Posts Tagged ‘sour cream’

Chicken Tamale Casserole

Monday, September 14th, 2009

I’ve been playing with the idea of making tamales, but I know how much work they really are. Well, I know how much work they are on paper. I’ve never tried to make them before–and honestly, I imagine they’re even more work than I’ve heard.

That is why the idea of a Chicken Tamale Casserole appealed to me.

It was good, but not great. The good news is, I know what went “wrong” and have some solid ideas of how to fix it. I definitely plan to try this one again sometime.

Chicken Tamale Casserole

Chicken Tamale Casserole
Serves 8 – From Cooking Light

1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Martha White)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
Cooking spray
1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce (such as Old El Paso)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream.

Note (Or what I would change for next time): First of all, I used Jiffy cornbread mix, which is usually pretty satisfying, as far as corn bread mixes go, but for this recipe, a little too sweet. A less-sweet southern style cornbread mix would have worked better. This recipe came from Cooking Light magazine, but if I wasn’t as concerned about the health aspects of the dish, I probably would have used more cheese. Even trying to keep it light, using reduced fat cheese (there are lots of great 2% blends these days!) would’ve kept the nutritionals the same for a bit more cheese. I think it would’ve made a difference. Finally, I should mention that a handful of crushed corn chips sprinkled over the top was delicious. That one was Cara’s idea.

Creamy Shepherd’s Pie Bowls

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

I have always liked the idea of shepherd’s pie.

I really like ground beef, and casseroles of any kind tend to appeal to me (even though that’s the opposite of how I was raised–very few casseroles show up in my parents’ kitchen). I also like mashed potatoes, and can’t seem to make them without having a bunch of leftovers.

Leftover potatoes is what lead me to shepherd’s pie this time. I read through a bunch of different shepherd’s pie recipes, before deciding how I would make mine.

I really liked the flavor of the dish, but I’ve got to say–the pictures leave something to be desired. Once it came out of the baking dish, it did not look like something you would want to eat, which is why I have no plans to post pictures. If everyone really wants to see, and leaves comments to that effect, I might be persuaded.

That being said, even though it wasn’t pretty, it was very, very tasty.

Creamy Shepherd’s Pie Bowls

For filling:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 can beef consumme
  • 1 can mixed vegetables, drained
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon mild curry powder

For potato topping:

    • about 4 potatoes, mashed (I used leftovers)
    • 1 cup shredded cheese (we had Gouda on hand, but Parmesan would be good, or anything you like, really)
    • 1/2 cup sour cream

    1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet, with garlic powder, salt & pepper, and curry powder. Do not drain the drippings (they will be used to build the sauce).

    2. When the meat is cooked through, add the can of vegetables.  Sprinkle with the flour and stir until everything is evenly coated. Continue cooking for one or two minutes so that the flour is browned, to remove that chalky raw-flour taste.

    3. Add the can of consumme, Worcestershire sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until sauce thickens. Pour into a baking dish. (I used a Corningware casserole dish, 2 1/2 quarts. Pyrex would probably work fine here as well.)

    4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees while you prepare the potato topping.

    5. In a medium mixing bowl, combine mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup of the shredded cheese, and sour cream.

    6. Carefully spread the mashed potato mixture over the top of the meat filling. Spread to the edge of the dish to avoid the sauce leaking out of the dish. Use a fork to add texture to the top of the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes, until heated all the way through. The mashed potatoes should be brown and crispy at the top and edges.

    Note: I’m calling this a shepherd’s pie bowl (and this is part of the problem with the pictures) because the mashed potatoes kind of ran together with the filling once you scooped it out of the pan. It was delicious, but not really the two separate textures that you expect from a true Shepherd’s Pie. I do have some ideas to correct that, and will try them next time. One is simply more mashed potatoes. A thicker layer of potatoes would have browned better and held up more easily I think. My other idea was to treat the mashed potatoes like a potato pancake batter, adding an egg and a little bit of flour along with the cheese and sour cream. I actually would have done that this time, but we were out of eggs. I’ll definitely be making this again, but I do hope to get the potato crust better next time.

    Baked Potatoes with Yogurt & Sour Cream

    Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

    I made these baked potatoes from the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook, and for the first time, I was slightly disappointed.

    Disappointed probably isn’t the word, because the potatoes were…good. They just weren’t as good as the other recipes I’ve tried from the book. The sauce was fine, but nothing spectacular, and I know that oven-baked potatoes are supposed to be better than the microwave kind, but since this recipe didn’t do anything to the skins, there really wasn’t much of a difference in the actual texture of the potato.

    In short, there’s nothing wrong with the recipe below, but I probably won’t make it again. It wasn’t special enough to be worth the trouble. On the plus side, the sour cream/yogurt sauce is lower in fat and calories than the traditional butter & sour cream mixture, and doesn’t really sacrifice any flavor.

    Baked Potatoes with Yogurt & Sour Cream
    Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook

    • 4 Idaho russet baking potatoes
    • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus extra for garnish
    • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Wash the potatoes and place them directly on the oven baking rack. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until very tender when pierced with a fork.

    Meanwhile, combine the yogurt, sour cream, chives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and place in a serving bowl. Garnish with extra chives. Chill.

    When potatoes are done, cut them down the middle and squeeze both ends. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve the hot baked potatoes with the cold chive dressing.

    Chicken Noodles Romanoff

    Saturday, March 7th, 2009

    I found this dish on The Knot website when I was still buried in wedding planning last summer, but it sounded promising, so I bookmarked it. We’ve made it twice now. The first time, as listed below. The second time, I used a whole package of noodles, which lightened it quite a bit by spreading the creamy cheese sauce out over a greater number of servings. Anyway, it’s great as written, but easily made healthier, which is a nice feature in a recipe.


    Chicken Noodles Romanoff
    From the cookbook Most Loved Casseroles by Jean Paré

    • 5 cups medium egg noodles
    • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1 cup 2% cottage cheese
    • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
    • 1 tablespoon onion flakes
    • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


    Cook noodles in boiling salted water in large uncovered saucepan or Dutch oven for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but firm. Drain. Return to same saucepan.

    Add next 9 ingredients. Stir. Transfer to greased 3 quart casserole.

    Sprinkle with second amount of Cheddar cheese. Bake, uncovered, in 350°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes until heated through.

    Note: You don’t have to use leftover chicken. If you need to make the chicken from scratch: Start with 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4 – 6 ounces each). Place in a large frying pan with 1 cup water or chicken broth. Simmer, covered, for 12 to 14 minutes until no longer pink inside. Drain. Chop. Makes about 2 cups of cooked chicken.

    I substituted low fat cheese and low fat sour cream to make this dish a little bit healthier, and the taste didn’t suffer at all. It’s really a nice comfort food style casserole; like macaroni & cheese, but with a lighter taste and texture.

    Lettuce Wedges with Bacon and Blue Cheese Dressing

    Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

    Since Valentine’s Day was a fancy steakhouse dinner, we started the meal with a fancy steakhouse salad. The dressing recipe comes from, with a few substitutions. The dressing was very, very good–the milk was my own addition, because the basic recipe was so thick  that it would have been more at home with chicken wings than it would have been on a salad. No worries though. The milk thinned it out just enough for a salad dressing that was rich and creamy.

    The one problem: It had me craving buffalo wings.


    Lettuce Wedges with Bacon and Blue Cheese Dressing

    For the Salad:

    • 1 romaine heart, split into four wedges
    • 1 large tomato, seeded & diced
    • 1/2 lb bacon, fried until crisp, crumbled
    • freshly ground black pepper

    For the Dressing:

    • 3/4 cup sour cream
    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 3 Tablespoons milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

    1. In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce. Season with mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir in blue cheese. Whisk in milk, a tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved. Cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.
    2. Place lettuce wedge on a plate, drizzle with dressing, top with tomatoes, and sprinkle with bacon crumbles. Finish with cracked black pepper to taste.

    Note: We were lucky enough to find decent tasting tomatoes in February, which helped make this salad taste so great. The dressing was rich, but overall, the salad was crisp and fresh and just delicious. I can’t wait to repeat this recipe with fresh summer tomatoes.

    Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

    Sunday, January 11th, 2009

    Beef Stroganoff is a dish that Leah and I both love. It’s not David’s favorite, but he tolerates it for us. If you aren’t familiar with the dish, it’s chunks of tender beef in a rich, creamy sauce, usually served over egg noodles. You’ll also usually find mushrooms in Beef Stroganoff, though I happen to live with a couple of mushroom haters. As you’ll see, I found a way around that.

    There are a lot of ways to make Beef Stroganoff, I imagine. I have made this on the stove top before, simmering the sauce long enough to get the meat nice and tender, but it lends itself very well to slow-cooking, and that’s my preferred method. That’s how I cooked it for dinner tonight. (In my new slow-cooker, I might add).

    Crockpot Beef Stroganoff
    Serves 4

    • 1.5 to 2 pounds lean stew beef or trimmed round steak, cut into 1.5 inch pieces.
    • 1 15 oz. can Beef Gravy (I use Campbell’s–two smaller cans are fine if you can’t find the larger one)
    • salt and pepper
    • 1/4 cup dry red wine
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 preparation sauteed mushrooms, recipe to follow
    • 1 package of egg noodles
    • 1 cup of sour cream

    1. Preheat about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the beef, garlic, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the beef shows some carmelization. Stir in the can of beef gravy and red wine.

    2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a slow cooker and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.

    3. When the beef sauce is finished, prepare egg noodles according to directions on package. Right before serving, stir in sour cream. Sauce should be relatively thick; if it seems too thin, feel free to thicken with 2 tablespoons of flour whisked into a small amount of cold water. Serve over egg noodles. Garnish with extra sour cream, if desired.

    Note: Mushrooms and Stroganoff belong together. If you’re cooking for mushroom eaters, you can take the easy way out, and add a large can (or two small cans) to the beef mixture as it goes into the crockpot. Or, you can take the more delicious way out, and toss in my sauteed mushrooms, outlined below. If, like me, you live with people who will not tolerate the fungi, just saute the mushrooms for yourself and add them to your portion. These fresh sauteed mushrooms have enough rich flavor on their own–they don’t need to stew with the beef all day to be tasty like the canned version.

    Sauteed Mushrooms
    My own creation

    • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms (I used plain white button mushrooms, but feel free to be creative)
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • salt & pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon of sour cream

    1. Add extra virgin olive oil to a skillet and place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (the surface will shimmer) add the mushrooms in one layer. Cook just until the edges begin to brown.

    2. Once the mushrooms start to brown, add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add Parmesan cheese, cook for 1 more minute, and then sprinkle with flour.

    3. Once the flour is golden brown, add the cream and sour cream and stir together. Remove from heat. The mushrooms should have a buttery aroma and a thick texture.

    4. Enjoy! These will melt right into your Stroganoff sauce, but they’re also very tasty on their own.

    The mushrooms should be bound together with the flour and cream mixture–it tastes like cream of mushroom, but much, much thicker. Also, the parmesan cheese forms a delicious crunchy crust at the edges of each bite–yum!