Salsa Verde Chicken Casserole

Tomotillos are coming in to season now. Tomotillos have a resemblance to green tomatoes in appearance but grow with husks over them. they are used mostly for Mexican Style dishes. Tomotillos are best known for making sauces, mainly salsa verde. Here is a casserole I created that uses salsa verde> Don't worry I will teach you how to make salsa verde, then you can use it in this recipe, over huevos ranceros, or just like salsa for dipping tortilla chips.

Tomotillos are coming in to season now.  Tomotillos have a resemblance to green tomatoes in appearance but grow with husks over them.  they are used mostly for Mexican Style dishes.  Tomotillos are best known for making sauces, mainly salsa verde.  Here is a casserole I created that uses salsa verde>  Don't worry I will teach you how to make salsa verde, then you can use it in this recipe, over huevos ranceros, or just like salsa for dipping tortilla chips. 

Salsa Verde Chicken Casserole

3 tablespoons (maybe more) of vegetable oil

12 corn tortillas (even stale are OK), cut in to 6 wedges

3 cups shredded cooked chicken (best way to do this is boil a whole chicken until a fork goes through it easlily, drain the water, let it cool, and then pull the pieces of meat off in small handfulls. 

1 lb of tomotillos, remove the husks and cut in to quarters

1 small yellow onion

4 cloves of garlic, peeled but not diced or cut

1 Pablano Chili, seeded and cut in to chunks (to seed cut off the stem, and slice it in half length wise, use a spoon to scrape out the seeds)

2 jalapenos, or 3 depending on how spicy you like it. stems cut off.  If you want it more mild slice length wise and remove the seeds, I like to use a 1/3 tablespoon metal measuring spoon to scrape mine out. 

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

The juice of one half of a lime

1 pinch of salt

3/4 cup sour cream

2 3/4 cups of shredded Mexican Style cheese or taco cheese

Preheat oven to 350

spray a 4 quart casserole dish with cooking spray. 

Place the: tomotillos, onion, garlic cloves, pablano, jalepenos, cilantro, lime juice, and salt in your food processor or blender and pulse until it is almost smooth but some chunks remain. Pour in to a bowl and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes to a half hour. You have just made Salsa Verde.

In the mean timewhile it is sitting, heat the vegetable oil in a skillet, adding a few tortilla wedes at a time heat the wedges in the oil just until they become softened and then remove (be careful), place them on a plate covered with a paper towel to drain, then add in the rest a few at a time and do the same thing. 

Mix the chicken with the sour cream and 1 1/2 cups of the salsa verde.

Spread a thin layer of the salsa verde on the bottom of the casserole dish.  Place 1/3 of the tortilla pieses in the dish over the salsa verde, top the wedges with the half of the chicken mixture, then sprinkle half of the cheese over the mixture.  Repeat the whole process with another layer, and then top that layer with the remaining tortilla slices, and top them with the rest of the cheese.  Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and then bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and let it set for about 10 minutes, then cut like you would lasagna.  This is great with additional sour cream. 


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Different Methods of Preserving Fish

There are several methods in preserving fish. Fish preservation involves Chilling and Freezing, Salting, Fermentation, Drying and Dehydration, Smoking, Pickling and Spicing, and Canning

There are several methods in preserving fish. Fish preservation involves Chilling and Freezing, Salting, Fermentation, Drying and Dehydration, Smoking, Pickling and Spicing, and Canning.

There is one thing first to consider, make sure that the fish that is going to be preserve is new and still fresh.

The method of Chilling and Freezing; if the fish is exposed to a low temperature environment, the growth of the microorganisms could be prevented; this could lead to spoilage prevention. The appropriate temperature is 0 degree Celsius which involves the use of ice or a refrigerator. 

The use of ice for chilling is very much convenient and widely used in the markets. If you are going to use ice for fish preservation, make sure that you have sufficient amount of ice. To keep the fish properly chilled with ice, usually the coarser ice should be put on the top while the melted ice should be put below.

Fish can also be preserved by the way of salting. Salt elements will lower the water content below the point where bacteria or microorganisms can no longer live and grow. In the time that water passes out from the tissues of the fish, the salt will going to penetrate the fish tissues until the salt solutions filled it in. This is called as the “osmosis” absorption process.

Fish fermentation can also preserved fish. It is the process of breaking down the protein in the fish caused by an enzymatic action. It is called as hydrolization. In this process of fermentation, the flesh of the fish is allowed to get “ripe”; this is the state where the flesh of the fish will start to disintegrate before it is going to undergo “aging”. In normal process, fermentation takes up to 8 months. It will take less than a month that if pure salt is used and the temperature is increased from 37 degree Celsius up to 45 degree Celsius. In the later fermentation process, the activity is faster

Drying and Dehydration is another technique. This involves the removal of water content from fish tissues until the moisture of the fish is extracted. In this process the growth of microorganisms is prevented. This can be done naturally using the heat of the sun. It is called as solar drying. Dehydration is another method in drying fish. It is done through the use of artificially heated air through the use of mechanical driers.

Smoking is also another method in fish preservation. This process gives the fish a desirable flavor and odor as well as preserving it. Smoking is usually done through four processes. First is cleaning the fish. Second is brining which is soaking the fish in a brine solution. The third is drying and the fourth one is smoking the fish. In smoking process, the length of smoking time usually takes up to 30 to 45 minutes and the temperature is 85 degree Celsius. Hardwoods together with plant leaves are commonly used.

Pickling and spicing; this method in fish preservation used vinegar and other spices. The growth of bacteria and other organisms is prevented by the acetic acid of the vinegar; the vinegar will preserve the fish as well as improves its taste.

Canning is another method in fish preservation. It is the process of preservation that uses hermetically sealed containers such as bottles or cans. The procedure of heating the fish before and after canning can kill bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause fish spoilage.

How to Remedy an Overbaked Cake

How to fix and over baked cake. How to moisten a dry cake.

When it comes to baking things need to be done pretty perfectly. Measurements need to be right on, and baking times must be followed and baked goods watched while cooking. If you are not an experienced cake baker you may find that you don’t know exactly when the cake is finished baking. Therefore you may over bake the cake thinking that it is not yet done. This article will not only teach you how to know when your cake is finished baking, but it will also teach you what to do if you accidently over cook it.

Over Cooked Cake

An over cooked cake is a dry cake. Of course you may not know it is over cooked until you go to eat it. There is a way however, to tell if your cake is over cooked. A perfectly cooked cake will pull away from the pan a bit, but an over cooked cake will pull away from the edge of the pan a lot. Plus if you push down on the center of the cake and it doesn’t sink in (undercooked) or it does not bounce back up (perfectly cooked), then it is very likely that your cake is over cooked and will be very dry.

If a cake is totally burnt you can dry cutting off part of the bottom with a sharp knife, but it might be too far gone. If the cake is just over cooked and not burned you can likely save it.

To save an over cooked cake you will need to make some simple syrup.

How to Make Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is simply an equal mixture of sugar and water that is placed in a sauce pan over a medium heat. Stir the sugar and water together until the sugar completely dissolves. Let the mixture cool.

After the syrup has cooled completely it is ready to use on the cake. To moisten your cake pour some of the simple syrup carefully over the top of your over cooked cake, this will add moisture back in. Be very careful not to over do it. Using a spoon and spooning it on may be the best way to insure that it does not get overly soaked. Simple spoon some on the cake in different areas of the cake. Don’t continuously pour syrup in to one spot in the cake.

The cake should drink in the syrup and it should disappear in to the cake. If the syrup no longer goes into the cake then you likely are adding too much. Stop adding syrup immediately. Give the cake some time to absorb the syrup before icing the cake.


Recipe for Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake

Luscious, creamy Orange Creamsicle cheesecake

It's not very often that I eat dinner at a restaurant and immediately feel compelled to run home and re-create something from my dining experience. In fact, I don't think that has ever happened, but they say there is a first time for everything. A few weeks ago, while I was visiting my family in Tennessee, we had dinner at a quaint little out-of-the-way bistro with an awesome menu. My dinner was great but it was the dessert that had me running back to my own kitchen to (re)create.

Maybe it was because I was feeling nostalgic by being back in the town where I grew up, back to my roots. Or maybe it was just because the slice of Orange Creamsicle cheesecake was so darn good. Either way, each luscious and creamy bite conjured up images of when I was a kid riding home from school on the school bus that was driven by my grandfather.

After he finished driving his route, he would stop at the little gas station/convenience store close to his house and let me buy a treat. Sometimes it was a pack of Elvis Presley trading cards and sometimes it would be a Reece Cup but more often than not, it was a Creamsicle. Even knowing that my grandmother had a big dinner waiting for us as soon as we darkened the door, I was allowed to eat my treat right away.

As soon as I darkened my own door after devouring this sinful dessert, I searched the internet for a recipe and came upon this blog by someone named Charles French. Seems like Charles also has a fondness for Orange Creamsicles and posted his version in the form of a cheesecake. Take his advice and don't increase the amount of Cointreau and take my advice and let this jewel sit overnight. I was dying to try it and decided to cut into it only a few hours out of the oven. It had an overpowering, bitter taste from the residual alcohol but by the next day it had mellowed out and I was once again taken to my carefree childhood days.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake

Categories : Cheesecake

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

8 T unsalted butter -- divided

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 1/4 cups sugar -- divided

2 pounds cream cheese at room temp.

1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup Cointreau (do not substitute)

1 teaspoon orange extract

4 large eggs at room temp.

4 T heavy cream

zest of one orange finely minced (couple of teaspoons)

1 pinch salt

8 oz Sour Cream

Orange food coloring

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/4c sugar, orange zest, and 6T butter into the bowl of a food processor and blitz, about 30 seconds until you have crumbs.

Pour this mixtures into a 9" cheesecake pan and press down with your knuckles so the pan is fully covered on the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides and well pressed.

Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes until set. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

Lower oven temp to 275.

Place 1 package of cream cheese in the large mixing bowl (or your stand mixer bowl) along with about 1/4 of the remaining cup of sugar, beat until well combined, add in about of the sour cream and beat until whipped well. Make certain you scrape down the bowl from time to time while doing this.

Repeat this process until all packages of cream cheese, the sugar and the sour cream are incorporated and well mixed, scrape the bowl down often.

At this point add the Cointreau, add the vanilla and orange extracts, and the heavy cream then add the salt. Slowly add the eggs a little at time while continuing to mix & scrape the bowl. Once all of this has been added whip another minute or two. Reserve 2 cups of the batter and then pour the rest into the spring form pan. With the remaining 2 cups of batter add orange food coloring until you get a tangerine color. When you get the color right, pour it in 4 dollops on top of the batter in the pan. Using a skewer swirl the orange batter into the rest donÂ’t over do it or youÂ’ll lose the swirls. Start with the upper right dollop swirling clockwise. Then down to the bottom right swirling counter-clockwise, bottom left, clockwise and upper left counter-clockwise. When youÂ’re done youÂ’ll see that all the swirls move towards the center of the cake.

Open oven, on lowest rack set the baking dish with the water. On the middle rack place the cookie sheet and set the filled spring form pan in it. Close the oven and bake at 275 for about 1 hour 45 minutes. (could take 10 minutes longer due to the alcohol content). The edges should be set but the center should still be wiggly (like jello) when done cooking. There may be some cracks around the edges up to 3/4 of an inch. DonÂ’t worry these will settle beautifully.

Place cake on cooling rack, allow to cool for 30-45 minutes then go around edges with the offset spatula (or a thin knife) to loosen. Allow to continue cooling for 3 more hours. Refrigerate overnight to chill.


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