Welcome to HowDoYouCook.com

By learning about basic ingredients and how to use them, you can create simple, quick and delicious meals your family will love!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey Enchilada Casserole

The real name of this dish should be "Aunt Micki's Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Enchilada Casserole" named in honor of my sister-in-law who prepares this dish each year for the family.  Thank you Micki for the recipe.  We enjoyed it from many miles away!

This is a delicious way to use up leftover Thanksgiving Turkey.  If you are fortunate enough to be able to find frozen Baca Chilies in your area the flavor is much more intense than using canned.  As another option, a minced medium poblano pepper can be used in place of the Baca chilies.


4 - 5 cups  Shredded Cooked Turkey (or you can use about 8 cooked & shredded chicken thighs)
2 cans  Cream of Chicken Soup (not reduced fat or reduced sodium)
2  Garlic Cloves, minced
1 TB  Canola Oil
1  11 oz Frozen Baca Green Chilies (or use fresh minced poblano or 2 small cans diced chilies)
Canola Oil for Frying
18  Enchilada-Style Corn Tortillas
Shredded Cheddar Cheese or Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet add 1 TB canola oil and the garlic.  Saute 3-4 minutes until garlic begins to brown.  Add the defrosted green chilies (or minced poblano or canned chilies) to the oil and saute 10 minutes.  Add both cans of soup and stir to combine.  Once the mixture is heated thru add the shredded turkey and stir until turkey is warmed.  Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside; keep warm.

In a large skillet heat about 1 cup of canola oil over medium-high heat.  When frying the tortillas, the goal is to make them flexible, so they are easy to work with, but not totally crispy.  A little crisp on the edges is good.  Heat the tortillas about 5 seconds on each side, then place on paper towels to drain.  Blot off any excess oil and place 6 cooked tortillas in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch cake pan.  This will create the bottom layer.  Continue to cook the remaining tortillas and set aside.

Next, spoon 1/3 of the turkey mixture onto the layer of tortillas, smoothing to the corners.  Add another layer of cooked tortillas, then 1/3 of the turkey mixture and repeat again for a total of 6 layers, finishing with the turkey mixture on top.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Cut into 6 square portions and serve with Spanish rice and black or refried beans.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sweet Potato Bread

This recipe was so much fun to work with!  I'm still amazed how many different ways there are to use leftover sweet potatoes, and this is the best yet.  When I came across the original recipe, although it contained one of my least favorite ingredients (Crisco), I was determined to find a way to lighten up this bread.  I know Crisco has been around a long time and many cooks swear by it, but the only time I use it is for the occasional batch of Snickerdoodles.  Otherwise, I try to find alternate ingredients that are a little healthier and applesauce is my substitution of choice.  I still kept the Crisco, only using 1/3 of the original amount, and replaced the missing portion with applesauce and apple butter.  Since these do contain sugar, I reduced the sugar by a full cup and the results were outstanding!  The taste of sweet potato, which had almost a pumpkin pie flavor, combined with cinnamon and cloves came together perfectly.

The topping added a nice finishing touch, although I did reduce the portion by half, otherwise it seemed like WAY too much icing.  Just a light drizzle of icing makes this a tasty sweet treat that might just be breakfast in the morning.  Enjoy!

1/3 cup  Crisco Vegetable Shortening
1/3 cup  Apple Butter
1/3 cup  Applesauce (sweetened or unsweetened)
2 cups  Sugar
4  Large Eggs
2 cups  Mashed Sweet Potatoes (leftovers work great here)
3 1/2 cups  Flour
2 tsp  Baking Soda
2 tsp  Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp  Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp  Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Cloves
1/2 cup  Milk

For Glaze
1/2 cup  Confectioners Sugar
1/4 cup  Pure Maple Syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare 2 loaf pans by lining with foil; set aside.  ** Using the foil liners makes cleanup easy and also allows the bread to cool faster since you can lift the bread out of the pan using the foil liner.

Using an electric mixer on low speed cream together the shortening, apple butter, applesauce, sugar,  eggs and sweet potatoes.  Blend until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and blend until combined.

Pour batter into the 2 loaf pans and bake for 65 - 75 minutes.  Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of each loaf.  If toothpick comes out clean the bread is done, otherwise return loaves to the oven and check for doneness in another 10 minutes.  Since my oven is a little wacky sometimes, mine were done just short of 90 minutes.

Cool bread on wire racks for 15 minutes, then lift the foil liners out of the loaf pans, peel back the foil and let loaves cool completely.

Combine the confectioners sugar and maple syrup until creamy and smooth, then drizzle over bread.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

General Tso's Chicken

When I came across this Food and Wine recipe, I knew I had to try it.  This is a great take on the classic Chinese takeout dish.  The flavors are all there, with just a bit of spice, but the dish is lightened up a bit as the chicken has a light cornstarch coating similar to a tempura batter and then is quickly pan-fried instead of deep fried.  Serve this with a side of brown rice and steamed edamame.

If you have never tried edamame, which are young green soybeans, look for them in your grocers frozen vegetable section.  They are now sold in microwave steam bags, with a small bag of kosher salt for seasoning, and they are super easy to make.  Edamame are served as a snack in many Japanese restaurants and are extemely good for you.  Just a 1/2 cup of shelled edamame contain just 120 calories with 9 grams of fiber and 11 gram of protein.  As an extra bonus: Kids love them!

3 tsp  Sesame Oil
2  Large Egg Whites
1/2 cup plus 2 TB  Soy Sauce
1/2 cup plus 6 TB  Cornstarch
2 lbs  Boneless Skinless Chicken cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups  Chicken Broth
2 tsp  Sriarcha Chili Garlic Sauce (use 3 tsp for a spicy version)
6 TB  Sugar
2 TB  Canola Oil, plus more for frying
3 TB  Ginger, minced
3 TB  Garlic, minced
Steamed Brown Rice and Steamed Edamame for Sides

In a medium bowl, combine the sesame oil with the egg whites, 2 TB soy sauce, and 1/2 cup plus 4 TB of cornstarch.  Add the chicken pieces, stirring to coat.  Let stand at room temp for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the chicken broth with the Sriracha, sugar and remaining 1/2 cup soy sauce and 2 TB cornstarch.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 TB oil, add the ginger and garlic and cook over medium-high heat about 1 minute.  Stir broth mixture, add it to the pan and cook until thickened, about 3-5 minutes.  Keep sauce warm on low heat.

In a large, deep skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the chicken pieces one at a time, leaving space between the pieces, and fry chicken until browned and crisp, turning once or twice, a total of about 5 minutes.  Drain the chicken on paper towels, then add the chicken to the pot of sauce.  Stir to coat the chicken and serve over brown rice with a side of steamed edamame.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Baked Banana Cheesecake

Everyone loves pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, but it's also nice to have a little something different for such a special dinner.  This Baked Banana Cheesecake can be made one day ahead and your dessert will be ready for the big day.

This cheesecake has a creamy, intensely flavored filling on an elegant macadamia nut crust. The key to a smooth cheesecake is to make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature before blending. Cold cream cheese will result in a lumpy batter. Baking the bananas brings out a deep flavor of caramelized sweetness. Be sure to include the liquid from the baked bananas in the cheesecake batter.  Enjoy!


1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) Vanilla Wafers, finely crushed
1/2 cup Macadamia Nuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Unsalted Butter, melted


3 ripe Bananas, unpeeled
3 8-ounce packages Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup Sugar
5 Large Eggs
1 TB Dark Rum
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 400 and set oven rack at the lower-middle level. Have ready a 10-inch springform pan.

Baking the Bananas: Place the unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet and roast until they turn black all over, about 12 - 15 minutes. Remove from the sheet and set aside to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350.

Assemble the Crust: Combine cookie crumbs, macadamia nuts and brown sugar in a food processor. Pulse a few times until mixture is finely ground. Pour crumb mixture into springform pan. Pour melted butter into center of crumbs and blend well with a fork, pressing the mixture evenly into the bottom of the entire pan.

Prepare Filling: With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl, scraping down the sides a few times. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Break the cooled baked bananas into pieces and add them to the bowl making sure to include the juice from the bananas. Add the rum and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared crust, smooth the top and place the pan on a baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour or until the cheesecake is a light golden brown and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Cool the cheesecake to room temperature on a wire rack, then cover and chill overnight before serving. Serve with a scoop of whipped topping and chocolate shavings, if desired.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Orange & Brandy Sweet Potatoes

This is a great recipe from Emeril that is as beautiful to serve as it is tasty.  The potatoes are very easy to prepare and the orange shells add some Thanksgiving color to your dinner plates and makes the potatoes easy to serve.

3 pounds Sweet Potatoes, about 6-7 large 
4 Large Oranges
Cinnamon/Sugar Mix (3 TB Sugar mixed with 1 tsp Cinnamon)
1 stick Unsalted Butter
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
3 Eggs
3/4 cup Orange Juice
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Brandy
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 400. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake about 1 hour until tender. Remove from oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. 

Reduce oven temp to 350. Cut oranges in half and scoop out the pulp, to make a serving "cup". Sprinkle the orange shells with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Peel the potatoes and put into a large bowl. Discard the skins and any tough, stringy fibers. Add the butter, and with an electric mixer, beat out the lumps. Add the sugar, eggs, orange juice, heavy cream, and brandy, and mix until smooth. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and mix well. Re-season to taste.

Spoon the sweet potato mixture into the orange cups, mounding and smoothing the top. Bake until puffed and slightly golden, about 20 minutes.  Makes 8 servings       

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hearty Turkey Noodle Soup

This is a great way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey or chicken.  With a generous amount of veggies to make it a healthy and satisfying meal, this soup can be on the table in about 30 minutes. Serve with a loaf of warm French bread.

1 TB Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced 
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
2 Carrots, sliced into coins
2 tsp Chopped Thyme
4 cups Chicken Broth (or Turkey Stock if you have it)
2 cups Baby Spinach
2 cups Cubed or Shredded Turkey or Chicken
1 1/2 cups Uncooked Wide Egg Noodles
1 (15-oz) can Cannellini Beans, drained
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onions and carrots and cook for 8 - 10 minutes. Add thyme and stir to blend. Add broth, spinach, turkey, noodles, beans, and salt and pepper and stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 15 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Ladle into bowls and serve.  Serves 4

**Note: If you do not have leftover turkey or chicken on hand, and still want to enjoy this comforting soup, use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sweet Potato Cookies

Now this is a great way to use up leftover sweet potatoes!  Today we have for you Sweet Potato Cookies that get just a bit of sweetness from white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.  You will have to forgive me for the picture, these cookies literally disappeared from the tray and the only two left were going into my daughters lunchbox!  So that's the picture we have, at least until I make another batch of these...which will have to be soon.

My favorite thing about these cookies was how easy they were to make.  I'm a bit of a short-cut baker; I don't usually "bake" but when I do get the urge to bake cookies, I like recipes that I can whip up pretty quickly.  Add the wet ingredients, blend, add the dry ingredients all at once, blend, done! Now that's how easy cookies should be to make!  Bake up a batch of these cookies to snack on after you finish your holiday shopping, add a mug of tea or hot chocolate and enjoy!

1 Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
1/2 cup  Light Brown Sugar
1/4 cup  Sugar
2 TB  Honey
1 tsp  Vanilla
1  Egg
1 cup  Mashed Sweet Potatoes
1 1/4 cups  Flour
1 tsp  Baking Powder
1/2 tsp  Baking Soda
1/2 tsp  Salt
1/2 tsp  Cinnamon
1/8 tsp  Ground Ginger
1/8 tsp  Ground Nutmeg
1/2 cup  White Chocolate Chips
1/3 cup  Dried Cranberries (Craisins)

Preheat over to 350.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, blend the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and honey until smooth.  Add the egg, vanilla and the sweet potatoes and blend until smooth.

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all of the dry spices.  Blend until fully combined, then add the chocolate chips and cranberries and finish mixing by hand.

Drop rounded spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake about 9 - 12 minutes, turning cookie sheets halfway thru cooking if needed.  Let cool 1 minute on cookie sheets, then move to wire racks to finish cooling.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sweet Potato and Oatmeal Muffins

Yesterday we brought you a recipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes and, if you have a little leftover sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving, save them for this yummy treat. The cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves give these muffins somewhat of a pumpkin pie flavor and the sweet potatoes make them ultra moist.

These muffins make a great breakfast and, with the crunchy-crumbly topping, your kids won't even realize they are eating something that is good for them.

1 cup  Old Fashioned Oatmeal
1 cup  Flour
1 tsp  Baking Powder
1/2 tsp  Baking Soda
1 tsp  Cinnamon
1/2 tsp  Nutmeg
1/2 tsp  Salt
1/8 tsp  Cloves
1 cup  Mashed Sweet Potatoes
3/4 cup  Light Brown Sugar
1/3 cup  Canola Oil
1/4 cup  Milk
1  Large Egg
1 tsp  Vanilla

Crumble Topping

1/4 cup  Old Fashioned Oatmeal
1/4 cup  Flour
1/4 cup  Light Brown Sugar
2 TB  Margarine, melted
1 tsp  Vanilla

Preheat oven to 400.  Lightly grease muffin tins, about 15, and set aside.

In a small bowl, prepare the crumble topping.  Stir until fully combined and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sweet potatoes, brown sugar, oil, milk, egg and vanilla;  stir well to combine.  Next add all of the dry ingredients and stir until moistened.  Fill muffin tins 3/4 full and sprinkle with crumble topping.  Bake 15 - 20 minutes.  Makes about 15 muffins.