Friday, January 29, 2010

Simple Suppers

Rachel here: Oh, we all know those days. You know, the ones where you come home and you sort of realize that your day isn't actually over yet because there's still dinner to figure out. As a city-dweller, this often leads to take-out or delivery in my house. Sometimes, though, even that seems like more effort than I can handle, what with the plentitude of options and then the inevitable waiting. On these nights, there is a staple in my house: the quesadilla. There are always (and I do mean always) tortillas in my freezer and cheese in the fridge. Throw in whatever random vegetable and meat bits we have leftover and a hearty dinner is mere minutes away (particularly if you have made a batch of black beans earlier in the week...see Wednesday's post). After a long day, I can't think of anything better.

flour tortillas (I prefer corn and John prefers flour, which is what I ended up using for these)
grated cheese (I used a bit of jack and a bit of cheddar)
chicken, chopped into uniform bite-sized piece
medium tomato
avocado (I recognize that avocados and tomatoes aren't in season everywhere, so substitute with a good local alternative)
salt and pepper

Cook chicken in large pan, seasoning to your preference with salt, pepper and cayenne. Prepare tortillas by lining one half with a bit of cheese before dividing chicken up amongst them and covering with cheese (Amounts for tortillas, cheese and chicken will vary depending on how many you're looking to feed. I used one large tortilla per person and divided about 3/4 lb. of chicken between them). Place these tortilla pockets back into pan you cooked chicken in (one-dirty-dish cooking is part of the beauty of this easy dinner option!). Flip after a few minutes, once underside is nicely browned and cheese has started melting. Serve when everything is hot and gooey, garnishing with diced tomato and avocado on top and serving with lime wedges on the side. Of course, various hot sauces and sour cream should be waiting on the table to optimal enjoyment. Yum!

Janet here: Rachel has the best idea here for a simple supper you can throw together in minutes. I wish I had thought of it but I didn't so there it is. Anyway my main way of making supper easy these days is cooking ahead. Shepherd's Pie is my go-to comfort dinner in the winter months, and it's a crowdpleaser so it's doubly satisfying. I make this shepherd's pie using ground turkey because I don't eat red meat. I also use taco seasoning as my secret seasoning ingredient. In other words, it's tacos with mashed potatoes, making it a win-win for feel-good meals. Here's how I do it.

Shepherd's Pie


1 pound ground turkey
1 package taco seasoning
1 1/2 cups corn (I use frozen)
dried onion flakes to taste (this is the way I get onions into things for picky eaters)
4 Russet potatoes
1 stick butter
3/4 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown the turkey in a little oil. Add the taco seasoning and follow directions for regular tacos. Add in the corn. After it's done, place in the bottom of a casserole baking dish.
While the meat mixture is cooking, cut up some potatoes (skins on is my preference), cook in boiling water until tender. Then drain, put back into the pot with a stick of butter. Mash up the potatoes, add salt and pepper to taste, maybe a little chicken broth with the sour cream to make them as smooth as you like. Sometimes I add grated cheese as well if I'm feeling really decadent.
Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes until it's bubbling slightly.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Rachel interesting that there is mexican influences in both your recipes ,obviously quesadillas are mexican and your mom's, more surprisingly, taco seasoning in shepards pie. Where were you two when I owned my Taqueria in CT. Collin I guess i'm not really anonymous now and now I'm a follower)