Sarah’s Kitchen: Easy Enchiladas and Sophisticated Guacamole

18 Nov

Straight from my kitchen comes my first weekly recipe- easy enchiladas with guacamole dip as an appetizer. The guacamole is a mixture of avocado, edamame, and pesto sauce, with some onion and lemon juice. I like avocado, but in smaller doses, so this is a great mixture of flavors.  The enchiladas are super easy and absolutely delicious. To cut down on the number of ingredients, I use a packet of McCormick’s Enchilada Seasoning. This recipe actually comes from the back of the seasoning packet. This is not the quickest meal, especially if you also make the guacamole, so give yourself a little time for this one. The result, however, is a hearty meal that is large enough for a group and will please any boyfriend! Fair warning- if you don’t have a food processor, the guacamole can be pretty tedious. I don’t have a food processor (Though it’s on my Christmas list :). That’s how you know you’re getting old; when your Christmas list consists of work clothes and cooking gadgets!) I actually cook the edamame, then put it in a big plastic bag and mash it up with a hammer, then my hands. Your guacamole will be a little on the chunky side but still delicious!

Edamame Avocado Dip:

  • 1 12 oz. package of frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut up
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. purchased basil pesto
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped tomato (optional)
  • pita chips (I love Stacy’s Pita Chips)

Combine edamame, avocado, onion, lemon juice, pesto, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until nearly smooth (or chop and mix well by hand). Top with chopped tomato and serve with pita chips.

Enchiladas:

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 package McCormick® Enchilada Sauce Mix
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey (I use Laura’s Lean Beef)
  • 8 corn or flour tortillas (6-inch), warmed
  • 1 cup shredded low fat Cheddar cheese
  • low fat sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix water, tomato sauce and Sauce Mix in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. While sauce is cooking, brown beef in medium skillet on medium-high heat. Drain fat. Stir 1/2 cup sauce into meat. Spoon about 1/4 cup meat filling onto each tortilla. Roll tortillas tightly. (Tip: use a little of the sauce as a kind of glue to hold the tortillas together.) Pour a little sauce into the bottom of a greased 11×7-inch baking dish. Place enchiladas seam-side down in dish, and pour remaining sauce over enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 15 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted. Top with sour cream. This makes about 6 enchiladas. (I split it up into two smaller dishes to make saving leftovers easier.)

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Zipping Through the Red River Gorge

12 Nov

My boyfriend and I are both lovers of the outdoors. A couple weekends ago, we went ziplining at the Red River Gorge here in KY. It would have been an expensive date, but with a half-off Living Social deal, we had a great time for a very reasonable price. One of our guides referred to the area as Red River Gorgeous, and he was right! I have been to the Gorge several times, but never seen it from this vantage point. The first few ziplines took us through the tree tops, and the fall colors were beautiful. The last two ziplines went over one of the canyons, literally hundreds of feet up in the air, and the view was amazing. And they were dual ziplines, so we got to race! Dave beat me both times 😦 But it was still an absolute blast. Here are a few photos from the day:

I know I’m a little biased but I think my boyfriend is such a stud 🙂 This was a great date… It was a bit of a thrill and the setting was gorgeous. We finished up the last two ziplines right as the sun was setting, and topped off the day with some pizza and beer. All around an awesome day!

Tailgating Recipes

30 Oct

After tailgating this weekend for a UK football game, I decided to write a post on my favorite tailgating recipes. Some of these are my go-to’s when it comes to tailgating, and I also added in some that I haven’t tried yet but look scrumptious. If you have any quick and easy tailgating recipes, let me know! You can post here or link to your own blog. (Note: these are not my photos; I wish I could claim them!)

Good ‘ole Buffalo Chicken Dip

This dip is so popular right now and really easy to make. It’s not the healthiest, but I use all fat free ingredients to reduce the calories. You can serve with crackers, tortilla chips, or carrots/celery to boost the nutritional value.

  • 1 cup buffalo sauce (you can also use hot sauce, just use a lesser amount)
  • 1 cup fat free ranch
  • 1 package fat free cream cheese
  • 2-3 large cans of chicken
  • 2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all the ingredients and bake in a casserole dish at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Bacon Wrapped Mushrooms

You need a grill for this one. This is another simple appetizer and it’s so delicious!

  • Large whole mushrooms
  • Bacon
  • Sweet chile sauce
  • Toothpicks

Wrap mushrooms in bacon strip and secure with a toothpick. Brush with sweet chile sauce and grill until the bacon is crispy. You can get the sweet chile sauce in the ethnic food section of your local grocery. It’s in the Asian food section at Kroger.

Pumpkin Dip

I haven’t made this yet but I had it at the tailgate this weekend and it was sooo good! You can serve it with ginger snap cookies or apples. I’ve seen a couple different recipes but this one looks pretty simple. It’s from a great blog called She Wears Many Hats.

  • 1 pkg (8 oz.) fat free cream cheese
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

In a food processor (or in a bowl by hand) pulse the cream cheese until smooth. Add next 4 ingredients (lt. brown sugar, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon) to food processor and blend well. Empty cream cheese mixture into a bowl, add the pumpkin puree and mix well. Refrigerate until served.(makes about 3 cups)

Easy Pumpkin Recipes for Fall!

28 Oct

One of my favorite cooking blogs is Gina’s Skinny Recipes. She has recipes for any and every occasion, and they are all healthy and fairly easy to make! As any working girl knows, we don’t have much time to shop for obscure ingredients that you will only use once and then they just take up cabinet space. After a long day at the office, we want to be able to make a meal that is delicious, simple, and quick. I’m going to start posting my cooking trials with my own feedback, and I’ll also link to blogs and recipes that I think look simply delicious.

I was looking through Gina’s site today and clicked on the Skinny Pumpkin Madness icon, and found several pumpkin inspired treats that are sure to get you in that Fall mood. Here are a few of my favorites:

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 18.25 oz Betty Crocker Golden Vanilla Super Moist Cake Mix*
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup water

For the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz Philadelphia 1/3 fat cream cheese (do not use fat free)
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 5 tbsp packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers. Combine cake mix and pumpkin spice in a large bowl. Add pumpkin puree and water, mix about 2 minutes. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake about 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. For the frosting, combine the cream cheese, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar until smooth. You can use a spatula to ice the cupcakes or pipe them which may require making more frosting.  (Makes 24)

Pumpkin Spice No-Bake Cheesecake

  • 7 oz 1/3 less fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, unpacked
  • 8 oz Cool Whip Free, thawed
  • 9 inch reduced fat Graham Cracker Crust

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, whip cream cheese, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar for a few minutes until fluffy. Add Cool Whip and whip until smooth. Spoon mixture into pie crust and chill for a few hours, until firm.

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Recipes

  • 12 reduced fat vanilla wafers
  • 8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 oz fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin pie filling

Heat oven to 350°. Line cupcake tin with liners. Place a vanilla wafer at the bottom of each liner. Gently beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth using an electric mixer. Gradually beat in fat-free yogurt, egg whites and flour. Do not over beat. Pour into cupcake liners filling half way. Top each with 1 tbsp of the pumpkin pie filling. Using a toothpick, swirl the pumpkin butter into the cream cheese mixture for a marbling effect. Bake 25 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool to room temperature. Chill a few hours in the refrigerator before serving.

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