Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tex-Mex Gooey Casserole

Am I doing better? I'm trying not to make it 2 weeks again before you see another post from me :)
As I browsed for recipes one day involving stew meat (they had it on sale at H.E.B.), I was surprised to find this recipe for Tex-Mex Gooey Casserole. I just was not expecting to find anything Tex-Mex when I started searching for stew meat recipes. Now, as you look at this recipe, you'll notice that, unless you were out say...chopping trees all day, there's really no health value in this recipe. That said, I still thought it looked good. Plus, I don't make a lot of Emeril's recipes, so I thought this would be fun to try.
Yield 6 servings (Krista Kooks was able to make 8-10 servings from this recipe)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 pound ground beef (Krista Kooks used Ground Turkey)
1 pound diced stew meat
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste (
Read this on Tomato Paste)
4 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
3 cups beef stock
10 flour tortillas
2 cups grated Medium Cheddar cheese
2 cups grated Monterrey Jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 9 by 2-inch square baking dish. In a large skillet, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the diced meat and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomato paste. Stir in the tomatoes and stock. Simmer the mixture for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and cool. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the chili mixture on the bottom of the prepared pan. Lay two tortillas on top of the chili mixture. Sprinkle the top of the tortillas with the Cheddar and Jack cheese. Repeat the layering process until all of the chili, tortillas and cheese are used. (The final layer should be cheese) Place the pan in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before slicing.
Ooeey gooey goodness!

This was one of those recipes that was great as leftovers, that's for sure. Also, I didn't read the comments on this recipe before making it, but it definitely taught me to read the comments before making a recipe, if comments are available. A lot of people suggested using corn tortillas instead of flour; I can definitely see that being tasty, but I liked it just fine with flour. The reason for wanting corn tortillas has a lot to do with the meat mixture being soupy;flour tortillas soak up that juice a lot quicker making the casserole soggy. Well, I saw that one coming while making the recipe, so I strained the meat mixture as I spooned the mixture into the pan. Thus, our casserole wasn't soggy. Also, my sous chef and I didn't think this mixture was very "Tex-Mex" as there wasn't the same sort of spice as you would expect from tex mex. I think some red chili pepper flakes or fresh jalepenos or something should be added to the meat mixture.
Otherwise, this is a yummy and tasty family recipe!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Creamed Spinach

Wow, so sorry all! It's been really busy around the Krista Kooks household. Among many other things, I was preparing for our housewarming parties that we had this past weekend. Believe it or not, I forgot to take pictures of all the food! Thus, I won't have any posts from the food at the party :( Sad day. That said, I have plenty of other things to share!
That said, to resume my posts on exciting things I've cooked, I'm sharing some creamed spinach with you. I selected Tyler Florence's recipe on My sous chef loved it and ate it all up! This makes a great side dish, as it did for our pork tenderloin.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Potato, Spinach and Tomato Soup

Krista Kooks Potato, Spinach and Tomato Soup 3 So, last week, I caught some kind of cold. Yuck! I never really like soup, as I mentioned before in my Cheddar Soup with Tortilla Crunchies post. That soup changed my opinion, yes, but I'm still skeptical of soups in general. That said, I could tell my body really needed some fluid, and I was hungry! FYI, I do not keep canned soup in the house.

I did a search on and found this recipe that let me use stuff that I had on hand in the house, which is always helpful. I did quarter this recipe since I was only making this for myself, but the recipe calls for a 28oz. can of tomatoes when making the full recipe. I personally didn't think that 1/4 of that was enough when making my quartered recipe. Thus, I used a 15 oz. can, and I felt that portion was appropriate for this amount.

This is Rachael Ray another soup that helped point me towards liking the idea of soups a little more. Shhh, I had 2 bowls :) This was really delicious!
Krista Kooks Potato, Spinach and Tomato Soup 2

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Breakfast Scramble

I definitely need more breakfast recipes on my blog, don't ya think? I do. Since I had some breakfast sausage left at my house from Christmas, I decided to cook up some sausage and egg combintation for my sous chef; he really loves that kind of stuff.

After taking a quick browse on, I decided upon this recipe to give me some help. The following is my adaption of that recipe:


Cooking spray
1 lb. sausage

1/4 large white onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
6 large eggs
4 flour tortillas
Shredded Mix cheese


Heat an iron skillet and lightly spray with the cooking spray. Add the sausage and break up into small pieces. Cook thoroughly. Drain grease if any has accumulated.

Add the onion, garlic, green chiles and cilantro. Saute until the onions have softened, about 1 minute. Add the eggs. Stir until the egg is scrambled and thoroughly cooked.

Warm the tortillas in toaster oven or on top of a stove burner. Divide egg mixture equally among the 4 tortillas. Fold each tortilla up like a burrito or a cone and top each with 1/4 of the cheese.
My sous chef was very excited when he woke up to see this on the stove! If you want to anything else to this scramble, small diced potatoes would be a great addition as well. You could also add some chile peppers for some spice!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chili Lime Tilapia

A fellow Nestie shared her recipe for Chili Lime Tilapia one day, and I was determined to make the recipe that night after having a look at her recipe and photos. I had already purchased Tilapia intending to request that my sous chef make it for me (seeing as how he is better at cooking fish than I). Normally he makes a delicious lemon pepper tilapia, but I had to beg that he work with me this time to make this Chili Lime Tilapia. After devouring this delicious recipe, he agreed that this was the way to go for dinner that night!

We absolutely loved the tang of this recipe and of course how healthy you feel after eating fish for dinner.

Thanks Bakin' and Eggs!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Flank Steak over Corn-Kernel Polenta

Again, beef lovers, you may not enjoy this post, but if you like Polenta, stick around. That said, I’ve now discovered that I do not like Polenta!!! As I read this recipe, prepared this recipe and even smelled this recipe, my mouth was watering. I could not wait to try this yummy stuff that I had never had before! I’d watched it being prepared on TV so many times, but I’d never tasted it. I thought a recipe containing actual kernels of corn would taste even better! Um… no. I was wrong. I despised this Polenta. I had 3 quarts of it and threw it all in the trash. Gross.

That said, if you like Polenta, this might be your kind of recipe. It just wasn’t for me.

On the other hand, the directions for preparing this flank steak and its accompanying sauce were TERRIFIC!!! I’ve since made this sauce again. I can’t sing it’s praises enough! I thought it was completely bizarre that I was making a steak sauce beginning with a cup and a half of alcohol, but I no longer think it’s weird at all. Please, if you love flank steak…do your taste buds a favor and treat them with this amazing steak and sauce.

Source: Food & Wine

5 1/2 cups water
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups fresh (cut from about 3 ears) or frozen corn kernels
1 1/3 cups coarse or medium cornmeal
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup brandy or bourbon


1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water, 1 3/4 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the thyme to a boil. Stir in the corn and cook until tender, 5 minutes for fresh, 1 minute for frozen. Add the cornmeal in a slow stream, whisking. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until very thick, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter.

2. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Sprinkle the steak with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Add the meat to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Turn and cook to your taste, about 5 minutes longer for medium rare, depending on the thickness. Remove.

3. Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon thyme, the wine, and the brandy and stir to dislodge any brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Boil until reduced to approximately 1/4 cup, 3 to 4 minutes. Slice the steak across the grain and on the diagonal. Serve the steak over a bed of corn polenta, with the sauce drizzled over all.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Seafood Pasta with Sherry Tomato Cream Sauce

Seafood Pasta with Sherry Tomato Cream Sauce 5 My wonderful sous chef told me he was craving a recipe with shrimp as part of the recipe, so I decided to deliver! He’s not usually a fan of mushrooms, but this one looked so good, I decided to make it anyway. I’m glad I did because we ate every bit of this!!! I think it’s probably difficult to go wrong with a pasta and cream sauce, but still. I think I really need to consider making this a staple recipe in our household because it’s so quick and simple! This is most definitely a 30 minute meal if not a 20 minute meal. I know my mother would love it also, as there are very few dishes involved in the preparation :)

Source:Rachel Ray
The clickable link recipe is a little different from that in Rachael Ray's Big Orange Book. The book's recipe suggests that you use any kind of small seafood meat, such as shrimp or crab meat in addition to the lobster suggested in the recipe on Thus, we used shrimp.Seafood Pasta with Sherry Tomato Cream SauceSeafood Pasta with Sherry Tomato Cream Sauce 4
Eat up!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Pepper and Black Olive Sauce

Beef Tenderloin 2 I know I’m a tad crazy for wanting to make this recipe, simply because of the cost of the meat I purchased, but oh my goodness was it oh so good! If you are not a beef fan, I’m sure this post doesn’t look so appetizing, but, if you are, WOW! Surely you can just look at it and see the tenderness of this tenderloin, right?!

Source:Rachel Ray
Anyhow, the sauce for this tenderloin was made in my trusty Magic Bullet, as are most recipes that call for a food processor or blender. I do own a blender, but I do not own a food processor. Rather than use my blender, I prefer to use my Magic Bullet because sauce clump and cake up at the bottom of a blender; you don’t encounter this problem with the Magic Bullet!Beef Tenderloin 4
Here’s our delicious meal with the Parsley-Paprika Potatoes and the Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Pepper and Black Olive Sauce.Beef Tenderloin and Parsley Paprika Potaoes


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