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Old 03-18-2008, 05:44 PM   #11
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:45 PM   #12
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welcome... just keep experimenting trial and error will get you far.

I am not a great cook either but I enjoy it and have a few tricks up my sleeve :)

Enchiladas were one the first things I learned how to cook as well. I still make them fairly often. It is a great thing to make because you can play around with the fillings and sauces etc. I also cheat alot and do a "enchilada pie" casserole where I just layer the tortillas more like you would a lasagna.

What I like about the forum is you get a variety of opinions from people with really different approaches which is cool becuase my ADD does not flollow recipes well but I love having lots of little bits of information in my head when I set out to cook.
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by mattmac View Post
And you make it sound so easy! You say "drizzle with a bit of reduced balsamic" the same way you'd say "put one foot in front of another to walk". I have a hard time getting amounts correct by guessing. Drizzling reduced balsamic will result in either of these two outcomes: too much or too little. And what the heck is reduced balsamic anyway? :O Balsamic that's on sale at the grocery store? ;)
Tasting is the key - drizzle a little, taste, if it needs more, drizzle a little more, taste ... repeat till you like it, and remember: you can always put more in, but you can't take it out

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Old 03-18-2008, 06:27 PM   #14
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Thank you, everyone! Lots of great advice already! I already see one thing I don't do - tasting! Definitely need to do more of that as I cook. Reduced balsamic seems easy enough!

I need to expand on my enchiladas - they literally are extremely basic. Tortillas with beef that has the store-bought TacoBell seasoning, and my fiancee likes canned refried beans. So...no creativity there. We really like them, so I think that might be a fun place to start experimenting. :)
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:58 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by mattmac View Post

I need to expand on my enchiladas - they literally are extremely basic. Tortillas with beef that has the store-bought TacoBell seasoning, and my fiancee likes canned refried beans. So...no creativity there. We really like them, so I think that might be a fun place to start experimenting. :)
northing wrong with simple and tasty!

Here are some of my enchilada tweaks

One thing I like to do is to saute the beef with chopped onions, garlic, and bell pepper. You can season the meat yourself too.. A litte cumin goes a long way so be cautious! Shaking a litte hotsauce into the meat while you cook it adds flavor too.

For a lighter taste you could grill up siome chicken cutlets (or those convinient boneless chicken pices) in adobo seasoning...maybe with a little lemon and some oil and cut it into chunks for a chicken fajita style enchilada... this goes especially good with the green enchilada sauce.

for convinience I often use the can or packet sauces but if you look at the spices on the package it is not hard to devise your own

Throw some thin sllces of avocado and finely chopped cilantro leaves on top for a fresh taste

ok sorry dont want to mess with a good thing but I really like to make enchiladas they are one of my favorite things to cook
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:18 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by mattmac View Post
Thank you, everyone! Lots of great advice already! I already see one thing I don't do - tasting! Definitely need to do more of that as I cook. Reduced balsamic seems easy enough!

I need to expand on my enchiladas - they literally are extremely basic. Tortillas with beef that has the store-bought TacoBell seasoning, and my fiancee likes canned refried beans. So...no creativity there. We really like them, so I think that might be a fun place to start experimenting. :)
Try this: Your "go to" mexican recipe?

I like canned refried beans, too, but I add lime juice and top with shredded cheddar. And if you like it spicy, add some hot sauce, too
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Old 03-19-2008, 05:21 AM   #17
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Even more great advice, already! Enchilada night is coming up next Monday, so I'll be ready!

Speaking of garlic, GotGarlic - I used garlic cloves for the first time on Sunday! My fiancee and I made bruschetta from scratch. We got a baguette and cut it into bite-size pieces, then put them in the oven for a bit. Once they started getting a golden color, we took them out and rubbed garlic on them. I was amazed! It was like butter melting right into the bread. The smell was so good. After that we put some olive oil on it, mozzarella cheese, and put it into the oven some more. Once the cheese was melted, we topped it off with diced tomatoes (canned...sorry ) and basil.

We made a bunch and brought it to a party. They went over VERY well. People were eating them like chips.
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Old 03-19-2008, 05:43 AM   #18
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Welcome, from another in NoVA.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:48 AM   #19
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diced tomatoes (canned...sorry )
Canned tomatoes often times are better than the fresh ones you buy in the super market. Do not be scared to used canned. The one tip I will give you though is the less they are processed the better, so you are better off buying the whole canned tomatoes and dicing them yourself instead of buying the already diced. That being said, I do sometimes buy the dices ones when I just feel like opening a can and dumping them into something.
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:03 AM   #20
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Welcome to DC!! When I want a pasta sauce and can't be bothered making it properly, I add my ingredients into my drained pasta, pour a couple of tablespoons of cream into the mix, sometimes a couple of teaspoons of tomato paste as well (depends on the ingredients in the dish), some herbs (like parsley/chives very basic flavours), maybe a bit of garlic, salt and pepper, mix well and serve, top with grated cheese. Sometimes I add cheese to the pot. I like pasta as a "clean the fridge out" dish! Pasta takes an awful lot of flavours really well. Just try thinking what goes with what before you throw things in. A can of crushed tomatoes over pasta and warmed through with some seasonings can also be a very quick and easy sauce. Add a bit of Worcestershire sauce and maybe some chilli for a bit of bite! And whatever sauces you put over pasta, can often be used as a topping for potatoes - baked in their jackets, sauted, or as a bake!

I often make savoury beef mince and freeze in portions. With the addition of herbs/spices/seasonings, I can then take the basic mixture into different cuisines - Italian herbs for some spaghetti bolognaise, Mexican for tacos/burritos, etc.

Good luck!
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