Hunger Awareness Dinner #5: Green chile chicken enchiladas, corn pudding & cinnamon pear sorbet

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I have had such an incredible eye-opening week during this Hunger Awareness project.  I’ve closed this week with one of my favorite meals – green chile enchiladas.  Normally, I make them with vegetables, but I am almost out of vegetables (down to beets and some lettuce) and I wanted to use the rest of the chicken I had roasted earlier in the week.

I decided to tackle my canned goods with this meal as well.  I paired the enchiladas with a corn pudding that used the canned corn and I made a cinnamon pear sorbet with the canned pears.  I added a green salad with roasted beets because I always find myself wanting something green in the meal.

The dinner was very flavorful.  I love the H-E-B green enchilada sauce and it’s inexpensive.  The corn pudding makes about 10 servings and makes a good alternative to the traditional beans and rice.  I like this recipe because it was mostly corn, eggs and milk with less sugar and flour than many of the recipes I found.  I didn’t have an onion so I substituted with roasted poblano peppers.

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And, since I was tackling the cans, I decided to tackle the pears too.  I don’t like canned pears – they are mushy and mealy – so I wanted to find a recipe in which their consistency wouldn’t matter.  I went with sorbet.  I needed to keep it simple so I used cinnamon as my spice.

When I shopped for my pantry list, I found pears in heavy syrup, light syrup and pear juice.  Since I got to pick, I bought the pears in juice. I know others don’t get to pick, but you could use any of the pears in this recipe, you would just use less of the liquid, if any to sweeten the pears.  I wanted to keep it healthy so I didn’t add sugar and,  instead, used the pear juice from the cans. It may not have been as sweet as you might like, but you can add a little simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar melted together) to sweeten it up.

I was pretty pleased with how my mostly canned dinner turned out and it was a great way to end this adventure.  I learned many lessons during this challenge:

  • In my effort to create meals that could feed a family, I cooked way more in a week than one person could ever eat.  Five dinners later, my freezer is PACKED and I’m out of storage containers.  I didn’t cook my intended sixth meal of salmon croquettes and beet pancakes because if I did, I wouldn’t have any place to store it or anything to store it in.  I’ll cook it this week.
  • I bought too much protein and not enough vegetables with my “food stamp” allotment.  Again, I got so focused on making interesting meals family that I didn’t buy enough vegetables for me for the week.  
  • I will never eat the flavor packet in a “Helper” box again.  Next time, I’m winging it and making my own rather than eating that nasty MSG-ridden sauce.  Yuck.  I really hated that I wasted my yummy broccoli in that meal.  
  • I have quite a few things left in my pantry: 3/4 of the spaghetti, all of the oatmeal, 1/2 of the cheerios, 2/3 of the potatoes, 3/4 of the rice, 1 ham hock, 1 can of enchilada sauce, most of the juice, most of the jalapenos and 1/2 the cheese. And, of course all of the leftovers.
Here’s the cost of the final supper:
$ 1.75    1 cup of mozzarella cheese (for topping the enchiladas)
$ 3.00    1/2 the chicken
$   .45    10 corn tortillas
$   .99    1 can enchilada sauce
$   .25    part of a can of sliced jalapenos
$   .59    2 poblano peppers
$  1.89   3 cans of corn
$   .50    1 cup of milk
$   .67     4 eggs
$ 2.48     4 cans of pears
$12.57    Total
All in all, it was a great week.  I loved exploring recipes and be reminded of how blessed I am.  I hope you enjoyed the journey, just remember that it doesn’t end here.  It doesn’t end until we end hunger in Central Texas.  We have quite a bit of work to do.
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from Bon Appetit April 2010 via Epicurious.com
Note: I substituted 2 roasted poblano peppers instead of the onions so I also used one less tbsp of butter.

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, divided, plus additional for dish
1 cup chopped red onion
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 15- to 16-ounce cans corn kernels, drained, divided

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes; cool in skillet.

Whisk milk, eggs, flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and remaining 3 tablespoons butter in large bowl. Scrape in onion mixture. Add 2 cans drained corn. Puree remaining 1 can drained corn in processor until smooth. Add puree to bowl with custard mixture and stir to blend well; transfer to prepared dish.

Bake pudding until set in center and beginning to brown on top, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm.

50310_4Pear and Cinnamon Sorbet

4 cans of pears in their own juice (if you want sweeter, buy light or heavy syrup), reserve the juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Place the pears in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Slowly add juice from the cans while you continue to blend until you get a very smooth consistency.  You want it to be thinner than apple sauce.  I used about 1 1/2 cans.  Add cinnamon and blend again.

Place the mixture in an ice cream maker and follow the machine directions to process to the desired consistency.  If you don’t have an ice cream machine, you can place the sorbet in a long pan to harden, remove and reprocess in the food processor and then refreeze. Repeat the process until you get the texture you desire.

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