Enchilzone – an enchilada-calzone

enchilada-calzone-enchilzone-3There are a lot of cool ideas for food mash ups, but an enchilzone is my new favourite. I had the idea when we were travelling recently and ate at a restaurant that had Italian food and Mexican food on its menu. My brother and I were discussing combining the two. Fajita pizzas would be an obvious choice. Maybe burrito filling layered between tortillas like a lasagne. We had many ideas, but our winning one was definitely an enchilzone though!

It is a delicious enchilada filling, encased with a crunchy folded tortilla like a calzone pizza and baked with the enchilada sauce over the top. And plenty of cheese, of course! I used a chicken filling, but you could experiment with whatever you like in your enchiladas.

Ingredients (makes 4 enchilzones)
– 300g passata
– 2 teaspoons each of: ground cumin, oregano, brown sugar, ground coriander, paprika and chilli powder (optional)
– 1 medium sized onion, peeled
– 2 garlic cloves, peeled
– 2 peppers (your choice of colours – I use a green and a yellow)
– 2 chicken breasts
– 4 flour tortillas
– 150g grated cheese (such as cheddar or Monteray Jack)

To serve – sliced jalapeños and soured cream

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Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180*C. Pour the passata into a small saucepan with half of each of the spices. Simmer over a low heat and leave to thicken. Stir occasionally.
2. Slice the onion, garlic, peppers and chicken. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onion and garlic for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and stir for five minutes, then add the pepper.
3. Stir in the other half of the cumin, oregano, sugar, coriander, paprika, and chilli powder to the chicken and vegetables. Coat thoroughly. Cook for about 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
4. Place a quarter of the chicken mixture in the centre of a tortilla and fold over. (You can use a dab of the tomato sauce as a glue if necessary.) Repeat three times.
5. Taste and season the sauce. Spoon over the folded tortillas in a line down the centre. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.
6. Bake for 15 minutes until the tortillas are crisp and the cheese is melted. Serve with sliced jalapeños and soured cream.

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Chicken fajitas with roasted red pepper and tomato sauce

Chicken fajitas with roasted red pepper and tomato sauce

Roasted red pepper tomato chicken fajitas (2)

Someone posted on Twitter today that they’d been at the check out in a supermarket, and the cashier had been shocked to learn that she was planning on making her own spaghetti sauce. Isn’t that a shame? A tomato pasta sauce is so easy to make, and will be so much better for you than one that comes from a jar. So many of those brands have such high levels of salt and sugar, and buying them is much more expensive than making your own.

It’s the same with Mexican food. Those kits are really pricey, but all you need to make your own fajita / enchilada / burritos are a few teaspoons of spices. This recipe is my own version of an Old El Paso roasted tomato fajita kit. The roasted peppers, tomato and onions make a really intense, flavourful sauce, which is delicious with a big dollop of soured cream (although I don’t know many things that aren’t delicious with soured cream!). By the way, have you tried soured cream with roasted garlic? It may change your life.

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Processed with MOLDIV

Have a go at making your own version of the kits. You won’t regret it! Also, if you’re a fan of Tex Mex food, have a look at my easy recipes for smokey chipotle fajitas, salsa verde chicken, pulled pork fajitas and Philly cheese steak quesadillas.

Ingredients (serves 4)
– 500g chicken breast or boneless thigh, cut into bite-size pieces
– 1 red pepper
– 1 red onion
– 300g tomatoes (I used a mix of salad and cherry)
– 2 garlic cloves
– 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, ground coriander and smoked paprika
– 1 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)

To serve: flour tortillas, sliced jalapenos and soured cream

Roasted red pepper tomato chicken fajitas (1)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Roughly chop the tomatoes, garlic and pepper. Peel and slice the red onion into half moons. Placce in a roasting tin and roast for 40 minutes.
3. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and add the spices. Stir well for 1 minute until they become fragant, then add the chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides.
4. Tip the roasted vegetables into a blender and pulse to make a sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (You may need to add a little sugar to the sauce at this stage, depending on how acidic your tomatoes were).


5. Pour the sauce over the chicken and simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened and the chicken is cooked through.
6. Serve with warm flour tortillas, lots of soured cream and sliced jalapenos. You can build the fajitas yourself or have people assemble them at the table.

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Roasted red pepper tomato chicken fajitas (1)

Philly cheese steak quesadillas

Philly cheese steak quesadillas

Philly cheese steak quesadillas (9)

A few years ago, my friends were getting married in Boston. I took the opportunity to spend a few weeks travelling on the East coast of America and eating as much as I could! I visited Boston, New York and Philadelphia – and I loved it. I’d visited NYC and Boston before, both of which I really enjoy. It was my first time in Philadelphia and I think it ended up being my favourite part of the trip.

One of my friends was a local and he gave me sound advice about my time there. He told me where to go dancing and where to eat. He explained about Philly cheesesteaks. He filled me in on the rivalry between Pat’s and Geno’s, with all of the related importance of which cheese you asked for. Who knew it would be that complicated?! While I was there, I followed his tips and had the most amazing cheesesteak experience!

This isn’t a traditional cheesesteak by any stretch of the imagination… but I promise you it is good!

Philly cheese steak quesadillas (7)

Ingredients (serves 2)
– 200g steak strips for frying
– 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
– white onion, peeled and sliced into half moons
– 150g mushrooms, sliced (I used shiitake for extra umami flavour)
– 2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
– handful of parsley leaves, roughly chopped
– 100g melted cheese (I used a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella)
– 4 flour tortillas

Methods
1. Heat a little oil or butter in a large frying pan and brown the beef strips for 1-2 minutes. You don’t have to cook it through, just brown the edges.
2. Remove the beef from the pan. Saute the garlic and onion slices until starting to soften, and then add the mushroom slices. Stir together and once the onion and mushroom is cooked, return the beef to the pan with the Worchestershire sauce. Season to taste with the salt, pepper and parsley leaves.
3. Take a clean griddle or frying pan. Place one of the tortillas on it and sprinkle over a quarter of the cheese. Top with half of the beef and onion mixture, then another quarter of the cheese. Finally, place a second tortilla on top and press down.
4. Cook until the bottom tortilla is starting to brown and the cheese is starting to melt. Carefully flip the quesadilla over – this is the tricky bit. It’s good to use a wide fish slice to support as much of the quesadilla in question. (Try not to burn your fingers!)
5. Then cook the other side until that is also browned. Keep an eye on it; you don’t want the tortilla to burn.
5. Remove from the heat and keep warm while you repeat the process with the second quesadilla. Cut into quarters and serve immediately.

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Simple and delicious slow cooker recipes – take a rest and use your crock pot!

Simple and delicious slow cooker recipes

You can’t beat a slow cooker! Throw everything in the pot, leave it for a few hours, enjoy the delicious smells and then your meal is ready. I love experimenting with mine and I’d like to share a few of my recent favourites.

There are a few tips that work for all recipes. One is to make sure that everything is at least at room temperature before you put it in the pot. If it is straight from the fridge it will take longer to warm up and cook through. I always sear meat before putting it in for flavour and don’t forget to season well! Try to avoid taking the lid off during the cooking time, as it will really reduce the temperature and slow down your cooking time.

It’s worth investing in a decent slow cooker, like this Kitchen Aid one. I’ve had cheaper ones in the past and they just don’t work as well.

White chilli
Chilli con carne is a real favourite of mine, but this version uses chicken and so is much lighter and healthier. You add avocado to make the sauce feel creamy and luxurious. If you want to make your own baked nachos to go with it, there’s a really simple method here.
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Pulled Asian lamb with egg-fried cauliflower rice
I love this recipe! Slow cook the lamb in a marinade of soy sauce and lemon, with plenty of garlic and ginger. It falls apart after a few hours of slow cooking and is so delicious. You can serve it with normal rice or for a healthier (or gluten-free alternative) try egg-fried cauliflower rice.
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Roast beef in onion and red wine gravy
This recipe allows you to make an amazing roast beef dinner with a much cheaper cut of beef. Slow cooking in red wine means you don’t need the traditional roasting joint, but can choose a cut for braising. The other bonus is that the meat cooks in the red wine, making the gravy for you. One less pan to wash up!
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Pulled pork fajitas with tomato-lime salsa
It’s the second “pulled” recipe in this list, but who doesn’t love pulled pork? This is a really easy, tasty recipe for it using ingredients you will have in your store cupboard.
Serve it with soft, warm tortillas and a zingy salsa for some really fantastic fajitas.
Pulled pork fajitas (11)

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Delicious meat free recipes – easy vegetarian meals

Delicious meat free recipes

Here are some delicious recipes to help you on your way to eating less meat!

One pot gnocchi and halloumi with rocket and red pepper
This warm salad only has four ingredients and takes less than 20 minutes to cook. The halloumi adds so much flavour and is complemented brilliantly by the sweet roasted red peppers and the peppery rocket. A real winner for a week night dinner that will also wow if you have guests pop over.
Gnocchi and halloumi salad (1)

Zucchini, Gruyere and pea tart
This simple puff pastry tart is elegant yet easy. I use ready-made pastry for the base, then layer a smooth cream cheese filling with gorgeous vegetables and Gruyere cheese. If you’re watching your weight, just use low fat cream cheese.
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Smokey vegetable and black bean enchiladas
You can still have amazing Mexican food if you’re going meat free! The onion, pepper, tomatoes and carrots mean you get lots of lovely vegetables and the black beans provide plenty of fibre. It’s all wrapped up in a smokey, spicy sauce and (of course) topped with cheese!Vegetable enchiladas (8)

Stuffed zucchini rolls
These rolls are surprisingly filling. Use a vegetable peeler to make long strips of zucchini then roll up around cooked rice and ricotta. Then you bake them with a tasty tomato sauce. They’re great as a starter or sharing platter, but it also makes a fabulous main course for two people.
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Tortilla pizza
If you want a quick, simple snack that is meat free, try these tortilla pizzas. They are much lighter than regular pizzas but no less delicious.  Plus the final bonus is you can choose your own toppings!
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Asian ribbon and rice noodle salad
For this salad, a vegetable peeler is your best friend! Use it to make long slices of cucumber and zucchini, then mix with leeks and rice noodles and a delicious Asian dressing. It makes such a healthy light lunch!
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Healthier taco sauce or nacho topping with hidden vegetables – use up vegetables!

IMAG3101_1This sauce makes a great filling for tacos, as well as brilliant topping for nachos. You can also serve it as a chilli con carne with rice. What I love about it is that it is packed full of hidden vegetables – great for tricking those who don’t like to eat their greens!

I’ve been using my food processor to finely chop vegetables to make pasta sauce “secretly” healthier for years, but this my first recipe for Mexican food. The vegetables add a lot of bulk so you aren’t eating as much red meat and they also add tons of texture and flavour. You can mix and match your vegetables to use up whatever is in the fridge – just chuck it in the blender! For this reason, I haven’t specified a particular type of onion or colour of pepper – just use what you have.IMAG3095_1

Don’t buy a jar of salsa to serve with this – they are usually packed with sugar. For a delicious, healthy side, mix together quartered cherry tomatoes with finely chopped red onion and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Season to taste.IMAG3098_1

If you serve your hidden vegetable sauce with this salsa and some shredded lettuce, you can easily have six separate fruit and vegetables on just one plate! (So you can sprinkle on extra cheese, guilt free!)

You can also make your own tacos or nachos from a corn tortilla – click here for very simple steps.

Ingredients (serves 4)
– 400 g beef mince
– 1 large onion, peeled
– 3 cloves garlic, peeled
– 2 carrots, peeled
– 1 pepper, deseeded
– 1 leek
– 3 tomatoes
– 200 g tomato puree
– 1 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander
– 1 teaspoon chipotle paste (or more if you like heat)

To serve:
200 g bag of nachos and 200 g grated cheese OR taco shells
cherry tomato salsa (see above)
shredded lettuce, soured cream, jalapenos

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Method
1. Place the onion, garlic, carrots, pepper, leek and tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until the vegetables are all very finely chopped.
2. Heat a little oil in a large pan and cook the vegetables for 2-3 minutes until beginning to soften.
3. Add the mince, spices, chipotle paste and puree. Cook until the beef is cooked through, stirring well.
4. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and season before stirring.

To cook the nachos, preheat the grill to medium-high. Scatter a layer of nachos over a baking tray then cover with a layer of grated cheese. Repeat with layers until you have used up the nachos and cheese. Cook under the grill until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Alternatively, heat the tacos according to the packet.

Serve the hidden vegetable sauce.IMAG3103_1

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Awesome vegetable enchiladas – delicious vegetarian Mexican recipe

 Awesome vegetable enchiladas – delicious vegetarian Mexican recipe
Vegetable enchiladas (8)

I made this for dinner and had the leftovers for lunch today. When I took it out of the microwave, three people around the table commented on how good it looked or smelt. As far as I’m concerned, that definitely makes it worth blogging.

These enchiladas are delicious, healthy and incredibly filling. They have black beans in them, so you feel properly full after eating them. They are covered in a spicy tomato sauce with melted cheese on top, but are still quite good for you. Winner!Vegetable enchiladas (1)

You have two options with this recipe. You can pre-soak your black beans or cook them without soaking. I bet you didn’t know beans could be that exciting, right?! I had been reading about it on The Kitchn and their article “So You Like Flavour” made me think about ditching the soaking. (This is partly because I remembered at 11pm the night before that I was making enchiladas for dinner the next night and I wanted to avoid having to get out of bed and put the beans in to soak….)

Vegetable enchiladas (2)The article basically says that it is a choice. You can soak black beans for 24 hours or just cook them for 1 and a half hours. I went for the latter option and was quite pleased. The beans tasted really good but they definitely retained a lot of bite. If you think you’d like softer beans, then soak them in cold water for 24 hour prior to cooking. I preferred having the texture in the enchiladas of firmer beans, but the choice is yours.*
*Just make sure they are soaked or cooked thoroughly, as raw black beans are NOT good for you

Vegetable enchiladas (9)

Ingredients (3 servings)
– 300g dry black beans
– 1 teaspoon each ground cumin, ground coriander and vegetable stock bouillon powder
– 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I used smoked garlic for extra flavour but normal is fine)
– 400g tin chopped tomatoes
– 1 tablespoon chipotle paste (adjust to your preferred level of spiciness!)
– 1 teaspoon brown sugar
– 1 pepper, roughly chopped
– 1 carrot and 1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
– 6 wholegrain tortillas
– 100g grated cheddar cheese
– small bunch fresh coriander (optional garnish)
Vegetable enchiladas (8)Method
1. Place the dry black beans in a pan with the cumin, coriander and bouillon, plus some seasoning. Cover with 500ml boiling water, put a lid on and leave to simmer gently for an hour and a half.
2. After an hour, heat the chopped garlic with a little oil in a frying pan for 2 minutes until softened. Pour the chopped tomatoes over. Half fill the tin with water and add this to the tomatoes, along with the chipotle paste and sugar. Leave without a lid on to simmer and reduce gently. After 30 minutes or so, you can mash the chunks of tomato with a fork, or even blend it if you want a smoother sauce.Vegetable enchiladas (4)3. After the beans have been cooking for 90 minutes, turn the oven on to 200°C. In another pan, heat a little more oil and then cook the onions and carrots for 5 minutes. Add the peppers and cook for a further 2 minutes.
4. Drain the beans and add to the vegetables. Stir through and season to taste.
Vegetable enchiladas (3)5. Take a deep rectangular baking/roasting tin. Take a tortilla and place a sixth of the vegetable mixture in the centre. Roll it up tightly and place it in the tin with the join at the bottom. Repeat with the other five tortillas.
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6. Taste the tomato sauce and season. Spoon over the tortillas and top with the grated cheese.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Sprinkle over the chopped coriander leaves and serve.

Vegetable enchiladas (7)

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