Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holidays with L!

Hey there, everyone! Hope you had a very Merry Christmas! :) The past two years have been a little different for me not spending Christmas Eve and Day with my family, but as our family expands and changes, I suppose it's okay to switch things up a bit. ;) This year, I spent the holidays with L's family, and it was a blast. I think he and I have both been really in the holiday spirit in the past few weeks, and it's just been really nice to enjoy it with each other. I was sad not to be in Colby for the actual holiday, but L and I get to go spend time with my family tomorrow and through the weekend, so it's all good. Prior to Christmas, we did a few things that really got us in the mood to celebrate. First, we went to our old stomping grounds (La Crosse) and did a holiday-themed weekend with our friends where we watched several Christmas movies and checked out the Rotary Lights down by the Mississippi River. Beautiful as always! We also participated in a holiday decorating contest for our apartment complexes, so that was fun. We really went all out, and we got 3rd place ($50 off rent for next month) in the contest. I was really happy to place, but I also felt like we should have done better given the time and effort put into our decorations. I think ours took on a more 'serious' tone versus fun and playful, so I imagine that just from a quick glance without people fully seeing all the small details of our decorations, others may have looked better. Perhaps our strategy will change a bit for next year. ;) Regardless, it was a blast, and it was really the first time I've decorated like this for the holidays. Love it! I was pretty lucky, because I had off this past Monday (the day before Christmas Eve), so it felt like a longer 'vacation' given that I worked on Friday and didn't have to work again until today (Thursday). We spent a lot of time cooking and baking and just enjoying a relaxing weekend together before jumping into the full holiday swing the past couple of days. I just really loved it all and am happy to have experienced everything I did so far. Can't wait to have more fun when we go back to Colby!!!!! Until then, take a look at our Christmas adventures to date!
 Heading out to see the lights in LAX!

 Rotary Lights!
 In the sleigh!
A few of us UW-L alums posing in front of the L!
 Now onto adventures in Madison. Just for the night of the decorating contest, we brought out the Christmas tree after I swept the snow off my deck. I thought it looked so pretty. Yay Christmas!:)
 We also decided to bring out my table and real presents to add to the effect!
And why not have L dress up as Santa to complete the look! Ho ho ho! :)
 Hanging out as we wait for the contest to begin!
 A couple views of me out with all the beautiful decorations!
Over the weekend, I made homemade Chex Mix...
And chicken wild rice soup....
 And Christmas cookies!
 (Recipes to follow for all of these things soon!:)
 On Christmas Eve day, we went over to L's sister T's and prepped all the food for dinner at his other sister's house that night. We had a great time cooking and watching Disney movies (Meet the Robinsons, Up, and Tangled) that day before going over for the big Christmas Eve feast!
 Going into the oven!
And now she's done. YUM!
 Me and L on Christmas Eve!
 Me and L on Christmas morning!
 L and his adorable nephew!
Drinking a little coffee and Bailey's out of a sweet owl mug!
In front of the tree!
Me and L's nephew!
 L dressed up as Santa for the little ones. To say they didn't enjoy it much might be an understatement;).

Yes, we all stood there and took pictures for a few seconds before 'saving' them. ;)

Me and Santa! :)

Happy holidays, everyone! Hope you enjoyed as much as I did!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Green Chile and Pepper Jack Cheese Chicken Enchiladas.

Hi all. It's been awhile since I've posted a recipe (and quite frankly, it's been awhile since I've made a new one), so I figured I'd switch it up a bit. While L was in Arkansas over Thanksgiving to visit family, I had a little more time to kill than usual. I spent some time scouring Pinterest recipes and finding ones that sounded good, and I stumbled across one for Green Chile and Pepper Jack Cheese Chicken Enchiladas (original recipe here). Yum! For several days after I found the recipe, I kept thinking about it and how delicious it sounded, so I decided it needed to be made and consumed by me and L, ha! We both really liked them, so they may be on the menu again every now and again! I will say that the amount of cheese was slightly excessive and didn't necessarily sit well with L's stomach, but overall, they were great!  Hope you enjoy this recipe and let me know if you try it!
The ingredients!
The seasonings used to season and boil the chicken.
Throw the chicken in a pot.
Season the chicken and add some water. Boil away so you can shred it later!
Grate some delicious pepper jack cheese! Try as I might, I couldn't find such a thing as shredded pepper jack at the store, so I had to do it the old fashion way. Wasn't too difficult, I promise. :) I was worried it'd all be gone by the time I was done grating since L couldn't seem to keep his fingers out of the bowl, but there was still some left!;)
So much cheesy goodness!
Chop up some cilantro too!
Now it's time to shred the chicken!
Add in some enchilada sauce.
Then a nice handful of pepper jack.
Followed by some green chiles.
Some sour cream...
And some cumin and cilantro.
Now mix it all up!!
Put some in a tortilla, roll it up, and repeat about 10 more times. ;)

Once they're all rolled up, throw on the rest of the enchilada sauce. Bake them for 25 minutes.
Pull them out and then top them with more pepper jack than you can imagine!;) Then put them back in the oven and back for another 5 minutes. (I had to keep mine in longer.)
Look at that baked deliciousness!

Here it is plated with a few of our extra goodies! Yum!

  • 3 large or 4 medium chicken breasts
  • 1 pkg of at least 10 tortillas (not jumbo and not the smallest)
  • 1 can green chile enchilada sauce
  • 1 small can of diced green chiles
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Small handful of fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 pound shredded pepper jack cheese (The recipe insists that you use pepper jack. Since I couldn't find it pre-shredded, I bought two 8 oz. blocks of pepper jack to shred, but I probably could have gotten away with way less than that for the recipe. I actually still had some left at the end that I used for something else because I couldn't use it all for this recipe. That's saying a lot because I LOVE cheese!)

  • Season and boil your chicken until it's just cooked through. (The recipe didn't specify what to season the chicken with, so we just winged it. I think the boiling took about 10-15 minutes, maybe a little longer if I remember correctly).
  • Once the chicken is cooked through, take it out of the water and shred it with a fork and let it cool.
  • Put shredded chicken in a large bowl and add 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce (save the rest for later), small handful of cheese, can of green chiles (the recipe said to only use half the can, but that made no sense to me, so I used it all and it worked out fine), 3/4 cup sour cream, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and handful of fresh chopped cilantro. Mix it all up and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Put a few spoonfuls of the mixture into a tortilla, roll it up, and put it into a greased casserole dish with the opening of the tortilla facing down. Repeat this until all tortillas are in the casserole dish.
  • Pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the tortillas and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Pull out the tortillas and add the remaining cheese on top and bake for 5 more minutes. (This is where I cut back on the cheese a bit, and as you can see an the above photos, I clearly still used a lot during this step! We also ended up putting the oven on broil after several minutes because the cheese was just bubbling but not really melting or browning well. Again, too much cheese. The original recipe didn't have them as browned as I did, but I liked them this way!)
That's it! We chose to serve ours with some homemade cilantro-lime rice, so that was pretty tasty. I'm sure you could use regular rice and beans or whatever your heart desires! Since we typically just ate one enchilada per meal, they ended up lasting us a nice chunk of time, which is always a plus when having to cook dinner and then pack lunch for two! Anyway, hope you find my comments helpful and that you enjoy these if you try. For now, g'night! :)