Sunday, May 23, 2010

Take Out-Fake Out, Mexican style numero uno.

My birthday was last week.

The ONE thing I wanted to do for my birthday, other than have
a drama-free family day was go out for mexican food. Even though
I hoped, I knew this wouldn't happen for two reasons.

1)Even if we did have the money to go out, I wouldn't do it
anyway. I'm cheap. And honestly, I have a hard time paying someone
to make something for me when I could make it cheaper and
pretty close to the real deal. Sure, it's nice to have someone
to cook for you once in a blue moon. BUT, I just can't get past
that I spent all this money when it could have paid a bill or bought
groceries. (Sometimes, I wish I could just tie up the penny pincher
inside of me and just boot her off a cliff. She's a real pain in
my backside and no fun at all.)

2)I share my life with three boys, one of which is my husband.
All of them possess little to no table manners and they are loud
and obnoxious and generally make me want to spork myself
whenever I take them out. If I'm spending money on a dinner
for me, you best behave. Otherwise, I feel no different than
when I'm at home, disgusted with their record-breaking burps/
farts and the bickering back and forth. I feel like I'm running
defense. And my husband has no freaking patience for two boys
in a restaurant. So, if we do go out, even if it is my freaking
birthday, I'm still the main parent in charge. So, I either
wolf down my food because I stress eat, then get a huge
bellyache and feel sick for the rest of the night
or I pick at my food and it gets cold which means I won't eat it.

So, anyway. My favorite place to go out for a "me" meal is Mazatlan.
Other than the best freaking Cadillac Margarita I've ever had,
they make this Pollo Con Crema that is to die for. Don't ask me
what else is on the menu, I couldn't tell you. Every time, I order
the same danged thing. And it's always SO good. And it's a gazillion
calories. And I eat myself silly and complain about how much I ate
but it was SO good......

And then I get the bill. And it's fifty bucks. And I want to cry.

I decided I wasn't going to do that this year. That I would
save the money I really didn't have and make Pollo Con Crema myself.
I've done it before and it wasn't quite right. Close, but not
quite there for me. (Props to the people before me who attempted
their own personal versions, if they hadn't given me a
jumping off point, I would have NEVER made my own.) I played
with the ingredients and what I thought would be right and just
kind of went balls out and just did it. I also made a mexican rice
that is pretty close to what Mazatlan serves on the side of
their platters. I found this wonderful sauce called sofrito sauce.
Why had I not heard of this before? It's like my new BFF condiment.
Freaking wonderful. Just wisk a couple tbsp. into your rice water
and cook like normal and wa-la, mexican rice. Seriously made of
win. I found mine at Fred Meyer for just a couple bucks
but you can order it online, too. I will warn you that it
does contain MSG, so if you are sensitive,
you can find copycat sofrito sauce recipes if you google.
Really looks easy to make.

Oh. Em. Gee. Words can not express how freaking good it was.
Like a religious experiance. And I was just beside myself
because I freaking did it. I made it myself and it was perfect.
And it cost me well under twenty bucks to make a whole pot of it!
I was riding that high all night. And this morning, if you want to
know the truth.

Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to try it,
too. And be happy with me that food like this exists. And,
honestly, you owe me a birthday present anyway......;) Go make
it and celebrate with me, though a little late.

It is seriously SO good. You'll thank me later. I know you will.

4 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 (8 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
2 large red bell peppers, cut into chunks
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons ketchup, or to taste
2 dashes hot pepper sauce (such as Frank's RedHot®), or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground dried Anaheim or California chiles (optional)
12 (6 inch) flour tortillas

1.Sprinkle chicken cubes with salt and pepper. Heat 1
tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat,
and cook and stir the chicken until the juices run clear,
5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl, and heat
1 more tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat.
Cook and stir the mushrooms, bell peppers, onion, and garlic
until the vegetables are beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the vegetables into the bowl with the chicken.
2.Melt butter over medium-high heat in the same skillet,
and whisk in the flour. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly,
until the roux is lightly browned and gives off a toasted fragrance,
about 2 minutes. Whisk in the broth, bring to a simmer, and whisk
until thickened. Reduce heat to low, and whisk in the cream,
sour cream, ketchup, hot sauce, cumin, and ground dried chiles.
Cover the skillet, and simmer until thick and the flavors
have blended, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Gently stir in the chicken and vegetables. Serve rolled in
flour tortillas.

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