Yay! It’s time for another monthly recap. I love being able to share some of the other things that have gone on during the month. Let’s start with a recent pizza night dish. We’ve actually had this specific pizza twice recently because it’s so tasty: BBQ chicken pizza. This pizza is simply dough, bbq sauce, mozzarella, and some shredded chicken. Because of the low number of ingredients, you MUST really enjoy the bbq sauce that you choose to use. We went with a locally made honey chipotle sauce that some friends gave us. It wasn’t too sweet or too spicy; it just had a nice balance of flavor. If you’ve got a favorite bbq sauce, this is a quick and easy dinner option.
Since bbq sauce can have some heat to it, you might want something icy to cool you down a bit. For the month of August, you can go to Panera from 3-5 pm everyday and receive frozen drinks and smoothies for 1/2 off. My husband really likes their mango smoothies, and I’d be interested to try their frozen lemonade. (You know how much I love a good frozen lemonade!)
Another thing that can cool you down after a hot meal or a hot day is a slice of nice, cool melon. I recently got to try a new crossbreed of melon that was really delicious. It’s called a honeyloupe and is (obviously) a hybrid of cantaloupe and honeydew. The flesh is a really pale pink (very pretty) but is actually a little crisper than regular melons. When I cut the melon open, it released a very sweet perfume, and the flavor was also pleasantly sweet. I love cantaloupe, but I think I like this just a little bit more. (I’m not a big honeydew fan. They just normally seem pretty bland.)
The new food that I got to try was a Mexican cheese that I’ve heard a lot about lately. Cotija (ko-tee-ha) cheese is supposed to be similar to the Greek’s feta cheese. It’s got a somewhat pungent scent, and a salty yet creamy flavor. I got to use it in an amazingly delicious Mexican breakfast dish called chilaquiles. This has quickly become one of my hubby and I’s favorite quick meals. Once you get the sauce made (The sauce is quick and easy, plus you can make it ahead of time.), the thing that takes the longest is just frying up the tortillas. I think frying the tortillas at home makes them taste much better, but you could certainly use store-bought tostadas (crispy, flat tortillas) or even tortilla chips. This dish is just such a great meld of flavors and textures. You’ve got tangy tomatoes, a bit of spice from the jalapeno, salt from the tortillas and cotija, creaminess from both the sour cream and cotija, crunch from the tortillas, and unctuousness from the fried egg. Though this is technically a breakfast dish, it has plenty of protein from the egg and beans, so you can definitely eat it for dinner (like we did). As with most of the Mexican dishes I post, this one is very adaptable. You can swap out some of the sauce ingredients, use a different cheese, or even add some leftover meat.
Chilaquiles (I’m not sure; let me know if you recognize where it came from.)
1 28 oz. can drained, peeled, whole tomatoes
1 seeded, chopped jalapeno
1 chopped shallot
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 tbsp. butter
1 15 oz. can drained, rinsed black beans
1 c. veggie oil
8 6 inch corn tortillas
4-8 eggs (Depending on how hungry you are.)
1 c. crumbled queso fresco (A blander cheese, similar to ricotta.) or cotija
1/2 c. sour cream or Mexican crema (Similar to sour cream, though a little looser.)
1. Put the tomatoes, jalapeno, shallot, and garlic in a blender (or food processor) and process til smooth. In a saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Pour the sauce in the pan, stir in the beans, and simmer 15 minutes.
2. In a deep pot, heat the oil to 350 degrees. Gently lower in 1-2 tortillas (depending on the size of your pot) and fry about 1 minute per side (til golden). Remove them from the oil and let them cool on a paper towel-lined cooling rack. Sprinkle them with salt, and repeat the steps with the remaining tortillas.
3. Prepare the eggs to your preferred style. When ready to serve, place a tortilla on a plate, top it with 1/4 c. of the sauce, some cheese, and some sour cream. Repeat the layers and finish with an egg (or 2!).
The last things I want to share are some great finds that I recently bought. I’ve decided to “clean up” my multitude of spices by changing them over to glass jars. Since I can buy so many of my spices cheaper from a bulk bin, I love the idea of having a mostly matching set of spices. (They’re mostly matching because the spices that I buy in bottles from World Market are square, and the empty spice jars that I get there [$1 each] are round.) To keep my spices straight, I’ve made them labels from my new washi tape! A few months ago, a friend in Dallas posted a picture of some washi tape and a dispenser on Facebook. I’ve been scouring Target (where she said she got it) ever since, and, last month, I finally found it. Isn’t it cute?
You get the dispenser and five 30 foot rolls of tape for just $13. Though they don’t offer any choice in the colors, the ones you get are pretty cute. The one in the dispenser is grey; the others are green flowers, blue with polka dots, bright green, and pink gingham. Here’s the grey on my new jars.
Well, that’s it for the night. I apologize for how late it is, but I took a long break to go exercise with my best friend. Talk to you again soon!