Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

I’ve been on an enchilada kick lately. I was trying to think of something relatively healthful for dinner, something that would taste kind of indulgent without actually BEING indulgent… and I realized that as long as I kept the cheese minimal, enchiladas could be a fairly health-conscious option. It had been several years since I had made them – and I decided that instead of my usual standby of chicken, I wanted to use shrimp. And now, several weeks and half a dozen enchilada dinners later, I think I’ve got a hell of a recipe to share! Of course, if you don’t feel like making them yourself, you can always just swing by my house, because we basically have enchiladas once a week these days. Just make sure you call first, because my husband generally commandeers no fewer than eight enchiladas for himself, and I’d hate to run short of food when I have guests. How embarrassing!

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

(Please note: my methodology skips the step that quickly and lightly fries the tortillas to keep them from breaking. It honestly makes no difference if the tortillas crack or break – they still taste damn good, even if they look less than perfect. These days, I am focused on getting in and out of the kitchen as fast as I can on weeknights, which means I can’t be bothered to fuss with another pan and another step. I will still gladly shovel ugly enchiladas into my food-hole!)

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde
serves 2-4

12 corn tortillas (6″)
1lb shrimp
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 jalapeño peppers
24oz jar of salsa verde (I prefer Herdez brand)*
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2oz cream cheese**
3oz monterey jack cheese, grated***
kosher salt
vegetable oil

*It’s not totally necessary, but I like to drain my salsa a bit to draw out the excess liquid before I start cooking with it. I set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, and pour the salsa into it; after 3 or 4 minutes, it will have drained a few tablespoons worth of liquid, and be nice and thick.

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

**Full-fat or low-fat is fine – but don’t you dare let me catch you using fat free. That stuff is an abomination.

***You remember the First Rule of Melty Cheese, right? Thou shalt grate thy own cheese, and leave that awful pre-shredded stuff for some other sucker. Don’t ever forget that rule, it’s super important for maximum melty cheese enjoyment.

1.) Preheat your oven to 350°. Heat a large pan over medium heat, and add one tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onion.

2.) Sauté the onion until it starts to soften and become translucent. Meanwhile, cut one of the jalapeños in half, and scrape out the seeds and ribs. Slice it into very thin strips, and add it to the pan. Continue the cook the vegetables until their edges are slightly browned, and they’ve softened.

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

3.) Cut your shrimp into bite-size pieces. Push the sautéed onions and peppers to the sides of your pan, and add the shrimp. (Be sure to add a splash more oil to the pan, if it’s looking a little dry.) Season everything with a big pinch of kosher salt, and the garlic powder.

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

4.) Add half the salsa verde to the pan, along with the cream cheese. Lower the heat, and stir to combine everything. Cook just until the cream cheese has melted and incorporated into the salsa (so the shrimp don’t overcook and become rubbery), and you’re ready to build your enchiladas.

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

5.) Add half the remaining salsa to the bottom of the large baking dish, and spread it into a thin layer. Spoon a bit of the shrimp filling on to the center of each tortilla, being careful not to overfill them. Roll each enchilada, and place it seam-side down into the baking dish. Repeat until all the tortillas and all the filling have been used.

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

6.) Once all the enchiladas are rolled and in the baking dish, spread the remaining salsa verde over the top of them. Sprinkle the grated monterey jack cheese over the enchiladas. Take the second jalapeño, and slice it very, very thinly. Lay the jalapeño slices across the top of the cheese, and then sprinkle the entire dish with a bit of kosher salt.

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

7.) Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the enchiladas are warmed through. Finish with a minute or two under the broiler, so the cheese gets nicely browned.

8.) Let the enchiladas rest for a couple minutes, so the cheese has a chance to set up. Serve and enjoy!

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

As I write this, I actively annoyed that I do not have any leftovers to enjoy at this moment in time. These enchiladas are sooooo good! I want to eat them every day! I realize that’s not terribly practical, but the heart wants what it wants, man.

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

To recap, here’s what we’ve got going on: sweet, caramelized onions. Melty, perfectly browned cheese. Fresh, crunchy, SPICY jalapeños. Hearty, perfectly cooked shrimp. Bright, tart salsa verde. These enchiladas are proof that I was a very, very good person in a former life, and that all that excellent karma is coming back my direction. All that excellent, cheesy karma (insert heart-eyes emoji here).

This is one of the few exceptions to the “no cheese with seafood” rule,
Tina

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Grilled Artichoke Subs

Do you have Penn Station subs where you live? We have a few near me – one by my office, and one by my house that’s pretty new. I’ve had their subs a few times over the years, and I usually just select some kind of turkey sub, as is my standard at a sub shop. Probably about a year ago, I realized they had a grilled artichoke sub – and I was immediately intrigued, as I love artichokes, and the only thing better than a plain artichoke is one that’s covered in cheese. Needless to say, it was love at first bite! And it only took me about 9 months to realize, DUH, I could make one of these at home! (Of course, there’s nothing wrong with getting one from the sub shop… but Penn Station also serves fresh-cut fries, and I think in Michigan it’s illegal to exit an establishment that sells fresh-cut fries without BUYING any fresh-cut fries, and I don’t want to go to jail, so I always end up with a bucket of fries in addition to my sub… and let’s just say that’s not doing anything positive for my waistline.)

Grilled Artichoke Subs

Please note: you could also leave the top of the bread off this sandwich, cut the cheesy artichoke bread into 2″ pieces, and serve it as an appetizer. Versatility!

Grilled Artichoke Subs
serves 2

2 demi baguettes (or one regular baguette)*
3 T mayo (low-fat is fine)
2 cloves of garlic, grated or minced
juice of half a lemon
2 cans quartered artichoke hearts (packed in water, not oil)
1 T olive oil
1/2 T butter
kosher salt
black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 slices provolone cheese

Grilled Artichoke Subs

*In general, I prefer a baguette with a good, crisp crust. However, for these specific subs, I like to look for a baguette that’s slightly softer. Since we’re baking the subs, the exterior will have plenty of time to crisp up – and if you’re starting with a baguette that’s already pretty hard, the roof of your mouth will get destroyed as you try to enjoy your dinner. Just my 2 cents.

1.) Preheat your oven to 375°. Drain the canned artichokes well, and then lay the artichokes in a single layer on some paper towel to drain further; water gets trapped in between the leaves, so you want to make sure to get rid of as much of that moisture as possible to avoid having a soggy sub!

2.) Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter to the pan, and once it’s hot, add the artichokes. Season the artichokes with a pinch each of salt and pepper, the red pepper flakes, and the dried oregano. Stir until everything is well-combined, and then leave the artichoke mixture alone for a couple minutes, so they will start to crisp and brown a bit on the bottom.

3.) Once the artichokes have started to brown nicely, add the grated parmesan, and stir well. Let the artichokes cook another minute or so, and the parmesan will start to brown and crisp a bit, too.

4.) While the artichokes crisp up, make your mayo. In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, lemon juice, and grated garlic. If you don’t love the taste of raw garlic, you can cut this back to one clove, or use a dash of garlic powder instead. Set the mayo aside.

5.) Slice your baguettes in half, leaving the “hinge” intact on the back side of the bread. I like to scoop out some of the bread from the interior of the baguette to make adequate room for artichokes (and as a bonus: the interior of the bread is excellent in a kale panzanella salad).

6.) Spread the bottom of each baguette with the garlic mayo, and top with half of the artichokes. Lay the provolone slices over the top of the artichokes, and bake the subs for 10-15 minutes, until the edges of the bread are golden brown, and the cheese is nicely melted and browned. Serve immediately.

Grilled Artichoke Subs

I mean… seriously. These subs are so cheesy, and gooey, and delicious! And despite being meatless, they still feel and taste hearty and filling, because the artichokes are pretty meaty (as vegetables go). Crisping up the parmesan in the pan adds just a bit of nutty flavor, and the lemon in the mayo lends a little acid to cut through the richness of the cheese. In recent months, we’ve had these subs for dinner at least once every 10 days or so – paired with a salad, or some roasted chickpeas, or some variety of roasted vegetable. Fast, easy, and satisfying.

My household is basically keeping the artichoke industry in business,
Tina

Kale Panzanella Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

So, have you hopped on the kale bandwagon yet? If not, I have another delicious kale recipe to tempt you with… and this one has the added appeal of CARBS! If adding a bunch of bread to your vegetables doesn’t make them more appealing to you, then I have to assume you are broken, and I feel very sorry for you. (Kidding! I mean, I guess you don’t HAVE to love bread… but you probably should, I think.)

Kale Panzanella Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

ANYWAYS. The first incarnation of this recipe occurred a few weeks back. I was making some delicious grilled artichoke subs for dinner (recipe forthcoming!), and I ended up pulling the insides of my baguettes out, to make room for more artichokes. I could not, in good conscience, throw out perfectly good bread, so I was going to freeze it to make breadcrumbs with at a later date… but then it occurred to me that I could toast it up, and use it to make a panzanella salad! As luck would have it, I had a fresh bunch of kale in the fridge (it’s a staple – I ALWAYS have kale in the fridge), so I decided to make a kale panzanella. After a bit of tweaking, I’m finally ready to share the recipe with you!

Kale Panzanella Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
serves 2

one bunch lactinato kale*
3-4oz good bread, cut or torn into bite-size pieces**
half a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
fresh parmesan (not grated!)
3 T olive oil, divided
juice of half a lemon
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T whole grain mustard
1 T honey
kosher salt
pepper

Kale Panzanella Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

*I find that lactinato kale is the most palatable (texture-wise), especially if you’re trying it out for the first time. Lactinato kale (also called dinosaur or tuscan kale) has flat, broad, dark green leaves that are kind of pebbled in texture… most other varieties are lighter green, and curly around the edges. They all taste pretty much the same, in my opinion!

**You want to use a good, hearty bread for this salad; now is not the time for regular sliced bread. I prefer not to use the crispy crust of the bread (I would use a soft baguette, or a loaf of ciabatta or other good Italian bread), but you certainly can if you’d like to!

1.) Preheat your oven to 375°. Line a small baking sheet with foil, and spread your bread pieces out on it. Toss the bread with about a tablespoon of olive oil (I used my olive oil mister, and it worked nicely), and toast it in the oven until it’s golden brown and crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Allow the bread to cool slightly.

2.) While the bread toasts, prep your kale. Remove the leaves from the tough stems, and discard the stems. Stack all the kale leaves together, and use a sharp knife to cut the leaves cross-wise into 1/2″ strips. Wash and dry the kale as necessary (a salad spinner is optimal, here).

3.) Add the kale to a large bowl, and add one tablespoon of olive oil, the lemon juice, and a pinch of kosher salt. Use your hands to work the oil and lemon juice into the leaves, until they’re all thoroughly coated and beginning to soften, about a minute or two.

4.) For the vinaigrette, add one tablespoon each of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, whole grain mustard, and honey to a small bowl. Add a pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper, and whisk to combine.

5.) Pour the dressing over the massaged kale, and toss it with tongs to evenly distribute the dressing. Add the cooled bread, and toss it with the kale. Divide the kale and bread mixture in to two bowls, and then top with the cherry tomatoes and fresh shavings of parmesan.

Kale Panzanella Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

I have tried several different dressings with this particular salad, and this one was definitely the winner. It’s got a bit of sweetness, a little bite – and some texture from the whole grain mustard. I also really, really love the pairing of the hearty kale with the crispy bread… it just works! Of course, you could switch up the toppings of this salad however you like (olive, artichoke hearts, cucumber, bell peppers), but I love the sweet tomatoes and salty parmesan together. I promise this salad will make a kale lover out of the most ardent kale hater!

Kale Panzanella Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

And then you get to feel smug and virtuous all day, because YOU ATE KALE,
Tina

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Goat Cheese

In my continuing quest to not hate fish, I try to find ways to dress the fish up a bit – and mask any potential fishy flavors. This particular idea hit me like a bolt of lightning as I was staring into the Trader Joe’s fish case (some people get struck with ideas for the next Great American Novel… I get struck with the next Great American Dinner)… and lucky for me, it worked out pretty fantastically. I’ve actually been craving it since I made it, so I’m pretty sure that’s a good sign in regards to my war on boring and fishy fish.

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Goat Cheese

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Goat Cheese
serves 2

2 tilapia fillets
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 eggs
4oz shelled pistachios, ground until coarse
1 tsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
2 oz goat cheese
juice and zest of half a lemon

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Goat Cheese

1.) In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, kosher salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Crack the eggs into a second bowl, and whisk well. Add the ground pistachios to a third bowl.

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Goat Cheese

2.) Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the butter and olive oil to the pan. While the pan heats, bread the tilapia fillets – first with the seasoned flour, then the eggs, and finally the pistachios, pressing the pistachios into the fish gently to make sure they stick well.

3.) Cook the fillets for about 3-4 minutes per side, flipping once, until the fish is cooked through. Be very gentle when you flip the fish, as the pistachio crust is relatively delicate, and will come off the fish if you’re not careful!

4.) While the fish cooks, make your lemon goat cheese. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Set aside.

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Goat Cheese

5.) Remove the fish from the pan; top with the goat cheese, and serve!

If you like pistachios, you will LOVE this fish. The pistachios get all roasty and brown in the pan, and they add a beautiful crunch to the delicate, flaky tilapia. The tart lemon goat cheese cuts the richness of the nuts, and adds a fresh, light note. You could definitely use this crush on a chicken breast, or a pork tenderloin – or you could switch it up and use something like pecans, instead. Best of all, the whole thing came together in less than 15 minutes… amen for quick-cooking fish! (I am imagining this crust used on a piece of chicken – sliced and added to the top of a salad filled with goat cheese and dried cranberries and a lemon vinaigrette, and now I’m starving. Dammit.)

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Goat Cheese

I wouldn’t say I’m a FAN of fish these days, but I’m not NOT a fan…
Tina