Cooking Light.  

And it’s seriously “superfast!”

This dinner is not fancy by any means.  It’s simply toast with scrambled eggs and veggies. The eggs are mixed with a little bit of mozzarella.  And the veggies are a mix of red bell pepper, red onion, jalapenos (I wanted a little heat) and garlic. I sauteed the veggies first and then while the eggs were scrambling, I toasted up the bread.

 

It was the perfect dinner after a crazy start to the week (aka – preparing the house for all the new furniture!).

 

The eggs were super fluffy and tender and I loved the little bits of mozzarella in each bite.

And well, you can’t go wrong with toasted bread because #allthecarbs .

Sausage and Kale Pesto Pizza

On Saturday I made my first trip of the season to our local farmers market.  I absolutely love visiting the market.  And while I didn’t go with intentions of getting anything specific – though I was hoping to get my hands on some strawberries – I was excited about what I brought home.

English Cucumbers

Garlic Chives (!!!)

Kale

Butter Crunch Lettuce

Yesterday as I was menu planning for the week to come, the kale was on my mind.  I wanted to make sure to put it to good use.

I came across a pizza recipe that had a base of kale pesto and I knew immediately what we were having for dinner last night.

Sausage and Kale Pesto Pizza it was.

The sausage is cooking in a cast iron skillet until browned and then removed from the pan and set to the side.  In the same pan, wilt the kale.  I did not add the water (the kale was a little damp from rinsing) or the sugar.

Once the kale wilts, it’s time to make the pesto.

Wilted Kale
Toasted Almonds
Garlic
Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese

The crust was our go-to recipe from the Seriously Delish cookbook.  It’s honestly the best, no-fuss crust ever.

While I was preparing the pesto, Big Guy was rolling out the dough.

The pesto gets spread all over the crust and then topped with the sausage (I used spicy sausage instead of Italian sausage) and cheese.

Baked until all the cheese is melted and the crust is browned.

A bottle of red wine from Sonoma ended the weekend on a high note.

This 2012 Portalupi Zinfandel from the Russian River Valley was perfect with the pizza.  Big yet not overpowering with notes of red fruit and black pepper.

Pizza and wine.  Has there ever been a more perfect raining Sunday evening pairing?