Saturday, May 25, 2013

Late Cinco de Mayo


Sorry I'm a little late getting around to Cinco de Mayo this year. About a week or so before, all I was craving was Italian food. However, when Cinco de Mayo came along, I craved Mexican food with a vengeance, but all of my ingredients in my cupboard were for Italian meals. :)

I caught up the following week to take care of my Mexican food cravings. Here are some of my finds!

Individual Pinto and Black Bean Tamale Pies


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 bunches scallions, trimmed, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cans (15.5 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (15.5 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup water
1 tube (16 ounces) prepared plain polenta, sliced into 8 equal rounds and patted dry
1 packed cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish (optional)
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1 1/2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese (6 ounces)
Salsa, for serving, optional


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium, add white parts of scallions and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add both beans, tomatoes (with juice), and the water and bring to a boil, mashing about one-quarter of the beans with the back of a spoon against side of pan. Reduce to a simmer, cook until mixture has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush eight 10 to 12 ounce ramekins or custard cups with remaining tablespoon oil (if using pie plates, follow instructions at the end of the recipe). Place a polenta round in each ramekin.

Remove bean mixture from heat. Stir in green parts of scallions, cilantro, and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper. Spoon bean mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly, then top with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and filling is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with additional cilantro, and serve with salsa.

Source: Everyday Food recipe. I can't find this particular recipe online. It is from the Everyday Food Light cookbook, ISBN: 978-0-307-71809-9.

Nutrition information: 332 calories, 11 g fat, 12.3 g protein, 42.8 g carbohydrates, 11.6 g fiber.

Large Pie Variation: Brush each of two deep dish pie plates with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil. Slice polenta crosswise into 16 equal rounds; place 8 rounds in each pie plate. Dividing evenly, top with bean mixture, then cheese. Bake and let stand as directed.

Notes: This was really good. So flavorful. Plus, it is a great meatless dinner option. With the combination of the beans, spices, and polenta, you really won't miss the lack of meat. I promise! I didn't have any 10-12 ounce ramekins (all of mine are smaller). So, I opted to make this in two pie plates. It worked great!

Spicy Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce


1/2 roast or rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat shredded
6 scallions, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 jalapeno chile, quartered (remove ribs and seeds for less heat, if desired)
1 teaspoon chili powder
8 corn tortillas (6-inch)
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken and scallions. Season generously with salt and pepper; set aside.

In a blender, puree the pumpkin, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, 2 1/2 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until smooth (hold the top firmly as the blender will be quite full). Pour 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of an 8-inch square (or other shallow 2-quart) baking dish.

Lay the tortillas on a work surface; mound the chicken mixture on half of each tortilla, dividing evenly. Roll up each tortilla into a tight log; place seam side down over the sauce in the baking dish.

Pour the remaining sauce on top; sprinkle with the cheese. Place the dish on a baking sheet; bake until the cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe notes: This dish can be assembled up to 8 hours ahead of time; refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to bake (add a few minutes to the cooking time).

Source: Everyday Food recipe. You can find it here.

Bean Burritos


3/4 cup rice (brown or white)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeno chile, chopped (ribs and seeds removed, for less heat)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 bag frozen corn kernels (10 ounces)
6 scallions, thinly sliced
8 burrito-size flour tortillas, 10 inches each
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Salsa and sour cream, optional


Cook rice according to package instructions; set aside. (I made Cilantro-Lime Rice, already posted on our blog here.)

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onions, garlic, jalapeno, and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add beans and 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add corn; cook to heat through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in scallions.

Heat tortillas according to package instructions; fill with rice, bean mixture, and cheese.

Assemble: Mound 1/4 cup rice, 3/4 cup bean mixture, and 1/4 cup cheese on one side of tortilla. Fold sides, and hold them in. Starting from filled end, holding sides in as you work, tightly roll into a bundle. Place on a baking sheet, seam side down, and prepare remaining burritos.

Serve immediately, with salsa and sour cream, if using, or wrap per freezing instructions.

Freezing Instructions:

Wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.

To reheat from frozen:

Remove frozen burritos from plastic wrap. Place on a microwave-safe plate; microwave on high for 3 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet, bake at 450 degrees until crispy, about 10 minutes.

If only using a microwave, remove from plastic wrap, and place on a microwave-safe plate, covered with a microwave safe bowl. Defrost on high power for 3 to 4 minutes; uncover, and microwave on high 3 to 4 minutes longer.

If only using oven, remove burritos from plastic wrap; rewrap individually in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet; bake at 450 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove foil, and bake to crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. (To reheat defrosted burritos, remove any wrapping and bake for 10 minutes).

Source: Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe (November 2005). You can find it here.

Notes: These are nice and mild. In fact, if you wanted to add some more pizzaz, you could increase the amount of ground cumin (I did), and/or add some additional spices. My boys really liked these...and getting them to eat is half the battle!

Above: The recipe says that it makes 8 burritos. I ended up with 8 large burritos and 3 small ones. I measured with the amounts for each large burrito exactly and still had some of the bean filling left over. If you made small burritos (which I would recommend if you are making these for lunches, you could probably have between 12-16 burritos). The recipe describes these as healthy single-serving dinners (or hearty lunches). I think a large burrito is a great size for my husband for lunch, but too large for me. The smaller burritos were a perfect size for my lunch though.

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