Who wants a big bowl of enchilada soup today? Well, lucky you! ‘Cause that’s what I am serving up.
Today is my first reveal with Group B of the Secret Recipe Club (due to the holidays and a glitch … aka I forgot to fill out a form). I’m excited to have a whole new group of blogs to peruse, although I will miss my Group A-ers a lot!
My assigned blog for this month was An Affair from the Heart. I’ve been following Michaela on Facebook since I got this assignment, and I really enjoy interacting on her Facebook page! Every Tuesday she announces a theme and shares recipes on the page based on that theme. It’s fun to see the round-up without ever leaving FB. Not that I am on there all the time …
Michaela is a stay-at-home mom of four (one in college, one in high school, and two a little younger), and she loves to throw big parties and entertain as well as feed her family. I would call her recipes down-to-earth, the kind of things I love to make: not fussy, not necessarily gourmet, but good and delicious.
I was very tempted to make something from the Popcorn & Snack Mix category, but for the benefit of my weight-loss attempts decided to go with soup instead. This Beefy Enchilada Soup will be great for lunches this week. It made a ton, so I froze about half for a later family meal.
I had to make a few adjustments based on what I could find at my store. They didn’t have Mexicorn, so I used one can of regular corn and one can of hominy, which I love. I used mild enchilada sauce, and I think the soup could have used a little more kick, so I would recommend using medium or serving with some hot sauce. I also made this on the stovetop instead of using a slow cooker, 100% because I didn’t want to have to wash the slow cooker. Because I AM THAT PERSON. But I am adding the slow cooker instructions for you at the bottom of the recipe if you want them.
15 oz. Mexican-style stewed or diced tomatoes, with liquid
15 oz. canned pinto beans, with liquid
15 oz. canned yellow corn, drained, or about 1 c. frozen corn
15 oz. canned hominy, drained
20 oz. water (two enchilada cans)
hot sauce, to taste
2 c. Mexican-blend shredded cheese, divided
6 small corn tortillas, cut in half and then into strips
optional: diced avocado, sliced olives, sour cream, diced tomatoes, etc.
In a large soup pot, brown ground beef and onion together until beef is done. Drain off fat. Add enchilada sauce, tomatoes, pinto beans, corn, hominy, and two enchilada cans of water.
Stir well and bring soup to a boil. Cover; reduce heat to low and simmer.
Simmer soup at least an hour or as long as you can. Take off lid and add 1 1/2 cups of cheese and tortilla strips. Stir well, then cook another 15 minutes or so (uncovered).
Taste and season with hot sauce if desired (or pass at the table). Top bowls with the rest of the cheese and any optional toppings.
To make this in the slow cooker, cook beef and onion as directed. Then mix beef/onion with remaining ingredients except cheese and tortillas in the slow cooker. Cook on low 8-10 hours. During the last hour, stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese and tortilla strips and season with hot sauce if desired. Serve with additional cheese and optional toppings.
After wondering if I had been assigned to every single person from group A in the Secret Recipe Club, I got my blog for this month. And it was Chef in Disguise! Aha! Someone whose recipes I always lust over during the SRC reveal. This was a fun month for me.
Sawsan grew up in Jordan and lives in the United Arab Emirates, where she is an orthodontist. She offers recipes with Middle Eastern flair as well as those from around the world. I was in awe of all the different cultures represented in her recipe index.
I love to try new things and am an adventurous eater, so I would love to test out some of Sawsan’s recipes like Cauliflower Makloubeh. I almost made the Baked Kibbeh, but I was afraid my kids would turn up their noses or it wouldn’t taste right.
Here’s a side note for you: when I visited Brazil in 2007, we were in a city with a very large Lebanese population. Most of what we did was among these immigrants, and we ate a lot of food that Sawsan features in her Middle Eastern recipes section! I went to a cooking class with a few of my friends, and kibbeh was one of the dishes we “learned” to make. But the one time I tried to make it at home in the States, I felt like it tasted watery and bland. That was probably in 2007 or 2008, though, so maybe I should give it another try. /side note over
Anyway, I was craving steak, so when my in-laws were here for Libbie’s birthday last weekend I decided to make Sawsan’s recipe for Yogurt-Marinated Steak. But since I’d also been eyeing her recipe for Honey-Oregano Beef Onion Skewers, I had kebabs on the brain. So I cut my beef into cubes and made kebabs with the marinated meat, bell pepper chunks, and onion. I seared my kebabs on a grill pan, then finished them in the oven. We ate them alongside Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes. And it was all wonderful!
I can imagine using this marinade for chicken or pork as well. It has great all-around flavor.
Slightly adapted from Chef in Disguise for the Secret Recipe Club. The recipe calls for fresh rosemary, but I used thyme because I had some on hand. Any earthy, fresh herb would work well here, like parsley or sage.
2 lbs. top round beef
3 T plain yogurt
2 T white or red wine vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 T fresh thyme or rosemary, chopped (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 sweet bell peppers, diced into large chunks
1-2 onions, cut into very large dice
Cut steak into large cubes. Place in a gallon zipper freezer bag.
In a bowl, whisk together yogurt, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme or rosemary, oregano, and paprika. Pour into the bag with beef and squish around to cover beef. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, as long as overnight.
(You can also freeze this in the marinade for a make-ahead meal. Just defrost completely in the refrigerator before making kebabs.)
On wooden skewers (soaked in water for 30 minutes before using), alternately thread beef, pepper pieces, and onion pieces.
Sear on a lightly oiled grill pan or skillet, then broil in the oven until to your desired doneness. Alternately, cook on a grill until to your liking.
There are very few recipes from his mom that my husband insists I make and make it THAT WAY. Number One: Pumpkin cookies. Number two: Summer Bow-ties. Number three: Meatloaf. For Mr. V (yes you all know our last name now but I still don’t want his student to be able to Google him), thou shalt not make the meatloaf without cheese. It shall not have ketchup, nor shall you insert an herb of any kind. ONLY THIS WILL DO.
I won’t tell anyone if you adjust this to your tastes. I’ve actually made a non-cheesy version into Meatloaf Muffins when I was eating dairy-free because of nurslings, and then I used Dijon mustard and thyme. But really, if you use a nice, very sharp cheddar, the meatloaf has plenty of flavor.
My husband gets so excited when I make meatloaf it’s ridiculous. I make it pretty much every time we’re on break and the dining hall is closed. And thankfully, since it’s covered with cheese, the kids will eat it, too! They don’t know they are supposed to hate meatloaf.
Whisk together egg, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and 1/2 cup tomato sauce. Mix in ground beef, then oats. Press into a large rectangle on a piece of aluminum foil. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese.
Use the aluminum foil to roll the meat into a pinwheel. Push in the ends to seal somewhat, then turn over the loaf into a greased loaf pan.
Bake 50 minutes at 350F. Remove from oven, pour over remaining tomato sauce. Bake another 15 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover loosely with foil tent and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
OK, I know I’ve lost you just with the word oxtail. But hang with me, please? Because this. is. delicious.
I’ll admit that usually with Secret Recipe Club I lean toward baking. I don’t have to cook dinner during the school year because we can eat in the dining hall. But this month I was assigned An Italian Cooking in the Midwest. And she makes real Italian food, y’all. Authentico. The author, PolaM, is indeed an actual Italian working on her PhD here in the American Midwest.
I had to research oxtail because I’ve never, ever made it before. It’s just the cow’s tail, chopped up. Yep. Just what it sounds like. The cut is very affordable and I was able to find it at Publix already out in the case. The bones in the tail have a lot of gelatin, which contributes to the richness of the stew, although you probably want to spoon off a little of it before serving. Some sites recommended I even refrigerate the stew overnight and skim off the fat easily, but my foodie friend pretty much promised to disown me if I did, saying that is what makes it so good.
I used my pressure cooker since that is what Pola did, but you could also do this in a slow cooker with the same results, I think. Just sear the meat beforehand and dump it in there, then let it cook for a long time. I would think 8-10 hours on low.
6 stalks celery, sliced, divided in half (plus some of the inner leaves)
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 bay leaves
1 c. beef broth
1/4 c. red wine
1 29 oz. can tomato sauce
1 lb. short pasta
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Sear the oxtail on all sides; remove to a plate.
Add carrots, onion, and half the sliced celery to the pressure cooker and reduce heat to medium-low. Sprinkle with cloves and pinch of salt and add bay leaves.
When the onions are starting to turn translucent, add the red wine. Turn heat to medium-high and cook until most of the wine has evaporated.
Add meat back into the pan, then pour in beef broth and tomato sauce.
Close the pressure cooker and bring to pressure. (Your knob thingy should be gently rocking. Yep, that's the technical terminology.) Cook 1 1/2 hours, then remove from heat and cool until the pressure releases.
Use a ladle to remove some of the lighter liquid on top of the stew - that is the gelatinous broth. Take off about three ladle-fulls. Stir in remaining sliced celery.
Boil pasta in well-salted water. Drain; mix sauce into pasta and serve.
If you use gluten-free pasta or serve as a stew, this is gluten-free as well as dairy-free. You could also serve over rice.
To go along with the stew, I wanted to try out Pola’s Sun-dried Tomato Bread. Then I looked and saw it had to rise for 4-8 hours. So I added some more yeast and hoped it would move things along quicker. It may not be as authentic, but it worked and was tasty.
This is the kind of bread you just tear off chunks of and dip it right into the delicious stew.
2 tsp. bread machine or instant yeast (also known as rapid-rise or quick-rise)
1 1/2 c. very warm (but not hot) water
1/4 c. sliced sun-dried tomatoes (the kind preserved in oil)
1 tsp. salt
Add yeast to the warm water and let sit for a few minutes.
In the bowl to a stand mixer, add flour, oregano, and salt. Stir to combine.
Add the water-yeast mixture and knead for 5 minutes - that's speed 2 on a stand mixer. You can do it by hand also. You want a dough that is soft but not sticky. Add more water or flour if needed - in very small increments.
Turn dough ball into an oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel, and let rise for an hour in a warm place.
Drain the tomatoes and then knead into the dough. Press the dough into a rectangle and roll toward you, then connect the ends to make a circle, pinching together to seal. Place on a baking sheet or stone, cover again, and let rise 20-30 minutes.
Preheat over to 450. Bake 25-35 minutes, until dough is brown and the bread sounds hollow when you knock on it.
Did I make any alterations to the recipe? Yes. A ton. See below.
Would I make it again in “real life”? Yes, I think so, although we have a pretty good beef stew recipe already.
Since I adjusted this recipe for the slow cooker, to use what I had, and because I forgot to buy wine and marjoram and didn’t have any paprika, here is what we actually had. Which may or may not resemble the original recipe!
I have made Cheesy Meatloaf many, many times during the course of our marriage. It’s a recipe where my husband refuses to budge; all meatloaves made in our house MUST be this exact recipe. One time I tried to put in onions. EH [imagine big buzzer sound here]. Extra Worcestershire sauce? EH. Italian seasoning? EH. EH. EH.
Unfortunately with the whole cheese-less existence right now, I am not making a meatloaf that I cannot eat. And Mr. V is getting itchy for his meatloaf fix. So I decided I could interpret the recipe into meatloaf muffins and make half without cheese.
And since I can’t stop tinkering with recipes, ever, I added a little Dijon mustard and fresh thyme to my muffins. Don’t tell Mr. V, but I think I might like them better than the original.
Not that he’ll ever let me make a whole meatloaf that way.
Whisk egg, Worcestershire sauce, and 4 ounces of tomato sauce together in a mixing bowl. Add salt, a few grinds or sprinkles of pepper, and beef to the bowl; combine with hands. Add oats and mix together.
Take fists of mixture and spread out like a small hamburger patty. (About the size of your palm.) Put a sprinkling of cheese in the middle of the patty, then fold in all the edges to cover cheese and make a ball.
Place balls in greased muffin tins and flatten slightly.
Cook at 350 15 minutes. Pour about 2 teaspoons tomato sauce on top of each muffin. Sprinkle more cheese on top of muffins. Cook an additional 7-8 minutes. Let sit for a minute before serving.
Non-Cheesy Meatloaf Muffins Derivation:
To meatloaf mixture, add 1 T Dijon mustard and 1 T fresh thyme leaves. Omit cheese. Just form beef mixture into balls and place in muffin tins. Cook the same, omitting added cheese on top.