Today we celebrated Phil's birthday with our Sunday-after-church-lunchtime friends. We chose a Mexican theme (and got to use our leftover Fiesta napkins!) because we didn't want to have to take everyone out to Phil's favorite restaurant, Corona Andale Rapido - try to find seats for everyone to be together, and serve birthday cake there, too. Phil wanted Pollo Poblano - his favorite from the menu at Corona Andale. I had to search the web for a recipe. The sauce is the green stuff in this photo. It isn't green at Corona Andale.
I was SO prepared! I made everything last night so that all I'd have to do was warm it today, cut up fresh fruit (because there wasn't room in the fridge last night) and have Cody make the guacamole. I even wrote out a list so that I wouldn't forget to take anything out of the fridge. So there I was... cutting up fruit when we got home from church - and I forgot to put everything in the oven to reheat!
We got a tiny little bit of a late start, but guys munched the tortilla chips, mango salsa that I made with the leftover chipotle/adobo peach stuff, my usual red salsa with black beans and corn, and Cody's guacamole. Phil voted the mango salsa #1 out of the three; but truthfully, more people ate the guacamole than the others.
I was surprised at the mango salsa. I thought the chipotle stuff leftover from the peach experiment was going to make it too spicy, but it was hardly noticeable. If I do that again, I will add more chipotle. JUST A LITTLE. That stuff goes a LOOOOONG way! I can still remember the pain in my esophagus from the first night we tried the chipotle stuff.
Anyway... The green stuff. Poblano sauce. Yuk. It really looked like the recipe instructions: blend the peppers with milk; make a roux; add the blended peppers with heavy whipping cream; heat until smooth. Not at all like Andale Rapido's sauce. Some people tried it, but we still have a lot of it left. I'll have to come up with a way to use it... It is, at least, very mild.
We had the usual chicken that I baked at 450F for 20 minutes after sprinkling Mrs. Dash Chili Lime on half of the chicken, and Penzey's Arizona Dreaming on the other half. I was trying to come up with an alternate dish so that everyone would have a choice - and to kind of stretch out the chicken a little farther. We did an AllRecipes search to try to come up with an idea for enchiladas. I had a lot of cheese that I ended up not using for my original ideas.
We happened upon a breakfast burrito recipe that - of course - I altered to make a little more interesting, and a lot less "breakfast-y". The original recipe called for ham; I subbed Turkey Polish Kielbasa. "Turkey" as in NOT CHICKEN, not the country. I also added some other ingredients not in the original recipe. For now - unless someone gives me a better name, I'm calling them Polish Enchiladas with Invisible Egg.
You start by sauteing red and green bell peppers (chopped) with chopped onion.
I think I even forgot to put in garlic; but because I used about 2-3 Tablespoons of Arizona Dreaming to season it, I don't think it mattered. Then I added diced turkey kielbasa. It didn't seem like that was going to be substantial enough for rolling up in tortillas. So after some thought, I decided to heat up a few red potatoes, which I then diced and added to the whole mix.
That was when I made the final judgment on how much Arizona Dreaming to add. I increased it to the 2-3 Tablespoons at that point. It's also when I decided I'd try to sneak in some spinach, too.
So, I chopped the spinach so that someone in the house wouldn't notice it being spinach, sprinkled it on a tortilla, spooned a line of kielbasa-potato mix on top, and then added about 1/4 cup of cheese on top of that. I just folded the tortilla over on each side, and made 12 of these. I was able to place all 12 into one large baking pan.
Doesn't matter if there is cheese or anything else on top. At the end of baking, it will all get covered with cheese. But, don't put the cheese on top before you bake it! First you have to pour over a mixture of beaten eggs and milk. Cover the pan, and set the whole thing in the fridge overnight. When you're ready to bake it, bake it about 25 minutes, then add the cheese and finish baking it about another 10-15 minutes. You'll see it bubbling around the edge and the cheese will all be melted.
You really need to let the casserole sit for 10-15 minutes before you serve it. If you serve it before you do, it is runny, like this:
If you wait, it looks like this:
But, as you can see - YOU CAN'T SEE THE EGG! The INVISIBLE egg! Amazing, isn't it? You could serve these for any meal, but they're pretty rich. I used a WHOLE 2-lb. bag of cheese for this recipe!
The dish was a HUGE success! And VERY filling! We couldn't believe our eyes - not one person went back for seconds after eating that with the chicken, cilantro lime rice, black beans with shredded pork, corn on the cob, salsa and chips.
Anyway, despite the fact that everyone was stuffed after eating lunch, it didn't stop them from having Phil's Birthday Cheesecakes for dessert. Yes. I made two cheesecakes. I wanted to make sure there would be some left so that I wouldn't have to make another cake for Phil's real birthday on Tuesday.
The best one, in my opinion, was the classic Philadelphia cheesecake recipe.
I used chocolate graham crackers for the crust. For the topping, I melted butterscotch chips and chocolate chips; first drizzled the butterscotch over the top, then the chocolate. Saw online that if you add 1-2 tsp. of shortening (Crisco) before melting the chips, it will drizzle better - and keeps it from burning.
This cake cut the best.
The other cake had sort of a pecan "cookie" crust that wasn't really worth the effort. Hardly noticeable. But, then, why would anyone notice the crust when it had this gooey pecan mess all over the top? It didn't slice very easily - or well.
This is it, folks. The good, the bad... the ugly. The topping stretches when you try to eat it:
Even lifts the cake off the plate! Yet, everyone liked the flavor. It just was really a mess to deal with... I don't recommend it at all. I should have suspected when the recipe called for an egg yolk (and a white that you have to deal with and figure out what to do with it). That is just extra work for results that just aren't worth the effort.
So, here are the ingredients that I used for the Polish Enchiladas with Invisible Egg. I'm pretty sure you can juggle to suit your tastes and what you have on hand.
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced (small)
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced (small)
- 1/2 large sweet onion, diced (small)
- 1 lb. polish turkey kielbasa, diced (cut sausage into quarters, then dice)
- 2 medium red potatoes, cooked, diced
- 2-3 Tbsp. Arizona Dreaming (if you don't have this, use chili powder + ~1 Tbsp. oregano)
- 2-3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 2 lbs. shredded cheddar (divided, use what you need for tortillas and the rest on top after baking about 20-25 minutes)
- 8 eggs, beaten (I think that is what I used... I tried 6 at first, but that wasn't enough to cover the tortillas in the pan, so added more eggs beaten with water after I'd already poured the milk batch over the tortillas - I figured it'd all blend together overnight)
- 1 can evaporated milk + water to make 3 cups; then blend with eggs, pour over rolled tortillas
- 12 flour tortillas
Spray a large baking pan with nonstick spray before filling it with the rolled up tortillas and pouring the egg/milk mixture over the top. Cover it; put in fridge overnight. Bake at 350F for about 35-40 minutes, adding the cheese on the top during the last 10 minutes of baking. Let the casserole rest for 10-15 minutes before serving - if you can wait that long... IF you eat it.
The way I made this recipe, it's really loaded with fat and probably a lot of other stuff that isn't good for a healthy diet. I only tasted it today to make sure it was good. All that stuff in it is probably WHY it tastes good!