Thursday, August 25, 2011

Roast Vegetables in Pita

School started, and looking for a little convenience, I bought a tray of those pre-cut roasting vegetables in the produce department for the first time.

What's cool: when you toss them in a little olive oil, they completely loose that exposed-to-air look. I tossed in some fresh thyme and basil I had leftover, and salt and pepper. Into the oven for 30 minutes at 450F, more than enough time to have them well cooked.

Serve with pita bread, and a little whole milk yogurt for those who want some creaminess and more sense of the Greek. I offered cubed meat leftovers to add for the insistently non-vegetarian.

Okay, and what was in the tray of pre-cut vegetables? Carrots, green beans, zucchini, summer squash, onion, yam. I thought I would be sad I didn't have mushrooms, but really, I didn't miss them.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Vegetarian Enchilada Pie

This is my riff on a Utah standby Chicken Enchilada Pie, that my dear friend Nicole taught me how to make back in Ohio in 1995. The Chicken version layered tortillas with sour cream, cream of chicken soup, sauteed onions, cheese, and cooked chicken. My new version, adapted to vegetarian tastes and my progress at Weight Watchers (25 pounds down, yay!) is a different kind of yummy, and it has that quality I love about a good casserole: leftovers that last in the fridge, handy for lunching or snacks for me and other adults in the house for the days that follow.

I hear Nicole's in China now. She's lived around the world since our days in Ohio. She's such an excellent cook (and seamstress and business manager) I wonder what great things she's done since our daughters were small.

1.5 to 2 TB oil
1 medium summer squash
1 medium-small zucchini
1 red bell pepper
red or other onion, half a large
8-10 oz mushrooms
half a pound frozen corn kernels
2 1/2 cups shredded cheese
5-7 corn tortillas, which tend to be small.
28-ounce can of enchilada sauce, I like the green kind.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F, because that's how to cook any casserole.

2. dice up small the vegetables, medium-high heat the oil in the pan, then add the vegetables and saute. Here you can see the proportions.

Oh, I forgot to add the mushrooms and corn. I buy the pre-sliced mushrooms, and then chop them further from there. The corn really ought to be microwave cooked first, but I just threw it in the pan, slowing down and reducing the quality of the vegetables cooking. Oh well.

Now it's all mixed together. I really love the colors--this is why one of my Christmas side dishes for years was zucchini-bell.pepper-corn.

Now that's cooked; it's time to layer. Cover the bottom of the pan with 1/4 of the sauce, layer two tortillas, half of the vegetables, and another dose of sauce, and some (1/3 of) cheese.

Let's peek ahead with this layers diagram for the finished casserole. The fraction is how much of that item to put in that layer.

cheese (1/3)
sauce (1/4)
tortillas (1/3)
cheese (1/3)
sauce (1/4)
vegetables (1/2)
tortillas (1/3)
cheese (1/3)
sauce (1/4)
vegetables (1/2)
tortillas (1/3)
sauce (1/4)

Here I'm in process covering those first tortillas with my first layer of veggies.

Sauce on the second layer, and repeat as before.

Cheese going on just before another layer of tortilla. If I'm going to use cheese, I use real cheese, not reduced-fat stuff. It doesn't take much (relative to what I used to do, perhaps) to give it that cheese-in-mix taste. I would have loved a Jack cheese here, but was happy to use the sharp cheddar that was in the house. I think it really adds to the nourishing deliciousness of the meal to use what I have.

And on that front, I wasn't stopped by the fact I only had five corn tortillas in the house. I tore the last one into pieces and spread it around for the top layer thus.

Last layer of sauce and cheese.

Cover and bake the standard 350F for 30 minutes. This pretty dish (from IKEA years ago) didn't have a lid, so I used foil.

And it's done! I suppose you could remove the foil at the end, if you want the cheese browned as well as bubbly, but for me this is good. Too often I burn the cheese at the end trying to do that. Feel free to send me an acetylene torch.

Was delish, and delish as leftovers for a couple days. Loved and appreciated by everyone over the age of 16--probably could have won the heart of the younger teen if it didn't fall into the inaccurately-named category "Mexican Food." Apparently my love of all things bean, cheese, and tortilla more than met her quota five years ago.

But never mine.