Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blueberry Crumb Bars and Enchilada Lasagna

This morning I agonized over what to bring to a pool party.  It's sweltering hot out there, so I didn't want to do anything warm (like an appetizer).  I decided on a dessert, but I didn't want anything too rich. I figured something with fruit would be summery enough, and went to my beloved Annie's Eats blog for ideas.  As always, she came to my rescue with blueberry crumb bars!  I love anything with blueberries, and anything with crumbles on top.  They were also pretty easy to make, except for the fact that you have to cut the butter into the dough using a pastry cutter.  I definitely will grow muscles in my right arm from that activity if I make enough pastry!  You make one crumbly dough, pat half of it down into the pan, top it with a blueberry filling, and then sprinkle the rest of the dough on top.  These are really good - but my recommendation is definitely to follow the directions and wait until the bars are totally cool before you cut them into bars.  I didn't because we were already running late, and so they look a bit mangled.  Don't worry - it doesn't affect the taste.  The party was cut a but short due to thunderstorms, and my mom is still living off her glazed doughnut muffins, so there are plenty of blueberry crumb bars left if you want to stop by!

At dinner time, I realized I had to suck it up and make the enchilada lasagna that I have planned on making.  I was being brave and making a meal with chicken.  I never cook with chicken, because raw chicken horrifies me, and often I find cooked chicken repulsive as well.  But, to please the masses, I figured I'd give it a try.  Let me say this: it is highly unlikely that I will do this again.  It's not the meal's fault, but standing there hacking at grotesque chicken breasts kind of ruins your appetite (or maybe just mine, but still).  Anyway, after the 7 hours it took me to chop it up (not literally but it felt like it), the rest of the meal came together really quickly.  These are basically enchiladas, but instead of rolled up individually, they are stacked lasasgna-like (other than the layers, it really has nothing to do with lasagna at all!).  The layers are the chicken, Mexican cheese, corn tortillas, and a creamy sauce made from cream of celery, cream of chicken, and sour cream with some green chiles tossed in.  I know - lots of creams - but trust me, it's worth it.  Plus, the cream soups are fairly low in calories.  I added some fresh cilantro to the top, for two reasons: I love cilantro, and also a certain someone who we all know and love thought that he would be "helpful" in weeding my herb garden, and he ripped out an entire cilantro plant.  Sigh.  I also added some black pepper to the top, and I think both of those additions are extremely important.

This meal was a hit.  Everyone liked it, and that never happens.  Alex had thirds, Mark had seconds, and Mom's only complaint was the lack of vegetables.  I might have to agree with her; I think the dinner would benefit from another layer: black beans. Perhaps even in place of the chicken!!!  Mom disagreed with that, but agreed that adding beans would be a good idea.  Some beans may work their way into this casserole next time  - and I do think that there will be a next time!

blueberry crumb bars
enchilada lasagna

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