Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Five Dollar Dinner - Weeknight wowzers!

♥♦Please excuse the lateness of this post, I usually post $5 Dinner entries on Monday but this week I had a computer malfunction & didn't get my new laptop up and running until this morning. So, without further ado, here I give you TWO Weeknight Wowzers for $5 Dinners this week ♦♥

Tonight I made a family favorite, a not quite lasagna that uses black beans instead of sausage or hamburg, enchilada sauce rather than Italian red sauce and a Mexican five-cheese blend in place of mozzerella and parmesan. It also replaces lasagna noodles with corn tortillas so there is no boiling to do ahead of time. The only thing that requires pre-cooking is the black beans and I do suggest, to stick within the $5 budget limit AND make the tastiest beans that you use dried and spice them to your own family's liking as they cook. The recipe is easy and requires few ingredients. Here it is: 
  • 1 pound dried black beans, sometimes called black turtle beans
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic (about 2 large cloves)
  • 1 package corn tortillas
  • 1 large can enchilada sauce
  • 1 package Sargento brand Mexican cheese blend
Put the dry beans in a large stockpot, cover with water, bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover pot and let beans sit one hour. Drain beans, cover with fresh water and boil 1 1/2 to 2 hours until beans are tender. Drain liquid then add the corn, onion, cumin, chili powder and garlic.
Preheat oven to 350°. Pour about 1/4 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish. Line with a layer of corn tortillas, cutting to fit as necessary. Spread another 1/4 cup of sauce on tortillas and top with a layer of beans, then cheese. Repeat layers until beans are used, ending with a tortilla layer. Cover the top layer with the last of the sauce and cheese. Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Serve with a tossed salad and Spanish rice: 2 cups instant rice cooked according to package directions, a teaspoon of taco seasoning (I buy Old El Paso's shaker container. It's got TONS of uses!) and a 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa.

A quick and easy meal tonight because of my women's meeting at 5:30. Pineapple glazed pork chops, butter and herb mashed potatoes and broccoli with a kick: 
Pineapple glazed pork chops: 
  • 1 package pork chops (one chop per family member)
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 can crushed pineapple (you're only using 2 tablespoons for the chops. Serve the rest over a sliced pound cake for dessert!)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
Lightly brown the chops on both sides in a non-stick frying pan. Add the apple juice and simmer until chops are done, 10 minutes for boneless chops, 20 for bone-in thicker chops. Pour off water and remove chops to a plate. Keep them warm. Add the pineapple, brown sugar, and water to the skillet. Warm over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. Cook down until the sauce thickens, about five minutes. Return chops to pan to warm through and coat with the sauce.
Butter and herb mashed potatoes: 
  • 2 pounds new red potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bunch chives, chopped, OR green onions, chopped, only the top green part
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Drain water off and mash, with skins. Add a little milk to thin out if potatoes are too dry for your liking. Add the butter, chives or onions, and parsley and stir to combine well.
Broccoli with a kick:
  • 1 head fresh broccoli, or 1 one pound bag frozen florets
  • 3 tablespoons water if using fresh broccoli only
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoons red chili flakes (sometimes called crushed red pepper)
Cook the broccoli until tender if fresh, just til warmed if frozen. Drain any water and return to pan over low heat. Add olive oil, garlic, and red pepper and toss to combine. 

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