Friday, May 14, 2010

Daring Cooks' Stacked GREEN Enchiladas with Spinach Sauce

Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on and written by Robb Walsh.

This month, Barbara and Bunnee challenged us to make our own enchiladas and sauce. The original recipe they shared was a homemade green sauce using chiles and tomatillos. But due to the lack of vegetable variety in POZ, i had to look for other alternatives. I didn't want to stray too far from the original recipe so after much thought, i decided to stay "GREEN" and made Enchiladas with spinach sauce. It's also extremely hard to find flat corn tortillas here so i made my own wheat tortillas to stack. I also replaced chicken breasts with pork since it was the day before labor day and the grocery store was basically empty by the time i got there. Sheesh, talk about bad luck with ingredients this month! So even though my Green Enchilada is full of substitutions and using spinach makes it a completely different dish... at least i got the color right, muahaha!

These enchiladas were amazing. The stacked tortillas and cheese almost makes it a Mexican lasagna. It was the perfect last-meal before i started my 1 week detox diet-- it's full of carbs, meat, and cheese! If it wasn't for a meal as gratifying as this, i don't think my diet would've lasted 2 days. So thank-you Barbara & Bunnee, I've reached new horizons with my resourcefulness this month and this challenge has indirectly helped me loose a few pounds. Doesn't get any better than that!

Stacked GREEN Enchiladas with Spinach Sauce
adapted from
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 cup light cream (12%) or half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 green onions, minced
  • 200 grams fresh green chilies
    (roast, peel, remove seeds, chop coarsely)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • Salt & pepper, to taste.

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
    (i used 500 grams pork)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    (use more as needed)
  • 12 6-inch corn tortillas
    (i made my own wheat tortillas and only used 6)
  • 2 cups grated mild cheddar cheese
    (i used hollander cheese)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Spinach Sauce:
    1. Cook spinach according to package instructions. Drain well. Set aside.
    2. Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add flour and stir mixture for 2 minutes; do not brown.
    3. Gradually whisk in whipping cream and milk. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
    4. Stir in spinach, cilantro, green onion, chilies, cumin, coriander and red pepper [picture 1].
    5. Puree in batches in processor until almost smooth (optional, i skipped this step).
    6. Season with salt and pepper.
      Tip: if your sauce doesn't thicken up, dissolve some starch with cold water and slowly pour into the sauce while mixing constantly.
    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
    2. Sautee the chicken (or pork) until just cooked through. Cool and set aside [picture 2].
    3. In a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil to check – it should sizzle immediately. Using tongs, put a tortilla into the pan and cook until soft and lightly brown on each side, about 15-20 seconds per side (at the most). Drain on paper towels. Add oil as needed and continue until all tortillas are done.
    4. In a baking dish, ladle a thin layer of sauce.
    5. Lay tortillas in the dish and ladle another ½ cup of sauce over the tortillas. Divide half the chicken among the first layer of tortillas, top with some sauce and 1/3 of the grated cheese.
    6. Stack another layer of tortillas, top with the rest of the chicken, more sauce and another third of the cheese [picture 3].
    7. Finish with the third tortilla, topped with the remaining sauce and cheese [picture 4].
    8. Bake until the sauce has thickened and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
    9. To serve, spoon any leftover sauce over the stacks and sprinkle with cilantro, if you wish. The stacks may also be cooked in individual gratin dishes.
    Stacked Enchiladas
    with Spinach Sauce

    Sunday, May 09, 2010

    Homemade Ginger Ale

    I've been meaning to make Ginger Ale ever since I received a food request from Shallah in February. I know, I know, it's been a long time since February and i'm not even sure if Shallah will come back to check it out... but here it is anyway!

    Making your own Ginger Ale is fairly easy. All you've got to do is to make your own ginger syrup and mix it with your carbonated water of choice. I personally like Schweppes since I can always count on its "gas content". I tried other local brands of sparkling water but the fizz just didn't quite get there. You might also notice in the picture below that i used Schweppes tonic water instead. I guess it's a sign of aging when i'm starting to enjoy a hint of bitterness to my Ginger Ale, hahaaaa, sad.

    But anyhoo, this simplified recipe is a great alternative to the proper way of making Ginger Ale which requires yeast and fermentation. But if you're interested, here's a great page with step-by-step pictures that'll give you a better-tasting one which might also yield some alcohol depending on your fermentation process. I'm not daring enough to try this, but let me know if you do!

    Ginger Ale
    • 1 cup fresh ginger, finely minced
      (using a knife or food processor)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 cups water
    • Sparkling water / club soda / tonic water

    Ginger Ale