Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Delightful, Yet Unexpected, Discovery

So after going an entire week without cooking any meals at all, due to my husband going out of town and me going out of town as well, I finally returned to the kitchen this past Monday night.  I made the last 2 of the meals from my previous posting (Monterey Chicken = SUCCESS!; Vodka cream sauce/pasta=SUCCESS (it was nice and thick this time).  And last night I made a third meal that is an old standby, but never a disappointment:  Jalapeno Enchiladas.  I found this recipe in a cookbook that I borrowed/stole from my mom.  (I use the borrowed/stole phrase because I chose to believe she gave me the cookbook, although I'd be more than willing to give it back, although I don't plan on giving it back....:)  Anyway.......

1 lb ground beef
garlic powder
4-5 jalapeno peppers
1 can cream of mushroom soup, prepared
1 package flour tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Brown beef and season with garlic powder.  Seed the jalapenos to your taste.  (If you like spicy, seed 50% of them or less.  If you prefer mild, seed most of them).  Puree them in a food processor.  (if you don't have one, just finely chop them--I've done it both ways and it works fine).  Add the peppers to the prepared mushroom soup (I use a can of milk to cook the soup) and cook until simmering.  Once the soup is prepared, spoon the beef into each tortilla and roll up.  Lay into a greased 9X13 pan.  Usually I can cram about 8-10 enchiladas in a 9X13.  Pour the soup/pepper sauce over the top and top with shredded cheese.  Bake on 350 for 20-25 minutes.  YUM-O!

Now onto my discovery....

So tonight I did a rather easy meal:  salmon, grilled on my awesome 2-burner grill pan; green beans, and mashed potatoes.  The potatoes were from a small bag I bought at Kroger this past weekend.  Anyway, I boiled the potatoes, not really knowing what I would end up doing with them but ultimately decided to just go ahead and do mashed potatoes.  Once I had mashed them and thrown a bit of butter over them, I suddenly realized I had nothing else to stir into them to make them creamy.  I don't keep regular milk on hand, unless necessary, and I had zero sour cream or even Ranch dressing.  So as I stuck my head inside my eyes fell onto a container of ricotta cheese.  Bingo!  So I ended up dumping the remains of this 16 oz. container into the pot of smashed potatoes and mixing well.  I added some garlic salt and a bit of chicken stock (also something I did not realize I had).

The very best pancakes I have ever had in my entire life were made with ricotta cheese.  They were SO fluffy and perfect.  Now I know why.  The potatoes were FANTASTIC.  And I give all the credit to the ricotta.  Thank you, Ricotta!  You made my potentially bland, non-smooth potatoes, fluffy, creamy, and delicious.  People often dog ricotta bc it is so "rich", but truthfully it doesn't have much flavor at all.  It merely adds a richness and texture to your food that other types of cheeses, sauces, or liquids can't do!  I will definitely keep ricotta at the forefront of my mind from here on out.

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