Recipe: Italian Garden Enchiladas

Before we leave on vacation we’re trying to clear out the fridge and freezer, not to mention I have all the goodies from the garden to use up. So, for dinner tonight I had the girls go with me and harvest some of the veggies from the garden. We filled up a small bowl with beans, peas and some cherry tomatoes.

Looking through the fridge, we’ve got a ton of tortillas and I had an open bag of pasta sauce. I also found a few cans of beans in the back of the closet, so I had my little one pick one out to eat – she chose garbanzo beans.

In the end, I made Italian Garden Enchiladas.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Garden veggies, such as beans, peas, carrots, onions, garlic, cherry tomatoes, etc.
  • Fresh basil
  • Pasta Sauce (16 oz or so.)
  • Tortillas
  • Chicken
  • Garbanzo Beans (1 can.)
  • Cheese (about 8-16 oz – depending on how much cheese you like!) – I used Italian Blend and Sharp Cheddar.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook chicken on stove until done. (I used a bit of olive oil.) Optional: Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
  2. Chop up the garden veggies and sautee on the stove in a little bit of olive oil. Set aside.
  3. Rinse garbanzo beans and heat in same pan on stove. (I added enough water to the pan to cover the beans, then boiled the water out.)
  4. Place a layer of sauce in a baking dish.
  5. Lay out tortilla. Place a layer of sauce, then add the veggies, chicken, beans and a few slices of the tomato and basil. Add cheese and more sauce.
  6. Roll up and place, seam side down, in the baking dish. Repeat 5 times.
  7. Spoon the remaining sauce on top, add basil, sprinkle on cheese.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees.
  9. Remove foil and bake for a few additional minutes until cheese is browned to your liking.
  10. Cool and enjoy.

BONUS: You can EASILY freeze this meal! Use a disposable foil baking pan, and prep the meal as stated above. Then, thaw and continue with baking ingredients.

Garden veggies. Basil, onions, carrots, peas, beans and tomatoes.

Grilled some chicken on the stove. Sprinkled with Italian Seasoning.

In the same pan, tossed the veggies – chopped up – in some olive oil and sauteed.

A can of garbanzo beans. Threw in the same pan with enough water to cover them, then boiled until the water was gone.

Whole wheat tortilla with a layer of my pasta sauce, a couple spoonfuls of the cooked veggies, plus the garbanzo beans, sliced up chicken and sliced tomato. Before rolling up, top with cheese.

Add a layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, add the rolled up tortillas and top with more sauce and basil.

Add cheese, cover with foil and bake at about 375 for about 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional few minutes until cheese is browned to your liking.

Gardening: New Veggie Garden for 2014

When deciding where to put my first ever garden, I took my neighbors advice and put it in the spot where the previous owners had had their garden. I’m told they had bountiful harvests of tomatoes and carrots and everything else. There was already a raspberry bush in the area! Well, it’s been at least 6 years since the previous owners did anything with that garden area and the trees have grown up since then, causing a lot of shade to hit it. My veggies are growing, but I don’t think they are growing as well as they should. Therefor, for 2014 I have decided to move my garden to the sunniest location in the yard. My only concern with this location is that, as you can see from the photo, the brush pile is just to the left and we have bunnies who like to live in there. I don’t want to put up a fence next year, assuming The Little One will stay out of the garden!, but I may have to just to keep out the bunnies.

Big sunny spot near the fence line by the neighbors garage.

This new garden spot is right next to the other neighbors garage. I’ll need to cut back the brush next to the fence and then I also plan to attempt to grow beans and peas and sweet pea flowers using the fence as a trellis. Eventually I’d like to grow my own grapes, but I don’t think 2014 will be the year for that. Getting started was probably the hardest part of this whole ordeal. Breaking through the tough grass roots. The first shovel I had wasn’t quite sharp/pointed enough, so I had to switch to the other one and once I switched it was MUCH easier.

Getting started!

Half hour of digging! One row done! LOTS more to go!

I spent about half an hour digging today in the hot, hot sun. We managed to dig one row of the grass out (and by we I do mean me, with the kids only slightly getting in my way!) We had to take a break at that point because it was about 1,000 degrees outside. OK, the weather app on my computer says it hit 81, but in the noon sun it sure felt a lot hotter!

Sitting in front of the fan with our ice water! Whew it was hot!!!

Once we’d cooled off enough I opted to go back out and dig some more. The Big One decided to stay inside where it’s cooler. I ended up getting POURED on while I was out digging. It started as a gentle sprinkling of refreshing rain water and soon turned into a downpour. It felt wonderful, but the downpour plus the thunder…. I went in at that point! Two rows of digging completed! And I’ve got to say, the wet soil sure makes it easier to dig up the grass!!! Oh, and because I won’t be planting anything until next spring (the exception being some Wild Lupine seeds I will be collecting on vacation and planting in the fall) I’m simply digging up the grass and flipping it over. The grass will compost nicely and feed the soil. I also plan to do some trench composting over the summer in this area to help feed the soil as well.

Next spring (or maybe in the fall?) I hope to get some pavers or cinderblocks and build a little border around the edges. I will also dump some compost in the spring and plant directly in piles of that.

Until next time!

Bread and Chicken

Tonight we had Crockpot Sweet and Sour Chicken for dinner.
It was not great. Not sure if it was me or the recipe to blame!
I didn’t write down where I got the recipe, but I’ll share it here anyway!

Crockpot Sweet & Sour Chicken… EASY!

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Number of servings:
4

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 1 1/2 pounds chicken, boneless, cut into one inch, bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Recipe Secrets mix

Directions:

  • Mix the orange marmalade with the dry soup mix. Toss chicken pieces with marmalade mixture and place all in slow-cooker or crock pot for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (or longer) until chicken is cooked.
  • Serve over cooked rice.
  • *I like to double up on the marmalade & add in some grated carrot, onions,
  • green pepper and about a teaspoon of thai chili sauce

First of all, the bottom notes were from the original recipe – not mine! And well, what happened with ours was, first of all, I didn’t plan ahead so the chicken was still frozen when we started. We couldn’t get it apart so we let it sit out for a while until my husband could get the pieces apart. Then we had to let it sit out longer so I could get a knife through to cut into pieces! Finally when that was all done I put the chicken in first – oops? Then added the marmalade and onion mix. However, I put a whole 18 oz jar of the marmalade in :p  I think that may have overpowered the onion mix making it too sweet and not sour enough (and really, to me, it was just kind of bland!)

Toward the end, my husband dumped in a bag of the frozen veggies I had prepared. I’m not sure a whole bag is what I wanted in there, but oh well. He also added water chestnuts – again, didn’t really want to add a whole can but I didn’t tell him until it was too late!!!

My husband also cooked some rice because, while I don’t care, he feels that a meal like this needs to be served on rice!

In the end, it looked pretty!

Allison really liked it as well! Check out how she’s chowing down in the background!!!

In other domestic news, yesterday I spent 8 hours at my in-laws house. We baked bread! It was so much fun! I’m getting the hang of it and I’m hoping to bake some of my own bread this week. The only trouble with baking bread, aside from the fact that it takes quite some time to actually do, is the fact that once it’s baked it’s only good for a few days! There are perks to the preservative filled grocery store bread – but it just doesn’t taste as good! (Mmm…. I’m thinking a turkey sandwich on my bread is in the cards for tonight!)

Anyway, I took some photos from the day to share!

Savana (my sister-in-law's BFF) making cinnamon bread! Spreading the butter around the dough with her hands. (She's a riot! She makes this face in nearly every photo!) Oh yeah, and that's my mother in law on the left.

Rolling up the cinnamon dough into a loaf. You have to be careful not to tear holes in the thin dough or risk your cinnamon spilling out! See the butter still coating her hands? That's used to slather around the outside of the bread after it is rolled up and "sealed" shut.

Jennifer (my sister-in-law) is scraping the sticky dough off the counter so that we can begin our next bread project!

One of the bread loaves that Jennifer made was Wild Rice. Looks like bugs to me! I didn't get a chance to try a slice of this bread. 😦

After the bread has spent about an hour rising comes the best part! Punching the dough! Because I'm such a nice mommy, I let Allison do the punching for me. Grandma helped her while I took the photo. (She was going for her second punch when I took this particular photo)

Ta-Da! Fresh bread! The left is basic white bread. On the right is my cinnamon bread. I went for the fancy "S" shape (literally, fold the dough into an S shape when you put it in the bread pan!) Because the kitchen was so warm and we were baking so much the dough rose an insane amount! So delish though! (Next time I plan on attempting to make braided cinnamon bread!)

In addition to the loaves of bread, my mother in law helped me make a batch of pizza dough and we made personal pizzas with home made sauce!

Yum! Here is my finished pizza! Because I like thick crust I used the smaller pan and made mine more of a deep dish pizza. It's mostly just cheese (Mozarella/provolone mix with a bit of cheddar.) The top section has a bit of green bell pepper and onion. It was soooo good now I want another.... Maybe we'll make pizzas for dinner again later this week!

And that was my day of bread! In the end I ended up with a loaf of white bread and a loaf of cinnamon. Jennifer had her wild rice bread as well as, I believe, Swedish Dill Bread. I wish I could have tried hers but I had to leave. Savana had a loaf of white and cinnamon. We all ended up with personal pizzas, most of Allison’s came home with us!

If you’re looking for a good book on bread making, the one I have that I purchased on the recommendation of my mother-in-law is:


There is another book simly titled “Bread” which is the exact same book, just with a different cover. You can find it here:

Until next time! 😉