Weeknight Enchiladas

These are all kinds of wrong, but they’re oh so good. They’re not really enchiladas because they’re made with flour tortillas (which technically makes them burritos), but I top them with canned enchilada sauce, so I call them enchiladas. Plus, they’re stuffed with ground beef and cheese, like an enchilada and not a burrito.

These beef enchiladas assemble quickly and are on the table with minimal effort (considering they’re enchiladas).  I promise: Your family will love them.


 Weeknight Enchiladas

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 28-ounce can enchilada sauce
  • 12 burrito-sized flour tortillas
  • 1 2-pound bag Supremo chihuahua cheese, grated (if unavailable, use Monterey Jack)

Grease a 9×13 pan and pour ⅓ cup of enchilada sauce in bottom; spread around. Preheat oven to 325°.

Brown beef with half the onion, garlic, cumin, and chili powder; season with salt. When cooked through, warm tortillas in the microwave.

Lay out one tortilla and place beef, raw onion, and cheese along one edge; roll up and place in prepared pan. Continue with all the tortillas. Top enchiladas with the remainder of the enchilada sauce and ½ cup cheese.

Bake until warmed through and cheese is melted, about 25-30 minutes. Serve with rice and beans.


Chicken Burrito Bowls

In the mood for something Mexican, but wanting to keep the calorie count down, I tried making Chicken Burrito Bowls for the first time. The family loved it, as they could custom design their toppings to suit their tastes.

I sautéed marinated chicken and served it over white rice with a mix of both canned and fresh veggies. My only regret is that my cilantro was a little too wilted to use. Other than that, the results were great!


Chicken Burrito Bowls

  • 3-4 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground chili powder (I use Indian chili powder because it’s hotter)
  • 1 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • ½ tsp Adobo
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can carrots, drained; or 4 carrots, peeled and cooked until tender
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • hot, cooked white rice

Combine cumin, chili powder, taco seasoning, and Adobo seasoning in large bowl; add chicken pieces and set aside while you prepare vegetables and make rice.

In a large skilled, saute garlic for one minute. Add in chicken pieces, sautéing until cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer chicken to bowl.

Add drained black beans to skillet, mixing well into remaining cooking juices.

To prepare burrito bowls: Spoon rice into bowl, top with chicken, spooning accumulated juices over rice. Top with black beans, corn, tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Farfalle with Chicken, Zucchini & Tomato

If you don’t mind cutting fresh vegetables, this is another flavorful quick-fix one-dish meal. I know many families spend an hour or so on Sundays doing food prep for the week, but I’m one of those rare folks who finds using a knife relaxing.

For this meal, all you need is a fresh zucchini, a few fresh tomatoes, and some chicken breasts. It all comes together easily.


Farfalle with Chicken, Zucchini & Tomato

  • 1 16–oz package farfalle, cooked in boiling water to al dente
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ cup high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ yellow onion, minced
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed rosemary
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pot of salted water, boil pasta until al dente; drain but do not rinse. Set aside.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat; add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Mix in chicken breast pieces, coating well. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside, reserving any accumulated juices.

In the same skillet, mix zucchini and rosemary into remaining oil and garlic pieces, stirring well, for about 3 minutes, or until just becoming tender. Add in tomato and mix well. When warmed through, add chicken pieces and any juices; stir well. Add in juice of one lemon.

Toss in pasta, coating well with the chicken-zucchini mix. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Serve hot topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Baked Chicken Breasts with Tangy Breadcrumbs

You may want to double this recipe because it’s so good.

I prepared one breast per person tonight, but everyone wanted more. I should have fixed  a whole lot more of this tangy, succulent chicken dish. Simple but delicious!


Baked Chicken Breasts with Tangy Breadcrumbs

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup high-quality mayonnaise, such as Duke’s
  • 1 tsp dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • sea salt to taste
  • 3/4 to 1 cup breadcrumbs (preferably Ciabatta)

Preheat oven to 375°. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, rosemary, and lemon juice.

Place chicken breasts in greased pan. Season with sea salt. Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly atop breasts, covering well. Top with breadcrumbs. Pat in gently.

Bake uncovered at 375° for 40 minutes or until no longer pink in center. Serve sauce over hot, cooked white rice.


Sautéed Brussels Sprouts & Buttered Rice

Unlike most teens, my sons love Brussels sprouts, probably because several years ago we had a family Brussels sprouts challenge. I bought the vegetable every week during the winter and challenged myself to prepare them a different way each time. In the process, we came across some magical mixes.

A surprising hit was this mixture of sautéed Brussels sprouts and buttered rice. The two flavors complement one another beautifully in this delicious dish.


Sautéed Brussels Sprouts & Buttered Rice

  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 3.5 cups of water
  • 1/2 stick butter or margarine
  • 1 10-ounce package shaved Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 stick butter or margarine
  • sea salt to taste

To prepare buttered rice, place rice, water, and butter in sauce pot; bring to boil, reduce, and simmer for exactly 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet over medium heat, saute onion in melted butter until beginning to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add in Brussels sprouts and stir until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with sea salt.

Transfer sautéed Brussels sprouts to buttered rice and mix well. Serve hot.

Grilled Teriyaki Dove

On opening weekend of dove season, my 17-year-old son spent dawn and dusk shooting enough doves for dinner. We have the steadfast rule that whatever the kids shoot, they have to eat – which radically reduces their desire to shoot random vermin. In fact, this year was the first time my son ever shot anything. But a good haul he did make.

Because our family doesn’t hunt often, I don’t have a cache of game recipes to draw on, so I improvised with this. Family devoured these grilled doves wrapped in bacon. Better than chicken!


Teriyaki Dove

  • 18-24 fresh dove, cleaned, plucked, and cut off the bone
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha
  • 9-12 strips of raw bacon, cut in half

Rinse doves and pat dry. Combine soy sauce, sugar, Mirin, garlic, and Sriracha in large bowl. Add doves and marinate 30 minutes. Fire up the grill.

Remove doves from marinade; discard marinade. Wrap each dove with bacon strip and secure with toothpick. Grill for 8-10 minutes, turning regularly, until doves are cooked through and bacon is crisp. Serve with wild rice and steamed broccoli.


Thai Yellow Curry Shrimp with Spinach & Carrots

Continuing my trend of eating healthfully and using up leftover wine, I created this delicious curry dish featuring fresh shrimp, spinach, and carrots. Though it takes a few moments extra to peel and grate the carrots, their rich flavor is worth the extra trouble.

Cooking tip: use Gulf shrimp, not farm raised. Serve the curry over hot, cooked jasmine rice.


Thai Yellow Curry Shrimp with Spinach & Carrots

  • 1 pound Gulf shrimp, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1-inch-piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 3 small Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Mae Ploy Yellow Curry Paste
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 10-ounce bag fresh spinach
  • hot, cooked jasmine rice

Rinse peeled shrimp and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, sauté onion, carrots, and potatoes in oil, ginger, and garlic until tender. Stir in yellow curry paste and dash of cayenne pepper (add more if you want the curry spicier).

When thoroughly mixed, add white wine and coconut milk. Blend well. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add ½ to 1 can of water. Stir in shrimp.

When shrimp are pink, add spinach and stir until wilted. Serve immediately over hot cooked rice.