Nacho Pot Pie

It’s starting to ramp up to comfort food season. Not like that has stopped me year round to make most any type of comfort food, but this fall season in particular has already yielded a variety of soups and casseroles. This is one of those recipes. While thinking of a warm recipe for a cool day, I thought of what my wife and kids would eat, and eat well. Nachos! But how could I turn a simple, or complex plate of nachos into something warm and comforting?

I looked around to check on my inventory, and granted I was looking at pie dough and thinking of chicken pot pie, a thought I had to quickly shake out of my mind, and then again back to the nacho thought. How about a riff on chicken pot pie but go nacho style? How about a nacho pot pie?!

Nacho pot pie it was, and not only super easy to throw together, but everything you love about nachos in a luxurious pot pie style, sans the pie crust.

Nacho Pot Pie Recipe
Nacho Pot Pie Recipe

Granted this is not the prettiest of all dishes, but again what pot pie is when you plate it? This is forkalicious delicious.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef, or chuck, cooked and fat removed
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 15 oz can diced green chilies
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of taco seasoning
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 cups of water or stock
  • 1 cup of canned black beans, drained
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black
  • 1 bag of tortilla chips
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • sour cream, optional
  • hot sauce, optional
  • salsa, optional
  • black olives, optional
  • any other favorite nacho toppings

Think nachos. Think pie. Good, let’s go.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Get a large skillet on your burner over medium-high heat. Add the ground meat and cook until browned. Drain any fat, and then add the taco seasoning, green chilies, onion, garlic, and 1/3 cup of water. Give a good stir, and cook until the onions are softened, about 5-7 minutes.

Place the meat mixture into a casserole dish and return the skillet to the heat.

Add the butter and let it completely melt. Once melted, add the flour and stir (and keep stirring) until all of the flour is incorporated. Cook this through for a few minutes.

Slowy stir in the milk, and use a whisk if you want to ensure that the mixture gets nice and smooth. No clumps needed here.

Once smooth, add in the remaining water or stock, and stir again. Season with salt and pepper, and let the mixture come to a boil, stirring frequently. The goal here is to make a thicker sauce.

Nacho Pot Pie Ingredients
Nacho Pot Pie Ingredients

Once the sauce thickens, add in the black beans, and return the meat back into the skillet. Stir well and cook for another 5-7 minutes.

Add shredded cheese to the top, then crumble a generous amount of tortilla chips over the top.

Place the skillet (if it is oven safe, otherwise put everything in the skillet before adding the cheese and chips) into the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

Now you are ready to serve.

Nacho Pot Pie Recipe
Nacho Pot Pie Recipe

Scoop out your desired amount onto your plate and top with your favorite toppings. In my case it was black olives, shredded lettuce, avocado slices, sour cream, and hot sauce. Feel free to have a bowl of chips on standby for any additional scooping!

The result is spectacular. It is so comforting and everything we loved about a pie or a plate of nachos, all bundled together! Hope you enjoy!

Indian Coconut Green Beans

My wife and I have been going to a local Indian restaurant in our area called Indian Garden.  I am no expert when it comes to authentic Indian food, but my taste buds are pretty good and I have eaten enough of that cuisine to know the good from the bad, and this place is the good. There are couple of things that differentiate an ethnic restaurant for me when I first arrive. My first sell is it busy and second are those sitting down to eat of the same ethnicity as the restaurant. Win, win on Indian Garden, and as a matter of fact we are often times the only ‘gringos’ in that joint. With all of that being said, we have only dined in for their lunch buffet and there are plenty of reasons why. It’s very affordable, and they offer a wide array of great Indian food, so much as my wife will say ‘we have to learn to make that’. One of our visits my wife tried their coconut soup and loved it so much that I had to learn to make it for her. It’s still one of her favorites to this day. On our most recent visit they had a green bean dish, one that was the first for us, that was just out of this world, and it was up to me to figure this one out.

Indian Coconut Green Beans Recipe
Indian Coconut Green Beans Recipe

This was perfect timing as we needed to harvest a bunch of green beans from our garden, and so it was time to use up some leftover coconut from making pies this summer and put it all to a good use.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh green beans, trimmed, and cut into about 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup of sweetened coconut flakes
  • 5 Indian curry leaves
  • generous pinch of salt, to taste

Super simple stuff here but flavors that will have you coming back for more, trust me I know from that last visit to the buffet. I had no guilt getting a second serving of these beans.

Start by getting a large skillet on the stove, over medium heat. Add in the oil and let that come to temperature, about a minute or so.

Next add in the green beans, and give them a nice stir in the oil. Continue to cook the beans on medium heat for about 5 minutes, then toss in the Indian curry leaves. Give your wrist a workout and toss those in the skillet, and then continue to stir for a couple of minutes.

Indian Coconut Green Bean Ingredients
Indian Coconut Green Bean Ingredients

Now add in the coconut flakes, and continue to toss and stir.

Cook the beans and the coconut until the coconut flakes start to turn a golden color and the beans are just starting to get tender.

Slide these into a serving bowl and get ready to dig in.

These coconut green beans are so good you can just eat them as a main dish if you desire. Crunchy beans with a sweetness from the coconut and a slight pungent taste from those curry leaves. It was a win, win, just like the buffet at Indian Garden. If you are looking for a great side dish, and looking to harvest some beans, give this one a try. As a side note, you can get curry leaves from your local Indian market (I shop at Best Food Store in Milwaukee, and the curry leaves can get sealed up and frozen as well. Hope you enjoy!

Enfrijoladas

Enfrijoladas. What the heck are enfrijoladas? I know this is something you probably never see on a menu, but these are essentially enchiladas, that have the corn tortillas dipped in a black bean puree, stuffed, rolled, and baked and are they ever so good. This is comfort food at its finest, and is not only easy to put together but super delicious. I’m always on a mission to get my wife and kids to not only try something new, but to also affirm that they really do like an ingredient whether they refuse to or not, and in this case, black beans. The picture is not the prettiest, but the flavor makes up for it. I stuffed mine with cheese and chicken, but you can roll them anyway you so desire.

Enfrijoladas Recipe
Enfrijoladas Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo (use 1-2 more if you like it spicy)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 2 chicken breasts, poached, and shredded
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 1 whole jalapeno, seeds removed, diced
  • 3 cups of monterray jack cheese
  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed and covered
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Mexican crema, optional
  • Cilantro, choppped, optional
  • 1 lime, quartered, optional

Start by making your black  bean puree. This is the real deal for this particular enfrijoladas recipe. To a blender, or food processor, add the beans, chicken stock, chipotle peppers, garlic, and salt. Blend until you have a smooth mixture that is not too thick, and not too thin. You want it to be almost like a thicker soup like a pea soup.

Add some of the black bean mixture to the bottom of a casserole dish, much like you would if you were making a lasagna. Pour the remaining puree into a bowl and dunk a corn tortilla into the black beans. Lay the tortilla in the casserole dish, add some chicken, onion, jalapeno, and cheese, and roll, keep the seal side down. Repeat, and compact those tortillas to fit as many as you can. I have to feed five, so I always think 2-3 per person.

Ingredients for Mexican Enfrijoladas
Ingredients for Mexican Enfrijoladas

Top with any remaining sauce (there should be plenty left over), and top with any remaining cheese.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Scoop out, the best you can, the enfrijoladas, shower with some lime juice, crema, avocado cubes, and some fresh cilantro and dig in. It looks like a black bean puree mystery but once you dig in you will find out what all of this mystery is about. It’s good, real good, and for those in my family that said they did not like black beans, well, they were shoveling this into their mouths. Hope you enjoy!

Enfrijoladas Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo (use 1-2 more if you like it spicy)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 2 chicken breasts, poached, and shredded
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 1 whole jalapeno, seeds removed, diced
  • 3 cups of monterray jack cheese
  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed and covered
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Mexican crema, optional
  • Cilantro, choppped, optional
  • 1 lime, quartered, optional
Instructions
  1. Start by making your black bean puree. This is the real deal for this particular enfrijoladas recipe. To a blender, or food processor, add the beans, chicken stock, chipotle peppers, garlic, and salt. Blend until you have a smooth mixture that is not too thick, and not too thin. You want it to be almost like a thicker soup like a pea soup.
  2. Add some of the black bean mixture to the bottom of a casserole dish, much like you would if you were making a lasagna. Pour the remaining puree into a bowl and dunk a corn tortilla into the black beans. Lay the tortilla in the casserole dish, add some chicken, onion, jalapeno, and cheese, and roll, keep the seal side down. Repeat, and compact those tortillas to fit as many as you can. I have to feed five, so I always think 2-3 per person.
  3. Top with any remaining sauce (there should be plenty left over), and top with any remaining cheese.
  4. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
  5. Scoop out, the best you can, the enfrijoladas, shower with some lime juice, crema, avocado cubes, and some fresh cilantro and dig in.

 

Caldo Verde

Caldo verde essentially translates to green broth, or in my case one delicious Portuguese soup. I have kind of made it a mission to make soup once a week, however I should probably make it a few times a week, but there are really only three of us soup eaters in the family at this point in time. Typically when I make soup, it tends to feed an army and hence why I probably only make it once a week. Caldo verde is loaded with awesomeness. It is essentially a soup made with greens, chicken stock, and typically some smoked sausage. I actually jazz mine up a bit adding a bit of bacon, and a handful of beans, but that kind of breaks some of that traditional soup, so those are optional if you are wanting to make it.

Caldo Verde Soup Recipe
Caldo Verde Soup Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 2 russet potatoes, peel and cut into cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 7 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 bunch of collard greens, cut into thin ribbons
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 ring of smoked sausage (I used kielbasa) sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • handful of red beans, optional
  • salt to taste
  • a good loaf of crusty bread

Start by getting a large pot, or dutch oven heating on medium heat.

Add in the olive oil, garlic, shallots, and onion. Cook for about 7 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary, just to sweat the onions. Next add in the russet potatoes and chicken stock, and cook on medium heat for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Ingredients for making Caldo Verde
Ingredients for making Caldo Verde

Once the potatoes are tender, ladle this mixture into your blender. Please note that whenever you are adding hot stuff into a blender, do not fill it all of the way up, and always use a towel to cover the top lid. Pressure builds up doing this and I would not want you having hot soup all over your kitchen!

Blend the mixture into a smooth consistency. Do this in batches if you have to. Once you have a smooth mixture, return it back to the pot on the stove. Add the beans if you are using them. Bring the soup to a medium-low heat, and during this time cooke your bacon. I like to add in the sliced kielbasa as well when cooking the bacon to get it a bit crisp.

Add the kielbasa, cooked and crumbled bacon, Yukon potatoes, and ribbons of collard greens to the soup, and cook until the potatoes are for tender. Season with any salt, to taste, if you desire.

Ladle into your soup bowls, keep your head down, and dig in! This soup is super comforting and perfect on any winter day. Serve with some nice rustic bread for dipping and repeat! Enjoy.