Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weigh in Sunday

Every Sunday, I go to my weight watchers meeting and weigh in.  Today was no different.  I was quite excited to have lost another few pounds.  Since starting the journey to better health and wellness I have lost a total of 61.8 pounds.  I started on April 27, 2008.  I would say that I am doing well.   I love the way I can eat what i want in moderation and still lose weight.  I never feel deprived.  I now eat lots of veggies instead of junk.  I can still have my ice cream and goodies I like.  For me its been a great experience.  I got my new id for work the other and hardly recognized the woman in the picture.  I still don't see myself as thinner.  I guess it will take a while to get used to.  

On another note, my oldest son drove himself to lacrosse practice today.  I am quite worried about him driving alone.  He recently got his license and had been driving with us since last Christmas.  Still I worry.  He is supposed to call us before he leaves the school where they practice to let us know he is coming home.  I will wait for the call.....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Enchilada Casserole

Finally, the enchilada casserole recipe is here.... The recipe is great, the posting on the blog remains to be seen.....

For Enchilada sauce

1 package dried California chilies (I find these to be mild in heat most of the time)
I use half of an 8 oz package, or sometimes I make it all, just adjust the water, until the
consistency is like that of a thin ketchup, but not watery. This sauce freezes well.

4 cups water
4 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt to taste

1. Place the 4 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.
2. While the water is boiling, remove the stems and as much of the seeds as possible.
3. Place the chilies in the water and after the water boils, turn the heat to low and simmer
for 25 minutes. Leave in the pan until the chilies cool off.
4. Place the chilies in a blender and add the soaking water, almost to the top of the blender. Leave room for the blending.
5. Blend on a medium speed until all the chilies are blended.
6. Add the peeled garlic, blend to incorporate.
7. Add salt to taste, blend again.

If the sauce is too thick, a good thickness is like a thin ketchup, some body, but not watery add more water, until the blender is full. Taste and adjust seasoning. I like my sauce garlicky.

Now for the most important step, strain the sauce in a sieve or small-holed strainer. Do not use a colander unless the holes are tiny. You do not want to eat the seeds or the plastic-like skin of the chilies.

If the sauce is still too thick, add more water. You can always add water when you heat it up for making the enchiladas or the casserole.

Enchilada Casserole

Traditionally, enchiladas are complicated. I used to make them the old Mexican tía (aunt) way. I even used canned salsa, until I horrified the aforementioned tía and she taught me how to make my own sauce. I used to dip the tortillas in oil, then in sauce, then stuff them then roll them. Not any more, this is much easier, less fat and tastes the same.

20 regular sized corn tortillas
1 pound of shredded Monterey jack cheese, I have on hand always, jack, mozzarella, cheddar, and 3-cheese blend. Therefore, you can use whatever. If you want authentic use, get some
Mexican cheese that crumbles easily, like ranchero or cotija cheese.
1-pound chicken breasts
3 tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
1 large onion chopped
Ground pepper to taste
13 x 9 baking dish, glass or a small throwaway aluminum one

First, boil the chicken breast as if you were making chicken soup. Or I put them in a soup pot with water, an onion, some garlic, some salt and some oregano. I let it boil then simmer until the breasts are done. Then I save the broth to use later.
Shred the chicken into small bite size pieces, do not chop it, the texture is better shredded.

Chop the onions and tomatoes and crush the garlic. Sauté in a pan with some olive oil spray until soft, add the shredded chicken and some of the broth so that the chicken soaks up the flavors of the onion and tomatoes. Add seasoning to taste, pepper and salt if needed.

In a small saucepan or skillet, put the enchilada sauce on a low simmer, keep sauce on a simmer and add water and sauce as needed to coat tortillas.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Place the ingredients in an assembly line. Tortillas, enchilada sauce, baking dish, chicken cheese
Now you are ready to assemble.

I put 6 tortillas in a gallon zipper bag and microwave until they are soft. Then I put them in the sauce one at a time, I let them drain a little, then put them in bottom of the pan, continue until the bottom of the pan has one layer of tortillas. Next, add a layer of the chicken, next a layer of cheese, finally another layer of sauce soaked tortillas. Continue until you run out of chicken. I normally get 2 to 3 layers, depending on how thick I layered the chicken. Two layers are good. Then top the last layer of chicken with a final layer of tortillas and some cheese. Put in a 350 degree preheated oven for 20 -25 minutes until the cheese is melted.