Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This Week's Theme: Mexican

Three things happened when I decided what food to make this week. First, I was feeling lazy and wanted to do something with the super cheap rotisserie chickens they sell at Costco. Second, I wanted to do enchiladas or something like that. And third, I discovered the Pioneer Woman. Somehow these things combined into a Mexican food theme for the week and some seriously healthy and delicious food. Allow me to elaborate...
  • Mexican lasagna, courtesy of the Pioneer Woman. This sounded way better than enchiladas. Can you blame me? I did some small things to make it a bit healthier. I used brown rice instead of white. I added black beans to the rice for a bit more protein. I used corn tortillas instead of flour. I used the rotisserie chicken from Costco instead of ground beef. And I used 2% shredded cheese because in this setting I really can't taste the difference. Also, I halved the recipe. This makes a lot of food. Be warned. Even after halving the recipe, I still used my biggest casserole dish and packed it down so tight that the thing weighs a ton. But very, very delish. Hanging on to the recipe for sure.
  • "Spanish" green beans, courtesy of the Pioneer Woman. I thought this veggie dish would go well with the lasagna. I used fresh green beans because I have a total aversion to canned vegetables (I have yet to see my mother buy canned vegetables, so it's how I was raised), and I just happened to have a huge bag of them from Costco. I also used turkey bacon because my husband and I actually prefer turkey bacon to regular (Can you imagine how inconvenient it would be if we didn't agree on this? Phew!). I know, we're crazy. But we're crazy together. The dish turned out...just ok, I'd say. I think it's mostly because of the canned tomatoes. They were a bit sour. Next time I'll try another brand of tomatoes, or maybe fresh ones if I'm feeling ambitious.
  • Whiskey-glazed carrots, courtesy of the Pioneer Woman. These are so completely wonderful and very easy. They're like candy! I wasn't planning on using a whole stick of butter, but I have a real aversion to going off recipe the first time I try it out. But I didn't end up reserving the sauce, so there's nowhere near an entire stick in the finished dish. Next time, I'll probably try half a stick and see how it goes. I'm not lessening the whiskey though. No, sir. Also, when making this, I think it would be a good idea to have some kind of bread on hand to sop up the extra sauce if you're not going to pour it over the carrots (I think that would make it too heavy, personally). I found out too late that I was actually completely out of bread!!! (Thanks for the heads up before we went to the grocery store, Husband!)
  • And for dinner each night I've been cooking up some delicious and healthy quesadillas. Here's how I make them: I throw a whole wheat tortilla in a pan and sprinkle with 2% shredded cheese (I went with the Mexican blend this week). Ok, I more like dump it on, but it acts as the glue, a very important job! Then I add some of the shredded rotisserie chicken I had left over from the lasagna. On top of that, some sauteed bell pepper and red onion. That is the base of the quesadilla. Beyond that, you can spice it up however you want. The last few nights I experimented with adding enchilada sauce, jalapenos, and some of the leftover Mexican rice. Basically, besides the veggies, chicken, and cheese, anything goes. Once the tortilla is browned and the filling is warmed up, I fold it over, let it settle for a minute, then transfer it to my plate. Then I top it with fresh guacamole and pico de gallo (chopped tomato, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro with lime juice and salt). Voila! Quick, easy, healthy, and tasty.
It's been a real challenge keeping my portion sizes small this week. The quesadillas are so big that I was uncomfortably full after I ate one for dinner on Monday night. Last night I wizened up and ended up cutting about a third of a piece off before I sat down to eat. That way I wasn't too full, and now I have an afternoon snack for today.

I didn't end up baking anything, which I am now regretting. I have been seriously craving baked goods all week. I planned at the last minute (as in, after I had done my grocery shopping) to make cornbread, but I was out of milk (or even buttermilk! gasp!), so that was a no go. Not surprisingly, I am planning a big carb fest next week.


Kelly said...

Yum, everything sounds delicious, now I need some visuals of your hard work! Photos please :)

We actually had quesadillas Monday night, it is our new favorite quick meal. I love them with rice, black beans, salsa & quacamole!

JuLo said...

I wish I had photos! I really haven't been taking any lately. Mexican food doesn't photograph well anyway. :p You can blame my husband for monopolizing the laptop every night. Apparently raiding in WOW just isn't the same on his own computer with a slower processor. Ugh.

Love me some guacamole! I also like doing breakfast burritos with a little scrambled egg and turkey bacon thrown in!