Casserole-Style Burritos: Everything.

The primary components of these burritos are: chicken and onions, Spanish rice, cheese, tortillas (using yesterday’s recipe and method), spicy sauce, and cheese sauce (covered in another post).

Burrito Filling (adapted from Don Miguel’s “Black Bean Chicken Burrito Recipe“)
1 T oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
10 oz pulled chicken in bite-sized pieces
1 C diced tomato or canned tomato
salt and pepper to taste
1 C jack cheese, shredded

1.    Lightly saute the onion in the oil until it is translucent and add the garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes. 
2.    Add the chicken and cook until heated through.
3.    Add the tomatoes and season, then heat through again.
4.    Use the chicken and cheese when assembling the burritos.

Spanish Rice (my personal recipe)
2 C white rice
1/2 diced sweet onion
2 T olive oil
1-2 t each dried oregano, dried basil, chili powder, paprika, cumin, optional red pepper flakes
1/2 C canned crushed tomatoes
2 C water

1.    Place the oil and spices in a deep saucepan or rice pot.
2.    Saute the onions in the oil and spices.
3.    Place one cup of rice in the water and add the other cup to the pot.
4.    After the rice has been heated through in the oil, add the rice, water, and tomatoes. Cook until most, but not all, of the water has boiled off, then cover and simmer over very low heat for 10-15 minutes.
5.    Use when assembling the burritos.

Note: this is a lot of rice and you will probably have some left over.

Spicy Sauce (adapted from Cooks.Com “BAKED BURRITOS WITH SPICY SAUCE“)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 C water
1/3 C canned green chilies
2 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
2 C water

1.    Cook the onion and garlic in the 1/2 C water for about 5 minutes and add the spices.
2.    Add the chilies, tomato, and water, then simmer for about 15 minutes.
3.    Use when assembling the burritos and over top of the burritos before baking.

Final Casserole Assembly
Chicken filling and cheese
Spanish rice
Spicy and/or cheese sauce
8+ tortillas, depending on size

1.    Oil one or two pans big enough to hold all the burritos. You will want separate pans for each sauce.
2.    Place a tortilla on a large plate, then fill with chicken, cheese, rice, and a little sauce.
3.    Roll the burrito and place in a pan, then repeat for all the burritos.


4.    Top the burritos with their respective sauces, adding more cheese to the top, if desired.


5.    Bake the casserole(s) until they are heated through, then serve.

After getting fresh basil from the cafeteria because everything in the greenhouse had been picked, we ran into our first major problem. Since our knife choices were butter, steak, and 10-inch chef’s, cutting the bone out of chicken thighs was very difficult. So, rather than continuing to fight the raw chicken, Alex suggested that we bake the chicken. Baking the chicken reminded me that making the burrito filling works very well with any leftover cooked chicken; you don’t need to cook your chicken specifically for this meal.

For our sauces, we used canned tomato sauce and canned diced tomatoes. I blended the diced tomatoes a little to remove the large lumps of tomatoes and we used them in just about everything. To avoid opening more cans, I improvised some on the spicy sauce. I’m not sure how the sauce would turn out if I used the exact ingredients specified, but I think it would be good. I think both casseroles would have turned out better if they had both had the correct amount of sauce and spare space in the pan. While there was a good amount of cheese sauce, there was too much space in the pan and the spicy casserole was lacking both sauce and space.

Cheesy Sauce

Spicy Sauce

Personally, I prefer plain wrapped burritos to a casserole, but there are reasons to make one instead of the other. In significant support of the casserole is the awkward shapes of the tortillas. Since we weren’t cutting the dough after rolling it, no two tortillas were the same size or shape. Since the burrito only needs to hold together long enough to be put in the pan for a casserole, the tortilla only has to be strong, not carefully shaped. However, the casserole took a long time to bake in comparison to assembling burritos from hot ingredients and serving immediately.

Overall, both burrito casseroles were successful. Everyone in our class and other classes who came in to eat some of the burritos appeared to like them. However, in addition to getting the amount of sauce correct, Alex thought the burritos could use more chicken and I thought the burritos could use more rice. When we make more burritos, we can see how we want to do the filling ratios.

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Ravioli: Take One

This week we are focusing on one dish and evolving it throughout the week. The dish we are focusing on is ravioli. The plan for the week is to start by using a simple cheese recipe, and after we have practiced the basics we will use more complicated recipies including pumpkin and bacon. Seeing as we don’t have a lot of practice making ravioli, we know this will be an adventure. We have budgeted for mistakes, but hope to not make any. Our goal for today is to have another smooth cooking day and make another delious meal.

Four Cheese Ravioli

Ingredients

Ravioli Dough:

2 c all-purpose flour

1 pinch salt

1 t olive oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 T water

Ravioli Filling:

1 (8 oz) container ricotta cheese

1 (4 oz) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 c provolone cheese, shredded

1 egg

1 1/2 t dried parsley

Directions

  1. Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl and form a well. Beat the olive oil, eggs, and water in a bowl. Pour half the egg mixture into the well. Begin mixing the egg with the flour with one hand; use your other hand to keep the flour mound steady. Add the remaining egg mixture and knead to form a dough.
  2. Knead the dough until smooth, this will take about 8 to 10 minutes, and add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic., then refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. While the dough is resting, prepare the ravioli filling. Mix the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, egg, and parsley and set the filling aside.
  4. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Beat the egg with the tablespoon of water to make the egg wash.
  5. Roll out the pasta dough into thin sheets and assemble the ravioli. Brush the egg wash over a sheet of pasta and drop the filling mixture on the dough by teaspoonfuls about one inch apart. Cover the filling with the top sheet of pasta, pressing out the air from around each portion of filling. Press firmly around the filling to seal. Cut into individual ravioli with a knife or pizza cutter and seal the edges.
  6. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Stir in the ravioli, and return to a boil. Cook uncovered until the ravioli float to the top and the filling is hot, this should take about 4 to 8 minutes.
  7. Drain the ravioli

Today we were a bit short on time. This morning we were working on an informational video, and so we only had two hours in the afternoon to make our four cheese ravioli. Since the ravioli has to sit in the fridge for an hour, we decided not to actually finish one ravioli project, but to make the filling and the dough for the pumpkin and four cheese ravioli’s. We ran into a bit of trouble with the dough. First, we managed to spill egg all over the floor when we added to the flour and salt well, because we made the well on a cutting board and it slid out of the well when we tried to mix it. We ended up having to add a lot of water, and some olive oil to make the dough. At least we didn’t have to start over, and the dough is sitting overnight tonight, so that it will be ready to be shaped first thing in the morning. The filling went without error, and is also sitting in the fridge overnight, ready to be glopped in the middle.

Twice Baked Potatoes (and that last bit of panic while cooking a whole meal)

Twice Baked Potatoes (adapted from Simply Recipes)

4 large potatoes
1/2 C milk
2 T butter

Additions to mashed potatoes (optional)
1/2 C sour cream
1 T cream
1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
salt and pepper to taste

Toppings (optional)
grated cheese
green onion
ham or bacon
chives
sour cream

Baking Potatoes (oven at 400°F)
1.    Wash the potatoes and pierce the skins with a fork.
2.    Bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until they are cooked through. You can prepare additional toppings during this time, if desired.
3.    When the potatoes are finished, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.

Making the Filling and Twice-Baking (oven at 350°F)
1.    After the potatoes are cooled, there are two options for cutting them open. For large and well stuffed potatoes, cut the top third of the potato off. For more individual servings, cut each potato in half.
2.    Spoon out the inside of each potato piece for the mashed potato filling, being sure to leave a layer of potato inside the pieces that will be used as the base later.
3.    Mix the potatoes, milk, butter, and other mashed potato additions. You can use an electric mixer if you want fluffier potatoes.
4.    Spoon the mashed potatoes into the potato bases on a baking sheet and layer the toppings on the mashed potatoes.
5.    Bake the potatoes for 15-20 minutes until warmed through and the tops or toppings are lightly browned.

The potatoes turned out excellently. We didn’t follow this recipe exactly, substituting more smaller potatoes (which I forgot to oil before baking) and opting for Greek yoghurt in place of sour cream. Alex and Luke got everything nicely topped in a variety of combinations using cheese, green onion, and ham. The second baking took about 25 minutes and produced nice potatoes covered in browned cheese and more.

Impromptu Gravy
Pan drippings from two chickens
1-3 T flour
1/2 C milk

1.    Place pan drippings in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer.
2.    Add the flour and whisk like crazy.
3.    Slowly add milk, whisking continuously.
4.    Bring back to a simmer and serve.

This was the very last thing to get cooked for our meal because I realized the potential for gravy only after the chickens came out of their ovens. My method was rather ineffective and required a massive amount of whisking (with help from a spatula) to get rid of flour lumps. The gravy came together very nicely as I added the milk to the strange combination of roux and the water component of pan drippings as the remaining flour lumps quickly vanished. Despite whipping it up at the last moment, the gravy came out very well without the need for additional salt or pepper.

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