21 May, 2012


Enchiladas are a favorite in my house, but I often feel "weighed down" by all the ingredients and sauces used.  I wanted to feel a little more guilt free after eating one of my favorite dishes, so I came up with an altered version of the classic...Fajitaladas...Fajita Enchiladas.  I don't often give exact measurements for dishes that are all about personal taste...so add enough to feed your family and satisfy your palette.

Preheat your oven to 350...pretty standard for most things, isn't it?  After slicing your peppers, saute them with onion in a small amount of olive oil until slightly tender.  Add some crushed garlic, and saute for one minute.

Just when you think everything smells super delish, add your ground beef, ground turkey or chicken.  Continue cooking until the pink is just about gone...about 4 minutes. (Beef note: for my Middle East readers...I used to only buy the Australian or Brazilian beef here...thinking it was "safe"...whatever that means.  However, my eyes have been opened to the "Local Beef" section.  What a difference in freshness.  I mean if you think about it...how long is that Australian and Brazilian beef in transit before hitting the shelf?  We now choose the beef we want, and ask for it to be ground or in a specific cut of beef.  We don't even buy the pre-cut and packaged local beef...we get it as fresh as possible.  They also trim it to my liking.  Go ahead, if you haven't already, try it out.)

At this point, add some salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika and if your crowd can handle it, cayenne.  Mix, and add the black beans.  I'll admit it, I just use the canned ones...but organic.  For some reason, the "organic" label just makes me feel better.  Great marketing.

(Spice note: Don't be afraid of your spice rack...don't let them sit around forever.  Make sure you replenish your spices with fresh ones every so often.  Also, take stock of your supply...I've been known to over-buy some spices, leaving me with more than I know what to do!)

In a casserole style dish, coat the bottom with one of three choices: canned enchilada sauce, jarred salsa or my option of choice, "homemade" enchilada sauce.  I say "homemade" because it would be so much better if I took the time to dice and crush tomatoes and gently saute over a low heat until they were nice and cooked, as if making a spaghetti sauce from scratch.  But I have a family of five, a full time job, a few side jobs and the desire to see the outside of my kitchen once in a while. So, I take the short cut...Pomi Crushed Tomatoes.  To this, I add salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder and a bit of sugar.  Voila..."homemade" enchilada sauce.

Fill a flour tortilla with some of the filling and add a little cheese...or no cheese if you're watching your figure.  (Cheese note: I will almost always choose a medium or sharp white cheddar over a yellow cheddar any day.  I love the flavor, and think it really compliments most dishes.)

Roll up and place seam side down in the dish.  Roll and fill until all of your ingredients are gone.  Top with the rest of your enchilada sauce, and then some cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes covered, then 10 minutes uncovered.  Enjoy!

04 May, 2012

Woody's Roundup Birthday Party

My son was turning five and moving out of the country.  This meant saying good-bye to all his friends and everything he knew as "home."  So, I felt that I needed to throw him an amazing party where he and his friends could create some final memories together.
Enter Woody and the gang!  We transformed our neighborhood park into a Toy Story themed play zone.  The food was was nostalgic and somewhat named after characters, the games too!  We had cherry bites, lemon heads, laffy taffy, Mr. Potato Head's Chips, Rex's Chex Mix, Jessie's Haystacks, Alien Limeade, Cow Tales, hard candy sticks, licorice and more.  For cupcakes, I created grass looking cupcakes with toy soldiers hiding in them.  A smorgasbord of confectionery delights for children to devour, get hyped-up and send home with their parents.  LOL!  
The games included Toy Story Flying Saucers for distance, Pin the Tail on Bulls-eye and other relay games centered around the movie.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves, acting out scenes from the movie and getting into character.  It helped that the local Dollar store had everything we needed for the games...they seemed to carry quite the selection of Toy Story toys perfect for party favors and games.
Chickadee Prints made everything for this event, down to the Woody invitation.  My son was thrilled, and still talks about it all the time.  For some reason, the boy themed parties are harder for me than the girls.  It's hard to top this one, but I'm still trying!