Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Work in Progress + Muy Bueno Recipe

Trees and abstract landscapes are what I've been focusing on lately. Still learning how to get the look I want with lots of trial, error and frustration. I'm getting a little closer with the background of this Tall Yellow Tree painting. I love how the dirt blends with the bushes which blends with the sky, with no definite starting or stopping place. This is one in a series of three tall tree canvases that will feature various color trees and backgrounds, but with the same overall feeling.

I've been gathering tree photos and studying their shape and form. It's amazing how many different types there are. This one almost looks like it's exploding from it's branches. Again...still a work in progress.

Another forest of Aspen Trees with a more abstract feel, but I'm not so keen on the colors. They looked great in the photo with the vibrant colors, but when I see them on the canvas I realize I like muted tones better. Still pondering how to finish this one.

This painting is another attempt to simplify the image and give it a more painterly/expressive feel. The light area in the middle is a misty mass of tree trunks and I'm not sure how to paint it yet. I will have to get back to this one later. I found some online courses focusing on misty tree paining so I thought I would sign up and see how Tim Gagnon paints his gorgeous misty forests.

This winding river took on many different looks as I painted over and over and over it. It started out with too much detail (I always do that...I'm such a detail person). With each layer I took more and more out and made my brush strokes bigger and bolder. It's coming along, but I've sorta lost interest in it. Maybe if I put it away and come back to it later, it will call me to finish it. At this stage...it still looks a little boring to me.

This is a little mosaic I created with the colors I love: gold, red, green and blue. I don't know what it is about this combination that grabs me, but I'm drawn to it over and over.

Now For The Food...
The recipe below is another one I did not have time to revisit before I printed my cookbook. I knew it was good, but I needed to try it again before knowing for sure that the microwave can really do it justice. It worked like a champ. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I've only made the beef but would love to hear how the chicken or pork works out. Don't let my names for ingredients confuse you. If  you don't have my cookbook, simply make it with the ground beef and taco seasoning mix or simply use leftover taco filling. If you get confused, please let me know. Enjoy!!

Microwave Muy Bueno Enchilada Casserole
The microwave and Meal-in-Minutes Beef finish this casserole in record time. This recipe can also be made with chicken, ground chicken, turkey or even pork.
1 lb.                            ground beef + 1 clove garlic, minced + 1/2 cup chopped onion,
                                   OR 2-3 cups Meals in Minutes Ground Beef (MMB),
                                   OR 2-3 cups Zesty Beef Filling or seasoned taco filling but omit the
                                  Tex-Mex Spice Mix below
2 T.                            Tex-Mex Seasoning Mix or substitute 1 packet taco seasoning mix
1 can                          mild red enchilada sauce (10 oz.)
¾ cup                        salsa
1 cup                          frozen corn
½ cup                        diced, red pepper
12                              soft corn tortillas
½ cup                        cilantro, chopped
1 cup                         cheddar cheese, shredded
                                  sour cream for garnish
In a 10-inch skillet, brown ground beef with garlic and onion over medium heat; drain* OR if using MMB or Zesty Beef Filling, simply heat in skillet. Add Tex-Mex Spice Mix (omit if using Zesty Beef Filling or seasoned taco filling), enchilada sauce, salsa, corn and red peppers; bring to a boil then turn to low and simmer.
Cut tortillas into 1 inch squares and place half evenly into the bottom of an 11x7-inch glass baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Top with half of the meat mixture then ½ cup shredded cheese and sprinkle with half the cilantro. Top with remaining tortillas, meat mixture and ½ cup shredded cheese.
Microwave on high power for 10 to 12 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out hot. Garnish with remaining cilantro and sour cream. Add additional diced red pepper if desiredServes:  6
Notes:  Try red sauce with beef and green with chicken, turkey or pork. Black or pinto beans could be added to meat mixture is desired. Olives could also be added as a layer.

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