Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Red Enchilada Sauce

One of the things that intrigues me about my Vitamix is that you can use it to heat/cook foods.  I never imagined that a blender could do this, but really it's just based on friction.  If you have it on long enough & high enough, it really does produce heat!  Like with this sauce- it comes out steaming!! I got this recipe from the cookbook that came with my Vitamix.  It comes out perfectly!  It has good flavor, but isn't too strong or spicy.  It makes enough that I can use it for 2 dinners (I freeze half for later).

If you don't have a Vitamix but want to try this recipe- I imagine it would work if you pureed everything in a regular blender, then transferred it to a medium saucepan, and simmered it for a couple minutes until hot and slightly thickened.  If you try this, let me know and I'll update this post!  Thanks!

Red Enchilada Sauce (Vitamix)
Printable version here

2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Roma tomato, halved
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour

Place all ingredients in blender.  Cook on Soup setting on Vitamix (which is approx. equal to 6 minutes on High).

Yield: 3 cups sauce

Why I love it? It's cheaper than buying enchilada sauce in a can, it doesn't have a lot of sodium (like many canned foods), and it includes all natural, easy-to-find ingredients!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Romaine & Mandarin Salad

This salad is one of those recipes where every time I make it, I wonder why I don't have it more often.  It's great!  It has a light, sweet vinaigrette, mandarin oranges, and candied almonds.  This amount makes enough for about 8 people.  If you're serving fewer than that, you could make the dressing and prepare all the ingredients, then just assemble it when you're ready- probably getting 2 dinner's worth out of this.

It's pretty quick make and uses ingredients that are easy to find year round.  If you're not up for making the candied almonds, something like this would be a great substitution.  They're normally either by the croutons or in the produce section at the grocery store.

Romaine & Mandarin Salad
Printable version here

2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
Dash of hot sauce

Candied Almonds
1/4 cup sliced almonds
4 tsp. sugar

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
Sliced green onions
1 15-ounce can Mandarin oranges, drained

1. Whisk dressing ingredients until combined.  Set aside.

2. To make candied almonds: Over low heat, cook almonds and sugar until sugar melts and almonds are coated, stirring constantly.  Once sugar is melted and almonds are slightly browned, remove from pan and let cool. (The melted sugar will be very hot- be careful! I speak from experience!)

3. Combine all ingredients just before serving.

Why I love it? It's so fresh tasting and summery, yet it can be made year round!  It has a great combination of sweet and salty, and I love the juicy little oranges!