Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Recipe Wednesday: Baked Turkey & Cheese Chimichangas!

Hello, lovelies!

The weather here in New York State has been ungodly for the past few weeks. Ice storms, feet of snow, below zero temperatures, and wind chills, just to name a few. We have a space heater both downstairs AND upstairs in our small duplex apartment just to maintain a somewhat livable temperature of 64 degrees. Imagine me in 3 layers of clothes and huddled under blankets...and I'm still cold. Mr. J and I keep trying to come up with new ways to talk about how cold it is outside, but my favorite remains when my normally straight-laced J says, "It's colder than a witch's tit out there!" Gets me every time.

Naturally, I have been looking for excuses to turn the oven on. I baked whole wheat bread yesterday and was pretty pleased to open the oven door and stand in front of it after the loaves were done. What is more joyful (and painful) than feeling your toes thaw?

If you're also looking for a soul-warming meal on a cold night, you're invited to try this baked turkey and cheese chimichanga recipe. I adore the word "chimichanga," especially because it makes a fabulously funny appearance in Shrek Forever After:

Someone once told me that chimichanga translates as "thingamajig" in Spanish, which makes me like it even more. Does anyone know if that's true? Speaking of translations, this recipe is a bit of one. Chimichangas are traditionally deep fried and filled with chicken, beef, or pork. This simple version reduces calories but retains tons of flavor. The filling is rich and creamy thanks to the refried beans and cheese, and the salsa adds a tangy kick. Bonus: the tortillas still have a bit of crunch as they are baked uncovered without a topping!

Baked Turkey & Cheese Chimichangas

1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey
1/4 cup diced onion
1 tsp. chili powder
1 16-oz. can refried beans
1 3/4 cups salsa + more for topping
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Colby-Jack cheese
6 to 8 tortillas
1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add turkey, onion, and chili powder. Cook until turkey is no longer pink.

Stir in the 1 3/4 cups salsa and the beans. Cook until heated through. Stir in cheese. When cheese is melted and combined thoroughly, turn off heat.

Spoon at least 1/2 cup of filling into each tortilla. Fold two sides of the tortilla over the filling and roll up to connect two remaining sides.

Place chimichangas seam-side down in baking dish. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until crisp and browned.

Serve with salsa and sour cream on top!

This recipe will fill 6 tortillas to make very full chimichangas, or 8 normal-sized ones.

*Our favorite tortillas are the Food for Life brown rice frozen tortillas.
**Use whatever cheese you fancy, but I like Colby-Jack the most for its flavor and meltiness.
***I prefer organic and reduced sodium refried beans. I've yet to make them myself but it's on the to do list!

Much love,

ONE YEAR AGO: Baked Honey Brie

This recipe is linked to:
Kitchen Meets Girl

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Project Sunday, Holiday Edition: Peppermint Bark & English Toffee Bark

Hello, lovelies!

I hope you all had an enjoyable and festive holiday season! Happy New Year to you all :) I cannot believe 2013 went by so quickly. It was a whirlwind of a year with many highs and lows. I hope 2014 brings new adventures and opportunities for everyone. I don't have any crazy driving stories for you this year because we finally lucked out with good weather on the days we were driving across the state. I had a great time traveling with Mr J. to see our families for three Christmas celebrations. It was a crazy ten days with lots of miles covered and sugar eaten. Spending quality time with our loved ones is something we treasure, and I am the type of person who LOVES giving gifts. 

Like I did last year, I am sharing the homemade gifts I gave to family and friends for Christmas. (For last year's posts, see here, here, and here.) We've been battling a virus in our household since the 30th, so out of convenience this post will be about the quickest of the gifts I made in December. I warn you, they are both delicious and addicting, hence why I only made them for the holiday season! We brought these treats to every house we visited and they were very well received.

This has to be the easiest treat to whip up. It's faster than any other candy or dessert recipe I have, and you only need three ingredients: dark or milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and candy canes.

Crush 10 to 20 candy canes, depending on your preference. Set aside.

Melt one or two bags of chocolate chips in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl (stir the chips every 30 seconds until completely melted and smooth). Two bags will result in a thicker bottom layer and sturdier pieces of bark.

Pour the chocolate into a baking sheet and use a spatula to create an even layer. Refrigerate until firm.

Melt the white chocolate chips until smooth.  Allow to cool slightly, then pour over the hardened chocolate layer.

Sprinkle the crushed candy canes over the melted white chocolate. Refrigerate until hardened.

Using a butter knife, break up the candy by firmly inserting the knife to create random pieces.

This bark is a little more involved but still easy! You will need a candy thermometer to make the toffee.

Place a baking sheet in the oven at 100 degrees to keep it warm. This helps the toffee spread easily.

In a saucepan, melt 1 cup of butter, 1 cup of granulated sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil. Continue boiling and stir quickly and continuously with a wooden spoon.

When the mixture reaches 300 degrees, remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. (The liquid should be almond-colored. It takes 5-7 minutes to reach this temperature.)

Pour the toffee onto the warm baking sheet (be careful!). Let cool for about two hours.

Melt one bag of dark chocolate chips (see above). Pour the chocolate over the toffee.

Sprinkle with ground almonds or nut of your choice. Break the toffee bark into pieces.

Store both kinds of bark in airtight containers.

This is our door, Jon Snow, and he wishes you a Happy New Year!

Much love,

This recipe is linked to:
Jam Hands
This Gal Cooks
Skip to My Lou

ONE YEAR AGO: Organic Turkey Goulash