Friday, August 5, 2011

Cookbook Review: The Stocked Kitchen...Featuring Some Amazing and EASY Chicken Enchiladas

Does this scenario sound all-too-familiar? It's been a busy day, and now it's time to start thinking about cooking dinner. You step into the kitchen, stare into the fridge and pantry, and your mind glazes over. You wonder what the heck you have on hand to cook a yummy meal in as little time as possible. That happens to even the most experienced cook from time to time, but the cookbook I'm reviewing today explains how to avoid that scenario from becoming part of your normal dinner routine.

The Stocked Kitchen: One Grocery List, Endless Recipes is a cookbook, but it's really more than that. It presents a shopping system that allows you to keep your kitchen stocked with basic ingredients that allow you to make any recipe in the well as come up with your own creations. I had a chance to speak with Sarah Kallio, one of the book's authors. She's on the left in the picture...she's a doll, and her enthusiasm for her book and her kitchen system is infectious! The idea behind the The Stocked Kitchen is making life easier for busy people. Sarah says by following their system, you'll spend less money on groceries, less time in the grocery store...and meals will be much less stressful!! 

According to Sarah, she and co-author Stacey Krastins have created and refined their system over the past five years. They created it as the way they cook everyday -- realistic meals for their families. The cookbook includes several tear-out Stocked KitchenTM Grocery Lists to get you started using their system. Before each grocery run, you inventory your kitchen, check off what you need to buy, and refill the gaps. The grocery list is nicely organized. It features sections for pantry items, international foods, snacks/crackers/bread, spices, baking, refrigerated, freezer, meat/chicken/seafood, produce, and miscellaneous supplies. 

It's a well-rounded list, but Sarah points out that it's adaptable to suit individual likes/dislikes. As an experiment, I customized the list for us. For example, I deleted olives and added avocado and panko bread crumbs...items that are on my frequently-used list. Knowing that I'm a food blogger who sometimes shops...and cooks...a bit outside the box, I asked Sarah if this system would still work for me. She told me that it's not meant to be can easily be used for meals when I'm not blogging (which is about 60-70% of the time). I would simply augment the basic list with a list of specialty items that I need for planned blog posts. 

As they say? The proof is in the do the recipes taste? I made the chicken enchiladas in the cookbook, and we both loved them. They took about 20 minutes to assemble before going into the oven for another 20 minutes or so. That gave me time to whip up some Spanish rice and make a salad to go on the side. These enchiladas were full of flavor, moist and plump!

Chicken Enchiladas
from The Stocked Kitchen

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 400. Brown 2 cups diced chicken breast in a bit of olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste. Add an 8-ounce package of cream cheese and 2 cups salsa -- I used Frontera Kitchens spicy chipotle. Stir occasionally, over medium heat, until the cream cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.

Step 2:  Add a about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture to eight flour tortillas. Roll each one up and lay seam-side-down in a 13x9 pan. You'll have a good deal of the sauce left...spoon it evenly on top of each enchilada. Combine 1 cup shredded mozzarella and 1 cup cheddar. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the enchiladas. Combine 1/2 cup lowfat sour cream and 1/2 cup skim milk in a measuring cup; whisk well to combine and evenly pour on top of the enchiladas.

Step 3:  Bake until browned and bubbly -- about 20 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through to ensure even browning. Let cool for about five minutes before serving. These enchiladas are cheesy, moist, and delicious. The salsa perfectly seasons the creamy sauce!

If the idea of The Stocked Kitchen system has you curious, the cookbook can be purchased online via Amazon. In addition, they have their own website that features a monthly e-mail newsletter. For convenience, their master grocery list can be also be downloaded as an app for both iPhone/iPad and Android via their webpage.

And finally today...congrats to the winner in my 479 Popcorn giveaway: #15, Amy from fearless homemaker! If you didn't win this time, don't fret. I've got several more fun giveaways planned as part of The Weekend Gourmet's one-year blogiversary celebration this  month!!

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