Cooking to Relax: Comfort Foods, Ep. 1

It’s been a hard few weeks. I took on an extra class back at the end of January, and it’s the heaviest load I’ve ever had. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of it, but I’ve been vacillating between caring a lot and not caring at all. Not about the kids — I care about them 110% of the time — or even putting together the lessons (at least two of my classes are kind of on auto-pilot because I’ve done them both before) but doing the busywork that comes along with them. The sadder part of not wanting to do the busywork is that it makes other areas of your life match the vacillation. When I don’t want to do busywork, I don’t want to do anything else. I feel like a lazy bum. Which I am. To top it off, my weight has been doing fun things. I’ve been slowly creeping up. Right now I’m pretending that it’s muscle because I’ve been trying really hard in my exercise classes. I’m also adding some more exercise to my regular routine (softball season is coming back, what what!). But there’s nothing vegetables can’t help.

But, I also want comfort food. I am sad and worn down and kicking and kicking and kicking and not getting any closer to shore. But I can’t let this year get me down. It’s almost over, for heaven’s sake! Our last day of school isn’t even in June this year!

Solution: Mexican comfort food.

I know what you’re thinking. That stuff is loaded with carbs! Rice, tortillas, chips, oh my! Well, the beautiful thing is that it’s easy to take the flavors of Mexican comfort food and take out the carbs altogether. My favorite things are stuffed peppers and taco salad. Nothing is better than a big fat salad absolutely drench in salsa, beans, and fresh vegetables. This week, I’m trying something new. See below. Note: I ran out of chili powder, so I mixed in some cayenne and red pepper flakes in place of the chili powder, hopefully equivalent, and more cumin. It made it nice and spicy! But definitely not the same flavor profile as the recipe. The original recipe I saw also called for a chipotle pepper and some adobo sauce but I forgot one of those at the grocery story, so I skipped it this time. Still super tasty!

Shredded Chicken with Enchilada Sauce

  • Servings: 3 cups
  • Time: 1 hr
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

Enchilada sauce:

  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 tbsp AP flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 stp salt

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for about a minute, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  2. Add the tomato sauce and spices. Keep whisking.
  3. Begin adding the chicken stock a 1/2 cup at a time.
  4. Allow to boil for at least 8-10 minutes, or longer if you wanted a thicker, more flavorful sauce. Use immediately or allow to cool and put in a jar. It’ll keep for at least 1 week in the fridge.
  5. Heat a deep saucepan over medium heat. Transfer 1.5 – 2 cups of the enchilada sauce to the saucepan.
  6. Salt and pepper both sides of your chicken breasts. Transfer those to the saucepan, where hopefully your enchilada sauce is boiling.
  7. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.
  8. Remove the chicken breasts from the sauce and allow both to cool. Shred the chicken between two forks. Either add back the sauce and put chicken and sauce into a tupperware for later use or use the sauce as a garnish in a dish you’re making right then.

Simple Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Poblanos

  • Time: 20 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 poblano pepper per person (or more for a hungry crowd)
  • enchilada-style chicken + sauce from above recipe
  • shredded Mexican-style cheese
  • toppings to taste (I put just sliced olives but you can do anything!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400º.
  2. Slice the top off your poblano and then slice it lengthwise. Take out the seeds and membrane. Don’t — I repeat — don’t touch anything with those fingers. Wash your hands. It won’t hurt as much as, say, a habanero, but who wants to take the chance? Optional: get all fancy and blackened the skin of your poblanos on the broil setting of your oven or on the stove-top. I’m scared of burning our house down so I skipped this part and had no problems.
  3. Stuff the halved poblano with the chicken, top liberally with sauce, other toppings, and finish the bad boy off with cheese.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10-20 minutes or until the peppers are the consistency you want them. I did about 15 minutes and without roasting they were still a tad crunchy but plenty cooked. Be sure to check at least halfway through to make sure nothing’s getting too crispy.
  5. Enjoy with kleenex. For the runny nose that might come from the heavenly spiciness.

IMG_2786
The cooking chicken you can’t even see that well because STEAM.
IMG_2787
Finished product. So good I had to eat the first one before taking a picture.
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2 thoughts on “Cooking to Relax: Comfort Foods, Ep. 1

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