Late Summer Salad

I like to think that at the end of a season, a better one awaits. There shouldn’t be mourning from one season to another, for we don’t know what the new season might bring. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way but transitions can be tough. Along with a new season, uncertainty, insecurity, and fear are close behind. Luckily, for me, the only major transitions right now are the seasons changing and the company I work for is moving to a new location. Both transitions are very much welcomed but I know that’s a gift. Here’s to making the best of transitions. (more…)

Ok, enough with my philosophical rant. I guess that’s what happens when I blog right before bedtime. But seriously, I love the Autumn and all that it brings. Lately, it feels like Summer doesn’t want to let go and Autumn isn’t telling her she should. With that stubborn attitude comes confusion in the kitchen. Do I roast a chicken or make a fresh salad? Do I grill or throw together that pumpkin pasta I couldn’t resist just leaving alone on the shelf? I’m very confused but one thing I know is that it’s definitely not the time for chili just yet. This salad is for those of you, like me, who love the vibrant flavors of the Summer but long for the coziness of Fall. The fennel and apple make this salad super fresh and help balance the acidity of the vinaigrette. Plus, did I mention honeyed goat cheese? No? Honeyed goat cheese.

Here is our late harvest ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Extra virgin olive oil, red onion, apple, (I used Honeycrisp for a sweeter flavor but if tart is more your thing, Granny Smith will do just fine), fennel, lemon juice, arugula, dried cherries, shaved brussels sprouts, rosemary, Dijon, honeyed goat cheese, and apple cider vinegar.

I call this piece Controlled Chaos. We throw all of our ingredients that are not being used for the vinaigrette into a bowl. Save the goat cheese for last because it will dissolve if added in too soon. We admire this beauty and then move onto our vinaigrette.

Our vinaigrette is all sass. It’s tangy and with the rosemary, it has that subtle lemony herb flavor. We pour it over our greens and toss. Don’t add the goat cheese yet!

Sprinkle the goat cheese over individual servings or better yet, crumble the goat cheese and let your guests add it to their salad. It adds a wonderful sweetness that brings it all together. Side note: If you can’t find honeyed goat cheese, just add honey to your non-honeyed goat cheese. This isn’t a “good bye Summer” salad; it’s more of a “it’s been real Summer, now I’m going to hang with your friend Fall” kind of salad. Happy salad making!

Chicken Jalapeño Enchiladas with Chipotle Cherry Sauce

My body feels like a 100 tons. My eyes could close forever. Fridays always seem to be my last push before the weekend. I’m trying to relax on our car ride home but thoughts of endless grocery lists and to do’s for the weekend race my mind. A simple question from my husband like “what’s for dinner” can simply throw me into a never ending rant of my exhaustion and how I’m too busy to worry about something so miniscule. But instead he asks if I would like to go to Mi Casita, our favorite neighborhood joint. All of a sudden, my mind switches from how many eggs I need to endless tortilla chips and salsa. My mouth starts to water at the thought of salty steak fajitas topped with fresh guac and tangy sour cream. This is all I need. Can I stay in this moment forever? Please? (more…)

It’s funny but before we moved to our new home a couple of months ago, I rarely made anything Mexican. A simple beef taco would be lucky to make it into the dinner rotation. Since we eat Mexican often now, it’s always on the brain.  Plus, Mexican dinners can easily fall under the simple and quick dinner category. This recipe could also be a freezer friendly meal: make, eat half, freeze half. What I love about this dish is that we make simple chicken enchiladas but by adding a special homemade enchilada sauce, these enchiladas are undoubtedly set apart. How many times can we say enchiladas in a sentence?

Our fiesta-esque ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: chipotle pepper, corn tortillas, shredded chicken, monterey jack, salt, sugar, dried oregano, garlic powder, olive oil, flour, pickled jalapeños (I’m addicted), chicken stock, dried cherries, and tomato paste. Let’s just ignore that cute little cup I left out on the right. Thanks…

We make a smoky, slightly sweet enchilada sauce with dried cherries. Feel free to experiment with raisins, figs, or I bet cranberries would be fun. I might have to dabble with enchiladas: Thanksgiving edition. Just make sure you put enough salt in this beauty.

While our sauce is simmering, we will make our filling. I want to tell you something. I used rotisserie chicken from my grocery store here. I wanted easy so I got easy. I hope you understand. Mix that chicken with our pickled jalapeños, cheese, and sauce.

All that’s left is assembling! Fill a tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll.

Place seam side down in a baking dish. Once you make one, you will feel like you could make a hundred. But I hope you don’t have to. Here is the moment where I forgot that I needed more corn tortillas and didn’t pick any up from the store. Whole wheat tortillas with flax seed it is! Just fill up your pan with the rolled enchiladas. Make sure they are nice and snug. Give ’em a kiss goodnight for good measure.

Top with the remainder sauce and cheese. Take those cuties to the oven.

When they come out, they should be cheesy and bubbling. Yes, please.

Can we be honest? It’s really hard making enchiladas look pretty for pictures. I want you to know exactly what you are getting yourself into here: cheesy, saucy, chicken enchiladas. These are so easy and even easier with the rotisserie chicken. Making your own sauce feels more personal and special. We ate these while watching the most glorious sunset. Perfect! Happy enchilada making!