Tag Archives: Chi-Chi’s

Slow and Steady

Getting a slow-cooker has proved to be a successful meal maker on most Sundays. I love the idea of throwing a whole bunch of stuff into a big pot and letting it just cook for hours, without needing any attention from me. After trying slow-cooker lasagna for the first time a few months ago, I knew I wanted more of it, but I wanted to switch things up. So, I tried a buffalo chicken lasagna a few weeks ago that was amazing (I need to find that recipe so I can share it with you!), and then I made a Southwestern lasagna.

Even though this is the first year I haven’t filled out a March Madness bracket in awhile, I’m still interested in the games. So, throwing this in the slow-cooker and plopping myself on the couch was just what the doctor (aka myself) ordered on Sunday. It also made enough that the hubs and I will be able to enjoy it mid-week as well. I’m a big fan of making something that has leftovers, especially when the meal is a winner. When I was trying to figure out what I wanted in the lasagna, I realized there are so many different variations you could make. Ours was on the spicier side, but you can of course dial down the spices to your liking, or swap them out for something else!

Of course it wouldn’t be complete without some guacamole, so thanks to the wonderful Hormel, I picked up some Spicy Wholly Guacamole. It was the perfect addition to the meal, and they aren’t messing around with the spice! I would definitely try their pico de gallo and guacamole dip they have, too.

Southwestern Lasagna
– Serves 4 –

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef, ground turkey, or soy crumbles (I used Jennie-O ground turkey)
1 green pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 10oz. can Rotel tomatoes & green chiles
1 10oz. can enchilada sauce
3 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp Adobo
1/4 tsp paprika
8oz. shredded cheese blend
6 burrito sized flour tortillas (I use Chi-Chi’s brand)
guacamole, sour cream, and salsa for garnish 

Directions:
1. Brown meat until cooked through, and drain any excess fat (if there is any). Mix in spices (chili powder, cumin, Adobo, and paprika) until combined.
2. Combine ground beef, diced onions, diced green pepper, black beans, and tomato and chilies mixture in a medium sized bowl.
3. Layer 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of your slow-cooker. Follow with a tortilla, 1 1/2 cups of the meat/veggie mixture, and a 1/4 cup of cheese.
4. Continue layering, ending with a tortilla at the top. Finish it off with another 1/4 cup of cheese, and pour the rest of the enchilada sauce on top.
5. Cook on low heat for at least 2 hours. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Hormel Foods sent me a $50 gift card as a member of their Extended Family Food Blogger program in order to create a meal using products from the Hormel family, and to blog about it. The opinions in this post are my own. 

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Hormel Extended Family Food Blogger

As some of you may have noticed (though most probably read these posts through some sort of Reader), I’ve added another badge to the lefthand side of the good ‘ole blog. Based on the title of the post, you can probably guess it’s the Hormel Extended Family Food Blogger badge! About a month ago I was contacted and asked if I would like to join in the fun, and I couldn’t refuse! I’ve had quite a few Hormel giveaways on the blog before, and they’ve always been so good to me, I just had to see what else they had to offer. Look what the sent just to get me started!

This month’s challenge was to make a meal using three Hormel ingredients, called Grocery Shopping 101 – Weekend BBQ Challenge. Only after perusing their website did I realize just how much I had to chose from! After some pondering, and assessing what I already had on hand and what was given to me in my “welcome kit,” I came up with the perfect Holiday weekend BBQ menu.

To start, I made some homemade tortillas using Chi-Chi’s burrito sized tortillas (same recipe found here), and had some Chi-Chi’s salsa and also some pico de guaco. I found pico de guaco in the produce section of the grocery store, and it’s exactly what it sounds like; pico de gallo on top of guacamole. It was like killing two birds with one stone, so I decided to give it a try and was pleasantly surprised. After enjoying the chips and dip, we moved on to the main course.

I decided to keep it simple and have some Jennie-O turkey burgers, topped with some pepper jack cheese, and of course more pico de guaco. One the side, I decided to make a potato skins potato salad

. My fiancé loathes mayo, so I’m always hard pressed to find a potato salad recipe that doesn’t have that as a main ingredient. I started thinking about potato skins (you know, the ones you get at a bar and grill), and figured I’d try and turn that into a potato salad, since it doesn’t include mayo. It does have bacon in it, and I know how most people feel about that. Well, sweet success! It doesn’t look like much, but oh did it taste delicious.

Of course we had to have some veggies as well, so I marinated some portabello mushrooms and zucchini in balsamic vinegar and grilled those along with the burgers. Unfortunately, there was a serious thunderstorm going on for most of the afternoon, so we wound up doing our grilling inside on the George Forman. I didn’t mind too much, until I heard that our local fireworks were postponed until Friday due to the weather. Thankfully, we got to check out a different town’s fireworks, which was the perfect end to a delicious day!

Potato Skins Salad
– serves 6 –

Ingredients:
3 red skinned potatoes, roughly diced
1 Idaho potato, roughly diced
3 Tbsp red onion, diced
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup shredded cheese
6 slices of bacon (I used Hormel ready-cooked)
1 tsp olive oil
tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Combine  diced potatoes with olive oil, chili powder, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Using a large spoon, make sure each piece of potato is coated with the seasoning. Place on a greased baking sheet. 
3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, using a spatula to shake up the  potatoes and move them around at about the 10 minute mark.
4. Once the potatoes are cooked, add them back to the original bowl, and mix in the rest of the ingredients, starting with the onions, followed by the bacon, sour cream and then the cheese. Again make sure everything is well coated.

*Disclaimer: I was provided a welcome kit to be a part of the program, and for this month’s challenge I received a $50 gift card to help cover the cost of food in order to complete the three ingredient challenge. Thanks again, Hormel!

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More Breakfast for Dinner: Santa Fe Breakfast Bake

On Tuesday night, I had made Mexican Stuffed Shells courtesy of You Are What You Eat or Reheat, and blogged about it. Apparently, though, my fiancé didn’t think I drove home the point of the true deliciousness. I mean, I’m not quite sure what else I can say. It’s meaty, cheesey, and delicious. It’s a nice variation from typical stuffed shells, and I really think it’s a fun alternative to a more “common” dish. Now don’t get me wrong, good ole Italian stuffed shells are delicious as well. But if there’s anything you know about me from this blog, it’s my love for Mexican/Spanish food. So seriously, you need to make these. Now.

In keeping with the Mexican/Spanish food trend, I decided to make a Santa Fe Breakfast Bake for dinner on Thursday. Yes, breakfast for dinner! Growing up I was never a big breakfast fan. My parents would coax me into eating dessert for breakfast, just in order to get something in my system before school. That meant a Little Debbie brownie, an Entemann’s chocolate eclair, chocolate milk, etc. I would only eat pancakes if they were filled with chocolate chips, waffles were used for ice cream sandwiches, and you could forget about eggs. Come college, though, I discovered the wonderful world of brunch – veggie stuffed omlettes, fried and over-easy eggs with cheese on bagels, hash browns, and all those other fun (and filling, aka bad for you) breakfast deliciousness. My fiancé is a huge breakfast fan, and he’s really added to my tolerance for it. I definitely need to be in the mood for breakfast, but I’ll at least give it a shot, without it being coated in chocolate.

So, when I found this recipe on Sweetly Serendipity’s blog, I immediately added it to my to-make list. While there was an egg recall, thankfully the eggs that I bought were okay. So I figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take advantage of my a-o-k eggs. Of course, being the spice fiend that I am, I added not one, but two diced habanero peppers to this dish. Oh yes, it was spicy. I also got a package of spicy Bob Evans breakfast sausage, since, you know, you aren’t doing it right unless your gut and mouth are on fire.

Earlier in the day I double checked the recipe to see how much time I’d be spending in the kitchen. It’s only then that I saw the dreaded words “chill overnight.” Whoops! That definitely didn’t happen. I’m always afraid when I’m making an egg dish they won’t be fully cooked. So, I left them in the oven for about 5-10 minutes longer than suggested, and it turned out perfectly! Unfortunately, that pushed our dinner time to about 9:45pm. We ran 8 miles after work, and then by the time we got home (there was some traffic from Rutgers’ first football game) and I started with everything and it cooked, we were finishing up just in time to watch Jersey Shore.

Speaking of running, my fiance and I are officially signed up for the Disney Half Marathon in January!! We’re both super psyched, but nervous. It conveniently falls right in the middle of an already planned vacation there with a group of friends, so we felt like we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I’m not looking forward to starting a race at 5:50am, but it’ll be cool to run through Epcot and Magic Kingdom. I’m hoping to have a pair of compression socks by then, so I can at least enjoy the rest of the trip! We’re doing our own training plan this time around, upping the mileage a bit, and starting earlier to make sure it’s as easy of a run for us as it can be. Once we get back, we’ll have a little break and then it’ll be time to gear up for the second annual Rutgers Unite Half Marathon!

But back to my breakfasty dinner. This thing was awesome. It called for 8 tortillas, but I think I only probably wound up using 2-3 burrito sized tortillas. The recipe suggest to use corn tortillas, and I would definitely agree. I used your average Chi-Chi brand torillas, and while they were delicious, they were a bit soggy after cooking. Of course, for me, adding the spicy sausage and habaneros brought it to another level that was greately appreciated by both myself and my fiancé. Aside from those minor tweaks I stuck to the recipe, and we have lots of leftovers! So much that we each brought a big portion for breakfast at work on Friday, and will probably have it for breakfast on Saturday morning as well. Since it suggests you chill over night, I think this would be a really great dish to have for a brunch, etc. You’re able to prepare it the night before, so you can focus your attention on the things that need to be made the day of instead. I can picture this working really well with some veggie sausage as well.

Santa Fe Breakfast Bake
– Serves 4-6 –

Ingredients:
1 pound pork sausage
1 cup salsa
1 cup canned black beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
8 corn or flour tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
1 cup shredded mexican-style cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 egg whites, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
Sour cream, guacamole, salsa (all optional, but recommended!)

Directions:
1. Brown sausage in a large pan, and drain grease, if any. Combine salsa, sausage, beans, and corn, and set aside.
2. Place one-third of tortilla strips in a lightly greased 11×7 baking dish.
3. Top with 1/3 cup cheese and one cup salsa mixture. Repeat layering with one-third of tortilla strips, 1/3 cup cheese and remaining salsa mixture, ending with remaining tortilla strips.
4. Whisk together remaining ingredients except green onions. Pour egg mixture over tortilla strips; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and chill overnight.
5. The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove dish from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
6. Keep covered and bake for 20 minutes. Then, uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or so until the top is lightly golden.
7. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and/or guacamole, and some scallions for garnish.

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